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Author Topic: Interesting interview by John Lund about macro and microstock  (Read 5124 times)

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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 06:39 »
0
Here's his iStockphoto port: http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=5240311

Seems to be concentrating on being thorough on salads, currently.  Lots of food related things.  Lots of generic micro-type subjects - shooting to hit the masses (lots of apples :) ).

EmberMike

« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2012, 10:13 »
0
Seems to be concentrating on being thorough on salads, currently.  Lots of food related things.  Lots of generic micro-type subjects - shooting to hit the masses (lots of apples :) ).

Yeah, but even he knows that won't last forever:

Quote
So for now, generalists are still doing great, but I truly think that the future will be for the specialists.  So my clock is already ticking.

He's an interesting guy. Definitely a success story among microstockers. Figure he's got to be pulling around $70k per year just from istock, and while Getty isn't a big part of his income anymore, it's still a decent chunk of cash for sure. All told, I wouldn't be surprised if he's a six-figure earner. Not bad for being just a couple of years into microstock.

It says a lot about all of the doom and gloom in the forums, especially people talking about shooting general subjects, that there's no room in the business for that stuff anymore, you can't make money, etc. Cristian knows that won't last forever, but right now he's proving that you can make it work with general subjects and some smart and economical shooting.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 19:55 by EmberMike »

« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2012, 19:20 »
0
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« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 09:37 by oxman »

« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 05:11 »
+3
Hello:

It has been an honor to be interviewed by one of the most creative and successful photographers in the stock business. On top of it he has one of the most informative and interesting blogs for anyone involved with this business.

This last two years and a half years have been interesting for many reasons:
1-I could leave my work for hire job behind which has lead to a much more satisfactory personal life.
2-It has definitely changed my view of microstock and macro and what to expect from both models.
3- My lighting and other technical skills have improved.

On the bad site of micro, I have created lots of "fast food" studio images pursuing revenue as the only target. I have slowly started to balance it out with more images that I personal like, but it is a fact that with some exceptions the images represented by the microstock libraries are of low interest from a photographic or artistic perspective. Not entirely our fault as buyers are in general quite conservative and tend to buy all those clich images so we fill this demand. That's the reason I think both micro and macro are so important for us and that price differentiation is a good thing.

I hope you found the interview interesting and check out John Lund site, it's really worth it.

Cristian

« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 05:48 »
+1
^^^ Thanks for doing the interview Cristian and for the excellent and detailed answers. You really could write the 'definitive book' on microstock although I hope you won't __ we don't want the learning curve to be too easy for our future competition!

I'd agree almost exactly with your views and your analysis of our industry. It's not often that a previous 'macro shooter' has come to the microstock party, without being full of bitterness and disdain, and simply got on with the job so successfully. I'm amazed how well you have done having started in microstock comparatively late. Only an already accomplished photographer could have achieved that.

Great portfolio and great story!
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 05:50 by gostwyck »

« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 08:06 »
0
It has been an honor to be interviewed by one of the most creative and successful photographers in the stock business. On top of it he has one of the most informative and interesting blogs for anyone involved with this business.

Good job on the interview - I always read John's blog for insight into the "traditional" mindset.

« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 08:16 »
0
Great interview Cristian. You are living proof that someone with serious talent can walk into this mature marketplace and still carve out a lot of income.

John Lund's blog is a must read.

EmberMike

« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 09:24 »
+1
Great interview Cristian. You are living proof that someone with serious talent can walk into this mature marketplace and still carve out a lot of income.

Makes it harder for people to keep saying that microstock is broken, no one can make a living at this anymore, etc.

Sure the industry has problems. But I think we are quick to blame the external issues without ever looking internally. And I'm not necessarily talking about quality images. There's much more to this business than what you shoot/draw/design. Cristian is good at choosing subjects that sell, even if the resulting images aren't always the kinds of things he'd like to be shooting.

« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 13:48 »
+2
Thank you all.

It is still possible to make a living from micro although the wall is getting taller as each day passes.

I can perfectly understand the reserve and suspicion that many macro shooters had and still have against micro. When you see it from outside it seems absurd to sell images for such low amounts and I would agree with them if I had not seen the volumes you can sell at this price points.

Micro and macro professional photographers are really not that different, both want to make the most revenue from their agencies and their effort. Different strategies to arrive to the same point. We have examples at both fences and I guess that some of you that posted here are in the same range of earnings than many macro photographers. At a time were agencies were closed to new talent it was quite logic that new opportunities would appear and many would embrace them. The digital revolution did the rest. It is what it is, and no fence could have stopped it.

