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Author Topic: Are we doomed by the law of diminishing returns ..  (Read 13902 times)

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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2008, 09:37 »
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Waldo, your response implies I'm discrediting or downplaying the skills of new contributors, which I'm not. I'm sure there are a ton of talented new contributors.

I didn't mean to come across like that.  I guess the point I was trying to make are a decent % of newbies are probably seasoned Flickr vets, and there are a lot of them and growing very rapidly.  The difference between Flickr and stock is relatively small in many respects.  A decent % of people on Flickr spend 40+ (usually a lot more) hours a week on it anyway, and take pictures for Flickr instead of just plain "what they like" (dogs, the kids, and flowers are pretty unpopular on Flickr as well).  Instead of collecting comments and faves for their work with stock you collect money, sure it might not be much unless you try to become serious at it, but it is more than 0.  Unlike Flickr though you don't have to "pimp" your photos by adding them to groups, many which force you in turn to comment on others' work, once they are online the work is done.  Therein lies the difference, Flickr takes everything, stock doesn't, but most don't post crap to their Flickr account, they are their own reviewer.

It is a pretty easy modification to what you do with your photography hobby to insert stock into it, for many Flickrites, as for most it goes:

Shoot a lot of stuff often -> process the best -> upload to Flickr - > Pimp your photos on Flickr

Changing it to this is really quite minor:
Shoot a lot of stuff often (wider gamut of possibilities with stock included) -> process the best -> upload those with stock possibility to stock sites -> upload others or rejects with Flickr possibilities to Flickr -> Pimp your photos on Flickr. 

The extra amount of shooting, processing, and uploading isn't that great and really just eats into photo pimping time, which incidentally earns you nothing anyway, might as well try to make a few bucks with stock on the side to hopefully help to upgrade the equipment collection.  The effort level isn't really any greater, though more time is devoted to taking and processing pictures (not much more time) than commenting on others work.


PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2008, 13:56 »
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Waldo, your response implies I'm discrediting or downplaying the skills of new contributors, which I'm not. I'm sure there are a ton of talented new contributors.
The extra amount of shooting, processing, and uploading isn't that great and really just eats into photo pimping time, which incidentally earns you nothing anyway, might as well try to make a few bucks with stock on the side to hopefully help to upgrade the equipment collection.  The effort level isn't really any greater, though more time is devoted to taking and processing pictures (not much more time) than commenting on others work.

This assumes that the majority of Flickr users are Photoshop and business savvy, and are used to getting out a magnifying glass to look at images at 100% and correct any of the smallest problems. I don't know if the majority do or don't have those capabilites.

I wonder how many Flickr images would be accepted as-is at Istock or Shutterstock. Don't know that either but I'm guessing a lot of them would require extensive post-processing to get accepted.

From what I've seen, even some more advanced photographers take a while to get adjusted to microstock requirements. The jump from Flickr to microstock may not be as easy as it seems.

« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2008, 14:34 »
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It's actually probably the opposite on post processing, fancy post processing gets you noticed on Flickr, most of Flickr's best would need to learn to tone down the post processing for stock, except for noise (the one thing Flickr folk don't care about).  Though the Flickr majority is different from the best, there are hundreds of thousands of members (possibly millions), most aren't very good, but the top 1% are, and that still is a lot of people.  Most of that 1% are people that got a DSLR, joined Flickr and were part of the majority, got really addicted to it, bought PS and learned it well, learned to improve their work from the constant comments of others, and are blissfully unaware that microstock even exists.  There are even whispers going around that Flickr itself is going to turn into a microstock site in some capacity.  I get at least get a request a week to use my photos there, no telling how many times they simply have been stolen (I know of at least one instance). 

The requirements of microstock are definitely an adjustment, as there is no need for noise or fine CA control there, but your images have to have pop and sizzle to get noticed, something that carries over well, toned down.  Subject matter is the biggest difference, ridiculous smiling models and isolated things have no place in Flickr, same as abstract architecture, birds, and wild Orton landscapes have no place in stock, though I bet there are a decent number of normal landscapes that could  pass the tests, especially with a light ninja pass over the blue parts of the sky.

« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2008, 15:09 »
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Actually I did travel the inverse path. I started with stock and in the late month I discovered the fun of Flickr. I usually use Flickr when I want to have some fun again with my camera and PS and "wash" my head from the stock requirements. Plus I usually put there some of my stock pictures (rightly watermarked) so to make a bit of self promotion, useless or not it's anyway fun.

