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Answer20Q - Interview Site

Sold another photo with Fotolia

Fotolia has always been my best Micro stock site for selling photos. Today I had a sale of a photo of an accordion player. It sold through the subscription model of sales on Fotolia so not much in terms of cash but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

It is all part of the micro stock way of selling photos, the thing is that you can sell a photo many times over and if you have a large portfolio then you will get a nice income from many micro sales of your photos.

I do now someone that has a decent income from micro stock and has a portfolio not that much bigger than mine. Where he scores better is having more photos of people. People in business situations which convey a concept well well on line in this arena. I think I need more models to take pictures of.

While we are talking about models you should know that you have to supply a signed model release for any persons recognisable in your images. You can use a generic release form with most of the sites which is good if you submit to more than one. It would be a pain having to get a model to put a separate signature on a sheaf of release forms. Getting models from within the family is one place to start but some photographers make enough from the microstock sales to be able to hire models.

Yuri Arcurs being one such person.  He is a Danish photographer that does this to such an extent that he employs 12 people and hires models for photo shoots when he does them. Click on one of links for the micro stock sites in the side panels and you will find that he has done an interview or two and you can have a look for his work to see what sort of images he makes and sells.

Photography bits and pieces

Last night I was out to lunch with the family and my wife’s uncle had a new toy to play with – a Nikon D80 and it had a very nice lens on it 18mm to 135mm. I was quite impressed with this more expensive than my own Canon 450D camera. I wanted to keep it, it was heavier so I can assume it has a better build quality aimed more towards the professional photographer or big enthusiast. It is so wasted on the uncle, who hasn’t a clue about photography let alone how to use the camera. The sales person in the shop saw him coming, he would have been better off with a Canon G9. More a point and shoot but still is expensive enough for it to be desirable. What I mean by that is I suspect he got that one because he likes expensive toys rather than what would suit him better,

I think I will have to start saving the cash for a new lens for my camera. I want 2 new lenses right now. I like the zoom which goes from wide to about 200 or 250 that I think Tamron have on offer. Would be great to have such a lens that would be great when going travelling. Save having to carry other lenses when going places. Although again the G9 would be good for that too. Maybe I should get one and be more specific with what I want for the SLR. I could get a really good ultra wide angle prime for instance and a long zoom of about 300mm.

Less than two more days before I can resume my art and photography, I have been stuck working in a camp site all summer  and I am looking forward to having some time for myself.At least I have improved my Spanish somewhat during the six months I have been working.

If you are near Barcelona at the end of next month I will be at the Podcamp at El Masnou and even speaking  there about set up for podcasting, microphones and mixers etc. Why not come and see yourself and meet me there.

Giving it away – Huh?

I have on a couple of the sites where I sell my photos and illustrations, free images. Is this a good thing to do or is it crazy?.

Supermarkets have what are called loss leaders. They have something they might sell for cost price or even less than cost price, they put a big sign outside the shop and some adverts in the newspaper to say what good prices they have. The idea is to get the punters in and usually people once inside the shop will spend more by buying more things in the shop. Same sort of thing on the Micro stock sites you offer an image for free and downloaders of this file will get to see other images of yours and possibly buy so you end up with more sales.

There you go FREE is GOOD for your overall sale figures.

From – here is an explanation why they think giving away images is a good idea and why they are introducing an optional Free Image

Why would you want to do this you might ask? Good question; with our totally new back-end architecture and search engine optimization code combined with a small selection of ‘free downloads’; VS2.0 will begin to route large amounts of NEW traffic directly in from all the major search engines. End result, more image views = more downloads. As the free vector section will be very limited, this will IN NO WAY negatively effect current downloads. It will infact increase your sales, even on your free vectors

Patience please when building the portfolio

I am quite impatient but with the business of Micro stock, patience is more than a virtue, it is necessary because it takes time to build the portfolio and time to get your photos or images selling. The images will be found better if you have good keywording for the images. But the more images you have then the more likely when one of your images is found that you will get a link through to your other work.

