Brycia's story: How to break into stock photography

It wasn’t long ago that Brycia Kiewlak was learning how to use her new Nikon DSLR and heard about stock photography.

The topic came up during a discussion at a Shutterbug Excursions Meetup group and piqued her curiosity. Since then, she has taught herself the art and business of photography, applied to become an iStockphoto contributor, and recently celebrated her 500th download. She did this while building a portfolio of almost 500 images.

In stock photography, people shoot generic images that advertisers or designers can license for use. Rather than hiring a photographer to shoot an image for an ad or brochure, the designer purchases a license to use a stock image that conveys a specific theme.

In this interview, Brycia shares the stories of her journey to become a stock photographer and what she’s learned from her successes and frustrations.  Among the many things she discusses are:

  • The biggest mistakes photographers make when shooting stock images
  • The best kinds of images to submit when you are applying to become a contributor
  • Training resources that helped her most and those she wishes she’d known about when she started
  • What kinds of images sell best and how that surprised her
  • Tips for using model releases
  • The best way to process images for stock agencies
  • The editing workflow for her photographs
  • Her thoughts on iStockphoto vs other microstock agencies
  • Advice for anyone wanting to get started in stock photography


After our interview, Brycia sent me this note with more information to share:

If you want to add some links to your blog post, here are some of the food photography sites I like:

Neel at does some audio interviews with food photographers and stylist that I really enjoy. I follow him on Twitter @NeelLFP.

Also, if you want to see the most successful micro-stock photographer in the world and DROOL over his studio, check out this video:

Taking Stock, by Rob Sylvan, is the book Brycia references. Naturally, it is in the PhotoTour DC Amazon Store.  :-)