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Author Topic: 2015: your image market predictions & personal resolutions ?  (Read 39637 times)

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« on: December 18, 2014, 12:12 »
0
Predictions and guesses: What will happen and how are you planning to take your work forward ?

BTW: here is the thread which I started this time last year. 2014: your image market predictions & personal resolutions ?


« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 12:17 »
+17
Based on the thread from last year I predict this forum will disappear.  A lot of people have left here since then haven't they.

« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 12:20 »
+6
Well let me offer a burst of cheer.

I expect more pricing schemes - subscriptions, packages, special deals for 'big important' customers - that pay less and less to the contributor and conceal the real charges to the buyer.  I expect more small agencies, paying fair commissions, to go out of business.  I expect SS to continue gaining market share, and maybe this will be the year they start trying to increase profits by paying out less to contributors, employing some smokescreen tactic like setting up a separate 'brand' or concealing a price rise to buyers in the form of increased up-front subscription fees.

I stopped doing microstock early this year and I don't plan to do more unless something starts making sense again.  I'm now focusing on print sales, had some promising results this year and hope to build on that in the future.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 17:09 by stockastic »

Shelma1

« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 12:23 »
+7
I expect SS will continue to gain market share, but I have the opposite prediction. I think they'll start making more big sales to ad agencies and pay contributors more. I say this because for the first time, I'm working in a major ad agency that has a contract with Shutterstock. It was all Getty until recently. And the art director I'm working with is impressed by the rise in image quality over the past couple of years.

« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 12:49 »
0
I expect more exciting news.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 13:43 »
+14
Predictions >

Mobile stock will grow exponentially. Many new sites will open. Existing sites will make mobile more of a priority. The ones that have their act together will aggressively build their worldwide network of smartphone users who meet the current trend of authentic and timely photos. Sites will start to put in more controls to weed out unsellable images and promote salable mages. Because Joe/Jane-smartphone contributor has never made a penny with their photos they will be glad to accept peanuts, or even nothing but exposure, that the vultures offer them. Overall stock prices will be pushed down and the majority of non-specialty contributors will earn less. The good news about this is the general public will now become more aware of piracy and fair compensation which if it picks up enough steam may end up pushing prices back up a few years down the road when enough Joe/Jane-smartphone contributors realize they're being taken advantage of.

Competition will heat up. Getty and Shutterstock will wait to see what Adobe does and then will need to react by making changes in order to compete. I don't see rainbows, unicorns or a money tree from this. Contributor royalty models will turn into vague shell games. Additional competition will come from at least one more big player/company entering stock. This will either come from acquisition or from an existing established image company like Instragram, Flickr, or Google introducing stock licensing to monetize their massive image database. This may or may not be good for contributors but I would predict sometime during 2015 at least one company will attempt to monetize images without compensating their owners.

A new licensing method will be introduced. Companies will move away from pay-once models like RF. No more perpetual licenses. There aren't enough buyers or sales to sustain perpetual licensing anymore. The new model will essentially be a hybrid of subscription and Rights Managed. I think the first one will be Getty will monetizing embeds. They're currently evaluating the free embed model to gather data and figure out how to monetize it. If they come up with a user-friendly pay and license model this may catch on. Embed would allow Getty to track usage. It would also allow them to have a new usage-based rights managed license. A buyer could license an image for a month, year, and so on. The buyer would get better pricing but would also need to renew which would generate the recurring revenue. If the buyer doesn't renew the image gets turned off and there's no more indefinite usage. If the image is only available through Embed this may lessen piracy.

Personal >

I will transition out of micro. I may leave my generic something-isolated stuff in micro but I'm not producing that kind of work anymore anyway. I'm now producing higher value work and will move existing work to macro and see how the return is. If it's bad I will drop agencies. All new work I will sell directly through my website with a simplified hybrid RM license.

I will find more non-stock methods of monetizing my images. A couple years ago when I could see where things were going with stock I started experimenting with non-stock sales. This month my non-stock sales revenue is currently on track to be 3X my stock revenue. I'm glad I made changes back then.

I will make changes so I can pursue infringements. It's disgusting. A quick Google Image search turns up hundreds of suspect uses and some obvious theft. But by using RF licenses through micro agencies I have no solid evidence and little control. Since my new work will be sold directly using RM I will be able to tell who are customers and who are thieves. I will then look to start using the legal system and my copyright registered images to take advantage of the $120K per violation fees.

On a side note, I wish there was a better platform for selling direct. Nothing is getting better for contributors. They only way we have control is by selling direct. We need a buyer friendly method of pooling contributor images together into a virtual stock agency. I can't see a co-op working. Symbiostock had great potential but no strategy or commitment. Photoshelter Agency is nice but I don't have much confidence in their leadership. I think Photodeck has the capabilities but I don't know if they would pursue something like this. Somebody needs to.

« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2014, 14:09 »
+6
More agencies will emerge to challenge Stocksy and OFFSET providing higher-end RF imagery at Macro(ish) prices. More and more high end shooters will abandon the Micros as royalties become increasingly unsustainable - clients will follow them.

Please let this come to fruition....

« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2014, 14:13 »
+8
More agencies will emerge to challenge Stocksy and OFFSET providing higher-end RF imagery at Macro(ish) prices. More and more high end shooters will abandon the Micros as royalties become increasingly unsustainable - clients will follow them.

Please let this come to fruition....
Stocksy and Offset are not microstock sites pricing at macrostock levels, they are macrostock sites pricing at microstock (midstock) levels.  They are trying to take customers away from more expensive agencies (going after the RM market with cheaper RF images) not trying to convert lower paying customers into higher paying ones.

« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 14:16 »
+10
There's a lot of truth in that. I suspect Stocksy is taking a lot of business from Getty. But as Getty pays an unfair royalty rate I have no sympathy...

« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 14:35 »
0
There's a lot of truth in that. I suspect Stocksy is taking a lot of business from Getty. But as Getty pays an unfair royalty rate I have no sympathy...
I doubt Stocksy is taking too much business, they are pretty small relatively.  If they can put upward pressure on royalty rates that would be great but at the same time Shutterstock's Offset pays a lower royalty rate (Getty RM is 30-40% depending on the type of file and where it's sold while Offset is about 30%).  Last I saw SS said it pays about the same at Offset as the overall rate which, depending on which exec or which day is 27-30%, does anyone know what the royalty rate is at Offset or is it variable depending on the contributor?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 14:37 by tickstock »

Uncle Pete

« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 14:36 »
+8
Prediction:

Personal Targets?
Make more money = pay more taxes. Plant an herb garden four times larger than what I had last year. Photograph a meteorite shower and get more than one marginally good shot! Hang four more bird houses in the back yard. Keep working on the daily time-lapse "camera in a box" and other projects. 

Unchanged view of living life:
An oxen may pull a heavy cart, but a bird builds it's nest in a tree.

« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 14:43 »
0
There's a lot of truth in that. I suspect Stocksy is taking a lot of business from Getty. But as Getty pays an unfair royalty rate I have no sympathy...
I doubt Stocksy is taking too much business, they are pretty small relatively.  If they can put upward pressure on royalty rates that would be great but at the same time Shutterstock's Offset pays a lower royalty rate (Getty RM is 30-40% depending on the type of file and where it's sold while Offset is about 30%).  Last I saw SS said it pays about the same at Offset as the overall rate which, depending on which exec or which day is 27-30%, does anyone know what the royalty rate is at Offset or is it variable depending on the contributor?

OFFSET is 30% royalty

« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2014, 14:45 »
+1
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2014, 14:48 »
+3
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.

« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2014, 14:59 »
0
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 15:02 by tickstock »

« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2014, 15:14 »
0
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.

I don't follow. Why would they only make one sale as RF..??

« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2014, 15:23 »
+1
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.

I don't follow. Why would they only make one sale as RF..??

Edit: Multiple sales to the same client, of course. Doh..!


« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2014, 15:24 »
0
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.

I don't follow. Why would they only make one sale as RF..??
Because RM sales have limits.  I've had a few one time use sales for $50-100 that were then licensed again a few months later by the same company.  $100 isn't too much but if it happens a few times it adds up.  If those same sales were of an RF image (like at Offset licensing RF images to compete with RM sales) they would only need to licensed once and then they could use them over and over.  A lot of RM sales are lower priced because of limited usage.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2014, 17:26 »
+2
Based on the thread from last year I predict this forum will disappear.  A lot of people have left here since then haven't they.

Yeah after looking at it there are a few greyed out people and a lot of other people that don't seem to be active

« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2014, 18:17 »
+3
Based on the thread from last year I predict this forum will disappear.  A lot of people have left here since then haven't they.

Yeah after looking at it there are a few greyed out people and a lot of other people that don't seem to be active

Some of those who left have been through one and sometimes two alternative usernames since then. And I have noticed that some people are running more than one username.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2014, 19:00 »
+4
microstock is closing it's boom/bust cycle and in 2015 we will see further consolidation of the market in favor of SS and lots of merges and acquisitions while many of the smaller agencies will eventually sink as they've just no money to compete with the big guys and to stay afloat.

as for pricing and fees there could be some adjustments but no big deal as the trend now seems to be all about subs and how to squeeze more money out of subs.

