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Author Topic: Do Micros really lower the value of Photos in every other field???  (Read 12836 times)

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LSD72

  • My Bologna has a first name...
« on: May 22, 2009, 23:40 »
0
On a Forum I go to, a guy posted info about Micro Sites. Well, of course you got the killjoy who comes in and is all against it.

So My question is.. what would you say to a Person who states..

"I'm sorry, but there is nowhere that you can make 'money' with microstock

All you are doing it selling your work for a pittance and in the process lowing the value of photography in every other field.

If your photographs are good enough to sell, then you should sell them for the proper value and not like this."


I just made a Simple reply because past experience is it would be falling on deaf ears anyways... My Reply..

"Sell 50 Photos at $1000 or 1000 Photos at $50. If your happy at the way you make your money... Go For It.

No Matter which way you sell (Micro or Macro or Wedding or Auto.. ect.) there will be those who don't like the way your doing it.

Fen.. why don't you start a thread about Macro's to share your info? This section is about sharing knowledge on how to make money. I would love to know more about the Macros and what styles would work with them."


So..what would you say to him?


« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2009, 00:10 »
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I would agree with him and tell him that he's absolutely correct there is no money to be made with micro. The more people that believe this the less competition for all of us ;)

« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2009, 01:43 »
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I wouldn't say anything to him because in all likelihood there is nothing I could ever say that might cause him pause.

« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2009, 01:51 »
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I think Whatever is the trendy reply.

« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2009, 02:12 »
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So..what would you say to him?

Whatever  ;D

« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2009, 02:20 »
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Refer him to a basic economy course where he will learn that on the FREE MARKET the price of ANY commodity on this planet, be it food, cars, houses or stock photography, is subject to the simple principle of supply and demand. If the supply exceeds the demand prices will go down.

For a long time Stock Photography was not a totally free market. It was very difficult to get into the larger Macro stock agencies and these agencies could effectively manipulate the market with highly inflated prices. With the establishment of MicroStock the stock industry was for the first time put out in the open where market forces dictate price, hence the dramatic decline in prices.

He must also realize that an individual can do nothing about this trend, no matter how much he dislike is. Market forces that dictates this simple principle is so strong that it will happen no matter how much he or even a large group of people are against it. You play the game or go find something else.

In stock photography Microstock is the way of the future, whether we like it or not. It is not going to disappear away any time soon. There will however, remain a few nish markets with higher prices. He should pursue this (shrinking) market if he dislikes Microstock this much.

« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2009, 02:21 »
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I used to try and argue but now I can see that it is best to agree with people that think there is no money in microstock.  If you take away the top 10% of contributors, he is probably correct.  I do think microstock has damaged the traditional agencies but they didn't move with the times and that was inevitable.

« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2009, 03:19 »
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Yes, microstock photography DOES lower the value of photos and photography, that is just a plain fact. Even if the micros opened some new markets there's less money spent in photography than before, and the sum is divided with more photographers -> less money for each photographers, and that is a fact.

Many pro photographers have stopped photographing stock because it isn't worth it any more.

Also if a commissioned shoot would cost $500 and a microstock image (even if it isn't the perfect image for the purpose) costs $5, the customer may choose the latter, especially now when money is tight. I have seen many of my clients choose microstock images instead of my commissioned work. That makes me a bit sad (and broke) but I can't complain because I'm also selling microstock.

But it's also sure that money can be made from microstock (for how long? The market is saturating at a rapid pace) Microstock is a phenomenon that an't be stopped by just some individual photographers. Either you are in the micro business or you aren't.

