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Author Topic: I'm coming back after a long time so a few Qs to put me back in the game!  (Read 2171 times)

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« on: December 29, 2015, 05:34 »
+2
Hi All, and Merry Christmas.

I am very keen in returning to contributing.

I was exclusive with iStock and now I'm looking to bring all the new skills and tools I've learnt in the past years back to them and build a bigger and better portfolio (I remember the "good old days" at IS! but my interest with them dwindled).

The last time I can say I was actively contributing was back in 2011 which may as well be 20 years ago! since then I have been a photographer in my day job and taken on private projects which has introduced me to working in studios with other pro togs and the use of professional models over the years.

As my portfolio on IS is amature (but amassed +9000 dls with -500 images) i think I can really introduce a new level to my port, generate a decent income and have fun and learn more.

I recognise a few names on here that I remember helped me out in the past and hope they and other members can educate me on the current climate, so to speak.

Background and intro over!

Main questions really are as follows:

What are the major changes in stock photography?
Where (apart from here) is the community talking.(I hear IS no longer has a forum) where do we critique images, find inspiration, help others etc?
What are the trends (ie analog look is in, cheesy high key is out)?
Why has the i$tock app stopped working?
do contributors meet up and collaborate?
Finally as I've been away so long I think its safe to assume I don't know the correct questions to ask, so if you have any helpful tips or advice its very much appreciated


I hope to be submitting again soon and talking with you in the future


ShadySue

« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2015, 06:58 »
+10
Hmm. IStock is rapidly moving towards being just another subs site,  but with fewer buyers. Their acceptance standards have lowered to an unbelievable level and keyword spamming is rife. I seriously advise you to submit just a few files to start with to see how they go before committing yourself to any expensive shoots. The forum has moved - you should have got an invite by email. If you didn't,  you'll need to ask CS. It's secret, we can't quote it outside. It's nothing like the old forum. A few old names are there, but the old community has gone. A lot of the 'enthusiastic' posters are relative newbies from developing countries. Most of the few who are happy about sales have very low sales so are happy with a handful. A few oldies are uploading tons and say they are maintaining sales, but privately admit they're struggling to break even on shoots.
So, I repeat - don't commit to expense unless and until you find that your work is against the trend.
Read msg threads - that's probably a good enough gauge of what's going on.

« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2015, 07:10 »
0
good old Shady sue!

what other forums are there? not necessarily stock. just looking to generate income, share enthusiasm and meet the tog community online in 2016!

authenticcreations

« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2015, 07:13 »
+5
One of the major change in stock is that Shutterstock became the leader of the club by far. It is originally a subscription agency but 28 till 128 dollars extended sales are happening there more often then any other agency including macro like Alamy.

One reason i think that Shutterstock is the best choice is that it has very high earnings potential plus you can still submit to other agencies. Being exclusive on istock gives you also in general high earnings but you can not sell anywhere else your RF. This is a pity because you will leave some extra money.

Mirco

« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2015, 13:21 »
+4
I could be wrong, but I think the community that was iStock just doesn't exist any more - anywhere. There are some facebook groups of iStock contributors; Shutterstock has its own forums, but I always found those had a terrible signal to noise ratio :)

You say you were exclusive - meaning you're planning to contribute to other sites now? Shutterstock will (right now) probably be your best source for a good monthly income, but even there you'll find problems (read the thread here on image spam; more than just idle complaints, it speaks to the ability of new work to find its feet and gain good search position). Lots of people have hopes that Adobe will bring a big boost to Fotolia, but there's not a lot of evidence of sales growth mentioned here - so far anyway.

Shutterstock was organizing get togethers of contributors - ShutterWalk - but I don't know how active this is

If you plan to contribute to public forums, be aware that some agencies will close your account if they don't like what you say - that's why many people are anonymous.

As far as visual trends, I have no clues to offer, but some searches on stock sites (include Stocksy as an example of an agency that wants to project a distinctive style and Shutterstock as the big box store with something of just about everything) should help.

Good luck

« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2015, 14:01 »
+2
From the istock exclusives that went indie, you will now see many contributing to agencies that have exclusive images - stocksy, westend,blendimages,500pix, getty,corbis,eyeem and all the others.

This gives you more freedom. The images or series are exclusive, but you can still work with anyone else in the industry.

there is also a trend to submit more to higher priced agencies instead of the micros, unless it is very,very generic. Because the libraries are growing so fast, you no longer get thousands of downloads on the micros, so if you really invest in your production smaller niche agencies or macrostock agencies can give you better returns.

Stocksy and Offset certainly have very modern and trendy collections, also look at the lean in collection over on Getty.

Many people have added video as another income stream, Shutterstock and pond5 are probably the most important agencies there, fotolia is slowly increasing and some people have good results with videoblocks..

Now that Adobe has taken over Fotolia it will be interesting to see how that evolves, so i would recommend also uploading there, in addition to SS and a few others, because Adobe by itself might be a huge marketplace and reach out to customers who use adobe software, but dont have a subscription contract with a normal stock agency.

It is a very diverse, and often confusing stock landscape, several different strong players, several lucerative niche agencies. More confusing than just being an istock exclusive, but also more reliable income because it comes from many different places.

Also it be might worth considering your own webshop, if you have a special niche subject that is hard to copy.

Community wise, it is all spread out over various forums and many, many small and large facebookgroups, many groups are closed or even fully secret, so they can say whatever they want without having their portfolios deleted.

Whatever you do, Good luck!

« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2015, 04:41 »
0
Fantastic feedback Jo Ann and Cobalt, thank you (I still remember the great help I received from you Jo Ann when I was starting out)

You both raise very important points!

Jo, all choices are open to me. I will be looking to enter into the "stock world" fresh and wide eyed!

Cobalt, I don't remember us crossing paths (we must have) but thank you for your insight, very inspiring and exactly what I was looking for.

Your post reminded me of what I enjoyed most about all this. the challenge, learning curve and demand for quality. You mention a trend to submit to higher priced agencies I would very much like to find out which sites are, shall we say, of a higher calibre. If you could point me to some that would be great!

I am not at all interested in shooting vast amounts of content in the hope of a sale, or in shooting video. I would much prefer to spend time developing a concept, executing and then processing carefully. I find one good image much more satisfying than 10 snapshots.

A few sites you mention, lean in collection and Offset, I will take a look at now

Thank you


« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2015, 09:03 »
0
Higher priced sites are simply all the macros, although maybe working with a macro distributor like westend61 or blendimages is the easiest way to do this. then there are stocksy and 500pix which have macro pricing, stocksy is very hard to get into, but 500pix seems to be open to the community.

You can also look at all the partner agencies gettyimages or corbis have and seee if one of these smaller niche agencies would be a good fit for you. Then there are specialized agencies, like stock food etc...

It all depends what you shoot and if you can get in, many of these places are extremly selective, you might have to apply several times, over several years to get in.

From the micros Shutterstock is the most important and Fotolia will be interesting to watch. Dreamstime gets a lot better over time as your files rise up in rank and you get more money.

It takes time to figure out what will work for your shooting style, it took me around 2,5 years, but I think now I know how to make it work. Still need to try 500pix, they look very interesting.



 

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