Nikola Bodova and Jozef Polc have joined forces to bring out the most of their expertise and start their own business. Venturing into stock photography has many merits, and how to go about running a business is just a fraction of the work.
Today Nikola and Jozef share a little bit more about themselves, their workflow, challenges and rewards about breaking into the stock photography business and succeeding as top contributors.
1. Could you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into stock photography?
It has been the two of us at the beginning, me and Jozef. Jozef worked in a marketing department where he was using a lot of stock photos but to him, they seemed not good enough 😀 I worked as a full time photographer doing weddings and family portraits. One day we decided to do stock photography together and it worked out perfectly!
2. Working as a team, how do you manage your photoshoots and delegate your work?
At the moment we have about 8 people in our team. There is an art director who searches for inspiration and also creates a production plan. Location and model manager does all the important work and communication with models and people about locations. Photographers bring their own eye and feel for the shoot. After that we have an editor to choose the best images for retouchers. When the images are retouched, they are processed by our keyworder and go out to the agencies.
3. What’s your favourite part about being stock photographers?
The best part is that we get to see beautiful places. It’s also about experiencing real atmospheres like at a garden party shoot or a camping set up. We also get in touch with extraordinary people. And of course the most favourite part is seeing a perfect image which is inspiring to others.
4. What’s the most important ingredient of a successful photoshoot?
We love to work with people. It’s more interesting for us than taking still pictures of country or other things. It’s very important to catch the right feel and atmosphere.
5. If you had to break up the time it takes to produce final shots, how much time goes to shooting, editing, uploading and keywording and so forth? What is the most time consuming aspect of a stock photography business?
The most consuming aspect of production is preparing the whole photoshoot. To get a production plan, moodboard, models and location. That takes 40% of the time. To further break it down for you, another 20% of the work goes into the shoot itself, 10% into editing, 20% into retouching and 10% of the work is keywording and uploading photos.
6. How do you make models feel comfortable on set?
We try to make models feel as relaxed as possible. The photoshoot can be not only work but also a great experience for them. We cooperate, spend time talking to the models. We also show them photos and ask them how they feel about them – the certain situation, pose, etc.
7. How do you manage to shoot groups of people and/or children? Are there particular challenges that have to be overcome?
Group shoots are quite complicated to organize. It’s nice when people in the group know each others a little bit. The best capture is when they experience the real fun, but it’s also important to guide them enough 😀
Kids are a special part. We do lots of shoots with them. They need to feel the activity they do is aectually fun. You also need to follow their needs. This means stopping sometimes, listening to them and doing something that they want and what is not always the plan you had in mind.
8. Where do you find your models?
We are finding models mainly through social media.
9. What guides you in choosing themes for photo shoots?
The most important thing is to follow up on trends and inspiration. The other thing is to look around for places and people.
10. Your #1 photography tip of words of wisdom:
Create unique and spontaneous images!