Some of you may not be aware of it, but I offer my photos for other people to use.... FREE.
I got started sharing my photos online because a friend of mine looked through my pics and said "Wow, these are pretty good Dawn, you should sell them as stock!" I didn't know what stock was, or where to share it even when he explained. But once I understood what he was talking about, out I went to sell my great photos.
Except they weren't so great.
Of course I didn't know it then, to me they were fantastic and my fan club (friends and family) all coerced me into believing I was the next Ansel Adams. But enough rejections form the stock agencies cleared that issue up for me. I couldn't get anyone to take my images to sell.
My buddy said, Hey! no problem! Try SXC! ([link]) It's a place that gives stock images away for free, and you can practice you photography with them until you get good enough!
So off I went and submitted my images.... and they accepted about 2 out of every 10. (Those odds crushed me, let me tell you.)
I've been with SXC about four years now, and my acceptance level has grown exponentially. My rejections are now about 1 in 25 (and well deserved usually.) I now sell my best stuff at paysites, and take the rest and offer it here and at sxc.
But sometimes I have other photographers I know locally who ask me why I'd even consider letting someone use my photos for free.
So, here it is:
1. I am not going to do anything else with it, so why not?
2. I've had a ton of publications, many of which I have tear sheets for, worldwide. Those publications have helped my portfolio more than any sale I have ever made. EVER. (you can see a list of some of those publications here: [link])
3. The models I use for my images frequently get tear sheets or other items they can use for their own portfolios, which has made me fairly popular with the local models.
4. Every time I think I am getting good at photography, I can look through what I have offered in past years and realize how far I've come, and how far I have yet to go.
5. I get far more critiques from the free stock I offer, which gives me some basis on which to decide what I need to work on.
6. Some of the people who've used my stock have helped me learn better PS techniques, as well as helping me know what kind of stock is most needed.
So, thanks again to everyone who not only uses or collects my stock, but who sends me links so that I can see how it's been used. Hopefully your interaction will bring much more and better free stock photos to come