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It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ve got so many spam comments that it became a nuisance. So I decided to disable all comments. I will continue posting here, and if you’re interested in microstock photography, I would like to invite you to participate in discussions on microstockgroup.com (http://www.microstockgroup.com). You can also send me a private message there – my username is “Elenathewise”.

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Selling prints

Sometimes you get tired of shooting stock and crave to do something more creative. I am not saying stock is not creative, but you have to follow pretty strict rules. Apart from technical requirement, the image has to have commercial value, meaning it should have appeal to many buyers looking for advertising or editorial use, and that can be limiting sometimes. To take a break you can try creating more artistic images and try selling them as prints. There are many sites out there that you can upload your images to and they will handle printing and shipping for you. Most of them charge a fee if you want to upload significant number of images, but you can start with a few for free and see how it goes. Usually, to see any money coming in, you would want to have at least a few hundred images.

One of the sites I decided to try out is FineArtAmerica.com. It’s easy to upload your art, they give you a personal website with many useful tools, and you can also “sponsor” search results for the keywords that are relevant to your artwork. It works like this: you place a link to their search results of say, “nature art” on your website and next time someone searches for that term your work will be placed on the front page. Sounds pretty sweet, but there is a catch – there is only 3 positions available on the page, so if 100 people sponsored the same term, these 3 positions will be randomly filled with images from 100 people. It does seem fair though, since we want the search results to be mostly unbiased. One way to improve your position is to go for more specific terms – instead of “nature” or “landscape art“ you may use something more specific, like “waterfall art“,”trees art” or “forest art“; instead of “food art” you may go for “spices art or “herbs art“, instead of “flower art” might be better to use “rose art” or “sunflower art“. For some categories it may not be that easy to be more specific – for example “france art“, “paris art” or “london art“, unless it’s a case of a famous landmark that people would be searching for like  ”eiffel tower art“. As you see, just by writing this blog I managed to insert quite a few links to the site, by all means helping it’s search engine placement – let’s see if that helps with the placement of my images in the search results!

Posted in Photography | 3 Comments

Umbwella!

In an earlier blog post I described my experience shooting a young energetic golden retriever dog. I also promised to tell another story – about a photoshoot involving a cute 2-year old boy. Here it is :)

One of my friends recently bought a new house, so I decided to use the location for a shoot featuring a young family. My friend kindly provided a property release (and even posed for some of the shots), the models arrived on time and well-prepared, the weather was cooperating, and we didn’t forget to bring any essential equipment. Everything seemed to be perfect… too perfect….

Happy family at homeWe started a shoot with the family just sitting on the front porch. The boy was very interested in the shoot and posed nicely sitting on his mom’s lap for… just enough time to shoot a couple of frames. And then – he was done. Finished. Not interested. Bored. Any attempt to keep him sitting next to his mom caused his extreme unhappiness. I was aiming for “happy” photos and did not want him to get upset at all. So after it became clear that he won’t do what we ask of him I decided that we would just let him do what he wanted to do and snap the shots at the “right” moment. It worked for a while, and although that approach required adult models to be continuously posing, we did get a few nice shots. But then it was over again! The cute little thing got bored of being in front of the house and decided that it’s much more fun to pick some grass from the lawn near sidewalk. Trying to bring or lure him back to the front yard resulted in kicking and screaming and loud “No”. They don’t call this age “terrible twos” for nothing!

Happy family in neighborhoodNext began a phase of tricks and entertainment. One of the shots involved the family sitting in a car and looking out of the windows. The boy liked it in a car, but didn’t want to look out of the windows – he was much more interested to see what’s inside. Luckily my husband, who was assisting with the shoot, thought of juggling some toys in front of the car. The kid was fascinated for just enough time for me to get a few shots I wanted. I really liked his face when he was looking at the juggling – happy and engaging. But, as it was to become a pattern, the juggling trick quickly wore off. The shoot started to take it’s own direction – no longer we were shooting what I planned, but now we were thinking on how to entertain the kid to bring out that happy face out of him and and the same time grab a shot here and there. Adults played ball with him on the driveway, made silly faces and sounds. They walked on a sidewalk lifting the boy up and swinging him back and forth. Everyone was involved! I was shooting non-stop hoping that some of the images will turn out good – and they did.

Family with red umbrellaThere was a concept, however, that I really wanted to do – a family in their neighborhood holding a red umbrella. So we got the umbrella out and the little boy took immediate interest in it. He became very determined to hold the umbrella. I was able to take only one good photo, right at the beginning, when he was looking up at the umbrella with fascination. I love that image, it was a lucky moment that I was able to capture. After that it became a struggle. Finally we gave up and gave him the umbrella, which he started smashing on a sidewalk with such vigor that we got concerned that he’d harm himself with it. The umbrella had to be taken away. And what a tragedy that was. The boy started crying so hard and so pitifully and kept repeating “Umbwella! Umbweeella…!” that all of us felt like we did something horrible to the poor child. We had to take a break and calm the boy and wait for his tears to dry. Meanwhile the daylight was running out and we still had to do some shots in the backyard.

Happy family relaxing in backyard of new home with toddler

Trying to catch the last light which was going very quickly, we moved to the backyard and employed our trick number one again – let the boy play near his mom and try to catch a nice moment. Working fast we did manage to get a few shots, but then it was too dark. Thankfully, the boy forgot about “umbwella” by that time and went home happily. We did too – it was a lot of work, but the series of images turned out quite nice. To tell the truth though, I don’t think I will ever photograph a 2 year old again ;-)

 

Posted in Photography, Photoshoots, Stock Photography | 3 Comments