The Ultimate Video Guide for Stock Photographers

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Almost all of us can take pictures and we love it. What with the all these cameras nowadays that boast millions of megapixels packed in their sensors. The result? Probably thousand of pictures just sitting on computers’ hard drives. Why not try selling these to stock agencies and earn some residual money?

But wait, don’t go uploading every picture you have to stock agencies just yet. First, you have to learn how stock photography works and why there are stock agencies and how can you make money on them. That’s why we have created this video guide for all stock photographers especially to those who are just starting to guide you in this industry.

How this Video Guide can help you start selling your Pictures

The videos from Stockphotoguru.com will introduce you to microstock. It will give you a walkthrough on how to get started on shooting stock photos – from purchasing your gears, to setting up your lights, to managing your photos and eventually uploading them on stock agencies. This is recommended for those who are planning to get involved into microstock and want to earn money doing what they love.

Do you want to know how professional stock photographers shoot? Then you should watch these behind the scenes photo shooting sessions by top selling stock photographers and get tips on how they manage to shoot images that sell. You can also take a tour inside the studio of Yuri Arcurs, a stock photography millionaire and see how he can produce the best selling images and stay on top of the game.

How to keep up with the Professionals?

A lot of photographers have already been involved in stock photograpy with the progress of microstock through the years. Maybe you’re wondering how you could keep up with the professionals then take a look at interviews of top performing stock photographers. See and learn directly from them the tips and tricks on how to be at your best on stock photography while doing what you love all the same.  The different workshops given by different stock agencies could also give you ideas how stock agencies work and how to shoot images that gets accepted.

Track your Success

And if you have already uploaded your images up, it’s time for you to track your progress using these stock analytic tools. These tools will help you see which of your images are selling and will give you detailed analysis on the stock photography trend.

Start Watching!

Now, would you still sit there and do nothing or will you start shooting and earning? Share this video guide to everyone you know and help them get started and earn by shooting stock photography. Who knows, you might be the next Yuri Arcurs.

If you have any suggestions for more informative stock videos then don’t hesitate to contact us (or leave a comment below).

Behind the Scenes and Studio Tours

Behind the Scenes: Stock Photo Shooting Session by TheAdStock

This video is a behind the scene photo shooting session by www.theadstock.com. TheAdStock creates photos to be used in online advertising campaigns, in banner ads billboards and websites all over the globe. The video showed what preparations and settings takes place in a stock photo session. Photographer Manu Petra took shots of model Alexandra Nagy and they used a green screen for their background.

Making Of A Stock Photography by Robert Kneschke

German Photo producer Robert Kneschke published a video on how he shoots stock photography. First, shooting for stock photography doesn’t exactly require you to have a large studio. Robert, as seen on the video, sets up his photo shoot in a small room (probably in his house), prepares his camera gears and checks the lighting. Second, you don’t need to hire makeup artists for your models as this is not a fashion shoot. If your model can very well do her own makeup, then let her. Stock images feature real people in natural settings so it is ideal to keep the models as natural as possible. The female model was shot on different scenes; in an office, opening gifts, reading a book and holding a flower. For the last part, Robert retouches the photos before it will be submitted to stock photo agencies.

A Guided Tour in Yuri Arcurs' Photo Studio

This video will take you inside the photo studio of one of microstock’s millionaires, Yuri Arcurs. First area of his studio is the medical and science area where they shoot most of their medical and experiments stuff. They have everything from wheelchairs to all kinds of scientific and medical gears. Another area of the studio is the fake kitchen area. The reason why they called it fake is that the appliances are movable and they can rebuild it anywhere they want. They also have a real architect table, a casino table and a glass display for the shopping area. All other areas include the bed area, spa, living room, office, the equipments area, styling and makeup areas, and the props area.

The video below is a tour guide inside Yuri’s new studio and it focuses on the equipments and gears they have inside. With an endless budget, Yuri built the perfect studio that any photographer could have and in this video, he shows how they built it and what they put in it. They installed a remote-controlled metal framework where they attach the different lens. He also discusses various lighting gears, power gears and how they use it. Right next to his studio is a large free room where they could do something that requires time and a space. Basically, they have the large room for themselves to play ping-ping ball or have fun.

