Tag: Stocksy

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Reece McMillan

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our last interview in the series is with Sydney based photographer, Reece McMillan.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you love most about photography?

 

I’m Reece, a (mostly) self-taught, medical school dropout, turned world traveller, turned photographer & videographer. Most of what I shoot falls into the realms of travel, outdoor lifestyle, and fitness. My perfect day is spent outdoors, in the fresh air, on some kind of adventure with a camera in my hand… preferably overseas. It’s hard to lock down what I love most about this career, but one thing would be the lack of a routine. I’m always meeting new people, having new conversations, seeing new places, and photographing new activities. I’ve got a curious mind, and I love to document experiences, so photography is a reasonably great fit.

 

 

You were selected to receive some loan equipment from Fujifilm Australia for a recent trip. Can you explain what you used and why?

 

I took the X-T2 body with Vertical Power Booster Grip, the XF23mmF1.4, XF16-55mmF2.8, XF50-140mmF2.8 and seven batteries. Moving from a DSLR camera, shooting travel, outdoor lifestyle, and adventure, I wanted something rugged, with good image quality, and lighter than my current kit. Shooting a lot more video now, I wanted to test the 4K abilities of the body also. The lenses I selected were direct crop factor equivalents of the lenses I mostly shoot with regularly.

 

 

After returning the loan equipment what did you most miss about the Fujifilm X-T2 after returning to your DSLR kit?

 

I absolutely missed the size and weight of the X-T2 and the quiet shutter. I definitely liked the images that came out of it, but moving back to my big DSLR kit, I felt weighed down by it. I was less inclined to carry it and take it out and much more self-conscious taking photos in intimate settings, due to that typical loud mirror slap. I missed the ease of being able to carry it in my hand on a 7-hour hike and shoot without disturbing people.

 

 

 

Was there anything you didn’t like about the Fujifilm X-T2 body that you would like to see improved?

 

I’ll never be a fan of mirrorless battery life unless it somehow rivals DSLR’s, but let’s face it, many of us have been spoiled in that regard. The ergonomics took a bit to get used to, and I wasn’t a fan at the start, but after a couple of weeks, they were a non-issue. Anything else was just teething problems from being set in my ways.

 

 

Do you have any tips for working with talent or working to a client brief?

 

The only hot tip I have for working with talent is to be genuine…If you show up with a good attitude, the right intentions, and a warm personality, it’ll get you a lot further than gear, skill, or access. Same can be said about many aspects of life, really.

 

 

Can you provide some insight into how Stocksy looks after their photographers when compared to other stock agencies?

 

I have no experience, and almost no interest in the more traditional stock agencies, where you have to sell hundreds of images to make something resembling a profit. For that reason, and for the aesthetic differences, I’ve only ever wanted to be with Stocksy. A side benefit of joining Stocksy has been the support they’ve given to help me direct my portfolio, and have always helped with content ideas for different locations I’ve travelled to. I don’t know if the ‘inner circle’ of many other agencies would know their photographers like the team at Stocksy.

 

 

What advice can you give someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

Don’t expect it to be easy, and don’t lose yourself to the creativity gap (google ‘Ira Glass and that’). I chose Stocksy, because their representation and support of photographers seemed next level compared to other stock agencies, and the work I saw displayed on Stocksy didn’t feel like stock photography, it feels more raw, and honest. Honestly, it’s the only stock agency I’ve wanted to join.

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Natalie Jeffcott

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our seventh interview is with Melbourne based photographer, Natalie Jeffcott.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?

 

I fell in love with Photography back in the early 1990’s when studying Visual Merchandising and having Photography as a subject. Post diploma I travelled around the world with a 35mm Nikon SLR and Polaroid camera, returning home in 1999 to study Bachelor of Arts in Photography at RMIT.

 

Over the years I have worked as a freelance editorial, commercial, fine art and stock photographer.

