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Author Topic: Learning a year later : Our lack of resistance to Shutterstock a year back has resulted in this  (Read 3803 times)

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« on: May 21, 2021, 12:29 »
+5
Probably one understanding is that our lack of unity and lack of strong resistance to Shutterstock has led to all agencies going the same route.

What now? How do we now learn from this and push back. Alamy has barely any significant earnings. Can they be dropped enmasse


« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2021, 13:31 »
+1
Yes, shutterstock was a hard one, as it still gives more than 50% of my earnings, so it's hard to know what to do with it...

But dropping Alamy is a no-brainer, they haven't ever been even remotely significant anyways, i was was already thinking about dropping even before this new commission thing...

Clair Voyant

« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 14:21 »
+5
Probably one understanding is that our lack of unity and lack of strong resistance to Shutterstock has led to all agencies going the same route.

What now? How do we now learn from this and push back. Alamy has barely any significant earnings. Can they be dropped enmasse

The lesson was not learned from everyone jumping on board to microstock many years ago so I doubt very much the exact same slap in the face will change things. I remember for being ostracized and skinned alive for being a microstock doubter, after all who in their right mind would give sell their work for pennies on the dollar. The masses asked and even applauded this and the masters agreed to it. The genie is so far out of the bottle it will never go back.

Don't forget your unity and lack of strong resistance towards the valuations of the industry before you backed in unity with no resistance to selling on micros. 0.25c back then was garbage yet is was embraced and even idolized.

Just sayin.

farbled

« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2021, 14:41 »
+9
The lesson was not learned from everyone jumping on board to microstock many years ago so I doubt very much the exact same slap in the face will change things. I remember for being ostracized and skinned alive for being a microstock doubter, after all who in their right mind would give sell their work for pennies on the dollar. The masses asked and even applauded this and the masters agreed to it. The genie is so far out of the bottle it will never go back.

Don't forget your unity and lack of strong resistance towards the valuations of the industry before you backed in unity with no resistance to selling on micros. 0.25c back then was garbage yet is was embraced and even idolized.

Just sayin.

Who is everyone? Trad stock was a (mostly) closed shop. Micro was a new industry in and of itself. The worst thing that happened was that trads saw people making money hand over fist and tanked their own markets but submitting high value work for pennies, opting for volume sales. Their customers saw and followed.

Micro could have been a stepping stone for so many, improving to the point where they/we grew out of micro into RM. Instead, your (not you specifically) high end work sells side by side with my 30 second breakfast photo, and for the same price.

Edit to add: Unless I am misunderstand and we are saying the same thing from different directions.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 14:43 by farbled »

Clair Voyant

« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2021, 14:58 »
+1
The lesson was not learned from everyone jumping on board to microstock many years ago so I doubt very much the exact same slap in the face will change things. I remember for being ostracized and skinned alive for being a microstock doubter, after all who in their right mind would give sell their work for pennies on the dollar. The masses asked and even applauded this and the masters agreed to it. The genie is so far out of the bottle it will never go back.

Don't forget your unity and lack of strong resistance towards the valuations of the industry before you backed in unity with no resistance to selling on micros. 0.25c back then was garbage yet is was embraced and even idolized.

Just sayin.

Who is everyone? Trad stock was a (mostly) closed shop. Micro was a new industry in and of itself. The worst thing that happened was that trads saw people making money hand over fist and tanked their own markets but submitting high value work for pennies, opting for volume sales. Their customers saw and followed.

Micro could have been a stepping stone for so many, improving to the point where they/we grew out of micro into RM. Instead, your (not you specifically) high end work sells side by side with my 30 second breakfast photo, and for the same price.

Edit to add: Unless I am misunderstand and we are saying the same thing from different directions.

Yes and no... but yes we are more or less saying the same thing from different directions.

The 'Trads' as you call them did not have stepping stones, you failed until you passed, so it was not really a closed shop at all. I actually can't stand that argument. Sort of like sports day in school back then, you either got 1st, 2nd, or 3rd so really it was not a closed competition, whereas in today's world everyone gets a prize for just showing up.

