The listeners' questions
Hi, Daniele. I bought your course a few weeks ago, and I’m focusing on shooting photos and videos of people. In the course, you don’t talk much about releases. Each site has its own. Do you have any suggestions to save time?
How to fill model releases of photos more efficiently
You are right, but I am working to fill this gap as soon as possible, and I will probably make a new lesson about it even before the episode is published.
Working with people today is the best way to earn in microstock, because, as I say in my course, there is less competition, and if you know how to create content in line with what the market wants, it will be easier to start earning.
I am aware that filling out releases is a big hassle and a big waste of time, and using apps like Easy Release is the best way to be more efficient, I say this for those who do not know: Easy Release is used to fill in a single release that is then accepted by all microstocks.
I will take this opportunity to tell you something that you cannot find written anywhere and it must be said in a low voice: I have a friend who creates content in different contexts. Most agencies, as you know, ask you for a small description of the clip in the release. This friend of mine has noticed that if he always keeps the same description, even if the subject does very different things, the agencies do not give him any problems.
With this, I do not want to tell you to do like him, but you should consider that the model release is a small formality that agencies ask you for legal reasons, but many reviewers, once verified that it is there and that it is signed, do not even look at it.
So even if you were not 100% accurate in filling it, you should not have any change on the acceptance rate.
The passive income and the sale of stock images and stock footage
You have said several times that a passive income can last for life. So does this mean that selling a single video to a single person brings income constantly or does it mean that to have a constant passive income you have to be able to sell the video endless times to endless different people?
The microstock earnings are a passive income. If you stop producing, you still make money, but not forever, because earnings decline if you don’t publish new content. You can sell the same stock images or the same stock footage to different customers over time.
So the secret of this passive income is not to sell the same video to the same customer multiple times (which does not happen since you sell to that customer once a license that allows a very wide use), but to sell that same video or photo to many customers.
Shooting static or dynamic videos with a fluid head?
I saw that in all the examples you brought, the videos are static. Does this mean that the camera movements, even if well done with a tripod and fluid head, are not salable?
My friend, I too have a fluid head for my tripod. When I was producing contemporary footage, there was a time when I was focusing on panoramic shots. Then I gave up, because being that head was a light head, there were imperfections that in some cases forced me to delete the video.
At that point, I had two possible choices:
- The first option was to buy a better head. But it was not just a matter of money, as the real problem was that it was heavier.
- The second option was to set aside the idea of creating panoramic shots.
I opted for the second one, because if I had worked with a heavier head, having specialized in the shooting of European capitals, I would have had to produce less, since that head is more difficult to carry.
For my working method and for the type of subjects I wanted, I opted to abandon panoramic shots, and the sales confirmed that I was right.
You may not believe it, but microstock is often a matter of quantity, not of quality.
Filming an Ironman event to shoot stock images and stock footage
In order to produce content for microstock I would like to take advantage of an event to be held shortly in the city where I live.
It's a so-called Ironman: a competition where people run, swim and ride a bicycle.
In your opinion, can the event be a good situation for creating stock images? If so, what approach should I take to shoot salable photos? Could the event brand be a problem?
I broaden the vision a bit.
If you want to go there to practice because you’re a newbie of microstock, the person who runs can be a good subject if you shoot him or her with the microstock producer mindset, not like photojournalists do.
So, it’s better if you don't shoot people in the face. Focus on details, and work with a wide-open aperture to avoid problems with the releases.
The microstock buyer doesn’t want the photo of that event, in that place, that day. He wants a photo of someone who runs and keeps fit. So, it’s easy to have copyright problems if you don’t pay attention, even by selecting the editorial license.
By not paying attention, you can easily frame the logo of the shoes or the sponsor of the event. Remember that even a person shot from behind can be easily considered identifiable by the reviewers. So let’s say you can go there to take some tests and practice.
Let me give you some advice. Why don’t you find a friend who likes to run?
Hire him for a couple of hours and record videos (rather than photos) while he’s doing activities. You would be much more successful in sales, and if you get the release signed, you would have no problem with licensing.
One more thing about the message I read at the beginning, which is a message of hope.
On the contrary, the professional photography business is experiencing a bad moment. Most of the dialogues I have had in recent months, thanks to microstockguru.com, have been with professionals who are very worried about what has happened and, more than that, what will happen. I wanted to share with you an opinion about the business of the photographer or video producer today.
The problem of many professionals who approach microstock is that they apply the mindset of offline work to a digital business. As a result, they do nothing and start thinking that digital business is a scam.
You must always look at things from a broader perspective. Being a microstock producer has a lot of advantages, and not just economical. It’s not just a matter of money. It’s very important to keep yourself busy when other work is slow.
With the lockdown, many photographers have come to the brink of bankruptcy, like those specializing in weddings. However, as we leave the virus behind us, don’t ever think that things will return to 2019. Forget about it.
The biggest problem, in addition to the lack of work and income, is also linked to the fact that when you have to fill your working days because you have no customers, you have two options:
- The most difficult—You start studying to understand how to get out of it, and maybe at the same time, you start digital businesses like microstock, where to produce, you don't need a customer to commission your work.
- The easiest—You go on social networks in search of someone with your own problems, and you find a scapegoat: taxes, the government, multinational companies, Amazon, your neighbor.
The problem most of the time is YOU, not them.
What I can tell you, dear friends, is that if you take the path of hating someone, regardless of whether you are right or not, because I also know that there are people who have so many faults in this world, you will get just more angry and sad without solving any of your problems.
Remember this when you see a social network icon on your smartphone.