My first lesson in microstock

July 4, 2009

As I said in my previous post, I started out with my application to istock which was about a year ago, mid 2008. It took a while to get three images accepted but I was thrilled to get that email saying I had been accepted. I was surprised that I then needed to resubmit my three images as I assumed they would go straight into my portfolio. Anyway, no problem, I submitted them again. Imagine my surprise and confusion when two of the images were rejected. It didn’t make any sense to me, they had formed my basis for acceptance and now they suddenly weren’t good enough. I know now that I was getting my first taste of the fundamental flaw and associated luck that is a part of the microstock world. You see the problem with istock, and indeed all of the microstock agencies, is that the volume of images they need to assess means there isn’t just one person judging every image. And therefore each judges taste, no matter how trained to the agencies way, will differ. While the first judge had liked my three images, the second judge (assuming it was just one person who had seen all three photographs) had other ideas.

I have read and been told many times now, one of the golden rules of stock is learn to accept rejection and move on.

I did move on, and I did upload more photographs, but I fell into another trap that catches many people new to stock photography – I was so keen to get going, to see my first sale, that I trawled my hard drive, uploading images that I thought would fit the bill. Inevitably I got rejection after rejection and with a portfolio of two images I quickly lost interest. I checked back occassionally during the next few months, but despite a fair number of views on my photos, there were no sales. By this point I was viewing microstock as a failed experiment for me.

dead tree silhouetteIt wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I noticed that I had made two sales on my first microstock photograph that I got renewed enthusiasm and decided to have a better attempt at joining the microstock world. The photo had only made me $2.29 but it showed me that sales were actually possible and that there was money to be made.


One comment

  1. so very true. we have started an agency in South Africa, of which I am the one doing the judging, and it exactly as you say. I might like a photo, but then when the boss sees it, and does not like it, there it goes…

    your blogs are educational. thank you.

    I would like to quote you in our member’s news letters if i may?!

    please let me know.

    Thank you for a good blog site

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