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Author Topic: Fed up to my ears with all the sites. And why!  (Read 27091 times)

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« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2010, 18:23 »
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Hi Larry -You are right about Montana. but don't tell everbody.Then it will be like microstock-OVER CROWDED.
Smiling Jack


« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2010, 18:34 »
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First, these microstocks haven't really figured out how to differentiate themselves and compete on anything but price. That ends predictably, with the lowest possible quality, commodity prices and no margin left.

Second, I agree that the internet has ruined the business ...

What on earth are you talking about?

In case you haven't noticed microstock prices have generally increased 10-20x over the last 5 years and not much sign of the process slowing anytime soon. Agencies are developing ever more sophisticated means of introducing 'added value' to their products and pricing them accordingly.

BTW, the internet is 'the business' and has changed so many peple's lives for the better, mine included. I'd hate to go back to the times when agencies were terribly sniffy about who they deemed worthy to accept. Give me a wonderful, no-holds-barred meritocracy any day. Can you believe that even SJL was knocked back by agencies in those days? Are those the days you want to return to? If you can't hold your own in today's market then, rest assurred, you had virtually no chance before unless you were exceptionally lucky and had managed to crawl in under the radar.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 18:39 by gostwyck »

Noodles

« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2010, 19:10 »
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Every microstocker I know (who are doing it for a living) shudders at the idea of doing weddings. That's what many of them used to do and they are so glad to give it up.

You can certainly make decent money doing weddings but that's because it's a horrible job, that mostly has to be done during anti-social hours, that any half-decent photographer would gladly do anything else instead if they could get the same money. Same with having commercial clients. Who needs all that hassle __ the ever-changing briefs, chasing the money, dealing with the unwashed masses of the public, etc, etc?

Couldn't agree more - I should have said *except weddings* and saved you the effort. Weddings are, what, 1% of all professional photography work?!

« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2010, 19:14 »
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Second, I agree that the internet has ruined the business.
One the other hand, internet helped create a new group of buyers: small business, ordinary people.

red

« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2010, 19:37 »
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The internet has also made image buying and implementation fast and easy. Everyone wants it now. In the old days you had to plan ahead, look through stock books or call a stock agency who would do the research for you. They would send you samples and you would have to get the transparencies scanned. Then you would have to negotiate a price. Internet and digital do the same thing in minutes and you don't have to talk to anybody. No time for that. As a buyer, I prefer today's speed and I don't want a relationship with a photographer. I just want an image. If it's a full ad campaign it might be different but many use images for things not heard of before - blogs, newsletters, make-you-own cards, etc. Image buying is not just for the big ad agencies anymore.

« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2010, 19:43 »
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The internet has also made image buying and implementation fast and easy. Everyone wants it now. In the old days you had to plan ahead, look through stock books or call a stock agency who would do the research for you. They would send you samples and you would have to get the transparencies scanned. Then you would have to negotiate a price. Internet and digital do the same thing in minutes and you don't have to talk to anybody. No time for that. As a buyer, I prefer today's speed and I don't want a relationship with a photographer. I just want an image. If it's a full ad campaign it might be different but many use images for things not heard of before - blogs, newsletters, make-you-own cards, etc. Image buying is not just for the big ad agencies anymore.
It is indeed a marvelously quick and efficient way to make a transaction in which the photographer nets 19 cents before taxes.

And no, you don't have to talk to anybody. Is that a good thing?

« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2010, 20:27 »
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It is indeed a marvelously quick and efficient way to make a transaction in which the photographer nets 19 cents before taxes.

And no, you don't have to talk to anybody. Is that a good thing?

There are ways to make a lot more than 19c per transaction in microstock, stockastic. If you're unhappy with how little you are getting paid, you should do something about it - something other than constantly complaining, that is.
The same goes for all you other malcontents, too.

« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2010, 20:31 »
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First, these microstocks haven't really figured out how to differentiate themselves and compete on anything but price. That ends predictably, with the lowest possible quality, commodity prices and no margin left.

Second, I agree that the internet has ruined the business ...

What on earth are you talking about?

In case you haven't noticed microstock prices have generally increased 10-20x over the last 5 years and not much sign of the process slowing anytime soon. Agencies are developing ever more sophisticated means of introducing 'added value' to their products and pricing them accordingly.

I'm glad you said it. Sometimes I think the sky is green and grass is blue in other people's world. I've seen prices going up overall too. Maybe contributors aren't always the beneficiaries of those increases, but they are increases.

« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2010, 22:14 »
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sorta funny - OP is all upset that some agencies are making money from the work of others - then it turns out that's what HE did - profiting from the work of others while he wandered around Montana!  AIN'T CAPITALKISM GRAND?

S
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 00:55 by cascoly »

ap

« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2010, 22:17 »
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Everyone who's photos are accepted to any agency should be well paid, or agencies should reject all ugly photos submitted by non-talented photographers. You compared it to singing, but you know how many bad musicians and bad singers have more money than excellent talented musicians. It's not all about talent.

Or maybe you want to say you are satisfied with the fact that you get few cents or few dollars for your images? Actually, you think what you do is worth few dollars and you don't think you should earn more?

i really don't know how much i should earn for i didn't study photography as a profession nor have i been a 'photographer' for very long. however, i'm pretty sure i'm not ready to apply for getty/corbis yet. if you really value your photos, then you should submit only to the higher paying sites or even become exclusive at IS and benefit from their much higher prices/vetta/exclusive/better search bonuses.

even though i get only 25 cents for a sub at ss, i also get lots of els for $28. i'm still thrilled with the latter. one day when i feel it's no longer worth my while, then i'll move on to (hopefully) better pastures, if there are any. right now,  i think there is an oversupply of photos and photographers, so one can only vent, but not beat the reality of the situation. at least, i'm really enjoying what i do.  :)

« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2010, 22:32 »
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I don't mind  the low pay outs.  I have been doing it about a year now and have 150-500 images on all of the main sites.  I make a steady $1-3/day.  Don't laugh.  But I get lots of practice doing what I like.  I get lots of rejections that help me see what to do differently.  I see what sells well and learn what I did right.  I suspect after another year I will be making $3-6/day.  That's a decent new lens every year.  I am also building up a portfolio where I may try to sell my stuff on my own.

So its a nice way, with no risk, and no investment on my part to have lots of fun, get some advice, build a portfolio, and pocket a little money.

And occasionally when  I get one of enhanced downloads for $28..... it totally makes my day  : )

ap

« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2010, 23:50 »
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The micro market has already been ruined by dirt low prices, each site trying to under sell the others and pay the photographers less to cover their losses. They make less and we make less. Many of the sites will fail and go broke very soon. Another bad point: Free images on every site to attract the low payers or no payers to the site. NONE of my images are free on any site and never will be. Thousands more are stolen every day and the sites do next to nothing to stop it. Ever hear of a image theft being fined or put in jail for copyright theft? NO. So why pay?

When I sold stock photos in the 50's 60's and through the early 80's NONE sold for less than $100.00 for RF images and RM sold for $200 to $5,000.00 per image. Calendar and greeting card companies never paid less than $500.00 for an image. Book covers $250.00 and up. Now they get them for less than a cup of coffee.

The Internet ruined it all. That is why I have lost nearly all interest in up loading any more to any site. I can sell Cd's full of images on Ebay for $25.00 per each for low res shots RF and not give a crap what they actually do with them. They do not get my best, only my rejects the ones I did not ever try to up load. Junk.

Sorry to sound sour but those are the facts. I for one just don't want to work for 5 cents an hour.

Larry

i'm surprised with such a solid photography background as yours that you even attempted to dabble in microstock at microstock prices. if you're only a member at the three sites on your profile, then i can understand why you're so obsessed with the commission per photo. microstock is all about volume and dt and bs have little volume to speak of. if you'd join is and ss, you'll be more concerned with the bottom line, which should be 10-20x of what you're getting. at that rate, you won't care whether your photos sell for a $1 or $20.

also, a lot of us happen to like the microstock online business model. the immediacy, of it, both for buyers and sellers, is really appealing. if i wanted to be fairly paid at the prices you used to get, i'd put everything on alamy. there are a lot of photographers who do really well there. i remember one gentleman who's based in a remote part of scotland, never leaves his hometown and takes mostly rm, no mr, photos and is making hand over fist. i presume he takes good photographs.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 23:53 by ap »

« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2010, 01:09 »
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It is really funny reading all the responses  :D
A lot of people, it appears, haven't figured out yet that microstock is NOT a job/business (for the microstocker) - it is a competition. Considering how big is the buyer's market for images and how many people upload pics to the microstock sites - there is no way in the world for EVERYONE to succeed, no matter how talented they are and how hard they work. It is a simple fact.

