I share my photos through several stock photography agencies online. Each one has its own behind-the-scenes features for contributors like me. I’d like to let you in on an interesting feature that I love from one of them. This feature visually illustrates and can show me where in the world my pictures are being bought and downloaded—almost in real time.
How does this look like? There’s a line illustration of a world map and in it pops up in sequence the latest pictures that have been bought—pinned to the place where it was purchased. At the bottom, is a notation of the exact city and the name of the country accompanying each picture as it comes on.
As much as I am very curious to know more about all the sales, the agency protects the buyers’ privacy, which prevents me from knowing more. I only know where the pictures were downloaded. I don’t know who brought it.
I like this feature because it’s quite thrilling to know where my photos are being bought. As the images of the sale pops up, there seems to be no pattern which pictures are brought where. To me, it is just delightful to know that my pictures are of use and value to people all over the world.
Most of the photographs I shoot are still life, concepts, landscapes, among others, from where I am and from where I’ve been. I shoot mostly what’s around me. These are pictures of my world, where I am, with what I have. And while I have done a fair bit of traveling, it’s not as if I’m shooting in all four corners of the world. I’m only photographing where I am at a particular time.
The irony is, while I shoot local, my pictures are being bought internationally. I can only deduce that, one way or the other, my pictures are useful enough that it fills a need. (Hopefully, it’s also because my pictures are quite pretty.)
For years, I had serious reservations about making my pictures available to stock agencies. But realizing the gigantic upheavals in the industry, the shifting business models, and the practical reality of making it as a professional photographer in the competitive digital day and age, it makes sense to tap into this as a sensible means of making my creative output available to people all over the world who might have use for them.
While I continue to accept direct assignments, provide professional consultation on different aspects of photography, specially on international copyright issues, exhibit fine art prints on galleries and museums, and make available exclusive images for download and prints from my online portfolio, being able to reach a truly international audience with their on-demand photographic requirements is quite a fascinating new business model that I am pursuing right now. And seeing pictures pop up on the illustrated map from one of the stock agencies gives me a feeling of accomplishment knowing that my photographic work matters to many people all over the world.
Take a look at some of these pictures, here.