Recently i have been thinking about how to leverage the Plus 10,000 hours ( A requirement for success?) i have invested into Art, Design and Photography, the thousands of images sitting in dormant corners of SSDs and the countless illustrations stuffed into the bottom of lockers and boxes. Not to mention recouping the ridicules up-front cost of choosing a carrear path that involves Freelance work...
With the endevour to make as much/any money from my creative produce as possible, I turned to the Internet (Obviously) The question was simple enough, "How to make a passive income to supplement all my bad habits?" ENTER.
Instantly i was led down a path, to the pot of goal at the end of a Rainbow, Stock Photos.
This seems straight forward, i post work, if people like work, they by work.... the end.
While i understood that signing up to one of the enormous megladonic corperations would mean sacrificing my artists integrity, I thought, well shit who needs integrity when you can have a Porsche.
so i signed along the dotted line and Satan himself 500px (My demon of choice) granted me the privilege to host and share my images across it and others platforms.
Well woweeeee... all i have to do now is sit back and watch the dollars and/or cents roll and/or trickle in. as i begun receiving the results from the images i had submitted for exclusive licensing it became apparent.
of the 41 images submitted 3 have been approved for sale on the platform. Early on i had learned that images requiring release forms was a barrier to profiting from all my blood sweat and tears but fortunately the style and subjects of my work means i take lots of photos of things and places that do not require a release, ie a flower. At first the feed back i was receiving was valid and mostly due to not having the appropriate release forms, for example, the Duomo Di Milano, which is fare, i wouldn't know how to ask the hundred year old cathedrial in fluent enough Italian if i could get its permission to profit off its image/likeness.
But then....... The message that every Artist dreads, DECLINED : "Limited commercial demand - (Limited commercial demand, what the f*ck does that mean? who determines this? how do they deem if a photo is commercially in demand if it cant be sold? too many questions, but i digress)
it continued, "There is little commercial demand for this type of content. The type of content that sells well communicates something to the viewer, has a nice visual aesthetic, and is technically well executed. LEARN MORE" Learn more just baiting me to click and find out more about how bad of an artist i am determined by a proprietary A.I. CLICK.
i am taken to a 500px.com internal blog post titled 10 things shit kickers do when trying to shill photographs online, something along those lines. it outlined all the common mistakes and issues that people will have when submitting images for licensing.
“The most common reason a photo is declined is for having little or no commercial appeal, even if it is technically sound,” Dave (this gate keeping prick) continues. “This is the first thing we consider when reviewing an image before looking at the technical details. If an image would not have much commercial use, then we decline it.”
Dave, if i may, how is it that you determin if a photo has comercial merit? do you have a panel of curators, product designers and publishers vetting the value of work to deemed its commercial value? and how would someone go about meeting these basic requirements?
In order to have that commercial appeal, the photo must be visually appealing, and beyond that, it needs to have practical applications. Make sure your photo delivers a strong message, has a clear purpose, and can be used in the real world (in a magazine, an advertisement, a brochure, etc.). Keep your photos authentic and relatable.
im paraphrasing but Dave essentially says do better you bottom dwelling mino.
and then it hit me, everything i had been uploading, hours spent trawlling through hardrives, USBs and SD cards being dragged back through time with every nondiscrit or poorly lable file, years worth of travel, making single serving friends and having single serving meals, just to curate and post in a way that replicated the gallery experience, only to realize that the images i had uploaded....
had more value to them then any stock photo platform could offer, the incredible locations, amazing people and countless memories are value enough, the fact that i can share my creative espression with others is just a benifical biproduct of the creative process.
so lesson to all budding photographers looking to make a side hustle with stock photos, dont meet the basic requirements..... create whatever makes you think and feel, create work that makes you remember times that have past and share that with people in the future..... dont just make work to meet someone else basic requirements as a means to make money. Because thens its called a product and products have a shelf life. as do stock photo platforms on the internet, there time will come and go but art created through true self expression seems to be timeless.
So if you would like to see some photography with little commercial demand aka niche, communicates very little to the viewer aka abstract, not "nice visual aesthetic" aka Ahead of its time, with poor technical execution aka created be an idiot savant please visit www.500px.com and search v1s1onforce. i also sell NFTs, you interested?