Workshops and Interviews

Microstock Expo 2013 Video Trailer

If you haven't been able to come to Berlin in time for the Microstock Expo 2013, then worry not because the videos are already available online. It's not a replacement but  it's the closest you can get to actually having been at the event. Over 20 hours of video footage, it is the largest gathering of microstock hotshots, analysts, top microstockers and business leaders sharing knowledge and insights about the microstock market.

Get the instant access to all the videos for just €199 including the session, workshops and Masterclasses. However, if you just want to pick few particular sessions, it will just cost you €29 a piece. This is a good investment for microstockers who want to make it big in the market and become successful.

Find more details at the Microstock Expo 2013 here and you can check out and order videos at the Microstock Expo 2013 website.

Fotolia Workshop with Yuri Arcurs

Fotolia has invited their bestselling microstock photographer Yuri Arcurs to give a workshop to selected photographers in Berlin. The aim of the workshop is to teach photographers how to shoot images that sell. In the first video, Yuri talked about how to do lights, how to set the right exposure, focus and shutter settings and even the breathing technique. In the second video he taught the photographers on how to choose and direct the models. One of the reasons that Yuri sells a lot of images is that his images look natural and believable. He also talked about how to set up lights in the studio and their proper positioning. Yuri has shared a lot of important tips that would help stock photographers. Watch the video and learn how to shoot stock photography the right way.

Veer: Photo Op 2010

In 2010, Veer, a microstock marketplace, hosted the first four-day Photo Op event in Calgary, Alberta. A few chosen image contributors participated in the event and had the chance to take photos while supported by three fully staffed shooting units. Heather McNeill, Senior Manager of Creative Photography in Veer said that they gathered a number of photographers both from macrospace and microspace. The video is full of behind the scene clips of photographers prepping up and shooting in different places in Calgary. In the end, there were over 75,000 frame shots with nearly 8,000 selects. Watch how the Photo Op went and see how the photographers talked about their experiences in this unforgettable event.

Fotolia Workshop 2012 at Hotel Bogota

The Fotolia workshop at Hotel Bogota in Berlin in the beginning of June 2012 was participated by 5 professional photographers who assisted 25 participants with various tips and tricks on shooting stock photography. Amir Kaljikovic explains how to achieve great results without trying too much. Diana Drubig gave advices on selecting and dealing with models. Franz Pfuegl talks how to properly prepare a shooting. What to look for when purchasing photographic equipment was given by Robert Kneschke and Christopher Künne provided tips on image processing. The participants learned a lot from them and you can, too, by watching this video.

Interview with Microstock Millionaire Yuri Arcurs

In this interview, Yuri Arcurs discusses what it takes to be in the microstock industry. From choosing the right models to selecting ideas for photo shoots. According to him, “As a photographer, you have to understand what you are, you provide images to every niche of industry that needs images. If you haven’t come to terms with that, you’re not really in the right business.” Microstock came to be when the need for cheap photography has increased. It’s what made Yuri Arcurs rich. Some of his pictures cost less than a euro but being a bestseller in the industry, Yuri has made a fortune. Watch the video and learn how stock photography changed what was once a psychology student to a microstock millionaire.

Interview with Giorgio Fochesato at the iStockalypse 2011

Amos Struck of www.stockphotopress.com interviewed exclusive iStock contributor and photographer Giorgio Fochesato (www.giorgiofochesato.com) at the iStockalypse 2011 in Milan. Giorgio tells us what iStockalypse is. It is a 4-5 day event where iStock contributors gather to meet and take pictures. Giorgio is part of the iStockalypse staff helping people to shoot and to move around the city. He also shares that he does stock photography for a living and shares some tips and tricks on how to become a successful stock photographer. According to him, “Do something that you like.” Watch the video to learn more from Giorgio.

Interview with Ilya Terentyev “itsskin” at the iStockalypse 2011

Amos interviewed exclusive iStock contributor from Russia/China Ilya Terentyev aka itsskin. Ilya talks about his own personal style of shooting. He admits that he really doesn’t have any concepts in his pictures and he also likes shooting with a film instead of digital because it makes you think before you shoot. His advice to stock photographers is to experiment, try something different and don’t read too much internet. Watch the video for more insights from Ilya and why he recommends films.

