I am now a contributor to the stock photography community! This is a really big step for me. I say that because for the longest time I struggled with not thinking my work was good enough, the quality wasn’t high enough and that no one would purchase my photos. Some of what it was comparison. I was comparing my work to others and saying, “well, it’s not as good as theirs” or “it’s different”…blah, blah, blah. Comparison is deadly!
Here’s where some of my doubt came in…a long time ago I made a site and allowed people to purchase prints off of it, and no one did! As an artist, I took that personal, to heart, thinking I wasn’t good enough. I know that is not true, but it was hard to get out of that headspace. So I took the site down and decided I didn’t want to feel the “rejection” anymore. People had told me in the past that I had the “eye” for photography, and people asked me to photograph them…a couple of engagement sessions, a surprise proposal, a wedding, a band, etc. But some of my friends work was being published in the company magazine, and mine wasn’t. Insert the internal self-talk of “my work isn’t good enough to be noticed and printed.”
So, when I was thinking of joining the stock community, I went through some of these feelings again. Will my work be rejected? Is it good enough? Will anyone buy it? How will I process it if no one buys anything?
FEAR…fear is what was keeping me from joining. Many people will tell you they view me as fearless, but when it comes to feelings of being rejected, it used to paralyze me or make me take things into my own hands. It wasn’t pretty. It’s still a struggle, but not quite as much. I have long since had people tell me they loved my work, that it brought them joy. I let fear keep me from joining and selling images for nearly four years.
Even these last six months I kept putting it on my “to-do” list. Some of it was needing to go through my photo library, organize it and figure out what I wanted to contribute, but most of it was fear. About two months ago I saw an article about the top stock sites and did some research and then set it down, not to pick up for another month or so. Then, in February, I finally decided to take the plunge. I decided to punch fear in the face!
I signed up for iStock and Shutterstock! I started with iStock and they accepted ALL of the photos I had submitted! Woohoo. I submitted the same photos to Shutterstock and they were accepted too, with the exception of one. I was so excited! Besides amazing coaches and encouragers in my life, this validated my work, my gifting, the photo quality, etc. So, I started uploading even more!
I still struggle with the insecurity, a lot of artists do, however I’ve decided it’s not going to stop me from offering up my skills and photos to others. I may never make money from it, but on the other hand I might. But I will never know if I don’t try.
Putting yourself out there and your work can be very hard as an artist. But I am doing it anyway, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times!
It will take a while to work my stock portfolio up, but I am confident it will continue to grow and people will start to purchase images! I just have to have faith that it will happen.