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Author Topic: Figuring out a way forwards  (Read 1362 times)

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« on: June 06, 2020, 08:18 »
+2
My stock journey began with an applicate to supply Getty Images - probably about 20 years ago now. I believe that I received a letter of rejection that mentioned something about not bothering to attempt submission again ;)

I did not give up though and searched for other agencies that may be interested in representing my work. That first agency was Shutterstock. Like others, I went to contribute to other agencies too. Now there are three of us contributing in my business - one more or less full time working on stock video. This work has made a lot of money for the various agencies over the years. Us less so.

I started in microstock because Getty did not give me a chance. So obviously, I shed no tears when my "team" of stock contributors obliterated the industry and we got paid a bit for our efforts.

Unfortunately, some of our agencies have not been able to establish a competitive advantage on anything other than price and availability. Reading the comments and listening to the many YouTube videos, it's pretty obvious that if any of us are going to extract any value from our creative work going forwards, we have to change who we entrust to market our works.

Some agencies are just going to continue to erode price and cut commissions indefinitely and it's obvious to most that it's time to only work with agencies that are committed to providing competitive advantage based on something other than price - like exclusivity and limited availability of core content.

But what are the solutions going forwards for us as contributors?

For photos, I've applied for representation at Stocksy. My thought process was to pull the best-selling top 20% my image portfolio from all agencies and send it exclusively to Stocksy. I have no idea if Stocksy wants my work yet though. All new photo work would go to Stocksy too. Over time I'd then move all reasonable work across to Stocksy and either cull the rest or just sell it from my own site.

One thing this is very compelling for me about Stocksy is that it's a collective. They are not going to be listed on a stock market or bought by some dickhead corporate fund. In other words, as a collective, their primary concern is to keep their buyers and sellers reasonably satisfied. There can be (structurally at least) no other weird and wonderful motives at play.

If Stocksy does not accept my application though, I'm really not sure at this point how to handle the photos.

For video, I'm leaning strongly in favour of going exclusive at Pond5 and removing videos from all other agencies. But I've not been paying attention to the market enough and have a lot of questions like:

- Pond5 exclusivity is for video only, right? If I sent my photos to Stocksy, there would be no conflict between the two agreements?

- Pond5 has an agreement to market though other agencies like Adobe and Vimeo stock. So by pulling my files from Adobe and marketing them all through Pond5, I'd still get the price that I allocate for the videos and I'm not hurting Adobe unnecessarily? Adobe have been a good agency to deal with so far for us and I assume many others too.

- What you lose by not selling at cent commission sites, presumably you can recover somewhat by increasing your clip prices and by obtaining better commissions. I guess that's the thinking, but is that what others have experienced?

- I've spent some time and money building up our own website to represent our work - it seems that Pond5 is comfortable that we continue to market our own work ourselves too?

Anyone else have any questions and comments about this and our options as contributors in the market going forwards?

Perhaps it would be helpful to identify some pathways to best representation for most contributors. We really are pretty much in the same boat with all of this and sharing our options may be good for all.






« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 08:53 »
+1
Great thoughts.

I already applied to stocksy earlier this year but was rejected :(

I also think about going exclusive with Pond5 and already got advice from Pond5 support on how to do that (open a new account under exclusive rights and then move footage from the old account to the exclusive account).

I had quite a few good sales with Alamy over the last months - so thats an option for me as well.

« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2020, 11:28 »
+1
The best way forward is out of stock and into commission works if one has the equipments and expertise to do it.

This is like moving to another curve instead of still languishing on the same stock photos curve.

Go and read "Shooting for stock is overrated? A way out?" thread.

« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2020, 07:35 »
0
I started at iStock.  When that went bad a bunch of years ago I moved my pix to Shutterstock.  Now this went bad so I'm looking for another place to drop my stock pictures.  I moved my 6 videos(lol) to Pond5.

I'm thinking of moving my images to either Adobe stock or Alamy.
Anyone can tell me the difference between them?

« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2020, 09:28 »
+1
I started at iStock.  When that went bad a bunch of years ago I moved my pix to Shutterstock.  Now this went bad so I'm looking for another place to drop my stock pictures.  I moved my 6 videos(lol) to Pond5.

I'm thinking of moving my images to either Adobe stock or Alamy.
Anyone can tell me the difference between them?

Alamy is a platform, not an agency like SS or AS.
Once you got accepted you will hardly ever have any rejections - they accept everything.
They were just sold a few months ago to a british media group and my sales went up a little bit.
They pay 40 % share, went down from 50 % last year.
You wont have many sales on alamy (it took months for me before I had the first sale), but if you get a sale they can be hugh like 150 Euro or even more. ( I sold a pic for 200 Euro two months ago).
They dont have cheap abonnement sales. Only fair priced sales.
I like them. Theyre easy with no rejections and sales are fair priced.
They accept editorial but never check if your pics need a release. Their policy says the client needs to check himself if a release is necessary or not.

Adobe is like SS and the rest a stock agency with abonnement clients. But they pay better than SS. I think the minimum is 33 cent, but I often get on demand sales for much more. My RPD on AS ist 1.05 Dollar.
As a bonus you get a free PS/LR abonnement for one year if you sell more than 150 pics a year. Thats a nice gesture of Adobe I think.
Adobe accepts only some editorial stuff (I think its product editorial) and only if you are above a lifetime threshold (I think its 1000 sold pics).
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 09:40 by Astrantia »

« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 03:09 »
+3
Like just about everyone else, I've been thinking long and hard over the weekend about what to do about this situation. I think to a large degree, Shutterstock has made it for us.

