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Microstock Photography Forum - General => General Stock Discussion => Topic started by: lagereek on August 06, 2010, 01:06

Title: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 06, 2010, 01:06
Well summer is pretty much over and the entire Micro world seem to have come to a stand-still,  many buyers have gone RF or RM, at least in my case, theyve had a real good summer.
Not surprised really, every Micro agency have done their best in making sure things are NOT moving, summer-reviewers not even possesing the knowledge of the English language, suports being non existant, search-engines going from bad to terrible.
Im still earning very well so thats not the issue here but I can see the same so called non-caring, relaxed attitude trend here as was seen in the RM world some 10 years back and look what happend?
Are we singing on the last verse here?  time to get serious and start producing for a higher level of picture-agencies or are the Micros going to get their act together before Santa comes along with more spamming, etc?

best.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: microstockphoto.co.uk on August 06, 2010, 01:19
Seeing what's going on right now with most sites - random reviews, broken search engines, etc - it's difficult not to agree with you.

Still, I try to be positive: it they really have to play with search algorithms - if it ain't broke don't fix it is not their favourite attitude, it seems - and train new reviewers, it's better that they're doing this in the summer than in September.

I'll wait and see what the autumn brings before worrying too much.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 06, 2010, 03:03
Summer pretty much over?  It goes in to September here and a lot of Europe takes August off.  I wasn't hit hard by the summer slump last year but that might of been an exception.  What usually happens is we are all doom and gloom this time of year then there is a sales explosion in the autumn.  Until then, I wont jump to conclusions.  This might be a slow down for microstock, no industry increases growth every month forever but it could be temporary.  A few months means nothing, it looks impossible for me to earn more in 2010 than I did in 2009 but that could change, there's still a lot of the year left.  StockXpert being closed cost me a lot and if I can come close to my 2010 earnings, it will feel like an achievement.

My biggest concern is the cuts we had in commissions when some sites raised prices, if the sites continued to do that, I would be looking at alternatives.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 06, 2010, 03:28
Hi sharshot!  well this time I dont agree, yes the usual story is were seeing doom and gloom, then comes the good times and we forget. As I said, Im NOT complaining about earnings, theres something else?  some sort of a general disinterest among the agencies, non sort of caring attitude, you know the" Oh well, screw it"  attitude and consequenses are: nothing seams to work.
Im glad the acceptance rate of applicants have decreased,  theres no more room for clogging up files anymore.

best.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 06, 2010, 05:06
Perhaps it is getting worse but I have never felt the big sites have had a good attitude towards us.  They are all trying to make as much profit for themselves as possible, like most people that owned sites would.  There is nothing wrong with that but it does feel like they are going too far sometimes.

I don't think we can change that but we can support the sites that pay a decent commission and hope they can become competitive.  There are still several sites like alamy and pond5 that are great to work with.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: grp_photo on August 06, 2010, 05:48
I nearly completely switched to RM the last months, all variables included I don't expect higher earnings than in serious microstocking but I'm pretty sure there will be equal. The main reasons I switched:
1. there is only a certain range of images you can submit to Microstock, if you differ from the Microstock-Look (for example more creative, more arty) the pictures will be either rejected or there will be not enough sales to make it viable. And I'm personally tired of the Microstock-Style I wanna produce different things.
2. I'm tired of how I'm treated via the Microstock-agencies. At RM it is a much more professional, friendly and at a personal level (even at Getty-RM).
3. I'm tired of keywording I let do this the agencies (with the exception of conceptual keywords for some Agencies).
4. I'm tired of cumbersome upload-processes and unprofessional rejections.
5. I'm tired of Logo-retouching (Getty and Corbis even demand this for RM but many others don't).
6. last but not least, as a photographer you have more legal security with RM
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: grp_photo on August 06, 2010, 06:02
That said I'm sure Microstock will be a viable income for many contributors in the long term. But the general trend changed not so long ago the earnings from even average pictures have been phenomenal -- these times will never come back! Not so long ago there was enthusiasm about Microstock from the contributor- AND more important from the buyer-side -- this enthusiasm is gone many buyers can't see Yuri's girlfriend anymore ;-) serious Microstock is repeating itself it's boring for buyers and the few exceptional artists (for example Kevin Russ) get lost in the masses of the same-same pictures.
Add to this the still increasing amount of new contributors and pictures you see where it is leading.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 06, 2010, 06:14
Google Trends is showing a huge traffic drop for all sites.

IS and SS are down around half.since January. Where'd everybody go?

http://www.google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+shutterstock.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0 (http://www.google.com/trends?q=istockphoto.com%2C+shutterstock.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0)

 
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: click_click on August 06, 2010, 06:27
... Where'd everybody go?

Thinkstock  ;D
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 06, 2010, 07:23
My biggest concern is the cuts we had in commissions when some sites raised prices, if the sites continued to do that, I would be looking at alternatives.
There are no alternatives. All the "midstock" agencies started since 2006 went down the drains. If a few, even major, contributors (like Arcurs) would drop out of microstock, the void would immediately be filled up by all the Arcurs-clones and the guild of the copycats. Price comparison will be made very easy by sites in the making or already in beta.

For some and for the easy subjects, the market is already oversupplied. Who needs another Eiffel Tower or another businesswoman? Thinkstock is setting the baseline soon, certainly when they enter Picscout.

Ellen Boughn (I keep repeating it) made the observation earlier this year for a Russian audience, that the production of images will move to the East (where production and living costs are lower) and sales will stay concentrated in the West. Images will be like sneakers. There might be an exception for very talented photographers with a high volume and stunning new concepts. I'm just talking about the regulars.

There is no alternative for microstock.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: click_click on August 06, 2010, 07:34
FD, there is a lot of truth to what you said.

I think though that there is something to consider first.

I saw three years ago the first wave of Asian or Eastern European contributors coming to the micros. And of course in most of those countries cost of living is much cheaper than in most other industrialized parts of the world.

Naturally this kind of business will attract a higher percentage of contributors from these countries.

BUT, will there be enough Caucasian models there to shoot? Many Eastern European contributors take images with their fellow citizens and you can tell immediately if the image is coming from Russia, Poland, Ukraine etc.

I wonder if those images will easily replace Yuri's style? In America people want to see classic American faces and even the Latino market is huuuge.

I think there is only so much that can be produced in "Eastern World" but some things will never change...
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 06, 2010, 07:44
... Where'd everybody go?
Thinkstock  ;D

Maybe. No stats yet for Thinkstock.

But, Photos.com, TS's cousin, shows consistent sales and a huge spike at the time when others had a huge drop.  :o

The other interesting thing on Google Trends are the traffic sources. Wonder why so different?

Shutterstock
1. India 
2. Indonesia 
3. South Africa 
4. Philippines 
5. United Arab Emirates

Istock
1. Canada 
2. Ireland 
3. South Africa 
4. New Zealand 
5. United States
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 06, 2010, 08:36
My biggest concern is the cuts we had in commissions when some sites raised prices, if the sites continued to do that, I would be looking at alternatives.
There are no alternatives. All the "midstock" agencies started since 2006 went down the drains. If a few, even major, contributors (like Arcurs) would drop out of microstock, the void would immediately be filled up by all the Arcurs-clones and the guild of the copycats. Price comparison will be made very easy by sites in the making or already in beta.

For some and for the easy subjects, the market is already oversupplied. Who needs another Eiffel Tower or another businesswoman? Thinkstock is setting the baseline soon, certainly when they enter Picscout.

Ellen Boughn (I keep repeating it) made the observation earlier this year for a Russian audience, that the production of images will move to the East (where production and living costs are lower) and sales will stay concentrated in the West. Images will be like sneakers. There might be an exception for very talented photographers with a high volume and stunning new concepts. I'm just talking about the regulars.

There is no alternative for microstock.
There are always alternatives and they don't have to have anything to do with microstock.  There are too many to list and there are new ways to sell images all the time.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: grp_photo on August 06, 2010, 08:53
I agree with sharpshot there are actually a huge number of alternatives but you have to do your research.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lefty on August 06, 2010, 09:57
Maybe it is the end, and the only one or two left will be
Shutterstock and Istock. I not sure if others are necessary.
My thinking is maybe good to have monopoly. Buyers keep with
these two who consistent for performance history, and maybe
commissions go up for all of us due to centralized market.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PeterChigmaroff on August 06, 2010, 11:06
Microstock is not unlike a pyramid scheme. Those at the top stay there, those at the bottom rarely see the top. It's a generality but I think holds true for the most part. Then comes into the mix what buyers want. Microstock can get so boring so fast. Yes there is Vetta but it is still so dull compared to traditional macro. The world moves in fads and microstock capitalized on a fad. Not saying its dead or anything but it's only a matter of time before the same old, same old provided by micro isn't wanted much. There is talk of a second dip in the recession. No help there.

How can it not become more difficult for individual photographers?
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: donding on August 06, 2010, 11:14
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: WarrenPrice on August 06, 2010, 11:19
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.

I've received a lot of rejections, Donna, just for trying to produce and provide such shots.  I admit, however, it is very difficult to get the kind of "microstock lighting" in unstaged setups that most agencies (and buyers) expect.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: donding on August 06, 2010, 11:28
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.

I've received a lot of rejections, Donna, just for trying to produce and provide such shots.  I admit, however, it is very difficult to get the kind of "microstock lighting" in unstaged setups that most agencies (and buyers) expect.

Yes lighting is very difficult especially in candid shots because they are captured on the fly. I really think the trend in microstock is changing. It seems the sites just keep accepting the same thing over and over again and don't put much effort in watching the changing trends and needs of the buyers.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: microstockphoto.co.uk on August 06, 2010, 11:29
Microstock can get so boring so fast. [...] Not saying its dead or anything but it's only a matter of time before the same old, same old provided by micro isn't wanted much.