It is also a fact, that an average microstocker does not pull out all stops in order to succeed. Those who do (and have a modicum of talent) - gain a competitive edge over the rest of the crowd. And for them - it becomes a business or a job.

However, if ALL microstockers all of a sudden display a sudden burst of talent, and if ALL of them upload heaps of images, and if ALL these images are good - then I am not sure that Gostwyck and Sharply_Done would be repeating their mantras (their advice is perfectly good - but will not work if EVERYONE succeeds).

This is just a competition - pure and simple. And, as in any competition. the rewards are few, and the competitors are many. No wonder most have to do without.

« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2010, 03:39 »
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I don't understand why people expect to make much money without treating this like a full time job.  There can't be many jobs where you make a living without putting in 40 hours a week and having the right skills.  If people are working 40 hours a week and not making a living from microstock, they should do something else.  I could spend 40 hours a week painting but I doubt I would make much money.

Digital cameras and microstock have changed the industry but I prefer the money I make now to the rejection letter I received before.  I also prefer the people who pay me a small commission when they used to ask for my photos for free.  I can still use the sites that charge more as well and microstock prices are much higher than a few years ago.  The biggest problem is low commission subs but it looks like there is still a strong demand for pay per download.

« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2010, 07:11 »
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think I'm in the wrong side of the business today.

Graduation photos, 1 photog taking the shot of the handshake with on camera flash. About 200 people in 2 hours. $50 for image on cd, $37 for a 5x 7, $50 for 8x10, special $75 +postage for cd and 8x10.  Neither the chancellor or I are even looking at the camera :(

then another photog from same company gets the people into the 'studio' area, grey mottled background, 2 x elinchrom lights with umbrellas, $10 sitting fee gets 3-4 poses. Our 4 poses / 12 shots and by the time you take out the blinkers in comes down to 6 shots - on a cd ready for you print $178!! prints are same as above with a 20x16 costing $150+postage. Being a big group we were slow and took a little over 5 mins. They had a queue and went nonstop for 4-5 hours.

I think I'd hate it, unless I did it like how it was done with neither of the photogs being the owner of the company (who knows where he was, probably not montana though :))

« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2010, 08:52 »
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... microstock is NOT a job/business (for the microstocker) - it is a competition.

???

Business IS competition.

Unless someone inherited his/her parents' business, most successful business people earned their success by beating their competitors.  They did something better... offered better products, had better service, better prices, etc.  But make no mistake, it was a competition, and they won and profited from it.   These same rules govern who wins and loses in microstock. 

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2010, 08:56 »
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fully agree with the OP.

digital + internet == hell.

by the way, i just read recently a similar rant about musicians making pennies and losing money
with the web :

http://thecynicalmusician.com/2010/01/the-paradise-that-should-have-been/

thinking about it, musicians are in a much worse positions than photographers and journalists.

the web is gonna become a gigantic ocean of free music, books, articles and photos before or later.
only a small bunch of pros will survive.


macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2010, 09:03 »
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for anything else : yes, shooting studio photos with models (paid or not) is gonna be more and more hard to sustain with microstock prices.

i'm saying the same things since the stone age but people keep calling me a "macrosaur" while recently even Yuri admitted he's shooting 80% RM and only his leftovers go in RF/micro, guess he has got very solid reasons for this U-turn...

soon even shooting food will become unsustainable and finally it will become just impossible to make money with micros starting from scratch : too many photogs, too many photos, too low payout.

i'll rather grill burgers at mcdonalds than start a career in microstock today.

« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2010, 10:01 »
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The web has done enormous damage to journalism too.  Here in Minneapolis, our local newspaper has steadily collapsed and deteriorated and is now little more than a sports tabloid.   And this is supposed to be a good thing? Quality coverage of local events is simply no longer available.  Other channels will evolve to fill this gap, but it's not happening yet.

It's the same pattern as with microstock.  The emergence of a perfect buyers' market causes a price collapse, and a loss of quality.   For a while, consumers feel like they've won - hey look, I'm reading the New York Times every morning, on my iPad, for nothing!  Does it really matter that I can't find out who's running for mayor, or what the city council did last week? Not at first, but I think in time people will decide they care about those things too.  And I think new image marketing channels will open up, so it becomes  possible to produce unique, niche images and find buyers for them at prices that seem reasonable to both buyers and sellers.  

