24 Nov 2012

Why I left microstock

For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity 
~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

I've recently pulled all of my images from a microstock site and a few people have asked me why. I hope this helps to explain my motivation behind my move.

Although I have only recently returned to drawing and painting as a way to express my creativity, I had, for the past three years, been learning about photography as an art form and trying to find ways to improve. I guess if you suppress your creativity in one area it will always find another way to come out. 
I had always thought that photography was going to be my creative outlet after I read a book about Robert Capa. It totally got me hooked on photography.

I bought my first 35 mm film camera in 1986, around the same time I gave up my painting, and a month later bought my first film SLR. I happily used these and captured many pleasing images, mostly on slide film until my first child was born in 1999, where I realized that it was getting really expensive to take so many pictures of my son and when money was especially tight one year I sold all my gear. A few months later I bought my first compact digital camera and used it for taking mostly family photos. 

Fast forward the next few years and several camera changes and in February 2009 I heard of microstock photography and bought a Canon Rebel digital SLR and uploaded a few shots. Most were rejected as non-stock worthy, hardly surprising as I hadn't researched what microstock agencies wanted before I uploaded. I laugh about it now but at the time it was rather soul crushing ;) I uploaded images for about a year before I realized that I'd totally lost my enthusiasm for photography. It had stopped being fun and started to become a rather boring chore, I'd even stopped taking my camera to family occasions which is a shame because I can never go back to take those missed family moments again. I stopped uploading then and did a lot of soul searching before I could decide what to do next. 

My problem? 
What I wanted to shoot wasn't what was selling well in microstock and what was selling well, I didn't want to shoot. I'm not into shooting models brushing their teeth etc or hammers and things isolated on white backgrounds. It's just not me and I'm guessing a lot of people out there feel the same. I think it comes down to this, I don't want to shoot an advertising shot to sell a product, I prefer my shot to be the end product, a piece of art I guess. I prefer the art side of the business to the commercial side and microstock is more on the commercial side so it wasn't for me. My art shots sold through the micros but not as well as they sold elsewhere as a finished product. 

Which brings me to my blog post here today.  I felt I had come to a crossroads and needed to make a final decision on which way to turn. One way would mean continuing as I am, creating images I want to using a mix of photography and painting and finding a market that appreciates them as they are or the other path which would mean investing in lighting and better equipment and sinking a lot of money into a direction I really didn't feel comfortable in. I chose the first one, I like to follow my own path through life I guess. The best part is that my 13 year old son also wants to join me on this path. We share a Zazzle store together. The polar bear fishing on the top left of the following image, and also the "Play hard" hippo on the bag 2nd from bottom on the right, are his creations. 

This is a link to our store http://www.zazzle.com/wildmacnz

I hope that you will be able to understand my reasons for leaving the micros and perhaps if you also feel that you have reached some sort of crossroads in your own work, this may give you the courage to try something new, to make your own path going forward because we all have our own unique gifts to share and should be able to share them in a way that makes sense to us.

Have a great week :)

1 comment:

  1. I think it's so important to follow the path that makes you happy, not so much what makes others happy. Good luck with your ETSY store....talented son you have there. My 13 year old son likes to dabble with sketching, painting and creating too.

    Have a great week!