Tag Archives: stock photo business

On Selling Stock photography

Grizzly bear, Brooks River, Katmai NP, Alaska.

Grizzly bear gives me the once over, Katmai NP, Alaska. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Reading a recent post from someone on facebook reminded me of my start in stock photography, and I thought it might make a good subject for a blog post. How’d you make your start in selling stock photography? Every photographer wants, or once wanted, to be “published”. It’s the hallmark for aspiring photographers, I suppose.

I guess every photographer has their own story about how this happened for them. Here’s mine.

I received an email from a magazine editor in Europe requesting the use of this image, at left, for the cover of their magazine. They’d seen the image on the website, and wanted to license it. The email included the fee they pay for the image usage, and asked that I ftp the high-res file to them if that was acceptable. It was.

I dug the file (a tif file, scanned from a slide) from my external hard drive, saved as a high quality jpeg, and ftp’ed the file right away. I got a nice check and 2 copies of the magazine son after, with my photo sitting ever so proudly on the cover. My first ever sale, a cover photo for an international magazine. And it took my all of about 2 minutes to negotiate. “Wow; this is TOO easy”, I thought; “I’ll be rich before I’m a month older”. Continue reading

RAW files and stock photo sales

Bull Moose in fall color, Denali National Park, Alaska.

A bull moose standing on the fall tundra in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Vegetation includes Dwarf Birch and Alaska Willow. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Recently I saw a tweet the other day from photographer Richard Bernabe: “Just had a photo editor demand raw files to process as they see fit. I turned the deal down.”

I saw and enjoyed at least some of the following conversation. We discussed the merit of sending out a RAW file to a photo editor instead of some other file format, such as a tiff or a jpeg.

For myself, I can’t see any reason to not send a RAW file if an editor or graphic artist requests it, unless there was some very highly unusual and extenuating circumstance; the only one that springs to mind is if the final image was a manual blend of multiple exposures, and/or a panoramic stitch that I’d put together. Even in those circumstances, I suspect I’d most likely explain to the person I was dealing with about the amount of time involved in finishing the product from camera to computer screen, and suggest they simply use the finished 8-bit tif or jpeg file, but if they felt they really wanted the RAW files, I can’t see why not; it’d mean they have to do (in some cases) a whole lot of work I’d already done, but if that’s what they wanted, I can’t see a good reason to refuse. Continue reading

Photography Gear Insurance

Backpacking to Mt Jarvis, Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska.

A backpacker (me) sets out on a trek toward Mt Jarvis, in fresh fall snow, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

One of the most problematic issues with photography is also one of the most glaring; the cost of all this gear. A new pro camera can easily  cost anywhere from two thousand to eight thousand dollars. A second camera, assorted lenses, tripods, ballheads, etc, etc, etc .. it’s insane how much this can quickly add up to (not to mention increasing photo requests for < $75.00 usage – another topic).

Compounded by the fragility of most of this gear, photographers face a real issue; use it, be careful with it, and try not to have to spend more $$$ on it than necessary; i.e., don’t break it. So, given the fragility of the gear, for most of us, that means insurance.

Several years ago I researched this, and it seemed that, for me, a personal articles policy with State Farm was the best route to go. It wasn’t too costly, and yes, they covered all my gear, knew I used it professionally, and life was good. Just to clarify,

Me: “I use this photo gear professionally, is it covered?”
State Farm: “Yes”.

I added the cost to my car insurance, and moved on. Too easy.

This past fall I bought a brand new 500mm lens from Allen’s Camera in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Great folks, and a great price. I then went to my local State Farm rep, showed them the receipt and added the expensive lens to my list of insured gear. All good. Continue reading

Free Photos – bull elk photo

Bull Elk bugling, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Bull Elk bugling, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Hey Folks,

I had another photo request for free use of my images today; they come in pretty regularly, it seems, particularly for wildlife and landscape photography. We nature lovers obviously love what we do, and so must have a desire to give our work away for free. How can we not?

I’ll be the first to admit it folks; these are tough times, for buyers and sellers alike. There’s no denying that truth. I thought I’d try to find some kind of compromise here. I always like to develop a relationship with someone who may potentially pay for my work, and I also wanted to help these people out – theirs is a just and worthwhile cause. And hey, maybe helping these folks out might provide the impetus for some real economic activity in the world? I hoped to do my bit to help the economy get rolling, my own little stimulus plan, if you will (I still can’t believe the government got away with labeling theirs a ‘stimulus package‘). At the same time, I didn’t really want to give away my work for free. What to do?

I tried to explain to the person on the phone; I listened closely, and sympathized – “yes, I realize you’re a non-profit organization, but  my business, on the other hand, is NOT a non-profit“. This didn’t clarify things, apparently.

A different tact:  “Well, you see, my rent doesn’t go down according to the charity work that your business does, and the food I eat doesn’t become free simply because I did a good deed for the day“. We got nowhere. Continue reading