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Author Topic: Quantity never beats quality  (Read 20510 times)

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wut

« on: May 07, 2012, 05:55 »
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As I'm always saying, but got to really see it today on SS when I finally started tracking my sets. Niche, well executed subjects will always win over huge sets of similars just hoping a designer might need more angles or that he'll find the right one this way. In reality no one will even spot them and most buyers hate seeing tens of images that are virtually identical to each other and suck at the same time (they do in 99% of the cases just go through sites searching by age, big sets=low quality). I've never sold many licences from such series (but then again I have just 2 such series). I always do best when I get home with only a handful of photos in a bad mood really for not getting more shots out of the shoot (and I'm talking about 8 shots or so, not 40, what some may consider a small or even tiny amount).

Here are the results, I think they paint a nice picture, that supports what I'm saying:



Ed

« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 07:06 »
0
This topic gets hashed out about once per week so I'm going to interpret what my cynical eyes see...

Line 1 - 50.4 cents per download
Line 2 - 51.3 cents per download
Line 3 - 50.1 cents per download
Line 4 - 62.7 cents per download
Line 5 - 44.4 cents per download

In the meantime...this crappy non-quality image of mine:



Has been downloaded twice since I created it last October....at $35 per download.  You keep your quality.  I'm happy shooting crappy images.  ;D

wut

« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 07:38 »
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This topic gets hashed out about once per week so I'm going to interpret what my cynical eyes see...

Line 1 - 50.4 cents per download
Line 2 - 51.3 cents per download
Line 3 - 50.1 cents per download
Line 4 - 62.7 cents per download
Line 5 - 44.4 cents per download

In the meantime...this crappy non-quality image of mine:



Has been downloaded twice since I created it last October....at $35 per download.  You keep your quality.  I'm happy shooting crappy images.  ;D


In the mean time every line showing pathetic RPD, made at least 4x more money than, as you called it, your crappy images ;)

Put it on SS and you'll see what you get. Yes, comparing apples to oranges, just as well if I'd look at my sales and RPD of the same photos on Alamy ;)

Ed

« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 07:47 »
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Shutterstock refused the image...as well as the other micros.  I don't blame them.

I shot the image while walking home...the image has made $70 for 10 minutes of work.  That's the equivalent of $350/hour.  Tell us...how much time did you spend on your quality niche image?

The point is, one man's trash is another man's treasure.  If we all shot the same thing, there would be no point in what we do.  What you consider "quality" may be considered crap by a buyer.  What you consider crap may be considered useful and valuable to a buyer.

If it helps, I have the same cycnical views of competitions put on by organizations like the PPA - I don't shoot for other photographers, I shoot for the customer.  I saw potential in the image for a background and I shot it.  It's crap - it's a snapshot - it's not isolated over white and it doesn't have a headset or a handshake.  It is profitable though.

wut

« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 07:50 »
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it's not isolated over white and it doesn't have a headset or a handshake

That's what I consider crap. Utter crap ;) (but yes, it made money up to a few years ago)

lagereek

« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 08:00 »
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We dont determine if its quality or not, thats up to the viewer to decide. All we can do is hope thats some of our work is regarded as, quality. The quality concious buyer will look and pay for quality but really? how many quality concious buyers do you think exist in the micro world? I will bet, 8 out of 10, havent got a clue about quality, nor the amount of work you have put in for an image selling for a buck.

I mean whats quality?  Warhols, Campbell soup cans? Heinz beans cans?  yet you wouldnt get one under a million bucks. A pictures quality is like beauty, its in the eyes of the beholder.

Some would argue: its taken by an HD4, Binuscan PP, etc, etc, expensive hard and softwares, so, it must be quality, but in reallity, it dont mean a thingy.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 08:02 by lagereek »

wut

« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 08:11 »
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I think we can determine what quality is, after all, we're photographers. Who else can determine it, if not us. But if it has selling potential, that's another story altogether. That indeed is for the buyers to decide. But what I was aiming at in the OP is quantity vs quality, or better said, well though and executed images, that were also carefully selected vs let's just shoot some crap/model isolated on white, upload 50+ images from a single series and hope for the best.

