Interview with Jo Ann Snover – microstock photographer
We;d like to introduce another of the many photographers who have recently joined Pixmac to offer their content – this time it’s Jo Ann Snover -
How long have you worked as a photographer, and how did you decide to start shooting stock photography/microstock photography?
I’ve been taking photographs for about 25 years, but did not do it professionally prior to starting as a microstock contributor in 2004. I started submitting to microstock almost by accident following a radio program I happened to catch in the car, driving my daughter to preschool. At first, I just wanted to see if my photographs were good enough to be accepted; then I got hooked when I realized I could make this a part-time income.
Have you studied photography, or did you learn through shooting?
I have no formal photography training. The experience of shooting, plus some reading, and various lighting tutorials (including the wonderful Strobist blog) have been my teachers.
How do you see the state of Stock Photography?
It’s a difficult time in spite of the huge success of microstock. The balance of power between agencies and contributors has shifted and everyone’s trying to ensure a reasonable share of the “pie”. The quality and quantity of microstock has made the traditional agencies re-examine their place in the market. Buyers still need lots of images, illustrations, footage, etc., so I believe there’s plenty of growth ahead.
What is the most memorable experience in your career?
Photographically, shooting at a 3 day event with multiple sets, locations and models. It was a wonderful experience.
From what or from whom you think you have learned the most?
Having my images rejected – either by an agency or by buyers (the images I was sure would be successful, but weren’t) and taking those lessons on board (hard as that is to do initially) has taught me so much.
What is your common shooting day like?
I work part time, so I have to fit shooting around other things. As an example, when traveling, I’ll get up before dawn and head out to take pictures of the Boston waterfront, or a beach in Maine, so I can be back in time for breakfast with the family. I’m always collecting props and bits and pieces for future shoots. If I’m setting up things in the studio, I am the stylist as well as the photographer, so I try to both get through the list of things I planned to shoot and remain open to something that catches my eye as I’m shooting that I think might work well.
What do you like the most in your work?
Control – I get to decide not only what to do, but when to do it. If I have time at 1 in the morning to work, then I can do that. If I decide that I think there’s some marketability in a certain set of images, I just have to design, shoot, process and upload those – no boss to convince that it’s the right thing to do.
What do you dislike the most in your work? If anything?
The business and paperwork end of things. I really don’t want to spend time keeping track of expenses, releases, etc.
Every photographer has his/her own style, what is your very own style that makes it possible for you to stand out from the rest? My work is colorful, vivid and generally beautiful – I leave the gritty and darker side of life and nature to others. Sometimes I engineer places, starting with a capture or two, that don’t exist except in my imagination.
What kind of photographic equipment do you use?
Canon 5D Mk II with a range of lenses. I have reflector panels, scrims & disks, plus portable lighting with umbrellas & stands.
What kind of topics do you prefer to shoot?
Celebrations of the small but beautiful things in families or the world around us.
Do you have any hints you would like to share with photographers just starting their career?
A combination of confidence (in your abilities) and humility (to learn from your mistakes) goes a very long way.
Is there something new/different you still would like to do in the future? In photography, or in general?
I’d like to continue to improve my technique, especially with lighting – both with natural light and in studio. When I have a shot envisioned in my mind’s eye, I want to be able to achieve it, without comporomises.
What would you like to say to our customers?
This is a great time to be a buyer of stock imagery – so much choice!
Simon note: Thanks Jo Anne! Customers can view her collection at Pixmac here.