Stock photo fun

Stock photo fun

For many years, I aspired to be represented by Alaska Stock Photos, Inc.  As I developed my craft, I felt that being represented by them would help to diversify my income portfolio as well as further establish myself as a credible photographer in Alaska.  I mean really, where do people go when they want high quality Alaska images?  They go to Alaska Stock.  Of course, even knowing that, it still took repeated encouragement (aka, badgering) from my good friend Nick Fucci and my wife Michelle to actually get my stuff in gear to get a submission into Alaska Stock.

But learning how to actually capture the types of images that are useful stock photos has taken a bit of time.  For many years, I simply captured an image because I liked the colors, composition and various elements, not because I visualized it as an end product, like, “Oh, that will make a great commercial stock photo” or “That will make a great print.”  And while I have come to better recognize the types of images that sell well as stock, I am still much more of a found-image stock photographer than I am the kind who sets up shots specifically for stock, like two of Alaska’s more successful stock photographers: Michael DeYoung and Matt Hage.  With that said, I have started to get into the habit of previsualizing the type of photo I want to capture during a trip and how that could be a good stock photo.

They say that it takes about a year or so once represented with an agency before you start to see the checks come in.  This turned out to be true with my representation with Alaska Stock.  The stock photo industry is no quite as sure of an income source for photographers these days, what with the proliferation of digital photography and microstock companies, but it is still a good way to diversify your income portfolio.

And while it has certainly been a pleasure to see those somewhat-regular checks coming in, one of the surprising treats of delving into the stock world is seeing how the images are used by the clients.  I am also finding that it has paid off to take those images over the years, thinking they might someday come to good use.  Case in point, a photo I took of a row of parked kayaks on the shores of Kasistna Bay at the Across the Bay Tent & Breakfast back in 2004.  It was the year I started using a digital SLR and my first year attending Hal Gage’s macro photography workshop at Kasistna Bay.  During an afternoon of free time, I was roaming around, exploring the shore and property and found these kayaks.  The art student in me liked the lines, color and perspective, and took both a horizontal and vertical.  Six years later, Alaska Stock selected the vertical image for inclusion in its collection.  Then, in September 2011, I learned that the image had been sold for some marketing materials, but not who the client was or how the image would be used.  Then, after making deposits in our bank one Saturday afternoon, Michelle came back with the new Tide Tables for 2012 (a useful tool for any Alaskan), and the cover graphic looked rather familiar.  I finally learned how that kayak photo had been used by the stock photo client.

Leave a Reply