Camera, lens etc quality indeed doesn't mean a thing. Well at least not until you don't get over at least 2 mpix (most photos are sold in XS,S and M, I'd say the vast majority when it comes to most contributors). Better gear won't make the concept better, more original or the composition great etc.

lagereek

« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 08:16 »
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I think we can determine what quality is, after all, we're photographers. Who else can determine it, if not us. But if it has selling potential, that's another story altogether. That indeed is for the buyers to decide. But what I was aiming at in the OP is quantity vs quality, or better said, well though and executed images, that were also carefully selected vs let's just shoot some crap/model isolated on white, upload 50+ images from a single series and hope for the best.

Camera, lens etc quality indeed doesn't mean a thing. Well at least not until you don't get over at least 2 mpix (most photos are sold in XS,S and M, I'd say the vast majority when it comes to most contributors). Better gear won't make the concept better, more original or the composition great etc.

You havent heard the old famous saying then? : photographers are the worlds WORST judges and especially when judging their very own pictures.  This expression came around with the famous Magnum agency, :)

jbarber873

« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2012, 08:24 »
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  I did a couple of quality images back in high school. I was very proud of them. But for the last 40 years i have been concentrating on pictures that someone will pay for. It seems to work out better , over the long run.

wut

« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2012, 08:32 »
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OK, but you 2 do realize, that among the top sellers, let's say among the popular results at SS, the vast majority of the photos are quality, not the opposite. Because like sheat, the best images always float to the top ;) . Let's focus on facts now, not personal opinions.

Not saying that I don't agree with you on judging the quality. Of course I mean quality within the stock images, stocky stuff, not something you shot in high school and you're proud of. Or art images etc, that are great, but won't sell. No, among those that are in the stock libraries

Ed

« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2012, 08:43 »
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OK - here's a question for you.  Which image is of better quality....




One image outsells the other by at least 10 to 1.

I'll give you a hint...don't tell anyone, but, they are the same image...

wut

« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2012, 08:47 »
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OK - here's a question for you.  Which image is of better quality....




One image outsells the other by at least 10 to 1.

I'll give you a hint...don't tell anyone, but, they are the same image...


Honestly, both are crap. I'd say the isolated could be used more broadly (especially because the bg is really messy and distracting), but judging from what you tried to show me with your first photo, I'd say the first.

Ed

« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 08:54 »
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The image isolated over white is my best seller at Shutterstock.

Want to know a little industry trade secret...the folks that are successful at this and do it for a living...they would take the first image, upload it.  They would isolate it as I have...and they will upload it.  They will take an image of an American Flag, and upload it it.  They would isolate the image of the American Flag, and upload it.  They would take the isolated image of the American Flag and the isolated image of the score board, and combine them, and they would upload it.

The guy that was the master at this was Bob Mizerak (RJMIZ).  He passed away a couple of years ago...his portfolio lives on at DT.

So....to get back to your original point...quality vs. quantity.  Based on the example above...5 images modified (quantity) or 2 images straight out of the camera (quality)?

It takes folks a while to figure this out.  It clicked with Wisconsinart on DT yesterday per his recent blog post...some folks have been doing this for years (and it was much easier to get away with in the early years).

velocicarpo

« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 09:05 »
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We dont determine if its quality or not, thats up to the viewer to decide. All we can do is hope thats some of our work is regarded as, quality. The quality concious buyer will look and pay for quality but really? how many quality concious buyers do you think exist in the micro world? I will bet, 8 out of 10, havent got a clue about quality, nor the amount of work you have put in for an image selling for a buck.

I mean whats quality?  Warhols, Campbell soup cans? Heinz beans cans?  yet you wouldnt get one under a million bucks. A pictures quality is like beauty, its in the eyes of the beholder.

