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Author Topic: Photographers beat Microstock  (Read 10974 times)

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« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2011, 08:02 »
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My small RM portfolio does OK on alamy.  I think some people will be able to sell RM, there's still a market for it.  There's always people complaining about poor sales with RM and RF.  Those that do OK are usually much quieter.  It's also good for contributors because if my photo sells to a newspaper and then I see it on a calendar, I know that license hasn't been purchased and I can do something about it.  That's usually much harder with microstock RF, as I have no idea what the people buying my images are using them for.

I really don't want to see RM killed off and I don't think it will happen but I do wish we all had the choice of selling RF or RM at any price point we want.

I don't like the RM people knocking microstock but I feel just as bad about microstock RF contributors wishing for the demise of RM.


« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2011, 10:06 »
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...but I do wish we all had the choice of selling RF or RM at any price point we want.

This makes a lot of sense to me. I think more control and setting prices seems like what should happen at a lot of these agencies. It probably won't though.

lisafx

« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2011, 10:15 »
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I don't like the RM people knocking microstock but I feel just as bad about microstock RF contributors wishing for the demise of RM.

Are there microstock contributors wishing for the death of RM?  I do read a lot of comments that RM is dying, but wasn't aware anyone was celebrating about that. 

« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2011, 11:08 »
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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.  

I didn't take it as literally as you did.   By 'quality' I think the writer meant something other than the absence of 'artifacts' :-).    I like to think he was talking about images that took some time, thought, originality and maybe even a few dollars to produce.     Sure there are quality images in microstock; but of course many of them never made back their cost of production.   Some contributors are now highly skilled at turning out cookie-cutter model shots with perfect white balance, and they make money, and they're happy with the microstock business.  That's fine for them.  Others are seeing money left on the table because they can't find away to connect with buyers who would actually be happy to pay a few dollars more.

The internet was supposed to create the perfect market, where sellers of every commodity could readily find the buyers looking for their product.  It hasn't quite worked out.  Instead, a small number of middlemen, with a mindlessly simplistic business model that created a downward price spiral, have succeeded in monopolizing the channel.  Buyers don't seem able to route around them, even if they're interested.  There's just too much noise, we can't be heard as we stand on street corners hawking our wares.

« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2011, 11:27 »
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The request forum on PD isn't too bad. Most of it is very specialized, but there are some good ideas there that can be used for microstock.

http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/requests.asp

« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2011, 11:42 »
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Instead, it is the same old "divide and conquer". 
To be fair, it was the microstock concept that divided the market, by offering images at very low prices. And microstock conquered. :D

A colleague from SP reports good results in PD. He is an excellent landscape photographer, with some amazing seascapes and US National Parks, and he's licensed images and sold prints there.

ShadySue

« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2011, 11:43 »
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How much does it cost to hire a plane?
EDINBURGH CITYSCAPE WITH ARTHUR'S SEAT, SCOTLAND
     We are looking for an image of Edinburgh cityscape over Arthur's seat (it should be in the background but with quite a prominent view).
It would be used for editorial purposes online as well as on national press (newspapers)up to a year.
   
Budget:     
Cover, full page:     UK200       (full page, cover of book, magazine or brochure)

The elevated view of Edinburgh is generally shot from the edge of Arthur's Seat. To get Arthur's Seat in the foreground, you'd need to be in a plane above the hill. How could you shoot the cityscape 'over Arthur's Seat' with AS in the background? If AS was in the background, the city would be at the front with the hill in the background, and that would be not be the cityscape 'over Arthur's Seat'.
There are a few classic views of the city 'from' Arthur's seat on iStock, and no doubt other sites.

« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2011, 14:14 »
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The internet was supposed to create the perfect market, where sellers of every commodity could readily find the buyers looking for their product.  It hasn't quite worked out.  Instead, a small number of middlemen, with a mindlessly simplistic business model that created a downward price spiral, have succeeded in monopolizing the channel.  Buyers don't seem able to route around them, even if they're interested.  There's just too much noise, we can't be heard as we stand on street corners hawking our wares.

