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Serban Enache is founder, CEO and owner of micro-stock agency Dreamstime. Along with his best friend and partner Dragos Jianu, he created Dreamstime out of an internal database his website development company, ArchiWeb, used to share photos among their designers. From there, Dreamstime grew into its own business.
Dreamstime is a distinguished leader in stock photography, a major supplier of high quality digital images to the world’s largest advertising agencies, national and international magazines, and film and television production companies. Almost 5 million users have access to 14 million images and illustrations, contributed by the agency’s 130,000 photographers.
MO: What was the story behind creating Dreamstime?
Serban: Dreamstime started as an inhouse collection for Archiweb, our web design company. As the collection grew we decided to put it up on the web. Later, when more and more digital photographers appeared thanks to technology advance, we decided to create a community based website. Initially it was aimed to empower individuals in selling their travel photos. It was a dream to believe they could earn significant revenue from what was only a hobby, but slowly it started to happen.
MO: How have you managed to become the fastest growing stock photo agency worldwide?
Serban: We combined our experience in web design with our knowledge of the stock photography market. We learned mostly on the way, initially there was no plan of competing with the top traditional agencies. We put a lot of efforts into building the community and we enjoyed doing it. These are two prerequisites: whoever demonstrates passion and enjoys his work will certainly succeed.
MO: The success of Dreamstime has completely exceeded your initial expectations and projections. How did you achieve scaling the business accordingly?
Serban: Mostly by looking into the short term and medium term goals and combining that with a wise investment of the resources at hand. We tried to avoid growing faster than we could support, but in the same time did our best to continue the growth. We’re happy to serve more customers than the overall industry had when we entered it.
MO: How did were you able to take micro-stock photography and push it into the mainstream?
Serban: We certainly didn’t do it just by ourselves. It was a bet on the digital photography and its power to bring more enthusiasts in photography. As more people acquired DSLR cameras, the quality of the content improved. A bigger pool of photographers provided access to better content. A community based website as ours embraces creative competition. The result is a better product that will satisfy even the most picky designer. There is nothing that can generate better business than having the perfect product.
MO: You’re still the owner and managing director of the web design firm, Archi-Web. Aside from time management how you manage two successful companies?
Serban: Although Archiweb is now a separate entity, it is dedicated exclusively to working with Dreamstime.
MO: What tips would you give an amateur photographer looking to submit their work to a stock photography site?
Serban: To learn as much as possible about what stock photography, what sells and why! Knowledge is vital for succeeding in this business and permanent learning is a must. All top photographers do that, no matter how famous they are. Never stop learning and always stay hungry for more. At the same time, have reasonable expectations and set goals. Don’t expect to earn a fortune over night. Instead, work hard to build something. This way they can enjoy a steady revenue for many years. The beauty of stock photography is that it will bring rewards (financial or motivational) over a long time span. Whether we’re talking about a hobbies or a full time photographer, stock photography will be part of their lives for many years.
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