Here is an article i came across on Alamy about a photographer, his name is Keith and he is a natural editorial photographer who had earn $250,000 worth of stock photos to pay for his house. I am trying to learn about what goes into his mindset of his success? Hence i study his words carefully and wish to share my point of view with you about his success.
Here we go..
Natural Editorial Photographer?
This is the first time i heard of the term “Natural Editorial” I got no idea what is that suppose to mean. But he has positioned himself pretty well in the market, and is niche too!
Congratulations on hitting $250k Keith! Other photographers keep asking what your secret is, but is there one?
“A lot of hard work! But really it isn’t that difficult…just put in the hours, and keep your eyes and ears open for every opportunity that comes your way. Keep on looking and seeing and learning….and try to expand the range and style of work you have to offer. I’m fortunate in that I have a background as a newspaper and magazine photographer, so I’ve worked with picture editors for decades. It’s given me a much sharper eye for what sort of work is likely to be used in print.”
Hard work is inevitable. The harder you work the luckier you get. Keith had put in the hours and pounding on the open opportunity that comes his way. You might be thinking, “come on he has a background as a newspaper and editorial photographer to his advantage, or he is well-trained and i can’t be liked him, or maybe he is just lucky.”
The good news is you can be like him selling tons of images even you aren’t a photographer like Keith. All you have to do is to keep practicing, do what you love or your specialization, expose yourself to the right people and right market. Find out what the market what.
When you started with Alamy in 2006 did you give yourself a sales figure to aim for?
“My initial aim was to sell one picture a month. I got to that point after about 6 months. Then the target was one a week, then one a day…I got to one a week after about a year, and one a day on average maybe a year or so later. At the moment I’m selling around 80 images a month and my aim is to have zero ‘blank’ days in any month! I’m getting close…usually I only have one or two days with no sales (but I’ve probably jinxed myself now!)”
Keith had clearly set a target. Setting a target to define your path down the road to success. But many people fail to reach their goal is because they expect to see instant result or weeks down the road, and if they don’t see the result, they quit. Whereas Keith was persistently working hard and patient.
The cause and effect space out over time, there is no such thing as an immediate result, nothing is an instant. You have to learn to be patient and keeping working on your belief, there will be hurdles and emotion, success is a roller coaster ride. Jack Ma right from the start believe in e-commerce in China is possible, but only a handful believed in him. He and his small team persist in his dream and more than a decade later he became very successful.
What makes a saleable image?
“Good question! In my experience it’s images that have a clear message, that are easy to read, not over-cluttered, and which have an immediacy about them. Think about what the ‘issues’ are and make images that really illustrate them well. If I had a better answer then I’d be selling far more than I do!”
Keith understand what the market wanted, and he clearly provides the need for the market demand, sell it to the market and make tons of money. Earning $250,000 is a lot of money from stock pictures in my opinion. I see Keith is going to become a millionaire if keeps doing it.
Over the years i have seen more people fail to live a living through stock photography. What is the reason behind the failure, what are the public opinion about the stock industry?
The general public opinion of stock photography industry.
- People are saying the market is shrinking, do not go into stock photography because it is too saturated.
- Everyone that has a camera is submitting pictures to sell. The market has too many similar pictures to offer.
- I got less income from stock pictures there are so many pictures out there.
- My stock picture is not selling, i am going to share this news to everyone and let them know is not worth the time and effort.
- The system keeps rejecting me to submit, ok I give up.
- The stock industry is too crowded with photographers.
- Stock agency is using my picture to make more money from them than themselves.
You get my drift right, lots of excuses, shitty reason.
Do not play the victim game. Do not blame the agency. Be responsible for your own result. I had to admit i had go through the process of playing the victim game, blaming on something to justify my failure and not be responsible for my result in other ways.
Keith is a successful photographer who doesn’t copy other people. Successful people like him create things differently. The mass market sways your mind easily. You need to form your own view to stand out from the rest of the mass. I can tell you only a handful shall make it and able to make a good living out of it.
I define a good living means you are doing what you love and making lots of money. Work towards a joyous feeling to wake up each day to do what you love.