 

I love the freedom of photography, it allows me to tune out of life, wander, observe, meet new people and no day is ever the same. I tried 9-5 when I first left school – it didn’t agree with me!

 

 

You had the opportunity to loan a Fujifilm X-T2 from Fujifilm Australia. Did the camera meet your expectations compared with your DSLR?

 

I loved having the X-T2 on loan; it was so much lighter and easier to carry around compared to my DSLR. As much as I love my DSLR, it’s too heavy to throw in a bag for normal day to day wanderings. As an example I had a meeting in Melbourne, so threw the X-T2 in my bag and captured a few images in the city that are now up on Stocksy.

 

 

Were there any settings or features on the Fujifilm X-T2 that you would like to see changed or improved?

 

Not that I can think of. I have always been a simple camera user. I stick it on manual and away I go. I don’t think you need a huge array of gear and fancy features to take a good photo.

 

 

Do you think stock photography requires a different point of view? If so, why do you think this is?

 

Stock is sometimes viewed as commercial photography’s second-rate cousin (if that’s a thing) that it’s for hobbyists etc. However often it can be a lot harder, especially if you actually want to make decent money out of it. You are creating images from an unknown brief for an unknown client. You need to be self-motivated and self-sufficient in your ideas. It’s a definite hurdle to spend your own money on shoots – for models/talent, locations, props etc. with no guarantee your images will sell.

Also, there are now so many stock agencies and so many “photographers” that you really need to create your own style or concepts to stand out.

 

 

From a photographer’s perspective, what do you think makes Stocksy different from other stock agencies?

 

Stocksy is definitely anti-stock. I am continually floored and inspired by the talent and images on there. The fact that it’s a co-op makes a difference too. The more you put in, the more you get out. We have a great community of Photographers worldwide and there’s always people travelling and meeting up like long lost friends. I know that I could turn up in almost any city, send a message and find someone to have a beer with.

 

 

You attended a Fujifilm Stocksy Photowalk in Sydney where you had the opportunity to test the Fujifilm GFX 50S. What were your initial thoughts of the camera considering you had previously used the Fujifilm X-T2?

 

I loved the GFX 50S and if money were no object 😉 The quality is so good. However it is pretty large and hefty like most medium format cameras and you certainly can’t be stealth with it. So to compare it back to the X-T2, I am sad to admit that I found the compact / lightweight X-T2 worked easier for me for those unplanned in my bag camera adventures.

 

 

After seeing the image quality, would you recommend the GFX 50S as a camera for stock photographers? Can you show us some image examples?

 

I think it definitely depends on the types of images you make and obviously your budget to spend on gear. I loved having some time using the GFX 50S – the quality and detail is amazing. It is a beast of a camera. However, in terms of affordability and stock potential, it is a lot to outlay on a camera when you have no guaranteed income coming in from stock photography month to month. You’d want to be a prolific shooter and have some good arm muscles using it out and about on locations!

 

 

What advice can you give for someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

 

Oh that’s a hard one. I started out in the world of film, pre social media and Instagram photo stars. I think you need to make good connections with people and offer them something different. Don’t copy the latest style or trend. There really are so many genres and opportunities out there.

 

Funnily enough I came across Stocksy in 2013 on Instagram via one of their first photographers posting they had just joined. Back when I was studying at RMIT, my dream was to travel and shoot for Lonely Planet / stock libraries, however the logistics then were slide film and sending catalogues out to clients – it all seemed too hard. Fast forward 13 years to the digital world, I liked the idea of Stocksy’s co-op model. They curate the collection – so there is a definite style and quality to the images and video content. So you are not scrolling forever at same, same imagery. The biggest plus is that they pay the artists fairly. We receive between 50-75% of the license. I have images elsewhere and it’s so depressing to see what your work sells for at times.

 

 

 

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Gillian Vann

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our fifth interview is with Adelaide Hill’s based photographer, Gillian Vann.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you love about photography?

