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Author Topic: Designer thoughts on microstock  (Read 8254 times)

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vonkara

« on: November 04, 2009, 16:53 »
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I have made a search to get some thoughts from designers about microstock. What I found is scandalous/hilarious at the same time...

Someone asking on a forum__________
Anyone know of any good stock library besides the big three (corbis, getty and alamy)? I've also checked out plainpicture, istock, veer and fstop.
I'm running short of ideas

Someone replying___
There's Dreamstime and Shutterstock, neither brilliant by any means, but you might find what you're looking for
Someone replying___
Personally, I've grown to hate most stock photography sites, I seem to spend half my life on them, and clients never understand how much time it takes to sift through the crap and find that elusive appropriate image
---------------------------------------------------------------
About Microstock in general
Someone replying___
They're becoming increasingly costly, and the website is an usability nightmare, especially when you have to sift through thousands of photos.

I know of dreamstime.com, anything else?

Someone replying___
Hah, I noticed some from istock on that Zombie one. I don't trust websites with google-text in their footer though.
Cheers, Loyalist. I'm too lazy to search. I wish I had clients who'd pay me enough to afford getty

Someone replying___
I use istock and I agree, the vectors are coming out at about 25/$25 each. Hefty for something that is sold again, and again and again
Someone replying___
STOCKXPERT - Royalty free stock photography community seems okay. I'd be tempted to go use them if and when I stop using istock.
Someone replying___
I've used Getty, their imagery is too dated though. Shutterstock is by far the best, albeit subscription based, it's brilliantly high quality artworks

Someone replying___
My favorite are Shutterstock and Stockxpert, sxc(dot)hu if you want them for free..

Someone replying___
I haven't seen anyone mention Veer (www.veer.com). They can be pricey at times, but their collections are unique and really high quality. One of my favorites

---------------------------------------------------------
About some royaltee free issue

Someone asking__________
Why do images have to be royalty free? When we buy them from a stock-site, doesn't that give us the rights to use them? Does anybody know the specifics on this?

Someone replying___
Each website such as istockphoto.com will have its small print.
Most of these sites work on licenses, with the basic of licenses allowing you limited usage of the images, and higher costing licenses with options allowing you to run x amount of print runs etc.
My advice would be to read every last letter of the small print on these websites. My understanding is their team of lawyers are larger than the team operating the actual website!

Someone replying___
I think Rights Managed images will have a list of where the image has been previously used so you can see if any of your competitors have used the image already. I forget where I read that

----------------------------------------------------------
Someone asking about free images__________
I've looked around and I can't find much as far as actual free downloadable stock photo websites. Everything wants you to sign up and pay for their images, well are there ANY decent free stock photo websites? I just need one with like a guy working on a computer

Someone replying___
Yes how selfish of photographers wanting to be paid for their work. *insult removed*!

Someone replying___
It's not like an experienced high-skilled photographer with a good camera is hard to find to slave around for free


I found around 10 threads about microstock on those designers forums. 25 threads with the word stock in it. The biggest forum I visited have more than
500 000 posts and almost 50 000 threads.

Some have adversting on the layout. No microstock agencies are advertising there, at least at first look. Now why they do on MSG and not there? Weird because there is more than 60 000 members on one of these forum. Probably all designers or as you can see newbie designers looking for images.


« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 16:57 »
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Thanks for the info.  It is very interesting to hear it from a buyers perspective. 

What forums were you on?

lisafx

« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2009, 17:01 »
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Very interesting reading Vonkara!  At least the designers defended photographers right to be paid when the greedy freebie hunter complained.  I am glad they seem to understand that good photography isn't (and shouldn't be) free.

You are right, the micros should advertise on the designer forums.  Maybe you should suggest it to them?

vonkara

« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2009, 17:03 »
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Look for designer talk which is one of the biggest

I may add that there is almost no real discussions between photographers and designers which is very weird. They don't know us and we only hear from them through the wanted files of Istock... lol

« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 17:59 by Vonkara »

« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2009, 17:11 »
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Well shutterstock has some adwords ads on that site. 

Yeah, strange that there isn't more conversation between photographers and designers - I am sure each party could provide the other with lots of valuable info.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2009, 17:22 »
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Speaking of ads, it might make sense for photographers to pimp themselves there ... especially the ones trying to get sales started at their own websites.


vonkara

« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2009, 17:27 »
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It's why I wasn't sure at all about giving the link. I hope people will not rush this forum, though I really want to have more feedback from designers about what they want ect.

It's why I have made this thread on that forum. I will post the replies in here soon.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 17:52 by Vonkara »

« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2009, 17:39 »
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Yeah, strange that there isn't more conversation between photographers and designers...

Not really so strange when you consider that the entire microstock business model is based on making sure contributors, and the people who bought their images, can never connect.

vonkara

« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2009, 17:42 »
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Yeah, strange that there isn't more conversation between photographers and designers...

