Contributor Spotlight: MarioAV

MarioAV is a photographer, videographer and Adobe Stock contributor who has made the jump to pursuing stock full time. We caught up with him to hear about his challenges and triumphs, and how he balances producing both photographs and videos for the stock marketplace.

Adobe Stock: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

MarioAV: I am originally from Russia, now based in beautiful Barcelona. In my boyhood I would never have thought I would become a photographer. But as soon as I got my first camera – a gift from my grandma – I felt a passion for this art form. I even learned English because of photography. At that time there was a lack of useful information about photography in Russian forums, so I spent nights with a dictionary, translating almost every world to get knowledge and experience.

AS: How and why did you decide to get into the stock business?

MarioAV: Back in the day I worked as freelance photographer, then switched to image retouching because I wanted the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. After a while I grew tired of client work. What clients want don’t always match your own style or what you like. I had many friends who already swapped their freelance job for independent stock business and became successful. They often encouraged me to do the same but I did not believe that it could be profitable enough to be a full-time gig. So I started casually, with my smartphone. I submitted photos I made for my Instagram for stock. After few months, this small hobby gave me €80-100 per month.

But I also understood that you need to take it seriously, like a real job, if you want to be financially dependent on your stock business. So I made the difficult decision to stop working with clients, and instead, fully concentrated on stock photography. And this time I used a real camera not just a smartphone.

AS: What are the advantages and rewards of selling your work in the stock marketplace?

MarioAV: It is obvious – you are independent in your choices, projects, and work schedules. You do what do you like most, and you learn a lot about patience.

AS: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to become successful in the market?

MarioAV: The challenge is to keep everything running. As a freelancer, you have to be disciplined, because it’s often tempting to just take it easy and chill! I still have a lot of learning to do.

AS: Do you understand the difference between photos and videos as a stock contributor?

MarioAV: Photos give you fast sales feedback and you see how your market grows. It is easier to make a still image and retouch it after to achieve the look you want. You can make a lot of photos from one shoot.

Videos are more expensive. Filming can teach you a lot of new things: grading, converting, shooting at night and in low light – there are a lot of things you pick up as you along the way. Videos are more alive, and in my opinion, people come across more beautiful in videos than in a still image. With videos, you can share full expression of the moment. This is quite hard with photography if you aren’t a skilled photojournalist. The future belongs to video.

AS: How is producing stock images different from producing stock videos?

MarioAV: For stock images, often the only thing you need is a camera. You can make some mistakes, and use Photoshop to fix shadows, highlights, imperfections, etc. With footage, it doesn’t work like that. You have to be very careful and pay attention to many small technical things to get good footage. I find videos harder, but the challenge drives me.

AS: Do you have a preference between the two mediums?

MarioAV: Nowadays I prefer videos over photos. I love the process of footage making and grading too. I see the video as the future going forward. It is more alive and inspirational.

AS: Should new stock contributors focus on photo or video, or try to develop both simultaneously?

MarioAV: Better to start with one thing, find the way to develop it as you like it, and only then, add the other. To develop both, especially in the beginning, you will end up splitting your time and risk being mediocre at both of them. But, after all, this is just my opinion and you can do as you like!

AS: Do you have any other advice for people trying to build their stock portfolios?

MarioAV: The only things that are proven are patience and self-improvement. If you are hungry for new things and willing to learn how to be better than you were yesterday, you will be rewarded.

See more of MarioAV’s work on Adobe Stock.

Header image by MarioAV.