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Author Topic: great migrations of microstock photographers ;)  (Read 9102 times)

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« on: December 28, 2015, 02:36 »
+2
I wonder - does anyone seen or read any kind of stats or analysis of how many stock photographers are there now? (Comparing how many were eg. year, two or three years ago.)

I mean rather the change in numbers not the numbers itself. I have a feeling quite a few years ago it was a photography trend - everyone thought it's really nice idea to earn money on photography via stock websites (rather then dealing with mood brides and their drunk guests during shooting weddings... ;)) but now it seems only the toughest survived.

Not many articles on the blogs and photography websites about microstock and so on.

I have a feeling this forum got a bit less active lately as well.

Maybe there are numbers somewhere on new / active users? I guess two or three top / middle tier stocks would be reliable data if they did show such numbers anywhere. But also just an analysis or anything written by anyone? :)


« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 07:06 »
+7
I've been having similar thoughts recently.

I've devoted most of my precious spare time to microstock for nearly eight years now.  In the first seven I enjoyed predictable growth.  I had nothing but positive feelings and outlook on microstock.  I had a plan and it was working. 

2015 turned everything on its head.  I'm not sure what happened.  It feels like there was a massive increase in either new contributors or a higher output per contributor, possibly combined with a lowering of standards as the agencies tried to beat each other for bragging rights of biggest portfolio size.  I worked like mad to double my port size in the past few years, but the agencies tripled their total image counts, so there was no way I could grow my income no matter how hard I tried.

Combine this with some of the big agencies changing their search results to favor new contributors (I suppose to get them all starry eyed like I was eight years ago) and I'm feeling extremely negative.  2015 was brutal, not just to my income but to my hopes for the future. 

Most of my uploads of the past few months now feel like a total waste of time.  No sales anywhere.  Poor quality?  Low commercial value?  No, I'm more proud of my newest work than anything I've done. I KNOW these are in-demand topics and styles.  If I had uploaded these three years ago, they would be selling like gangbusters.  But today it's like I dropped them into a black hole.  So what do I do today?  For the first time, I'm at a total loss.  Directionless.  My plan is out the window.

Many of the big contributors I followed on these forums several years ago have given up.  They must have seen this coming.  As the new year looms, I'm wondering if I should join them and find something else that might replace my microstock income, or at least make me feel more fulfilled creatively instead of punishing me.  The next few weeks may be a turning point for me.  It could be my resolution: find a way to get my microstock income growing again, or find a new project more worthy of my blood, sweat and tears.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 07:16 by stockmarketer »

« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 08:53 »
+6
Quote
I wonder - does anyone seen or read any kind of stats or analysis of how many stock photographers are there now? (Comparing how many were eg. year, two or three years ago.)

Surely, there are more registered contributors today than a few years ago - more newbies and also more large volume factories. And a good chance that many long-time artists in the middle group are submitting fewer images than before. Consequently, most production increases are coming from the factories and the new recruits.

However, far more important are the numbers of total images and yearly additions both of which are known. And those figures  don't bode well for any of the three groups.

« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 09:19 »
+2

Many of the big contributors I followed on these forums several years ago have given up.  They must have seen this coming.  As the new year looms, I'm wondering if I should join them and find something else that might replace my microstock income, or at least make me feel more fulfilled creatively instead of punishing me.  The next few weeks may be a turning point for me.  It could be my resolution: find a way to get my microstock income growing again, or find a new project more worthy of my blood, sweat and tears.


I have the same feeling about 2015, hope new year will be better. I thought it might be the case me uploading way less photos but it seems not nesesery...



However, far more important are the numbers of total images and yearly additions both of which are known. And those figures  don't bode well for any of the three groups.


So maybe it's the case when microstock banks got to the amount of number of photos when they simply don't need any new ones?

 

authenticcreations

« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2015, 10:04 »
0
This is wrong.

They always need new ones. It is very important for the agencies that there is a flow and movement going on. Every agency encourage you to submit regulary.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 10:19 »
+2
This is wrong.

They always need new ones. It is very important for the agencies that there is a flow and movement going on. Every agency encourage you to submit regulary.

Except that from time to time one agency or another rejects because they have too many of a particular subject.


« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 10:28 »
0
They need new photos. But... During years of participation in this business, i noticed that different agencies periodically start to reject exactly images which are already published on competitors sites (several times i suspected that such rejection happen in period when competitor accepted but not yet exposed them to public, from hours to 1-2 days, and rejected by competotor photos were accepted). Resubmit after several months usually worked.

« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 12:29 »
0
This is wrong.

They always need new ones. It is very important for the agencies that there is a flow and movement going on. Every agency encourage you to submit regulary.

