Being part of a Stock Support Group

In May 2019, I finally broke through the $1k/month mark, assisted with the help of some footage sales over at Shutterstock. Even though I still have a long ways to go until stock can offer me a “living wage”, I’m quite happy at this stage since at least I can put this revenue into upgrading my equipment and paying for some trips.

To have gotten this far, I’m obliged to mention the support I receive from an awesome support group that I’m part. There are also some interesting forums around to share ideas.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss how keeping social is a great way to stay motivated and keep improving.

Lonely business

This work can be fucking frustrating. Every minute that I put into it, there is no guarantee that I’ll even make a return. Even if there is a return, it may be in the form of a 38cent sub or even worse, a $2 footage sale or even a misused license bought cheaply!

How can you vent your frustration? Join a group!

Working as a stock creator is no walk in the park!

Join a forum

Your starting point is joining an online discussion forum. I recommend registering to one or all of the following, which I frequent frequently:

Whatsapp group

I’m part of a growing whatsapp group with fellow Brazilian photographers/videographers in different niches that I’m keen to learn more such as aerial (Uiler Costa), architecture (Joas Souza) and video lifestyle (Thiago Limongi).

Copyright: Uiler Costa

Small Email Group

A while back myself and some other stock contributors formed a fun/useful email group. We work together to share ideas on different stock concepts, topical subjects, travel tips, equipment, links to interesting discussions, etc. Since it’s a small group, discussions are brutally honest as they should be!

The group consist of keen fellow microstockers: Elijah, Steve Heap, Theo and Pedestrian Tom. Thanks guys!

There, we share everything and anything. These days, they’re mocking my newfound destructive streak.

Latest image accepted at Arcangel! At least they share some of my destructive vision!

The benefits of such a small intimate group, rather than a public forum, is that there’s no embarrassment…simply share an image/clip or concept, no matter how wacky, and ask for advice.

Be proactive

Other times, someone may be proactive and suggest something or other even without asking, such as the following:

“That Paris one would make a good water color I think – if you want to send me the original jpg, I’ll have a go” – Master Steve

Master Steve helped me out with this by using a software called Jixipix – see his tutorial here entitled “Fun with Painting (and special offer…)”

Sometimes it’s fun to brag!

Also, sometimes you just had a big sale and want to tell someone…in a public forum, I believe that it’s not appropriate as it would make for easy pickings by those copycats lurking in the backgrounds.

As for bragging…

Hey group, one of my clips just sold! Wohooooooooo

canary wharf

Do you have a support group?

If so, how has it helped you? Please comment below!

Until next time – Alex

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted over six years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


  1. I find small groups the most efficient approach – when you trust people you are more likely to share stuff that you wouldn’t in public environments. Another huge plus is the speed of answers – chat can be invaluable when you need to ask something quick and get an immediate reply. it also helps to know that there are no ‘forum guidelines’, moderators, or any other big brotherly stuff going around.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Alex! We all share the same emotion!
    As we grow older and our ego is shuttered, we realize we have a smaller dependence on the need of being liked and feeling us ourselves are always right!
    What I have learned from my day work at TV is that there is no shame of asking your colleagues something and vice versa. It does not mean you are ignorant, you might either wish to confirm something, or learn something new. The benefit of our private group is that no one is saying to the other: you are the best, how good is this and that. You just describe what you see, with any possible suggestions. One is more creative, one is more technical, one is more successful, and then the sum total is complete!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting you posted this today. Just last night, I was scrolling through my Microstockr feed, looking at when I broke the $500 and $1K barriers. Now, I’m chasing the elusive $1500 mark, but unless I break down and get into video, I don’t know if I’ll get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Video is slowly starting to become a bigger slice of my earnings pie. Started just a year ago but more seriously only 4 months ago with a new mirrorless. As you probably already know (but worth mentioning for others), shooting in 4K is future-proofing your clips for at least 10 years.

      $1500 is my next target but I think whether I reach it or not will largely depend on Rights-Managed and 4K sales. With micros, doubt I’ll get there for ages.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I also have to admit that I don’t find any contributor forums helpful – Shuttersdtock forum is just a crying shame with constant bickering, unprofessional advise and flat out non-relevant stuff. Microstocks is a bit better and more informative but can be a nasty place as well.
    In my opinion the huge disadvantage of public forums is that it is really difficult to stay on topic – lots of people jump in only to voice their frustrations or interact with others – the actual discussion quickly waters down to a point where it is really hard to follow or to get an advice. Smaller groups like Alex mentioned are much more efficient in getting a productive discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SS can be a fun forum with some characters, but you’re right that the constant doom & gloom is annoying.

      Also newbs with 4 images asking for advice on their snapshots and how to make a million. FML!


  5. Thanks for the Taking Stock Forum link, never heard or seen in my google search, i will try to register. more than rumbling (that i actually do alot in MSG) love to dig and read on all agencies. Older posts and people’s experience is valuable knowledge 🙂


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