I am so impressed — and motivated — by the flurry of new successes showing up on the Breakfast StockClub Facebook page.
From Mindy Cambiar: “Had 50+ photos accepted to Bigstock, iStock and Dreamstime this week — thanks for the continued inspiration!”
Over 50 photos accepted to multiple sites in a week is really good when you’re just starting out. So I asked Mindy about her experience with stock, and she offered a few solid beginner tips, below.In coming weeks, I’ll send along some more practical tips you can use whether you haven’t submitted anything, or you’re already gaining speed.
Interview with Successful Beginner, Mindy Cambiar
Bonnie: Mindy, how did you get started in stock?
Mindy: I went to your photo workshops in Panama and New Orleans, where instructor Shelly Perry talked quite a bit about her success with iStock. I actually started my submissions to iStock with some of the photos I took in New Orleans of the models you had there. Five or six photos were accepted, but never sold. That was in 2009. Then I met a 24-year-old photographer last summer, Forest Woodward, who had made over $23,000 during the previous year selling through iStock. And now the Breakfast Stock Club has me motivated again — thank you!
Bonnie: Did you get accepted to agencies on your first try?
Mindy: Oh my gosh, NO!! I got rejected by iStock at least five times, and was told I had to wait before I could submit again. I did get accepted the first time I submitted to Dreamstime and Big Stock, but I did a lot more research on those. I looked at thousands of photos on each site and got a much better feel for the standards and quality the agencies were looking for.
Bonnie: How are your photos selling?
Mindy: I sold my first photo on iStock soon after the Breakfast StockClub started on Facebook. I was so excited to see that first $0.19 credit! Now the credits are slowly creeping up… and I sold another image on Dreamstime yesterday. I saw that this morning and jumped up and down for joy! It may not sound like a fantastic success, but it’s a start, and it gives me more motivation to keep shooting and uploading!
Bonnie: Do you have any tips for readers who’d like to get their photos accepted to stock sites?
Mindy: Yes. Don’t let rejection stop you from continuing to shoot and upload. Try to determine why your photos have been turned down. Is your photo creative, unusual, in focus, conceptual? If your photography skills need a boost, you have options — read some books or articles, attend a workshop or class, join a club, talk to another photographer. I found that the only thing that finally improved my photographs was to practice all the time.
Also, I have found that if I have a dedicated space in which to set up a photo shoot, then I am much more likely to follow through on shooting it. If you don’t take lots of photos, you won’t upload any. I have a tabletop that I use for photography only. I keep various things right there with the table, some lights, Q-tips, paper towels, a spray bottle, clamps, napkins, placemats…
Bonnie: What do you plan to shoot next?
Mindy: I hope to start doing people shots soon. I sent a message to my Facebook and local friends asking if anyone would model and sign a release in exchange for a CD with some of their photos, and got six responses in a day!
Bonnie: Thanks, Mindy!