That is the standard that is now set and accepted, so yes your 30 second breakfast photo is now in the same category of my so called set up and styled breakfast photo or vice versa.











farbled

« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2021, 15:20 »
+1
The lesson was not learned from everyone jumping on board to microstock many years ago so I doubt very much the exact same slap in the face will change things. I remember for being ostracized and skinned alive for being a microstock doubter, after all who in their right mind would give sell their work for pennies on the dollar. The masses asked and even applauded this and the masters agreed to it. The genie is so far out of the bottle it will never go back.

Don't forget your unity and lack of strong resistance towards the valuations of the industry before you backed in unity with no resistance to selling on micros. 0.25c back then was garbage yet is was embraced and even idolized.

Just sayin.

Who is everyone? Trad stock was a (mostly) closed shop. Micro was a new industry in and of itself. The worst thing that happened was that trads saw people making money hand over fist and tanked their own markets but submitting high value work for pennies, opting for volume sales. Their customers saw and followed.

Micro could have been a stepping stone for so many, improving to the point where they/we grew out of micro into RM. Instead, your (not you specifically) high end work sells side by side with my 30 second breakfast photo, and for the same price.

Edit to add: Unless I am misunderstand and we are saying the same thing from different directions.

Yes and no... but yes we are more or less saying the same thing from different directions.

The 'Trads' as you call them did not have stepping stones, you failed until you passed, so it was not really a closed shop at all. I actually can't stand that argument. Sort of like sports day in school back then, you either got 1st, 2nd, or 3rd so really it was not a closed competition, whereas in today's world everyone gets a prize for just showing up.

That is the standard that is now set and accepted, so yes your 30 second breakfast photo is now in the same category of my so called set up and styled breakfast photo or vice versa.

Well we both agree and disagree. And in fairness the barriers to entry were much higher until digital came along simply from a development/expense point of view. Digital photography leveled the playing field completely. The unfortunate side effect is that with unlimited supply (and talent), the biggest resource that traditional stock had (scarcity/uniqueness) was gone.

Some innovator will upset the market again sooner or later.  But right now, I believe as long as someone can make a residual penny here and there, there will always be people willing to do just that.

Clair Voyant

« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2021, 15:44 »
+1
The lesson was not learned from everyone jumping on board to microstock many years ago so I doubt very much the exact same slap in the face will change things. I remember for being ostracized and skinned alive for being a microstock doubter, after all who in their right mind would give sell their work for pennies on the dollar. The masses asked and even applauded this and the masters agreed to it. The genie is so far out of the bottle it will never go back.

Don't forget your unity and lack of strong resistance towards the valuations of the industry before you backed in unity with no resistance to selling on micros. 0.25c back then was garbage yet is was embraced and even idolized.

Just sayin.

Who is everyone? Trad stock was a (mostly) closed shop. Micro was a new industry in and of itself. The worst thing that happened was that trads saw people making money hand over fist and tanked their own markets but submitting high value work for pennies, opting for volume sales. Their customers saw and followed.

Micro could have been a stepping stone for so many, improving to the point where they/we grew out of micro into RM. Instead, your (not you specifically) high end work sells side by side with my 30 second breakfast photo, and for the same price.

Edit to add: Unless I am misunderstand and we are saying the same thing from different directions.

Yes and no... but yes we are more or less saying the same thing from different directions.

The 'Trads' as you call them did not have stepping stones, you failed until you passed, so it was not really a closed shop at all. I actually can't stand that argument. Sort of like sports day in school back then, you either got 1st, 2nd, or 3rd so really it was not a closed competition, whereas in today's world everyone gets a prize for just showing up.

That is the standard that is now set and accepted, so yes your 30 second breakfast photo is now in the same category of my so called set up and styled breakfast photo or vice versa.

Well we both agree and disagree. And in fairness the barriers to entry were much higher until digital came along simply from a development/expense point of view. Digital photography leveled the playing field completely. The unfortunate side effect is that with unlimited supply (and talent), the biggest resource that traditional stock had (scarcity/uniqueness) was gone.

Some innovator will upset the market again sooner or later.  But right now, I believe as long as someone can make a residual penny here and there, there will always be people willing to do just that.

I think the biggest disruptor in the industry as a whole was the removal of editors and replacing them with inspectors, now everyone gets a prize.

