The Feel Good Folder

… You have been shooting and uploaded stock photography for 8 months. While the sales are consistent across several microstock sites and the checks are coming in every month now, you still have yet to see where the hundreds of images you sell each month go. You think… someday I’ll be famous and then it happens… You are driving down the road, look up to that same old billboard for Leslie’s Lollypop Shop and … wait a minute…. That’s your son up there, licking a lollypop you bought from Wal-mart… Your first sighting and it is 11 feet by 40 feet wide. After wrecking your car into the nearest stationary object and pulling out your camera, which you never leave home without, and start shooting for memories sake…

You call your wife (or husband, or aunt, or … well somebody) and say “hey, get over here”. Maybe you go into Leslie’s Lollypop Shop for the first time and buy something to celebrate. And then the truth hits you…. The funny thing is that they only paid $5 for that image and you made $2.50…

If this has ever happened to you, then welcome to the MicroStock club. I have been through this and similar experiences several times and learned to worry about how much they paid, but to let the experience inspire me forward.

After my first contact, I started what I call the Feel Good Folder. This is a folder of magazine snips, emails thanks, and web screenshots of places I have found my images. I am grateful that some agencies (like Dreamstime) give the buyer a chance to write a comment as they download the image. Sometimes they leave a URL, of a magazine name.

I am inspired by the feel good folder for two reasons:

1)      I am actually a published photographer – Now I am not sure if some people would like that definition of published, but I have snapped-the-shutter for images used on book covers, in magazines and on countless websites. That is COOL!

2)      For every one that I see, I know that there are thousands which I don’t (and probably won’t) see. While many people gripe about the amount that I make per image sale, the truth is that people choose my images for their projects every day. Now I know that some are just group purchases that never made it past the editor or client, but I have to enjoy the fact that people are looking at my stuff.

As so many have said before, I believe the secret is to stick with it and keep shooting. Skill and revenue will follow those that keep shooting, looking and adapting to changing markets and interests.