IPTC and keywording : i don't see any reason to predict agencies will finally agree on a unified industry standard IPTC and Adobe could even come make it more cumbersome now that they own Fotolia and they think they know better !

uploading : same as above, Alamy doesn't seem to be on a rush to allow us FTP or a quicker keywording.

software : i wouldn't expect any revolutionary app coming up in the scene, actually some will abandon the market as they become more and more irrilevant or they are facing competition from free or semi-free apps and addons.

mobile : despite all the hype, where is the money in mobile stock and mobile images ? this is still the million dollar question that nobody ever answered with facts and cold data ... of all the mobile startups that promised wonders selling or monetizing mobile images i haven't seen a single one actually delivering and keeping his promises, as expected it was 99% smoke and mirrors or outright scams which perfectly fits the startup mumbo jumbo and the actual inflated and hyper up dot-com boom 2.0 environment.

----------------------

in conclusion : no good news for us at the horizon but neither a negative outlook, life goes on as usual and the stock industry is here to stay.


« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2014, 19:07 »
+1
Alamy doesn't seem to be on a rush to allow us FTP


???

http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/3417-changes/?p=55710

Quote
The good news is that we are rolling the FTP option out to all contributors over the next month or so.

« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2014, 19:43 »
0
I will find more non-stock methods of monetizing my images. A couple years ago when I could see where things were going with stock I started experimenting with non-stock sales. This month my non-stock sales revenue is currently on track to be 3X my stock revenue. I'm glad I made changes back then.

are you talking about print on demand or other things like selling in a market or a local shop?

cheers and thanks for sharing your strategy!

« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2014, 21:16 »
+4
Predictions >
I will transition out of micro...
+1  Last week I submitted what I expect was my last microstock image - now on to what I hope will be bigger things (still enjoy reading MSG though - and best of luck to everyone in 2015 :D)

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2014, 21:41 »
+7
I will find more non-stock methods of monetizing my images. A couple years ago when I could see where things were going with stock I started experimenting with non-stock sales. This month my non-stock sales revenue is currently on track to be 3X my stock revenue. I'm glad I made changes back then.

are you talking about print on demand or other things like selling in a market or a local shop?

cheers and thanks for sharing your strategy!

At the moment I'm talking about prints in general and also direct licensing. I may at some point do commission portraits but I'm more interested in recurring revenue and not dealing with people.

I think a lot of us, me included, get stuck in the micro mindset that images aren't worth much. I've spent the past couple years brushing up my SEO skills and optimizing my images and am getting contacted directly regularly by companies who want to license my work.

Because of my exclusive IS agreement I've had to send them to Getty/IS. These companies were willing to pay thousands. They were amazed with IS low pricing. So this was a customer I developed and got a small percentage of peanuts instead of 100% of thousands of dollars. And this was with the old IS pricing.

I recently was contacted by another company who wanted to use several images on their products. This one was prepared to pay a license fee and also pay me per product sale royalty. And so I'm supposed to send them to IS where with the new pricing they can get an image for $30 and I get $10? No way. Not anymore. I told the guy I'm interested but we'd need to wait a while to do anything.

I've also been contacted by an event rep who suggested a booth with prints at their show. Huge show with a lot of sales potential. I may consider doing this. I've done plenty of tradeshows for my day job and the right ones can pay off big.

The bottom line is there are plenty of buyers willing to pay a premium for the right images and there are plenty of sales channel opportunities beyond stock. Experiment outside of stock and see what works.

ETA: Just wanted to add. I appreciate the opportunity I've had with the agencies. But they continue to make changes that for each of us there's a point where it just no longer makes financial sense to continue doing business with them.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 21:57 by PaulieWalnuts »

ShadySue

« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2014, 22:14 »
0
I think a lot of us, me included, get stuck in the micro mindset that images aren't worth much. I've spent the past couple years brushing up my SEO skills and optimizing my images and am getting contacted directly regularly by companies who want to license my work.
Because of my exclusive IS agreement I've had to send them to Getty/IS. These companies were willing to pay thousands. They were amazed with IS low pricing. So this was a customer I developed and got a small percentage of peanuts instead of 100% of thousands of dollars. And this was with the old IS pricing.
Why couldn't you have drawn up RM licences for these companies?
RM terms can be very wide.

Later thought: I suppose that should technically be for images you don't actually have on iS/Getty.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 22:30 by ShadySue »

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2014, 22:32 »
+1
The bottom line is there are plenty of buyers willing to pay a premium for the right images and there are plenty of sales channel opportunities beyond stock. Experiment outside of stock and see what works.

exactly.



PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2014, 10:50 »
+1
I think a lot of us, me included, get stuck in the micro mindset that images aren't worth much. I've spent the past couple years brushing up my SEO skills and optimizing my images and am getting contacted directly regularly by companies who want to license my work.
Because of my exclusive IS agreement I've had to send them to Getty/IS. These companies were willing to pay thousands. They were amazed with IS low pricing. So this was a customer I developed and got a small percentage of peanuts instead of 100% of thousands of dollars. And this was with the old IS pricing.
Why couldn't you have drawn up RM licences for these companies?
RM terms can be very wide.

