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Understanding Stock

Lesson 42 from: The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

42. Understanding Stock


Class Trailer

Bootcamp Introduction


Storytelling with Stills and Motion Overview


Elements of a Well-told Story


Storytelling in Motion


Choosing the Best Gear for Your Outdoor Project


Gear for Drones


Gear for Motion


Inside Ian's Gear Bag


General Advice for Preparation


Virtual Scouting




Permits and Permission


Model and Property Releases


Health and Fitness




Location Scouting Overview


Location Scouting in the North Cascades


Drone Introduction


Drone Safety


What Kind of Drone Should I Buy?


FAA Part 107 Test: How to Prepare


Telling a Story With a Drone


Drone Camera, Lenses and Movements


Selling Drone Footage


Why Does a Photographer Need Motion?


Establish the End User


Identify Your Audience


Build a Production Plan


Create the Story Structure


The Shooting Script


Production Quality


Composition for Stills


Composition for Stills: Landscape


Composition for Stills: Telephoto Lens


Composition for Stills: Macro Lens


Techniques for Capturing Motion in the Field


Lenses and Filters for Outdoor Photography


Capturing Landscapes - Part 1


Capturing Landscapes - Part 2


Capturing Movement in Stills


Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama


Understanding Stock


Editorial vs Commerical


Pricing Stock


Producing Stock


Shooting for Social Media vs Stock


Choosing an Agency


Assignments and Capturing Stock


Stock Photography Market


Create A Style Guide


Stock Shoot Analysis


Workflow for Selecting Final Stills


Initial Editing in Adobe Bridge


Reviewing and Selecting Motion Footage


Keeping Track of Your Story Ideas


Script and Story Structure Evolution


Editing to the Content


Music as a Character


Business Diversification


Business Strategy


Pillars of Revenue




Partnerships and Brand Strategy


Galleries and Fine Art




The Future of Photography


Q&A And Critique


Lesson Info

Understanding Stock

the Outdoor enthusiasts guide to still is in motion. Um, as been one of those things that focuses a lot on revenue. And you think about assignments. We talk about stock licensing, motion clips, diversifying All these things are covered in this class, but the one I know the most in the one that is the closest, um to my heart is stock photography, emotion, clip licensing. Um, I am not only somebody who's been rooted in the field as an assignment photographer, but seven years ago I started my own agency. I realized there was an opportunity to really do something different, and I didn't realize that we were really way ahead of ourselves at the time. Where have his way had myself of the time in thinking about Ah, stock photography is a niche agency and a lot of what I did when creating my company. Um, it's tandem still is in motion. Uh, was really about being highly specialized in a particular industry. And so, um, one of the things that, uh, you know, I really want to develop on, and if yo...