 






farbled

« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2021, 16:27 »
+1
People earn based on skill it seems to me. You seem stuck on this "everyone gets a prize." I've never had that experience. I've earned my way and the levels I have achieved, as have those other people who are some level of success. Like you with hating that other argument, this one is one of my pet peeves when someone disparages the amount of work that a lot of us put into this.

csm

« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2021, 16:52 »
+3
Well I also was one of the old school shooting stock Rights managed for one agent.
Earning a full time income on 500 images.
I remember when Microstock started, and everyone saying this is the future, RM is the past.
And once prices are low, even just for a cheap image of your breakfast, how do you start to differentiate between what should be a cheap picture and what shouldn't.

Getting rid of editors I agree a mistake.
I had the same editor for 16 years.
That will never happen again.
She used to say to me I need to push you, it is only then you realise how good you are.
Can you imagine that now?
I started out with film.
Quite nerve wracking sitting opposite your editor as they look through your images with a loupe on a lighbox.
The gap between buying my camera and joining my agent was 6 years.
Now its like almost the next day.
I had to build up my portfolio first.
Going round to see different agents.

Photographers are their own worst enemy.
I think you need ruthless editors.
I think I could edit in seconds such is the quality of imagery these days.
I think I became a better photographer turning digital, but that also lead to greater competition.

I think there is a big difference in the quality of an agents images on page 1 to what most photographers submit.
Front page high end life style. Most photographs are submitting flowers and sunsets for example.

I think agents should only keep imagery they would be happy to show on their front page.

Alamy should have had editors instead of thinking photographers would edit themselves.
I just loose interest, they just look to me like snaps.
6 verticals and 6 horizontals won't make a poor image any more sellable.

I see they are up to 255m images. I think if they had 10 million great images it would look so much better.
Why keep boasting how many images they have when most are non descriptive and will probably never sell.

--

Now we are at the stage when I am selling more images than I ever did but its peanuts. $0:02 for a sale?
I don't care what, its simply unsustainable. (I do really wonder what the agents think, or do they just not care.)
The prices generally are an insult to our hard work when compared to the hourly rate generally.)
How many times does an image need to sell just to cover cost, by which time it probably been moved down the ranking.

After 30 years, I've decided its not good complaining, just trying to work harder just to stay still, there has to be better things to do with my time. Particularly annoying as this was all I wanted to do since leaving school.

Which is a shame because I was good at this.

In a couple of years or sooner, the agents will wonder why they have less images coming in and quality going down too.

It might be too late to turn back by then, all the photographers would have moved on to something else by then.

Such a shame, it might have been a closed shop to get in, although, I was 23 when I got accepted and it was a big deal then. There were loads of photographers I admired, the work was so much better then, replaced by what I can see generally are snaps.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2021, 17:23 »
+2
... I do really wonder what the agents think, or do they just not care.
Do you really have to wonder?

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2021, 17:26 »
+1
Probably one understanding is that our lack of unity and lack of strong resistance to Shutterstock has led to all agencies going the same route.

What now? How do we now learn from this and push back. Alamy has barely any significant earnings. Can they be dropped enmasse

The agencies would have followed anyway, there's no way we could have prevented the race to the bottom.

Clair Voyant

« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2021, 17:36 »
0
... I do really wonder what the agents think, or do they just not care.
Do you really have to wonder?

are there really any agents left?

« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2021, 17:39 »
+2
replace SS with IS/Getty, and I would agree (and IS always took a huge portion of every sale).

I also think that if the agencies could have differentiated hard to get / superior images for a higher price point we all would be in a better place now.


« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2021, 20:39 »
0
yes -- continue to blame SS for everything (correlation is not causation) rather than face the fact that stock is a fungible commodity and price has little to do with quality --> more to SEO & other marketing.  Falling prices should be no surprise with any understanding of basic capitalist economics -  i paid over $5000 for my 1st PC and it didnt have a hard drive!  now, mutatis mutandi,  there's no difference among PCs and price is the determining factor for many/most buyers

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2021, 21:34 »
+4
Probably one understanding is that our lack of unity and lack of strong resistance to Shutterstock has led to all agencies going the same route.