Later thought: I suppose that should technically be for images you don't actually have on IS/Getty.

Those are images already at IS/Getty. Their exclusive contract says you cannot license or even give away images you have with them. So whenever somebody contacts me about images I have with IS/Getty I end up sending those people IS/Getty links where they can buy them.

The IS/Getty exclusive contract also allows you to sell non-similar RM images elsewhere. For new images I create I'm making them non-similar, selling as RM through my site, and not submitting them to IS/Getty. So in the future if a company contacts me I can work with them and work out whatever pricing I want.

I don't like burning bridges so if I decide to drop exclusivity or leave IS/Getty I'd like to play by the rules and keep that door open.

« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2014, 11:11 »
0
The IS/Getty exclusive contract also allows you to sell non-similar RM images elsewhere.

I sell non similars RM at Alamy. My Alamy images are completely different (much better today IMHO!) than my mostly old RF stuff at iStock and mirrored at Getty. I am very careful not to do similars.

But - does the iStock Exclusive contract actually say anything about "similars" ? It certainly never used to. I haven't combed through it lately.

Is there a tight definition of similar ? I seem to find lots of what I would have called similars without looking too hard.

ShadySue

« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2014, 11:18 »
0
But - does the iStock Exclusive contract actually say anything about "similars" ? It certainly never used to. I haven't combed through it lately.
AFAICS, it doesn't actually forbid similars.

« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2014, 11:42 »
+2
It seems like the consensus is just about universal - there's no sense in doing new shots for microstock. 

Is anyone from the big agencies reading threads like this and wondering if maybe they've gone down the wrong road?

Probably not at SS, where all they're thinking about is the stock price and the next shareholder meeting.


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2014, 11:57 »
0
But - does the iStock Exclusive contract actually say anything about "similars" ? It certainly never used to. I haven't combed through it lately.
AFAICS, it doesn't actually forbid similars.

Well maybe it changed. And GI/IS definition of similars isn't well defined. But I can't imagine it being okay to sell a jumping goldfish on IS as RF and a jumping betafish on Alamy as RM.

I'll need to dig it up.

« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2014, 12:05 »
+4
I think the market will lose quite a few talented and very experienced stock shooters,unless they can get their content into higher priced agencies like stocksy or offset. The returns on the micros for stills make it very difficult to predict when the investment will be recovered. And the people that know how to organize, plan and calculate shootings, when they look at the bottom line, many are concluding it is more lucrative to do assignment work.

However with smartphones and filters becoming more and more sophisticated the influx of new people and new content will steadily increase, however it will be increasingly difficult to find the right type of content. Too many people, trying things that are too simple for longterm success. And because they dont get the returns we used to get in the good years they cannot afford to invest and learn, the way we did.

I think it will be necessary for agencies to look how to actively nurture the curational talent in the crowd. There are simply too many images coming for a group of company paid editors to sort. And the world is a huge,global and complex beast,which company can afford to have specialists for all subject matters,all styles etc...?

The demand for stock media will continue to grow,if anything the coming generations are much more media savvy then we are now. And they will use cross media,photos,videos,audio for many different projects,just like people are buying different kinds of writing paper and pens today.

So curational talent that combines many different media successfully and makes it easy for people to follow,discover and buy,something like pininterest for stock, I think this would help everyone.

Personally I want to do more shoot upload repeat and will try to organize more shootings together with other artists instead of working on my own. Not just to share costs but to be able to create a bigger variety of concepts together. Then I will try to pool these files in combined lightboxes/galleries. If these can be shared with other artists like: "stock production from Cologne" that would be even better. Trying to create smaller,networked "virtual" agencies and boost each others work within  a common sales plattform.

The agency world will continue to be multi polar,SS, Fotolia,istock etc...will not disappear. There might also be a few more specialized and tightly edited collections like offset and stocksy.

Overall the stock world will become even more diverse and more confusing, which again will discourage the amateur shooter,because it will be very difficult to predict not just what to shoot but which marketplace is best to sell it through.

But for myself I am very optimistic that 2015 will be a great year.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2014, 14:59 »
+2
Well, I am hoping to get into RM or macro RF with a new business I started with my girlfriend, Pink Couch Photography.  I have acquired a studio lighting set and a pink couch furniture set. The idea is too shoot a niche of Burlesque, 1920s style, Not your every day business people and possibly children, all situated on and around the pink couches. At least I am going to do something different then landscapes and cityscapes. No idea how it pans out, but we hope to make enough money so that she can quit her day job.  I want to thank Ember Studio for desiging the logo, he did a great job.

« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2014, 18:15 »
+10
Personally, I am getting really tired of being fleeced. I will watch agencies very closely and will stop uploading to those with questionable business practices (many of those are not getting my new uploads already). Lucky for us, there are still a few places where stock business is done in a reasonable way.

« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2014, 18:49 »
+12
in 2015 is the most  important thing to do, to stop upload to  shity agencies, if we do that, we will survive, otherwise we can stop

Personally, I am getting really tired of being fleeced. I will watch agencies very closely and will stop uploading to those with questionable business practices (many of those are not getting my new uploads already). Lucky for us, there are still a few places where stock business is done in a reasonable way.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2014, 21:01 »
+9
Overall the stock world will become even more diverse and more confusing, which again will discourage the amateur shooter,because it will be very difficult to predict not just what to shoot but which marketplace is best to sell it through.

i don't think newbies are attracted by stock, they just step into stock while searching for a way, any way, to monetize their hobby.

but ... once their first batch of images is rejected or it's getting no sales and no activity whatsoever apart for 0.5$ downloads here and there in most of the cases they will quickly give up and never look back.

the irony is that the actual abysmal fees they're paying on micro agencies are the best way to keep amateurs out of the market unless they enter with a medium sized portfolio or are lucky enough to find a good niche.

moral of the story, only a small part of photography can be ever monetized as stock and most of it belongs to the low-sellers category so i can't see why stock could ever look like a get-rich-quick scheme for newbies.

modern stock is all about quantity and big portfolios and workflow, the average newbie has no chance to win at this game.


Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2014, 21:14 »
+1
The demand for stock media will continue to grow

you mean the demand for good photography will keep growing, yes i fully agree just look at any newspaper,  magazines, and especially web sites, they're all flooded with images from top to bottom, there's not a single one of these publications with less than a dozen images per page or per screen.

problem is, due to the actual oversupply how much are they going to invest in their photo budget, if they even pay for photos at all ?

so, the actual demand for stock is still synchronously linked to the actual number of serious buyers and it has little to do with the popularity of photography in general among the consumers, we can all see that photography has never been so popular like today and never been consumed in such a quantity but this is not translating in higher profits for the content makers (photographers), quite the opposite photographers are starving compared to the pre-internet era and nobody can see a way out, if even the cream of the crop are now doing workshops for a living instead of selling their images i don't think there's much hope in the long term for photography in general to get back on track.

i mean, even canon and nikon are losing money now, one has to wonder who's left doing serious cash on photography apart Adobe and a bunch of paparazzis and fine-art galleries.

« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2014, 06:11 »
+3
Rather than focus on doom and gloom and things out of my control. I will continue to try and work smarter and as long as my (rather poor) income keeps on an upward trajectory I will carry on.

« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2014, 06:19 »
0
Overall the stock world will become even more diverse and more confusing, which again will discourage the amateur shooter,because it will be very difficult to predict not just what to shoot but which marketplace is best to sell it through.

modern stock is all about quantity and big portfolios and workflow, the average newbie has no chance to win at this game.

exactly what I mean, we will see lots and lots of people every year trying to get into the stock game, but because the initial returns are so low, they will soon move on to try other digital ventures. Even very good people will have a hard time to survive as a single artist. So unusual original material will suffer, because the stock factories will have to shoot mainstream to survive.

Of course it will still be possible to make money in stock, but you will need a huge portfolio to make it work,so I suppose for the single artist it will be best to treat stock as a part time job. But many very good people are deciding to invest their time in other projects where they can make more money.

Hobostocker

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« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2014, 06:26 »
+1
Rather than focus on doom and gloom and things out of my control. I will continue to try and work smarter and as long as my (rather poor) income keeps on an upward trajectory I will carry on.

exactly and by the way there's always the option that photos that today are not selling too much can sell better a few years from now for whatever reason or due to unpredictable market changes especially in Asia.


Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2014, 06:35 »
0
exactly what I mean, we will see lots and lots of people every year trying to get into the stock game, but because the initial returns are so low, they will soon move on to try other digital ventures. Even very good people will have a hard time to survive as a single artist. So unusual original material will suffer, because the stock factories will have to shoot mainstream to survive.

Of course it will still be possible to make money in stock, but you will need a huge portfolio to make it work,so I suppose for the single artist it will be best to treat stock as a part time job. But many very good people are deciding to invest their time in other projects where they can make more money.

yes and the trend is symmetrical unless the actual situation doesn't change radically.

sooner or later the stock factories portfolio will be 100 or 1000 bigger than single contributors and at that point the random hobbyist shooting for fun will just have zero chances to see any return on investment, the factory will totally take over any search and any keyword, only obscure subjects won't be inflated but good luck selling your holiday pics of Pitcairn or Papua New Guinea ...

and i was saying this many years ago, it doesn't make sense to open the doors to anyone and their dogs, at the very least agencies should ask for a portfolio of 500 edited images before being let in.

in the past they needed traction and to show their VCs that the site was growing in popularity but nowadays this is not needed anymore, the top-4 could pretty much give the boot to 90% of their small contributors and nobody would ever notice !

now, i'm curious to see what Adobe will do about this, what strategy they're planning for FT, it could be game changer if they do things right.




« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2014, 06:44 »
+2
Yep I think part of being smarter is spotting niches that are hard for factories to emulate e.g less well known and local to me locations

« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2014, 07:32 »
+2
My predictions:

1. I expect iStock to (sooner or later) replace the artists exclusivity program with some sort of updated offering (which will amount to ending the exclusivity program). For better or worse, artist exclusivity seems like a legacy of another era which makes all of their processes and procedures more complicated (and expensive). Change could be good for a majority of contributors. (Much content at the main Getty Images site is no longer even image exclusive from what I can see).

2. Replace the iStock forum.

3. Maybe a Getty IPO depending more on external influences than anything else. ie depends where the market goes. Either way I bet that this is the long term exit route. If not, what ?

4. Jim Pickerell says there is a rumour that Getty is looking to get out of editorial. Not that this directly affects most of us here.

Me - Alamy and small cameras. Same as my 2014 prediction. That is working for me.

« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2014, 09:26 »
+1
Predictions >
I will transition out of micro...
+1  Last week I submitted what I expect was my last microstock image - now on to what I hope will be bigger things (still enjoy reading MSG though - and best of luck to everyone in 2015 :D)

In a large way, me too. I am focusing on P5 video, hoping to produce 1,000 vids in 2015. Way less focus on still images.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2014, 09:43 »
+1
Overall the stock world will become even more diverse and more confusing, which again will discourage the amateur shooter,because it will be very difficult to predict not just what to shoot but which marketplace is best to sell it through.

i don't think newbies are attracted by stock, they just step into stock while searching for a way, any way, to monetize their hobby.

but ... once their first batch of images is rejected or it's getting no sales and no activity whatsoever apart for 0.5$ downloads here and there in most of the cases they will quickly give up and never look back.

the irony is that the actual abysmal fees they're paying on micro agencies are the best way to keep amateurs out of the market unless they enter with a medium sized portfolio or are lucky enough to find a good niche.

moral of the story, only a small part of photography can be ever monetized as stock and most of it belongs to the low-sellers category so i can't see why stock could ever look like a get-rich-quick scheme for newbies.

modern stock is all about quantity and big portfolios and workflow, the average newbie has no chance to win at this game.

So if most newbies quit, and it seems like a lot of current contributors are moving on to other stuff, is it the handful of image factories that are causing the massive annual increases in sites' library size?

« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2014, 09:55 »
+1
the newbies quit after trying it for a while. the number of people getting online worldwide is still growing like crazy,so is the spread of smartphones. the more smartphones,the more people who will try to make some money by uploading through apps. I would expect the volume to grow very strongly in the coming years.


« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2014, 14:13 »
+4
The demand for phone photos is just a fad that will run its course.  There is absolutely nothing special about these photos. 

Returns are now so low that only serious, full time producers with very large portfolios will keep supplying the agencies with new content.  But they're not happy with the tiny returns either - it's just a case of the middleman having control of a market.  This situation will last until the big producers find ways to sell direct - the day that happens, these cr@ppy "agencies" will be on death row.  Or maybe they'll raise royalties and try to woo back all of the amateurs they've stiffed in the past.

Symbiostock didn't do it, but someone else will come along because there's an opportunity here.  An amateur like me can't pony up the time and money to set up direct sales, but the big players - or groups of them - can and will, eventually.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 14:50 by stockastic »

« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2014, 14:16 »
0
the more smartphones,the more people who will try to make some money by uploading through apps.


Have we had a thread about EyeEm already ?

Your First 100,000 Photos in The EyeEm Collection at Getty Images

EyeEm Wants to Make You a Professional Photographer !

« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2014, 14:24 »
0
The demand for phone photos is just a fad that will run its course

There are people making seriously big money in this arena ...

... the people renting office space and delivering pizza and weed to the venture funded tech startups which have an idea about algorithmically interpreting mobile and social and monetizing it as stock. 99.9% of these startups are going nowhere. But the 0.1% possibility keeps the venture money sloshing on through.

« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2014, 15:09 »
0
smartphone images are a much bigger market than just eyeem...there is a reason so many agencies are now writing apps for it. But like with all things stock, the majority wont make money from it, but there are quite a few interesting smartphone artists out there. It is not as easy as it seems, if you want to do it well.

the stock market overall is huge, all kinds of specialized niche agencies, also for high end content. But I think unless you do stock full time it will be very difficult to see where the money is.

« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2014, 07:06 »
+6
It seems nobody likes newbies, huh? :D

« Reply #52 on: December 22, 2014, 10:01 »
+2
As Clubber Lang would say, "PAIN............."

