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Poll

Do you believe in sharing your knowledge or keeping it secret?

Share everything
17 (19.8%)
Share some stuff
50 (58.1%)
Don't share
19 (22.1%)

Total Members Voted: 74

Author Topic: Share your knowledge or keep it secret?  (Read 16350 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« on: June 24, 2011, 21:17 »
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There seems to be some strong opinions on this from two camps.

Some openly share everything including their best secrets and think it will improve photography overall.

Some share little to nothing and think giving away knowledge trains your competition.

What's you take on this and why?


« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 21:25 »
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I guess it depends on what kind of knowledge you share.  Many share model lighting techniques or something along these lines but when you actually try to use it, failure.  That's because there's so much more to nailing that image, including equipment, settings, "the touch" and other intangible visual aides that are likely not to be shared.  Even if they are shared, he uses Canon and you use Nikon.  He uses Photomax and you use Elichrome. He has an all white studio you have a garage.  Just a few reasons why sharing is safe under many conditions.

« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 21:49 »
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I believe that the most people dealing with FB, Twitter and here at this forum are already sharing, some do share a lot more other a lot less.. perhaps on this forum (which everyday we open it) there isnt much or perhaps zero technical stuff (the occasional help on a newbie which somestimes go nasty or quite well) but overal there is nobody "sharing" their techniques/gear photography/illustration

is that what you are talking/asking? or you are into best sellers, niches or little tricks regarding submiting and such? or even agencies that might be pulling good numbers and "we" dont talk about them?

or about contributors that hide portfolios perhaps to keep their business running smooth and I must say I agree if somebody want privacy.. actually about that I have been thinking a lot lately and also telling other that posting uploads/sales daily on twitter or facebook wont help their business.. and why? because I do have a small group of people on my FB and 95% share this stuff and a week later or such people have "copied" they sales and they are taking/decreasing other people sales.. not that pictures werent online already but this all spam around "sold xx pictures today ...." is been very prejudicial to them.. some like the LIKES.. come on if you have no buyers/designers at your FB it will just screw or business sooner or later..

I am a sharing guy, if someone pops out on chat or send me an email I am totally open, I am not going to say what I sell mostly, if someone wants to find out, they can open portfolio and such and they the research themselves.. I also post my monthly earnings but I believe that not what you are looking for at this topic..

I also believe that contributors above 1k $ and such are more open but I am sure that wont take longer, I am talking less and less and I believe that more people into stock arent good, something that when I got to this forum I didnt enjoy when people keep on telling nothing to see here, move along.. but overall I am an open book, I dont know much but a lot more than when I started two years ago
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 21:51 by luissantos84 »

« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 21:55 »
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I like learning, and I like teaching.  In another life I might well have been a teacher, and I might even have been good at it.  I also refuse to see photography as some kind of zero sum game, even this little microcosm of microstock.  Helping others to get better won't hurt my own skills and isn't likely to have much of an effect on my revenue. 

That's part of what I hate about iStock's tier scheme; they've turned us into competitors who only win when someone else loses.  I'd rather enjoy my work, and learning and experimenting and teaching others is a very real part of that enjoyment.  And if others do better with what I teach them than I do, well, I'm sure lots of teachers have had that experience too.

« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 22:00 »
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I like learning, and I like teaching.  In another life I might well have been a teacher, and I might even have been good at it.  I also refuse to see photography as some kind of zero sum game, even this little microcosm of microstock.  Helping others to get better won't hurt my own skills and isn't likely to have much of an effect on my revenue. 

That's part of what I hate about iStock's tier scheme; they've turned us into competitors who only win when someone else loses.  I'd rather enjoy my work, and learning and experimenting and teaching others is a very real part of that enjoyment.  And if others do better with what I teach them than I do, well, I'm sure lots of teachers have had that experience too.

^^ Excellent post.

« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 22:50 »
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Helping others to get better won't hurt my own skills and isn't likely to have much of an effect on my revenue.  

That's part of what I hate about iStock's tier scheme; they've turned us into competitors who only win when someone else loses.