Except that from time to time one agency or another rejects because they have too many of a particular subject.


Well I always thought that it's important to have fresh photos but I have a feeling (maybe it's just subjective overall tiredness and so on ;)) that there are significantly more rejections based on the subject being covered on stock issue.

authenticcreations

« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2015, 12:41 »
+2
Depends also wich agency. For example Shutterstock never rejects on subject. I have a feeling that i can submit every day a photo of a dandelion flower and it will be daily accepted.

Mirco

« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 12:49 »
0
Depends also wich agency. For example Shutterstock never rejects on subject. I have a feeling that i can submit every day a photo of a dandelion flower and it will be daily accepted.

True. :)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2015, 13:21 »
0
Depends also wich agency. For example Shutterstock never rejects on subject. I have a feeling that i can submit every day a photo of a dandelion flower and it will be daily accepted.

True. :)

Have they given up on their LCV rejections, which used to be lamented here?

CJH

« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2015, 13:23 »
0
I think there is still a great need for current photos.  I did a search for business people on one site recently and, sure, there are pages upon pages, but mostly with dated clothing, hair styles, etc and/or using dated equipment.  So, in some ways the  field is really saturated but in other ways there will always be a need for updated photos.  Unless, of course, the customers that care enough about what they buy give up on the microstock model altogether due to the massive portfolios that are usually not well-controlled to prevent key word spamming. 

« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2015, 14:11 »
0
Depends also wich agency. For example Shutterstock never rejects on subject. I have a feeling that i can submit every day a photo of a dandelion flower and it will be daily accepted.

True. :)

Have they given up on their LCV rejections, which used to be lamented here?

I don't remember last time I got that on SS. For me it's always: FOCUS!  NOISE! FOCUS! NOISE... NOISE AND FOCUS! lol ;) But truth to be said I do sell 'vacation' shots so I don't walk around with a tripod and 50D isn't the lowest reduction camera ever built. :)

authenticcreations

« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2015, 14:39 »
0
The technical/composition rejections on SS still exists but there are no topic rejections anymore as far as i experience.

Also in general the reviews are getting better.

Mirco

« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2015, 15:23 »
0
The technical/composition rejections on SS still exists but there are no topic rejections anymore as far as i experience.

Also in general the reviews are getting better.

Mirco

Probably so, what starts to be a pain in the a.. on SS but it concerns most stocksites lately is the property release. I can't shot a pond in the park to not get rejections based on property release (yup, I did got that just few minutes ago). I mean honestly who will be suing anyone for a use of building - it's not a human being. You can't shot cars, you can't shot famous places, soon you won't be able to shot food because the farmers will say these are recognizable their potato and sue you for infringement of intellectual property or whatever... -_-

authenticcreations

« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2015, 15:37 »
0
Sometimes contributors are worried about property and so on....

There is also editorial. Shoot the same pond under editorial license and voila the image is accepted. Editorial are creating me good sales.

Mirco

w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2015, 16:05 »
+2
Depends also wich agency. For example Shutterstock never rejects on subject. I have a feeling that i can submit every day a photo of a dandelion flower and it will be daily accepted.

True. :)

Have they given up on their LCV rejections, which used to be lamented here?

Several years back they announced they were doing away with LCV as a rejection reason.  Many of us now believe at least some reviewers are using one of the other reasons (focus, color balance, etc.) as an excuse to reject for what they believe to be an LCV image.  That would explain at least some of the bogus rejection reasons that have been cropping up in recent years.


« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2015, 17:18 »
0
Sometimes contributors are worried about property and so on....

There is also editorial. Shoot the same pond under editorial license and voila the image is accepted. Editorial are creating me good sales.

Mirco


Yup, sounds like a good idea!

« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2015, 17:35 »
0
good topic re: rejection on subject.  no , ss never does that... but there are reviewer(s) who would depending on which side of the bed they woke up , would reject a batch with "poor composition".
which is myseterious because who knows what is that???

as someone in another thread said, "it's time reviewers get to be contributors before entry.. (or something like that)..so they know what a contributors go through".
what i mean is, i am sure you agree, i look at my best sellers and sometimes i still shake my head why this one has earned me so much. if that reviewer knows what is good composition,
i am sure (s)he would not need to work as a reviewer... just make that image that clients want.

i think the composition rejection is the last alternative certain reviewer(s) make if they cannot find a reason to reject our work. this just to protect their a** in case one day that amazing day when Oringer decides to really check up on what his reviewer(s) are doing to double-dip on rejections first then resubmit so i can earn twice.

the red above is true because i always resubmit my rejections and always got approved 2nd time.
because i feel i get another reviewer who is fair. sometimes i get the same reviewer who rejects it with another reason... so i submit a 3rd time and it gets approved (justifiably ) by the other reviewer.

thing is i cannot put a finger on which day to submit because esp nowadays, holiday season , you cannot tell when the weekend dude/gal is working ;)
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 17:40 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2015, 02:05 »
+2
I think there is still a great need for current photos.  I did a search for business people on one site recently and, sure, there are pages upon pages, but mostly with dated clothing, hair styles, etc and/or using dated equipment.  So, in some ways the  field is really saturated but in other ways there will always be a need for updated photos.  Unless, of course, the customers that care enough about what they buy give up on the microstock model altogether due to the massive portfolios that are usually not well-controlled to prevent key word spamming.

