Microstock Money Shots – Book Review

I’ve had a copy of Microstock Money Shots sitting on my desk for a while now.  Ellen sent the book for a review, I gave it a read, and while I have recommended it a couple of times I haven’t gotten around to giving it it’s own review post.  Here it (finally) is…

Background Check… Who is Ellen Boughn?

For those who are new to the industry, which includes a large majority of the microstock contributer base, Ellen Boughn may not be familiar name… yet.  Those who were involved in the stock photography industry when stamps, film and cd’s roamed the earth, however, need no introduction to Ellen.

For the newbies: Ellen has been involved in the stock industry in one way or another for the past 30 years.  She has founded an agency (After-Image) which was later sold to Getty, held executive positions at numerous other agencies throughout her career and within the microstock marketplace, she ran a very well received blog series on Dreamstime, and has most recently been blogging for Crestock.  Ellen is one of the few people who has been able to ‘get’ or understand both sides (micro and traditional) of the stock industry.

I’ve had the chance to meet Ellen a number of times, most recently at CEPIC where she took part in the Microstock Photography Interviews with 9 Industry Leaders.

What the Book Covers

Microstock Money Shots does a great job of giving the reader inspiration and direction for shooting, without stifling creativity or freedom. Ellen doesn’t give you hand holding directions through the microstock process, but instead gives you ideas, thoughts, and inspiration on how to use your own creativity to create sale-able stock.   The chapters in the book cover Microstock topics relevant for both the absolute beginner and intermediate shooter.  If you are seasoned microstock shooter, many of the pages will be repetition of what you already know, but there is still a lot of information and inspiration to be gleaned from the chapters on choosing subjects to shoot (3 chapters), keywording and choosing models.

The book is written in a laid back, easy to read style and filled with top notch microstock shots.  If you weren’t sure what a great microstock image looked like before you read the book, you will once you are finished.  Again, the images are not given as a template to copy, but as inspiration and a style which should inspire you and get you on your way to identifying and creating illustrative images.

Should I Buy the Book?

This book is an easy read with lots of images to give your eyes a break and let your mind wonder.  If you are looking for inspiration on how to create better stock, tips and direction on what to shoot – buy the book.  If you are totally new to microstock and still wondering if microstock is for you – buy the book and you’ll find out.  If you are already making $100,000/year from micro, this book will have less value, but you may be surprised at what it does offer and you may be encouraged to push your style or explore a new niche.  When you are done reading it, you can give it away to one of those many people who have no understanding about what you do for a living.

Have you read the book?  What did you think?

Book Details

Title Microstock Money Shots – Turning Downloads into Dollars with Microstock Photography
Author: Ellen Boughn
ISBN: 978-0-8174-2497-8
Price: $24.99 $15.59
Publisher: Amphoto Books
Link Amazon

[Discuss on the Microstock Forum]

About The Author:

Tyler Olson works as a microstock photographer who also runs the MicrostockGroup forum and blog. Being so closely involved in the microstock community as a submitter, forum moderator and blogger, Tyler is able to keep updated in the constantly changing microstock marketplace.
Posted on March 28th, 2011 in Editorial | tags: , , ,
  • Thanks for the review. Also of interest is that Ellen does a 30 minute min-consult on your portfolio for a mere $39… (http://www.ellenboughn.com/ask-ellen)

  • PN99

    Recently bought this and must say I was dippointed. Anybody already in the stock business that takes it even remotely seriously will already be armed with the knowledge this book offers – and if they’re not, it’s right before their eyes evertime they logon to a stock site.
    The book might help newbies with some general themes but, other than that, I wound’t recommend it.

  • Tom

    Almost finished with the book- really open my eyes up. Overall, very good on the big picture…

  • I’m reasonably experienced now at stock after 3 years, and got the book when it first came out. I read it then, and thought – OK, that was interesting but I’m not sure I learned something new. I’ve just read it again, and I think it is worthwhile dipping into from time to time – this time round it gave me some ideas of new topics and images to shoot. Just reading the explanations of what buyers are looking for gave me a bit more enthusiasm to get out there and try something new. I think it is like any photo book or magazine, just sitting quietly and thinking about the ideas and images presented is time well spent.

  • Thanks for the review…the ebook version will be available at the end of the month although it costs more on Amazon than the print version. That doesn’t seem right to me but I have no control over the price.-ellen