Junk Shops – a source of Microstock ideas

I’m always looking for something different to photograph (and keeping my eyes open to what is being used on web sites) and I’ve seen a few images with older typewriters on them – gives a more interesting angle to writing, journalism or blogging than yet another laptop photo. So I go to antique stores (which are really junk shops here in the USA) and see what is around. My most recent purchase was an electric typewriter in pretty good condition:

Now getting it to the beach was a bit of a trek, but with only paying

$15 for the device, I could afford the airfare! My approach with something like this is to take a few angles, isolate the device from the background and then I can composite into all sorts of different views. Some of them are like the beach above on top of some old wooden planks. Others need a bit more work like this one of an unsuccessful novelist – again all this was just composited together rather than being photographed in one go.

And still others are superimposed on various color backgrounds using the “in colors” for 2018:

Then, I splashed out $8 for a new ribbon for the typewriter so I could do some macro shots with a real typeface:

All told, I have uploaded around 24 images so far, and I have a plan to take some short videos next to continue its use. None of the images have been rejected as similars, so all are sufficiently different to pass that test at the agencies.  As an alternative to filling your home with junk, I did a deal late last year with the store to “borrow” an old phone for $10 – kept it for a few days to photograph and then returned. The store was happy and so was I:

Because I have my isolated shots still on my hard-drive, I was able to create shots with the telephone even though I no longer own it:

So keep your eyes open for that bit of history that will help you make a new series that will at least generate back its cost in new sales.

(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)

6 Responses

  1. Vlad Savin says:

    Good idea.

  2. Kevin Hellon says:

    Interesting article as always Steve, Maybe you can update us with sales in a few weeks time, regards


  3. Angelica says:

    Great inspiration! 🙂

  4. Good idea indeed, I love scouring flea markets for these kinds of things. Too bad they often end up in the garage and on my ‘to do’ list 🙂
    Curious to see what they will bring you regarding return on investment! I see a 3,40$ in the comments, so that’s almost 30% there 😉
    Keep it up!

  1. April 21, 2018

    […] in February, I wrote about the ideas you can sometimes get from objects in a junk shop – specifically a typewriter which cost me $15. I was asked to report on success – did […]

I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!