Andrea Ambrosi, aka ‘Dreaming Andy’ came to our attention when one of his Fotolia uploads was featured in the top 10 list of most downloaded images of 2014 – an enviable and much desired achievement. We got a chance to speak with him and find out what it feels like to be a top Fotolia contributor as well as share some of his insights as to what it takes to reach this pole position!

Can you introduce yourself and where you’re based?

I live and work in Verona, in the Italian North East. In the past few years, I have been focusing on photography and 3D illustration. Most of my free time is devoted to these activities.

How did you discover Fotolia and can you share your experiences to date of being a contributor?

It all started with an online post on stock imagery. It made me curious to give it a try, also the perfect occasion to try my brand new reflex. My initial experience did not differ much from what the majority of the contributors go through in the beginning: you start uploading your images, get loads of rejections for type of image or technical issues. Past these initial difficulties, I have constantly worked at improving the quality of my works, and at increasing my portfolio.

Smileys on boxes

What did it feel like the first time you received a sale? 

The first sale came as a surprise, a nice gratification, really. It is so motivating to discover my works on the Web and find out how they were integrated in a new creative work by another graphic designer.

How do you decide what to design and to upload to Fotolia? How much attention do you dedicate to trends?

Usually I make lists of interesting subjects and themes (business, tech, IT…), then I develop the ideas by drawing sketches. Finally, I move on to 3D modelling. I try to create simple images, easy to isolate and manipulate. That is why I prefer the white background and just a tiny shadow.

What is it about your images do you think that has made them so popular?

It is not easy to answer to this question. I think it is essential to keep in mind that others will use these images. With this in mind, you may target your efforts to express clear messages or concepts in a simple, readable style.

Sense or sensibility - Brain or heart

Has your style/technique developed since you started in the stock industry and if so, how?

The ambition to create very good images at times come up against our own limitations. Moreover, when, like in my case, there isn’t any artistic education in the background. Luckily, the internet is an endless learning resource. In addition, my experience with photography proved useful in improving my skills with 3D, as I could transfer the photography techniques on the 3D rendering, without the limitations of the camera equipment.

Did you know this image was one of the best-selling on Fotolia? Can you explain a bit about your inspiration behind the concept of it?

Graphs of financial analysis - Isolated

This is a particularly clean image, with a very precise concept. The message to convey was the idea of a solid, trustworthy administration of a financial portfolio, through reporting tools like graphs and spreadsheets. I guess it became a bestseller because of its straightforward style, with some fine effects like the prints reflections on the glass.

What is your can’t live without equipment/software?

Actually, I don’t think there is irreplaceable software, rather software that better fits the type of result one wants to achieve. All 3D software I know have some points of strengths and some weaknesses. It is about choosing the ones that enhance our productivity.

What advice can you offer someone looking to start contributing to the stock image market?

Don’t give up because of rejections and poor sales in the beginning. Avoid over-abundant, over recurrent themes, with the exception for those seasonal subjects where the demand for new and fresh images is always high. Take some time to explore the new trends by browsing blogs, magazines, advert pages etc…

Can you share some of your favourite images from your Fotolia portfolio?

These are among my favourite works:

Stream of bits - Big data concept

Treasure chest - Golden coins isolated

Digital man - Network concept

Wine bottle on a wooden barrel isolated

Flying alphabetic characters

A big thank you to Andrea for taking the time to speak with us. You can discover more of his images on his Fotolia portfolio.