My first ever conceptual image sold!
And this was also my 4th uploaded shot on Dreamstime. At that time I was finding this site TOTALLY frustrating. It was like there is no hope. I was getting rejections after rejections for poor lens quality and compression artifacts and a thousand other things I never really could understand. I had signed up just before I turned 18 hoping to earn big. (Now I have been on here for less than 6 months). Then I uploaded some files and got rejections...I didn't know what to do. I changed some settings and still got the rejections.
The most frustrating was "poor lens quality", "distorted pixels" and "uneven focus". I had accepted defeat. I didn't have enough money to buy a DSLR, I still don't. I have my SX30IS (Canon point-and-shoot). It has a 35X zoom which makes it unfit at every focal length. I don't have additional flashes, I have a tripod and this camera - that's all. Keeping up AR becomes a torture...I upload shots confident they would sell one day - only to see them rejected for technical reasons. It felt like having a barn full of seeds and no fertile land to plant them. Imagine, if you didn't have your DSLR, how would it be?
So I started reading about the camera optics. Being into advanced electronics and robotics from when I was 12, I already knew about JPEG compression, layered file editing and optics from when I was about 15. I decided I'd give it that last push. I set the target to upload 3 perfect files in a week. You'd laugh at this but that's how it is for a beginner with only a point-and-shoot.
And today, I can say I have come up with my own procedures to fix most of the problems without even resizing the files and using just a JPG (my camera has no RAW mode).
Tonight I was about to sleep and just felt like checking my account once. And surprise! I'd sold my fourth upload and the first conceptual photo. The buyer searched after "food shortage". I still clearly remember putting the leaf there and wondering on which corner to position it to go by the rule of thirds. Whether the leaf should point inwards or outwards the frame. Wondering if I should use F/8 or F/2.4 as the light was low and I hadn't bought a tripod then either.
It has been hardly a few months and the file actually sold. There was that night I was sitting on my laptop thinking my gear and my skills had all been illusion. That I stand no chance on a site where the world's top stock photo contributor too has his portfolio. But thanks to Dreamstime, now I see that even the top stock photographer cannot shoot what I can...because we both don't imagine the same and live the same. What he has more is the determination and solid planning and careful observation.
So I feel this 11th sale is a milestone. For me 100 uploads is no milestone, nor is a 1000 sales mark. I love this more. The feeling that I had the crude skills. They just needed refining. I'd not post about it when I reach those 100 uploads or sales mark - I sure will reach it though. Stock photography would live and be just as popular as long as humans can see things.
So just hang on. I have seen people who have left after uploading 17 or 18 files and they have the gear that I can only hope for. If you have even a Canon EOS 1100D, don't complain you don't have a super sensitive sensor with a 6 digit ISO. You don't need it. What you need is imagination and a stubborn mind.
Good luck to newbies and the big guys too. They have been a big inspiration throughout. I'll chase them down one of these years for sure. ;)
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Photo credits: Pratik Panda.