The annoying tripod
Producing stock images is more pleasant than producing stock footage, at least if you don't care about money. I say this because most agencies forbid stock footages recorded without a tripod, so if you send your handheld videos, even if you use an optical stabilizer and you are a genius of software stabilization, in the 99% of times reviewers will reject your content.
- your travel companion as a stock footage producer will be a heavy and annoying tripod.
I can tell you that I missed the days when I toured Europe only with my camera and a pocket tripod. But, it is thanks to my hard work that today I've created a passive income that allows me to be more free than I was before starting to be a microstock producer. The only way to change my life was working hard and stop being a tourist, because producing microstock is not like a vacation, not anymore at least.
Why are you producing microstock?
To understand what you have to do, you first need to ask yourself these questions:
Why are you creating stock images and stock footage? Are you trying to find a way to pay for your trips? Are you trying to enjoying yourself, because you do not want to make money? Do you like to know that there are some website and TV series that pay for what you've created?
Depending on your point of view, I can give all the answers you need, because years after creating my blog I can say that I've talked with all the kinds of producers. I receive dozens of questions like:
Should I shoot only stock images, or do I need to create stock footage too?
In this episode, I'll try to get rid of any of your doubts related to this kind of questions.
Many years ago, I was in a wonderful city, one of the few European Capitals that I would live in Berlin. I think Berlin is a safe city, with civic-minded people. Sorry to say it, but better than Paris and London, or most Italian cities. Everybody that got to Berlin knows that it takes only five minutes to arrive at the Bundestag if you have just visited the Brandenburg Gate.
Five minutes only if you are a tourist, but if you are microstock producer it can't take 5 minutes, for a straightforward reason:
- the facades of those two subjects are opposite, so the best view is in the morning for the Brandenburg Gate iconic side and at sunset for the Bundestag.
To be a microstock producer you have to shoot the subject in the best possible way if that perfection is not a crazy director need that takes hours to be achieved, but simply the use of online free tools that track the sun position, and also the skill of creating a great shooting plan at home.
To make money, you have to work better than the photographer that would have to shoot the Bundestag after a five minutes walk from the Brandenburg Gate. I think that photographer is the typical forum user that blames customers for his lack of sales, saying that people don't understand what quality is. Everything depends on what you want to do:
if you are rich and producing microstock is a good excuse to travel around the world, great!
The importance of studying
I'm not the right people to tell you what to do, but I'm sure that stock images and stock footage will make your life better, even if you don't make more than $100 per month. If you want to repay your travel costs and your time, you won't, even if in 2011 you would have done it. As I explain in my online course, many tools can help you:
do you know that there's a website where you can upload your photos or frames from your videos with artificial intelligence that recognizes your keywords?
After finding it, I saved days of work.
I'm not selfish, that's why I created this podcast and my website to teach you how to work correctly, and stop wasting your time and money. One single information can make the difference.
Do you know that there are websites that can't tell you if buyers request the subject you want to shoot?
Let's say you're planning to visit a city.
For microstock sales, considering buyers requests and competition, is it better to shoot Paris or London?
I've got an answer, not because I'm a mentalist, but just because I know a tool that you don't know.
If I 'm in Paris, what's the most saleable content? Eiffel tower, Notre Dame Cathedral or the Arc de Triomphe? Do you know the answer?
Let me tell you: no, you don't, that's why you're not making money with microstock, not because customers are stupid.
Everytime that I visit a facebook page about microstock, I find a genius that complains about not making any profit anymore, because he thinks that there's something wrong in this silly world. What I would ask him is:
Why don't you start studying instead of complaining all day long?
Good old days
I remember when I travelled to Prague more than ten years ago. It was before I started creating stock footage in addition to stock images:
- I walked only with my DSLR, without my heavy tripod and fluid head.
No backache at the end of the day. No need to stop and assemble the tripod a hundred times a day. It was very similar to a real vacation (listen to this episode for more information), that same vacations of tourists who visit:
I'm Italian: every time I walk in the street of one the cities of my Country I find thousands of tourists like me in Prague more than ten years ago. To make money, you don't have to be like them; you have to leave your comfort zone of:
- Walking around your destination only with your camera.
