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Author Topic: Problems in building up a niche market potfolio  (Read 8473 times)

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« on: September 09, 2012, 07:31 »
0
Hi, I am a newbie here and like to ask for some advice. Since more than 30 years I am running a mail order business in Germany. Some month ago I deceided to improve the the old, poor quality photos in our online shop. Since these are thousands I can not affort a professional photographer. Instead, I bought a Canon 550D, spotlights and other equipment, studied the basics in photography. With every session the photos became better and to check the quality I submitted some to Fotolia.

One of our product lines are metal signs. In my research I found out that there are not so many simmerlar motifs at the microstock agencies. For sure it is a niche market and it requieres a large quantity of photos in order to generate significant sales. Since the stockphotos are like byproducts the cost of production is very minimal, mostly my time consumption for uploading.

Here my problem starts: FT is accepting only a part of my photos, more than 50% are rejected for technical reasons. This is very hard to understand because mostly the photos are from the same design series and session, same settings and quality. There is no system in accepting and rejecting. Very confusing.

The question is, how can I built up an almost complete portfolio?

Here my actual FT portfolio

http://au.fotolia.com/p/200905542

A good example for the problem are the white, oval doorplates. Only this 4 where accepted, all for bathroom / toilet doors. But all other like kitchen, guestroom etc. have been rejected.

Thankls a lot and best regards, Jochen


WarrenPrice

« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2012, 08:20 »
0
Have you tried submitting to other agencies?


ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2012, 08:25 »
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Do FT explain the technical issues they rejected your images for? Or is it just a blanket rejection?

« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 08:35 »
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Do FT explain the technical issues they rejected your images for? Or is it just a blanket rejection?

No.  They don't give you much in the way of details.  I think it's either "technical issues" and something like "too many similar in our database" or "well covered subject".  The well covered is pretty straight forward, but "technical" is a very broad rejection reason.  Could be anything including "we don't like this image even if the technical quality is good".

« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2012, 09:05 »
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I think it is like Mantis explained. So far I did not tried other agencies because I do not have yet so many different themes to fill up the 10 samples at SS. I was just concentrating on the signs, backgrounds and motifs from our tropical farm because I am most time of the year at our little factory in the Philippines while our family business in Germany is managed by our 3 daughters.

The good thing here is that I do have a helper, a young guy who is very talented in PS editing. That is a great help for me.

Best regards from the tropical office, Jochen

« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 09:32 »
+1
Jochen, please bear in mind that getting some of your images accepted is only half the battle.

You need to create commercially attractive content that people are willing to pay for.

With signs (which is a niche - but a very saturated one as well!!!) you will see that many contributors have uploaded the same or similar signs already.

Now you find yourself competing with long(er) standing competition that already have established a large portfolio and/or audience.

You can only set yourself apart if you offer content that is different or higher quality.

In my opinion your vector signs are too simple. Any graphic designer can create them him- or herself quickly without the need of paying for the vector file on FT.

You can see what I mean if you search on Fotolia or other stock agencies for "signs" and sort them by popularity or sales. You will quickly see how those are different from yours!

One last thing, regarding the ladies and gentlemen bathroom signs, they were taken with different color temperature (white balance set to auto perhaps). When you do one set of products keep the settings in the camera the same!

Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 09:34 by click_click »

Poncke

« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 09:57 »
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Do FT explain the technical issues they rejected your images for? Or is it just a blanket rejection?

No.  They don't give you much in the way of details.  I think it's either "technical issues" and something like "too many similar in our database" or "well covered subject".  The well covered is pretty straight forward, but "technical" is a very broad rejection reason.  Could be anything including "we don't like this image even if the technical quality is good".

If they dont like it they either reject for aesthetic quality or they say; while your photo is attractive we dont think our buyers are looking for such photo.

« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 09:59 »
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Hi Click, you are right, but I am still in the very beginning. The vektors are no good, I tried that last year. The point is that we do have about 1.000 different signs, just for the German market. When researching MS I found several contributors specialized in signs but most of them offering illustrations or vektors. There is just a few choice of separated photos with screws which are suitable for further PS compositions. Actually we are experimenting with little shades at one side of the signs for more realistic appearance when combined with background wall images.

The recent photos like the oval ones are made with Canon 550D. All settings have been manual f 5.6 - 100 ISO), including WB. I am still puzzeling about the reason for the different color temperature. I think that was not the reason for the rejection. What I did was to submit first 4 photos. After all of them where accepted I uploaded the othe 8 of that design and all of them where rejected. I guess there have been 2 different selectors involved who have different preferences.