Not really so strange when you consider that the entire microstock business model is based on making sure contributors, and the people who bought their images, can never connect.
Haha so true, I feel like I was living an impossible love  :D

« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2009, 17:50 »
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It's why I wasn't sure at all about giving the link. I hope people will not rush this forum, though I really want to have more feedback from designers about what they want ect.

It's why I have made this thread http://www.designerstalk.com/forums/photography/52242-photographer-designer-talk-stock-photography.html



ah yes, I thought it was you.  I hope I didn't crowd you over there :)  looks like it could be an interesting discussion.

vonkara

« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2009, 17:51 »
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Discussion started

                 My question                              Reply from a designer there

- Which agencies are you mostly using for your projects (either micro or macro) . Are they different depending of the type of projects ?


iStock pretty much not by choice it's all the client is usually willing to pay for. And what ends up happening is you produce the same generic bloody designs day in and day out. A decent client will value good photography (and good design for that matter) but most clients are far from decent. I find it completely frustrating. I suppose at least it's mostly of decent quality imagery (from a technical standpoint) and you can't beat the price. But what ends up happening is everyone's design starts to look the samesoulless. Worse yet you supply a comp and it's got iStock written across it if you haven't bothered cloning it outand the client goes and does a search and picks an image that just doesn't work because they don't understand design and they end up art directing you.

But by far the worst type of these clients are the ones that want a 'brand' based on a stock photo. They won't pay for a photographer for an exclusive image and then they get pissed off when they spot the realestate agent down the street is using the same iStock image as them for their 'brand' too. These clients don't know what branding is even aboutclueless.


- What make a good image for you Ex: focus, composition, copy space, good isolation, clipping path, untouched images and easy to edit, ect... ?


Well depending on the project pretty much all those things. I'd say copy space could probably be made more of a priority by stock photographers. But usually it's just a case of editing the image.

- What is annoying you when buying an image and using it for a project ?

By far the most annoying thing is when an image isn't immediately obvious that it's computer generated or excessively edited from the thumbnail. A nice fat disclaimer would be good. That being said, most do have that these days. Another is noise/graininessagain not immediately obvious from a thumbnail. Focus, at 100% it should be pinsharp or at least be able to be sharpened with no artifacts in photoshopno excuse. At least iStock will let you check at 100% zoom.


- What kind of content/subject/style you think should be more present in the agencies collection

Less: pictures of camera's computer keyboards and mac's with the logo obviously taken off.

More: concept based images and series. I think the series one is really important. If I'm doing a project I usually need more than one image of the same person. If it's not original photography but stock, this is usually quite hard to find. Also use lots of different models. Everyone know's about iStock and you see the same three models on loads of campaigns for different products that have all used iStock. At first it was funny now it's just sad.

Good quality imagery can really help a design and bad quality imagery can really hurt an otherwise good design.

I'll admit that I'm lazy when it comes to searching for stock. I know how to find an image on iStock based on how they are keyworded etc I don't want to take the time to figure out another cheap stock site's in's and out's.

I keep hoping for the iStock bubble to burst and for clients to stop being so cheap but I think it's a pandoras box and there's no going back now.

« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2009, 18:01 »
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It's why I wasn't sure at all about giving the link. I hope people will not rush this forum, though I really want to have more feedback from designers about what they want ect.

It's why I have made this thread on that forum. I will post the replies in here soon.

Haha too late :p

Actually its a good idea - I'm sure that lots of people here are interested in related topics, just as lots of designers are interested in photography. It often makes good business sense for people in related fields to know each other.

You never know... you might get some people from there coming over here for a look too!

« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2009, 18:12 »
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Good thoughts on that thread so far.

vonkara

« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2009, 18:28 »
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ah yes, I thought it was you.  I hope I didn't crowd you over there :)  looks like it could be an interesting discussion.
No you didn't. I wish you could post some more questions of yours. There's just one designer replying yet though.

« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2009, 18:30 »
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Interesting read, the thing I find most telling are the complaints about the costs. Seriously? Microstock expensive? Scandalous indeed.

RT


« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2009, 18:38 »
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Worse yet you supply a comp and it's got iStock written across it if you haven't bothered cloning it outand the client goes and does a search and picks an image that just doesn't work because they don't understand design and they end up art directing you.

Reading between the lines - The client gets to see how much the image actually costs and there goes the huge mark up!

But by far the worst type of these clients are the ones that want a 'brand' based on a stock photo. They won't pay for a photographer for an exclusive image and then they get pissed off when they spot the realestate agent down the street is using the same iStock image as them for their 'brand' too. These clients don't know what branding is even aboutclueless.

A good designer would have explained that possible scenario to the client.

I've formed my own opinion who is the clueless party here.

I belong to a forum for "designers" and one thing I've learnt is that just because someone calls themselves a designer it doesn't mean they know what they're doing or what they are talking about.

