Friday, February 1, 2008

The Stock Market

I'll admit that while I've picked some good stocks like (AAPL) purchased at $30, I've also picked some dogs (EBAY) and (YHOO). Fully aware of my abilities (or lack thereof), I am more the hunter/gatherer type of nuts for the winter...make money the old fashioned way...time value...

With this in mind, I've never made full use of my library of stock photography. But without much of an effort, I have managed to license a few images with the biggest single license to Merrill Lynch for over $5,000 for one year of advertising.

I think it's time I jumped into the stock photography market head first.

I recently signed with Digital Railroad's system of online archiving and distribution. I spoke with a few of DR's current members and was impressed with their interface. So, starting with about 160 images in my little 'stock market,' we'll see how it goes. There are probably another 2,000 stock-worthy images I could license if these first few are successful over the next few months.

Its also been a journey back in time for me to keyword and upload some of the first shots I ever took as a new photographer. One early project had me wandering around Miami Beach's art deco district with my recently-acquired Hasselblad (and my recently-acquired wife as my assistant), shooting hotel facades on b/w Polaroid 665 film. I would peel and wash the negatives in my car as it accumulated parking tickets on Collins. Another time, I was on a cruise ship shoot as we docked in the port of Cadiz, Spain (some guy named Columbus used to dock his yacht there). When I carefully leaned over the balcony, I could see a warmly lit cathedral at sunrise and snapped a nice shot. So far it's been licensed by travel magazines based in Russia and the UK.

Most photographers wait until they're semi-retired before fully monetizing their stock library. Luckily, I've been too busy shooting to really take advantage of licensing and now plan to have both shooting and licensing as parallel businesses. With the small sales I've had, it looks encouraging. But as the stock market teaches us, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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