New Stock Images – Five friends at Times Square

Part three of my New York City  images shot last Fall during a Getty Images event. For the first time I collaborated on this shoot with my friend and colleague Martine Doucet as well as the always talented and inspiring Lise Gagné and her creative powerhouse of a partner Louis Leblanc (rebelz). In the weeks preceding the event, after deciding to go, we facebooked back and forth, casting models and pitching ideas. Quebec power! It was nice to work with such great people… and then the models! One of the great advantages of going to a place like New-York City is the availability of such great talent. Dozens of applicants sent us their portfolios of which five were selected. They were energetic, professional, open and authentic, and helped turned a rainy, overcast, cold Autumn morning into some radiant photographs.

I shot the whole thing with my 200mm lens out of respect for my colleagues who were using other focal lengths. Obviously when you shoot in groups like this the same scenes it is important to try and get very different images as much as possible to not undercut each other. Different angles, colors, approaches and of course unique point of view and sensibilities.  So in  my case, I went for character and bright colors, with lots of close-up trying to show relationships. The atmosphere of the city is present, but mostly in colorful blurred backgrounds. And boy did I push the colors to their limits. It makes for a rather chaotic result overall, but one with the bright optimism that I saw with in so many of the young people I met there. It is after all the place where all the dreams are possible…

You can view the whole series in this lightbox or this Photoshelter Gallery . Enjoy!


A. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock andGetty Images

B. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock 

C. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock andGetty Images

D. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock andGetty Images

E. © 2015 Nicolas McComber – Available for RF licensing at Istock


Introducing new stock image gallery: Tokyo

Ok so first: I’m still very much active and hard at work uploading new work every day. Much less on this blog, I must admit, but amidst the numerous changes on the Istock website, and in my personal life, I have decided to focus on uploading and less on marketing. But here’s a new resolution: every Thursday I will update both my Photoshelter mirror site with new series and this blog to talk a bit about them.

This Spring, I made a long trip that filled me with tons of extraordinary moments, meaningful encounters, good times, spiritual awakenings and overall fantastic-way-beyond-anything-I-ever-imagined awesomeness.  (and about 16k files of great materiel to edit of course). Book-ended by two Getty Images-sponsored Istockalypses (Los Angeles in early March and Tokyo in mid May), this  adventure took me on a quick road trip through Central California, then on to a month in Indonesia (mostly in the Bali area but also briefly in Yogyakarta), then Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Halong bay (Vietnam), Seoul, a small Zen temple in Central Korea, Busan and Tokyo. So all of these will be on my slate for release in the next 4 months.

I concurrently work on older shoots in order to close chapters and, ahem, clear my main hard drives. So peppered through these Asian images, you will see more of Switzerland (almost done!) and then on to my two minilypses in Florida, some more of Hong Kong, final images from the cowboy and aliens event in Montana, extended availability of successful model shoots (such as my excursion with four models through London last Fall or my lone Black office worker walkabout in Montreal) and another batch of Istanbul photographs.

So without further ado, the first collection are images from the City of Tokyo. You can view the images pertaining to the city (mostly tourism) on my Photoshelter site (with links to purchases licenses on Istock, as always) or directly on Istock. The latter lightbox also includes the images shot with models, while the Photoshelter site is divided thematically, with model images in their own collection.

So Tokyo was the last stop of my 3 months trip. I did start to feel a sense of fatigue by then, but I still held on and visited this fantastic city, shooting streets, inspiring architecture, backgrounds and of course some great people. I was so full of immense gratitude by then – I guess that would be the thematic emotion of this whole adventure. Gratitude to be there, to live this and to be part of this amazing world in these fascinating times.

My guesthouse was in the Shinjuku area, so expect many images from there, and also from Asakusa, Odeiba and Shibuya as well as short detours to some of the city’s landmark buildings. Here are a few favorites:

More later.. Enjoy!

Introducing new Stock image galleries: Istanbul IStockalypse 2014 shoots part 1

Last Fall, I took part in my 4th official Istockalypse after Berlin, London and Hong Kong. This one took place in Istanbul, where I spent two weeks in late October. Upon coming back, amidst the stress of relocating, finding a place to live, move all my stuff and rediscover my inner strength, I pushed over 250 images of this event, more than I ever did on the previous ones. I participated in 2 walkabout shoots organized by Getty Images, 2 pitch shoots also sponsored by Getty Images, and 3 side shoots. I also photographed the city whenever I could, in all its historic grandeur: mosques, markets, commercial streets and skylines of piled up apartment buildings. So, yes, lots of images… And I have tons more to go through.

Here are three galleries I put together today on Photoshelter. As usual, links to buy the images on IStock are provided on each image’s page in bright orange. Go ahead and splurge.