Some would argue: its taken by an HD4, Binuscan PP, etc, etc, expensive hard and softwares, so, it must be quality, but in reallity, it dont mean a thingy.

I fully agree! Usually I would tend to agree with Wut - quality beats quantity. However, after 6 years in MS I learned that you NEVER know what a buyer wants or needs. Sometimes I am even surprised what I buy myself. I have similars. I sell similars. I am currently happy with my income. And yes, many buyers are not professional designers and don`t know much about quality.

wut

« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 09:10 »
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The image isolated over white is my best seller at Shutterstock.

Want to know a little industry trade secret...the folks that are successful at this and do it for a living...they would take the first image, upload it.  They would isolate it as I have...and they will upload it.  They will take an image of an American Flag, and upload it it.  They would isolate the image of the American Flag, and upload it.  They would take the isolated image of the American Flag and the isolated image of the score board, and combine them, and they would upload it.

The guy that was the master at this was Bob Mizerak (RJMIZ).  He passed away a couple of years ago...his portfolio lives on at DT.

So....to get back to your original point...quality vs. quantity.  Based on the example above...5 images modified (quantity) or 2 images straight out of the camera (quality)?

It takes folks a while to figure this out.  It clicked with Wisconsinart on DT yesterday per his recent blog post...some folks have been doing this for years (and it was much easier to get away with in the early years).

Well I don't see any top contributors doing it.

What you're saying is not quantity over quality issue, well at least not exactly. It's not about taking and also uploading 5x more shots that you normally would (if you had an assignment or had to pick out the best images), but rather about composing images, making 3 out of one etc.

I guess they won't get away with it much longer, at least not on such a big scale to make it worth while. Even if they get accepted the number of buyers will diminish in time. Because the quality standards are rising. Look at what MS looked like back in 2004/05 and what it looks like now, how good the new images have to be to really sell. I know since I've started just over 2 years ago and I know I can't get away with such simple, snapshot kinda images that sold in the beginning of MS (brick walls and everything you could just come by and shoot).

wut

« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2012, 09:14 »
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We dont determine if its quality or not, thats up to the viewer to decide. All we can do is hope thats some of our work is regarded as, quality. The quality concious buyer will look and pay for quality but really? how many quality concious buyers do you think exist in the micro world? I will bet, 8 out of 10, havent got a clue about quality, nor the amount of work you have put in for an image selling for a buck.

I mean whats quality?  Warhols, Campbell soup cans? Heinz beans cans?  yet you wouldnt get one under a million bucks. A pictures quality is like beauty, its in the eyes of the beholder.

Some would argue: its taken by an HD4, Binuscan PP, etc, etc, expensive hard and softwares, so, it must be quality, but in reallity, it dont mean a thingy.

I fully agree! Usually I would tend to agree with Wut - quality beats quantity. However, after 6 years in MS I learned that you NEVER know what a buyer wants or needs. Sometimes I am even surprised what I buy myself. I have similars. I sell similars. I am currently happy with my income. And yes, many buyers are not professional designers and don`t know much about quality.

I agree about most MS buyers are clueless, but than again velocicarpo, humour me and make a few sets at SS ;) .

P.S. I posted a few questions for you in the 3rd world country traveling thread and am very interested in your opinion since you're a native. I'd very much appreciate it if you're in the mood ;)

Ed

« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2012, 09:22 »
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Well I don't see any top contributors doing it.


Hahahahaha.....take a look at Yuri's portfolio.  You may not see it because he has so many images, but he does it...and quite often.

Take a look at this image => http://fr.fotolia.com/id/7469010

Do you really think he got 21 people together at once or do you think it's a composite of various people from various shoots?  Before you answer, take a look at the reflection on the ground - the front folks are missing.  Someone else posted this image in a different thread.