They simply don't have a plan for the stock assets under their control.

Instead of making a plan like a McDonalds "supersize" or "upsize" strategy, or taking the top 20% of assets in their database and calling for them to go exclusive and producing value through increased pricing that way, they are trying to squeeze suppliers where there is nothing left to squeeze.

Shutterstock's move shouts one thing loud and clear - they do not have a plan for marketing our stock assets effectively. Their smart "plan" is to keep cutting price and royalties to contributors.

As a result, they are pretty much admitting that their business model is unsustainable. IMO, there is no longer any future at Shutterstock. Not for suppliers, not for buyers and not for investors.

Pond5 does have a plan. For videos, they want us to go exclusive at their agency with the following benefits:

- 60% commissions
- They will sub-license through Adobe and Vimeo Stock anyway
- We can choose the pricing
- We will probably go just under $100 for HD and $199 for 4k
- We can continue marketing our work through our own personal online platform

I've had a tough call with our team this morning. We are going to take the short term pain for a longer strategy that creates sustainable value by going exclusive at Pond5 for video.

If anyone has any better ideas, I'm all ears. If not, I suggest that anyone with a stock video portfolio does something similar. We cannot continue to generate value for our work at cheap agencies.

I don't personally see the point in arguing with Shutterstock or begging them to change their minds or backtrack on their recent actions. That's not going to change the fact that they simply don't have a sustainable plan. For us, the only option is to walk away and work with partners who do.

That's our plan for video going forwards, but I'm really not too sure about the images yet. What is clear though is that we will be deactivating our portfolio of images at Shutterstock this week too. As to where they go from here largely depends on the result of our application at Stocksy.


« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 05:39 »
+1
Something very strange is going on with Adobe Stock.
Since Shutterstock's change my sales at AS have almost tanked while it should be the other way round.
It's all too much of a coincidence to me. Anyone else? I know lots of people seeing improved sales.

Are there stalkers in stock trying to screw us wherever we go or am I getting (too) paranoid?


« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2020, 06:48 »
+3
@CommuniCat I have been pondering the same thing, On Pond5 Exclusive your clips go to Adobe and Vimeo as well that is a bonus plus you get 60% at Pond5 which is worth getting out of bed for. I may just focus more and more Exclusive there as well.

« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2020, 19:41 »
0
I used applicable images from shooting corporate events and business events photography to start my initial stock photography portfolio a couple months ago. I'm an advertising/ commercial/ event photographer for 20 years. Just trying to diversify.

Maybe everyone else should use your gear and expertise to get commercial work. The event space isn't super difficult to get into. Then while someone is paying you to shoot their function you can be piggy backing images for stock.

In other words, maybe try doing both stock and corporate/ event/ portrait?

« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2020, 19:48 »
0
Something very strange is going on with Adobe Stock.
Since Shutterstock's change my sales at AS have almost tanked while it should be the other way round.
It's all too much of a coincidence to me. Anyone else? I know lots of people seeing improved sales.

Are there stalkers in stock trying to screw us wherever we go or am I getting (too) paranoid?

I've just been in stock photography for a couple months now. I'm on IS, AS, Alamy, and SSTK. Adobe has been by far more sales and consistently better payout averaging $.99

I have similar content on all of these sites. But since I'm so new that might not mean much.

whtvr

« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2020, 02:44 »
0
Quote
Maybe everyone else should use your gear and expertise to get commercial work. The event space isn't super difficult to get into. Then while someone is paying you to shoot their function you can be piggy backing images for stock.

Not really. Event coverage is payed work and it is completely unprofessional uploading and side selling wherever you want without clearance from the client. Except it is at the contract as term to use images for resale, acknowledged and side signed by the client. Half knowledge is how to shoot and other half how to protect interests and reputation.


« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2020, 15:33 »
+1
Quote
Maybe everyone else should use your gear and expertise to get commercial work. The event space isn't super difficult to get into. Then while someone is paying you to shoot their function you can be piggy backing images for stock.

Not really. Event coverage is payed work and it is completely unprofessional uploading and side selling wherever you want without clearance from the client. Except it is at the contract as term to use images for resale, acknowledged and side signed by the client. Half knowledge is how to shoot and other half how to protect interests and reputation.

In absence of a contract I retain copyright to any image I take at an event. The client is essentially licensing the imagery from me for use. I would not shoot an event, corporate or otherwise for a client that wanted me to sign off on rights, or they would pay for that privilege. I've shot major conventions in Vegas, Orlando... corporate incentives retreats in Barcelona... and in general there is no "contract". I shoot and deliver. And I've been doing this for 20 years.

Now, obviously any photos that show executives or any individual, guests, etc... would not be appropriate to sell for stock. Nor would privileged or proprietary content... logos, design elements etc... But there is a lot of content that I shoot for conventions and events... food, scenery, hands picking up cocktails, tight shot of someones dog looking cute and being pet, sunset from a particular location... that is completely professional to resubmit for stock as I have done and will continue to do. So you are correct that discretion is required, but it is both possible and professional done properly.


 

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