Two brothers from Indonesia, Robbie and Ferli, have for the past few years worked together to form the microstock production company Odua Images. We spoke to Ferli who works on the tropical island of Bali, and we asked him about Odua Images and their experiences in the microstock industry.
How many microstock images have you produced?
So far we have produced over 20k images.
How would you describe your photography style?
Our photography style is basically keeping things simple, clean, and easy to use for commercial purposes. We try to ensure that our concepts are very clear and can not be misinterpreted by anyone.
When and where were you when you first heard of microstock and what was your first microstock shoot?
I was working as a graphic designer in a book publishing company in Yogyakarta. The company always asked me to make designs for book covers or book layouts with deadlines just around the corner, some of the books required professional photos. The only option for me to do this with the limited time I had was to search for photos on the internet. In perfect timing someone told me about microstock, which was just what I needed, really professional photos at affordable prices. I actually became a contributor myself not long after discovering microstock, but it took me a while to get started mainly due to my lack of photography skills. My first stock photo images were images of hand gestures.
Many people say it is too late to enter the microstock market. What do you think about this?
A few years back it was very easy to make money through microstock even if you only had a small amount of images in your gallery. But today you have to work twice as much than before to get at least the same results. The main reason I think is because there are so many competitors today in the market. If you think working hard is not a big problem for you, then you are welcome to enter this business.
What’s the camera/lens combination that you use most for your shoots?
I use canon 6D and canon L 24-77mm f2.8 for the most of my shoots.
How important is it to produce what’s trending now?
As contributors we have to open our eyes to new things and look at what is trending now and what our customers want these days. As a photographer and graphic designer I am used to seeing advertising trends changing from time to time, if we don’t keep up with the trends I think one day we will lose our market for sure. So yes, producing what is trending now is really important for us.
How do you think of your concepts?
We usually start thinking about what a customer needs and then do some brainstorming and research such as in magazines, commercial ads, photography and many more.
What’s your favourite concept in stock so far?
I love all kinds of lifestyles concepts.
Which image or series of images from your portfolio are you most proud of?
A business team meeting at a restaurant. I’m really happy with the results of this shoot.
When choosing models, locations and properties, also when choosing support crew for shoots what qualities do you look for?
In this business good quality means good sales. When it comes to choosing models, locations and properties the first thing we have to see is the commercial value in them, and then we will see if they are suitable for the concepts that we intend to make. For the support crew we need those that are smart, creative and hard working. So far we have managed to find good support crew which helps us to work more efficiently.
Do you try to market your microstock portfolios to get more sales or do you just upload and let the agencies do the marketing?
We just upload the images and let the agencies do the marketing. Our social media pages are only for production purposes, such as looking for models or to contact any company that we want to ask for stock photo collaboration. We generally don’t focus on marketing for our stock images.
What is the most difficult part for you in stock photography?
I would say making the concepts, finding the right models for our plans and managing the distribution of the images.
You live in Asia, what do you think of the microstock market in Asia, both from the submitters and buyers perspective?
From the buyers perspective we can say that the Asian market needs very specific Asian stylistics (like Lunar new year) and concepts that show the organic mixture of cultures. We have been submitters for a number years, in this time we have seen the Asian market increase enormously and it’s very strong now. I think the microstock market in Asia will continue to be lucrative.
What are your favorite props to use in stock?
Mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
What were the challenges when you started to build your portfolio and what’s your advice for newcomers?
Building a portfolio is not easy, thinking about what to shoot is challenging. Advice for newcomers, quantity is important, but if you want to be successful in this business you also have to focus on quality. Making stock photos without great quality will not win the market. Take your time and start producing images with the best quality, to get the best results and as much income as possible.
At the time of this interview Revolucy is still a new microstock agency but you have sent us your work, why have you put so much faith in us?
Well having met you guys I can quite clearly see how you all have good knowledge of the microstock industry and I know you guys are aiming high, so we are more than happy to be one of the early starters. I’m sure Revolucy will be successful in the future and I am looking forward to that time.
Visit Odua Images portfolio on Revolucy.