But I can perfectly understand too that for many photographers this business does not work and personally I would never recommend some type of photographers to try micro and at the same time I would encourage some micro to try macro or at least send some type of images to the macro distributors. There are still buyers out there that for exclusivity or because they don't find that kind of images or simply have the budget are willing to pay top dollars for them. It's all a personal decision and a very difficult one because sometimes weird sales happen. I still get sales in Getty for very simple images,also available in the micros, were I get paid thousands of dollars for their use. In some ways that is part of the magic of this profession, you are always playing, guessing, getting surprised at what sells, sometimes enjoying a shooting session and sometimes getting bored as hell.

At the end of the day I try not to be too serious about it.  When the time comes were I can no longer bear it for whatever reason be it financially o creatively I will move on. Until that day I will enjoy all the good things this work is giving me back.

Cristian

« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 14:16 »
0
Thank you all.

It is still possible to make a living from micro although the wall is getting taller as each day passes.

I can perfectly understand the reserve and suspicion that many macro shooters had and still have against micro. When you see it from outside it seems absurd to sell images for such low amounts and I would agree with them if I had not seen the volumes you can sell at this price points.

Micro and macro professional photographers are really not that different, both want to make the most revenue from their agencies and their effort. Different strategies to arrive to the same point. We have examples at both fences and I guess that some of you that posted here are in the same range of earnings than many macro photographers. At a time were agencies were closed to new talent it was quite logic that new opportunities would appear and many would embrace them. The digital revolution did the rest. It is what it is, and no fence could have stopped it.

But I can perfectly understand too that for many photographers this business does not work and personally I would never recommend some type of photographers to try micro and at the same time I would encourage some micro to try macro or at least send some type of images to the macro distributors. There are still buyers out there that for exclusivity or because they don't find that kind of images or simply have the budget are willing to pay top dollars for them. It's all a personal decision and a very difficult one because sometimes weird sales happen. I still get sales in Getty for very simple images,also available in the micros, were I get paid thousands of dollars for their use. In some ways that is part of the magic of this profession, you are always playing, guessing, getting surprised at what sells, sometimes enjoying a shooting session and sometimes getting bored as hell.

At the end of the day I try not to be too serious about it.  When the time comes were I can no longer bear it for whatever reason be it financially o creatively I will move on. Until that day I will enjoy all the good things this work is giving me back.

Cristian
Interesting and true. I liked your interview and open thoughts Christian. I think you should write your thoughts in a blog. Guys like me will love to read your views. Pardon me if you already write and i dunno.

« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 15:42 »
+1
"I can perfectly understand the reserve and suspicion that many macro shooters had and still have against micro. When you see it from outside it seems absurd to sell images for such low amounts and I would agree with them if I had not seen the volumes you can sell at this price points."

Shhhhh....

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2012, 20:49 »
0
It has been an honor to be interviewed by one of the most creative and successful photographers in the stock business.
Hey and iStock's current featured editorial photographer to boot.  :D Congrats!

RacePhoto

« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2012, 14:40 »
+4
It has been an honor to be interviewed by one of the most creative and successful photographers in the stock business.
Hey and iStock's current featured editorial photographer to boot.  :D Congrats!

And 40% commission exclusive on IS.

Interesting interview and once again, hard work and good targeting of ideas, can work.

For people with dropping sales, there's a reason, it's not the agencies that are faltering, it's the new images that are excelling and taking away from income for old stale stock. Piece of the pie is getting smaller... old material is less interesting to buyers.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 14:48 »
0
It has been an honor to be interviewed by one of the most creative and successful photographers in the stock business.
Hey and iStock's current featured editorial photographer to boot.  :D Congrats!

And 40% commission exclusive on IS.

Interesting interview and once again, hard work and good targeting of ideas, can work.

For people with dropping sales, there's a reason, it's not the agencies that are faltering, it's the new images that are excelling and taking away from income for old stale stock. Piece of the pie is getting smaller... old material is less interesting to buyers.

So, should I take pictures of a larger pie or buy some new denim jeans?
 :P ;D

lisafx

« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2012, 14:52 »
+1

For people with dropping sales, there's a reason, it's not the agencies that are faltering, it's the new images that are excelling and taking away from income for old stale stock. Piece of the pie is getting smaller... old material is less interesting to buyers.

More insights from the expert.  Do share more of your wisdom with those of us peons who await your next pronouncement...

stan

    This user is banned.
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2012, 17:09 »
0
This grabbed my attention immediately: "I remember that when I became exclusive with iStock, when a ranking boost is applied to the new exclusive contributor images, my earnings multiplied by eight in the next month, part of this is better commissions and higher prices and part of this better placement."