Interview with Kelly Thompson at the iStockalypse 2011

Kelly Thompson is the former COO of iStockphoto and former SVP Product Development at Getty Images at the iStockalypse 2011 event. In this video, Kelly shares about his new role and the redesigning of the supplier channels into Getty Images, Photos.com, iStockphoto and Thinkstock. Amos asked his opinion about the royalty cuts and he said, “The royalties don’t matter as much as the total amount of money we can make for our photographers and I think we’re doing a better job than anyone else.” Watch the video and learn as Kelly talks more about the royalty cuts and other features of iStockphoto.

Interview with Microstock Blogger Lee Torrens

This is an interview taken during the StockInRussia 2010 conference with well known blogger and microstock industry analyst Lee Torrens of www.microstockdiaries.com. Lee was first a web developer before he became a microstock blogger. His primary focus is on the blog and his second priority is shooting stock. Watch the video as he shares his opinions on the market and trends of stock photography and where microstock’s direction might be.

Steve Pigeon on the Crestock Acquisition

Lee Torrens interviewed Masterfile President, Steve Pigeon on the acquisition of the microstock agency Crestock. Masterfile is a premium licensing business that has been around since 1981. They license images globally for advertising, graphic design and editorial. Masterfile was looking for a company that had a reasonably sized database that was built on quality and microstock agency Crestock caught their attention. With Crestock’s acquisition, their marketing budget is doubled and they made several website improvements. They came up with a promotional line for Crestock, “Good, Fast, Cheap”. Watch the video to know what Crestock’s promotional line means.

Microstock Industry Interviews – CEPIC 2010

This video contains interviews with 9 leaders at the microstock industry at CEPIC, Dublin, Ireland. Lee Torrens (www.microstockdiaries.com), Mark Milstien (www.microstocksolutions.com), Robert Walters (www.panthermedia.net), Tom Bennett (www.pond5.com), Jim Pickerell (www.selling-stock.com) and four others were asked the questions on where do they feel the microstock industry is headed in the short-term and long-term years. They also shared how to improve search rank and tips for anyone wanting to get involved in the microstock industry. Watch the video for a lot of helpful insights from 9 microstock leaders.

EyeEm Interview – PICTAday 2014

Amos Struck recently interviewed Dittmar Frohmann (VP Marketing & Sales) and Gen Sadakane, Co-Founder of EyeEm about their new Marketplace and Getty Collection which they launched last summer. According to Dittmar, EyeEm is a huge community with more than 10 million downloads. So they asked the photographers’ permission to sell their stuff and they came up with a new market model, “One Size, One License, One Price”. The deal with the Getty Collection offered a big advantage to EyeEm because they can reach out to the whole classic image market through it. They also talked about the quality of the photos people can buy and Gen assured that, “We have a real community and we have real humans taking real photos… It’s more about the idea of the photo and that’s important.” Watch the video for more information from EyeEm Marketplace and Getty Collection.

Interview with Holger Mette at CEPIC 2010

Holger Mette shared in his interview at CEPIC 2010 on how he travels the world taking pictures, submitting it to stock agencies and living on stock photo earnings. Holger also shared how he uses iSyndica to distribute his photos in Bolivia, for example, to stock photo agencies. He shoots about 40,000 photos a year and 70%-90% of his uploads gets accepted at stock agencies. Learn how he does this and more tips for travel photographers from him by watching this video.

Interview with Stock Photographer John Lund

In this interview, John Lund, an award-winning San Francisco stock photographer explains his techniques for capturing emotions in his photos. When he is not satisfied with the kind of emotions he is getting on his photographs, he directs his models on how he wants them to look like. John said that patience is really important especially when dealing with animals. He also discussed why supplemental lighting is very important whether you’re shooting outdoor in midday or in some dark room. Watch the video to learn more and discover John’s tips for photographers of all levels.

Interview with Ed Hidden

Adorama Photography TV interviews exclusive iStock photographer and co-host of the popular podcast LightsourceEd Hidden. Ed talks how it is about being exclusive to iStock, what they do and how he is involved in the iStockphoto inspection team. He was also asked how the stock photo inspection process goes at iStock. Ed shares some tips on how to shoot stock photos that will be accepted by stock agencies. He also talks about studiolighting.net and his podcast on LightSource. Watch the video to know more about Ed Hidden and how he can sell great images.

