Getting Started with Stock Photography With a Family
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Fledgling photographers can easily get scared of the stock photography business- it’s a daunting task to invest time and money into it and build your portfolio, but it is the hardest getting into stock photography as a mother. As a mother of 2, I’ve gone through this challenge of balancing work and family and found that it’s a bit easier to do.
Importance of Balance
With all things in life, it’s important to balance your work and your family. Especially with stock photography, as this job behaves a bit different than a nine to five- the schedule and workload are a bit more flexible. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s easy- a successful balance of work and family is challenging but extremely important. For me, photography started as a hobby, just shooting whatever I saw that was interesting or when I was traveling with my family. I realized that I had the possibility to make money with my images, so I started uploading stock images as a side thing to my job. As I got more into food photography and the stock became a full-time job for me, I had to re-balance my focus between my kids and my work. Even after this change, my family was a priority above all else, as raising my children is the most important thing to me.
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Shooting With Family
This balance doesn’t have to be exclusive- your family can lead more than a helping hand in your work, and you’ll need them. During family, trips are a great opportunity to get shots that you wouldn’t be able to usually get. They also offer a look into what’s most important to stock photography- images of real people doing things. Whether it’s my son jumping off of sand dunes on a beach or my husband reeling in a fish, these images are one-of-a-kind for both stock purposes and recording memories from another perspective. Even if you aren’t traveling, you can still shoot while enjoying everyday life together, giving chances to shoot skiing trips or grill cookouts. These opportunities don’t come often, so it’s important to be creative with your camera and find what will sell well. Taking my work with me wherever I go is the easiest way to balance my work and family life.
Traveling With Family For Shoots
When shooting on vacations I’m able to enjoy my family and vacation, while also sneaking in a few opportunities to shoot. Traveling for a shoot is different, as I’m focused on getting the most amount of usable media to justify the cost of the trip. When I first started my stock photography business, I often traveled across the state for shooting opportunities. While I realized that this was not cost-effective, I tried to keep my family close while going on these trips. Day trips to the mountains with my kids were an opportunity to show them the wonders of the landscape, but also for me to get shots and videos of places that are a bit hard to get to. My son kept me company on overnight shoots, when traveling to the Great Sand Dunes to capture flocks of Sandhill Cranes migrate in the early hours of the morning. Shoots like these weren’t cost-effective, but they doubled as a way that I could spend time with my kids and enjoy the sights myself.
Models might be a scary subject to new stock photographers as they seem like an alien or expensive commodity, but some of my greatest models live right across my bedroom. Family work great as models, whether they’re aware of it or not. My husband usually doesn’t like to be posing for photos and videos for me, but capturing him fixing things around the house or his hobbies (when he isn’t paying attention) makes for great shots. My son has been a great model for the past 8 years, and I’ve been able to capture everything for stock photography from ‘teenager boy shaving’ to ‘teenager before senior prom’. My daughter also serves well as both a model and a cook, where she and her friends can decorate cookies in the studio while I shoot them, or her exploring the world around her or playing. Models don’t have to be expensive strangers, they can be your family as you are able to capture great shots for stock with them.
Shooting at Home
As I’m able to shoot in the studio alone as my children attend school, I need to make the most out of my time that allows me to work efficiently. I don’t have enough time for elaborate setups, and shoots can’t take any longer than three hours long as I have to attend to my family and can’t work effectively at the same time. To help with this, I always pre-plan my shoots far in advance to ensure a smooth shoot. The night before, as my daughter sleeps, I prepare my studio for the following morning shoots with props and cooking utensils. Doing this helps me not waste too much time or money on one shoot.
Being a stock photographer mom may seem a bit challenging on the surface, but it has both perks and hardships. Balancing your work and family life is no different in stock photography, but I wouldn’t work any other way, being able to do what I love with the people that I love.
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