It's all still evolving. It will be interesting to see how it changes down the road. Micro is still pretty young, so I expect some growing pains. A lot of us are learning along with them too about what works and what doesn't.

« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2011, 14:23 »
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The internet was supposed to create the perfect market, where sellers of every commodity could readily find the buyers looking for their product.  It hasn't quite worked out.  Instead, a small number of middlemen, with a mindlessly simplistic business model that created a downward price spiral, have succeeded in monopolizing the channel.  Buyers don't seem able to route around them, even if they're interested.  There's just too much noise, we can't be heard as we stand on street corners hawking our wares.

It's all still evolving. It will be interesting to see how it changes down the road. Micro is still pretty young, so I expect some growing pains. A lot of us are learning along with them too about what works and what doesn't.

That's true.  The hard part though would be to get the price up off of the floor, now that buyers are comfortable with the idea that the photographer gets 19 cents - and they have no idea who he is.   This business has been pretty thoroughly trashed, it would take time to rebuild it.   

« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2011, 15:10 »
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That's true.  The hard part though would be to get the price up off of the floor, now that buyers are comfortable with the idea that the photographer gets 19 cents - and they have no idea who he is.   This business has been pretty thoroughly trashed, it would take time to rebuild it.   
I think there's some truth to that. Why should a web image really cost any less than a high res? You're buying the same license. It's just an excuse to sell cheap files. At some point, these companies may have to decide if they want to be agents or crowdsourcers. The problem is most of them have too many contributors to actually represent them properly.

« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2011, 15:22 »
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It's all still evolving. It will be interesting to see how it changes down the road. Micro is still pretty young, so I expect some growing pains. A lot of us are learning along with them too about what works and what doesn't.

I agree except for the part where micro is pretty young. In this day and age, where change happens daily, 10 years seems pretty mature to me. I sometimes wish there a slow down button.

lisafx

« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2011, 16:50 »
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I didn't take it as literally as you did.   By 'quality' I think the writer meant something other than the absence of 'artifacts' :-).    I like to think he was talking about images that took some time, thought, originality and maybe even a few dollars to produce.     Sure there are quality images in microstock; but of course many of them never made back their cost of production.  

Who said anything about "artifacts"?? 

No, we both took "quality" the same way.  Although there is certainly a lot of cookie cutter garbage on the micro sites, there are also higher production value, more original types of images.   Whether they make back the cost of production, that's another issue.  But it is a blanket inaccuracy to say it is all the same cheap, mass produced junk. 

« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2011, 19:01 »
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cthoman,

To your question, should there be difference between "web" and original image in pricing? Yes. They aren't the same thing. The uses of the web-sized image are limited for obvious reasons.

Talking about the evolution of microstock, I personally wonder if eventually micro-RF doesn't turn into micro-RM, where you are a given some additional control over pricing based in particular on the entity purchasing the image.  There is no way in my opinion that an organization like Vanity Fair/Wiley-Blackwell should be allowed to get away with paying cents for a magazine/book cover shot, when it has 10's of thousands if not millions of subscribers/readers. But at the same time there is a market for small-time bloggers, book authors, and organizations that can and should be served. And to expect them to pay $500 for an image is ridiculous, especially when its web-only size.

How exactly you would structure that usage model and its pricing I don't know, but I think its possible, and I think it can be made fair for all.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 19:05 by gwhitton »

« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2011, 20:25 »
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To your question, should there be difference between "web" and original image in pricing? Yes. They aren't the same thing. The uses of the web-sized image are limited for obvious reasons.

I don't really care how you use it (web, print or other). It's not rights managed. Just sell one size and that's how much the license to use the image costs. That's how vectors work at many sites, and it is a much better system than the multiple sizes system. I think photographers should demand the same system. As more and more media moves towards the web and digital formats like the ipad, why should web or digital media get discounts over print. You're selling an image license not a size.

« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2011, 20:33 »
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To your question, should there be difference between "web" and original image in pricing? Yes. They aren't the same thing. The uses of the web-sized image are limited for obvious reasons.

I don't really care how you use it (web, print or other). It's not rights managed. Just sell one size and that's how much the license to use the image costs. That's how vectors work at many sites, and it is a much better system than the multiple sizes system. I think photographers should demand the same system. As more and more media moves towards the web and digital formats like the ipad, why should web or digital media get discounts over print. You're selling an image license not a size.

Excellent points.

« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2011, 20:40 »
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Why leave money on the table when different sizes bring different use opportunities and should require more cost?  If vectors weren't infinitely resizable, they'd be sold the same way.

« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2011, 21:25 »
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Why leave money on the table when different sizes bring different use opportunities and should require more cost?  If vectors weren't infinitely resizable, they'd be sold the same way.

I think that argument could be made either way. Why give discounts to people that would have paid full price? Most people just want an image, so they don't care if they pay $1 or $10. From my experience, most of my money is made with the bigger ticket sales in volume. You know that day when someone comes in and buys 5 or 10 images at the max size. The small size sales are just filler. I also wonder about the sustainability of volume sales at low prices too. Volume is hard to maintain. I look at SS and I see a site that really hasn't grown at all in sales. I just sell more On Demand now to make up for the lost volume. I'm sure there is an equation to figure out the sweet spot where volume meets price. Look, it is just a rant, but it is something to think about.


« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2011, 23:21 »
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Why leave money on the table when different sizes bring different use opportunities and should require more cost?  If vectors weren't infinitely resizable, they'd be sold the same way.

I agree with this. We may not like it, but different sizes are a mechanism to charge a premium for increased utility.  It also offers the added benefit of providing for two markets, the low end user, and the high end user.

It will also offer a way in the future for medium format digital users to differentiate themselves from the 35mm crowd that won't be producing 100MP images anytime soon.

« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2011, 00:13 »
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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.

Bloody pros coming over here and stealing our sales! I vote for Fair-Trade Microstocking, where we throw out all these money-grubbing professionals with their high-quality photography and keep all the earnings for ourselves. Strictly on the basis of high-minded principles, of course.

lagereek

« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2011, 02:12 »
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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.

Bloody pros coming over here and stealing our sales! I vote for Fair-Trade Microstocking, where we throw out all these money-grubbing professionals with their high-quality photography and keep all the earnings for ourselves. Strictly on the basis of high-minded principles, of course.

What!!  huh ;),  only trouble is, there isnt all that much in pro photography today exept maybe on the freelance commercial market. The old adage, paying for quality and therefore buy RM doesnt hold anymore. Very, very few RM ports can offer something above the best of Micro and this is the fact that angers some people.
Must admit, some 5 years back I was cursing the Micros myself but then when I started to see quality, it was obvious that micro was one avenue to go.

best.

« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2011, 10:15 »
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although updated, the PD article is quite old. I think on here we talked a couple of years ago about how many customers have read it and then probably gone to the micros to get cheap images :) Dealt with PD years ago cant say I'm convinced on PD deserving of the super-ethical soapbox that it is trying take.
I think it is all a bit too late for the anti-micro stuff, its here, its done there is too much money involved. Perhaps if more macros had been more willing to take people on, copy some of the croudsource model, make huge libraries like alamy, things may be different...

OM

« Reply #46 on: March 06, 2011, 09:50 »
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I'm really angry that nobody is sticking up for us wet plate photographers.

It's all a load of old collodion. ;)

« Reply #47 on: March 06, 2011, 15:22 »
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I'm really angry that nobody is sticking up for us wet plate photographers.

It's all a load of old collodion. ;)

Or the combined abestos installers union


 

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