Well, those two sentences conflict, don't they.
http://blog.johnlund.com/2011/05/under-radar-or-in-spotlight.html
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 22:52 by sjlocke »

« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 23:23 »
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Helping others to get better won't hurt my own skills and isn't likely to have much of an effect on my revenue.  

That's part of what I hate about iStock's tier scheme; they've turned us into competitors who only win when someone else loses.


Well, those two sentences conflict, don't they.
http://blog.johnlund.com/2011/05/under-radar-or-in-spotlight.html


They're only in conflict if I let iStock get away with creating that conflict.  That's why I'm withdrawing from that particular field.  Well, that and the fact that iStock pays me pennies and treats me like crap.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2011, 01:48 »
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Share!

Microstock photography is not difficult, but it takes a lot of time and devotion - so those who are serious about it will find out anyway sooner or later, while most people will give up even if you showed them the way.

There's no reason to keep it secret, I like to help people if I can.

« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2011, 02:07 »
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I share just about everything.  Well, anyone who's willing to listen.  I think only about 20% of what I share, others actually follows.  But, now and days, everything about techniques, products, etc. can be found on the internet.  There's always someone sharing something.  I share my experiences and techniques because photography is a passion.  When anyone has a passion for anything, they tend to spread the word or teach others about what they discover.

Even though I'm still fairly new in photography, I have no issues in sharing to others less knowledgeable in photography.  Maybe one day the person I've shared with will learn something new and share something he/she learned.

Slovenian

« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2011, 04:31 »
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By sharing you get feedback and info from other people (they are more open to share if you are) and so we can all better ourselves. If you're scared of someone getting an edge on you because you shared some info or even secrets, than you're lacking confidence (which can be a bigger problem than leaking some info).

Not that I'm falling completely for Yuri's "I share everything", but it works great for him, he gets so much publicity and ppl like him for sharing info. And he can afford to share lots of info, he's a few steps ahead of most ppl and at least a step ahead of top contributors, even top exclusives at IS, who have much better port exposure, ports that are bigger (because they can upload so much more) and compared to him, they still look like clueless school boys/girls. So if it works for Yuri, I really don't know why wouldn't it work for all the rest. Perhaps that's the key, competitive edge on the top exclusives at IS. Sharing. Because they all make the same type of imagery anyway (Lise is an exception, her work is indeed interesting, not all boring, generic, cheesy smiled, stocky stuff), so images can't make that much more difference (even if Yuri's are a bit better). By that logic (only the content matters), he should make way less, but it's the other way around.

« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2011, 06:29 »
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Don't share! Unless you are skill-challenged yourself you get nothing in return (the only exception is where people sign on to your referral links. You might want to help them)

« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2011, 09:31 »
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Not that I'm falling completely for Yuri's "I share everything", but it works great for him, he gets so much publicity and ppl like him for sharing info. And he can afford to share lots of info, he's a few steps ahead of most ppl and at least a step ahead of top contributors, even top exclusives at IS, who have much better port exposure, ports that are bigger (because they can upload so much more) and compared to him, they still look like clueless school boys/girls. So if it works for Yuri, I really don't know why wouldn't it work for all the rest.

Images are what gets buyers.  "Publicity" gets you photographer fan boys.

« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2011, 09:38 »
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I share everything-except that little light that goes off in my head that says-"That is the photo you are looking for"

Smiling Jack

« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 11:14 »
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In my experience, most people ignore most of my advice most of the time. When someone asks for help, I usually share what works for me. Then they tell all the reasons they think my advice won't work. *sigh*

« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2011, 11:25 »
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I don't mind sharing knowledge. Is there something that is really a secret? What make some more succesful than others is experience, hard work and talent.

« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2011, 12:19 »
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totaly agree with Madelaide...
+
"Every step has a secret. Its not one. And it does not apply to every photo.
Keep shooting.Experience makes the difference.
The only truth is that there is not a single face similar to other."

« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2011, 15:33 »
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I don't mind sharing knowledge. Is there something that is really a secret? What make some more succesful than others is experience, hard work and talent.

But creating more competition doesn't help. Look at the guy Yuri trained who's on iStock - his 240 sales a day are coming off someone else, aren't they? And we can guess who is hardest hit. There may be others who have to spend a year at a lower earnings level because someone they helped picks up the redeemed credits they would have had - If you get 30% instead of 35%, then 16% of your year's income could have gone down the tube. For an exclusive on the 35% borderline, that would probably be around $5,000 gone as the price of being nice to someone.