Stockphotoguru.com Video Guide

Why MicroStock?

In this video, stockphotoguru.com will take you into the world of stock photography and why and how to get to involved. This is an introduction on how to put up a portfolio and submit it to stock agencies. With the dawning of DSLRs and digital photography, it has made photography so much more accessible to everybody. “When you put your mind to something, you can do it,” that’s the beginning of getting into stock photography. You are probably already shooting, so why not make an income out of it. This is not easy money, but with hard work, you will begin to gain a passive income. The earlier you start, the more it’s going to pay off and the more you’re going to learn.

What Camera Gear to Use?

Starting in stock photography? Then it is important to know what camera gear you should purchase and use to get up and running on your stock photography business. For those who don’t already have it, you need to buy a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that can shoot raw photos. The video explains why you need to get a DSLR and the difference of it from other cameras. It is suggested that you buy either a Canon or a Nikon camera because you have the possibility to gain access to great lenses and third-party manufacturers make more lenses for Canon and Nikon than anybody else. This video contains excellent tips on what kind of camera gear to purchase for starters.

When Do You Need a Model/Property Release?

One important thing before submitting your photos to agencies is the model release. When you shoot people or any recognizable portion of a body even if it’s yourself, you need a model release. However, you may or may not need a property release. A property release will almost always be needed for an identifiable personal property or real estate like the Madison Square Garden. Watch the video to learn why you need to have model/property release with you all the time when shooting.

How to Use Available Light?

With available light, you can shoot so many different images and you don’t have to purchase expensive lighting gears at all. It can be daylight or the fluorescent light you have. In your camera, you can select a proper white balance. This video will focus on daylight, which is more like a blue tone and your camera should have a setting for daylight. If you want to get your portfolio started out, you can start by shooting your some of your friends in various poses by using available light – the light in your kitchen or in a window. You just have to learn how to reflect that daylight to produce good images by watching this video.

Stock Photography Workflow

The first workflow discussed in the video is the shooting workflow. Before taking photographs, we want to think about white balance and how important that is. Use the settings on your white balance or learn how to set a manual light balance and that will give you the right color. After that is your sensor. Make sure you sensor is clean because if not, your images will contain sensor spots and you will have to remove them through Photoshop which means extra work. Once you assured your sensor is clean, it’s time to get your ISO correct. For shooting stock photos, your ISO must be as low as possible for a properly exposed image. Watch the video for more tips on white balance, cleaning your sensor and setting your ISO.

Post Shoot Workflow

Now that you have taken some pictures, what are you going to do next? First thing to do after shooting is to back up. You can take the memory card off your camera and put it in your computer or you can also use the USB cable that is included in your camera and plug it directly into your PC. When backing up, it is important that you always have access to them, they’re easy to find and securely safe so you don’t lose any images. You need to catalog your images on folders whether by date or event and batch rename those photos with descriptions using external software so you can easily locate those that you need. Also, make sure that you do not delete your images off your memory card until you have a backup at least on a computer and on a CD/DVD. Watch the video to learn more tips on how to backup and store your images in an easy way.

Digital Asset Management

After you have transferred or backed up your images to a hard drive or somewhere else, it is time for you to organize them in a way you can easily pick which ones go into stock photo agencies. The video recommends using a Lightroom for cataloguing your images. In Lightroom, you can import your photos and select which ones you want to work with. You can apply stars to images that you like and filter them later on so you will only see images that you selected. Once you’ve filtered your images, it’s time to normalize them on Photoshop. You can use Photoshop to do color corrections, check for exposure and fix minor issues like cropping and sensor spots. You can watch the video to learn more how to manipulate Lightroom and how to normalize images in Photoshop.

Where to Upload Your Images

There are a lot of stock agencies out there but don’t go uploading to every other stock agency you find. This video recommends some agencies where you can start uploading. One of the larger agencies that sell really well is iStock. They are a bit strict when accepting contributors and they only allow you to upload 18 images a week at first. Next is Depositphotos and Fotolia, both offer unlimited uploads. Fourth is 123rf which has a large European market. The next is Cutcaster which generously allows up to 140 images to be uploaded every month. Next in line is Dreamstime, however, keep in mind that they only accept model releases directly from them. Their upload limit is percentage based – the more of your images approved, the more you can upload. Check out the video for more recommended stock agencies.