On Flickr you can find a lot of hobbyst but there are a lot of pro too (just take a look at the strobist group for example) who shot not only for micro but for macro and/or good assignments. And about the hobbysts there are many who can definitively spank the microstock market.

« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2008, 15:15 »
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Actually I did travel the inverse path. I started with stock and in the late month I discovered the fun of Flickr. I usually use Flickr when I want to have some fun again with my camera and PS and "wash" my head from the stock requirements.

Watch out, Flickr can be a lot like heroin. 

« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2008, 15:25 »
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Actually I did travel the inverse path. I started with stock and in the late month I discovered the fun of Flickr. I usually use Flickr when I want to have some fun again with my camera and PS and "wash" my head from the stock requirements.

Watch out, Flickr can be a lot like heroin. 

what is so fun about Flickr??

(yes that is a serious question from somone who had just looked briefly at flickr a few times)

« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2008, 15:40 »
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Just some quick examples from my favorites:






« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2008, 15:52 »
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I've opened a Flickr account a while ago and never uploaded anything.  As it's a famous site, I guessed people might find my wonderful images there, get fascinated with my work and buy everything I have online.  :D

Just kidding, but people reported being contacted from their Flickr account. I wouldn't mind a couple of people wanting to buy a print/poster of some of my images.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2008, 15:53 »
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Actually I did travel the inverse path. I started with stock and in the late month I discovered the fun of Flickr. I usually use Flickr when I want to have some fun again with my camera and PS and "wash" my head from the stock requirements.

Watch out, Flickr can be a lot like heroin. 

what is so fun about Flickr??

(yes that is a serious question from somone who had just looked briefly at flickr a few times)

A lot of different things.  Most have to do with the groups that you belong to, except for the explore chase.  The explore chase has eaten many Flickr folk, each day the 500 most interesting photos (according to their interestingness formula) are posted to explore (a place to scan random good photos), the hunt to become one of the 500 can be all consuming.  Then there are the rate me groups, where you post a photo and rate others, the best place to learn.  Then there are the award groups, collect icons to move up to the next level, collect enough icons there to make it to the immortal chat threads where you photo lasts forever, among the best that has been through the group.  Then there are the low invite only groups, where somebody has to invite your photo to post it, that chase can be fun.  There are groups for photos that have been faved x number of times, a collection of elite photos.  There are elitist invite only groups, requiring an invite and moderator approval for each photo, these groups are stunning.  Challenge groups are fun, compete with 3 or 5 photos to earn an invite into the group pool.  Plus the social aspect, chatting through mail or comments with your contacts if fun.  Flickr has a lot of facets.

« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2008, 15:54 »
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Just some quick examples from my favorites:

I made you a contact, you should check out some of my favorites.

I wouldn't mind a couple of people wanting to buy a print/poster of some of my images.

I have sold a couple of my Flickr shots, I made an imagekind account just to take care of the buisiness side of it.  I have been contacted by out of town firms to take architectural shots for them.  Most of the people contacting me are just asking if I can be published in their blogs, which I am fine with if I am credited.  I started putting frames on my shots with my name for all the blogs that don't contact me.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 15:59 by Waldo4 »

« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2008, 17:39 »
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I have had a flickr account for years but never used it.  I will upload some of my old photos and ones that wont sell as stock.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2008, 21:38 »
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I won't say doomed, but it seems that the returns are not in proportion to the increasing size of the portfolio.

budgaugh

« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2008, 00:50 »
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There is some serious talent on Flikr among the piles of crap just like at the micros.  The Flikr crowd is being influenced by sites like PHotoshelter, TheStrobistblog and photographers like Chase Jarvis to stay away from micros because of the low pay. 
Just some quick examples from my favorites:







« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2008, 08:38 »
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Interesting commentary......and the comments about Flickr made me smile since that's where I got my "start" in stock photography.

A kind commentator on one of my shots told me he thought that the image I'd uploaded to Flickr was a good stock shot...and suggested I explore microstock.  I did and it led to several thousand sales over the last 18 months.....all because of one Flickr comment.

And equally interesting is the fact that my Flickr portfolio usually generates a "sale" or two per week without any effort.  I consistently get requests from editors, graphic artist and every day folk and I always charge a fee - usually anywhere from $25 to $100.

By the way, I don't think we're doomed by any "law" in the microstock world.  We may have to work harder, but we're hardly doomed.

However, I do think the big pro sites (Getty and Corbis) are headed for an even bigger fall than they've had so far. 

« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2008, 11:33 »
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Interesting commentary......and the comments about Flickr made me smile since that's where I got my "start" in stock photography.

