From Individualism to Generalism…
Recently, I was approved to become an iStockphoto.com photo contributor.
So what is a contributor, you may ask? Below is the definition according to Wikipedia. Feel free to skip ahead if already familiar.
“Contributing photographers apply (via a short quiz regarding policies, requirements, basic photographic knowledge, and legal issues) before they are eligible to upload their images. The applicant’s sample images are screened for quality and suitability before being approved.
Once approved, photographers can begin uploading their work through the website. They supply keywords, categorize the images, and submit them to the “inspection queue”, where each image is examined to ensure that it meets the standards of quality, usefulness and copyright and trademark laws.
Contributors receive a commission of between 15% and 40% of each sale, depending on whether or not they are “exclusive”, and on their current “canister level.” New canisters are awarded for various milestones such as 250 sales, 2,500 sales, 10,000 sales, 25,000 sales, and 200,000 sales. Only five photographers have passed the 200,000 point, while 209 members have passed the 25,000 level as of 2008-03-13 and received the coveted “diamond canister. Canister values will reset at the beginning of each year in 2012.”
Contributing photographers who reach a minimum of 250 sales (and have a submission acceptance rate of at least 50%) are offered the option of becoming exclusive to the company. If they do so, a bonus is added to their commission and they must not sell royalty-free stock images anywhere else. Rights managed sales are allowed off site even under the exclusivity contract.”
-> SKIP TO HERE<- (hahahha)
The point of providing that explanation was to demonstrate why maintaining a high acceptance rate for my photos is very important to me. [It’s similar to ebay and striving for 100% positive feedback to encourage more buyers.] I am being very selective about which photos I submit for approval to avoid negatively affecting my rating.
While contemplating on existing photo choices to upload and prepping for upcoming istock.com-geared funtography events, I have recognized that the overlying iStock style of photography (generalism/one focus) is much different than my normal photography style (individualism/culmination of elements that form a story).
~Individualism~ Since my first paid photo session in 2007, I have focused on taking pictures that tell a story. It’s the culmination of elements in the photograph that deliver the overlying message. Also, I would focus on the individual details that make the session unique. For example/ What is it that makes this wedding special versus any other weddings that have a dress, cake, flowers, bridesmaids, etc…? What idiosyncracies do people have that help show who they are that I can capture?
~Generalism~ With iStock, it’s mostly about supplying photos that can apply to a broad crowd and are generalistic in nature (marketing). They are typically geared towards a single element/idea in the photo. Also, whenever possible, any human subjects should be models, general in appearance, taken in a way that they are unrecognizable, or simply hint at humanity.
~Genividualism? Indivineralism?~ Whatever you want to call it, I have found that exploring the generalistic style of photography has allowed me to grow and ultimately adapt to an enhanced blend of the two. Using both styles in a photo session makes the album much more rounded. I am loving what I am learning and so thankful for the road this is taking me down!!