I think we all - photographers, agencies and buyers - know that microstock can be boring. If a buyer wants something really original, the he/she should hire a photographer - at least for really important projects. For the majority of everyday projects (local newspapers, local store leaflets, ...) microstock is just fine: they get what they pay it for, and shouldn't expect more for a few cents.

That said, "watching the changing trends" as "donding" says is an easy way to renew microstock and I really hope agencies will understand and accept more good unusual shots.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: gostwyck on August 06, 2010, 11:34
Microstock is not unlike a pyramid scheme.  

Microstock is completely unlike 'a pyramid scheme'. Other than the fact that if you arranged contributors on different levels, according to sales numbers, then it would be pyramid-shaped ... but then so would virtually any large company, country, participants in a sport, etc, etc.

From Wiki - A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud.

Microstock is entirely a meritocracy in that it is a level playing-field and you get exactly the success that you deserve for your talent and effort. Those who started earlier have no advantage other than the experience they have gained and the sizes of their portfolios. I have no doubt that more Yuris, Lises and SJLs will emerge from nowhere sometime in the future and trounce those of us who have been doing it for years.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FastRacer on August 06, 2010, 12:40
I think we all - photographers, agencies and buyers - know that microstock can be boring. If a buyer wants something really original, the he/she should hire a photographer - at least for really important projects. For the majority of everyday projects (local newspapers, local store leaflets, ...) microstock is just fine: they get what they pay it for, and shouldn't expect more for a few cents.

I totally agree.

But really, microstock is just mimicking the rest of the business world. Employers now expect years of experience, a 4 year college degree, and versatility in your capabilities. In other words, you are expected to know how to do several jobs well and, by the way, we're going to pay you minimum wage for that.

Somewhere along the line, somebody started thinking that now we should all be grateful for what we get and if we want to play with the big boys, we should be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and models and shoot professional, macro-style shots and STILL get paid cents for an image. NO, that's not what I signed up for.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: RacePhoto on August 06, 2010, 13:16
Easy if you pick a poor definition. Many pyramids or MLM schemes do have goods delivered, just that the promise of getting a raise at different levels and recruiting new members is important. Sound familiar? Sure Micro isn't a pyramid but many facets of the business have the same failings of pyramids.

People who get in on the bottom can make something. Those who get in later may never make up their investment

Both rely on referrals and pay a bonus for recruiting. Sometimes this will bring in more than the actual business. Ask some of the top IS people who have hundreds of members under them, bringing in money. Ask the people who run the websites designed for encouraging referrals. There was a profit to be made with that, in the beginning.

The unsustainable market is when friends bring friends and the pyramid can't support the volume needed for so many agents/artists. Hey look, 200,000 photographers and 12 million micro photos. There aren't enough buyers to feed all those people, so everyone suffers by dilution. Of course sales are going to be down, the market is over saturated = diluted with far too many similar images and choices for buyers.

Just like a chain letter, which is a pyramid of sorts, the number of people involved multiplies until it reaches an impossible number and the whole thing is mathematically impossible. Much like microstock depending on volume sales, but the number of buyers is not endless. Soon they are all satisfied and have places to buy from. New agencies are doomed (which we've seen for what, three years now or is it four?) Old agencies will fail as the market consolidates with the best agencies.

In the end, the agencies still have the same sales volume but it's divided between more artists. There's your pyramid, where only those on top are truly making a profit. The big base has no where to grown. Market saturation. Leveling off. Stagnation as the growth stops but the production keeps flowing, cramming the market with more and more images. Expect less sales and less income, just like people have noticed with a diminishing return for the number of images. You can't fit ten pounds of sugar into a five pound bag!  ;)

(http://a.imageshack.us/img24/300/beatdeadhorseg.gif)

What we are observing is market saturation, leveling off, stabilization. The agencies could be selling many more images, making much more money, but since the sales are divided by many times more artists, than in the recent past, each artist will have less sales and less profit for their production. Don't expect things to be like they were two years ago. Easy enough, production is now far exceeding demand.


Microstock is not unlike a pyramid scheme.  


Microstock is completely unlike 'a pyramid scheme'. Other than the fact that if you arranged contributors on different levels, according to sales numbers, then it would be pyramid-shaped ... but then so would virtually any large company, country, participants in a sport, etc, etc.

From Wiki - A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud.

Microstock is entirely a meritocracy in that it is a level playing-field and you get exactly the success that you deserve for your talent and effort. Those who started earlier have no advantage other than the experience they have gained and the sizes of their portfolios. I have no doubt that more Yuris, Lises and SJLs will emerge from nowhere sometime in the future and trounce those of us who have been doing it for years.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 06, 2010, 13:30
As it happens all these crappy old isolations on white, etc, models, businessmen, engineers and God knows, yes, it could be a very serious culprit, the market for them is fed-up, buyers cant find proper people anymore. I saw a shot of an oil-rig with a pretty girl of 20 wearing a hard-hat, who . wants that?
Yet all the Micros seam to promote this crap and on premiere pages in search. Its an insult to buyers!
Friend of mine owns one of the biggest AD-agencies in Scandinavia, they used to spend tens of thousands of bucks per year with the micros, catalogue works and everything, well they just struck a deal with some RF agencies, leaving the Micros behind, fed up with all the rubbish and totally irrelevant material.

Im dead certain the juicy days are over and unless the leading Micros really pull themselves together and be a lot and I mean a lot more selective, their time is counted and slowly one by one they will bite the dust. Its happend to many RMs, RF, etc and there is even more reason it could happen to the Micros.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: microstockphoto.co.uk on August 06, 2010, 13:35
I think we all - photographers, agencies and buyers - know that microstock can be boring. If a buyer wants something really original, the he/she should hire a photographer - at least for really important projects. For the majority of everyday projects (local newspapers, local store leaflets, ...) microstock is just fine: they get what they pay it for, and shouldn't expect more for a few cents.

I totally agree.

But really, microstock is just mimicking the rest of the business world. Employers now expect years of experience, a 4 year college degree, and versatility in your capabilities. In other words, you are expected to know how to do several jobs well and, by the way, we're going to pay you minimum wage for that.

Somewhere along the line, somebody started thinking that now we should all be grateful for what we get and if we want to play with the big boys, we should be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and models and shoot professional, macro-style shots and STILL get paid cents for an image. NO, that's not what I signed up for.

problem is... I already quit/refused a few 'real' jobs for exactly the reason you stated: too high requests compared to proposed wage;

Now, if I quit microstock as well... I'm almost unemployed. At least I feel (almost) free here. I'm afraid THEY know this as well.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 06, 2010, 13:37
No, gostwyck is totally right.  The only people who call it a pyramid scheme are those who are unsuccessful due to their own failings and it is just sour grapes.  There are plenty of new contributors who have come in only to become successful.

Btw, IS has no such referral program aside from a one time buyer referral bonus.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PeterChigmaroff on August 06, 2010, 13:45
No, gostwyck is totally right.  The only people who call it a pyramid scheme are those who are unsuccessful due to their own failings and it is just sour grapes.  There are plenty of new contributors who have come in only to become successful.

Btw, IS has no such referral program aside from a one time buyer referral bonus.

Conversely those that defend it against any similarities to a pyramid scheme sit atop the scheme loftily suggesting everyone else is a sourpuss.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 06, 2010, 14:01
Ha, ha.  Well like I said, proof is that there are many who are late to the game that have risen through the ranks.  It's like any selling business.  If you don't offer what the buyer wants, you don't sell.  It's got nothing to do with drawing in new recruits like a pyramid scheme.  In fact you're better off not bringing in new recruits,

where have I heard that before? ;)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: RacePhoto on August 06, 2010, 14:23
Ha, ha.  Well like I said, proof is that there are many who are late to the game that have risen through the ranks.  It's like any selling business.  If you don't offer what the buyer wants, you don't sell.  It's got nothing to do with drawing in new recruits like a pyramid scheme.  In fact you're better off not bringing in new recruits,

where have I heard that before? ;)

I blame any personal lack of success on myself, lack of effort or failing to meet the market demands.  :)

As for Referred Members — 1031 for Lise, 660 for Mr. Locke. Where the blogs and other sites are an effort for people to recruit new photographers for the "make money selling your snapshots, that are sitting on your hard drive." which has been a dwindling program over the past years. Many agencies did give credit for new members or buyers and some still do. That's the MLM/Pyramid part of the scheme.

Of course some new people have excelled and done fine. I've pointed that out before. There's still room for productive new people with creative talents and a good work ethic. What I'm highlighting is that the average person can expect to get a smaller piece of the pie as competition grows.

If I was selling four years ago and part of a few million images offered on a site, I'd have many more sales, than I will as part of 12 million images in 2010. And if you look at the uploads and growth, they are adding as many new images this year as there were total a few years back! That is the supply which is far exceeding the demand, which will cause a lack of individual sales, not lack of agency total sales.

The people complaining about dropping sales are looking from an individual perspective instead of the big picture. The downhill trend may be personal, not market wide.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 06, 2010, 14:46
No, gostwyck is totally right.  The only people who call it a pyramid scheme are those who are unsuccessful due to their own failings and it is just sour grapes.  There are plenty of new contributors who have come in only to become successful.

Btw, IS has no such referral program aside from a one time buyer referral bonus.

