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2011 year end post

Apologies to my readers for not writing for a long time. Thus this year-end post will include several notes I would have normally posted between April and the year end.

I just made a major WordPress upgrade before writing this post. All seems to work fine.

Looking back in May my friend photographer and I organized a studio session with the same model I mentioned in November of 2010. This time it was done at home. Although we were not very happy with the stylist the model performed great and I am happy with the result. And the whole evening was very joyful.

For a number of reasons I didn’t upload any new stock photos from July until the end of the year (except uploading my existing portfolio to some new sites). Following up my April blog post I need to mention that I was doing surprisingly good at microstock despite the break in uploads. I didn’t experience any decline and I even had growth of sales in September and October. November was lower; and traditionally December is always lower.

Now I have made some new pictures and I’ll start uploading them in January – hopefully the sales will grow again.

Speaking about new photos I had an outdoor session at the end of November with a very kind “weather-proof” model. It was a dark grey overcast, it was raining/drizzling most of the day, and the wind was strong. The temperature was around 8 degrees (centigrade). Nevertheless we decided to go ahead with the planned outdoor shoot. Fast lens and a strobe helped to make it a sunny day – at least on pictures 🙂

Importance of proper processing

Young man in spa

In 2009 I had a studio session with a handsome blond man – most of it was a spa theme. (It was done during the photographers meeting in Yuri Arcurs studio in Denmark in August 2009).

I was expecting the pictures to sell well – good subject, handsome blond man, positive emotions…. However the sales were not impressive during several months.

Usually I don’t go back to the photographs already processed and submitted, but in this case I was really curious. So I looked at similar photos from the other authors that were selling well and tried to analyze what was wrong with mine.

I noticed that the skin tone on my pictures was too red though the white balance was technically correct. It was very hot in the studio, so the model was truly sweat and red. So I selected several un-processed photos from that session  and edited them differently than the first time – made them higher contrast and different skin tone.

I also re-did the keywords as a noticed some difference between my pictures and other ones.

My original batch included several tens pictures. Newly edited was 5 or 6. However the trick worked well. When I submitted the new pictures, not only they started to sell well, but the original ones started to sell better too. Now, a year later I see the man in spa selling several times a week.

Recent shoots

I haven’t been active with stock photography since February. Too busy with my other job. However I learned a lot during the break. Not only via reading, but also via attending 2 conferences related to stock photography: CEPIC in Dublin and StockInRussia in Moscow. There wasn’t anything revolutionary, but it was a great help to sort the things in my mind. Ironically, not doing stock photography for 8 months I came to the next level of understanding it.

I re-started doing stock shoots immediately after StockInRussia. Due to bad weather it had to be a studio session, and it was with several models. It was fun and I got some nice pictures, but I wasn’t really satisfied. 6 models showed up instead of 4; duration of stylist’s work was underestimated; the look of one model has changed before the shoot so what was planned for that model wasn’t suitable. Also had to use an unknown studio which was ok but not exactly what I needed. They are all my own faults indeed – lesson learned to plan better next time.
fun

After getting back to Belgium I had an outdoor session with a child and her mother. This was affected by the forces of nature but I am still quite happy with the result. Both the models and myself wanted to catch nice autumn look with yellow/red leaves on the trees and on the ground. Unfortunately most trees suddenly lost their foliage just 2 days before the shoot; and the weather was cold and overcast during the shoot. Luckily no rain, but it was really dark gray overcast. The grass with the leaves was very wet, so we had to exclude everything related with lying down on the leaves and playing with them. Despite the obstacles, the result was good. Using very nice models in a nice park we we’ve got several nice pictures at the end. I hope we will continue working together with these models in the future.
Ellen

Now the weather is bad, nice autumn views have gone – thus it’s the time to shoot indoors. Finding a suitable indoor location isn’t that easy – I have several ideas and conversations are in progress.

Meanwhile to avoid loosing time I’ve done a shoot in the studio. This time only 1 model so that I can do my planning better; and I made a very detailed plan for the shoot. Not everything worked what I planned, but this is normal. Pictures look good; and I liked the model and the stylist.
Katja


Sunday shoot in Leuven

The better plan you make, the higher are chances it will fail. So was with my last shoot – the plan was to shoot Thomas in railway station but we were kicked out by police.

Indeed they were formally right – but we were not on people’s way and I wasn’t photographing the station itself; and I photographed in the same station several times in the past… (I think it’s clear by now that I didn’t bother with the official permission). So we had to switch to plan ‘B’ and photograph Thomas near the station but outside.

Although I know the place I still visited it in advance to check possible spots for taking pictures (both in station and around it), and that was helpful. The session lasted only 2 hours but we didn’t loose any time, so it was productive.

I was pleasantly surprised with Thomas. He is only doing modeling for 8 months but he is doing it very well. He understood pretty well what I wanted from him and he did it all nicely and quite naturally.

Just one picture so far as I didn’t have time for retouche/processing:
Thomas