Dealing With Stock Photo Anxiety

Social Media, The Declining Stock Photo Market, and Anxiety!

One thing I am having a hard time doing is separating the anxiety from my work. Anxiety-inducing stimuli seem to be everywhere…at least for me. The ubiquitous and never-ending bad news about the decline of stock photography is obviously one of those factors. There are many other such stimuli constantly assaulting me as well…everything from social media to the economy to image theft.

Images on Facebook, Google Formulas and Exploding Video

Just this morning I was reading an email exchange in which the fear of posting images on facebook was being debated. Geez…I have been posting some of my blogs, complete with images, on facebook…gulp! I also just finished reading about how facebook is going to change advertising…will I get a share of that…will my images be used…or is this another step towards oblivion for advertising photographers? Anxiety! At any moment Google can change their formula and presto chango…two years of intense work might be gone! Eeek! Speaking of Google, I read this morning that they are predicting that 50% of all online ads will have video by 2015…OMG…I really have to get on the video bandwagon! It goes on and on…relentlessly.

Stolen Images, Flickr and Policing My Work

What got me thinking about this was a forum post I just read in which the person posting was requesting ideas about how to “go after” someone who had stolen his images, posted them on flickr and was offering free downloads of them. I can certainly identify with this as many of my funny animal pictures are all over the web and offered as free e-cards, screen savers, prints and more. I don’t believe many of these cases of theft are worth the effort to go after. The people infringing aren’t really making any money…and often I can’t even figure out how to contact them! If I really try to police my work it will take up every second of my time…anxiety!!!

Dealing With Anxiety

At any rate, after reading that person’s post I suddenly became aware that I was in a rather intense state of anxiety…and I certainly don’t want to live my life in a state of anxiety. The best ways I have learned to deal with my own doubts is to first become aware that I am in such a state, secondly, take a deep breath and relax a bit, and thirdly, if I still need to do something to get to a better place, do one of three things. First, I can do some exercise…preferably something fun like a good fast-paced game of Ping Pong (I kid ­­you not…I LOVE ping pong!); Secondly, I can review my plans to stay successful. It really relaxes me to know that I have a plan in place…it gives me a sense that I do have at least some influence on my own destiny. And finally, make an image! Today, once I recognized I was in a state of anxiety, I stopped doing everything else and made this image. It is a photo I have been planning on doing for a while and it can work both as a stock image and for inclusion in my series of funny animal pictures. Perhaps most importantly, it makes me smile!

Think of all The Photos I Could Make!

Of course, another way I could deal with my anxiety is to stop listening to the news, reading forums and checking my e-mail. I could get rid of twitter and delete my facebook account. Wow, think of all the images I could make then!­­

About the author

John Lund  has been shooting professionally for over 30 years.  John was an early adopter of Photoshop, first using version 1.0 in 1990.  He began using digital capture in 1994.  John has been active in the stock photography world as a founding member of BLEND IMAGES, and long time contributor to Getty Images, Corbis, and, more recently SuperStock.

John has lectured on digital imaging and stock photography, has been a columnist for PICTURE and DIGITAL IMAGING magazines, and written ADOBE MASTER CLASS, PHOTOSHOP COMPOSITING WITH JOHN LUND.  John has been a frequent speaker at Photo Plus and other venues and has taught workshops at Palm Beach Workshops and Santa Fe Workshops.  His work can be seen at

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

2 thoughts on “Dealing With Stock Photo Anxiety

  • October 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I too had anxiety after I read about how Facebook took it upon themselves to have free reign over everyones photos. They did this by including it in the “I Agree” part where you initially signed on. I mean come on now…who reads all those agreements? Maybe some do, but most will just blindly agree to most terms. I am guilty of that, and I too am one of those persons who started a discussion about how Facebook owns everything you post. My solution? I have WATERMARKED any and all images I now upload to the internet. They are tiled watermarks which makes the images virtually useless unless someone wants the image bad enough to spend a few months in Photoshop editing them out. Good luck on that.

    I have a portfolio in SmugMug and have locked down most of my folders until I can get to them and watermark every single image in there. So that is my way of ridding myself of the anxiety about safeguarding my images.

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