There aren't any secrets but it can take hard work to find the answers. Why provide those answers on a plate to people who can't be bothered to look for them themselves?


« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2011, 16:10 »
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I dont mind sharing.

In my experience most people completely underestimate how much work good stock is. Once they try, they give up pretty fast. The ones that do take my advice and become productive usually have something to give back as well.

Those who are hell bent on copying me will do so anyway. Pictures and downloads are open to see for everyone.

Ive shared many things (finance, health, photography, social) over the internet and still feel I got back 10 times more in information and time saved when I did my own searches.

ETA: the bell curve on istock is demotivating. I know many people who are relcuctant to share openly on the forums. Sue has a point when she said that it is part of the reasons why so much community interaction is moving behind closed doors on facebook. Unfortunately it is a negative spiral. The less goes on in the forums, the more we share on facebook, the less time we spend on the forums...etc...

istock used to be my one stop "watering hole" to hang out all day while I was working. Now my attention is split over several sites and I am becoming active in non-photo ccircles as well. In the end you just follow the fun. I hope that at least the money (buyers) stays with istock...
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 16:18 by cobalt »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2011, 16:50 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.

« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2011, 16:59 »
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Oh come on, I also thought Sean was strange when I first got on the forums. He is a complete newbie asking simple questions. He wil learn about us all pretty soon...;-)

And probably as soon as he realizes how much work it is...probably move on..and tell everyone that there is no money in stock...
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 17:03 by cobalt »

« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2011, 17:21 »
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I don't see why my initial question was strange.  Of course, once he came back the way he did, he gets what he gets.

« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2011, 18:01 »
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Your question was the best one in that thread. I am referring to those long ago dark ages in 2005 when I got onto istock and watched all the different characters on the forum with amazement. But it didnt take long to realize your sometimes snarky comments were great at speeding up the conversation. They still are. Straight to the point.

SNP

  • Canadian Photographer
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2011, 00:18 »
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is it too ironic to respond to the OP?  :) lots of people have been really nice as I've learned the stock ropes over the years. in my experience, very little harm--but potentially a lot of good comes from reciprocating kindness. I try to help where I can, but I admit that it's tough not to feel competitive at times.

« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2011, 00:34 »
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Sharing is caring.

grp_photo

« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2011, 01:27 »
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Mostly I'm just too lazy to share my knowledge - maybe it is good thing maybe not - who knows.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2011, 07:55 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.


It always makes me giggle a bit when some of the basically noname amateur photographers in microstock expect the red carpet to roll out for them, because they sold many pictures somewhere : )) Face it dudes and dudettes, teen starcraft shoutcasters are known by 'bout 10000 times more ppl then these guys who started with reading their forst DLSR's manual something like 6 years ago.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2011, 08:49 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.


It always makes me giggle a bit when some of the basically noname amateur photographers in microstock expect the red carpet to roll out for them, because they sold many pictures somewhere : )) Face it dudes and dudettes, teen starcraft shoutcasters are known by 'bout 10000 times more ppl then these guys who started with reading their forst DLSR's manual something like 6 years ago.


Sean actually made a good point. From now on if some newbie wants my knowledge they can pay for it. Or give me something in exchange. I may not have a huge portfolio but my sales performance is probably in the top 5% tier or better.

I love teaching and helping but the latest newbie brought me back to reality that this is still a business. And in business if someone wants advice they hire a professional services person/company. A consultant, lawyer, whatever. In business do you ever see a bunch of people sitting around waiting to help another business for free? And especially help competitors? 

I'll continue helping people here that I like but this is first and foremost, a business.


« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2011, 08:54 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.


It always makes me giggle a bit when some of the basically noname amateur photographers in microstock expect the red carpet to roll out for them, because they sold many pictures somewhere : )) Face it dudes and dudettes, teen starcraft shoutcasters are known by 'bout 10000 times more ppl then these guys who started with reading their forst DLSR's manual something like 6 years ago.


