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Author Topic: Photographers beat Microstock  (Read 13962 times)

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fritz

  • I love Tom and Jerry music

« on: February 21, 2011, 18:06 »
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Photographers Turn to Fair Trade to Beat Microstock

http://blogs.photopreneur.com/photographers-turn-to-fair-trade-to-beat-microstock

Any experience with Photographers Direct, a stock site using a sales model adapted from the Fair Trade movement. It says that the site generates  more than 1.8 million page views a month and the agency itself is taking only a 20  percent cut.


« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 18:23 »
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Last time I looked, they don't allow microstock contributors.  That makes them useless for me.

« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 18:43 »
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Are t they all warm and fuzzy about micro stock. I see the posted comments weren't very positive either.

helix7

« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 18:44 »
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PD is extremely anti-microstock, and very much opposed to having any microstock photographers on their site.

The guy that runs the site (Barton) is also very much opposed to using facts in his arguments against microstock. He's often cited the dollar stock argument despite it being well known that few sites still sell images for $1 and if they do it's a small web-res image. He believes the average royalty per image sold in microstock is 50 cents (no idea where he got that stat, or when). He has a nice little anti-microstock page on PD full of out-dated information and some of the worst-case examples of low microstock earnings.

I'd say to avoid PD like the plague, but I don't need to since Barton would have nothing to do with any of us since we're all destroying the photography market. Which, btw, I find odd since his RM site is (according to him) debt-free and profitable. If he's making good money, I'm confused as to how microstock is destroying his business.

« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 18:45 »
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The owner is very bitter about micro, and from what I've read, they don't make any sales either.

« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 18:50 »
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I love how they slam the "quality" of microstock. Have they even looked at any of the stuff that's available?!?!

lisafx

« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 19:22 »
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Seems this is yet another example of trad photographers blaming micro photographers for the demise of the photo industry.  Too bad.  If all the content providers would stop fighting with eachother, maybe we could band together and demand fairer royalties for ourselves.  Instead, it is the same old "divide and conquer".   

« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 19:46 »
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I just read the article referenced by the OP and would not disagree with a single word.

"They also encourage the production of low quality, generic images that are flexible enough to be sold many times the only way to make any kind of income...."

Spot on, I'd say.

« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 20:03 »
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I'm really angry that nobody is sticking up for us wet plate photographers.

lisafx

« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 20:11 »
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I just read the article referenced by the OP and would not disagree with a single word.

"They also encourage the production of low quality, generic images that are flexible enough to be sold many times the only way to make any kind of income...."

Spot on, I'd say.

That ^^ may be true, but this assertion is not:   

"Chris Barton asks why Time magazine would pay more when a cover image is available for only $30 but very few of the images being offered for $30 are worthy of being Time covers. Usually, publications still pay the full price demanded by the market because low-priced suppliers cant produce images of a high enough quality"

I see microstock images used as cover images for magazines all the time.  I have stacks of different magazines with cover images in the garage, where I keep my in-actions, and I bet many microstock shooters here can say the same.  This tired argument that micro images are inferior has been disproven over and over again for years, but still keeps being spread by people who pretend to be "authorities" on the subject.

I certainly like the concept and goals of Photographer's Direct, but their prejudice against micro shooters is outdated and self-defeating. 

« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 20:15 »
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One of the biggest problems with the site in my opinion is it looks like a Soviet-era apartment complex. The owner really needs to look at what he's competing against, and realize the packaging as important as what's inside, if not more so. It isn't 1995 anymore.

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 20:35 »
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One of the biggest problems with the site in my opinion is it looks like a Soviet-era apartment complex. The owner really needs to look at what he's competing against, and realize the packaging as important as what's inside, if not more so. It isn't 1995 anymore.

well said. seriously. I only entered microstock five years ago and even then I didn't sell my first microstock photo until a year after that. I guess I missed the advent of microstock. but from what I've read, I'm surprised to see so much negativity still about an industry in which many traditional photographers also now work. it's no longer one or the other, but I guess there will always be personalities resistant to change who dig in their heels about things like this. I'm reading some of the articles and the information is spun in such unflattering ways. if most of the assertions were true, microstock wouldn't present the threat is clearly has to this photographer. unless his primary assertion is that buyers are idiots who don't know the difference between poor and stellar quality work.


I've done some searches on PD. many of the images are beautiful and seem to be high quality. but there's an awful lot of mediocre stuff and not a lot of stock. I particularly enjoyed the "It's not about the money"...part. sure it is. for them and for those of us in microstock. I'm not shooting photos to be nice. You also have to love their books for sale including one entitled "Microstock Photos for Profit" and "The Successful Flickr Photographer". Seems rather oxymoronic.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 20:42 by SNP »

lisafx

« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 20:51 »
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You also have to love their books for sale including one entitled "Microstock Photos for Profit" and "The Successful Flickr Photographer". Seems rather oxymoronic.

LOL!  I didn't notice that.  Priceless! 

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 20:54 »
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The site sounds like it should be named "angryphotographers.com". The photo registration pages all say "No images on this site are free. Do not register if you cannot pay for images."  That just screams to buyers "hey we appreciate you".

The other part that doesn't make sense is the quote

Quote
Photographers providing images to microstock sites have damaged the earning potential of all photographers, and allowing those same photographers to join Photographers Direct would only dilute our photographers earnings further, says Chris Barton.

I searched the site. Sorry, a lot of nice stuff and a lot of crap, just like the micros. So wouldn't a better approach be to lure away the micro photographers who are producing highly sellable work and try to get them only into macro? If this happened wouldn't the micro's only be left with crap? And then the macros would have better control over pricing?

