Gaining & Losing with Stock Photography

One of the joys of an interest in photography is that you start to notice things that previously went unnoticed. An interesting Latin engraving around the edge of a church door and the interesting carvings on familiar landmarks seem to have even more detail than they ever did before.

I have lived in England all of my life, and in London for much of my adult life, but it has only since I have gained an interest in photography that I have started to notice many of the interesting details that are all around me.

Things that I have passed several hundred times previously and not noticed suddenly seem to be filled with textures, colours and interest that were not there before.

I have always enjoyed 'looking' at interesting things,

© Fazon1
but it is clear that there is a difference between 'looking' and actually 'seeing'.

However, in developing an interest in photography, and stock photography specifically, whilst you gain a greater awareness of the world around you, you also lose something. Whereas my wife and friends will see our children and pets playing for example I see the need for model releases for the children and feel annoyed that I forgot to bring a tripod to blur motion of the animals. Whilst stood at the top of a hill watching the world go by everyone else will enjoy the stillness whilst I will be wondering whether my ND filters will be sufficient to enable me to avoid blown highlights and finally, when we return home and whilst others watch TV and play games I will be furiously editing and uploading photos.

© Kornwa

Am I worried that I am slowly losing the ability just to look at something and not think about whether it is suitable as 'stock', the lighting, what camera settings to use and the best angle to view it from? Well, the answer is clearly no as my portfolio slowly grows and, hopefully, improves. Like any serious hobby or vocation, photography requires an element of experimentation and continuous learning if you want to be successful and for that I am thankful for the direct feedback from reviewers and the indirect feedback from the wonderful people who purchase our images.

Photo credits: Anke Van Wyk, Darrensharvey, Roland Nagy, Kornwa, Mark Eaton.

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April 20, 2012


Wonderful blog, yes, stock photography changed the way I see things, but I think its for the best.

April 13, 2012


Thanks everyone. Somehow it makes me feel a lot better to know that I am not the only person affected by an interest in photography. Onwards and upwards!

April 13, 2012


Stock photography change us definitely. It change our thinking, viewing and aiming. If you do it for earning. Less time for artsy photography, it change everything. If you want to be succesful in stock, you must devote to it. And there is no guarantee you will be succesful in it. Just my opininion, opinion of an amater stock photographer.

April 11, 2012


This is so true!
You must NOT take your camera outside (or take only a cheap camera to be sure your photos will not be accepted).
And try to move stock in studio. Will bring more money and work will be work and free time will be for your family, outside.
Good luck.

April 10, 2012


I totally understand what you are saying. I take my camera everywhere, and I mean everywhere, because you never know what will pop up. I am teased that it is an extension of my arm, and that's really true. But I enjoy myself and while there are distractions at times, I believe that photography has given me a better eye at "seeing" things and appreciating them more. Best wishes to you!

April 10, 2012


Hi Mark,
Just discovered your blog. It is all so recognizable and true, in fact, what you say. My wife sometimes tries to force me not to take camera with me, saying "Otherwise you won't see anything except your viewfinder". Funny thing is later I may ask her if she remembers that interesting boat in a canal or that peculiar relief on a buliding, she doesn't, but I can show her! :)

April 10, 2012


I fully agree with you.

April 08, 2012


Can you read a newspaper or look at a magazine with out saying "damn - I should have thought of that" or "why didn't they use my photo, its much better than this one". ;-)

April 08, 2012


As a great example of this, we have family and friends over today and we are all going to see a stunt bike show. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the bikes and I am currently worrying about whether the lighting inside the stadium will be enough that I don't have to raise my ISO to much.... Happy days!

April 07, 2012


Great blog!

April 06, 2012


Great blog, thanks for sharing.

April 06, 2012


I agree with you totally :)

April 06, 2012


Yes, I totally agree. I find, going on a hike with friends, I am pointing this out and look at that. I see shapes and designs in the trees, and notice the bugs and the fungi on the side of a tree. I can't go anywhere without taking my camera or I seriously don't enjoy myself. It's an illness I enjoy!!!

April 06, 2012


LOL. I know what you mean. I haven't watched a film through to the end for a couple of years now. My wife wants to sit and hug whilst watching a film and 15 minutes into it I am fidgetting, playing with my phone and ultimately am then off to do something.

April 06, 2012


mark, I totally agree with everything you said! I have been a photographer, mostley people. for 30 years. I dont see a old barn, I see a back ground for a high school senior . I dont see an archway without wishing I had a couple kissing beneath it. I cant even watch a movie without thinking wow, I need to be working at the computer! and then when I do, oops! its midnight! where did the last 3 hours go? but you know.. we are still the lucky ones because we are doing something we love!

April 06, 2012


Very well said, I can definitely relate!

April 06, 2012


There's always an opportunity 'just around the corner' and I feel really annoyed if I don't have my camera with me when it turns up!

April 06, 2012


Great blog. Agree with everything you have said :) I also have a job now to watch a program on the tv without looking for possible stock images haha.

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