A kind commentator on one of my shots told me he thought that the image I'd uploaded to Flickr was a good stock shot...and suggested I explore microstock.  I did and it led to several thousand sales over the last 18 months.....all because of one Flickr comment.

Okay,  I'm one of those newbies armed with a starter d-SLR, so I probably have no business jumping in here ... but I saw Jeff Clow's name and had to read the thread.  Jeff was one of my first "contacts" at Flickr almost 3 years ago.  His work, his photography skill, and his kindness towards this total putz with a point-n-shoot in her hand was tremendously encouraging and inspiring.  It still is.  Hi, Jeff ... remember me ... the squirrel lady?

Same thing happened to me, on a much lower scale of skill and volume.  I never had any intention of selling photos when I joined Flickr in April 2005.  My hard drive crashed and I wanted a place on-line where I could store some of my favorite photos in case it ever happened again.  I got much more than I bargained for ... met a lot of nice people, learned more than I could have ever imagined there was to know about photography .. and still have a lot to learn ... and crazy as it sounds, people would contact me every month wanting to use or buy some of my photos of squirrels and birdfeeders.  Go figure?!?  I was giving them away free for non-commercial use, and still do for non-profits that benefit animals or children.  Then a TV production company contacted me through Flickr and wanted to buy some of my shots "exclusive and in perpituity..."  That was too much legal talk for me, so I submitted them to a microstock basically just to broker the deal and thought that would be the end of it.  I'm sure I only got accepted because I came with a buyer in hand ... lol!  I submitted a some more shots and for the next 3-4 months got shot down on just about anything I uploaded ... but in the course of those rejections I learned how to take much better photos. 

I truly hope that those of us who are amateurs and hobbyists will not dilute the pool or hurt those who have more experience and large portfolios.  I'd like to believe that in some way, small though it may be, that we can contribute something to the industry that might also help bring in niche markets and new buyers to microstocks in general.  Since I started doing this in Nov 06, a number of my clients who had never even heard of microstocks before have now become avid buyers.  They can now afford to change and refresh the image content on their marketing materials in ways that were impossible or too costly to do so before. 

I appreciate the opportunity to offer my small portfolio for sale, but I don't think I would have stayed with it if sales hadn't come along with commensurate learning.  So, I agree that the dreck and the one's looking to earn a quick buck will fall by the wayside.  And I don't think folks like me who sell random shots of squirrels, cars, flags, etc. will ever adversely affect sales of someone like Yuri ... but there are buyers who need something as simple as shots of a backyard birdfeeder.  And I hope in that way, we rookies and newbies can help keep and bring new buyers to the microstock marketplace.

@ Jeff ... I still find great inspiration in all your Flickr photos ... "A frog's life" set still stands out in my mind as an all-time favorite!  Thanks again for your many kind comments, encouragement, and tips!

Wishing continued success and many sales to all!

Teri

« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2008, 11:59 »
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I've contemplated this thread for a while and aside from improving your quality to be above others (IMHO the best route), the law of diminishing returns is basically directly proportional to your growth rate vs. the overall agency port growth rate (and its relationship to the agency sales growth rate).  If your port is growing faster (in % growth) than the  general agencies, then revenue should grow.  If the agency is growing their port at the rate of 15% a month, if you do not, you are falling behind.  It's fairly easy to stay ahead of the curve at first, but once you've been at it a long time, unless you are very prolific, chances are the agency rate has surpassed you. 

I only see two fallbacks that would keep your rate growing, if the % growth is below the agencies, is the sites where a # sold search is possible, time is to your advantage there and your shots will sell at a higher rate than average if they have sold enough over their life.  Also, for most, quality will increase over time to where your shots are of a higher quality and more salable than the average shot, so you would still sell more than the average site growth rate.

However this assumes that site sales growth is proportional to site port growth, if this changes over time (sales overall flatten out relative to the port growth, or sales accelerate relative to port growth) there will be differences, with sales flattening out (not necessarily horizontal movement only, if the port grows faster than sales, it is flattening), the diminishing returns gets worse, if the sales accelerate relative to the port growth, diminishing returns is not as big of a factor.

helix7

« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2008, 00:26 »
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...The Flikr crowd is being influenced by sites like PHotoshelter, TheStrobistblog and photographers like Chase Jarvis to stay away from micros because of the low pay.

Any evidence to support this? I was under the impression that Chase held a fairly open opinion of microstock. He was taking a "wait and see" stance, as far as I understood.




 

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