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Author Topic: Micro vs Macro: designers' choice  (Read 3698 times)

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« on: June 11, 2008, 09:51 »
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A colleague of mine, a designer, claimed in a recent conversation that she never visits microstock sites (the name Istockphoto didn't actually ring any bell). According to her, all the pictures and graphics her company needs is usually taken from Getty or Alamy. The reason: not enough variety in micro.

Maybe I should point out that what they do (as far as I know) are pretty specific projects for the Dutch market, concerning antiques, curiosa etc.

Still, it's been on my mind lately; do you have experience with the designers' side of stock? Is it possible to judge if the big agencies (which apparently don't mind the price that much) are moving toward microstock or staying with macro?

In any case, maybe it's a good moment to start shooting more "out of the box", niche images. Which reminds me, my bro used to collect snails :P


helix7

« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2008, 10:06 »
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I'm a designer, and from my experience and conversations with other designers, there is still quite a bit of reluctance to even try microstock. The good news for us is that there is a huge untapped pool of potential new buyers. The bad news is that many might never try microstock, or hold out as long as possible.

The general reasoning I've heard is that they are comfortable with the big companies, they have accounts with them to simplify accounting procedures, and they actually prefer the high prices because they can pass on the costs to the client with a higher mark-up. For many designers, using microstock actually costs them money, since that 25% mark-up on an image purchase is a lot less when the image only costs $10.

I think designers and studios need to rethink image purchasing if they are ever to become regular microstock customers. Those that are used to getting clients to foot the bill for images, and are used to adding on their own mark-up charges, need to think of microstock as a new way of buying images, and not as a loss. They can still get those added costs out of clients if they want to by charging a "stock image fee" (or some other term) per image used. This can be done even in subscription situations. Buy a yearly subscription at SS or wherever, and charge clients flat fees of say $50 per stock image used in projects. For most people that will more than cover the cost of the subscription plus the usual mark-up.

Designers need to look at microstock as a new system, thinking in terms of how they can use it to increase productivity and profits, and not as a detriment to their old image buying systems.



« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2008, 11:21 »
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I'm a microstock photographer, but I'm also a macrostock photographer.

To addition, I'm also a graphic designer. I would never use microstock images to anything important, ie. big clients with big budgets, on brochure covers or such.
Using a microstock image that has sold 1000 times could hurt the brand, I'd even be very cautious for any RF images.

Besides it's about the mathematics: If an ad space in a magazine costs - let's say $10,000 - paying $1,000 for an image isn't really that much. It's lot better combination than $10,000 ad space and a $5 image.

But there are lots of low budget projects and a need for generic images and elements where microstock does come in handy.

helix7

« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2008, 11:51 »
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...If an ad space in a magazine costs - let's say $10,000 - paying $1,000 for an image isn't really that much. It's lot better combination than $10,000 ad space and a $5 image...

If the image fits the ad, who cares how much it cost?

Microstock has always been about low prices, high sales volume. It always makes me laugh when people show up with this tired old "You could get so much more per image," routine. We all knew what the prices were when we signed up, and if those prices aren't good for you, maybe microstock isn't the right business for you.



« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2008, 11:56 »
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If the image fits the ad, who cares how much it cost?

The microstock image could in the worst case scenario be used by a competitor. Or even just some other company. That would cause confusion and damage the brand. The whole ad could be seen as a negative thing.

That's why I'd pay a bit more to get a RM image that isn't everywhere.

As I said, I use microstock images, and sell my photos both micro and macro. I think we need different prices for different imagery.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 12:00 by Perry »

« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2008, 12:02 »
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(is there a way to delete a message on this forum?)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 12:09 by Perry »

« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2008, 12:10 »
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helix7, are you saying everyone that pays for a high-end RM image are "wrong" ?

helix7

« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2008, 12:43 »
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helix7, are you saying everyone that pays for a high-end RM image are "wrong" ?

Not at all. There's a place for high-priced imagery, and your reasoning for using RM images are sound. My argument was with your mathematics claim, and it just makes more sense to spend more on an image if the budget supports it. If an image fits a project, who cares if that image happens to be a $5 image? If you're worried about a competitor using the same image, then of course RM is a better way to go. But it sounded more like you were saying that high-priced images just fit high-budget projects better, based on price alone.



« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2008, 20:55 »
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i think having both is good.  I would not like to see the total death of macro.

My wife has searched for specific images about 5 or 6 times in the past months and not found anything that meets her needs (she's a historian and teacher).  About a week or two ago,  she was after an image, I told have a look on istock and DT and she said why bother they've never had anything she wanted before but she knows corbis had appropriate images (she just cant afford them :) - the problem she has is images she's after (in this case a classroom looking like 1930's-40s) are mostly old images, taken on film and scanned so not many microstockers, then they would be 'not stock' stuff that sells every few years. 

most of my macro sales are of stuff that the micros dont want.  a dark image picture of rubies in a rock 5 sales in 2+ years.  nice at $150-$300 a sale, not good for micro, the microsites would lose money on it.   

also look at istock's comment that people dont want images that are all over the web.  whether exclusive or not, images from micros are used a lot.  my local 2 shopping centres in a town of 20000 people in country australia both have a heap of posters with microstock images images on them.  if I was a local business and wanted to make my own poster and go looking for images I am quickly going to see a number of those same images (one centre is predominately Yuri's blonde / red hair model (the one with the great smile :)) and wonder whether images from this site is really a good idea. (just IMO) 







cphoto

  • CreativeShot.com
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2008, 22:27 »
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I'm a designer, and from my experience and conversations with other designers, there is still quite a bit of reluctance to even try microstock. The good news for us is that there is a huge untapped pool of potential new buyers. The bad news is that many might never try microstock, or hold out as long as possible.

Your bad news is actually a pretty good news to me :D
I hope those designers will never try microstocks.  I have all my "niche" images with macro and now macro is 60% of my stock income.  There is a variety of pictures on Alamy for instance that you won't ever find in micros, because those micros decided that the pictures were not stock worthy, LOL. 

And the logical trend is the same for pretty much all successful photographers with micros...they move to macro sooner or later.

Andres is a good example.  So if your friends designer are looking for a good agency, please send them to Alamy or Photoshelter ;-)


 

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