Bottom line: I don't like people that shoot stock "just for fun" without thinking about their overheads or their time spent (you don't do other work "free" either, do you?). If someone is making good images but would earn more by flipping burgers, I recommend them to start flippin'. That would make microstock business-wise much better.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 03:27 by Perry »

« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2009, 06:38 »
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I probably wouldn't bother trying to tell him anything, he probably wont listen anyway. 

but I think... (and its only my feeling)

yes people can make money in micro, but most wont make anything of note. In five years or so it will be many less (too many people, to many free images, too many subscriptions etc) - but I also see digital camera as a bit of fad, I know plenty of people that went crazy for a year or two and now barely get the camera out. 

yes IMO micro has cheapened photography sales, everwhere I go I see Yuri's (and a few others) photos, being used by companies who could have afforded macro stock or commissioned shoots, but didnt and probably bought a subscription for a month. (I also plenty of poor stuff was sold way too high).  (I also think if there had been more macro sites like alamy etc that would at least look at your images things may have been different)

but digital photography has cheapened photography immensely as well as micro. There a four journos in town each has a p&s, the one photojourno that there was now works in a private school as a media officer.  digital has made it cheaper to produce and cheapened the perception of what an image is worth.

Phil

« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2009, 07:30 »
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If you're seriously in the photography business, you know the fine line between each  category of your trade. it's much like any other business, whether it's selling pop music like david foster, or making jazz music like herbie hancock. as my associate who is a painter once told me, " you don't sell original paintings at the waterfront during the summer, you sell lithographs. you would be nuts to give away an original for 20 dollars. you sell the original at the gallery for much more".
that more or less sums up the whole deal about microstock really. it's up to you , the creator of the image, to decide where you want to sell , and how much, or how little,  you would settle for. 
does it devalue your work if you give it to microstock? well, that's a personal and very very subjective question, only you can answer.

« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2009, 08:58 »
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There are so many photographers "waiting" for job charging 100$/h excluding everything.  If thats what they call good business. Feel free to continue. 

Its not microstocs fault - Its the digital camera

« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2009, 09:03 »
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"I'm sorry, but there is nowhere that you can make 'money' with microstock
All you are doing it selling your work for a pittance and in the process lowing the value of photography in every other field.
If your photographs are good enough to sell, then you should sell them for the proper value and not like this."


You say "You're right.  Thanks."

Do you have the need to have others to tell you you're right?  Let what works for you work for you.

« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2009, 10:02 »
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There are so many photographers "waiting" for job charging 100$/h excluding everything.  If thats what they call good business. Feel free to continue. 

You propably have no clue about real life photography profession. $100/h (I charge more than that for studio work) isn't really that much if you pay for your equipment (real pros have even backup of almost everything), software, taxes, pension, marketing, rents, accounting. And only a part of work is billable hours. You might charge $100/h but get $25/h in average in your own pocket.

I think most of microstockers would earn less than $10 hour if they really did their maths.

I don't think microstock is sustainable form of photo business as it is. Something needs to happen. I'm seeing some form of transition going on.
I already see "happy snappers" complaining it's too difficult to get in some of the sites. It's not too hard to get in, they are just too bad photographers. I think soon the stock business is back to the pros. If RPI falls drastically from current level the images get too expensive to produce -> the prices have to go up or the amount of incoming images have to be decreased substantially.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 10:15 by Perry »

PaulieWalnuts

  • You talkin' to me?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2009, 10:35 »
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There are so many photographers "waiting" for job charging 100$/h excluding everything.  If thats what they call good business. Feel free to continue. 

You propably have no clue about real life photography profession. $100/h (I charge more than that for studio work) isn't really that much if you pay for your equipment (real pros have even backup of almost everything), software, taxes, pension, marketing, rents, accounting. And only a part of work is billable hours. You might charge $100/h but get $25/h in average in your own pocket.

I think most of microstockers would earn less than $10 hour if they really did their maths.

I don't think microstock is sustainable form of photo business as it is. Something needs to happen. I'm seeing some form of transition going on.
I already see "happy snappers" complaining it's too difficult to get in some of the sites. It's not too hard to get in, they are just too bad photographers. I think soon the stock business is back to the pros. If RPI falls drastically from current level the images get too expensive to produce -> the prices have to go up or the amount of incoming images have to be decreased substantially.


