I am a graphic designer, webmaster, photographer. Live in Estonia. 3 kids. Mac-person. Nikon-person.
Initially gave my images for free back in 2003. Then discovered that some people would actually be willing to pay for my random photo experiments. Found Dreamstime, had lots to say in the forums and Serban invited me into their family :)
• I am totally self taught. Through trial and error. Mostly latter :)
• What makes an ideal microstock photo? I think it is broad usability. Solely.
• I have studio experience, but am not so active lately. Mostly shoot events, family, objects. I like to use my Nikon Speedlights (900 and 800) off the camera wirelessly. Could use even more units for interesting light effects and colors (different gel filters).
• My photographic mantra: get an idea, try it out, improve. I would call this Japanese-style, I guess :P
• My favorite photography subjects - non-moving objects, architecture.
• The most important characteristic / skill needed to become a successful microstock photographer is persistence and objectivity in my opinion. Suppress your ego.
• One piece of advice for newcomers - the beginning is always slow and painful. Do not give up and do not take anything personally. Strangers looking at your images (reviewers) do not know you at all and are utterly objective - they express their first impression of your image while only comparing it to the other ones they have seen. This is usually how the browsing buyer will see your image.
• The microstock industry has changed a lot since I began as a microstock photographer. A lot of stuff seems to be available for free nowadays, but always check the source and usage terms. Many people think that the biggest free image bank in the world is Google - it could turn out to be the most expensive one, so be careful. Everyone seems to be a photographer - some are quite talented first off, others have to work their way up. Photography in general has become immensely more accessible. Veterans struggle to keep their edge.
• Being a microstock photographer has taught me not to overlook details in an image. They are often the deal makers or breakers. The more you work on details in your images (given the whole concept is salable) the more rewarding it will be in the long run.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor Fisheye 10.5mm/2.8, Nikkor 50mm/1.4, Nikkon 35mm/1.8 DX, Nikkor 70-200mm/2.8 VR, Nikkor 10-24mm/3.5-4.5