Saturday, August 30, 2008

Microstock: The Content Problem

My biggest concern with Microstock is microstock. Most sites prefer business people, happy families, etc. And I don't usually shoot those, especially on a white background (speaking of which, Zach Arias has an awesome white seamless tutorial which I plan to study soon).

Many of my shots are similar to the above shot of my daughter. BTW, this is a candid -- she was just sitting next to our bookshelves reading a book in a very cute pose. I only got one shot before she started hiding (sadly, both my kids are starting to hide from the camera more, even though I don't often recruit them for setup shots).

To really submit a lot of shots to microstock, I need to start shooting for microstock. Honestly, that just isn't going to happen with my current schedule (typical day last week: Get up at 7 am, head to the lab to work from 8 to 2:30ish, pick up the kids at school, hang out at home for an hour until my wife gets home, tutor student from 6-8 pm, etc. Not much time for shooting stock in there!) And, when I get home, I mostly just want to sit around, not set up photo shoots.

So, my biggest concern is how many of the shots in my archives are really suitable for microstock. My thinking is not that many, but I really just need to bite the bullet and submit a few and see what happens. I have a few in mind that will probably meet the requirements but I'm a bit concerned about the subject matter -- it just isn't that suitable for stock or not very unique.

For now, I'll just work on submitting a few to Dreamstime this weekend -- just to get started. The main requirements are 3+ MP (pretty easy), max quality JPG (they say highest JPG quality (12), but that seems relatively arbitrary), low noise, etc. After looking at their reasons for refusal page, I'm not too concerned, but they might be pretty picky.

On another subject, while I like the shot above, I don't think it's microstock worthy. For one thing, I haven't exactly talked to my wife about using my kids in stock shots. It's one thing if they get exposure on my blog, but it's another thing if one of my children's faces shows up on a book about serial killers. I'm sure it will be fine to use them if their faces aren't visible, but that limits my options greatly.

Also, the original (below) needed a lot of help just to get it to the state above, plus noise is quite high.

I don't know, what do you experienced people think? Will something like that get approved? What would the major flaws be?


Lorraine said...

Hi Sean, thanks so much for using my referral link at Dreamstime. I see you are now on your way! Dreamstime starts off slow, but once I had about 100 photos my income there was nice and regular. Once you get a feel for what is approved and sells Shutterstock and Istock are good sellers (but you have do have to pass a test to be accepted!)

LOL, about the serial killer book cover... although you take a risk any time you post a photo ANYWHERE on the web, the book itself was not allowed under the Bigstock license because it showed the child in a bad way. They contacted me directly and I signed a special release for it's use for this purpose. I could have said no, but they sent the mockup and we were okay with it. I have to admit though, it would be excruciating if one of my teenage models wound up on an STD ad. Even though that would be against the licensing rules as well it might happen if the end-user doesn't pay the terms mind.

Sean said...

I didn't know about the license terms that prevent designers from showing a person in a bad way without permission. It is nice to know that is there, even though some people might ignore it. Is that sort of clause universal across all sites?

And yeah, an STD ad would be pretty horrific!