Yep Sean!  I agree to that and boy, theres a lot of sour grapes in this business but you have to agree though, our leading sites should really be a lot more selective both in applicants and acceptance of images. There is just too much repetetive stuff at the moment and its no big deal anymore to announce youve got billions of shots when buyers are having a hard time finding them anyway.

best.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: louoates on August 06, 2010, 15:03
Maybe some of the comments of too much crap on the sites could be solved by the sites deleting any image that hasn't sold within 1 year or 6 months, or some other time frame. For me if it hasn't sold at least once the first two months it's worthless to me. I would hope that the image counts are less important now to the good sites as a marketing claim. How about a claim of "Better images, less crap"?

I do believe that the quality of each well-worn cliche is getting better and the image choice is enhanced with new blood contributors. But the crap does get a little deeper also and that's what many are complaining about. IMHO it's not the search engines so much as the wading through the garbage to find the pearls. I'd love for a site to come up with the search criteria: Probably crap but you be the judge.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FastRacer on August 06, 2010, 15:11
problem is... I already quit/refused a few 'real' jobs for exactly the reason you stated: too high requests compared to proposed wage;

Now, if I quit microstock as well... I'm almost unemployed. At least I feel (almost) free here. I'm afraid THEY know this as well.

Join the crowd.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 06, 2010, 16:52
I don't think the sites should be more selective because the reviewers shouldn't be deciding what is a good microstock image.  They often don't seem experienced enough, probably because it is a low paid monotonous task.  It makes more sense to delete everything that hasn't sold after a year.  I also wish they would get rid of the free collections.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Freezingpictures on August 06, 2010, 17:15
I don't think the sites should be more selective because the reviewers shouldn't be deciding what is a good microstock image.  They often don't seem experienced enough, probably because it is a low paid monotonous task.  It makes more sense to delete everything that hasn't sold after a year.  I also wish they would get rid of the free collections.
Totally agree that they should delete which has not sold in a year. Just imagine how much nicer buyers experience would be. I do not get why microstock agencies do not do that.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 06, 2010, 18:51
BUT, will there be enough Caucasian models there to shoot? Many Eastern European contributors take images with their fellow citizens and you can tell immediately if the image is coming from Russia, Poland, Ukraine etc.
Yes that is a very valid point that Richard (RT) made here a year ago. The Ukrainians are still in a very good position since there are a lot of "Yuri" (blond) models around, but still, you can "feel" the difference.

Actually, this intangible cultural difference still is an advantage for the Western photographers. I heard that local models (I'm in Europe for a couple of months now) do ask 100 euro for a day shoot, and then I say no thanks. There is no way you can recuperate that from microstock, unless you are a gifted and very well organized photographer.

There are other options, like moving Eastward for a while (3 weeks in Tallin for instance - it's close for the Norwegians), since with the right props and guidance, a model can be what you want. Blond is blond. And of course, there are always the object and non-model shoots that are still the bulk of sales (at least for me).
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: disorderly on August 06, 2010, 19:10
Totally agree that they should delete which has not sold in a year. Just imagine how much nicer buyers experience would be. I do not get why microstock agencies do not do that.

I couldn't disagree more.  What about seasonal images?  Some have only a small window where they're salable; miss one season and they're gone forever?  And what about more obscure subjects?  A benefit of a large collection is that there's room for images that are right for only a few, but are perfect for them.  If the image was good enough to accept in the first place, and if the costs of keeping it online along with a few hundred thousand equally obscure images, why not keep it around for that customer who'll think it's just perfect?  I don't like to think of unsold images as failures, but rather as content that hasn't met its target audience yet.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: elvinstar on August 06, 2010, 19:29
It seems to me that if a new agency (with a big enough wallet for advertising) came along and paid contributors for new and exclusive content with buyers needs in mind that they MIGHT have some small chance of success. They would have the advantage of forward-looking reviewers that can see the trends that buyers want and a tightly-edited collection.

The problem is getting contributors to submit exclusive images to an untried agency.

There's got to be an answer out there somewhere, but it will take someone smarter than me to come up with it!
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 06, 2010, 19:49
Sounds like IS. ;)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 07, 2010, 01:38
Delete them in a year??  sure,  but why accept them in the first place?  makes no sense at all. I mean surely a reviewer at for example IS would have the experience to know a commercial image when seeing one? unless ofcourse staring himself blind, looking for noise and artifacts.

Another issue is the deliberate copying game. In the world of RM, inside the Getty maincore of RM, copying is very seldom allowed or accepted. Many times when Ive submitted shots there Ive got some back saying: we have already got this and thats without conciously copying!
Deliberate copying is in the long run a destructive process, not allowing photographers to reap the benefits of their prime images. This constant copying craze and supported by every Admin in Micros, is one of the reasons why still, many RM photographers are laughing at the Micros, calling them amateurs and what-nots. This si also whats clogging every file with irrelevant garbage, ofcourse along with that comes all the spamming.
Some will excuse this and say "oh well a good shot will still prevail"  thats BS! a good shot can be destroyed is more like it.

There are many, many things the leading Micros can do to raise themselves, get a better image, etc, but no,  its easier to rely on the turnover of neewbies, hoping that one shot of a thousand will sell.
Pretty sad and amateurish I would say.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 07, 2010, 01:49
^^^I've been doing this for 4 years and I still am surprised sometimes by what sells and what doesn't.  Some of the less experienced reviewers on the sites have no chance.  I had an image that has made me over $1,000 rejected by one site for LCV :)  Istock have rejected several of my best selling images on SS.

I think a year is long enough but the sites could just change the search so that buyers can filter out images that haven't sold in a year but can still find obscure images with zero sales if they need them.  Wouldn't that be an improvement?
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: ShadySue on August 07, 2010, 03:00
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.

I've received a lot of rejections, Donna, just for trying to produce and provide such shots.  I admit, however, it is very difficult to get the kind of "microstock lighting" in unstaged setups that most agencies (and buyers) expect.
There are requests from time to time on iStock to provide less 'posed' images, but the replies always show that it's the cheesy, 'microstock-y' shots which sell really well, and the candid-like ones get very few sales.
And yes, iStock for one is really, really clamping down on natural light, even for natural history shots. I was at over 90% acceptance for about two years, and recently am down to about 50%, and there are several other references to this on different forums, even from golds and diamonds.
Looks like studio lights is going to be all that they'll accept soon.
(Strange decision: I know that none of my best selling shots would be accepted now (film scans with a blue/cyan cast or my BS from the G9, which subsequently got nothing but rejections), but they're still vastly outselling my recent acceptances, with no requests for refunds.)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 07, 2010, 08:58
I recently heard a buyer say that they usually bought from microstock, but they could not find the shot they wanted simply because all they could find was posed studio shots and none looked candid. They were finding it more and more difficult to find what they needed because of this. These candid shots are what microstock calls...snapshots. In some cases they are snapshots, but the microstock agencies need to realize that not all the buyers want that posed studio shot. It just doesn't look real to a lot of buyers so they shop elsewhere.

I've received a lot of rejections, Donna, just for trying to produce and provide such shots.  I admit, however, it is very difficult to get the kind of "microstock lighting" in unstaged setups that most agencies (and buyers) expect.
There are requests from time to time on iStock to provide less 'posed' images, but the replies always show that it's the cheesy, 'microstock-y' shots which sell really well, and the candid-like ones get very few sales.
And yes, iStock for one is really, really clamping down on natural light, even for natural history shots. I was at over 90% acceptance for about two years, and recently am down to about 50%, and there are several other references to this on different forums, even from golds and diamonds.
Looks like studio lights is going to be all that they'll accept soon.
(Strange decision: I know that none of my best selling shots would be accepted now (film scans with a blue/cyan cast or my BS from the G9, which subsequently got nothing but rejections), but they're still vastly outselling my recent acceptances, with no requests for refunds.)


Funny you should say that but make no mistake, I was flown onto an oil-rig in the northsea outside Norway shooting engineers, posing looking really happy with their job. The candid shots taken from above however, some 15 shots thats all, given to the RM, fetched well over a five figured amount and thats within 3 months.
Candid shots within Industry, business and Finance, ofcourse still with MRs  can if done right make a fortune.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: pet_chia on August 07, 2010, 10:46
...
And yes, iStock for one is really, really clamping down on natural light, even for natural history shots. I was at over 90% acceptance for about two years, and recently am down to about 50%, and there are several other references to this on different forums, even from golds and diamonds.
Looks like studio lights is going to be all that they'll accept soon.
...

OK that might explain the rejections I got recently for outdoor shots, which I complained about on another thread.

If I had to give a brief summary of what they are accepting it is: "bright, loud, crisp - but not too bright and loud".

On a happier note, I found one of those grassy hills near my house on which to pose models doing silly things against a blue sky.  I will have to haul fertilizer and water up the hill however to get the grass to that "nearly fake" looking green color that seems so popular.  One or two small ornamental trees could be eliminated too but I better stick to photoshop for that  ::)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Dreamframer on August 07, 2010, 12:53
I really don't have problems in accepting images with natural light. I have only few isolations in my port, and they are old. Lately, I almost don't have rejections on IS, and those few that I have are not because of lighting.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: borg on August 10, 2010, 02:58
What a bad first 10 days in this month, double worse than in July.... :P :-[ :'(
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: michealo on August 10, 2010, 04:34
What a bad first 10 days in this month, double worst than in July.... :P :-[ :'(

here here
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: ShadySue on August 10, 2010, 05:08
I really don't have problems in accepting images with natural light. I have only few isolations in my port, and they are old. Lately, I almost don't have rejections on IS, and those few that I have are not because of lighting.
Yebbut your images were taken in 'iStock-y' light; mine were in rainforest.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: niserin on August 10, 2010, 05:49
FD, there is a lot of truth to what you said.

I think though that there is something to consider first.