u come away with anything else, it's really about understanding how your work can play in stock photography. Whether you're aspiring, whether you're part time hobbyists or full time pro, there is room for everyone to be part of this. There is no reason you should pay for your own camera. In my opinion, your photography should at least pay for itself and then some on a very basic level. And I'm going to get you there in this class. I'm gonna talk to you about my process, the process of our agency and why what we did seven years ago when I brought together when have wonderful team. Now that really continues to bring it out. Um became so important. So seven years ago, I decided, let me get a couple of my friends together who are like minded. And why don't we do our own thing rather than giving our work somewhere else? Let's try and bring everybody together. And maybe we can start something that, um, you know, that really represents the outdoor industry. And I'll do nature. He'll do adventure. Whatever Bubble butt cut to ah, few years later at almost 1200 photographers on the roster and grew very, very quickly. Um, and what I learned was that it wasn't something that just a couple people really could dio. It was something that really needed Teoh have a life of its own because people wanted a home, They wanted the feeling of belonging with their imagery. They wanted to feel like they were understood and that they're part of something more. And stock photography has really been challenging because you have these gigantic, gigantic agencies that have been around for decades and you most people don't ever have a relationship with them. You might your work most places work, even cells goes and you don't really ever have an opportunity to know who it is that selling your work. And I wasn't really feeling that I stopped myself from contributing to agencies, and I realized that there was no reason for me to not do it simply because there wasn't a place for me to do it. That felt like it had my ideals that my, uh, my ethical values was a photographer that important me as a creative and so that's where tandem was born. It was out of that idea, and the emergence as a still photographer on assignment of stills in motion was the idea of bringing those two things together in a single environment under a single agency specifically for the outdoor market. And what I found was everyone else around me in the community had a lot in common. They wanted that, too. They wanted that sense of belonging. They wanted that sense of camaraderie to share their creative work. And, you know, I remember the early days of my photographer, my father being a photographer and he would talk about like people don't want to share their ideas. They were very, very competitive. And that's changed a lot. And I think the Internet has changed that. I think social media has changed that. There's still a competitive nature, of course, for people. But I find that more than ever before, people are sharing their sharing ideas, the sharing locations, which has different broad implications, of course to. But there's more of a sense of community than ever before, and I'm very proud of what we've been able to dio with tandem. Today we've pared back considerably. We're now down to a little under 400 photographers so that we could better focus on those core photographers that are part of of the company and So we've worked exclusively in the outdoors and one of the things about us, and I'll talk a little bit of what is stock photography if you've never heard it before. But one thing that's important about us is an agency. But more importantly, what you could learn is a photographer from it is that we're so specialized in that we Onley do the outdoors. We've Onley ever done the outdoor world for seven years. That's been our genre. We don't do ah, portraiture, corporate office work and none of that. We simply do the genres of travel, adventure, culture, geography, nature, of course and conservation, which is where I started in national parks photography. We stayed true to that, and that's important because every photographer, every filmmaker should really own their genre as well, you know, own running. Or if you're a lizard photography and you're like lizards. There should really be the best lizard photographer own that genre and really develop your brand in your style. From there, there's a big shift going into this direction now of the niche agency of people who are highly specialized in their jobs so that they know every little detail every nuance off what it is that they do. Some of the best photographers, some of the best nature photographers, outdoor photographers were not photographers. First, they're biologists who study their subject matter. They knew that bird they knew that birds behavior where mates what its feathers look like in winter vs summer Bubba Bubba Block. And because of that, they're able to get a comprehensive picture of their subject matter and develop it now, whether you're photographing running landscapes, if you like swamps, cactus or clouds, either way, you should have them all and know them all very, very well, so that you can really develop that. That's the core basis of us as an agency really owning the body of work, the library of images that we represent. And ultimately, that's what stock photography is. It's a, um, agency or a library of images that buyers come into the conduct a search, and they find images that already exists that had already been taken to then be purchased and placed in their magazine advertisement television show, etcetera. So essentially, it's a pre existing body of work. In our case, we have the pre existing body of works of about 375 photographers. Or so in your case, stock photography. As a contributor, you can sign up depending on the agency. You know, we're trying to stay small and really focused right now, but there are so many different options. And there are different options for every style of photography. One of the big things. I won't talk about that when you think about stock photography. And this is what this class is really about. When you think about stock photography, most people think of stock photography. They say this looks like stock. You don't want to look like stock. You want to be authentic. And authenticity is really what Raines. Let's talk about Sunday magazine again. Sunsets. Awesome. This is my cover Over here. This is the cover of one of our photographers, Matthew Kun's. Which one of these was purchased from stock? Do you think which one is stock? Well, that's cause you already know this is an assignment. Cheating. I've already told you this is an assignment, but the truth is, either from this image is available. A stock. Now he was shot on assignment. This image, it was already part of our stock library was purchased for the cover. True stock Good stock should not be obviously stock. So you have the potential toe. Have these two images that are essentially identical, and that is what you're going after. And that is how it works. You know, they come in. They were doing a national park. They test that they try it. They look for an image, they find a beautiful image, and then they license it, depending on the agency. Tandem, for instance, is a 50 50 split. So if they pay whatever X amount of dollars for it, you get half. The agency gets half handle the building payments and so on. So that's ultimately what stock photography is who buys it. That's a really good question. The answer is large and varied. It goes from mom and pop shops. We've sold images. Toe veterinarians. Teoh and Doctor's offices are most common. Buyers, of course, are magazines and ad agencies design firms. But they're educators, nonprofits, organizations of all kinds. You encounter stock photography all the time. I see it in the elevator in my hotel. I see it in the airport, every magazine that you walk by some of of course, many covers are produced. Much of it is stock photography were around it all the time. It is a gigantic $1,000,000, industry with literally billions upon billions of images out there. So you might ask Well ordered life it in a sea of billions of images. I only have maybe a couple 100 that I'm really proud of my entire library after a lifetime of work. How many do you think I have in my stock archive? Anyone? Take a guess. What do you think? 