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Microstock Money Shots: Turning Downloads into Dollars with Microstock Photography Paperback – August 24, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Microstock Money Shots offers tips from picking the right subject matter to composition, working with models...using keywords, legal forms, and much more...invaluable information --Shutterbug Magazine Dec 2010 Top Photo Books 2010 page 104

Boughn draws on 30 years of experience to create a long overdue handbook for shooting  saleable stock imagery targeting "what the market demands year after year" --Rangefinder Magazine. August 2010. LightReading. Jim Cornfield. page 136-138

About the Author

Ellen Boughn has worked in the stock photography business for more than 30 years, holding executive positions at Corbis, UpperCut Images, Workbookstock, and SuperStock. She founded the stock agency After-Image, now part of Getty Images. Most recently, Ellen spent two years advising photographers on stock strategies through a successful blog at Dreamstime, the world’s third highest-grossing microstock agency. Ellen is a frequent industry speaker and can be found at www.ellenboughn.com.
 
Andres Rodriguez (foreword) is one of the world's top microstock contributors. A self-taught photographer, he receives 30,000 downloads each month. Visit him at www.andresr.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817424970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817424978
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm familiar with Ellen Boughn so curiosity got the best of me and I bought and read the book. It's a fast read, you can finish it in a day... partially because there is nothing in it that you won't see posted on the microstock sites and the multitude of blogs about microstock.

The blogs and the book have another thing in common too. They are both seeking to profit by convincing photographers to devalue their work. Ellen hopes to sell books by leading you to believe you can make a fortune licensing your work for 25 cents. That's right, a quarter... and one site licenses the work for a mere 14 cents. The blogs by convincing you of the same and then signing up to license your work for less that it costs you to park your car at a meter during a photoshoot and themselves making a referral commission off of any image you license.

One thing quite apparent in reading this is Ellen is VERY AWARE that the advice she is giving is misleading. For example, she mentions that most of the food photos shot for microstock look very unappetizing and that a food stylist with her full compliment of tricks is needed to make the food look good. Then she continues to say that you will not make enough from the image as microstock to cover the cost of the stylist!

This is true. And it is the way of microstock. Convince the photographer that if he only invested more into the shoot he would make a fortune... and knowing full well that he will not. There is a small handful of photographers who do well at microstock this way and they can be counted on the fingers of both hands. However based on some actual payout charts that were once available from iStock, the vast, vast, vast majority of contributors never license enough work in a year to reach the $100 payout threshold.
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Format: Paperback
Microstock Money Shots does a great job of giving the reader inspiration and direction for shooting, without stifling your own creativity and freedom. Ellen doesn't give you hand holding directions through the microstock process, but instead gives you ideas, thoughts, and inspiration on how to use your own creativity to create sale-able stock.

The book is full of ideas on what to shoot, how to find models, how to make your photos look more professional, and what sells; but again, Ellen smartly conveys her ideas as inspiration as apposed to instructions.

This book could be recommended for both someone just starting out in microstock or someone with years of experience looking for additional sources of inspiration.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to this much touted "best guide to the microstock photography" by the famous and knowledgeable author only to be disappointed. Reading the foreword section by Andres Rodriguez (Boughn's friend), made me uneasy - in his brief introduction he keeps mentioning ad nauseam that this is the only book one needs in order to take acceptable microstock photos. Can it be more tacky than that?
However, the book content didn't meet my expectations at all. Those so called "insider secrets" are no secrets, Ellen is not sharing anything special here. No real mention of markets and customers who buy stock photos, except for a very general, vague and available freely online information. Not helpful.
The author is not a photographer herself, just a business woman who makes money on microstock selling/promoting visual content for big bucks to those clients she carefully does not identify - this book probably is there to serve the likes of her first and foremost. It should be sold for 1$ per download in line with the pricing of stock photos. That would be acceptable and fair.
All the other information regarding composition, keywording, choice of subject, etc. is basically a repeat what every single stock site provides for free to the contributors (i.e., Bigstock, Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, etc.) along other free as well and superb photo tutorials online (Harvard University Extension School, Cambridge in Colour, and many more).
I am glad I borrowed this book from the local library before wasting money on the purchase. If anything I would recommend "Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell" (Rob Sylvan) by a microstock photographer with some real experience to share.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Microstock Money Shots is loaded with concise, practical information on shooting photos for stock (and not entirely limited to microstock). I read halfway through this book on the night it arrived. It's a fast read, but so full of info that I'll probably review and reread specifics again later. The chapters are well organized, well written, and well supported with actual stock images. Ellen has a wealth of experience in the business, and she shares it here. Truly a great resource!
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Format: Paperback
An excellent guide to the complex world of the microstock industry. Extremely helpful hints on framing photos for commercial use, composition, and popular themes. Useful technical hints on submission errors. Best "how-to" book I've read. Highly recommended with plenty of tips for both professionals and amateurs. An extra plus is that Ellen is a good writer, so it a well-organized, comfortable read. This book is going to travel with me on future shoots.
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