I saw three years ago the first wave of Asian or Eastern European contributors coming to the micros. And of course in most of those countries cost of living is much cheaper than in most other industrialized parts of the world.

Naturally this kind of business will attract a higher percentage of contributors from these countries.

BUT, will there be enough Caucasian models there to shoot? Many Eastern European contributors take images with their fellow citizens and you can tell immediately if the image is coming from Russia, Poland, Ukraine etc.

I wonder if those images will easily replace Yuri's style? In America people want to see classic American faces and even the Latino market is huuuge.

I think there is only so much that can be produced in "Eastern World" but some things will never change...

jeepers creepers.... You put Poland in the same basket with Ukraine ? I congratulate you on the knowledge of the contemporary world.... and invite you to Poland, you would be surprised that girls do NOT have 'Eastern' faces in a way you connotate it.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 10, 2010, 07:47
jeepers creepers.... You put Poland in the same basket with Ukraine ? I congratulate you on the knowledge of the contemporary world.... and invite you to Poland, you would be surprised that girls do NOT have 'Eastern' faces in a way you connotate it.
I was just quoting a respected poster here, with a great model portfolio. I wouldn't have an idea. I guess if you pay properly for models, you can select looks. The problem is that for microstock, you'll have to use TFP and grab what you can get.
Quote
Well it's a theory except you're forgetting something, the highest yielding type of imagery are those that feature people, the buyers at present don't want that many images with Chinese folk in, and the other countries you mentioned are all poor in comparison to the largest image buying countries, and without sounding patronising I could spot a Polish girl in a cheap looking outfit a mile off, so although they may be able to mass produce the images cheaper than the Western world a lot of them will look cheap which is not what sells.
(for the record, I objected that post, pointing to Dolgachev - the fact is that around the southern shores of the Baltic <included Poland> there are still many people of German ancestry since Poland moved a lot to the west after WWII)

Edit: as you can read, the poster I quoted mentioned more the "outfit" than the looks. All my business outfits I use in Asia came from Europe. I wouldn't dream to buy a business suit there, since they all have this outlandish look - except for Thailand and Vietnam where the hand made suits are the best looking in the world.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: borg on August 10, 2010, 08:39
FD, there is a lot of truth to what you said.

I think though that there is something to consider first.

I saw three years ago the first wave of Asian or Eastern European contributors coming to the micros. And of course in most of those countries cost of living is much cheaper than in most other industrialized parts of the world.

Naturally this kind of business will attract a higher percentage of contributors from these countries.

BUT, will there be enough Caucasian models there to shoot? Many Eastern European contributors take images with their fellow citizens and you can tell immediately if the image is coming from Russia, Poland, Ukraine etc.

I wonder if those images will easily replace Yuri's style? In America people want to see classic American faces and even the Latino market is huuuge.

I think there is only so much that can be produced in "Eastern World" but some things will never change...


What are you talking about!!!?
Have you ever been somewhere in Eastern Europe, especially in shopping...?
I live and Croatia, so...

Here is the cheapest prices in our the biggest shopping market....
Divide  (kn-Croatian currency) all prices with 5,5 and you will get prices in American dollars...

http://online.konzum.hr/categories/list/5471110 (http://online.konzum.hr/categories/list/5471110)
Everything is much more expensive than in western countries, especially in the USA...
From food to Photo cameras...
You can buy cheaper equipment than I can,so probably that was main reason why you are in Microstock earlier than I am...

From which countries was StockXpert and Dreamstime?
From Hungary and Romania...

So, you can't talk on that way...
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: borg on August 10, 2010, 08:49

jeepers creepers.... You put Poland in the same basket with Ukraine ? I congratulate you on the knowledge of the contemporary world.... and invite you to Poland, you would be surprised that girls do NOT have 'Eastern' faces in a way you connotate it.

What you mean under term the "Eastern faces"...?

In which group of nations belongs  Ukraine and Poland ?! As well as Croatia ...
Faces do not change so easily , especially in neighboring countries ...Living standards maybe...
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 10, 2010, 09:27
In which group of nations belongs  Ukraine and Poland ?! As well as Croatia ...
Faces do not change so easily , especially in neighboring countries ...Living standards maybe...
Interesting (although off-topid) points:
How much you pay in Croatia for:
- a 1-bedroom apartment, just decent, not on a prime location. (400/100*)
- 1 month internet connection. (44/16)
- an average 1-month electricity bill. (50/20).
- 1 bread (2/1).
- 1 hr wage hamburger-flipping (0.4/8).

I added my prices in euro for Belgium/Philippines. We can go from there if you want.
* fenced and privately guarded area; if not, you will be robbed/burglared within the month
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: madelaide on August 10, 2010, 10:24
What are you talking about!!!?
Have you ever been somewhere in Eastern Europe, especially in shopping...?
I live and Croatia, so...

I have been debateing this here over and over. There is an illusion that life in a 3rd world country is very cheap.  In some aspects, it is (food here in Brazil is very cheap), but in anything that is not very basic - as it is the case with electronics and comm services - prices are huge (taxes are a big culprit in that).  I pay about US$70/mo for a 6Mbps internet connection, cameras & acessories cost at least twice the price in USA, gasoline costs the same as in Europe (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_gas_pri-energy-gasoline-prices) (even being self-sufficient in oil).

Rio is currently world's 3rd in the Big Mac index (http://www.economist.com/node/16646178?story_id=16646178).  Gladly I find McDonald's totally unappetizing.  :)

Of course we need to keep out of comparison the bigger cities, because cost of life in them, especially housing, is so out of the average.  Even here in Rio, the difference in price for living in a decent 2-bedroom apartment varies absurdly between different middle-class neighbourhoods.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: borg on August 10, 2010, 12:49
In which group of nations belongs  Ukraine and Poland ?! As well as Croatia ...
Faces do not change so easily , especially in neighboring countries ...Living standards maybe...
Interesting (although off-topid) points:
How much you pay in Croatia for:
- a 1-bedroom apartment, just decent, not on a prime location. (400/100*)
- 1 month internet connection. (44/16)
- an average 1-month electricity bill. (50/20).
- 1 bread (2/1).
- 1 hr wage hamburger-flipping (0.4/8).

I added my prices in euro for Belgium/Philippines. We can go from there if you want.
* fenced and privately guarded area; if not, you will be robbed/burglared within the month
- a 1-bedroom apartment min 400$
- 1 month internet connection cca 100$ (tel. included)
-an average 1-month electricity bill. 150-200$
-1 bread (2/1) 1-3$
- 1 hr wage hamburger-flipping (0.4/8). I don't know, depend of location (touristic, non touristic)
-gasoline like in EU
Title: Site Newbie - Image Buyer Post
Post by: imgbuyer on August 10, 2010, 13:13
Though I am not a photographer I have been following these forums for some time as I believe stock photo sales are a good way to take the pulse of the economy.  In addition, I am an occasional image buyer for both commercial and personal use.  The intent of this posting is to express my pet peeves with the current microstock model and to offer an opinion from the non-pro buyer position.  I am not sure if I am typical, but hopefully this may offer some insight into buyer behavior.

Based on my own experience I cannot stand the following aspects of microstock buying and this has greatly limited my purchases to absolute essential buying:

Indirect, cumbersome buying  -  Why can't I just purchase an image and agree to a license like on itunes.  Instead I am greeted by having to figure out credits or buy an expensive subscription.  This one aspect alone reduces my purchases by at least 80% because it is a pain in the $&^^%

Keyword spamming  -  There should be zero tolerance for contributors that include all types of unrelated keywords.  Search for almost anything on typical microstock sites and you gets tons of unrelated stuff.  For example I recently searched for images of children playing basketball for a local youth newsletter.  Probably 70% of the results contained only adults.  After page 3 of results it was bye, bye.

Junk and more junk  -  I agree totally with an earlier post.  After a certain period of time with minimal or no sales images should be removed from the search and only included in the photographer profile.  The way it is currently, you find the spectacular (though often completely staged looking and seen everywhere on the web) images in the beginning pages and then you get to go through tons of pages of results to find something high-quality but "real".

Too expensive for non-commercial  -  Sometimes an image is beautiful or artistic and you just want a digital copy.  For anybody that does not have a subscription the price is too costly in a depressed economy.  Now I know some may be inclined to give me the lecture on production costs, etc... but the reality is customers don't care about this and for such an impulsive purchase they will simply walk away and look elsewhere.

Sorry for the sarcasm and being so blunt.  My intention is not to offend anyone.  It is to awaken some that are receptive to the message.

On one final tip, more and more I, and probably many others are beginning to do their image searches on google.  This way I can search all private sources and agencies at once.  I believe global searches will dominate in the next few years.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: cthoman on August 10, 2010, 13:55
Not a bad summary imgbuyer. I definitely think some of those ideas have fallen on deaf ears at the agencies. I know there are some agencies that don't do credits. I can't think of which one though. As far as price though, can't you still buy web images for a buck? That never seemed too expensive to me.
Title: Re: Site Newbie - Image Buyer Post
Post by: FD on August 10, 2010, 15:45
On one final tip, more and more I, and probably many others are beginning to do their image searches on google.  This way I can search all private sources and agencies at once.  I believe global searches will dominate in the next few years.
Agree. But you'll have to wade through much more garbage since GI doesn't have QC, and that's what sets the sites apart. What's more, on most images on GI isn't any licensing info.
Title: Re: Site Newbie - Image Buyer Post
Post by: alias on August 10, 2010, 18:00
Why can't I just purchase an image and agree to a license like on itunes.  Instead I am greeted by having to figure out credits or buy an expensive subscription.  This one aspect alone reduces my purchases by at least 80% because it is a pain in the $&^^%

Relative high cost of processing small transactions.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FastRacer on August 10, 2010, 18:19
I agree with all of your points, imgbuyer. As a contributor, I don't have a problem removing files that don't sell. Except for the guys who have been photographers their whole life, those of us who cut our teeth in microstock had some stinkers in the beginning. If I were asked to remove them, I would. If I'm not asked, I'm going to leave them there, on the off chance somebody decides to buy one. And that has happened.