The first one, Turkey: Istanbul, is mostly street photography , travel landmark images and panoramic skylines, with some food images thrown in for good measure. You’ll see such images as this one:

The second one, Lifestyles: Two female Turkish Friends shopping regroups images shot during my first walkabout. Here’s a highlight:

The third one, Lifestyles: Business team in Istanbul regroups images shot during the second walkabout, later that same day. Here’s a favorite:

My 2013 Top Earning Stock Images #11: Fried Chicken Leg

Embed from Getty Images

Uploaded: March 2011
Collection: Sig+ / E+
Also available on IStock

Today I’m trying the new embed feature from Getty Images. Apparently this measure was made in response to piracy – bloggers/pinteresters/facebookers seem to steal images to put on their social networking pages. So Getty decided to give access to most of their catalog for free with this embedding technique. Of course it’s just for private use with this very small size – if you want larger, or tu use it commercially,  follow the link (click on the image) and buy a proper license. Will this work? One can hope. It’s simple enough to go around it if you want the image without the link, but please don’t. We’re making a living out of these images. Don’t steal them. Embed them.  Istock is probably not far behind: their removal of Extra-Small size last month seem to point that this is in the works also for their site. God, I hope this works out.

This said, apologies for slacking off on the blog: I’ve uploaded several hundreds images last month, which is a lot as I operate alone. You’re welcome to see them and buy them in my portfolio. I just want to be done with my back catalog before Summer. And I have a lot to go through.

So hmm back to this list. New work will follow after I’m done. I promise. Number 11 is this not very instagramesque food shot (we’ve been told to shoot food as if using instagram), photographed in my old home studio. I did a series in, like, 30 minutes upon coming back from the take-out restaurant, just to try and reimburse the cost of the meal. Little did I know that I would end up making a very nice profit, mainly with this photograph and this one, which has been quite a hit at the subscription site Thinkstock. I haven’t done a lot of food photography since, being more attracted by learning how to properly shoot lifestyle images. I have no solid plan to shoot more this year, although I did put a quick shot of a raw beef brisket meat cut last week, since there was none available on IStock.

My 2013 Top Earning Stock Images #48: Two teenage girls on campus filming funny scene with smart phone

Teenage girls at school taking a photograph with phone
Teenage girls at school taking a photograph with phone

LogoBUYlogoISON Link to Getty Images

Uploaded: August 2013
Collection: Vetta

So I did this amazing shoot last Summer for the Back to School period, and uploaded just a few to see how they’d do. Well they completely failed to get any interest on Istock. So I moved on to other things. Luckily for me, this one was selected for Vetta and enjoyed an auspicious beginning on Getty Images. Enough so that it made #43 on this top earning images list and gives me hope for the rest of the shoot which I will work on next June. Oh and if you’re wondering about the scene going on here, I had my friend Martine Doucet, the actual mother of one of these two models, kidding around in front of the girls. It worked perfectly.

My top 50 best earners for 2013

Once a year, I look back at the performance of my photographs to try and see what I’m doing right and also to look at trends, but also to put to rest or solidify some assumptions I have about what’s happening at Istock and the effects on my income. This year, I thought I’d share this top 50, posting a few photos every day on this blog. Going over the results, I was kind of shocked to see how many of these winners I’ve never featured here. I was always waiting for some special occasion and well, this is now.

Why a top earners list instead of a most downloaded? Well, at the end of the day, it’s the income that counts. For a few years now, the amount of sales has declined for Istock exclusives like myself, but the money coming back on each sale has generally gone up, keeping, in my case, the income pretty stable and slightly higher than 2012. When you add in Getty Images revenues, then BAM! major increase. A third of my stock revenues this year came from Getty Images on a fraction of the sales numbers I get at Istock. With commissions going as high as $105 on a single sale, it doesn’t take many to push a photograph into this yearly top 50 earners list. All in all, the reality is that I can now make as much from a handful of sales as I did in the past for a hundred. Hence, away with the depressing download numbers, and say welcome to the top earnings list.

I’ll try to find answers to a few questions nagging me during this exercise. A major complaint all year from IS contributors was the lack of sales for new material uploaded after the big search engine change last Fall. Is it really impossible to make money off of new shoots? Or is the reality quite different? Is it possible to make good money outside of the Sig+/Vetta collections mirrored at Getty? What kind of photographs are the buyers ready to shed big bucks on? What should I photograph and select in my editing?

Let’s see how the old, musty best sellers of yonder years are fairing against the newer material… enjoy!

By the way, if you read this prior to February 2014, please note that the order may still change. After all there is still a month to go at Istock and two to come in yet from Getty. I should receive my December money from Getty in late January, then I’ll do the final adjustments to this blog. Oh and the dates of the posts don’t make sense because it’s the only way I found to change the post order. Don’t worry it’s all posted in December.

Welcome back Istockphoto

After enduring 6 months of turmoil, drama, confusion and disappointment, some of it passionately expressed on forums, surveys and blogs, it’s only fair that I write this positive note given what I’ve witnessed this month. Many of the technical glitches have disappeared, communication has greatly improved, important steps have been taken to correct corporate mistakes, the best match search engine is healing nicely from the heavy battering it took last Fall, inspection times are fast and the results fair, indexation of new images happens overnight, the connectors to Getty Images and the other partner sites are working at an amazing speed, the royalties from these sites are now reported automatically in a timely manner, and, best of all, sales have started increasing, at least in my case. There are still quite a few things for them to work on, but it is great to see things getting back to normal and even improving. I’m glad I toughed out the rough months and stayed exclusive.

Welcome back IStock. My motivation is now renewed.