We know stock photographers are hungry for information about how to shoot good pictures and achieve the most success in licensing them. As the industry grows, there are an increasing number of books on the subject. We recently came across one that does a great job of explaining our sometimes-esoteric business.
Microstock Money Shots is a new book by Ellen Boughn, a photo consultant who has worked as an executive at several stock agencies, and who knows the industry as well as anybody. The book includes many real-world examples of top-selling images, with explanations of what has made them successful. Boughn knows how to choose subjects in high demand, cast models, and compose photos in ways that increase their potential. One chapter explains how to appeal to specialty customers, like textbook publishers and greeting card makers. (Sample advice: “Young children have to be photographed using appropriate props and wardrobes, such as wearing bicycle helmets and carrying the see-through backpacks that many schools now require.”) There are also chapters on the dry but important topics of keywording and legal compliance.

Some of the book’s advice will seem basic to people who have been doing stock a while, but it’s a valuable orientation for beginners. Even experienced shooters may find ideas for inspiration, and can glean insights from some of the business’s top artists, including Bigstock contributor Andres Rodriguez, who wrote the introduction.

Beginners and experts alike will find actionable, intelligent information in Microstock Money Shots. If you’re interested in learning more about shooting stock photos, this book could pay for itself several times over.

Microstock Moneyshots by Ellen Boughn
Amphoto Books, 160 pages.
List U.S. $24.99 / Available for $16.49 on Amazon