The Controversy Over Online Stock Photography
I came across a New York Times article last night, published back in June of last year. It features Lise Gagne, a guest speaker at our upcoming photography workshop in Austin.
I didn’t know she had been written up in the Times until I stumbled across this piece. (I’ll paste in the link to it down below — it’s a good read.)
The article is about online stock agencies and how some photographers are using them to make big money in their spare time (which, of course, is not new news to you as a reader of this newsletter).
What you may not know, however, is that shooting for online stock agencies is actually a bit controversial.
Many old-school professional photographers believe that selling your images for $1 devalues your work as an artist. And they think that professionals who do it are killing the industry.
Others argue that, well, the industry is changing. And while they still feel that their images are worth far more than the cost of a candy bar or a cup of coffee — at least their work is being used.
And, to a certain extent, the online stock houses are serving a different market than the traditional houses have.
It wasn’t long ago when small business owners or starving musicians would have had to cough up $300 for a quality stock image to use on a sales flyer or an album cover. That’s steep. So they’d make do with something else instead. Piles of desirable (but expensive) images sat in those stock houses — and still do — waiting for a buyer with enough cash.
But today, those small business owners and starving musicians can access pro-quality photos affordably at online stock agencies. And so can any person building a website (for commercial or personal use). And any student who wants a great shot for a school presentation. Point is, the argument goes: The market has shifted and expanded… and online stock agencies are filling a need.
And let’s not forget the reason we write about online stock agencies here…
They provide one of the easiest, most trouble-free outlets for new photographers to sell their photos.
You don’t have to own a gallery (or have a friend who owns a gallery) to sell your work. You don’t have to advertise. You don’t have to bother with printing, matting, and storing your photos. And if you’re shy (or busy), you never have to stand around at a farmer’s market or art fair chatting up potential buyers and haggling your wares.
Plus, you don’t have to have a lot of images to get started. Three is usually the minimum.
Anyway, I think you can see why we think online stock agencies represent such a great opportunity for you.
I’ll include a link to that New York Times piece I mentioned, below. But before you click through, I wanted to tell you that — for the first time ever — we’re recording this photography workshop that’s coming up in Austin.
Now, that may sound counter-intuitive. After all, we pride ourselves on delivering hands-on, interactive programs. And in the past, we’ve always held a good portion of our sessions outside as we tour a city with our photo pros.
But this workshop is a little different. It includes a lot of guest speakers (including Lise Gagne, the one interviewed in that New York Times article)… who will be talking about a lot of new markets you may have never considered selling to before. We’re going to capture all of that good intelligence on tape. Combine that with each speaker’s PowerPoint presentation, and you’ll easily be able to listen in (and watch) effectively at home.
It’s true you’ll miss out on the practice sessions and the photo reviews. But if you can’t make it to Austin, then this is the next-best thing.
Here’s everything we’re going to offer as part of our Photo Workshop-At-Home Online Package (Note: I’ll tell you about a hidden webpage I just set up for you with a special discount in a minute, too)…
* * First, you’ll get downloadable audio recordings of each expert’s presentations — including those by professional photographers Rich Wagner, Shelly Perry, Riley Caton, and Kammy and Ward Thurman. This’ll include all the tips, techniques, and real-world advice they deliver so you can discover for yourself the markets that are best for you… and how to take the kinds of pictures that will sell for each one.
* * Then you’ll also get downloadable audio recordings from each of our guest speakers – including those by Jennifer Stevens (a professional writer and editor who regularly doubles her income by selling photo-article packages) and Alicia Noack (the Art Director — and, thus, photo-buyer — at a glossy airline in-flight magazine).
* * And with all those recordings come each speaker’s PowerPoint presentations along with all the worksheets and handouts they give to our attendees there in person — an incredible online resource of commentary and notes that accompany each presentation.
* * In all, you’ll get everything you need to break into a whole slew of interesting and lucrative photography markets, like: travel magazines, local newspapers, airline in-flight magazines, websites, online stock agencies, your local high school and elementary schools, churches, health publications, and even your local library and coffee shop.
What’s more, I’ll also include 2 Special Bonus Presentations:
** One with Barbara Winter – the author of the best-selling “Making a Living Without a Job” and “Jumpstart Your Entrepreneurial Spirit.” A much-sought-after speaker and self-employment advocate, Barbara grew up in a family with more wanderlust than travel funds. And so when she discovered her own entrepreneurial spirit, she realized that her business could be a vehicle for seeing the world. Since 1989, she has made more than 40 tax-deductible trips abroad. In this presentation, she’ll show you how you can follow in her footsteps…
Barbara teaches seminars throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and has helped thousands of folks create for themselves what she calls “joyfully jobless” lives. In Austin, she’ll hand over useful guidelines and hard-won secrets about what it takes to turn an avocation into an income-earning business… and spare you an untold number of rookie mistakes.
** And the other Special Session you’ll get is with Lise Gagne. She’s been called the “diva” of microstock photography and has had her images downloaded an incredible 636,000 times at iStockphoto. She started shooting stock in 2003 and today earns a six-figure income doing it… and has a lot of fun with it, too.
Lise is an iStock legend, and she will be on hand in Austin to tell you how she went from amateur photographer to well-established (and well-paid) pro — and how you can do it, too.
Now, we’re going to offer these tapes for sale when we get back from Austin and have had time to edit them — it takes a few days to listen through and delete the coughs and the coffee breaks.
And don’t forget to scroll down for today’s writing prompt.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
P.S. Here’s the link to the New York Times article featuring Lise Gagne: http://tinyurl.com/2yfk85
P.P.S. Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.
PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK: Take a Hint from the Silver Screen
A fun way to see a city or even an entire country is to follow in the footsteps of characters from a popular movie or book.
This month, Budget Travel includes an article on their top 10 travel movies and outlined a few places in each movie that make good travel outings. One movie they highlight is Disney’s Enchanted, in which the characters go gallivanting across Manhattan. Budget travel suggests a boat ride in Central Park, like the one the characters in the movie take, and eating in some of the places they visit, too.
You could write a similar article and have it set in a place you know — your hometown or someplace you travel to. It could include recommendations related to a series of movies or books.
Or, consider focusing on one movie or book and going into more detail about the places shown or described in it. You can weave anecdotes from the story into your own experience in the same place.
Whether you’re following in Ferris Bueller’s footsteps through the streets of Chicago or diving into the dark world of Dracula on a trip to Romania, there are bound to be fellow fans who will eagerly tuck into your article about it.
Don’t forget the specifics — get a few prices off of the menu if you feature a restaurant, and make sure to include opening and closing times, along with any other details readers will find helpful.
Also keep in mind the format of the publication you’re writing for… do they publish articles with an information side bar? Photos?
READER FEEDBACK: Meegwetch, and a Big Thank-you
“Meegwetch, and a Big Thank-you, for putting me in the driver’s seat of my first adventure into travel writing and video-blog.
“Your materials, words, and teachings have inspired me to go on my solo trip to Playa Del Carmen. A place many, many, moons ago I swung a hammock!
“I will be rating the resort, the disabilities accommodations and challenges, and just be a single nurse traveling and reporting on the peoples, places and things to do in Mexico.
“You and the gang really inspired me to make play into work — I already take photos and advocate for the next boomer generation that want to be safe when traveling alone or otherwise.
“Women are the biggest target audience for my stories. They have the funniest traveling tales, anyways.
“May your days be jolly and your wishes come true.” — Jill Johnston