Poncke

« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 10:05 »
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Submit to Panther Media, they are German.

tab62

« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 11:41 »
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Und sie verkaufen sie nie so warum strt, Panther Media?   :-\



« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 11:49 »
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Hi Poncke,

thanks for the tip. I have just registered, passed successful the photographer test and are now FTP uploading some photos. Review time is 30 days.

When checking the stock I found much more German signs rather than in FT, but almost nothing simmelar to my style. We have to wait and see.

Poncke

« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 11:55 »
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Und sie verkaufen sie nie so warum strt, Panther Media?   :-\

Ich gerade erwhnt Panther Media, weil sie in Deutschland basieren, knnte er bessere Chancen mit der deutschen Kufer. Oder haben Sie einen Hinweis, dass die deutschen Kufer nicht auf Panther Media kaufen? Sie sind als mittlere Ebene Agentur in der Umfrage aufgefhrt, so sind sie gut fr einige Menschen.

« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2012, 13:04 »
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The question is: What is a customer doing if he can not find the proper photo within the big 4 or his usual agency? If he is trying i.e. google photo search he might find matches at smaller MS agencies.

When searching in FT for with term:

privatweg benutzung verboten (English: Private Road no trespassing)

only my photos will appear. In Google are many matches but from MS agencies only my FT photos are among the top listings. In SS zero matches.

I think the marketing of such niche market photos is very different to mainstream motifs. What are the options of a customer who is realy in need for such photo and can not find it? At the worst case he has to order such sign for 20 EURO and pay a photographer 100 EURO or more for picture taking and editing. Plus the delay / time consumption of several days.

Or am I wrong with these thoughts?

tab62

« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 11:13 »
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If your going to go into a specialty you better be * good at it! As a newbie I feel your better off submitting all types of pics to build your portfolio and generate some sales. For example, look at architecture shots- can you compete directly with someone that shots interior all day and night long? Do you have the special equipment (TS Lens for example) to do interiors on a high level basis? I know I cannot even come close to competing against them but I do have a few in my portfolio and they sell just that I don't rely on my interior photography only...

« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2012, 11:20 »
+1
...
Here my problem starts: FT is accepting only a part of my photos, more than 50% are rejected for technical reasons. This is very hard to understand because mostly the photos are from the same design series and session, same settings and quality. There is no system in accepting and rejecting. Very confusing.
...

You speak of photos from the same series with the same settings and quality. Let's take your wooden letters series. Even if you keep everything on the camera and your lights unchanged, each one of the photos is different, that's the nature of photos. Look at your background. Had it been a clean white, you would have fewer rejections and more sales. Look how some images have a white area at the corners while others don't. Then there are the shadows. Depending on what letters there are and how they are positioned, some shots have stronger shadows than others, and some are very clear and easy to read while others are not. For example you have two versions of "teuro"; the one with straight letters is clear and easy to read but the other one isn't because of the shadows. Try to see it through the customer's eyes: just have a very fleeting look at both small thumbnails, then you see what I mean.

So my point is that the images are not the same quality. In photography so many details count, and what they call technical quality doesn't depend on the settings and gear alone. I know it can be confusing when Fotolia rejects due to "technical" issues, but all it means is that the image didn't look professional enough to the reviewer. If they are not really impressed with the series they might take some and reject others that they like less.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2012, 11:23 by Sandeel »

ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2012, 19:18 »
0
You have a ways to go.

« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 01:22 »
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Und sie verkaufen sie nie so warum strt, Panther Media?   :-\

Ich gerade erwhnt Panther Media, weil sie in Deutschland basieren, knnte er bessere Chancen mit der deutschen Kufer. Oder haben Sie einen Hinweis, dass die deutschen Kufer nicht auf Panther Media kaufen? Sie sind als mittlere Ebene Agentur in der Umfrage aufgefhrt, so sind sie gut fr einige Menschen.

Im impressed! good one! and very good german, wording and writing! :)

« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2012, 18:30 »
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@ all: Thanks for your helpfull comments. In the meantime I tried to improve the quality and FT is now accepting about 80% of my submissions, the actuall portfolio is 369 pics, 52 had already sales . The other day I registered at 123rf and submitted 10 pics which have been rejected by FT. I was very much suprised that all 10 have been accepted by 123rf.

The plan is now to submit first the rejected FT pics and then those from FT with sales or many views. I am aware that I have to further improve the quality before I will try SS and iStock.

