Monday, 29 January 2007

Tuscany Revisited

It doesn't seem like four years since we had our holiday in Tuscany. It is fresh in my mind today because I relive it regularly thanks to the world of Microstock Photography. Many of my best photographs come from this holiday deep in Chianti country. I regularly find stock suitable pictures in my digital camera archives and I haven't even scanned the film shots yet.

This photograph is one of my best sellers. It was taken during the hottest part of the day when most people were out of the sun. It was difficult to balance the strong contrast at that time of the day and I leaned toward detail in the shadows rather than in the brightly lit street. I think that gives it a lighter feel and you get a sense of the blistering heat. The lady in the distance gives the picture some depth.

Tuscany is one of the most photogenic place I've been to. There is a golden quality to the light that complements the rolling hills and old towns of the region. Although it is a popular tourist destination it is not too difficult to find snapshots of life and tradition.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Microstock Photography

Microstock has changed the way that many photographers work. There is a growing need for smaller, lower cost images for webpages and blogs. Traditional stock agencies are too expensive for this market hence the rise in microstock sites. It has opened up the business so that anyone can sell their work in an expanding and changing market. It is very easy for someone to submit pictures and get them accepted, sales will invariably follow if they are 'stockworthy'.

Microstock agencies work with royalty free licenses which means that the photographer can upload and sell pictures repeatedly at one or more sites. The income per download can be anything between 10 cents and a few dollars. Some agencies allow you to set your own prices but a degree of care can be needed here. Repeated sales can accumulate quite nicely for a popular picture. Any money earned can be collected using online payments such as Paypal or similar which makes it easy for photographers outside the dollar zone.

There are a number of agencies out there in this market and some are more successful than others. The main agencies undoubtedly generate more income than the smaller ones but there are a number of newer sites which have refreshingly different business models and are enthusiastically supported by their photographers. There are links on my webpage to the sites that I use regularly.

Beware of any sites that want you to pay to upload. The good sites make their money by commissions from sales so will be working toward that goal. There have been one or two dodgy sites operating so it is wise to check out some of the forum activity before uploading.