Click the iStockphoto link below to see Joe's portfolio.


Tampa Bay Living

One nice thing about living in Florida is very little downtime due to the lack of winter.

I am excited to have already been contacted by three couples about photographing their special day and providing them with the memory keepsakes that will be in their family for generations to come.



Crooked Bill says "brrr it's cold in Tampa Bay this morning!"

Crooked Bill by Tampa Bay Area Photographer C. Joseph Martin (cjmgrafx)) on


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

First off, our hearts and our prayers go out to anyone effected by Hurricane Sandy! Good luck on a speedy recovery.

In a day and age where it seems like customer service is a thing of the past, I love a good customer service story. More so when it comes in the form of a company/service I use and support, especially during a time of crisis and natural disaster.

Let's start with the bad and the ugly. We our located in Florida, so we know about hurricanes, though I can't recall the last time I have seen one of the size of Sandy. That storm was nasty and a lot of people were effected in it's path.

The good - in a time of a storm such as this, many people are effected, businesses close and services will be disrupted and that is understandable. It was not surprising in the least when our web host, who's data center is in lower Manhattan, sent out an e-mail about their building losing power. They noted they were on backup generators and would lose power to the servers in a matter of time.

Needless to say, thank you to a great bunch of people, lots of running up and down stairs (17+ flights) for days carrying buckets of fuel, our web site never went offline. I won't go into all of the details here on my blog, I will let you read it over on the Tech Crunch web site, where they give a great run down of the events.


Happy Halloween

Halloween photo by Tampa Bay Area Photographer C. Joseph Martin


Senior Portrait Session - Kristy & Lauren


Freelancers and Microstock are killing "real" photographers...

I am a little behind on posting here lately. I was hoping to get into the habit of posting weekly or at the least, once per month. That isn't happening and I have been beating myself up over it. Then I read a friends comments one day and the lack of posting stopped bothering me. He said, and I can't remember his exact words, but they were along the lines of "if I have enough time to blog often, I must not be a very good or a very busy professional photographer. That or I am wasting precious time I could be practicing my craft."

As a freelance photographer, that is still working a full-time job to collect a pay check, while trying to work into a full-time photography career this is something I hear all too often from the elitist "pro" photographers. Either my freelance prices are too low or the fact that I upload to a microstock web site, I am some how taking food off of their plate.

What I often hear is either "you're devaluing photography for the rest of us" or "you're taking from my livelihood". I say hog wash! You need to either get with the (economic) times or work harder to get what you want. Just because I don't work at this full-time yet and I haven't "mastered" the craft (will we really anyway? There is always something new to learn!) doesn't mean I don't work hard and provide a value to the clients I serve.

Let's start with freelancing, I don't give my work away, but I also can't expect to go out there with my minimal portfolio and expect to charge one thousand dollars for a shoot either. I seriously doubt if someone is worried about me stealing "their" clients, from the client list and the budgets I am currently shooting, that you are the pro you think you are any way. We all start somewhere and we all increase our prices over time. So if my shooting local youth baseball leagues, the occasional family portrait session or business headshot worries you, maybe it's you that needs to take a good hard look in the mirror to see what you can do to work harder or continue moving up the rungs of the ladder. Don't blame me for keeping you honest.

Let's move on to Microstock, because in reality this is the one that bothers me. When I hear someone that is charging a day rate of $600, $1,000 or more, what do they really care about someone shooting microstock. Yes, it means a lot of clients can find a photograph, vector image, sound or video clip cheaper than they used to be able to. I still doubt that  large clients will be turning to places like iStockphoto to purchase the images for their unique ads.

What microstock has done is opened up new avenues for the "free" magazines you find at a local grocery store, small businesses, churches and hobby clubs to purchase our photos instead of using Google and stealing them from our web site or Flickr accounts.

A good example of this is the company where I hold my full-time position. They are a small business and they don't have a large marketing budget. They know I am a photographer and they could pay me to set up shots that they need, but they prefer I work on projects for an actual client. Not to mention they only thing they are using photos for are proposals and corporate promo pieces... with no marketing budget, especially in the current economy, I can guarantee they aren't going to be spending $50 or more for one stock photo, let alone more.

An even better example of this is Overflow. Overflow is one of the small, local "free" magazines I mentioned earlier. I found out about Overflow last week when my wife picked up a copy leaving our local Publix grocery store. I picked it up from the counter and started reading it and it is a well done magazine. For a better description of the magazine, I took this comment from their web site "Overflow is Tampa Bay's FREE monthly Christian magazine that offers hope and shares the goodness of God through Jesus Christ."

What caught my eye next was some of the photos within the magazine. I had seen them before, I just couldn't place them. I looked for information on the photos and not surprisingly, photos in this issue had been purchased from twelve different iStock photographers. I contacted the staff of Overflow, first to thank them for using iStockphoto... you didn't think I would bash them did you?, I contribute to iStock. I also wanted to ask them a question I had already guessed the answer to... would it be possible to put this magazine together without the ability to buy photos from a microstock site.

I have been considering writing this blog post for a while, but had been putting it off because it is one we hear too often these days. Now I had a little more fuel and a lot more reasoning behind it.


Another goal - 300th download in 2010

Like most people do with resolutions, at the end of the year I sit down and make goals for myself in life, which also includes the many things I  would like to accomplish as a contributor to iStockphoto.

Yesterday, I hit the another goal I set for myself this year, I received my 300th download at iStock. While getting to 250 downloads and becoming exclusive was my main goal, 300 was a goal to show that I was not content with just becoming exclusive, I wanted to continue to progress.

As always, thank you to the great help and feedback I receive from other  contributors at iStock, through twitter or facebook and everyone that comes to iStock to purchase our work.


250 Downloads and Exclusive!

After a long, fun and educational journey, I finally hit the magic number of 250 downloads and have become an exclusive contriubutor at

Being a husband, father of two young girls and friend of several survivors, I could not be happier with the photo that was purchased to reach my goal, Men Showing Their Support for Breast Cancer Awareness.


Dowtown Tampa Skyline

I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow iStock photographer Josh (Doxadigital) to shoot some of his specialty, city skylines. In this case, my home town city Tampa.

After we went to Channelside for dinner at Bennigan's, we set out for Josh's favorite place to shoot while he is in town. After a few pointers, the time was upon us for the short window we had to shoot.

Here is a sample of my first time shooting downtown skylines like this:


iStockphoto Image in Use

I posted in an earlier blog post that when shooting photography for iStockphoto and seeing your images sell, you often wonder where you photos are being used.

When I received notification from iStock Administration months ago about my Bald Eagle being used in a Designer Spotlight I was excited, it was my first image found in use.

Today however, I am ecstatic thanks to fellow iStock photographer Jennifer Byron. She sent me the above cell phone image (taken by Darryl himself) of my photo of Darryl as a boxer on the (top center portion of the cover page of) Minneapolis Star Tribune.

It doesn't hurt that Jennifer just sent me an e-mail saying "Just so you know, your photo will be seen by over 300,000 people today!!!" Ok, I will admit, I have a huge smile on my face right now!