12 years of professional photography. How big? Giving my like my license. Civil archive is hundreds of thousands. What do you think? Any idea? $3. That's right. I have 3000 images that I license. No, I I keep it pretty restrained. I don't put everything in their hold back. Not necessary from the agency. But I hold back based on embargoes time. And I'm very, very selective about what I put out there. I could probably come up with hundreds of thousands of images, but they would be redundant and a very strategic about which I choose. I'm gonna talk to you about how we choose those images. But stock imagery essentially is really purchased by many different people. But essentially, your market's gonna be ad agencies, design firms and magazines. Let's play with those three for the purpose of this class shooting a cell. Same a shooting for yourself? Absolutely sometimes, uh, shooting, shooting, shooting to sell images can be the same. A shooting for yourself, but more than likely it's not. Once you start to get into your head that these images are marketable, you're gonna start to change your style potentially. You have to be careful of that, but you might start to change your subject matter. In fact, you might want to change your subject matter, not in the sense that you want to no longer become a nature photographer or national park photographer. In the sense that when you're on your way to that national park, you need to be thinking about the journey and documenting that, too, because stock photography isn't just about your destination. It's about capturing the journey and every opportunity to make stock images along the way. If you're serious about making money, you want him every frame you take that could be published whether it's in a town along the road or whatever a gas station with the dinosaurs out front. I always used as an example that drive by all time, and I never actually stop. But I should. That's the stuff that will get you publishing in the magazines, so you need to start thinking differently when you shoot for yourself. A lot of times I know a lot of people who go out. They're not thinking about creating a body of work or a comprehensive body of work. Are you thinking about Let's say you're going in a canyon in Zion National Park and you want to photograph the end of that canyon, right? Let's say there's one particular waterfall there are making this up? What say there's one particular waterfall? You really want a photograph? You don't go in. Just photograph only that waterfall. You should photograph the journey of walking in the backpack, you know, making lunch, taking a break, maybe scrambling over some rocks. Other parts of the canyon be comprehensive. You want to cover the entire process that is shooting for stock. You might think that way. Some drivers might just say we'll take a couple pictures, but is it really comprehensive? You really showing us the entire journey. It's different. So shooting for yourself, you might do have very different approaches. You just think about what your style and how does that work? Why is it important to a photographer? Well, there's really two good reasons. One is money, the others visibility. Nothing gets you better marketing value than being published. The more often your name is published, the more often you get known, the more often people seek your work, especially if you're owning the genre. So if you're saying I want to be a national park photographer. When I started, I started with literally one lake in one town in Bozeman, Montana, and I owned that lake in that region. I knew every angle, and I pitch my work that I finally landed my first regional little cover or the film transparencies duplicates even worse. Um, now it's perfect. You can share everything digitally so you don't worry about loss equality. But I own that little genre, and I worked my way out. You want to do the same thing. You want to build your revenue so it's very important with photographer for revenue as well as visibility would become known for that, the more And here's the thing you can sell your own stock to. You don't have to have an agency to do this. We talk about this. You have your own library of work, and then you should have and should have somebody else marketing and on your behalf. Some people are not good at marketing their work. Maybe you don't have the desire. Maybe you have a full time job already as it is, you don't want to deal with it. You just want to shoot and have your camera paid for and keep your expenses covered. Great, that's great. That's all you need to dio find an agency. Make sure your work is that the caliber should be at and go from there. Motion clips. We already talked, Ah, little bit about motion in the motion class and what you want to get out of that. But motion clips or part of this? It's a chance to double your revenue. It's a growing area. There's higher price points than a lot of photographs. Generally speaking, it continues to be an important source, so motion clip should be part of it. But it depends, and there's a lot of special considerations. One of the questions I get often is, Can you market a finished same finished motion clips? What I mean here is like a finished piece, like a 32nd string of five clips. Rarely, I would not look at that as a market. I could see that evolving. I could see that changing down the road where people say, Well, I want one minute of just city skylines or something like that and they're stitched together. But right now, finished products are not really licensed unless they're licensed as programs. So it's a completely different areas. So right now we're talking about one officer time about maybe a set of images. But generally speaking, stock is purchased one photo at a time, not usually purchases the whole Siri's or SAT unless it's a theme, right. Like the National Park issue, they might purchase 12 different national park images, but rarely the purchasing a whole assignment, for instance. So if you're going out and shooting one whole assignment, chances are you're going to sell one image at a time. All of what Dr Success in Photography is in the power of your mind. The only thing separating you from success is your own boundary to creativity. The more creative you are, the more success you'll have. This is where the photography becomes a little philosophical. Um, and and I really do believe this. This is why I wrote it down. You know, it's a tricky one because, you know, anyone could learn aperture. Anyone can figure out how to control I. So anyone go out, buy really expensive camera that takes great photos, right? But no one thinks about the world the way you dio. No one sees it from your perspective. No