What now? How do we now learn from this and push back. Alamy has barely any significant earnings. Can they be dropped enmasse

Where was the unity and resistance to iStock which was much worse than Shutterstock and still is. Where was the resistance and unity against the tiny new agencies that offered minimal returns for work. Yet people flocked to those and sold their souls for penny stock.

yes -- continue to blame SS for everything (correlation is not causation) rather than face the fact that stock is a fungible commodity and price has little to do with quality --> more to SEO & other marketing.  Falling prices should be no surprise with any understanding of basic capitalist economics -  i paid over $5000 for my 1st PC and it didnt have a hard drive!  now, mutatis mutandi,  there's no difference among PCs and price is the determining factor for many/most buyers

Right, the world changes, sometimes for the better, but world markets and open access changed the stock photo industry, not the agencies. Technology is the culprit not the people who saw the future and created a new way to market and distribute.

For others, who wish to live in the dark ages and never grow or advance or change?

Trads, those people who think they died from Microstock? What a joke. When you have negatives and slides, mailed. We have gone from chipping notes in stone, to pressing letters in clay, to other forms and the huge revolution with movable type. Linotype machines, casting letters in lead or bars of lines, and the people crying about the demise of Trads, forget that offset virtually eliminated typesetting and streamlined printing.

Would people argue against the fact and ability that we have to write, as we are right now, and distribute whole books, electronically, instead of in print? If we were writing the old way, before electronics and computers, we could mail letters to each other. That's Trads. Now I can type this, click POST and anyone, anywhere can read it.

The change is not because of stock agencies changing, it is because of technology.

Good news, good images are still good images. We just don't have to use expensive films, process in chemicals, and do delicate spotting or alterations. Welcome to the 21st Century... cameras are pretty much similar to the old ways. The way of recording images has transformed the way we can share those images.


k_t_g

  • Always ready for you!
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2021, 23:20 »
+2
Well you can get off the "hamster wheel" and try other ways of revenue? Just have to try and don't forget to support each other in your endeavors.🙂 If you don't stick around and give all your energy to these rich cronies, they'll have nothing to crack a whip at.

« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2021, 00:58 »
0
So should the stock Coalition be pausing for a Alamy signout en masse. Maybe a wider list getting prople out of the worse agencies?


csm

« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2021, 05:36 »
+1
Probably one understanding is that our lack of unity and lack of strong resistance to Shutterstock has led to all agencies going the same route.

What now? How do we now learn from this and push back. Alamy has barely any significant earnings. Can they be dropped enmasse

Where was the unity and resistance to iStock which was much worse than Shutterstock and still is. Where was the resistance and unity against the tiny new agencies that offered minimal returns for work. Yet people flocked to those and sold their souls for penny stock.

yes -- continue to blame SS for everything (correlation is not causation) rather than face the fact that stock is a fungible commodity and price has little to do with quality --> more to SEO & other marketing.  Falling prices should be no surprise with any understanding of basic capitalist economics -  i paid over $5000 for my 1st PC and it didnt have a hard drive!  now, mutatis mutandi,  there's no difference among PCs and price is the determining factor for many/most buyers

Right, the world changes, sometimes for the better, but world markets and open access changed the stock photo industry, not the agencies. Technology is the culprit not the people who saw the future and created a new way to market and distribute.

For others, who wish to live in the dark ages and never grow or advance or change?

Trads, those people who think they died from Microstock? What a joke. When you have negatives and slides, mailed. We have gone from chipping notes in stone, to pressing letters in clay, to other forms and the huge revolution with movable type. Linotype machines, casting letters in lead or bars of lines, and the people crying about the demise of Trads, forget that offset virtually eliminated typesetting and streamlined printing.

Would people argue against the fact and ability that we have to write, as we are right now, and distribute whole books, electronically, instead of in print? If we were writing the old way, before electronics and computers, we could mail letters to each other. That's Trads. Now I can type this, click POST and anyone, anywhere can read it.

The change is not because of stock agencies changing, it is because of technology.

Good news, good images are still good images. We just don't have to use expensive films, process in chemicals, and do delicate spotting or alterations. Welcome to the 21st Century... cameras are pretty much similar to the old ways. The way of recording images has transformed the way we can share those images.




As mentioned I think I became a better photographer turning digital.
And of course delivery of images was a lot easier, cheaper and convenient.
Someone once said to me you will probably be able to send an image directly to your editor from the camera one day, that felt like science fiction.