As a buyer (not a huge buyer), your #2 and 3 points are right on.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: vonkara on August 10, 2010, 22:14
Istock Downhill isolated on white...

(http://t9x96g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pwZHlVhY3cK-tAHt-9Kpre0TlpelkUloHn9FmZL2W8AoXintQB8TTlRmDp-0OfzH_KPNy5TSct-XvMCMIM57FTXrFIuwuqJSI/graph%20istock.jpg?psid=1)

Buying it, anyone?
Title: Re: Site Newbie - Image Buyer Post
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on August 10, 2010, 22:29
On one final tip, more and more I, and probably many others are beginning to do their image searches on google.  This way I can search all private sources and agencies at once.  I believe global searches will dominate in the next few years.

I'd agree with a lot of what you're saying but the agencies are the ones you should be directing this at.

Could you elaborate on you use Google images? I tried using it to find stock images and it was pretty frustrating. The results were mixed with everything. Some agency stuff, blog photos, Flickr, website images, and you name it. Didn't seem like an efficient way to find a licensable image.
Title: Re: Site Newbie - Image Buyer Post
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 11:58

Could you elaborate on you use Google images? I tried using it to find stock images and it was pretty frustrating. The results were mixed with everything. Some agency stuff, blog photos, Flickr, website images, and you name it. Didn't seem like an efficient way to find a licensable image.

Agreed.  ^^

I always assumed people that searched for images via google images were not really looking to license images - just take them.  Hard to believe that professional image buyers would want to slog through that mixed bag to find an image for a legitimate project. 
Title: Re: Site Newbie - Image Buyer Post
Post by: lagereek on August 11, 2010, 12:01

Could you elaborate on you use Google images? I tried using it to find stock images and it was pretty frustrating. The results were mixed with everything. Some agency stuff, blog photos, Flickr, website images, and you name it. Didn't seem like an efficient way to find a licensable image.

Agreed.  ^^

I always assumed people that searched for images via google images were not really looking to license images - just take them.  Hard to believe that professional image buyers would want to slog through that mixed bag to find an image for a legitimate project. 

Anything for a freebie.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Perry on August 11, 2010, 12:12
Delete them in a year??  sure,  but why accept them in the first place?  makes no sense at all. I mean surely a reviewer at for example IS would have the experience to know a commercial image when seeing one?

No. I have too many images in my portfolio that are rejected at some sites for "Lack of commercial value blah blah" and which are selling very good on those sites that accepted them.

I think the images should be given for example two years time. No sales in two years = deleting the file. That should also be an ongoing process: if any files have a 2 year period without sales the file would be deleted. I have some junk in my portfolios that may have been sold once or twice but maybe that was in 2006...

Yet, this all could be done within the search engine: Images with no sales for a long period of time should be moved somewhere in the end of the search results.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: imgbuyer on August 11, 2010, 14:35
Thank you everyone for responding.  I will try to answer a few of the questions posted.

I started using google image search mainly out of frustration using the microstock sites.  Yes, it is more cumbersome but you can find some great "original stuff".  In most cases the owner will grant permission for free or for a small fee.  At the established agencies you get to see what the gate keepers approve of and nothing else.  Because of this much of the stuff looks the same--perfect and fake.  Also google image search gets better and more targeted everyday.

The reason why itunes works so well is because you are converting music thieves and traders into music buyers.  Because songs became so cheap and easy to purchase they became an "impulse" purchases and it was no longer worth the hassle of trading them.

Microstock seems to be going the exact other way and the only people impulse buying are those with subscriptions.

Microstock sites need to come of their high horses or they will rapidly become irrelevant.  The world is rapidly changing for better or worse.  They need to accept this.

In reality their main value added is:
- They ensure a certain level of quality
- They ensure the images are properly released

Search is of little benefit because of rampant keyword spamming and it is becoming obsolete because of global search alternatives.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 11, 2010, 14:44
The reason why itunes works so well is because you are converting music thieves and traders into music buyers.  Because songs became so cheap and easy to purchase they became an "impulse" purchases and it was no longer worth the hassle of trading them.

Microstock seems to be going the exact other way and the only people impulse buying are those with subscriptions.

Sorry, you still have to register with iTunes and enter in all your information.  There is only the one extra step of purchasing credits.  I don't see why it's that hard.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: ap on August 11, 2010, 14:50
I started using google image search mainly out of frustration using the microstock sites.  Yes, it is more cumbersome but you can find some great "original stuff".  In most cases the owner will grant permission for free or for a small fee. 

that's really great for you, but it doesn't help us contributors at all. to be quite honest, you don't seem like a bona fide buyer or designer who's willing to purchase others' honest hard work.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: cthoman on August 11, 2010, 15:16
There is only the one extra step of purchasing credits.  I don't see why it's that hard.

I always thought it was a pain if you are buying several images and have to add up different credit packs to see which is the best deal or gives you the least amount of extras. I recently had my extra credits deleted from IS because I didn't spend them in a year. I can't really complain because they sent me several notices, but it still doesn't seem like the best system. I can see making people have a minimum purchase, but having to buy packs is annoying.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sc on August 11, 2010, 15:24
Slightly off topic but not really.
A little over a year ago I attended a function where the speaker was the Editor in Chief of National Geographic Traveler Magazine. We were seated at the same table for dinner. We were discussing stock photography and he said they use Flickr more and more all the time to find images.
His example was that if they needed a picture of "Joe's Inn" in Sonoma and they didn't have one, they would look on Flickr first and negotiate directly with the photographer. His statement was anybody can take "one good picture" and that was all they needed. NG wouldn't care what the rest of your portfolio looked like if they found the image that worked for them.

They used to use Getty and Corbis but have come to realize they can find what they need on Flickr - if they can't then the go to another source. He also said they rarely commission a shooter to go out and shoot "Joe's Inn" unless it's the only way to get an image.

So I can see why some buyers may be searching via Google.

Food for thought.

Steve
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: vonkara on August 11, 2010, 15:30
There is only the one extra step of purchasing credits.  I don't see why it's that hard.

I always thought it was a pain if you are buying several images and have to add up different credit packs to see which is the best deal or gives you the least amount of extras. I recently had my extra credits deleted from IS because I didn't spend them in a year. I can't really complain because they sent me several notices, but it still doesn't seem like the best system. I can see making people have a minimum purchase, but having to buy packs is annoying.

Very true, if I could pay directly with a credit card or Paypal, it would be a nice upgrade. Why not pricing directly the images, and let me fill my account with the amount of money I want. They could still sell virtual prepaid cards like 20$ / 50$ / 100$ and such. The credit thing is only confusing and time consuming to me.

All the successful selling network such as the PSN network (Playstation network), Itunes and such work that way
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: donding on August 11, 2010, 15:41
Slightly off topic but not really.
A little over a year ago I attended a function where the speaker was the Editor in Chief of National Geographic Traveler Magazine. We were seated at the same table for dinner. We were discussing stock photography and he said they use Flickr more and more all the time to find images.
His example was that if they needed a picture of "Joe's Inn" in Sonoma and they didn't have one, they would look on Flickr first and negotiate directly with the photographer. His statement was anybody can take "one good picture" and that was all they needed. NG wouldn't care what the rest of your portfolio looked like if they found the image that worked for them.

They used to use Getty and Corbis but have come to realize they can find what they need on Flickr - if they can't then the go to another source. He also said they rarely commission a shooter to go out and shoot "Joe's Inn" unless it's the only way to get an image.

So I can see why some buyers may be searching via Google.

Food for thought.

Steve

That's very interesting. I would have never thought they would buy off of Flickr. Guess we learn something new everyday.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 11, 2010, 15:44
His example was that if they needed a picture of "Joe's Inn" in Sonoma and they didn't have one, they would look on Flickr first and negotiate directly with the photographer. His statement was anybody can take "one good picture" and that was all they needed. NG wouldn't care what the rest of your portfolio looked like if they found the image that worked for them.
The problem is you can't find that kind of pictures on stock since it will be rejected for lack of PR or LCV. Even as Editorial it won't be accepted since it's not newsworthy.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: donding on August 11, 2010, 15:53
His example was that if they needed a picture of "Joe's Inn" in Sonoma and they didn't have one, they would look on Flickr first and negotiate directly with the photographer. His statement was anybody can take "one good picture" and that was all they needed. NG wouldn't care what the rest of your portfolio looked like if they found the image that worked for them.
The problem is you can't find that kind of pictures on stock since it will be rejected for lack of PR or LCV. Even as Editorial it won't be accepted since it's not newsworthy.

Maybe we all need to travel all over the world photographing every "Joe's Inn" out there and put them up for sale on Flickr. The rate microstock is going it couldn't be any worse.. ;)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: RacePhoto on August 11, 2010, 15:55
No, gostwyck is totally right.  The only people who call it a pyramid scheme are those who are unsuccessful due to their own failings and it is just sour grapes.  There are plenty of new contributors who have come in only to become successful.

Btw, IS has no such referral program aside from a one time buyer referral bonus.

In general the whole industry was founded on the MLM concept, like a pyramid, new people are encouraged to recruit new people who should recruit more new people.

Historic Example:


Galastock, 10% from each sale a referred photographer makes and 10% from each purchase a referred buyer makes.

luckyoliver , Their referral programm pays you $1 for each referred photographer who got minimum 3 pics approved and $5 for each referred buyer who purchased a token package...

