Jodie Johnson is a lifestyle and interiors photographer and Adobe Stock Contributor based in Melbourne. With her background in advertising, she is perfectly poised to understand the needs of the buyer. We spoke with her about her journey into the stock industry, the lessons she learned and the advice she wishes to share with budding photographers.
Fotolia: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into photography?
Jodie Johnson: I was always most interested the ‘fun’ subjects at school like art, graphic design and media. I studied photography a little at high school, but I really dreamt of being a film director back then. After school, I got sidetracked with a job in advertising and worked my way up to Account Director over time. We had an in-house photo studio at the agency so I had plenty of exposure to photography. But in those days I sold that service to clients, rather than producing the work. Eventually I decided to get behind the lens myself, and I haven’t looked back!
Fotolia: Why did you decide to shoot stock and how did you get started?
JJ: All the ad agencies I worked for used stock libraries when budget or practicality didn’t allow for a commissioned shoot. Even way back in the days that printed catalogues were the only way you could search for images! Over the years I saw a strong push from clients to continually cut budgets and hence the use of stock images grew. So I’d had a lot of exposure to the purchasing side of stock photography. I thought I’d like to try producing some images myself, without the pressure of a client deadline or Art Director, and see how they would sell.
Fotolia: What has been the biggest challenge to overcome in stock?
JJ: In the early days, working out how to overcome the technical rejections. I quickly learnt what chromatic aberration and blown highlights were! With that sorted, the challenge now is coming up with new shoot ideas and searching for new opportunities to produce fresh images, and to keep producing content that is a little bit unique, in my own style.
Fotolia: What do you like most about being a stock photographer?
JJ: The flexibility of my time – I can work when I want! I can work around my client commitments, and anything else I decide to prioritize. I also love the creative freedom. I can shoot whatever I want to! I also love seeing my images in published. I can spend hours doing Google image searches to see where my images are appearing and how they’re being used.
Fotolia: Are there parts of the job you don’t enjoy so much?
JJ: Although I love having complete flexibility with my time, it can get quite isolating at times working by yourself. Collaborating with others is something I want to focus on doing more of in the future to help combat that.
Fotolia: How do you keep your stock portfolio fresh?
JJ: My portfolio is mostly interiors and homes. I’m constantly searching for unique Australian homes to photograph. I have an addiction to interiors magazines, so much of my inspiration and keeping up with the latest trends and styling comes from those.
Fotolia: Do you have any advice for people trying to get started with stock photography?
JJ: Find your niche – develop your own style to become a subject specialist. Think about how a hobby or personal interest could be a basis for your portfolio. You’re more likely to be involved in, or surrounded by that subject if you have a personal interest. For me it’s interior design, for someone else it might be fitness, baking or travel. I buy interior magazines for myself anyway, it’s my personal interest so I’m already up to date with the latest trends and photo style for that niche.
I also think having a consistent portfolio of a few core subjects/categories encourages multiple image purchases from the one buyer. It just seems more efficient for them to find more of the same type of content in one portfolio.
See more of Jodie’s images on Fotolia.