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Author Topic: The Russians have arrived......  (Read 10660 times)

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« on: April 18, 2008, 23:48 »
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Well not just Russians, but Russians and Eastern Europeans.  In the last week I've noticed a huge number of fairly new portfolios of excellent quality, and nearly all of these people have Russian or Eastern European names.  Just have a browse through Shutterstock's best sellers, or have a look at StockXpert's contributor list; I've also noticed two very talented portfolios appear on iStock.

I must admit I've been wondering where all those 98,000 Shutterstock contributors have been coming from.  Well, now I know.

Many of these new portfolios are not only excellent quality, some of them are almost perfect imitations of established names.  I've seen at least three portfolios in the last week which could easily be mistaken for the work of Dolgachov.  Perhaps within another year there will be ten or twenty Dolgachov style portfolios.

Business images and lifestyle akin to Yuri, Andres and many others are appearing in huge volume and with very high quality.  Soon the agencies won't need to pander to the market leaders, because there will be ten or twenty waiting in the queue to take their place.

I went to a Russian microstock forum - lots of members, but what hit me immediately was a huge Shutterstock banner across the top.

Life is now expensive in the leading Eastern European capitals, but outside of those cities it is possible to live a very nice lifestyle indeed on only $2,000 a month.  To these people microstock is a wonderful opportunity - and they need only a third of the income to succeed.

The agencies must love this - a talented pool of excellent photographers who don't need to be paid western rates.  No wonder Shutterstock is advertising there.


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2008, 00:04 »
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... and I've just remembered that StockXpert is holding its first contributor conference in..... Moscow.

grp_photo

« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2008, 00:55 »
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You are not really wondering about this.
Living costs are very cheap. Models are also extremely cheap (i remember a video-production we had in Kiev a few years ago with lots of excellent extras easy to organize and very,very cheap). Slavic girls are also most beautiful.
Nevertheless i see also a chance in this development Microstock will become less profitable and traditional stock will become more rewarding in comparison.
At the moment it is depressing that Microstock is still so easy money in comparison to the efforts you have to do in traditional stock to earn the same amount of money.
If Microstock is going down the drain i'm not sad at all. But of course there is no chance to earn any money with the kind of generic images you normally sale via Microstock. But i see niches for the traditional market where i see a chance for a more longterm rewarding and i currently put a lot of effort in it.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 01:04 by grp_photo »

« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2008, 01:06 »
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These people obviously are not new to the stock industry. Its just a matter of time before the micros are flooded with long time macro people. I just hope they bring the clients with them too..
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 01:10 by cdwheatley »

grp_photo

« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2008, 01:35 »
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These people obviously are not new to the stock industry. Its just a matter of time before the micros are flooded with long time macro people. I just hope they bring the clients with them too..
A big misunderstooding in here the quantity of sales in the traditional market is only a tiny fraction of the sales you have in the micromarket. For example all sales over a whole month via Alamy you have in a few hours via shutterstock.If all clients from traditional market would buy from the micros it would  have no effect at  the volume at the microstockmarket. The few buyers which still buy at the traditional market have special reason for it if they need generic licensing-free material they already buy at microstock. For every single picture which is bought in the traditional market you already have thousands of picture which are bought via micro.
With all respect to your wish it would have virtual no effect for the microstockmarket.

« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2008, 01:40 »
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Oh well, there goes the neighborhood  :)

grp_photo

« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2008, 01:56 »
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Oh well, there goes the neighborhood  :)
lol :) :D

« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2008, 02:16 »
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Wishfull thinking I guess  :)..Its going to be interesting to see what things look like by the end of the year.

grp_photo

« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2008, 02:34 »
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Wishfull thinking I guess  :)..Its going to be interesting to see what things look like by the end of the year.
Not much chance till the end of the year. But it will be very interesting how things look in five years. People seem to forget that Microstock is only a few years old and the first years don't really count, it really had its first impact only three years ago and thats certainly not a long period of time.

« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2008, 04:45 »
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The agencies must love this - a talented pool of excellent photographers who don't need to be paid western rates.  No wonder Shutterstock is advertising there.

Good.  Maybe this will convince people in various forums to stop putting up "How to Make Money in Microstock" pages, and contantly yapping about how wonderfully successful and number 1 they are.

grp_photo

« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2008, 05:20 »
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The agencies must love this - a talented pool of excellent photographers who don't need to be paid western rates.  No wonder Shutterstock is advertising there.

Good.  Maybe this will convince people in various forums to stop putting up "How to Make Money in Microstock" pages, and contantly yapping about how wonderfully successful and number 1 they are.
This will never stop as long sites offer a referral program for photographers!

« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2008, 05:41 »
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This might hold true, but only partially.