ShutterStock, 0.03US$ per download if the photographer/artist was referred by you, as long as these artist is a member of SS !!! Best affiliate/referral program in the trade J

123rf: for 1 year 15% of every purchase of a buyer referred by you and for 6 months between 0.03US$ and 2.00US$ (depending on license) for every image sold by an artist who was referred by you.

Fotolia,10 % commission on sales and 15 % on purchases, no time limit!

GimmeStock, referral by email or try to make your own link out of a referral email sent to your good self For each download made from the person you referred 0.01 US$ will be credited into your account. So if some of your friends join GS and 30.000 downloads are made from their images, that might be the friends that will help you buy some new gear!


CanStock: For 6 months and up to $50 you can earn 10% of a referred member's purchases and $5 for every 50 photos a referred photographer sells. If they become a photographer and purchases photos, you can earn double commission!


BigStock: 25% of buyers first credit purchase and 5US$ when new photographer hits 75 approved photos.

Dreamstime, 5US$ instantly for putting a badge on your website (pending approval), during 6 months you?ll get 10% for all sales a referee of yours makes.

Featurepics, will pay 1.5% for referring an Artist whose image has been sold and 1.5% for referring a Buyer. The total referral fees are 3% per Image. Timelimit?

xiStock, For each successful referred buyer iStockphoto pays US$5. You have to enrol in this program from your account.

Imagevortex, requires separate registration, free with a company called sharesale, which manages the referral program on behalf of IV and depending approval of your website, you can get 10% of all image purchases made by referred buyers for 90 days following the first website visit.

Stockxpert, 10% of the value of each credit purchase that has been made by customers who came through ads from your website(s) if they make a purchase within 30 days of their arrival. This only applies to new customers, and only for the first 3 months of their membership. Also here you need to have a website and apply separately for this affiliate program from your account.


No matter but I don't think the "Downhill Trend" is all too obvious. I still think there are more photos, more photographers and even if sales at the agencies increase, individual sales to people like us, will be a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. Microstock can be growing, agency profits increasing, and overall sales increasing, but on a personal level photographer income will be dropping for many people.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 11, 2010, 16:06
His example was that if they needed a picture of "Joe's Inn" in Sonoma and they didn't have one, they would look on Flickr first and negotiate directly with the photographer. His statement was anybody can take "one good picture" and that was all they needed.

Exactly why Alamy makes money.  Basically, all it is is people walking around Britain shooting absolutely everything they see.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: alias on August 11, 2010, 16:11
The reason why itunes works so well is because you are converting music thieves and traders into music buyers.  Because songs became so cheap and easy to purchase they became an "impulse" purchases and it was no longer worth the hassle of trading them.

iTunes is ultimately about selling iPods and that was the raison d'ętre.

You see that iTunes often charges you late or deducts a few sales together. This is for the relative high cost of processing CC micro payments. Small sales are not profitable.

But Apple has much more money than any photo agency and can afford to run iTunes sales at a break even point if necessary.

Totally different business.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: RacePhoto on August 11, 2010, 16:14
His example was that if they needed a picture of "Joe's Inn" in Sonoma and they didn't have one, they would look on Flickr first and negotiate directly with the photographer. His statement was anybody can take "one good picture" and that was all they needed.

Exactly why Alamy makes money.  Basically, all it is is people walking around Britain shooting absolutely everything they see.

And explains why my images on Alamy are misplaced (in my opinion) I don't think UK buyers are looking for USA shots from Wisconsin.  ;D

I thought the Google Images search was a mess and if someone was buying, they would need to be really smart about their searches to find what they are looking for. Most of the results were commercial sites, not photo sellers or artists. I'm still thinking that agencies are the better choice.

IS may not be perfect but CV is at least getting a grasp on searches and results which makes it better than anyplace else. Alamy with the weighted system and advanced search features with choices, is another one that's trying to make better relevant results easier for buyers.

Didn't try the advanced Google Image search yet, it's on the to-do list.

About iTunes


Totally different business.

Right. If people want photos that are marketed more along this line there's Red Bubble, Mostphoto, SmugMug... you get the idea.  ;) I don't see buyers flocking to those sites, buying images?

Don't this sites have single images download, on demand, and ways to buy without subs and packages? I may be missing it, but I thought they already had single image pricing? ImgBuyer makes some good points, I'm just not sure that all of them have answers yet.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PeterChigmaroff on August 11, 2010, 17:16
  In most cases the owner will grant permission for free or for a small fee.  At the established agencies you get to see what the gate keepers approve of and nothing else. 

The reason why itunes works so well is because you are converting music thieves and traders into music buyers.  Because songs became so cheap and easy to purchase they became an "impulse" purchases and it was no longer worth the hassle of trading them.

Microstock seems to be going the exact other way and the only people impulse buying are those with subscriptions.

Microstock sites need to come of their high horses or they will rapidly become irrelevant.  The world is rapidly changing for better or worse.  They need to accept this.


So here we get to the real reasons (often free). It's not a problem, a) searching an endless stream of relevant and irrelevant material b) contacting individuals c) talking price and asking permission d) paying individual(maybe). Is this really that easy? The idea of attracting impulse buyers seems a poor business plan.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lisafx on August 11, 2010, 17:26

So here we get to the real reasons (often free). It's not a problem, a) searching an endless stream of relevant and irrelevant material b) contacting individuals c) talking price and asking permission d) paying individual(maybe). Is this really that easy? The idea of attracting impulse buyers seems a poor business plan.

Seriously.  Seems like a huge time waste to me.  Isn't these image consumer's time worth anything?   :o
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PeterChigmaroff on August 11, 2010, 17:35

So here we get to the real reasons (often free). It's not a problem, a) searching an endless stream of relevant and irrelevant material b) contacting individuals c) talking price and asking permission d) paying individual(maybe). Is this really that easy? The idea of attracting impulse buyers seems a poor business plan.

Seriously.  Seems like a huge time waste to me.  Isn't these image consumer's time worth anything?   :o

Lisa, yes in most cases that is true. Anyone seriously making a living using pictures day to day wouldn't go this route. I understand that when you can't find a certain shot that this may be necessary but no one, I think, would use a shot, where there needs to be a model release or property release, where the image comes from who knows where. The liability issues are too scary. That is why the Getty/Flickr Request to License program is working. Buyers can trust Getty to secure the right releases, clearances. And for the zillionth time, usually paying more for a difficult to attain image is expected. Not getting it for fee if you ask nice and suck up to the photog.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: WarrenPrice on August 11, 2010, 17:59
I've suggested in this forum on several occasions that linking a portfolio to Google has worked quite well for me.  Cutcaster provides that capability.  It takes a little effort but anyone searching for a motocross image will probably be directed to my cutcaster portfolio. 

Other collections are linked as well but are not as "niche oriented" and not as frequently found on Google. 

All you have to lose is a little time.  It is not so difficult ... and can be made to work at other sites.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: djpadavona on August 11, 2010, 21:23
1. there is only a certain range of images you can submit to Microstock, if you differ from the Microstock-Look (for example more creative, more arty) the pictures will be either rejected or there will be not enough sales to make it viable. And I'm personally tired of the Microstock-Style I wanna produce different things.

This is the dangerous corner Microstock is painting itself into by choice.  Almost every object known to our world has been isolated over white and surrounded with a clipping path.  And there enough images of smiling women in headsets to last a lifetime.
 
But there will never be enough supply of creative imagery.  I do think there is somewhat of a push from the micros to branch out.  Before I went exclusive, I recall some very creative imagery being pushed at DT, and 123RF was starting a higher price collection for images which "stood out."  I don't know how successful or unsuccessful those pushes were after I left.  But I do know that there is some very special imagery in Vetta, some real eye popping material which are an inspiration and are completely unrelated to the typical fare. Not that I am trying to drum up support for IS.  Rather I think the success of Vetta, which many exclusive contributors can vouch for, has been watched since Day 1 by the competing agencies.  And we can expect to see similar offerings from those agencies, if they want to compete for more imaginative imagery. 

And why wouldn't they?  A completely different image set and price point suggests the real possibility of new buyers.  And the higher price point means more money for the agencies.

So I'm not as negative on the outlook for microstock.  I believe the expansion is already taking place and there are sunny skies ahead.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Blufish on August 11, 2010, 21:40
Once in a while, I do buy. A few months ago I couldn't find the exact image I wanted so I did google. Found the perfect image through there on GL, which I didn't know existed, and bought it. Now I contribute there too. Sometimes google is worth the slog. 
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 12, 2010, 01:26
Take away all this subscription crap and Micro will yet again have a good time.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 03:06
Take away all this subscription crap and Micro will yet again have a good time.
No, just make subscriptions the right price and pay a fixed commission.  Lots of buyers prefer subs, taking that away from them would probably be a mistake.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: rubyroo on August 12, 2010, 03:13
1. there is only a certain range of images you can submit to Microstock, if you differ from the Microstock-Look (for example more creative, more arty) the pictures will be either rejected or there will be not enough sales to make it viable. And I'm personally tired of the Microstock-Style I wanna produce different things.

This is the dangerous corner Microstock is painting itself into by choice.  Almost every object known to our world has been isolated over white and surrounded with a clipping path.  And there enough images of smiling women in headsets to last a lifetime.
 
But there will never be enough supply of creative imagery.  

