Peter Hoeg, Author of several fiction novels once said that “Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” Talking about emotions, photographers are known to capture them at its best. PhotoConcierge (PC) is privileged to feature Nila Newsom, a travel and stock photographer. Here is a sneak peek into Nila’s photography journey and how he affords to keep up with his passion for travel by selling his imageries on stock photography websites.
PC: When did you develop interest in photography and what inspires you?
Nila: I honestly did not have much of an interest in photography until I got my first camera in the year 2007. It was a little point and shoot camera and I used to go around and take photographs with it. It gradually began to dawn on me that this was something I really liked doing. Friends and family encouraged me a lot seeing my pictures and this gave me the inspiration to continue.
I am intrigued and greatly inspired by the ‘weird and wonderful’ and India has plenty of both. Travel photography in unique places with interesting subjects is always enthusing to me.
PC: When did you start working as a stock photographer, what interests you about this field?
Nila: A few months after I got my first camera I sold it and bought an entry level DSLR. I was looking for ways to fund my travels on the go and stock photography seemed like a good fit. No deadlines, no pressure, just upload your photos from anywhere in the world and hope they sell.
PC: How do you conceptualize your stock photos?
Nila: I try to find a good balance between what inspires me as a photographer and finding subjects that have not been widely covered in the realm of stock photography.
PC: What camera do you use and why do you prefer it to others?
Nila: I am currently using a Canon 7D with a variety of lenses. Actually I use Canon because my mentor was using it when I began photography and I have several friends like Rammohan Paranjape who also use Canon primarily and we share lenses and gear with each other.
PC: What is your studio set up for stock images ?
Nila: It is pretty simple since I am not into studio model shoots and I’m on the move a lot. It is a foldable lightbox, two umbrella lights, a reflector and a simple flash kit.
PC: What is your favorite genre of photography?
Nila: Travel photography is definitely the most interesting and rewarding to me. If I can shoot photos while traveling for my own pleasure and sell them, that’s ideal.
PC: What kind of stock photos sells the most as per you?
Nila: In the world of stock photography the highest selling photos are often times the simplest ones. I have an image of white cherry blossoms on a branch which has sold thousands of times but it definitely depends on which site you are selling your photos and what time of year it is. With my wide variety of travel shots something is always selling. My photo series of an Ayurvedic physician and medicine has been very popular on many sites as well.
PC: What tips would you like to give budding stock photographers?
Nila: Do not get frustrated in the beginning. The first test on many stock photo sites is getting your first series of images accepted to become a member. I failed this test a few times in the beginning while learning the intricacies of what is acceptable in terms of photo composition, subject, noise, chromatic aberration etc. Just keep adjusting and keep trying. Be willing to learn and put a lot of time and effort in the beginning. Also be willing to embrace rejections from faceless moderators even when subjectively your photos seem perfect to you.
When you make your first sales it can seem like a small return on your efforts but as you keep adding to your library of images the sales will grow and you will always retain the copyright and the same images can sell over and over.
If you are selling photos through stock photo sites then the idea is to get a high volume of sales every month – to achieve this I contribute to different stock agencies and focus my efforts where my photos are selling.
PC: Which one is your favorite picture from your collection and why?
Nila: My favorite photo in my collection is of this old woman praying during sunset at Keshighat in Vrindavana. She was standing in prayer for a long time and that gave me the opportunity to take my time capturing this image. I generally color process my photos after shooting and this one is no exception but I was able to retain the striking mood of the moment. This photo sums up what I like about photography. An interesting subject, dramatic lighting and the ability to frame out every other distracting element in the environment and just focus on one amazing thing.
About Nila Newsom.
Nila Newsom (born 1987, Los Angeles, USA) is a freelance photographer and graphic designer who frequently commutes between USA, Europe and India. Wholly self-taught, Nila’s photography has been influenced by the many years that he¹s spent traveling through Asia, in particular the Indian subcontinent. With it¹s diverse culture, history and people, India sparked his interest in photography which became a lifetime passion for him.
His images encompass his experiences through the lens. Whatever is visually stunning and interesting captures his imagination, and he aspires to share those experiences with others through his photos.