What I think is happening at Shutterstock at it's most unpleasant consequences is that they have lowered their standards, not been flooded with alteryuris and superandresrs. Those 55K images weekly are definitely not of the same quality (overall) as they were months ago. And that's lowering the sales of us all.

p.s.: On top of that buyers are fleeing away. Things are changing.
p.p.s.: As for the new ports appearing: I just wish them all the best of luck. It does seem they deserve it profoundly.

RT


« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2008, 08:19 »
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The agencies must love this - a talented pool of excellent photographers who don't need to be paid western rates.  No wonder Shutterstock is advertising there.

Good.  Maybe this will convince people in various forums to stop putting up "How to Make Money in Microstock" pages, and contantly yapping about how wonderfully successful and number 1 they are.

Very true, but of course it won't. And next year they'll all be wondering why there are so many identical images as their No.1 sellers.

It's always amazes me when I see threads on SS about the Top50 most popular images and questions like "how do I get in there" "how many sales do you need to be in the top50" .
The SS top50 can't be seen by buyers it is only for contributors, why do these idiots think SS post the top50 images!!!!
Every time I've had an image in the top50 within days there's always a load of copies in the search results...it's a complete PITA.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 08:25 by RT »

« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2008, 08:56 »
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If I am not mistaking Dolgachov is from Estonia. Which is? Eastern Europe:)

Overall I agree with you, if the cost of living is cheap microstock is a great option. On the other hand I am from Slovakia (which in westerner's mind is also Eastern Europe) and I monitor the contributors from my country and there aren't very many (and quality is not up there yet either).

vonkara

« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2008, 09:29 »
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I noticed that here in the french part of Canada (Quebec) and in France, the microstock is partly unknown. Mostly because people doesn't know english perfectly. Then if they know, they stick whit Fotolia who allow them to keyword more easily in french.

And don't forget all the Asian people. It must be very profitable for them also

« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2008, 09:37 »
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You are absolutely right. The SS's approach to the most popular sorting is completely wrong and it is very bad for established photographers. SS is the main source of copying in the industry. Even if SS is making me a lot of money, I am thinking on to stop contributing there (or upload images with a 6 months delay) becuse of this.

Well, yes, I am also one of those Estern European guys who has images on the first pages of most popular sortings but I am there since two years now. And this is not only a russian or eastern europian thing. Even the biggest guys are copying each other's work on an industrial level. Unfortunatelly this became a microstock standard.


The agencies must love this - a talented pool of excellent photographers who don't need to be paid western rates.  No wonder Shutterstock is advertising there.

Good.  Maybe this will convince people in various forums to stop putting up "How to Make Money in Microstock" pages, and contantly yapping about how wonderfully successful and number 1 they are.

Very true, but of course it won't. And next year they'll all be wondering why there are so many identical images as their No.1 sellers.

It's always amazes me when I see threads on SS about the Top50 most popular images and questions like "how do I get in there" "how many sales do you need to be in the top50" .
The SS top50 can't be seen by buyers it is only for contributors, why do these idiots think SS post the top50 images!!!!
Every time I've had an image in the top50 within days there's always a load of copies in the search results...it's a complete PITA.


« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2008, 00:51 »
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Funny thread, thank you  ;D

« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2008, 02:24 »
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Oh yes, Red Alert.

« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2008, 02:51 »
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Maybe a large number of localised specific images in a portfolio would help, as they would have to come to the UK to copy.

But then the way micro is going any local building would need a release, any local logo's need to be cloned out, any incidental person in that crowd shot needs a model release, and that nike logo removed.

So is the ease of copy not caused by the micro's in the first place, and can anyone claim IP infringment on a "Generic Image"

Traditional and Editorial would be a smart move, as aspects of local images will be hard to copy, limited market so a large portfolio will be needed.

Just a thought, another option is for several local photographers to get together as a collective, and all upload to one large portfolio, this could mean more views when buyers view the portfolio, on some site better return per download, and possible a greater number of downloads, then the revenue split by contributors download, so no one is being carried.

But then are we all so paranoid and centered that any though of a co-operative is a "no no"

As to Eastern Europe, many economic migrants are now leaving the UK, as there are more jobs and a better lifestyle to be had back home, the statistic say that 50% of the Poles that came to the UK to work have returned to Poland due to the upturn in thier economy.

David   

« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2008, 04:22 »
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Living costs are very cheap.
This is a misconception. Yes, there are some places in former USSR and Eastern Europe which are cheap, but big cities and most capital cities are very comparable to Europe, and usually more expensive than US (except for CA and other expensive states). Go to Moscow, Kyev and you will see.

