Stock Photographer: A Day in the Life


When people think of starting a career in Photography, the first ideas that might come to mind are Wedding Photographer, Fashion Photographer or Product Photographer. You find a client, discuss a proposal, and execute the shoot. After your first few projects, you'll likely find a style/genre you're comfortable with, and continue your careers as this type of Photographer. But what if there was a way you could create your own projects, be as creative as your imagination would allow, and get paid at the the end of it? If this sounds like your kind of thing, perhaps you should consider Stock Photography.

With the rise of the internet, Photographers have been given access to all manner of tools and platforms to further their knowledge and career. Some of these platforms such as Adobe Stock are filled with companies, marketers and bloggers looking for images just like yours. They don't have the time/resources to organize and direct a shoot, so they pay for some one else to do the hard work! This is Stock Photography. People paying to license your work for their adverts, articles and marketing materials.

Do you have a camera? Do you have a computer? A connection to the internet? Then you're just about ready to go! But don't take our word for it. We enlisted the help of Stock Photographer Milenko Đilas to tell us about his Stock Photography, how he plans & sells his shots, and how he's created a lifestyle around this career.



Milenko Đilas Photography

Photography by Milenko Đilas


Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Milenko Đilas, thirty-nine-year-old photographer and retoucher from Novi Sad, Serbia. I am a very social and versatile person who is not afraid of challenges and I am always willing to learn, especially things that attract my attention, I would always try to them, whatever they were. Also, I would gladly share my knowledge with other good people. Up until last year I was working for a local TV channel as a tv editor and after 15 years of working in that field, I decided to quit and focus myself on photography. Besides working on television, I used to do various design projects, and I especially liked working with logos.


Photography by Milenko Dilas

Photography by Milenko Đilas



When/how did you get in to photography?

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to work on various design projects and bought photographs on stock websites and often I’ve used photos from local photographers who were working the same project. I wasn’t satisfied with the photos I was given to, so I decided to buy my own camera and finish the projects by myself. Having 15 years’ experience from working on television, I was really familiar with framing, with studio lights, which helped me a lot when I started as a photographer.


When/how did you get into shooting/selling stock photography?

My first photos were made in 2010. In the beginning it was just a hobby, but after spending more and more time learning and practicing photography, my work became better so I decided to give it a shot at selling photos through stock agencies. I was familiar with stock agencies even before I started doing photography, but I only knew about it as a designer-I used to buy photos.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Photography by Milenko Đilas


How do you generate ideas for the types of stock photography you want to photograph?

I am usually inspired by things from my environment, things that are available for shooting, but basically everything that is currently “IN”, different lifestyles, those are the things that are most wanted. For example, sometimes I meet someone new, and that person is a fitness instructor, so I would immediately see if they are interested in working with me. But besides lifestyle photography, I actually love beauty photography and a little bit of fashion photography, those two I like the most. I love to see people that have their own styles and then I would ask them to be my models and, fortunately, most of the time they agree to do it.


Milenko Behind the Scene: Shooting and Editing Stock Photography.


Do you have to research ideas for your stock photography, or do you use images from your existing projects?

Yes, I do have to research, but I usually do that when it’s a completely new theme, or when I know very little regarding it. Later on it is easier to do it again because I already have some knowledge of it, I know what I did wrong, what to improve, etc.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Photography by Milenko Đilas


How do you arrange locations and models for these photographs?

I manage to arrange locations in all kinds of ways, but usually being polite and having a smile on your face can help a lot. Many people are willing to help and let you use their locations for photoshoots, whether it is a café, a business office, gym… most of the time people want to be helpful and I always find a way to pay them back. I always check out the location a few days before the photoshoot to check the lights, angles so that I can come ready and have everything prepared instead of wasting time on it. I also have my own studio so I can work there as well.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Into the Studio: Milenko Đilas


Tell us about the editing process?

My photo edit style is pretty standard, as it is with most of my colleagues. First there is the conversion of RAW file into the ACR the best way possible. Depending on the photo, sometimes I would open one RAW file as 2 or 3 separate files, as a basic one, one where I work especially on highlights and the third one with special attention on the shadows, after that I combine them all into one layer. As for the RAW conversion, sometimes I would do the toning immediately in ACR using the HSL and Curves, also I would often do it at the very end in Photoshop. First I retouch the face and stuff that bother me in general in the photo, I use standard tools for it, healing brush and clone tool. After that I work with dodge and burn with curves adjustment layers. And finally, I work with colors with adjustment layers, mostly with curves, if I haven’t done them already in ACR. The interesting thing about me is that I don’t like to constantly do the same things when editing/working with colors. I wouldn’t like a whole series of photos to look alike, but instead, I like to play with color palettes, that’s kind of my style. It would rarely happen that I work a bunch of photos in one color palette.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Photography by Milenko Đilas


Which sites and platforms do you sell your photography through, and why?

I sell on a couple of websites, Adobe Fotolia/Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, iStockphoto and 500px. Adobe Fotolia/Adobe Stock is the agency I am dedicated to the most. They have improved a lot over the years and attracted new buyers and I am sure that they will soon take over a leading position in microstock because of the many new things they offer, so that one as a Adobe CC user has everything at one place.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Photography by Milenko Đilas


How do you manage your workload and projects?

For now I manage to do everything in time because I don’t hyper produce photos, that way it is easier to arrange, prepare, organize photoshoots, editing, and also have time for things that I personally find important such as hanging out with my friends, attending festivals, etc. I’ve found a balance between everything and I don’t exaggerate at anything in my life. A little bit of work, little bit of spending time with friends and people who inspire me to do new stuff, basically that is it.


Milenko Đilas Photography

A Day in the Life: Milenko Đilas


Do you shoot stock photography full-time, or alongside other photography projects?

I am devoted to stock photography, but if I find something interesting, something that would be a challenge for me, I would accept it and money wouldn’t be the most important thing about that. But there haven’t been any proposals for that kind of work. My day usually begins with drinking coffee and reading emails, listening to music and then when I set up the atmosphere I start editing the photos, later I have a lunch break and go downtown to meet some friends, and/or meet new models and arrange new photoshoots. If it is summertime, then I go have a beer with friends in the evening. Usually I always have plans for each and every day of the week.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Location Shoot: Milenko Đilas


Any tips for someone interesting in starting to shoot stock photography?

My advice to them is to have a lot of patience and be persistent. They have to be willing to invest a lot of money in their photography because in the beginning what they earn may not be enough to cover the expenses, but that should change in a short period of time, only if they stay tenacious. They should chose a theme that are in trend, listen to the advice they get from stock agencies via email news and be aware that being a good photographer is not enough, one has to master Photoshop. What can make the job a little bit easier are presets for LR and ACR that can be bought online and show great results if used properly [Milenko currently uses the Cine Collection, Urban Collection and Editorial Collection]. Besides that they will have to know something about producing as well, because finding the locations and models, choosing themes, they don’t happen out of the blue, you have to do all of those things until you can afford an assistant to do it for you. But my biggest advice would be: put a big smile on your faces and enjoy in reaching your goals for it will make the time fly. Enjoy doing photography, make good stuff because that is the crucial thing about everything. Earning money from selling your work is there to merely help you do what you love which are the photographs that last forever.


Milenko Đilas Photography

Photography by Milenko Đilas



Milenko Đilas Self Portrait Photography
Discover More of Milenko's Work:
Stock Photography: Adobe Stock
Behind the Scene: Youtube

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