Someone looking at one of you images is likely to want to see what other work you have done and so the sales of your work will increase by a larger percentage due to having more work.

Here isa useful resourse you whether you are selling illustrations or photos for finding keywords. It is called and seems quite responsive, I saw a report that said it was working off the API. There were other tool like this available but I can´t find them online at the moment. does the job though.

When you are keywording I reccomend using one of the photo management tools like Aperture or Lightroom. Both are good and I prefer Aperture after trying both. Version two of Aperture is very good and much faster also. With either you can add keywords very quickly and remember time is money. The faster you can build you portfolio the better.

Getting help with Illustrating and using the apps

I found this site along with afew others and I have to say it is a marvellous resource. If you want to build your skill level then you should be looking for new tutorials each week or day depending on your present skil level. There is always something else to learn. Often I look at a tutorial and I know how to do what is being shown but then at one point there is that single gem of information that makes viewing of the tutorial worthwhile.

This site is particularly good and full of good things to learn. I recommend it highly. There are various titles and downloads on each of the blog posts. I just downloaded on called continuous line which is on a blog post about a certain type of drawing. Just looked in the zip file and it is full of jpegs and some notes in English and Spanish too. Looks interesting.

Follow me on FriendFeed or Twitter

There are a few ways you can follow what I am doing online and one place is FriendFeed it aggregates mini blogging posts from various places, like Twitter and Stumble upon and my blog postings.

I like the mini blogging for quick and dirty postings on the fly as it were and then use the Blogs I do to put in the larger chunks of content. I avoid the life blogging types of post that I see some people doing, you know the ones – I just had bacon and eggs for breakfast and then finished it off with a cup of tea – I mean who wants to know about that. And besides I am a vegetarian anyway, so no bacon for me…..

The mini blogging posts relate to finds on the internet such as the details I found recently on how to make Ubuntu look a bit like MacOSX or something I have seen on someone elses beting blog that I think is worthy of noting and letting people know about. I might tell you what I am about to bet on or what I just did with a trade.

I also have , Facebook, , and a few other social sites that I post on so that I can spread it out a bit, getting the word out there. FriendFeed is a good one thought to get an overview though. If you do this sort of thing you might get a client program like Twhirl to have the mini posts come in as you are doing other things online. Perhaps you will post a few things yourself. Get Twittering……

A tip of the week from iStockPhoto

iStock SportsSeeing as the Olympics is about to get started in China here are some tips related to sports photography. I think the best one of the tips is  – Get in Close – And I think that is good for any type of photography. The amateurs stand back and try to get everything in the shot and end up with no interest in the shot and a poor composition.

In the spirit of anticipation for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China starting this Friday August 8 until 24, iStock wants to share some tips for shooting fantastic sports stock, even if you’re not a pro photographer. You never know where a few tips and a little practice might take you.

  1. Capture speed — Most sports happen quickly, so set yourself up to capture the action. Make sure your shutter speed (length of time a shutter is open) is the same or higher than your lens’ focal length (e.g. if you’re using a 50 mm lens, make sure to shoot at 125 or faster)
  2. Stabilize your lens — If you don’t already use a tripod or a monopod, now’s the time to get one. With a monopod, you have more flexibility to move than a tripod and you can lock your focus, check your focus, on where the action might be in a few minutes or seconds with ease. Some lenses also have a feature called image stabilization which will partially correct minimal camera shake.
  3. Tell the story — Don’t be afraid to get in close to an athlete. The sweat on a brow, the guttural growl of aggression, the arms-raised cry of victory, the pain of exertion — each of these moments help to tell the story behind the story of sport.
  4. Juxtapose — Mix an expected athlete with an unexpected environment just for added effect (e.g. football player tackling a manager on a business boardroom table)
  5. No logos — iStock wants the raw rush of adrenaline, not ads for athletic wear.

Whether you’re looking for a winning image, shooting stock or just snapping some great shots of your kid’s soccer game, you’re well on your way.