Monday, March 14, 2011
Our review of "Taking Stock"... a great book!
I just finished the book "Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell" by Rob Sylva and it's coming to you with a two thumbs up recommendation (if I had more thumbs it would get them too).
Rob comes at the subject of stock photography from both sides of the fence, he is a stock photographer AND an image inspector for iStock Photo.
This book is well written, it has a ton of images that help demonstrate and reinforce what he has to say, and is very easy to follow and understand.
One of the things I really like about the book as the inclusion of the images from other stock photographers, including their thoughts and ideas behind that image, and their advice to those considering entering the field of stock photography.
Some of the chapters are:
* Tools of the Trade
* Shooting Tips From the Pros
* Digital Darkroom
* Digital Editing
And these incredibly important topics:
* Avoiding Rejection
* Seeing Like an Inspector
These two chapters alone are worth the price of admission and who would know better than an image inspector?
Rob asks a simple (but powerful) question, "are you working inside the sweet spot of your equipment?". Great question. Why ask your gear to do something it was not designed for, know your limitations and work within them.
He also provides a download link to a group of his own images that he rejected and includes text explaining the reason for their rejection, a great learning tool.
And he wraps up the book discussing the importance and the "how to" of meta data, titles, descriptions, and keywording. It doesn't matter how good your images are if a potential client can't find them while searching.
This is just some of the great information you will find in "Taking Stock", but if you want to find out how well the chapters are put together and how much information is included you don't have to take my word for it, you can (download and) read the entire third chapter of the book right here.
Oh, one last thing... MONEY.
How much money can be made in stock? Take a look at the Christmas tree on cover of his book, it is a tree in Rob's yard that as of the books printing has made him over $13,000.
And this is not as rare as you think, take a listen to this interview with Rich Legg, in it he talks about many things (regarding stock) including the importance of having your camera with you all the time, which allowed him to take a picture of a flower while waiting at a fast food drive drive through, an image that has made him thousands and thousands of dollars.
I am not suggesting you stop shooting portraits, weddings, or whatever your photographic specialty is, or that you will retire from one stock image, what I am suggesting is that what you will learn from "Taking Stock" will help you refine your eye to make the images you are already shooting attractive to those who purchase stock and might just add some jingly in your pocket.
But wait, there's more, Rob will be the guest speaker for the May meeting of the Maine Photographers Coalition, so go get the book, come to the meeting, and learn from Rob directly (and ask a question or two).
Here are a few links for you, first for Rob. Here is his stock Flickr page, his main Flickr Page, and, and because he is a Lightroom expert you will find Rob doing a Lightroom Pro Q&A over at Matt Kloskowski's blog "Lightroom Killer Tips".
We have posted several times on the topic of stock photography, you will find thoses posts here, here, and here.