 

I’m a forty-something photographer, and I came into the industry later in life, after many years in hospitality, retail and small business. I’ve got a businesslike approach to photography as opposed to artistic. I feel a bit like people who collect bugs…. I see a beautiful moment and want to preserve it. I really love photography because it’s something you can do every day, anywhere, anytime. There are rules, but then there are no rules.

 

 

We noticed you have recently used a Fujifilm X100T to take some stock images. What was your experience like when using this camera considering you mainly have used a digital SLR?

The Fujifilm is a great camera to take in situations where you don’t want to lug a heavier kit or you only have a pocket in your jacket. For example at the Polling Booth where I took a photo of the ‘iconic’ sausage sizzle, it was so much easier to get that shot having the little Fujifilm with me. It’s great for wandering the streets when travelling, as well as having in my bag in everyday life.

 

I have shot so many cafe breakfast images with the Fujifilm; I like how unassuming it is. Being able to hand hold at a lower shutter speed is a significant advantage too. I took some fun blurry images while waiting at the airport that I really love. I also took the X100T out skiing, as I’m not quite a good enough skier to trust myself with my bigger DSLR, but the Fujifilm fit inside my jacket where it stayed warm and accessible.

 

 

 

As a photographer how do you best portray emotion in a photograph?

 

Well at the risk of sounding obvious, have your subject show genuine emotion. You have to put your subject at ease, which isn’t always easy in the case of a quick shoot where you don’t really know the person. A good trick to help achieve this is to shoot through the moment. Once you think you’ve got the shot, keep shooting while the subject recovers and becomes more relaxed and genuine. Sometimes I will act as though I’ve got the shot, look away but keep the camera where it was and take a few more shots. Usually, it’s the final few shots of any shoot that are the best. For me when I shoot my own teens they are already very relaxed with me, so I don’t have to distract them like this, but if I find they aren’t quite in the mood, I’ll get them talking about themselves. Involving other people to talk to your subject is a good trick, a little side banter creates some genuine emotion.

 

 

How do you go about choosing your still life subjects to photograph? Do you do any research into what is selling or do you capture whatever you feel?

Both! I usually shoot food that I’m going to eat, which is why I have more ingredient shots than final shots. My family are patient but only to a point. For non-food still life it happens in a variety of ways. I might see some fun props that will spark an idea, so I’ll buy them and ‘hopefully’ will get around to shooting with them. I know I’m not alone in having a large prop cupboard full of guilty purchases (like the gold salt & pepper and mustard I bought at a deli recently, the gold cutlery set I purchased to go with it, I’m still wondering how to pull it all together).

 

Sometimes I’ll notice a trend or concept and I’ll try to think of a way to shoot it that might be good for stock, but to be honest, I find these types of shots much more difficult and they can become a big formulaic. Of course, there are the seasonal things like bottlebrush at Christmas time or spring fruit tree blossoms and I know I only have a limited time frame in which to shoot something. My teenagers are also a big help. They are into every latest trend and have all sorts of trinkets in their rooms that inspire me, and they enjoy getting involved to help create a concept.

 

There’s all sorts of stuff in every home that can be photographed. And while apples, flowers, keyboards and keys have been done to death, there’s plenty of things that haven’t, so I research looking for gaps. I just bought charcoal bamboo toothbrushes and they are so pretty, so I’ll be playing around with that next.

 

 

Do you edit any of your images with post-processing to improve their look or do you find the image from the Fujifilm X100T is good enough?

 

I shoot in RAW, so I do have to do some editing. I do all my basics in Adobe Camera Raw (I make presets for each camera and lighting situation and it’s just one click to be 90% done) and then into Photoshop if there’s skin to fix or tricky clones (for logos etc). I am in love with the wifi transfer on the Fujifilm X100T though. I indeed find the in-camera jpeg conversion good enough to send images straight to social media.

 

 

Based on your style and experience what would you say is the best type of lighting for photos? Can you share the story behind one of your images taken with an X100T that portrays this light?