The "we hate you go away" approach won't work. I would gladly sell photos for more money but other than "premium collection micro" nobody seems to have a gameplan for that.

« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2011, 00:05 »
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i was with PD for many years along with many other RM sites.  the same stuff I am now selling as RF used to sold as RM; how can the quality have dropped just because you exchanged an "M" (RM) for an "F" (RF).

Traditional RM is a dying industry; all photographers with images for sale RM complain about the falling image sales and the inability to make a living at RM; if it was not for teaching workshops to future photographers, most pros in the nature and wildlife fields would be looking for work.

I get a bit of flack as a wildlife microstocker but I am working at the job I want; I don't teach any workshops and I don't go to the same places year after year just to make a dime off students that want to go to the same places year after year.  I'm working in an area that has never had a full-time pro photo. working.  I worked for years in USA, never was recognized as anything but a minor player in a big field; here I am a major player, in fact, pretty much the only player.  Then again, not many photographers are asking to join me at -40 below eating chinese noodles and living in a hovel. :-\

Microstock gives us some of choices.  when I used to supply magazines directly, I needed to be tied to my telephone or internet signal 24/7.  Here, I have not had a phone call in 7 months!

« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2011, 00:20 »
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Viseral,

I am curious where "here" is. I've lived in places that get -40 much of my adult life. It does tend to weed people out, but living in a hovel eating Chinese noddles doesn't sound like you have struck the lottery either. Of course there are some people who like to live in the high Arctic, I know quite a few.  But if you're trying to cut costs, and be that unique photographer in a cheap and distant land, I would think there are far nicer places then what you describe. Just saying... ;o)

UPDATE: I guess I should read profiles more often, as I answered my own question.  Seems you are just across the pond from me. I've heard of some amazing places over in the Far East. In particular Kamchatka. I knew of a fairly famous Japanese photographer that ventured there many times, before unfortunately falling victim to the very creature he loved. 
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 00:28 by gwhitton »

lagereek

« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 01:42 »
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Yet another sour-grapes story! today some 90% of all RM photographers are under various pseudos supplying micros, so what has he got? answer is:  nothing.


« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2011, 01:47 »
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Viseral,

I am curious where "here" is. I've lived in places that get -40 much of my adult life. It does tend to weed people out, but living in a hovel eating Chinese noddles doesn't sound like you have struck the lottery either. Of course there are some people who like to live in the high Arctic, I know quite a few.  But if you're trying to cut costs, and be that unique photographer in a cheap and distant land, I would think there are far nicer places then what you describe. Just saying... ;o)

UPDATE: I guess I should read profiles more often, as I answered my own question.  Seems you are just across the pond from me. I've heard of some amazing places over in the Far East. In particular Kamchatka. I knew of a fairly famous Japanese photographer that ventured there many times, before unfortunately falling victim to the very creature he loved. 

Kamchatka is on the agenda but not there yet; working a bit west in Amur Region for a year.  Next year will be Primorski Krai, home of the Snow Leopards (the few that are left), Amur Tigers and Asiatic Bears; after that, Yakutia-the coldest inhabited place on earth to follow the reindeer for a season.  My goal is to photograph these amazing animals in their natural habitat before they are gone  (the habitat and the animals); I stay in each location a year to be with the animals during a full year and all four seasons.  I have been to my share of zoos and nature parks; nothing like living with the beasts you photograph.  For you, -40 may not be extreme, but for me it has been a bit of a shock-my previous home was Florida.  This year, my personal low was -47

« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2011, 01:52 »
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Yet another sour-grapes story! today some 90% of all RM photographers are under various pseudos supplying micros, so what has he got? answer is:  nothing.

There are two sides to every coin; some only seem to see the negative.  i am doing what I love; where I want to be; and delighted there is some way I can sell enough images to buy enough food to survive another day.  I do this by choice; before I closed my business-I was a research scientist with a private laboratory making more money than I could spend; well, almost-because I was able to spend it all.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2011, 05:15 »
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One of the biggest problems with the site in my opinion is it looks like a Soviet-era apartment complex. The owner really needs to look at what he's competing against, and realize the packaging as important as what's inside, if not more so. It isn't 1995 anymore.
Indeed. Just take iStock's "cutting edge" site design and functionality as an example.  ::)

RT


« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2011, 06:15 »
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"When microstock photographers produce images of the lowest common denominator they widen the gap between the quality of budget pictures and the excellence of the kind of images offered by the professionals on Photographers Direct. Chris Barton asks why Time magazine would pay more when a cover image is available for only $30 but very few of the images being offered for $30 are worthy of being Time covers."

Makes you wonder why Chris Barton keeps bleating on about microstock then doesn't it.

IMO Photographers Direct is a site that's slipping away ( although I've never heard anything positive about it in terms of sales) and rather than do something proactive he chooses to sit in the corner and blame the competition.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2011, 06:31 »
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Plenty low/no sales comments on various Alamy forum threads, of which I think this is the latest:
http://www.alamy.com/forums/default.aspx?g=posts&t=7254

« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2011, 06:53 »
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Mr. Barton probably thinks that more expensive photos = higher income for poor and exploited artists.
I think that more expensive photos = much more stolen photos and no income for no more exploited but even poorer artists.

grp_photo

« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2011, 07:06 »
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The idea is good but the world isn't ready now. ;D
At the current state I wouldn't waste my time with it but you can't deny that some of his arguments are "spot on" like stockastic already said.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2011, 08:01 »
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Mr. Barton probably thinks that more expensive photos = higher income for poor and exploited artists.
I think that more expensive photos = much more stolen photos and no income for no more exploited but even poorer artists.
Oh, I don't know. There were very many micro photos stolen over the Christmas period, no income for poor artists and goodness knows where they'll pop up.


 

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