« Reply #53 on: December 22, 2014, 12:24 »
+3
i think, like the other "stock" market, it is still possible to make money in microstock. only like the other "stock" market, you have to spend a lot of time keeping track of what is being bought. you can either go long term with "blue chip" images or find some of those subjects that are hard to produce or not available in the millions .
if you are with Shutterstock, (and who isn't,lol?) it's easier to do your market research as they give us that sale summary of our images. i could make more if i only spend more time looking at the stats SS has for us. but i'd rather get pissed,lol

« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2015, 14:52 »
0
I expect SS will continue to gain market share, but I have the opposite prediction. I think they'll start making more big sales to ad agencies and pay contributors more. I say this because for the first time, I'm working in a major ad agency that has a contract with Shutterstock. It was all Getty until recently. And the art director I'm working with is impressed by the rise in image quality over the past couple of years.

Exactly my thoughts!
We got to think about buyers and what they want/need when thinking about which agency will grow.

« Reply #55 on: January 04, 2015, 18:00 »
0
I expect SS will continue to gain market share, but I have the opposite prediction. I think they'll start making more big sales to ad agencies and pay contributors more. I say this because for the first time, I'm working in a major ad agency that has a contract with Shutterstock. It was all Getty until recently. And the art director I'm working with is impressed by the rise in image quality over the past couple of years.

Exactly my thoughts!
We got to think about buyers and what they want/need when thinking about which agency will grow.

but are the clients looking for the same old same old they did with the big G from ss???
i read here bad news or not optismistic expectation from those who have been in microstock a long time. is this like the shift we get in music and movies where the buying age bracket changes so do the selling music and movies. if say the big earners are complaining significant drop in profits, are their images not selling due too over saturation of clones ???
so what else is there to make that is not already over saturated in supplies today???

« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2015, 05:37 »
-1
Buyers are looking for quality files, convenience and superb search engine, fast download, fast and easy checkout with options on payments, superb customer support, legal clearance to avoid any risk, affordable pricing.
I don't see how millennial generation would look for different in buying process? This of course, considering them working in professional capacity on big projects that have great budgets too. 

Sadly buyers do not care about our commissions nor agency's employees crap salaries, but that's the way it is.


« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2015, 06:03 »
0
I predict that I will be none the wiser after reading all the predictions.

Personally, I can only act on my own successes and failures since everything else is outside of my control. Also, the only information I have that I can guarantee has been doggedly accumulated and is authentic and accurate is on my laptop. We have very little to go on since the agencies (probably for competitive reasons) are extremely stingy and poorly organised when it comes to providing their contributors with any data or trends or customer feedback that will help us make business decisions....I predict that won't change.

As for resolutions, I plan to diversify more fully this year and join the footage brigade and will also work harder to improve my limited success in illustration by learning Adobe.

« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2015, 06:26 »
0
We have very little to go on since the agencies (probably for competitive reasons) are extremely stingy and poorly organised when it comes to providing their contributors with any data or trends or customer feedback that will help us make business decisions....I predict that won't change.

Agreed...Ad agencies with massive budgets using our work for nothing. So with keeping prices down we help those who actually doesn't need help at all.  :o
One would expect stock agencies to protect us and help with this.

« Reply #59 on: January 05, 2015, 07:04 »
+11
(This is a repost of what I wrote in the other 2015 predictions thread which looks like it's dying, so I'll add it here:)


My prediction: the Wall will come down on more people than ever in 2015, making them so depressed about microstock that they will give up.  This will include many hobbyists who earn just a few thousand a year, as well as some of the big contributors who earn (or once earned) six figures.

People will do the math and realize that they can no longer increase their own ports as quickly (by percentage) as the agencies can, making microstock a losing game once your port hits a certain size.  There's just no way around this math.  In my first few years, I was certain I could beat the Wall.  I was going to work harder, achieve better quality, find better niches than anyone else.  Oh, how deluded I was.

I'm predicting my own income will fall 20% or so, and my resolution is to find another income stream.  For me, 2014 was the big wake-up call that microstock is not the reliable source of secondary income I hoped might carry me into retirement.  That dream is long gone.  2015 will be the year I resolve to find another income source to get passionate about and reduce the time I waste on this unsustainable numbers game.

Rinderart

« Reply #60 on: January 05, 2015, 14:39 »
0
(This is a repost of what I wrote in the other 2015 predictions thread which looks like it's dying, so I'll add it here:)


My prediction: the Wall will come down on more people than ever in 2015, making them so depressed about microstock that they will give up.  This will include many hobbyists who earn just a few thousand a year, as well as some of the big contributors who earn (or once earned) six figures.

People will do the math and realize that they can no longer increase their own ports as quickly (by percentage) as the agencies can, making microstock a losing game once your port hits a certain size.  There's just no way around this math.  In my first few years, I was certain I could beat the Wall.  I was going to work harder, achieve better quality, find better niches than anyone else.  Oh, how deluded I was.

