Archive for November 2010

17 Nov, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

Let Them Be Your Teacher

How can you learn to take marketable stock photos? Your best teachers are the markets themselves: magazines, textbooks, websites, books, posters and so on. Let these markets show you what they want. Analyze their picture content and style.
You'll find they consistently feature pictures with these elements:
1. Background is uncluttered.
2. Reasonably close up.
3. Bold in design, poster-like.
4. When people are in the pictures, which is 90% of the time, they are pictured involved in meaningful activities or dialog.
Give yourself a quick course in how to take marketable pictures by selecting a published stock photo, and then going out and taking (reasonably) the same photo. You'll be rewarded with new insight into lighting, composition, and the handling of models.
Use the checklist mentioned above to eliminate errors in your own picture taking. Tip the scale in your favor by submitting pictures that are marketable.

Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. E-mail: info[at]photosource[dot]com . Fax: 1 715 248 7394. Web site:

10 Nov, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

After You're Gone...What next?

Did you ever wonder if your editorial images would be worth much after youíre gone?

You donít have to wait Ďtil the public is reading your obituary to learn how valuable your editorial images are. Hereís an example. The Turnley Brothers sold their documentary collection to Corbis for $2.3 million ($3.83 per image). The Bettmann Archive (pictures from the turbulent 20ís, 30ís and 40ís) sold for $13.5 million ($1.23 per image). If you figure each image at an average $2.53, you do the math. An edited and keyworded collection of 50,000 images depicting life in the last century could sell for $126,000óa nice legacy to leave your heirs. --RE

Note: Know of someone with a large collection of vintage photos,1900 to 1965-75, especially in the area of sports, celebrities, and cinema? Send me details and I'll put the photographer (or heir) in touch with Ralph DeLuca, a collector. -RE

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Vintage Photos

Can you make any money?

A reader recently wrote: What is the possible editorial worth of my collection of aerials of the new Orleans Skyline, Louisiana, offshore oil, shipping and industrial subjects from the 1950ís Ė 1980ís?
In any marketing endeavor, the successful route to follow is to determine who needs your product, whether it is umbrellas or excavation equipment.
In your case, photobuyers worldwide--whether they be a corporate art director in Omaha or a photo researcher for BP (British Petroleum, the Gulf Oil Spill people) in London, will someday, sometime, need your aerial and industrial photos.
The problem: how to connect their needs with your photo collection.
In the old days (in the 70's when we first started the Photoletter marketletter here at PhotoSource International), photographers, or the grown children of deceased photographers, would ask me a similar question.

My only answer was to tell them to 'donate' their collection to the local city or state historical library or university archives.
Now my advice has changed. I've learned that such collections are usually relegated to basement vaults, rarely to be seen by the public because the institution doesn't have the funds or grants to exhibit them, file them, or preserve them.
Here's what I tell photographers now. Things have changed and the savior is the Internet.
If you build a website, scan your photos and put good captions (keywords)on them, you're in a position to begin to market those images--customers will come to you.

Back in 1999 here at PhotoSource International, we recognized that most photographers don't have the resources (money) or the time to educate themselves on how to build an effective website. Also, we recognized that in the editorial field, photo researchers look first for the SOURCE of a highly specialized photo (like a vintage aerial view of Baton Rouge, and once they find the source (the photographer), then they start looking at pictures (not the reverse). Back in 1999 we figured out a way photographers could capitalize on this process by establishing the where a photographer can let web-searching photobuyers know the kind of photos he or she has available. The photographer puts up a list of text descriptions of their photos (using up to 6,000 words) on a web page of their own at the PhotoSource International site > < where we get lots of traffic (presently more than 15,000 hits per day). The membership fee to have this personal "tags" web page is only $4.95 per month (by charge card), or $59 per year by check.
You can see how this works by simply typing in your browser's address bar:
(No need to put in http:// or www)
If you follow the directions and list highly specialized subject matter, such as the actual names of buildings, quarters, streets, events, boulevards, parade names (this is what researchers look for), not general, subjects (such as the words "bridge," "building," "automobile," you'll eventually get hits -- and not only from the USA but from across the world.
As you can see, this takes initially a bit of extra work and research on your part. However, if you roll up your sleeves and catalog your collection in this way, and get it out there on the web where photobuyers can find it, in the long run it will be well worth it to you and your heirs.
- Rohn Engh