I know it is very hard to do it, but this is the only way to spend more time shooting to make your life better:
- You will visit more places
- You will have the chance to visit again places that you have already visited
- You will probably see your 5 seconds video in a Discovery Channel show like it happened to me.
- You will be proud of knowing that some production paid for what you've created.
I don't know if microstock buyers do not understand what quality is, like the genius of the Facebook page used to say, but I don't care about who the buyers are, I just want their money.
The European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. I've shot it with real-time footage in 2011, with my old Canon EOS 550D, Rebel T2i, and I've created some time-lapses a few years before, in 2008, with my even older Canon EOS 400d. Frankfurt is a fascinating city. If you want to travel there, you'll find a lot of low-cost flights, even if the Ryanair airport is quite far from the city.
My European Central Bank real-time stock footage sold for more than 1000 dollars
Money that is still growing today, thanks to the ignorance of people. I said ignorance for a simple reason: that building is not anymore the European Central Bank, but people still buy the footage because they don't know that the bank moved.
Probably you have watched that skyscraper on the news a lot of times when someone talks about
My real-time clips were made in five minutes. The best seller is a 10 seconds video that starts from the euro symbol and goes up to the top of the skyscraper. It paid me the flight ticket and the hotel.
I don't care if my buyers are ignorant, I care about the money I got from them.
With stock images you earn coins
Ok, let's say you are not like me, but just a stock images producer who creates 1000 photos of Frankfurt. You would have spent two weeks at home for editing and two weeks to upload and describe them, let's say, in 20 agencies, because as a genius of photography you don't know what stocksubmitter.com is. In my opinion with such a strategy, you will get no more than $100 in royalties, spending a lot more time than me in front of your computer because of your uploading strategy. Now my friend, please, tell me that you will be thinking about creating stock footage too.
Time for a challenge. I know some of you think I'm wrong because you still believe that stock images are the future of your business. I'm sure you feel that my course is a scam too, and what I say about the stock footage is just a strategy to sell more copies because in my course I explain how to start creating stock footage with a step by step plan for photographers who never shot a video in their life.
I give you:
- ten European Capitals to choose
- make as many shots as you like
- spend all the money you want for staying there weeks
- months to edit your photos
- all the agencies you want to sell them:
I bet that you won't earn more than what I've earned with my only 10 seconds footage of the former European Central Bank skyscraper. Have fun dear listeners!
I think in this episode, I sound quite arrogant.
Do you know why I am so?
I spent my nights studying and being arrogant about something you know it's the best reward for your hard work. For months I woke up at 6 am, and I spent the first two hours of my day for studying because after that I had to start working on bringing money home. That's another reason why I don't like producers who write on forums. Guys:
- spend your precious time learning, not complaining!
Spend your money to make your money
I have a Macintosh and two Windows PCs. It happens that sometimes I have to transfer files from a computer to another one. The Macintosh can read external hard drives formatted with Fat32 or NTFS, but it can write only on Fat32, that is not compatible with files bigger than 4 GBs. If you produce stock footage, you will have a lot of files bigger than 4 GBs. When I needed to transfer that kind of files from my Windows computer to my MAC, I spent hours because I had to connect a Mac hard drive to the PC, use freeware software that was limited, spending hours to do it.
Do you know why?
Because I didn't want to buy a 29 dollars software for the MAC. I said it in a previous episode:
- stop being an amateur, and start being a professional!
You are going to make money with microstock.
Spending your money today can make you a lot more money tomorrow.
I could not live a life where my time was worth one dollar per hour. When I realized this, I started finding a strategy to fix that problem:
- I bought that 29 dollars software
- I started waking up at 6 am.
If there's something like this happening in your life today, and at the moment it's just a problem of money, start working to change your life too, because you can't go on like that. I've been through this, and it was hard to change, but today my life is better. Please change yours too.
I would like to thank all the people who subscribed to my podcast on Itunes. We're becoming a big family. I need your help to share this episode to give me the chance to produce others.