It has been three months since I signed my contract with Westend61. Only today I sent my first few images. A little surprise: They were reviewed within a few hours, and after a quick correction, two images (Grandmother with grandson and both grandparents with their grandson) went live the same day. Well, they are live and could be licensed right away but it will take some more time for them to keyword my images – and then send it to their partners around the globe. But the first step in the macro world is not as slow as expected.
So what took me so long? Well, I’m not a “macro photographer” – as I stated often enough, I’m not really a photographer at all. I have to work hard to “get there”, no matter where. I learned a lot to get reasonable acceptance rates at microstock agencies, and I’d guess that means my technical skills are pretty good compared to the non-stock world of photography. I have no doubts that macro agencies put less weight on technical perfection rather than things like light, colors, concepts, and the right crop. Well, the last part is where I failed this time. Too many of my images were cropped too tightly to get more of them accepted. I don’t mind it too much since it wasn’t a well prepared shoot but a spontaneous set up of light while my step parents were surfing the net and our son joined them.
But I am happy to be there. Now I can call myself a macrostock photographer, go to the microstock forums and let others call me a dinosaur. Well, not quite, I have no plans to give up microstock anytime soon. I believe there is still money to be made, though it is getting tight in what once upon a time was a niche market. But I also believe that microstock is not the best place to offer licenses to all images. It can make a good dollar if you have images that are generic enough to sell over and over again for years ahead.
But how about images that are too special to be interesting to a broad market? I believe there are photos that just don’t have the potential to sell twenty, fifty or a thousand times. For those images I think it is vital to make as much money as possible with each of the maybe five customers that are looking for exactly that scene, place, mood or color set. Stocksy is one of those places trying to do that but macrostock isn’t dead yet and Westend61 is a good place to be at in my opinion.
I am still pretty anxious about the new levels of photography – both Stocksy United and Westend61 – I am reaching out to. Shooting pictures outside the studio, managing natural light, trying to get more style into my images will be an ongoing challenge. But now I have made a start at two places that I like. And two places that are very personal and cozy, that make me feel welcome. If you don’t have a place like that, I’d recommend to go out and look for it. There is lots of them and it’s not always (just) about the money. 😉