I'm predicting my own income will fall 20% or so, and my resolution is to find another income stream.  For me, 2014 was the big wake-up call that microstock is not the reliable source of secondary income I hoped might carry me into retirement.  That dream is long gone.  2015 will be the year I resolve to find another income source to get passionate about and reduce the time I waste on this unsustainable numbers game.

Perfectly said. and +1.

Dook

« Reply #61 on: January 05, 2015, 15:56 »
+1

People will do the math and realize that they can no longer increase their own ports as quickly (by percentage) as the agencies can, making microstock a losing game once your port hits a certain size.  There's just no way around this math.  In my first few years, I was certain I could beat the Wall.  I was going to work harder, achieve better quality, find better niches than anyone else.  Oh, how deluded I was.



You are mostly right. But, I don't think you can do math with something so unpredictable like art, and photography is art. It's not just numbers, one picture sometimes earns more than other 1000. That's the beauty of this job, it just sounds so depressing when you put it in numbers.
My income is not falling. Your numbers do not apply to my port.

« Reply #62 on: January 12, 2015, 11:05 »
0
One of my resolutions was to drop a couple dead weight agencies, but they payout so far into the future I didn't want to cut the cord until they payouts arrive.  Of course, since the payout button was pressed they are both selling again like they never have before.  Sigh.  I guess I'll jump back on the hamster wheel. 

Uncle Pete

« Reply #63 on: January 12, 2015, 22:28 »
+3
Same as when I created this in parody GIF in 2013:



It represents perfectly how Microstock agencies (some of them) offer you things, make smiling promises as bait,  (hope = the football...) and then yank it away, just as you make the kick, you feel like a fool, tricked again...

Two years later, has anything changed?

« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2015, 02:37 »
0
(This is a repost of what I wrote in the other 2015 predictions thread which looks like it's dying, so I'll add it here:)


My prediction: the Wall will come down on more people than ever in 2015, making them so depressed about microstock that they will give up.  This will include many hobbyists who earn just a few thousand a year, as well as some of the big contributors who earn (or once earned) six figures.

People will do the math and realize that they can no longer increase their own ports as quickly (by percentage) as the agencies can, making microstock a losing game once your port hits a certain size.  There's just no way around this math.  In my first few years, I was certain I could beat the Wall.  I was going to work harder, achieve better quality, find better niches than anyone else.  Oh, how deluded I was.

I'm predicting my own income will fall 20% or so, and my resolution is to find another income stream.  For me, 2014 was the big wake-up call that microstock is not the reliable source of secondary income I hoped might carry me into retirement.  That dream is long gone.  2015 will be the year I resolve to find another income source to get passionate about and reduce the time I waste on this unsustainable numbers game.
My thoughts exactly!

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2015, 07:29 »
+2
(This is a repost of what I wrote in the other 2015 predictions thread which looks like it's dying, so I'll add it here:)


My prediction: the Wall will come down on more people than ever in 2015, making them so depressed about microstock that they will give up.  This will include many hobbyists who earn just a few thousand a year, as well as some of the big contributors who earn (or once earned) six figures.

People will do the math and realize that they can no longer increase their own ports as quickly (by percentage) as the agencies can, making microstock a losing game once your port hits a certain size.  There's just no way around this math.  In my first few years, I was certain I could beat the Wall.  I was going to work harder, achieve better quality, find better niches than anyone else.  Oh, how deluded I was.

I'm predicting my own income will fall 20% or so, and my resolution is to find another income stream.  For me, 2014 was the big wake-up call that microstock is not the reliable source of secondary income I hoped might carry me into retirement.  That dream is long gone.  2015 will be the year I resolve to find another income source to get passionate about and reduce the time I waste on this unsustainable numbers game.

Good post.

And at one time I was hoping this would be my retirement. Ain't happenin'. This whole thing started off with so much promise.

I hit the wall too. Seems like most people need to increase their portfolios by 50-100% every year to see some growth or at least get the same revenue as the previous year. This is why it looks so promising to newbies. Because it's not hard to go from 100 images to 200 images in a year and have all kindsa BDEs, BMEs, and BYEs. But its not so easy after you're in it for a few years and need to increase your portfolio from 3,000 to 6,000 images in a year.

I've been working on other income sources for the past couple of years. Experiment. There's life beyond stock.

« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2015, 09:22 »
+1
I plan to leave the sinking ship that is iStock. I'm not expecting massives sales at the other sites either, but according to my quite pessimistic estimates I should at least make a little more than I do right now as an iStock exclusive.

Like most other contributors I also believe that the golden days of microstock are over, and I'm thinking about trying to do some custom work. Or perhaps leave graphic design completely and do something else...


 

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