The reason it isn't obvious to you is because of the quantity of images he has in his portfolio.  When you average 100 images from a shoot, and create composites from them and combine them with multiple other shoots, and they are mixed in with 20,000 other images, it's not as noticeable.


wut

« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2012, 09:28 »
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But this is not really comparable to what you wrote in your previous post. Not even close enough. He does this occasionally with studio shots, you said it should be done all the time with on location shots (like your score board or the American flag that you mentioned), basically making 3 images out of every single one. This is not even photography anymore, in it's true meaning that is.

Ed

« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2012, 09:38 »
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But this is not really comparable to what you wrote in your previous post. Not even close enough. He does this occasionally with studio shots, you said it should be done all the time with on location shots (like your score board or the American flag that you mentioned), basically making 3 images out of every single one. This is not even photography anymore, in it's true meaning that is.

I never said something should be done or shouldn't.  I was pointing out the quantity over quality issue.  I agree it isn't photography - it's graphic design.  Back in 2005 and 2006 RJMIZ was a top contributor.  I know many folks have and still do take this approach...and many are now considered top contributors and they weren't back then (including Yuri).

You can learn a lot by looking through a person's portfolio.  Not to look at what their top sellers are so you can copy them, or to compare your work to theirs, or to try to judge what is "quality" or what is "marketable" but to look and see how they do business.  You will learn a ton from it.

wut

« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2012, 09:43 »
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You can learn a lot by looking through a person's portfolio.  Not to look at what their top sellers are so you can copy them, or to compare your work to theirs, or to try to judge what is "quality" or what is "marketable" but to look and see how they do business.  You will learn a ton from it.

I completely agree. And do that often.

« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2012, 09:45 »
0
I think we can determine what quality is, after all, we're photographers. Who else can determine it, if not us. But if it has selling potential, that's another story altogether. That indeed is for the buyers to decide. But what I was aiming at in the OP is quantity vs quality, or better said, well though and executed images, that were also carefully selected vs let's just shoot some crap/model isolated on white, upload 50+ images from a single series and hope for the best.

Camera, lens etc quality indeed doesn't mean a thing. Well at least not until you don't get over at least 2 mpix (most photos are sold in XS,S and M, I'd say the vast majority when it comes to most contributors). Better gear won't make the concept better, more original or the composition great etc.

But the post really has nothing to do with quality, it has to do with sales potential....

Microbius

« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2012, 10:12 »
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I had a very definite policy of quality over quantity for about a year out of the six or so I've been at this. It was the only time I have seen a downturn.  Last year or so I have been definitely concentrating on quantity over quality, and the growth is back better than ever.

You know what the funny thing is? the more images I create the better I get. The time I was really taking my time going for quality I saw next to no improvement in my work. Now I am just going for quantity I can't help but improve and my quality has also shot up unbidden.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2012, 10:15 »
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"Quality" is totally subjective/opinion.
The image which fills a buyer's need is the best one for their purpose.
Whether you submit similars is up to the rules of each agency and your own choice. Occasionally buyers ask for several similars of one model for a particular purpose. Of course, if you rate rpi more than overall earnings, or care two hoots about your dl/ul ratio, you won't upload similars.

lagereek

« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2012, 10:27 »
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Quality?, quantity?,  who cares?  the art of Micro, is to find a nieche, then squeeze the lifeblood out of it, thats the secret.

Just look at all the lifestyle shooters, I mean really,  could you tell one handshake, one group of people, one young business-man, from another. All the top-ten black diamonds at, IS, are into lifestyles and you couldnt separate one from another,  to me they look all the same. BUT!  they do sell and sell well, all of them.

That gives a fair idea of what the average micro buyer is after, doesnt it?  dont give a toss about quality. The average micro buyer is a punter, not an art-director.

« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2012, 11:06 »
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That gives a fair idea of what the average micro buyer is after, doesnt it?  dont give a toss about quality. The average micro buyer is a punter, not an art-director.

agreed - but then why oh why do some of the MS agencies go ape$h!t in rejecting images that may have a small flaw when viewed at 200%?
Riddle me that Batman...


 

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