I don't recall any regular here calling for the 'red carpet'.  Besides this game is all about selling 'many pictures somewhere'.  Otherwise, why are you here?

All things in moderation.  'Help' and other stuff.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 08:56 by sjlocke »

« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2011, 09:29 »
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Share everything and anything. Unless the person is acting like a total *, then just clam up and grin at them for as long as is reasonably polite Then cave and share everything. Unless of course they persist in being a *, then tell them that sorry your camera's got twigs in it and photoshop flooded.

« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2011, 09:48 »
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I don't mind sharing knowledge. Is there something that is really a secret? What make some more succesful than others is experience, hard work and talent.

I agree with that. Except of course.. Edit: On second thoughts, I'd better just keep stum.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 22:44 by Microstock Posts »

lisafx

« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2011, 17:58 »
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I like learning, and I like teaching.  In another life I might well have been a teacher, and I might even have been good at it.  I also refuse to see photography as some kind of zero sum game, even this little microcosm of microstock.  Helping others to get better won't hurt my own skills and isn't likely to have much of an effect on my revenue. 

That's part of what I hate about iStock's tier scheme; they've turned us into competitors who only win when someone else loses.  I'd rather enjoy my work, and learning and experimenting and teaching others is a very real part of that enjoyment.  And if others do better with what I teach them than I do, well, I'm sure lots of teachers have had that experience too.

^^ Excellent post.

+2.  You captured my feelings on the subject perfectly Disorderly. 

I enjoy sharing photography tips, and also information about how to upload to the sites.  That sharing, learning, and teaching aspect was a big part of what drew me to photography in the first place.  Not to mention when I started photography seriously I got tons of help from the good people on the Sony, and then Canon forums at dpreview.com.  I guess I am just paying it forward. 

It's been a long time since I discovered and under-covered or not-covered hole in the stock libraries.  I seriously doubt there are any anymore.  But if I were to think of one, that is information I would NOT be sharing.

lisafx

« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2011, 18:13 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.


Oh gee, I managed to overlook that one.  I tend to skip those "Hey, I just got my first camera and I want you to teach me how to use it and make millions in my spare time" threads. 

It's not that I don't want to help to a sincere microstock newbie, but it has always irked me no end that some people expect others to do all the legwork for them and hand them a career on a platter.  What makes anyone who doesn't even know how to take a properly exposed picture or use a basic lighting setup think they should be offering their images of their cats, or their garden, or last night's dinner, for sale commercially?   Cart before horse, people.   ::)

ShadySue

« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2011, 18:44 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.

I'm pretty sure that guy is a troll. I don't really think he's an 'innocent newbie'. Admittedly, I was 'defensive' as first; nd still have to check that tendency. Nevertheless, even if Sean's 'tough love' was hard to take at first, it was pretty obvious that someone with his track record for sales gives some advice, or prompts you to think deeper, you need to pay at least some attention.  ;)

« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2011, 19:32 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.

I'm pretty sure that guy is a troll. I don't really think he's an 'innocent newbie'. Admittedly, I was 'defensive' as first; nd still have to check that tendency. Nevertheless, even if Sean's 'tough love' was hard to take at first, it was pretty obvious that someone with his track record for sales gives some advice, or prompts you to think deeper, you need to pay at least some attention.  ;)


If he isn't he certainly needs a class on emotional intelligence.

« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2011, 21:27 »
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I guess I am just paying it forward. 
Exactly. At some point, some people helped us, and now we can help others.

The amount of time you put on it may vary, and it depends on the attitude of the person who is receiving the information as well. When I feel genuine interest, it is more gratifying to help.

nruboc

« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2011, 22:19 »
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"Share your knowledge or keep it secret?"

Really it doesn't matter one way or the other. Just don't be a douche and bait newbies on the forum, some actually seem to take pleasure in doing so...sigh
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 22:29 by nruboc »

« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2011, 17:14 »
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I give classes to art school photo classes on how to keyword and how to get started in stock.  Most of the students find that the workflow, keywording, and systems I recommend for shooting and submitting too time consuming.  In my humble opinion, if you are wanting a real income from stock, you have to look at it as a real job. 

One of these days I will write a book on keywording and stock photography from an editor's perspective.  Until then, I am always happy to help where I can. 


« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2011, 19:40 »
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I didn't see the answer I would want to give - I used to help, but I've stopped. It was largely via the iStock critique forum and I truly enjoyed the process of working with people there. I think I learned something through the process as well.

I'm not a big enough person to see past iStock's September 7th changes which destroyed, for me, the notion that we could build the business long term not only by what we sold but by having support for people starting out or anyone not sure of what to do with an image. Their changes said, to me, that there is no long term and there is no partnership between contributor and agency. In the climate of a grabby free-for-all, I'll spend my time on my own work and trying to boost my own share.

I hope at some point another opportunity like that might surface

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2011, 20:16 »
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I've always taken the view that the techniques of stock may be relatively simple, but the effort and dedication required to actually make something from the images makes the difference between someone playing at it and someone who is going to be successful. I've always been pretty open on my blog about what I do and why I do it, and part of that is because I like writing and hopefully passing on my enthusiasm to others (even though they may theoretically take some sale from me in the future.)

I finally decided to try to monetize that advice a little through writing a "how to get started in Stock" eBook and so far 14 happy people have been tempted to part with their cash!! ;D

At this rate, the book will become my third best selling site behind Shutterstock and iStock!

Steve

jbarber873

« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2011, 20:29 »
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   When I was an assistant ( a long time ago in a land far far away), there were 2 photographers in NY who were the top shooters. I worked for one and my best friend worked for the other guy. There was a group of maybe 10 of us who all worked for the heavy hitters, and after work, we would all sit around and compare notes about what we were working on, and how the photographer accomplished something. The amazing thing was how many different ways there were to get to an end result. When the guy I was working for found out I knew the assistant for his top competitor, he made me swear that I would never talk about how something was done at his studio. Of course I swore up and down that we never talked shop. Meanwhile we would grab outakes ( film) and trade techniques back and forth. We all benefited from this. The reason it worked was that we shared- that is everyone gave and everyone took. It wasn't just a one way street- you had to earn your way in by where you worked. And I've never stopped learning, It just becomes a way of life. But it should be a fair trade, not just you help me and I'll see ya later.

« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2011, 20:32 »
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At this rate, the book will become my third best selling site behind Shutterstock and iStock!

eheh are you kidding no? you sold 14 books for 5$ each? not saying it bad or good but they arent like pictures, I dont believe you will sell 14 every month  ;D

« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2011, 22:50 »
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I won't share specifics about what works for me, such as the subject matter and styles that sell well.  There's simply too much to risk for me in creating copycats.  Not that the regular posters here would ever do that... but I'm sure there are lurkers and people curious about microstock who would do so if they knew my images and my numbers.

But I try to share general advice for two reasons: 1. To steer people down the right path and improve their own numbers, and 2. To improve microstock as an industry.  That benefits me.  I think there's a danger that if microstock continues to be flooded with the same old images that buyers don't really want, they'll get frustrated and stop buying.  That's not good for any of us.

And speaking of that advice, I'll share it again here:  try to find subject matter that isn't well-covered already, and create a style that is your own.  Approach subjects in a manner that no one else is doing / can do.  If you do this, you don't have to worry so much about "feeding the beast" and showing up at the top of the "most recent" search results.  That's the strategy of people who have nothing unique to offer.  If you're truly doing something unique, you'll sell well because your competition will be minimal.  I expect several people will say I am crazy, that there are no subjects that aren't already overcovered, but they are wrong.  I wish I could show you my port and my sales to prove it, but... well, see my first few sentences.  So get out there and do something NEW and UNIQUE.  You help yourself, you help the industry, and in doing so, you help me.

RacePhoto

« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2011, 01:40 »
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It's stuff like this that keeps pushing me closer to just not bothering to help or share knowledge anymore.