Amen to that.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 12, 2010, 03:55
Agree to the above post!  its a very dangerous corner indeed and IMO,  all these billions of isolations, plastic looking men and women, young businessmen etc are clogging up the files so much so that buyers simply get fed-up wading through it all and would you believe,  all agencies are STILL letting this kind of crap through inspection.
I think a problem of today is that all Agency-Admins are more or less computer-people, new generation, etc, while before, agency people used to be creatives, art-buyers and proper editors. I mean no disrespect, IS for example have got some great shooters in their Admin but its still very much geared towards PP trickery, etc.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 12, 2010, 04:13
Photocase might be an alternative for the more arty images.  They reject 99% of my micro portfolio.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: gaja on August 12, 2010, 04:41
I do not see why a paypal solution for small buyers would be such a bad idea. If they buy very few images, the fees would eat much of the profit, but I think it's a good way to attract new buyers, and give some of the thieves an easy legit alternative. Something similar to ebay (buy it now) could work, IMO.

Log in -> click on picture -> click on buy -> agree with legal -> pay with paypal.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: microstockphoto.co.uk on August 12, 2010, 04:58
Take away all this subscription crap and Micro will yet again have a good time.
No, just make subscriptions the right price and pay a fixed commission.  Lots of buyers prefer subs, taking that away from them would probably be a mistake.

Agree. Fact that SS is #1 or #2 for most of us means we can't simply throw away subscriptions unless we wish to cut our earnings in half.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 12, 2010, 08:39
Yes well SS is doing fine for me as well but you know, this subscription business is in the long run a killer. On top of that you gonna have to produce new stuff all the time. Is it worth it?  hardly. Why IS ever went down that road beats . out of me.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: louoates on August 12, 2010, 11:55
What???!!!! I am absolutely astounded that a buyer doesn't have that option. It makes so much sense I can't believe the sites don't have that option.


I do not see why a paypal solution for small buyers would be such a bad idea. If they buy very few images, the fees would eat much of the profit, but I think it's a good way to attract new buyers, and give some of the thieves an easy legit alternative. Something similar to ebay (buy it now) could work, IMO.

Log in -> click on picture -> click on buy -> agree with legal -> pay with paypal.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: microstockphoto.co.uk on August 12, 2010, 12:01
Yes well SS is doing fine for me as well but you know, this subscription business is in the long run a killer. On top of that you gonna have to produce new stuff all the time. Is it worth it?  hardly. Why IS ever went down that road beats . out of me.

In this sense, I have to agree. Uploading more and more is unsustainable in the long term. And IS moving towards subs is understandable to me as well, as they were already successful at selling credits.

But the positive side of subscriptions is that people are probably downloading more pictures than they really need, so the "real" RPI is a bit higher than it seems.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: imgbuyer on August 12, 2010, 12:55
The walls are coming down for all types of media.  Consider the mainstream media.  They are on their way to becoming extinct because people want access to other viewpoints.  People no longer like being filtered by gatekeepers harboring a certain idealogy.

I personally do not like being limited to a small subset of overused images and as alternative search tools get better I think more will defect.

I also think some photographers have been in the stock business for so long they think only commercial image buyers buy images.  My walls are full of prints, many of which were sold as stock.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 12, 2010, 13:50
Agree. Fact that SS is #1 or #2 for most of us means we can't simply throw away subscriptions unless we wish to cut our earnings in half.

Oh come on.  Man up! ;)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 12, 2010, 14:24
I also think some photographers have been in the stock business for so long they think only commercial image buyers buy images.  My walls are full of prints, many of which were sold as stock.

I think you're in the minority.  However, commercial buyers aren't limited to the traditional ideal.  Local businesses, coupon mailings, etc.  They're all new to this.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: TheDman on August 12, 2010, 15:47
No, gostwyck is totally right.  The only people who call it a pyramid scheme are those who are unsuccessful due to their own failings and it is just sour grapes.  There are plenty of new contributors who have come in only to become successful.

You are correct, however I will be curious to see if it happens this year on istock due to the issue with new files not selling. I'd like to know if anyone has joined since February and had a lot of success.

As for the market oversaturation claim, sure it gets more saturated all the time, but I don't think we've reached the point yet where certain categories are 'filled up'. My best seller right now is a butterfly. There were already thousands of butterfly shots on istock when I uploaded that one, but darn if there wasn't room for one more. You just never know what's going to catch.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Jonathan Ross on August 12, 2010, 16:35
Hi All,

 If you have the summer sales blues please drop us a line at www.spaesimages.com (http://www.spaesimages.com) It is Macro RM/RF and the split is 50/50 with the photographers. We do all the key wording you just shoot and process. We need architectural shooters at the moment So if you like shooting interiors please drop us a line.

Good Luck,
Jonathan
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: PeterChigmaroff on August 12, 2010, 16:46
No, gostwyck is totally right.  The only people who call it a pyramid scheme are those who are unsuccessful due to their own failings and it is just sour grapes.  There are plenty of new contributors who have come in only to become successful.

You are correct, however I will be curious to see if it happens this year on istock due to the issue with new files not selling. I'd like to know if anyone has joined since February and had a lot of success.

As for the market oversaturation claim, sure it gets more saturated all the time, but I don't think we've reached the point yet where certain categories are 'filled up'. My best seller right now is a butterfly. There were already thousands of butterfly shots on istock when I uploaded that one, but darn if there wasn't room for one more. You just never know what's going to catch.

This notion that if you don't make it and decry the system must mean it's all sour grapes isn't realistic. The system favours those people that have been in the system longer. Either by paying more per image or allowing more uploads per week. Those out front will of course say we all had to go through this but it was considerably easier a few years ago. At some point it becomes nearly impossible to catch up and as the requirement to shoot with a smaller and smaller budget comes into play it is much harder to  produce images at a competitive level.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 12, 2010, 16:49
Those out front will of course say we all had to go through this but it was considerably easier a few years ago. At some point it becomes nearly impossible to catch up and as the requirement to shoot with a smaller and smaller budget comes into play it is much harder to  produce images at a competitive level.

Well, I mean, that's life, isn't it?  Same for all industries.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: crazychristina on August 12, 2010, 18:31
Success breeds success but can also breed stagnation. Thus there is room for new players in a changing environment.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 12, 2010, 19:50
Seriously.  Seems like a huge time waste to me.  Isn't these image consumer's time worth anything?   :o
Not when you're an amateur blogger and you have all the time in the world. My uneducated ignorant guess is that the "imgbuyer" is not a real image buyer but just looking for free pics, as he has time to dwell on Google and all sites to get cheapos.
I have to come up with 3 pics daily for a European daily media since the Indian designers can't understand the articles in Dutch. I have a commission of 2 euro per pic scouted. According to the Hamburger flipping criterion (8 euro/hr) I have to glance through a number of articles, search for 3 shots, and mail those in 45 mins in total. I can only do my searching on a site (DT) since on Google Images, I would work like Mother Theresa.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: FD on August 12, 2010, 20:08
But I do know that there is some very special imagery in Vetta, some real eye popping material which are an inspiration and are completely unrelated to the typical fare. Not that I am trying to drum up support for IS.  Rather I think the success of Vetta, which many exclusive contributors can vouch for, has been watched since Day 1 by the competing agencies.
I think iStock should let non-exclusives into Vetta, with exclusive pics. It would benefit them since they make much more profit on non-exclusives than on exclusives, and they would have a wider creative crowd to tap from. The Vetta collection would still be exclusive then.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: michaeldb on August 12, 2010, 20:36
I also think some photographers have been in the stock business for so long they think only commercial image buyers buy images.  My walls are full of prints, many of which were sold as stock.
If you watch the SS Top 50 for a while, it becomes apparent that many if not most of the images on the list have been dled a lot solely because they are pretty pictures, and not for stock use at all - the downloaders have some dls left in their daily quotas so why not?
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 13, 2010, 01:29
Success breeds success but can also breed stagnation. Thus there is room for new players in a changing environment.

Wrong!  today there is no room for new players, youd like to think there is, but it isnt. Theres room for part-timers, weekend snappers, etc, whos happy with a few bucks per month, thats all.
and this is the result of all agencies opening the doors for just about anybody followed by clogged up files, spamming, etc.
Nowdays, the supply is outstripping the demand by lightyears.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: crazychristina on August 13, 2010, 01:51
Success breeds success but can also breed stagnation. Thus there is room for new players in a changing environment.


Wrong!  today there is no room for new players, youd like to think there is, but it isnt. Theres room for part-timers, weekend snappers, etc, whos happy with a few bucks per month, thats all.
and this is the result of all agencies opening the doors for just about anybody followed by clogged up files, spamming, etc.
Nowdays, the supply is outstripping the demand by lightyears.

I'm in one of the 'races' on istock, with about 60 others - a very small selection. A few are doing very well. Note their start dates. A couple who started a few years ago didn't actually become very active until more recently.
http://www.istockphoto.com/4fr (http://www.istockphoto.com/4fr)
http://www.istockphoto.com/kparis (http://www.istockphoto.com/kparis)
http://www.istockphoto.com/taavet (http://www.istockphoto.com/taavet)
http://www.istockphoto.com/redmonkey8 (http://www.istockphoto.com/redmonkey8)
http://www.istockphoto.com/carlofranco (http://www.istockphoto.com/carlofranco)

I believe all of these are making their income from photography (illustration videos on one case), a substantial amount of it from microstock.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: michealo on August 13, 2010, 03:15
Success breeds success but can also breed stagnation. Thus there is room for new players in a changing environment.


Wrong!  today there is no room for new players, youd like to think there is, but it isnt. Theres room for part-timers, weekend snappers, etc, whos happy with a few bucks per month, thats all.
and this is the result of all agencies opening the doors for just about anybody followed by clogged up files, spamming, etc.
Nowdays, the supply is outstripping the demand by lightyears.