 

Every photographer loves early morning or late afternoon light, but also window light, or a shaded spot under an awning that still allows soft light onto the subject, these are all perfect. There’s an image I took on an early morning walk with my husband at Whale Beach, Sydney that I just love. Again, when we are just going for a walk in the mornings I don’t want to take my big camera, but I always like to have a camera with me (in case we see a unicorn), so the Fujifilm X100T is perfect, and I really loved the set of images I took that morning.

 

 

Do you have any tips on how to work with teens to obtain the best photographs?

 

Now on this, I think I could write a book! I have three teenage daughters with different personalities. Ask your teens to be involved in the creative process, from wardrobe to styling and to posing. They will have their ideas about what looks cool and it’s usually opposite to mine, so when we collaborate we get some interesting shots.

 

At some point, be it in the beginning or perhaps when you suspect they are getting bored, let them do what they want, no matter how silly. They are teens and usually quite egocentric, no point working against that. Some want direction, and some want to do their own thing, you have to be able to go with it, but also pull out your mum voice and get some control back. I teach them about light, where it is and how to stand in the light, how to pose their bodies (they all like that part!). I pay my daughters a % when an image sells, or of anything they helped create/assisted on, so they are usually really willing to be a model for me. Most teens have at least one social media account, and they love having heaps of fun photos to post, so that’s also a good motivator for them too. I often play music when shooting kids, including teens; it’s easier than trying to entertain them myself. So we pick a few songs, whatever they like, and it gets them happy and dancing.

 

 

What advice can you give someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

It’s a tough industry, no one is handing out jobs, you have to go and find them yourself, and you have to be able to show up, on time, deal with the shooting conditions, edit and deliver work to the client. There’s no one available to teach you these things, so you really need to be a self-starter and be able to critique your work honestly. Nowadays everyone thinks they are a photographer, and while they may get plenty of likes and followers, that isn’t always a reflection of quality work.

 

We all now have access to fantastic gear and editing that help create great images, but there’s more to it than that, just as being able to put some paint onto a canvas doesn’t make you a painter, nor does nicely rearranging your living room make you an interior designer.

 

Buy gear you love (not just gear everyone is talking about), watch tutorials online, intern with professional photographers (just ask them, many will be more than happy to have an assistant, and even carrying gear, changing and cleaning lenses, holding the flash/reflector, watching models and stylists, are amazing skills to learn). Shoot what you love, then the work will never seem a chore. Stock is a great place to help improve your skills. Any of the stock agencies will critique your work and the rejections will be part of your learning process (more than client work ever will be).

 

I am incredibly grateful that Stocksy chose me. It’s such an amazing place full of mind-blowing talent from around a world. The nerd in me likes having my work critiqued by the editors, it’s humbling and I have improved so much as a photographer since joining Stocksy in 2013. Of course the co-op platform is unique to any stock agency, and the community is very supportive. I have direct access to talk with anyone, right up to the CEO. Add in the generous commissions and you’ve got the best agency to be with.

 

 

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Robert Lang

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our fourth interview is with South Australian based photographer, Robert Lang.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?

 

I’m from Port Lincoln, South Australia. I was originally a qualified carpenter building residential homes before changing my career to professional photography. It sort of just fell in my lap really, I never truly chased it. Starting on small jobs for friends and local businesses would somehow always create enough demand for that next job to roll in. Once I started freelancing, I was hooked completely. I work a lot on my own now; I love the flexibility of working to my own schedule and the more time it has given me at home with my family. For me, taking pictures borderlines addiction. You never know what that next shot will be like, so it’s become this constant pursuit of the unknown.

 

You currently use the Fujifilm X100T, how do you find the image quality stacks up against other brands?

 

I was immediately impressed how a much smaller camera in my hands could still give me such a high-quality image. I quite often find the SOOC (straight out of camera) jpegs are so on point that I would question myself if it was even worth post processing the image at all.