Nothing but a one day wonder. He came, registered, did a self destruction thread and blew away in the wind.  :o

Most people are willing to listen and get advise in drops, not expecting a whole perfect bucket of gold when they ask some vague and obviously uninformed questions, and somehow manage to disagree or insult the people who answer. The person doesn't have a camera, software or a clue and then says, no one here answered with anything helpful? LOL

Last time someone asked for advise and then started in disagreeing with me, (operating some specialized equipment and proprietary software) I said, why did you ask if you already knew all the answers and all about how to do it, better than I do?  ;D

As for the OP question: What Knowledge? I know nothing.  :D
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 11:05 by RacePhoto »

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2011, 08:38 »
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Quote
Quote from: steheap on Yesterday at 20:16
At this rate, the book will become my third best selling site behind Shutterstock and iStock!

eheh are you kidding no? you sold 14 books for 5$ each? not saying it bad or good but they arent like pictures, I dont believe you will sell 14 every month  Grin

About one copy a day so far, and I have just managed to get it on Amazon as a Kindle book. I get a reasonable number of hits to the site from Google searches (rather than the restricted set of folks on a forum) and so it may continue - who knows! At least I have paid for the shopping cart functionality that I added to my Wordpress site and could start selling other things now for no incremental cost. Anyone want a Canon AE1 camera?

Steve

WarrenPrice

« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2011, 09:10 »
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Quote
Quote from: steheap on Yesterday at 20:16
At this rate, the book will become my third best selling site behind Shutterstock and iStock!

eheh are you kidding no? you sold 14 books for 5$ each? not saying it bad or good but they arent like pictures, I dont believe you will sell 14 every month  Grin

About one copy a day so far, and I have just managed to get it on Amazon as a Kindle book. I get a reasonable number of hits to the site from Google searches (rather than the restricted set of folks on a forum) and so it may continue - who knows! At least I have paid for the shopping cart functionality that I added to my Wordpress site and could start selling other things now for no incremental cost. Anyone want a Canon AE1 camera?

Steve

Congrats on getting the book on Amazon.  About that Wordpress shopping cart.  Are you doing your own site development/programming or having it done?

« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2011, 09:35 »
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I won't share specifics about what works for me, such as the subject matter and styles that sell well.  There's simply too much to risk for me in creating copycats.  Not that the regular posters here would ever do that... but I'm sure there are lurkers and people curious about microstock who would do so if they knew my images and my numbers.

But I try to share general advice for two reasons: 1. To steer people down the right path and improve their own numbers, and 2. To improve microstock as an industry.  That benefits me.  I think there's a danger that if microstock continues to be flooded with the same old images that buyers don't really want, they'll get frustrated and stop buying.  That's not good for any of us.

And speaking of that advice, I'll share it again here:  try to find subject matter that isn't well-covered already, and create a style that is your own.  Approach subjects in a manner that no one else is doing / can do.  If you do this, you don't have to worry so much about "feeding the beast" and showing up at the top of the "most recent" search results.  That's the strategy of people who have nothing unique to offer.  If you're truly doing something unique, you'll sell well because your competition will be minimal.  I expect several people will say I am crazy, that there are no subjects that aren't already overcovered, but they are wrong.  I wish I could show you my port and my sales to prove it, but... well, see my first few sentences.  So get out there and do something NEW and UNIQUE.  You help yourself, you help the industry, and in doing so, you help me.

Exactly.  I have nothing against sharing general advice.  Or stuff about equipment.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2011, 10:07 »
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Quote
Congrats on getting the book on Amazon.  About that Wordpress shopping cart.  Are you doing your own site development/programming or having it done?

Thanks for the kind comments on the Amazon bit - a "published" author at last!! I tried to post the link here but the forum software is changing the link before it inserts it. I'll write to Leaf about that.

I have done all the wordpress stuff myself. Wordpress is a great system that has worked flawlessly for me. To add the shopping cart, I looked at the available plugins (some free, some paid) and was impressed by the WP eStore plugin ($49) as it seems to have a combination of very easy installation coupled with a lot of flexibility to sell physical as well as digital products, have discount coupons, sales etc. I'm only scratching the surface with my installation. Installing was a breeze - you just click "install" and it all works automatically. The integration will Paypal was already configured, although I had to create a new account with Paypal. I tested it by creating my book as a product sold at $0.05 (I know, that is what it is worth ;D), and bought a copy myself from my old Paypal account. It provides you with an automated email that includes a unique and time limited download link for the actual book. All in all, a very easy process.

