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Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell 1st Edition

30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321713070
ISBN-10: 0321713079
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The ultimate insider guide to creating stock shots that sell from a veteran iStockphoto inspector

An iStockphoto inspector since 2002, author Rob Sylvan has spent nearly a decade as part of the team that decides which photos get sold on one of the largest, most popular microstock sites in existence. He's also made tens of thousands of dollars off of his own microstock photography. As a result, no one knows better than he does what it takes to get your photos accepted to stock sites—and what to do to make those photos sell. InTaking Stock,Rob shares his hard-earned insider knowledge on how to shoot, edit, and tag photos so you can earn while you learn, regardless of which microstock agency you're using.
In this book, you'll learn how to look at the world through the eyes of designers, photo editors, and stock photographers. You'll also learn the importance of focusing your energy on creating stock content that resonates with your passion for photography. But we all know time is money, which is why Rob explains how to set up an effective digital workflow—the real key to making money in the high-volume, low-cost microstock market. By the end of this book, you'll look at your work with new eyes, enabling you to make more money doing exactly what you love: shooting photos that sell.
You will learn:
  • How to license photos as stock
  • What photos are in demand
  • The components of a successful digital workflow
  • How to use titles, descriptions, and keywords to give yourself an edge
  • Specific tips for shooting food, people, places, nature, objects, animals, and more
  • Editing techniques that will make your shots sell

About the Author

Rob Sylvan started contributing photos to iStockphoto in 2002. In December 2002, he became the sixth photo inspector (the people who review all new submissions to the site) to be hired. Over the last seven years he has inspected thousands upon thousands of photos and is in the process of re-writing iStock's photo contributor manual. Beyond his experience with iStockphoto, Rob has been one of three people serving on the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) Help Desk answering Photoshop and Lightroom questions for all NAPP members. He is also the author of Lightroom 2 for Dummies.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (August 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321713079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321713070
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A freelance photographer, teacher, and author, who is also the Lightroom HelpDesk Specialist for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and Kelby Training, an instructor for the Perfect Picture School of Photography, and on staff at Rob writes the "Under the Loupe" column for Photoshop User Magazine and is the author of Lightroom 2 for Dummies, Lightroom 3 Video QuickStart Guide, Editing on your iPad with PhotoGene, D5100: From Snapshots to Great Shots, D3200: From Snapshots to Great Shots, D600: From Snapshots to Great Shots and Taking Stock.

He blogs about Lightroom over at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Schnoodle on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently purchased Rob Sylvan's book. His explanations of the cause of stock photo rejections was very clear and useful, and helped me make sense of the boilerplate rejection responses that so far, far outnumber my acceptances. Utilizing 3 separate pieces of information gleaned from the book, I was able to turn my latest 3 rejections into acceptances. More than just the euphoria of this sudden success is the hope that I can now plan more ambitous photos, without the despair of feeling doomed from the start. Well worth the money spent, and hopefully earning it back even as we speak. - Schnoodle on iStockphoto
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Weekly Photo Tips on March 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Taking Stock
Rob Sylvan

This book is a great introduction to creating stock images. Sylvan takes the reader step by step through all the necessary ideas and information needed to get started in stock photography. He talks about the pros and cons in a realistic way without at all discouraging the newcomer.

Throughout each chapter there are activities to help the reader develop skills needed to gain perspective and insight to creating images suitable. He starts with using an organized way to look at existing stock images, evaluate them and then begin to look at the world with the notion of seeing potential stock images.

References are made to Sylvan's preferred online stock image providers. There is discussion about their methods and requirements for selecting stock images to post from those submitted. Sylvan is realistic without being discouraging. The book is replete with samples of successful images along with comments by the creator.

Sylvan is a capable instructor and provides the reader with all the tools necessary to submit their own stock images. This book is not only a great introduction to get the interested reader started but a reference guide to keep handy along the journey through stock image creation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By stnlyimages on September 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have always been interested in pursuing stock photography but have never given it a try. So I bought "Taking Stock" and read it cover to cover. I then followed the advice the book gave and submitted an application to iStockphoto with the requried three sample images. Imagine my pleasure to be accpeted on the first application attempt! I understand that it is not uncommon for new contributors to make multiple applications before being accepted. Next I submitted five images for review. One was accepted, one rejected for a copyright issue (you can't show more than 30% of paper currency) and three had minor suggestions with an invite to resubmit. I have reread parts of the book and am confident these three images will be accepted on a resubmission. I am not a professional photographer, just a hobbyist, so I credit the advice and guidance in "Taking Stock" for my early success. Some people complain that the book focuses on Lightroom too much, but you need to look at the advice that is given more than the software that is used to demonstrate that advice. This is not a software manual, it is a guide on how to have success in stock photography. And for me it is working.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Jameson on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an easygoing personable and well-written book, that gives a broad outline of stock photography, with a particular focus on 'microstock' - shooting photos for sites such as istockphoto.

It's written in a friendly style, and the various pages featuring information about current stock photographers and their successes are a bonus. The layout, design and print quality are excellent.

However, the book tends to focus a bit too much on a particular software workflow, namely Photoshop (and Photoshop Elements) and Lightroom - which is fine if you use these products. I happen to use other software and so several sections of this book were irrelevant. These sections could perhaps be best put into a separate book.

But overall, I was happy with my purchase and learnt alot about the industry and the kinds of photos that 'sell' on microstock sites. It IS aimed at the beginner, and that's fine.
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