Its just a shame that editors have gone in the process.
And why did images have to be sold so cheaply?
The cost of producing images has never been cheaper.
The cost of overheads hasn't.
Rail fares go up every year like clockwork.
Clothes haven't dropped by 1000%.
Models still need paying.
Etc.

wds

« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2021, 08:37 »
0
Where do agencies such as Stocksy, Getty proper and other curated agencies who are paying more than pennies fit into this picture?

farbled

« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2021, 11:29 »
+5
I would love to see agencies provide more incentive and opportunity to move from micro/nano to the next rung up the ladder. Like if SS let more qualified artists into Premiere (and provided some visibility so we'd know what to shoot for), and then if one was successful, move up to Offset...

Right now, the cuts have dis-incentivized many of us, and there are few options available to improve and advance. I do hope I am right that some innovator will come along and upset the applecart again.

DOP

« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2021, 12:27 »
0
Where do agencies such as Stocksy, Getty proper and other curated agencies who are paying more than pennies fit into this picture?

It's very difficult to be accepted and then .. if you do manage to get in .. it's hard work once accepted to have your images approved and then .... you may be lucky enough to sell some.
If you do sell, you will be rewarded decently for your efforts.
The good thing I think about the curation is that only images that have a good chance of selling should be accepted.
At least these agencies are showing respect towards the image creators, which is a very big bonus in my eyes.
Micro sites from my experience completely lack respect with the front runner in not only lack of respect but actually completely ignoring the existence of the creators, being, you guessed it, Shittyshack.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 12:30 by Suspect »

Clair Voyant

« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2021, 13:15 »
+2
Where do agencies such as Stocksy, Getty proper and other curated agencies who are paying more than pennies fit into this picture?

They don't fit in the picture. Getty has gone micro, I know because I see my statements. Stocksy I don't know personally, but what I have heard from a few contributors I know it's not all it's cracked up to be, not even close.

The whole industry is in a shambles for many of the reasons noted in above posts.

It's always been a tough industry in many ways but nowadays it's an impossible industry. The costs and time consumed don't even break even anymore.




farbled

« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2021, 13:39 »
+3
Where do agencies such as Stocksy, Getty proper and other curated agencies who are paying more than pennies fit into this picture?

They don't fit in the picture. Getty has gone micro, I know because I see my statements. Stocksy I don't know personally, but what I have heard from a few contributors I know it's not all it's cracked up to be, not even close.

The whole industry is in a shambles for many of the reasons noted in above posts.

It's always been a tough industry in many ways but nowadays it's an impossible industry. The costs and time consumed don't even break even anymore.

Completely agree with this. The other part is that so many buyers out there don't "need" the highest, bestest, stuff (in my opinion only based on my own works and my own experiences as a buyer). Its like hiring Michelangelo when you just need a sign for your hot dog cart. :)

I worked as a contractor in a bunch or marketing companies over the years, and good enough "now" always trumped a longer search for perfect and more expensive.

Clair Voyant

« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2021, 13:46 »
+1
Where do agencies such as Stocksy, Getty proper and other curated agencies who are paying more than pennies fit into this picture?

They don't fit in the picture. Getty has gone micro, I know because I see my statements. Stocksy I don't know personally, but what I have heard from a few contributors I know it's not all it's cracked up to be, not even close.

The whole industry is in a shambles for many of the reasons noted in above posts.

It's always been a tough industry in many ways but nowadays it's an impossible industry. The costs and time consumed don't even break even anymore.

Completely agree with this. The other part is that so many buyers out there don't "need" the highest, bestest, stuff (in my opinion only based on my own works and my own experiences as a buyer). Its like hiring Michelangelo when you just need a sign for your hot dog cart. :)

I worked as a contractor in a bunch or marketing companies over the years, and good enough "now" always trumped a longer search for perfect and more expensive.

Funny you mention this Terry, I have been joking for years to change my photo company name to Good Enough Photography. That said I don't think I would have ever received the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for best photos with that approach, but it is what the industry has become... sadly.

« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2021, 13:51 »
+5
Sadly, not just photography but the way of work nowadays.  Happening everywhere -- gig economy from taxis to writers.  Once good paying tech jobs now not giving raises and are taking away vacation and sick time, holidays, health insurance and retirement. 


 

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