There is a technical issue where I need your advises: I found a very nice motif, a coconut tree in front of my 3rd floor bedroom. That means the coconuts are in a horizontal position to the camera which is very unusual. These photos where rejected by FT. I introduced that in the FT forum and the advise there was that my kit objective is not suitable because of the approx. 4 meter distance. I am still scared to invest a lot of money for a better objective. But 123rd was accepting the photo. Now I am confused if it is realy a lens problem. What is your opinion?

Cheers, Jochen
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 18:54 by jochen53 »

« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2012, 18:45 »
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@ all: Thanks for your helpfull comments. In the meantime I tried to improve the quality and FT is now accepting about 80% of my submissions, the actuall portfolio is 369 pics, 52 had already sales . The other day I registered at 123rd and submitted 10 pics which have been rejected by FT. I was very much suprised that all 10 have been accepted by 123rd.

The plan is now to submit first the rejected FT pics and then those from FT with sales or many views. I am aware that I have to further improve the quality before I will try SS and iStock.

There is a technical issue where I need your advises: I found a very nice motif, a coconut tree in front of my 3rd floor bedroom. That means the coconuts are in a horizontal position to the camera which is very unusual. These photos where rejected by FT. I introduced that in the FT forum and the advise there was that my kit objective is not suitable because of the approx. 4 meter distance. I am still scared to invest a lot of money for a better objective. But 123rd was accepting the photo. Now I am confused if it is realy a lens problem. What is your opinion?

Cheers, Jochen

Hi, Jochen,

I think that is not "lens problem" (You have 80 % acceptance and nice sales)
It is FT problem.   ::)
And DO NOT WAIT WITH SS OR IS, just send Your BEST bestsellers photos.

THP Creative

  • THP Creative

« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2012, 22:33 »
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Hey jochen53,

enstoker is right. Get onto Shutterstock and others asap, no point waiting around. In fact there are quite a few agencies that you might find will accept your work and sell some images.

For a list of more you can see here if you're interested: http://www.microstockman.com/microstock-photography-sites/
 
All the best with it.  :)

« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2012, 08:30 »
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Wish I had a 3rd floor with a coconut outside - better than a second floor with a telephone wire!

Don't let Fotolia panic you, move on and start uploading elsewhere ASAP.

Oldhand (who hasn't got a coconut tree within hundreds of miles...)

« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2012, 10:13 »
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@ all: Thanks for your suggestions. Today I uploaded and edited 10 FT bestseller pics to SS and are now waiting for the result. Next will be iStock. Does it make sense to use the same photos, descriptions and keywords as in SS?

@ M M: Your site is most helpfull, I bookmarked it already

@ Oldhand: Well, but you do not have a brother-inlaw who raises cockfight roosters which start to crow at 3 a.m. and no neighbours who sometimes runs videokes with a volume like an aircraft engine for 24 hours or until they collaps due to alcohol ...

« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2012, 10:20 »
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Are you in the house swap market?

« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2012, 22:40 »
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Update: SS rejected all 10 pics due to poor composition while they are my "bestsellers" at FT. My plan B is to submit next month again 10 pics which where rejected by FT. It seems to be like a lottery anyway. But since I am registered I uploaded 3 videos and wait for acceptance/reject message.

123rf has accepted my new batch of all 15 pics which where rejected by FT. Here I uploaded also the 3 videos (which where rejected by FT)

http://de.123rf.com/profile_buddelbini

At iStock I passed successfully the quiz and submitted 3 sample pics. Waiting for result.

@ Oldhand: At our 2.800 sqm compound are several residential and commercial buildings constructed. At present there are 7 households with about 25 persons aged 1-84 years living there. Plus several pigs, dogs (Dobermann, English Bulldog, Rottweiler and Labrador plus mixtures of all...), cats, chicken, roosters, rabbits, pigeons, ducks, frogs, lizards and sometimes a snail. It`s like a zoo. One of our youngsters is studying vetenarian and takes care of all animals. Unfortunately there is no caretaker for some of the noisy and drunk humans...


gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2013, 17:44 »
0
The other day I registered at 123rf and submitted 10 pics which have been rejected by FT. I was very much suprised that all 10 have been accepted by 123rf.
But 123rd was accepting the photo. Now I am confused if it is realy a lens problem. What is your opinion?

Cheers, Jochen

you'll learn that diff agencies have diff likes and dislikes. 123 is pretty easy to get accepted on. when I first started submitting I uploaded some snaps to them and they were all accepted, I was so happy. zero sales on those images though, due to lcv (low commercial value).

you may also learn that despite your pics being a "byproduct" of your real work, you end up spending a lot of time on them and the return doesn't justify it (compared to your mailorder business). 


 

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