Happiness sells, as Simona Pilolla discovered in her experience of working with stock photography. Simona is located in the magical part of Italy that allows her to capture some of the happiest moments with her models.
In economics class, they tell you location matters. Is it the same way with stock photography? For Simona, her location certainly is working for her portfolio. It’s a wonderful selection of different people enjoying life. This simple notion is what makes Simona’s works so refreshing. Here is her story and her thoughts on stock photography.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, nothing special I think. I’m just myself 100%. I didn’t study photography but I’m a photographer. I just love to take pictures to people (I’m a portraiture photographer first of all). I’m a 43 year old female from Italy and I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) with my family.
I love my lifestyle… I love to work when I want to work, go out when I need to go out, stay with my family and do my hobbies.
How did you stumble on stock photography?
It feels amazing when I have some adventures in my life, I need this (even when I’m tired of adventures). Stock photography is my new adventure. I was in the first 100 places of worldwide wedding ranking before. I also had some personal exposition in Italy with my fine art portraits and now I want to try to take stock pictures. Well, honestly I really love the creative possibilities that stock photography offer you.
What is the general mood or feeling that you promote with your images?
A happy lifestyle. First of all, it’s because it is a mood that drives my sales and second of all because it is my lifestyle. Well, all of this with a bit of hippy style, because I’m a little bit hippy too 🙂
Where were most of your shots taken?
I’ve very lucky to live in one of the most widely used movie location in the world – my island of Tenerife. I can have everything here, from the sea to the forest to mountains and cities. Usually I shoot in some place around my home 🙂 I prefer the beach but not just for marketing reasons. I prefer the beach because I love to stay at the beach.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned while working with stock photography platforms?
I was very used to taking wedding and fine art pictures. I’ve learned to shoot in a really different way. I find nice people (not just beautiful) that smile, organize accessories following the trends, finding locations that are stock related and so on. All of this was really different for me. And I have fun doing this.
What would you say is your approach to photography when working on images with commercial value?
Nothing special. I feel nice and I have fun when I work for shooting stock. It’ normal: I have to find nice people for the stock pictures so when I’m at work I’m with nice people around me. Everybody’s happy 😉
Do you experiment a lot in post production? What are your favorite tools?
Not so much, I have my personal style (evident in my past pictures) that I have modified for the stock market and with it I use a normal, basic, light postproduction for marketing reasons.
From your experience, what kinds of images sell best?
A lot of happy people.
Do you have a personal favorite image from your portfolio? What’s the story behind it?
Honestly not. But I have had some favorite shoots. For example, the 7 ladies on an ocean coast’s little town. It was the first time I was shooting with them. Well, it was a lot of laughs. They are incredible, full of happiness. The pictures turned out great.
How realistic is it for one to make stock photography their main source of income?
Like most of other lines of work I imagine. The first thing you have to understand is that it is a job. If you want to do stock as a hobby, you will have the income of an hobby (maybe).
So it’s realistic in the same way to make bread or repair cars. Time, money and skills.
Your #1 tip or words of wisdom:
Maybe it is a bit basic but for me it’s everything: stay happy. Enjoy. Stay with your family and never stop dreaming and acting on your dreams.
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