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BOOK REVIEW: No Easy Answers In Taking Stock

I’ve been waiting for a book like Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell, which focuses on selling stock photography. Some clients pay big money for photography but practically all clients who I work with are happy with spending a few dollars—or even $20—on a stock photo. Moreover, the quality of stock photography continues to improve as cameras become more advanced and amateur photographers take in training from people like Scott Kelby, whose business and training seems to focus on photography nowadays.

I haven’t read a book by Rob Sylvan until Taking Stock but I like his style. The writing isn’t particularly flashy or humorous but what Rob nails down is his insider knowledge on the stock photography market. There might be other photographers who have sold more stock photos than him, but Rob has been in the stock photo industry since its early days and understands the history as well as what has worked over time.

Considering that the book is about selling stock photography, I’m disappointed that almost half of the chapters in Taking Stock is general digital photography tips and techniques. There are many other books out on the market that will help you get a good exposure or importing photos into Photoshop Lightroom. Taking Stock is not a large book—220 pages—so these chapters cut into content specific to the stock photography field.

That content specific to stock photography is very good—it’s the kind of information that’s hard to obtain but can mean the difference between success and failure. Knowing what gets photos accepted and rejected, how to approach multiple (or single) photo sources to show your work, and knowing what an inspector will flag as unsuitable are all vital things to know.

If you’re looking to enter the stock photography field, Taking Stock is a good resource. Many serious photographers won’t find much they don’t already know in the chapters on taking good photos and managing their library, but the chapters devoted to the stock photography process are essential to having the best chance for success.

Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
Rob Sylvan
Published by Peachpit Press
US $29.99
Rating: 8/10