I also like what leszek said about this being a competition, not a business.  There is certainly a lot of truth in that. I think it's still sort of a dumb competition, though, where you can win by flooding the market with similar images, by keyword spamming, and where you can only really score points by selling an image hundreds of times.    It needs to evolve into something more sophisticated.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 10:16 by stockastic »

« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2010, 10:02 »
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I fully agree with all the speculation that we're in a race to the bottom.  But I don't necessarily believe that the bottom is free.  Maybe images will be offered free on some sites, but there will be models for the contributing artists to be paid somehow, either through advertising or agencies paying for contributions up-front.  And the market will level out at a point at which skilled artists will be content with the financial payout, or they'll bolt, which will affect the supply and demand equation and the remaining artists will make more, which would draw more artists in, and the cycle would go on indefinitely.  It just won't ever hit zero.

It just doesn't make sense that masses of people will spend any energy on creating images for zero payout.  Sure, there will be hobbyists and enthusiasts who don't expect anything more than the thrill of sharing their stuff, but with few exceptions, the quality of work generated by a non-paid audience won't satisfy the business world.

As the human story moves forward, we will be communicating visually more and more, and that will increase the demand for effective images.  A crowd-sourced base of contributors working for free won't cut it.  There will always be a demand for talented visual artists -- photographers, illustrators, etc. -- and the best will continue to be compensated well, if not in microstock then via some other model (and no, that won't be macro or RM... those days are gone).   Now is not the time to be scared and cower in the corner.  If you want to be a survivor, get excited about the opportunities coming and be ready to pounce on them.

« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2010, 10:24 »
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Check out what the internet did to musicians:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Aqe2P9sYhZ2ndE9iZHhWc0pMcDlCdmxNdmFRQXRPY3c&hl=en_GB

This spreadsheet was compiled by musicians showing the quantities you'd have to sell in order to make US minimum wage. I got this from the news lately.

« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2010, 10:26 »
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Micro stock is a microcosm of competitive spirit that has made this country the economic powerhouse it is today. Imagine the indignation of the buggy-whip makers when the Fords started streaming off the assembly lines. Our micro stock business is just evolving faster than most. So we keep up or jump into some other line of work that requires less adaptation.

Micro stock exists only because of the profits made by micro sites. And those profits are attainable only because of the profits of the users from paying far less per image than in the pre-micro age.

I agree that we photographers are at the bottom of the food chain existing purely by the laws of supply and demand. That's okay by me. It's open and transparent. And I enjoy the competition. And it is a business as long as we aren't selling for zero. If someone could figure out a method to profit for selling images for one cent that too will come to pass.

For now I choose to keep uploading.

« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2010, 11:13 »
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I think that having a "global economy" has affected many businesses, not just journalism and microstock.

Another example is the graphic design industry. I checked out some of the top freelance sites. Designers in India are bidding $10 to design a logo. Retouching, color correcting and resizing photos in Photoshop...the bids start at 50 cents per photo. There is no way I can compete with that and still pay my bills.

« Reply #48 on: April 19, 2010, 11:19 »
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I think that having a "global economy" has affected many businesses, not just journalism and microstock.

Another example is the graphic design industry. I checked out some of the top freelance sites. Designers in India are bidding $10 to design a logo. Retouching, color correcting and resizing photos in Photoshop...the bids start at 50 cents per photo. There is no way I can compete with that and still pay my bills.

And then you pair that with customers who don't really give a rat's a$$ about the image quality and you're out of business like nothing.

The damage has been done, so there is little we can do to change the industry.

I originally thought that we get "properly" compensated for the quality we deliver.

Honestly, I see 7 out of 10 images being worth the cents that they earn. But images that have high quality and are shot with budgets/models/props/effort should be priced higher. Well, just wishful thinking.

So much that is wrong with this industry in the meantime.

Still, it's not stopping us to be creative and look for more ways to monetize our images...

« Reply #49 on: April 19, 2010, 11:32 »
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I think that having a "global economy" has affected many businesses, not just journalism and microstock.

Another example is the graphic design industry. I checked out some of the top freelance sites. Designers in India are bidding $10 to design a logo. Retouching, color correcting and resizing photos in Photoshop...the bids start at 50 cents per photo. There is no way I can compete with that and still pay my bills.
This is definitely true. Maybe, this is why I'm always defending stock because it is growing faster than my freelance work. There are still a lot of clients out there that pay a fair wage, but a lot that want things as cheap as possible.


 

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