I been thinking about this issue of outdated technology in stock photos.   It might seem a good idea to reshoot business concepts with newer hair, clothes, and tech, but after doing this a few years I find the technology changes so often I dont get my money worth from the shoots because it changes so fast they are dated before I recover the cost.

« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2015, 09:10 »
+1
The hard truth is that agencies have PLENTY of images to keep them going for years. Fresh images probably fill such a small area of consumption when compared to the millions they already have that it would be inconsequential to the agency's success.  They have so darn many images from contributors who pay no attention to what's really happening in this business that sustainability from those contributors alone is huge.  They pump in new content as well, giving the agencies a gigantic advantage over those few (like me) who are fed up. I can leave, bitch, moan, complain (I do a lot of that, I'll admit), whatever, and they could care less. This is the reality of this business. I know two big names personally who have left and I can tell you that their work is amazing.  One made it big in fashion.

I am sure there are those of you (like mentioned in here already) also know people who have defected. And it has made ZERO difference for the agencies. They will NEVER rescind their greedy ways, why should they? They have it all and those few defectors have perhaps in some cases had to start over, had income stripped (Sean L for example) and livelihoods greatly impacted.  I don't blame ANYONE from leaving this business and would myself if I had another place to satisfactorily place my work. It is one of the key reasons I am shooting far less images and learning video. In a year I produced 1,000 videos. In 2016 I plan on hitting 2000 more. 

« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2015, 09:51 »
+2
Google "Great migrations of lemmings" to see where we have all gone.
Moneywise if not physically!  ;D

« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2015, 10:20 »
+8
I assume at some point it will reach a sort of equilibrium, and maybe then it will be worth it to submit again.  In the meantime, the largest collections will soon reach over 100 million images, covering virtually every subject and every location on Earth - how many more do they need?  There will always be a need for new styles, new images of old locations, news, etc., but nothing like what was needed in the past - most demand can be satisfied easily by current inventory.  When I first started with SS seven years ago, they had I think around 4 million images and were adding 80,000 per week - both seemed like huge numbers at the time.  Now it is 60 million and over 700,000 per week - how can we keep up?  With subscriptions I suspect many buyers now have their own photo libraries with thousands of images that can satisfy many of their needs for years without paying another dime to anybody, or they can just use images for free from flickr - I have seen a lot of that recently, even in articles by firms that can easily pay.  Or they will just take a pic with their cell phones and call it good enough - when I see all the poor images in published ads and articles with terrible lighting, softness, noise, it is quite clear that quality standards of buyers are much lower than those of image inspectors at the agencies.  I think for contributors the writing has been on the wall for the past couple of years at least and it is only going to get worse - Yuri was very smart to cut the deal he did when he did it.

At some point this will decrease new contributions to the level that the agencies will take notice and do something about it.  We have already seen iS relax standards, SS and other agencies lower their minimum amounts for payout.  I certainly would never encourage anyone to go into microstock any longer and I can't imagine it is very profitable for many people nowadays.  Production will shift to countries with lower costs and to those who can keep to a minimal budget.  Nobody will include expensive props if they can't make back their money, regardless of labor costs (or your own opportunity costs).  Instead those images will go to macro or the micro agencies will have to start paying more.

At that stage microstock may get back where it belongs - low prices for low-cost images produced with entry-level equipment and a minimum of effort.  Hopefully at that point it will still make sense for those who stick it out.  If the agencies perceive lack of new content as a problem I'm sure they will do something about it but in the meantime they can just rake in the profits and pay contributors the minimum.

Happy New Year everyone, and hats off to all those who stick it out!  Best wishes to you all for 2016.

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2015, 19:06 »
0
This is wrong.

They always need new ones. It is very important for the agencies that there is a flow and movement going on. Every agency encourage you to submit regulary.

Except that from time to time one agency or another rejects because they have too many of a particular subject.

Like pictures of marijuana.  8)

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2015, 19:27 »
0
I think there are just more images of generic subjects. Trying to find niche subjects, research them and illustrate or photograph them with the appropriate keywords could provide better opportunities for those of us with experience.


 

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