I have only had one problem - someone in China couldn't download the book, but he emailed me and I sent one successfully as an attachment via email. I suspect it was a problem in China rather than a flaw with the process.

Steve
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 10:11 by steheap »


WarrenPrice

« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2011, 10:46 »
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My WP site is hosted at GoDaddy.  I have no idea how to make any other than very simple changes.  A friend did all the work while he was unemployed.  He found a jog.... dang it.   :P

Shank_ali

    This user is banned.
« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2011, 16:40 »
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" Can you please take a look at my portfolio and tell me why i am not selling many of my photographs." How many times do we need to read that on the forums.
No-one needs to share there knowledge.The good selling files are pretty much staring contributors in the face.Go do the same....
The good critique i once recieved was about basic photography but i never  needed to enquire about what sells.I have tryed to return that helpful advice in the last few years but realised not many people are prepared to work hard if the sales are not guaranteed and they certaintly aint !
Do  Pro's still enjoy photography even though it's a job?

« Reply #49 on: June 28, 2011, 21:56 »
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Hi All,

 I want to take a minute out to share a section of a blog from a very good friend of mine. He has been making cutting edge stock photos for 25 years and this is part of his take on sharing. Thank you John Lund for all you have shared with me over the years, you are a true professional.


Staying Under The Radar Isnt The Answer
One thing I have learned over the last twenty years is that staying under the radar isnt the answer. The courage to share your process (within reason), to get your work out in front of everyone, and to rise above those very reasonable fears of seeing your work, ideas and techniques stolen in so many ways, brings with it rewards that cannot be denied. Do you think the benefits Chase Jarvis gains from sharing his world online out-weighs the risks of being copied and the threat from competition that is enhanced by the information he doles out?

The Benefits of Sharing
In my own experience the benefits of sharing have been enormous. The rewards have ranged from free gear (I was once given a $45,000.00 Leaf Digital Back on the condition that I share my results with the camera at trade showsduh!), to important contacts (in the long run more important than gear), free film, and all manner of opportunities. If I hadnt been open to sharing I would never have been invited to join Blend Images as a founding partnerprobably the biggest opportunity in my career. The latest reward for putting my work and ideas out there is in the form of traffic to my website that continues to increase weekly. Yes, I get ripped off all the time, but my rewards are definitely greater than my losses.

best,
Jonathan

lisafx

« Reply #50 on: June 29, 2011, 11:06 »
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^^ Interesting perspective Jonathan.  Thanks for sharing that :)

« Reply #51 on: June 29, 2011, 18:34 »
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Very interesting post indeed, Jonathan. A consultant once told me: you get more than you give when you share.

« Reply #52 on: July 02, 2011, 14:25 »
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Hi shank_ali_reborn,

 I still love photography after 23 years and hope I always will but I do see a lot of people that lose touch with their passion over time and get distracted by chasing the money, I have been guilty of it in the past. I think it is important to realize how lucky you are to be able to pay the bills by taking photos. It just doesn't get any better in my opinion.

best,
Jonathan

Slovenian

« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2011, 15:07 »
0
I don't mind sharing knowledge. Is there something that is really a secret? What make some more succesful than others is experience, hard work and talent.

But creating more competition doesn't help. Look at the guy Yuri trained who's on iStock - his 240 sales a day are coming off someone else, aren't they? And we can guess who is hardest hit. There may be others who have to spend a year at a lower earnings level because someone they helped picks up the redeemed credits they would have had - If you get 30% instead of 35%, then 16% of your year's income could have gone down the tube. For an exclusive on the 35% borderline, that would probably be around $5,000 gone as the price of being nice to someone.

Yeah that's just that dog eat dog way of thinking IS is forcing on us and some of you fell for it. No need to explain who profits the most from it;). It's the most basic extortionate capitalistic way of doing business. Make your employees fight for every cent, turn them against each other, make 'em compete for those pathetic few $ more. If they are united, they pose a threat.

I won't do it (I never did it working my day job. I told a couple of my bosses to shove it). I don't even care about IS, it's not even my top earner, not even close.

« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2011, 21:17 »
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'I have been guilty of it in the past.'

... until you had enough ;) ...