I'm in one of the 'races' on istock, with about 60 others - a very small selection. A few are doing very well. Note their start dates. A couple who started a few years ago didn't actually become very active until more recently.
[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/4fr[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/4fr[/url])
[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/kparis[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/kparis[/url])
[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/taavet[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/taavet[/url])
[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/redmonkey8[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/redmonkey8[/url])
[url]http://www.istockphoto.com/carlofranco[/url] ([url]http://www.istockphoto.com/carlofranco[/url])

I believe all of these are making their income from photography (illustration videos on one case), a substantial amount of it from microstock.


I suspect you are wrong in some cases, one I believe is a student and another an IT professional ..
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: crazychristina on August 13, 2010, 03:44
You're right, although I'm not sure what Carlo is a student of - might be art and design. Guess they're just are amateurs, uploading crap...

(Vetta crap, of course)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 13, 2010, 05:05
You're right, although I'm not sure what Carlo is a student of - might be art and design. Guess they're just are amateurs, uploading crap...

(Vetta crap, of course)

Well I was thinking more of new players wanting to start off today!  jeez!!  imagine being a neewbie right now?  simply drowning, suffocating among what? some 30 million files.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: michealo on August 13, 2010, 05:21
You're right, although I'm not sure what Carlo is a student of - might be art and design. Guess they're just are amateurs, uploading crap...

(Vetta crap, of course)

I never made any comment on what they were uploading. There are some superb photographers within that group.

But your implication that they are making a living from photography doesn't hold up.

The total number of downloads by $ value of download / time on site does not equal a viable wage for most of the examples you quote
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: crazychristina on August 13, 2010, 05:36
I know that redmonkey8 is attempting to live off his photography, microstock plus some assignment work. He gave up his day job some time ago. Nils (4FR) is a professional photographer. Taavet is an illustrator who's videos must be contributing substantially to his income. As Carlo is a student his income from microstock is probably a large part of his current income, if not in future.  He's only 20 I think. Kurt I'm not sure about. He's still a student in IT I think (postgrad) so photography is probably a substantial income for him too. So yes I'm bending things a bit, but not too much. They're all on the way up in microstock. Sorry for my comment about quality, it wasn't directed at you.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lisafx on August 13, 2010, 09:57
I think there is still some room for newer people to be successful, but mostly it seems to be the ones who already have years of stock experience.  Jonathan, you have only been in micro a couple of years, right?  And Monkeybusiness started micro in late 2008.  Both of them were experienced stock photographers, and both of them have shot to success. 

It's quite possible that the trad stock pros like them who are willing to join micros have already done so, though.  Not sure how many more of them we can expect to see entering the micro realm.  Particularly as it appears the bubble is in the process of bursting. 

I doubt there will be many more who start like some of us did - green as grass - and then go on to grow our skills and make a living from micro.  For the hobbyists, amateurs, and "aspiring pros",  the party is probably over. 
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 13, 2010, 10:29
Well I was thinking more of new players wanting to start off today!  jeez!!  imagine being a neewbie right now?  simply drowning, suffocating among what? some 30 million files.

Yes, well, sometimes timing is everything.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: louoates on August 13, 2010, 10:49
I think there is still some room for newer people to be successful, but mostly it seems to be the ones who already have years of stock experience.  Jonathan, you have only been in micro a couple of years, right?  And Monkeybusiness started micro in late 2008.  Both of them were experienced stock photographers, and both of them have shot to success. 

It's quite possible that the trad stock pros like them who are willing to join micros have already done so, though.  Not sure how many more of them we can expect to see entering the micro realm.  Particularly as it appears the bubble is in the process of bursting. 

I doubt there will be many more who start like some of us did - green as grass - and then go on to grow our skills and make a living from micro.  For the hobbyists, amateurs, and "aspiring pros",  the party is probably over. 

I think the "party" is about to start. It will probably be fueled by the great cesspool of 10 million+ spammed-keyword images. I look for micro stock to morph into new specialty sites that do just one or two things (categories) very well with unique and high quality images. I can see a similarity to high quality specialty stores competing successfully with the big box stores like Walmart and Target. Entrepreneurs have great skills for adopting to these kinds of conditions and I expect to see such new ventures in the microstock business as well. I look for those new sites to operate only on a pay-per-download basis, offer custom assignments with realistic pricing, and be fully search-able with Google, etc.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lisafx on August 13, 2010, 11:17

I look for micro stock to morph into new specialty sites that do just one or two things (categories) very well with unique and high quality images. I can see a similarity to high quality specialty stores competing successfully with the big box stores like Walmart and Target.

Those custom and specialty stock "stores" are already cropping up (Jonathan Ross's "Spaces" site for example), but they are in the macro market, whose prices can better afford to sustain such a specialty model. 

The only way to make money at micro prices, for a site or an individual, is to offer a wide variety and quantity of images. 
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: louoates on August 13, 2010, 11:30
I should have made clearer that the new micro sites that specialize as described could justify a premium price compared to the major sites especially with the no-contract direct pay per image setup. Also, the more "new" shooters entering micro would be a big asset in that such a very specialized site could have their choice of the best of the new work.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: cthoman on August 13, 2010, 11:40
Those custom and specialty stock "stores" are already cropping up (Jonathan Ross's "Spaces" site for example), but they are in the macro market, whose prices can better afford to sustain such a specialty model. 

The only way to make money at micro prices, for a site or an individual, is to offer a wide variety and quantity of images. 

Agreed, that it is already here. Some of my fastest growing sites now are illustration only. I can definitely see this becoming a trend. I could even see the larger sites splitting off into specialty or limited content (similar to the Vetta stuff).
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: OM on August 13, 2010, 15:22
Take away all this subscription crap and Micro will yet again have a good time.
No, just make subscriptions the right price and pay a fixed commission.  Lots of buyers prefer subs, taking that away from them would probably be a mistake.

Let's say that I'm an enterprising Chinese/Russian and I have a good knowledge of the advertising industry in my country with tons of contacts (relatively small, local players) who frequently buy stock. I, as enterprising person, offer them stock from my 'personal' and private archive. Then I go to Fotolia, for example, and I take out a 200+ dollar premium subscription which entitles me to download 750 files in one month. If FT has the majority of contributors in subs, then depending on their status (white to sapphire and exclusive/non-exclusive), for $200 or so, I can download between $6K-$36K worth of images at XL size that month. For $50-$100 more, I can nominate the clients as one of three or one of an unlimited number of users. I pay < $0.20 per download and my clients pay me a special discount rate, of say, $8/download for files up to 15Mp. Ca...ching, ca....ching.
If I can think this up and I'm not smart, how many hundreds or thousands are doing this already. I don't even know if it would be illegal to provide such a service once you have a bought a sub with unlimited users. And once you have the download, you could re-sell multiple times without ever getting caught. If you keep everything in your own language (not English) no-one will ever notice except the contributors that sell one XL sub, never to be sold again.

Just sayin' that's all.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 14, 2010, 01:18
Hi OM!

well yes!  your scenario is very possible indeed!  all these off-the-peg Subs can lend itself to all sorts of dodgy things and dealings. All I know is,  the Subs business might work for SS, thats their thing, as for the rest Im not at all sure.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: sharpshot on August 14, 2010, 01:48
Shutterstock is the only site that has paid me from their legal winnings when an image was used with an inappropriate license.  I also don't remember ever having a refund with them.  Look at the sites that sell stolen images and they have collections from the PPD sites as well.  A thief can just use a stolen credit card, they aren't going to pay for a subscription.  Lots of us have had refunds, possibly from people using stolen credit cards.  Either shutterstock don't have that problem or they absorb the costs, like the other sites should.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Jonathan Ross on August 14, 2010, 15:09
 Hi All,

 I would just like to add that I was told 20 years ago by a big stock shooter that the market was shut tight and that we as new students would never have a chance to compete. He's dead now. Always a way in. New images needed every day specially as time makes our older work obsolete. Don't stop trying if you have the passion you will service. Good luck to all of you.

Best,
Jonathan
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: cthoman on August 14, 2010, 15:26
Hi All,

 I would just like to add that I was told 20 years ago by a big stock shooter that the market was shut tight and that we as new students would never have a chance to compete. He's dead now. Always a way in. New images needed every day specially as time makes our older work obsolete. Don't stop trying if you have the passion you will service. Good luck to all of you.

Best,
Jonathan

Are you suggesting that we kill our competition literally?  ;D
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Sean Locke Photography on August 14, 2010, 16:23
LOL!  That's exactly what I thought he was saying!

'He's dead now .  Always a way in. ".

New title :J. Ross- career counselor.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: gaja on August 14, 2010, 16:29
:rofl: That gives new meaning to the favourite list on Dreamstime.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: lagereek on August 15, 2010, 00:25
Yeah well why not,  we blast the competition,  right,  cause thats just about the only remedy left.
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: massman on August 15, 2010, 07:06
What???!!!! I am absolutely astounded that a buyer doesn't have that option. It makes so much sense I can't believe the sites don't have that option.


I do not see why a paypal solution for small buyers would be such a bad idea. If they buy very few images, the fees would eat much of the profit, but I think it's a good way to attract new buyers, and give some of the thieves an easy legit alternative. Something similar to ebay (buy it now) could work, IMO.

Log in -> click on picture -> click on buy -> agree with legal -> pay with paypal.



Micropayment may be at last the solution:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100813/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_paypal_micropayments (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100813/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_paypal_micropayments)
Title: Re: downhill trend all too obvious!
Post by: Jonathan Ross on August 24, 2010, 22:51
Good Joke Guys ;D

 For those that may be confused my point was that people don't know what tomorrow will bring. And yes, I know a guy that knows a guy...

Fo get about it  :-X

Avava