one understands what it's like to go on that particular hike at that time year on that particular day in those conditions and that weather toe have that kind of moment. And if you're going out to capture that, if you're trying to capture that emotional response that you're having to the landscape to your adventure to your journey, I guarantee you will separate yourself from the pack. It is the only thing that's gonna separate you. Guarantee will not be quality, and it will not be technical achievement. Those are not the things they're going to separate you and make you on established, well known or published photographer. It is on Lee the limits of your creativity, and I say Onley, But good luck, because that's the thing. That's the hardest we have to dig down. I have to dig down before every trip. I sit and I stop and I think to myself about what I want to get out of it. And how am I gonna be different? How am I gonna not fall in my own traps? I feel like a constantly plagiarizing my own images for height. I mean, it's very, very challenging. You know, when you go to a place like old faithful or delicate arch or any one of the millions of iconic locations around the world that have been photographed, how do you make it yours and how does it become different? And that, to me, is the joy of photography, and it also is the greatest challenge of it. Um, I think it's the same and can be expressed more in motion. Um, in many more. Maybe is a tougher way to say it, but I think there's a there's a greater opportunity to express it. More emotion because of the three dimensional aspect of storytelling sound music's audio right being able to say, but in images were limited to what we can show. And so I think this is the most important part. I think it's important in stock photography. I have a lot of photographers on our roster who are extremely talented and auto work a camera Well, that No. When the right time of day to be out there is, and they can't figure out why they can't quite get past that hump. They're stuck it like eight or nine out of 10 right there. Not at that 10 out of 10. Yet They can't quite figure out why they're not hitting it out of the park every single time, and it's because they're not emotionally invested. They're not pushing their creativity for enough to be emotionally invested in it. They're not challenging themselves. As I said in a different lesson of this boot camp, they're not you're not taking you're operating in a comfort zone. You're not working in that uncomfortable space working that comfortable space, you only crawling around on the ground, crawling on the ground, literally be uncomfortable. Sometimes that's what it takes. But this is the thing that's going to separate you. It's gonna separate your stock. Photography is gonna separate you in the commercial space to separate you and advertising, and it's separated me. And it's separate a lot of other people that I know very, very well. And it's because they took something very simple. They don't have to come up with the light bulb here or the telegraph. They came with very simple subject matters, shown in new ways from a new perspective, but in a way that was relatable and expressed who they were, their personality. And you really have to, I think be comfortable with identifying that part of yourself to move through photography. So I know this is like a few words, but it's a It's a really, really defining moment. I think, for people, and I think it's important to really embrace that stock photography is managed by different rights classifications. There's public domain. If you're hoping to sell your work, you don't ever want to put it in there. Once it's there, it's there. It's free to all. Okay, that might be fine if you're operating in the non profit or government sector, and that's your goal, um or you're in some sort of position where that's that's where you want to get out of it. But generally speaking, the public domain means it's it's free. Royalty free means it's, ah, flat rate, usually a lower rate for a particular type of file size or whatever you know, the style of that agency might be, so it might be a file size. It might be a particular type of rights, but essentially you pay for it once and then you're good to go on. The rights rights management is, it's literally that all of the rights associated with the image are managed. You have one year in brochures up to 5000 copies. United States or I'm sorry, North America, only a rate of X, and it's usually more expensive. But there's more control, more definition to it. Truth is, as things evolve, they're starting to get closer together every day. These two things are moving closer together, and that's because the prices are all starting to get closer together in the buying style is starting to change, Um, the buying style, starting to shift in very interesting ways. Because of the volume, the digital market has changed the volume. Before he had a magazine, they had a budget. They knew they needed 32 images. They always bought 32 images. They could have preset rates. They still do. But now what if you're a website and you put out 15 stories a day and you won't have galleries, and then the next day you're doing 15 more. It's not a one month issue, the volumes increasing. The prices are going down. But the rights air started to shift a little bit, so it's an interesting time. Every agency is different prices, different ways of working, different volume, different visibility, different futures. And so for me, I like the niche agency. That's my thing, Like having a boutique style of working. I like working with other people and photographers at like having a sense of community, but it's It's still a challenging market for sure. I'd be lying if I said it was easy

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase


Ratings and Reviews


Ian was an amazing instructor.; very fun, enthusiastic, encouraging, and comprehensive. I hope to be able to return as an audience member for another of his classes. It is a privilege and a gift to have access via Creative Live to such a wealth of expertise. Thank you!

Cindee Still

Ian Shive is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of knowledge he is willing to share. He has had a magical path that led to his success. He touches on so many aspects of making, selling and creating images as well as how to market them and make an income from your work. It is so much fun to be part of the studio audience. The Creative Live staff are always so warm and friendly and they feed you like your on a cruise ship! Wonderful experience.


What a great class this has been. Thank you Ian Shive and Creative Live! Recently retired, I have set out to learn everything I can about photography and pursue this passion to capture the beauty in the outdoors. Creative Live has served as an amazing educational platform to help me learn everything from how to use my camera, the fundamental technicals, and learn about software and tools. This class brought it all together. At the end of this class my approach to photography and my images are different. Ian shares so much valuable knowledge that will change the way you go about taking a picture; from scouting a location, to thinking through the story and adding elements to an image to evoke an emotional response. My personal growth has been significant and I have changed to the way I approach creating an image from an Outdoor Landscape to an Outdoor Experience. Loved every minute of it, sad the class is over.

Student Work