I don't think it's just being a bad photographer. You could be a pretty good photographer but you now also need to be a Photoshop expert, have money for decent equipment (Good DSLR, lighting, tripod, computer, software, etc), have time committment, have some business savvy to run this like a business, and also understand marketing so you can figure out what buyers are looking for. Happy snappers probably have few to none of these qualities. And if you're missing any one or more of those and you should probably find something else to do because this will probably be nothing but frustration and disappointment for you.

Regarding devaluing in general, yes, but that's the way supply and demand works. If that person wants to sit tight on charging big money for his/her stuff I would like to see if their income has increased or decreased in five years. An increase in pricing would be great for all of us but I don't see it going that way.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2009, 11:16 by PaulieWalnuts »

« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2009, 11:12 »
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There are so many photographers "waiting" for job charging 100$/h excluding everything.  If thats what they call good business. Feel free to continue. 

You propably have no clue about real life photography profession. $100/h (I charge more than that for studio work) isn't really that much if you pay for your equipment (real pros have even backup of almost everything), software, taxes, pension, marketing, rents, accounting. And only a part of work is billable hours. You might charge $100/h but get $25/h in average in your own pocket.

I think most of microstockers would earn less than $10 hour if they really did their maths.

I don't think microstock is sustainable form of photo business as it is. Something needs to happen. I'm seeing some form of transition going on.
I already see "happy snappers" complaining it's too difficult to get in some of the sites. It's not too hard to get in, they are just too bad photographers. I think soon the stock business is back to the pros. If RPI falls drastically from current level the images get too expensive to produce -> the prices have to go up or the amount of incoming images have to be decreased substantially.


Im talking about one of those thousands "top-photographers" without customers, complaining about microstockers devaluating their nonexisting work.

Its absolutely nothing wrong with charging 100 or more $.    Btw this is a forum for real life photo business FOR microstockers.

puravida

  • diablo como vd
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2009, 12:17 »
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There are so many photographers "waiting" for job charging 100$/h excluding everything.  If thats what they call good business. Feel free to continue.

You propably have no clue about real life photography profession. $100/h (I charge more than that for studio work) isn't really that much if you pay for your equipment (real pros have even backup of almost everything), software, taxes, pension, marketing, rents, accounting. And only a part of work is billable hours. You might charge $100/h but get $25/h in average in your own pocket.

I think most of microstockers would earn less than $10 hour if they really did their maths.

I don't think microstock is sustainable form of photo business as it is. Something needs to happen. I'm seeing some form of transition going on.
I already see "happy snappers" complaining it's too difficult to get in some of the sites. It's not too hard to get in, they are just too bad photographers. I think soon the stock business is back to the pros. If RPI falls drastically from current level the images get too expensive to produce -> the prices have to go up or the amount of incoming images have to be decreased substantially.


Hear hear ! one heart to Perry for this one  8)

« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2009, 12:28 »
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I agree with you Perseus, we still don't need harsh decision for now...

But profitability will always be the main direction what is worth of effort...

Microstock harm traditional stock, maybe something else will harm microstock ...

We will see,maybe...



lisafx

« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2009, 12:30 »
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I would agree with him and tell him that he's absolutely correct there is no money to be made with micro. The more people that believe this the less competition for all of us ;)

Ditto!!

« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2009, 15:37 »
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Supply and demand... well yes and no.
An ex boss of mine was fond of saying 'perception is reality'.

Is there $30-40,000 more in parts and engineering in a Mercedes than in a Chevy?
Nope. It is a higher quality machine, but the rest you are paying for is prestige, service and the perception that is is worth more due to advertising.

Its the same thing with those pieces of sparkly carbon that most women demand on their finger for an engagement ring. It is a common element and not worth anything near what people are willing to pay for it.... except there is a perception that is has a lot of value due to advertising.

