It was one of the longest, hottest, driest days of my life, and I loved every minute of it…
I had flown in to meet up with a group of photographers for a creative weekend of stock photography fun. By 6:30 a.m. at the desert shoot location, our entourage also included a legion of hair and wardrobe artists, a WWII jeep complete with authentic period props and military re-enactors in vintage uniforms from a museum, a real special ops team, and dozens of models—including a cellist, a ballerina, and three human/animal characters created by an award-winning make-up artist.
Ok, full disclosure. I was way out of my league and I knew it.
The rapid-fire, think-fast, quick-change nature of this event was for “real photographers”, not a novice like me. It was exhilarating and also intimidating—a baptism by fire. Working our way through a dizzying variety of themes and set-ups—in harsh sun right through until dark—did I make mistakes? Sure. Did it matter? Not at all.
I learned a ton, made new friends… and, standing on the sand dunes with my camera, directing models for a shot, I did feel like a “real photographer”.
Leaving the shoot site at 10 p.m. that night, completely exhausted from slagging through sand dunes all day, my red eyes full of dust and grit, I couldn’t wait to edit and upload the images that filled my memory cards. I’m afraid sleep won out that night, but I will admit to uploading them to my laptop at the airport to start editing for my stock portfolio.
Imagine my surprise some months later when one of the models posted a photo on our group Facebook page, enquiring which photographer had taken this photo… because, no kidding, it had appeared on the Today Show.
It never ceases to amaze me to watch what sells.
I came away from this event with some great shots that day and many of them are regular sellers in my stock portfolio. Aside from the revenues generated, there is a certain excitement about seeing your photos appear in unexpected places. “The Today Show”… who’d have thought?
Who knew when I attended my first GEP workshop less than 2 years prior that it could lead to this?
Certainly not me. I started with absolutely no photography experience, but I left the workshop with a foundation for continued learning and a solid plan to follow. I hope to help you realize that selling your photos is not something attainable only for seasoned pros. I wasn’t. We all have to start somewhere.
Stock photography was a perfect start for me because of the ability to photograph whatever I want, with no pressure.
Most of the time I shoot common everyday people, places, and events. But no matter how artsy, obscure, or everyday mundane it is, stock agencies provide a way to get it in front of a buyer who is looking for exactly that.
Branching out into other types of photography for bigger and more immediate gains has been a natural progression, but the skills learned from shooting stock photography, serve me well in all other photography too.
I continue to grow my stock portfolio when I have time, but when I’m too busy with other projects, stock photo income continues to flow.
The desert event that led to my photo appearing on TV is one of many amazing adventures photography has brought me—an opportunity I’d never have had without attending that initial workshop that set me on the path towards photography success.
Like me, your journey may take you places you never imagined… but if you never take the first step, you won’t ever reach your destination. Every journey starts with one courageous step forward.
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