 

For the ones I did wish to play around with, I found the RAW files if ever needed could be pushed as hard as I would use my regular DSLR workhorse. Adding in the high ISO noise performance on the X100T alone, now meant on my everyday excursions I was successfully grabbing useable handheld shots from low light scenes you just would never expect from a camera that size.

 

How did you get your start as a stock photographer and do you find it to be rewarding?

 

I got my foot in the door after a friend of mine, noticed the style I was already shooting. He suggested I try and join a few different stock agencies that he was already in. At the time I didn’t have much photography gear, so I used the passive income to re-invest in new equipment, slowly replacing the second-hand gear I started on and setting myself up with everything I needed to move into a profession. Stock photography has given me an uncomplicated form of access to clients I would normally never have the opportunity to sell to and has given me a wonderful new group of extremely talented like-minded friends all around the world.

 

 

 

What do you most like about the Fujifilm X100T and has it changed you as a photographer?

 

It was the first time I ever held any camera that truly compelled me to go and take a picture, purely because of how it felt and looked in my hands, I didn’t just want to go photographing with it, I needed to. It was smaller, more lightweight than my normal chunky DSLR, something I would often leave at home. Now I finally had something that I could take with me everywhere, so straight up I was taking more pictures than I used to and without the somewhat intimidation of a larger camera.

 

A feature I frequently love using is customising the setting of the Fn (Function) button to the inbuilt neutral density filter. I also get a real kick out of using the OVF (Optical View Finder) and leaving my shot reviews until I get back to the computer later. Combined with the slick retro look and feel of the camera itself, it gave shooting that addictive old school feel. My all-time favourite focal length is already 35mm, so with its 23mmF2 lens (35mm full frame equivalent) it even has me covered there too. Overall, there is this seductive and confident freedom the X100T gives me from shooting on a smaller camera, yet still in no way, ever compromise on the quality. You feel unobtrusive in simple moments, which makes for some beautiful candid photographs.

 

 

When you shoot, do you use any particular settings like aperture priority, set on the X100T?

 

I’m a fan of the cameras Classic Chrome jpegs for sure. For actual shooting style, it’s got to be full manual control all the way for me, and I particularly love the focus peak highlight in manual focus with the AE & AF (Auto Exposure & Auto Focus) set to switch mode.

 

 

Do you have any tips when it comes to photographing children and animals?

 

Probably nothing that hasn’t been said before. Getting down to their eye level certainly, does help. I think it comes down more to the moment you choose to hit the shutter button instead. I do like my high-speed burst mode in the drive button settings to increase my chance of getting the right frame in the moment something is happening. I would then go back and delete the ones that I didn’t need. I have looked them over post shoot and found some pure gold this way. Just make sure you have an SD card with a fast write speed if you want to keep up with this camera though.

 

 

What has been your favourite image captured using the Fujifilm X100T? Can you tell us the story behind the photo?

 

It would have to be the one of my Border Collie called Reggie who was asleep on the shearing shed floor. I just got my hands on the WCL-X100 wide angle conversion lens and went for a walk at home to fire off some new shots. It was the first photograph I took with it, so yeah just a test shot that I fell in love with.

 

 

What advice can you give for someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocksy to represent your work?

 

Always value your own work, if you don’t then neither will your clients and never waste an opportunity that knocks on your door either. My best advice though I was given starting out still rings true for me today “always shoot for fun and the rest will sort itself out”. I just love Stocksy, and I’m really proud to be a part of their team.

 

In my opinion, the photographers are quite simply world class; it’s high-quality premium content at every turn. This quality over quantity approach to their collection also means the submissions are stringent, so if I ever get a photo accepted I wear it like a badge. Money talks too, as Stocksy has the highest royalty rates in the industry, and as a Co-Op, it really bucks the trend that has seen artist’s rates declining over time by sharing the bottom line back to its own photographers.