Uploading to Microstock Sites

So assuming that you have been accepted to the microstock agencies you signed up, how are you going to get your images up? Once you got your images uploaded, the first thing to do is to go through the title, add categories, keyword, a description for the image and assign a model/property release. You can check out Yuri Arcurs’ keywording website to help you find the proper keyword for your images. Another great site is Picniche.com. However, be careful with your keywords because stock agencies can reject your images which have unrelated keywords. For your descriptions, always answer the questions Who, What, When, Where and Why. Once you have your images ready, you can submit them to the inspection queue and wait for their verdict on it. Watch the video for more tips on how to keyword your images.

How to Upload 140 Images per Week

Don’t get discouraged if your images come back rejected. Instead use it to learn what you’re doing wrong and where you need to focus your images to. The challenge for you is to get 140 images uploaded per week. To be able to get this much, you might shoot up to 10 times the amount of raw images you produce. Once you commit to the number of images you want uploaded each week, everything falls into place. You will learn because you will be shooting a lot, you will get feedback because stock agencies will tell you what they like and what they don’t like, you’ll get experience in your gear and you will actually get your images accepted and start making money. It might take you 20 hours per week for shooting, preparing your images for uploading and keywording, but if you don’t have such leisure, you can do outsourcing. Find someone you can trust on Craigslist or oDesk who will do the uploading and keywording for you so you have more time to focus on shooting images to get your desired number of images uploaded.

Microstock Tools

Understanding Mature Microstock Stock Photo Industry

This is a 4-part video from microstock photographer Robert Davies. It starts with a brief introduction of himself as a microstock illustrator and owner of keywording sites, picNiche and Picworkflow. Also discussed in this video is the history of microstock and how it developed as the years progressed. From year 2009 up to the present, we can see the distinct maturation of the microstock market. There are already lots of stock agencies, contributors, emerging partnerships and acquisitions, and premium micro-contents earn promoted pricing. Watch Robert’s presentation of his research together with the picNiche data and his view of how matured stock photo industry is to help photographers and stock agencies understand better some of the demands and pressures in microstock photography.

The part two of this video talks about how to develop your own portfolio and what are the qualities that make up a good portfolio. The part three discusses what images to shoot. In this part, Robert has run through the upward and downward trends in microstock imagery gathered from picNiche data. In this way, you will know what areas of the stock market you should be creating images for stock photo buyers. In the last part, Robert talks about the future of microstock. Using all the data he gathered, he has come up with conclusions on where microstock could be headed to. It could be tough for photographers and not much better for agencies. However it’s not all negative. Watch the fourth part here to learn how Robert came up with these conclusions and the reasons behind.

You can watch the part two here and part three on this link.

5 Tips on How to Shoot and Manage Stock Photography

This video by photographer Linus Öhman discusses how to manage your images and how to work with your files and photos once they’re inside the computer. Number one advice is to always shoot raw. Tip number two is renaming your files into something that is remotely associable with what you are doing. Linus shows how to work with Adobe Bridge in managing and keywording images, which is tip number three. The next tip is to work with you raw files because there is information in raw images that is not available in JPEG. Last tip is to be consistent. Watch the video as Linus talks about each tip and know how these tips can optimize the time spent managing your stock portfolio.

Microstock Photographers on Stock Performer

Four top customers of Stock Performer share their experiences on how Stock Performer analytics helps them remain on top of the industry. Giorgio Fochesato is a full time photographer who does travel photography for a living. He checks his stats daily on Stock Performer and it keeps him updated on what images sell most at a given period of time. Manuel Gutjahr focuses on architecture and landscape photography. Stock Performer helps him to see which images he sold that they and in what collection and size. He can also analyze where he’s making the most money: in architecture, landscape or people. Watch the video and discover what Willie B. Thomas and Robert Kneschke can say about Stock Performer and how it helps them to keep in track of their stock analytics.

Did we miss any Video?

If you have any suggestions for more informative stock videos then don’t hesitate to contact us (or leave a comment below).

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About Author

I write about the stock photo and microstock industry since 2006 on my several online-magazines. My goal for MyStockPhoto is to teach photographers and stock photographers how to sell more photos and earn money with their photography hobby.