How to Succeed on Microstock: Interview with Eugene Chepil
Success on photo stocks is an abstract term. It includes recognition from colleagues, stable sales and titanic work. Except the known recipe ‘Work hard!’ there are other ways to reach success in the stock industry. For example, find a narrow niche and become the best in it. Or, vice versa, diversify your activities and do your best in all of them, as the hero of our interview — Eugene Chepil — does.
Eugene Chepil, photographer and illustrator (mast3r)
Eugene was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. He has got a finance degree. He is interested in swimming and snowboarding. He prefers active leisure. Eugene pays a lot of attention to self-improvement and personal development because he believes all-round knowledge and open mind help him feel at ease with stock trends and create popular images.
How did you take up photography/illustration?
I really wanted to be a financier. That’s why I studied finance at university and spent 10 years working in the financial sphere. But when I entered university I didn’t have enough life experience to make a right decision. In time I realized I wanted something new. I tried various alternatives and different fields. Photography and illustration worked out well, so I decided to continue this line.
Why did you choose microstock?
It is an easy and cheap start. And there is little dependence on the state.
What difficulties did you have at the beginning of your career?
Lack of experience and information.
What should a photographer or an illustrator do to create popular works?
Always create a lot of images on basic themes. Improve their quality and relevance.
What do you feel when you see your photos/images/video «at work»?
Interest, happiness... All positive feelings! Sometimes it is pride and feeling of success and faith in the future.
You work both as a photographer and an illustrator. What do you like more?
I cannot separate them from each other. I love success. And if something goes well, I enjoy both the process and the result. Also, I tried to make video but it doesn’t work well because video is not so popular among clients. Although the process of creating video is much more interesting than the process of taking photos!
What is «success» for you?
Success is the achievement of your goals. It is a simple and exact answer to this philosophical question.
Truly, it is a philosophical theme and every person defines success according to their experience, personal qualities and their life goals. Do you think you are successful?
I have some achievements and results, but it is still not enough. There is much work to do. I haven’t reached the level of being proud of myself and avowing my attainments. I am still dreaming about unlocking my potential, about self-realization and success.
What should beginners do to become successful?
To be successful in any sphere, not only on stocks, you need to set goals and try to achieve them. So, it is important to evolve in various fields, to learn something new, to experiment and not to be afraid of making mistakes. Also, you need to analyze the completed projects and their results. I think the main thing is to fulfill yourself as a personality. Being a photographer/illustrator implies self-education that includes consuming tons of various information, experience and your own mistakes.
What inspires you to choose a theme for illustrations?
I choose themes while looking through trends, what is on sale. I find popular images in different portfolios and follow top sales. I read posts, advertisements, articles, and magazines and analyze all images I see. Then I think up a concept behind every theme and way to realize it.
Pictures I see in everyday life inspire me a lot. I always use my smartphone to photo everything I like wherever possible: in banks, shops, malls, etc. I try to create my own version but a better one, so if a client saw two pictures, he/she would choose mine. I use this practice whatever the theme or concept is.
What is your main criterion of selecting models?
I am very picky with models. I look at appearance, emotions, smile, and body and imagine a model in different looks. Also, I view photos in social medias. The more looks I can imagine, the better it is. Then I begin working with the model and teach him/her during the process.
It is important for me to work with capable, emotionally stable and easy-to-work-with models. If I spend time on teaching, then I want to use model in different shootings. All my models are from streets without any shooting experience. I’m their first professional photographer.
Although, there are some disadvantages. For instance, when I see photos by top professionals in magazines, I think I wouldn’t choose such models because I don’t like something about them.
What is your monthly budget?
It depends. Budget is always different and a lot of factors influence it. My ideal pay-off period is half a year. On average it is one or two years. And of course, sometimes failures happen and pay-off period is three years or some content doesn’t pay off at all. Sometimes content has been paid off, and clients don’t purchase it anymore.
What is your favorite theme to shoot?
It is business.
Where do you want to see your images?
I think in reference to top world companies. Especially on packaging, main pages of websites and magazines’ covers.
If the internet and all microstock agencies disappeared one day, what would you do?
I would start my own business. If I didn’t have enough money, I would find a job at a top company or become a freelancer.
What is the most important thing in your life?
Progress, success and health!Interviewed by Anna Plis
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