Some key points from this guys replies:

"produce the same generic designs day in and day out"
"most clients are far from decent"
"everyone's designs start to look the same-soulless"
"you see the same three models on loads of campaigns" - "I'll admit that I'm lazy when it comes to searching for stock"

Now is this really the type of "designer" that you want to take advice from?


vonkara

« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2009, 18:39 »
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I belong to a forum for "designers" and one thing I've learnt is that just because someone calls themselves a designer it doesn't mean they know what they're doing or what they are talking about.

Now is this really the type of "designer" that you want to take advice from?

Still the best I saw on those forums. Like you saw before, it's obvious that most of newbie designers know nothing about stock yet. More, the one who look to know the business have a ambivalent opinion about stock. As you can see up there, microstock is not the only place where they take their images at all.
___________________________________
More...

          leaf question                             designer answer

"You're probably not gonna like this"
why do you say that? I think everything you said is quite understandable and easy to agree with.

another question for you.

There has been a lot of talk recently about 'natural' looking images (taken as though the camera wasn't there, with people interacting with each other). Do you find yourself using / needing lots of this type of imagery or do you still need photos of people looking at the camera and smiling. It would be interesting to hear a designers take on the discussion.


Most of the other cheap 'dollarstock' site out there suck and are just iStock rip-offs anyway. All the decent stuff they have is usually just non exclusive iStock anyway (same photographers)

If a client will go for it Getty royalty free. But to be honest the quality of Getty royalty free is mediocre at best iStock is usually always better quality for the money. Getty doesn't get decent until you move up to rights managed. But it's pretty unusual to have a client who's willing to pay those kind of prices. I think I'm biased in that the client base I work for are all cheap fuckers but I think I can confidently say that's most peoples client base.

You're in a catch 22 I think good photographers should be paid well or it just devalues the whole market (design and photography) iStock made a good level of imagery available to the masses. The problem is it's all so generic looking now.

It's a hard one, I'd love to be able to afford high quality (expensive) imagery for every project it just isn't going to happen though. I don't want to work for free (or close to) why would the photographer supplying the imagery?


http://www.designerstalk.com/forums/photography/52242-photographer-designer-talk-stock-photography.html
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 18:48 by Vonkara »


« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2009, 19:05 »
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Quote
I think Rights Managed images will have a list of where the image has been previously used so you can see if any of your competitors have used the image already.

I think MyLoupe has a field in which you can describe previous licenses, what in fact makes a lot of sense. 

« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2009, 06:32 »
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Am I the only one who finds it strange copying a whole conversation on another forum over here? If I were a designer contributing to the original thread and knew that the person I was "talking" to was copying everything over onto another forum so that it could be talked about without my knowledge, I wouldn't be overly happy. 

I understand why you're doing it, but there are no fences around the internet - if people are interested in the topic, then they're probably best of engaging in the original topic.

bittersweet

« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2009, 07:10 »
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Am I the only one who finds it strange copying a whole conversation on another forum over here? If I were a designer contributing to the original thread and knew that the person I was "talking" to was copying everything over onto another forum so that it could be talked about without my knowledge, I wouldn't be overly happy. 

I understand why you're doing it, but there are no fences around the internet - if people are interested in the topic, then they're probably best of engaging in the original topic.

I agree, especially when the opportunity is being taken to tear apart the feedback that is being offered and insult the persons taking the time to offer it (behind their backs, no less).

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2009, 08:09 »
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I love intelligence like this and appreciate the feedback but question how usable it is. A lot of buyer feedback seems to contradict sales trends and also what agencies are asking for more of.

It's almost like that friend of yours who always says "I want to find a nice guy/girl" but always ends up dating the jerk.




vonkara

« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2009, 08:54 »
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LOL this is not about copying. This designer buy all images through Istockphoto. Maybe he is pissed at some times but certainly not the pro macrostock we saw the other time.

Also all the first statements in the OP are from different designers. I would add that you have to search for finding statements about stock photography everywhere. Many of them take their own pics or also contribute as photographers or are not using microstock at all.

« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2009, 10:49 »
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One thing I don't get is the demand that images be "pin sharp" at 100%.  If they're buying a full size image, are they planning on printing it 2 feet across? I doubt it.  If they're buying small images, we contributors have no control over how the microstocks are downsizing them.  I like sharp images but there's a point of diminishing returns. An obsession with sharpness characterizes a lot of newbie photographers who just dropped $2K on a new DSLR.  It's become one more hoop to set up for contributors to jump through, just "because we can".

« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2009, 10:56 »
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It looks like they like to complain over there just as much as we do. ;D

I can understand the frustration though. Clients tend to hire you for the things that are in your portfolio. You end up doing the same thing over and over. On one hand, it makes the jobs pretty quick and easy, but it can be frustrating. Especially if you have to explain things like copyright and plagiarism to them because something is too similar.

digiology

« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2009, 13:41 »
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Interesting post. Thanks Vonkara  :)


 

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