Paris, May 2011
In May 2011, back when Microstock was my second job, I booked a flight to Paris, asking a friend to come with me, as I often did at that time. Looking back on those years, I definitely rate them as the most happy of my Microstock producer career, because:
- I didn’t have to earn money at any cost, as I started to from 2013 onwards when it had become a full-time job.
- I didn’t have a backache at the end of the days I spent in European Capitals, because I didn’t have to carry two lenses, a heavy tripod and a fluid head.
- I could think that I could create less footage than I have to do today (I used to walk, now I have to run fast).I’m honest:
Producing Microstock (especially stock footage) can become only a great second job for many of those who read this post.
In 2013, I filmed Berlin and I was under pressure. I had to shoot the whole city in three days, and I had to film every single subject with the sun behind them. My anxiety rate stood up: Microstock had become a real job, not just a GREAT way to visit the world and pay my flight tickets back with my stock footage sales.
I’m saying GREAT, because it means:
- You can travel for free.
- You can create something that is completely yours.
- You can work the way you want.
To earn the money you need to make this second job a full-time job you have to wait years. Maybe with my course I can teach you how to do it in half that time, but I’m not Houdini, and it’s still very very hard even if you study with my video lessons. That’s why I’m sure the average reader of this blog will work in the quietness of the Paris 2011 scenario, not in the anxiolytic mood of the Berlin 2013 scenario.
I spent my best professional moments in European Capitals with the camera around my neck. I had to ruin the comfort zone where I would live if I was a mere tourist, but Microstock allowed me to earn the money I needed to book the next trip and gave me a lot of professional satisfaction. Since I’m not rich, thanks to stock footage, I travelled more than I could do. Without Microstock, I probably would have visited one or two places a year, and perhaps not even those. From 2006 to late 2012, I spent every free moment from my main work and from family commitments in a European Capital and still, at least once a year, I reserve three or four days to keep myself in shape with the technique in a place across the border that would be worth shooting (I’m Italian, and sometimes I don’t even need to cross the border to do that). Look at the footage I shot in 36 hours in my Capital:
Rome, September 2013
The best time to create Microstock is during the spring. Old-school photographers who consider only the artistic side of photography might not agree with this statement, but I’m a Microstock producer and not an artist playing guitar in the street and asking people for a coin.
Mine is not a technical consideration. We all know the parable of the sun is the lowest at the winter solstice and the highest at the summer solstice, so the light with the best angle is in December and the worst in June (in the northern part of the globe).
I’m stepping now from artist mode to the entrepreneur mode. Going to London in January, as I did once, means not only suffering cold, but also working with 18 hours of dark. You can’t do that if you want to sell Microstock. With this in mind, spring represents the best compromise, unlike the season symmetrical to it, autumn, which is full of colors (I’m talking about leaf colors) that make the shot unusable in video projects set in other months.
Did I make myself clear?
Look at this footage I took in Salzburg in November:
Leaves are red in this video. How can a buyer buy that footage if he’s talking about summer or spring in his video?
You can see red leaves on trees for only two months a year. On the contrary you can see green leaves for six months.
What’s the best choice for a Microstock producer who wants to find the more buyers he can?
Now think about this: during April people use neutral clothing. They don’t wear T-shirts, but they also don’t wear coats. Something not completely different from the one they use in February and from the one they use in June.
In the mind of a Microstock producer, spring must be the best season to go out with the camera. By the way: “Paris 2011” meant 4000 Euro in royalties for me, despite many technical errors that today I don’t make anymore. That happened because of:
- The period of the year.
- The city.
- And even the era (in 2011 there were less competition!).
Today those earnings with that subject are impossible for a 2/3 days shooting.
My Pond5 best sellers with the keyword Paris (They come from three different trips).
I really miss those days when:
- I took low cost flights regardless of the weather forecast
- I visited cities and in the meantime I shot content
- I didn’t schedule my trip
- When I was tired I stopped filming
- I sat with my friend in a pub at the end of the day
And believe me, I’m not telling you those days have finished because I want to break your dreams. I just want to be honest. This is what happens today, but there are still a few little things to do if you want to sell your content and earn hundreds of dollars for every trip you make. Choosing the right period of the year is one of those things.