Traditional stock was kept at high perceived value.
The crowd-sourcing model has changed all that. it has also allowed many who would never have been accepted into traditional stock to sell their work. But make no mistake, this has changed the perception of the value of a photograph.

LSD72

  • My Bologna has a first name...
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2009, 19:42 »
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Of course we could all stop shooting for Micros to make this guy and others like him happy. Just put everything in Creative Commons on Flickr for Free.  Bet they would stop B*tchin about Micros..lmao.

« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2009, 00:27 »
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Yep, micro is heavily damaging prices. If there are only easy made simple pics for low price (where micro started), then its great idea. Those foolish talks about "free market" are just abit incorrect. Extremely low pricing in micro and little commision (sometimes even less then 20%!) hurts photographer in two major ways - they do 80% of work and get just 20% of final price which is really extremely low. Second it errodes prices of other photographs because clients often do not make much difference between easily made low-cost pics and difficult or rare shots where costs are up several hundred times higher and expect the same price as on micro. So if you are or are not on micro, it doesnt matter - it will decrease your earnings.

I would really like to see real costs (studio, staff, gear, locations, models...) of top-contributors and their revenue per picture. Even those $10/h. mentioned by Perry are far too optimistic for most microstockers, maybe top-contributors have such huge sells that it covers their costs but always remember that most of them shoots also contracts and many used to be pro before, they have many other sources of money to cover studio and gear - then micro could be extra income for them. Shooting only micro is a different story for most of us - my average revenue is just few $$ per picture on micro and I bet many others "small fishes" are on the same boat.

« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2009, 02:47 »
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Yes, microstock photography DOES lower the value of photos ...

Value is a subjective judgment.  A photo has a different "value" for each buyer.  All I worry about is sales and that is out of my hands.  It is determined by the market - i.e. how many buyers place a value on my photo that is greater than the price.

Microstock has dramatically increased the supply of images and this has lowered the cost of using images.  This has made the value of images greater than the price for many more customers.  Total demand for images has increased faster than supply - at least until the recent economic slump - and this has supported prices.  I think we are now seeing supply start to outrun demand and I would expect prices to drop.

Your interlocutor can go on living in the past or deal with the reality of the changed marketplace.

c h e e r s
fred
« Last Edit: May 25, 2009, 03:00 by Fred »

« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2009, 03:27 »
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Value is a subjective judgment.  A photo has a different "value" for each buyer.  All I worry about is sales and that is out of my hands.  It is determined by the market - i.e. how many buyers place a value on my photo that is greater than the price.

Microstock has dramatically increased the supply of images and this has lowered the cost of using images.  This has made the value of images greater than the price for many more customers.

That sounds like a great assessment of how markets work.

In addition I would mention that the cost of production has come down dramatically. The digital workflow requires more investment but reduced marginal cost. It has also led to a devaluation of know-how. Formerly, a photographer had to be quite sure how to set up an image before capturing it on film, otherwise his cost would rise. Nowadays someone can make 20 different shots within a few minutes, see the results immediately and use a trial-and-error approach to get the result he wants. This has allowed people without years of learning the techniques to enter the market as supplier.

And at the same time the demand for images has increased dramatically as well. Obviously, the lowered cost of media production within the WWW (anybody can put up a blog at zero or very low cost and try to sell ads via AdSense) has led to an explosion of content that is fighting for attention of the reader. But also print media have profited from digital workflows - do you remember how the next event in your local disco or the college party has been advertised with hand-drawn illustrations from a copy shop 10 years ago? Nowadays you see those ads in full color with professional imagery.

« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2009, 07:27 »
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...every other field. I doubt that wedding photographers are charging less because of micros.

Uncle Pete

  • Evidence please...

« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2009, 10:13 »
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Free Enterprise.

I'm free to make and sell my work to anyone I want.

Free Market.

I can sell my labor and products for whatever price I want.

The guy who asked this question supports price fixing and restraint of trade.

Microstock InsiderPhotoDune

 

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