With DT and for some FT nosediving, it could make more sense than ever. Every agency, except SS is cutting our commissions anyway.


« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2012, 17:52 »
0
This grabbed my attention immediately: "I remember that when I became exclusive with iStock, when a ranking boost is applied to the new exclusive contributor images, my earnings multiplied by eight in the next month, part of this is better commissions and higher prices and part of this better placement."

With DT and for some FT nosediving, it could make more sense than ever. Every agency, except SS is cutting our commissions anyway.

Agreed. I'd recommend you go exclusive as quickly as possible ... so that your earnings will grow 8x.

RacePhoto

« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2012, 23:17 »
+1

For people with dropping sales, there's a reason, it's not the agencies that are faltering, it's the new images that are excelling and taking away from income for old stale stock. Piece of the pie is getting smaller... old material is less interesting to buyers.

More insights from the expert.  Do share more of your wisdom with those of us peons who await your next pronouncement...

Who's a peon? Maybe me, small port and hobby shooter?

But with people like Cristian, a fine example of raising the level of images, bigger cameras, better lighting, more production, new concepts. The old 4MP images from 2007 aren't going to stand up for the long haul. That's the point.

Everyone knows the piece of the pie is shrinking and has been for the last few years. When some people here started and they had 1000 images, that was huge. And the agencies had 1 million so what's the competition? Now the agencies have raised the bar, increased the standards and there are 12 million competing images, from new people, like Cristian, not someone with a P&S, taking photos in the back yard or using a kitchen window for natural light.

Times have changed.

That's not a pronouncement, it's facing reality.

digitalexpressionimages

« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2012, 12:52 »
+1

For people with dropping sales, there's a reason, it's not the agencies that are faltering, it's the new images that are excelling and taking away from income for old stale stock. Piece of the pie is getting smaller... old material is less interesting to buyers.

More insights from the expert.  Do share more of your wisdom with those of us peons who await your next pronouncement...

Who's a peon? Maybe me, small port and hobby shooter?

But with people like Cristian, a fine example of raising the level of images, bigger cameras, better lighting, more production, new concepts. The old 4MP images from 2007 aren't going to stand up for the long haul. That's the point.

Everyone knows the piece of the pie is shrinking and has been for the last few years. When some people here started and they had 1000 images, that was huge. And the agencies had 1 million so what's the competition? Now the agencies have raised the bar, increased the standards and there are 12 million competing images, from new people, like Cristian, not someone with a P&S, taking photos in the back yard or using a kitchen window for natural light.

Times have changed.

That's not a pronouncement, it's facing reality.

Ease up on the kitchen window. It's helped me do some of my best work. If you understand how to create a great lighting set up it really don't matter if you use a kitchen window or a $5000 studio flash kit. Nor does it matter if you use your backyard or your P&S (they're improving in quality too). Success will come to those that know what they're doing with a camera and are dedicated to putting in the effort to produce top quality material. The majority of noobs coming into the biz are people who think there's easy money to be made and when they find out otherwise they tend to fade away.

velocicarpo

« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2012, 13:45 »
0

For people with dropping sales, there's a reason, it's not the agencies that are faltering, it's the new images that are excelling and taking away from income for old stale stock. Piece of the pie is getting smaller... old material is less interesting to buyers.

More insights from the expert.  Do share more of your wisdom with those of us peons who await your next pronouncement...

Who's a peon? Maybe me, small port and hobby shooter?

But with people like Cristian, a fine example of raising the level of images, bigger cameras, better lighting, more production, new concepts. The old 4MP images from 2007 aren't going to stand up for the long haul. That's the point.

Everyone knows the piece of the pie is shrinking and has been for the last few years. When some people here started and they had 1000 images, that was huge. And the agencies had 1 million so what's the competition? Now the agencies have raised the bar, increased the standards and there are 12 million competing images, from new people, like Cristian, not someone with a P&S, taking photos in the back yard or using a kitchen window for natural light.

Times have changed.

That's not a pronouncement, it's facing reality.

Ease up on the kitchen window. It's helped me do some of my best work. If you understand how to create a great lighting set up it really don't matter if you use a kitchen window or a $5000 studio flash kit. Nor does it matter if you use your backyard or your P&S (they're improving in quality too). Success will come to those that know what they're doing with a camera and are dedicated to putting in the effort to produce top quality material. The majority of noobs coming into the biz are people who think there's easy money to be made and when they find out otherwise they tend to fade away.

Agree 100%. Furthermore it is not like 2004 anymore. A Noob today will get nothing than disappointment as a market response while in 2004 he could really make decent sales. This is driving many if not most newcomers away from the Micro markets and is protecting us somehow.


 

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