Let me compare - I live in Baku, Azerbaijan which is 4th or 5th biggest city in former USSR. If I look at my spending pattern, I can confidently say that Baku is marginally more expensive than UK (except for London) and more expensive than most of US. Cars are 20-30% more expensive, electronics are 20-40% more expensive, housing is comparable, food is comparable. Clothing in US is much cheaper. Petrol in Azerbaijan is 75 cents a liter. It is cheaper than UK but comparable to US. Internet is much more expensive. I pay $120 bucks for 512/512 line, just a few month ago this would cost 250 bucks.
 
I had to buy all my photo equipment in US or UK to get a better deal. I have been waiting for 5 months for someone to hand-deliver my D300 from US. Buying it here is a rip-off. I just bought 3 Bowens 500 strobes in Moscow. I bought it for about $3300. Do a math and compare to prices in UK. I just bought reflectors, flash holders, hard drive, usb memory sticks from UK and my friend would deliver it next week. It would be 2-3 times more expensive to buy these locally.

I lived both in UK and US, and traveled a lot in former USSR, so my comparisons are from my own experience.


But the bigger question is "what living costs have to do with microstock activity?" Everyone want to maximise their income from micros, does it matter how much I pay for petrol or bread?  Not a lot of people pay models, so I would discount this as a factor.

So why do you think, it is easier to do microstock business from this part of the world ? I pay more for my equipment, for my internet, many people struggle with their English, do not understand market trends in western world, and many other reasons.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 04:36 by Elnur »

grp_photo

« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2008, 06:41 »
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Living costs are very cheap.
This is a misconception. Yes, there are some places in former USSR and Eastern Europe which are cheap, but big cities and most capital cities are very comparable to Europe, and usually more expensive than US (except for CA and other expensive states). Go to Moscow, Kyev and you will see.

I've been in Kyev and it was very cheap granted it's now seven years ago maybe it changed that rapidly. Nevertheless the extras/models and locations have been extremely cheap.
For sure equipment costs are the lowest in the US and Hongkong but you can always order overseas. I doubt it so easy to send a model or a location by parcel  ;)

« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2008, 08:16 »
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Living costs are very cheap.
This is a misconception. Yes, there are some places in former USSR and Eastern Europe which are cheap, but big cities and most capital cities are very comparable to Europe, and usually more expensive than US (except for CA and other expensive states). Go to Moscow, Kyev and you will see.

I've been in Kyev and it was very cheap granted it's now seven years ago maybe it changed that rapidly. Nevertheless the extras/models and locations have been extremely cheap.
For sure equipment costs are the lowest in the US and Hongkong but you can always order overseas. I doubt it so easy to send a model or a location by parcel  ;)
7 years is really a long time for countries in transition stage - property prices have gone up 10 times in my city, Kyev is probably the same.

Yes, you can order overseas but custom duties (25-30%) will eat any difference.

I don't think there are many contributors paying their models. Usually, these are top microstockers who has no reason to complain - they can get models for free anyway. Or even get paid for shooting.




« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2008, 12:19 »
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Yes. We just had our first contributor conference in Moscow. What an awesome and educational experience (photos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sxpmoscow/pool)!

Russia, the former Soviet Union, and other eastern european countries, particularly Poland, have embraced microstock full force.

Many of these countries are experiencing a growing middle class, which is giving them the means to purchase photo equipment. Microstock is the perfect opportunity for them to make some money off their photography and artistic talents.

This growing middel class includes all professions as well as photographers and other artists, so we see enthusiasts and professionals artists submitting to microstock.

So it isn't necessarily cheap cost of living (Moscow is the most expensive city in the world); it's that opportunities are opening up to them, and they are making the most of these opportunities.

-Steve

« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2008, 16:15 »
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Elnur,

I totally understand you.  Equipment in Brazil is VERY expensive because of high import taxes.  I bought my DSLR+lenses in UK last year and even there it was much cheaper than buying it here.

Cost of living in Brazil is mostly cheaper than in USA and Europe.  Of course, living in Rio may be more expensive than living in a small town in these other countries, but it is cheaper than in their big cities.  Food is especially much cheaper here.

With the current dollar rate - lowest in many years - comparisons may be a bit skewed, as prices are higher now when converting to dollars.  But I believe this will not last much, because it is bad for our economy.

Just one point: some people make model cost so much important in the equation.  I don't shoot people (in any sense! ;) ), does it make a very large part of your costs?

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2008, 13:11 »
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I don't shoot people (in any sense! ;) ), does it make a very large part of your costs?
Regards,
Adelaide
Neither do I, so I face the same competition. In fact, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, folks in UK have much better-looking stuff in Asda's and M&S's than I can get here..... but it doesn't taste as good as it does here  ;)


 

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