« Reply #55 on: July 02, 2011, 23:07 »
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It's the most basic extortionate capitalistic way of doing business. Make your employees fight for every cent, turn them against each other, make 'em compete for those pathetic few $ more. If they are united, they pose a threat.

Do you really imagine that teaching newbies how to get stuff accepted is going to create a sense of unity that will threaten iStock's ability to dictate terms? If so, I think you are wildly off track.

Who do you think it is who has benefited most from the "community spirit" sense of co-operation in the past? The people giving advice? The people getting it? Or iStock which had its suppliers (not employees, please note - try claiming some employees legal rights from iStock and see how far you get) running a free training course for each other?

As for the "you get more out of helping others than you put into it" mantra, fair enough if you are using it as a marketing tool to sell yourself or your products or to get referral earnings (as Yuri does) but casually showing people how to compete against you without having a clear idea of how to monetise that (and at a level that will compensate for iStock's new commission system) is counter-productive.

How many threads have there been down the years complaining that "dilution" undermines earnings? I don't see how anyone can square that with the idea that they will help themselves by helping competing suppliers to become successful. Unless, of course, selling images is just a lure and your main strategy is to generate referral income or to use it to sell some product - a book, training courses or whatever - as a few people seem to do very successfully. 

« Reply #56 on: July 03, 2011, 00:12 »
0
As for the "you get more out of helping others than you put into it" mantra, fair enough if you are using it as a marketing tool to sell yourself or your products or to get referral earnings (as Yuri does) but casually showing people how to compete against you without having a clear idea of how to monetise that (and at a level that will compensate for iStock's new commission system) is counter-productive.

This kind of thinking only works if you base your decision-making entirely on the values of profit and self-gain. 

Life's a bigger box than that isn't it?  How about the unquantifiables?  The happiness you get from helping someone do something they never thought they could do? And the mixture of annoyance and excitement when they start competing against you? The despair when they beat you to the ground?  The devilish enjoyment of creating a cunning plan to defeat them? The desperate training montage where you become a master in 3.2 minutes? And the dnouement where you both, lying broken in the dirt, overcome your differences and decide to go and conquer the world together?

I'm a big fan of money but you know what the dalai lama would say - he'd say (i get his fb status updates) the only chance of real happiness is through acts of compassion. 

So the real question is: is it an act of compassion to introduce someone to microstock - or is it more humane to club the idea to death while it's still young?


lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #57 on: July 03, 2011, 03:31 »
0
What secrets? Someone really needs some harry potter magic book to manage floodlighting people (or anything) on white background or to choose attractive friendly-faced models?... *... must be a joke. If someone is so confused about reading the lighting from a pic f.e., just zoom on the model's eye. Many photogs don't have the resources to produce some of the best selling stuff, that is the problem for most, there are no secrets.

Slovenian

« Reply #58 on: July 03, 2011, 05:45 »
0
It's the most basic extortionate capitalistic way of doing business. Make your employees fight for every cent, turn them against each other, make 'em compete for those pathetic few $ more. If they are united, they pose a threat.
Do you really imagine that teaching newbies how to get stuff accepted is going to create a sense of unity that will threaten iStock's ability to dictate terms? If so, I think you are wildly off track.

No one said newbies, at least I surely didn't. I'm talking about the sense of unity that diamond videographs showed, pushing IS into a corner and giving them higher royalties for Vetta. IS had to back off, because of their unity;). For once they were, the weak, powerless and had to swallow the fact that they're getting a smaller cut. I'd love to see that in the photo community, not just for the money, but also for the pure perverse pleasure of seeing the greedy corporate *insult removed* taking a hit.

IMO your way of thinking is exactly the kind IS would want from every contributor.

IS is creating the same kind of inequality neoliberalism is; a handful of wealthy ppl (owners) is profiting from extorting all the rest. They're giving the most important contributors a taste of fairness by giving them 40%+, so they keep their mouth shut. They're just to dumb to realize they're being ripped off and are in fact being quiet, because they are gloating for getting a bit more than the rest of the peasants. Those top contributors are just like IS, to shortsighted and greedy to be able to make a threat of pulling their port unless they raise the royalties by 50%. Which would be fair (not to non-exclusives though).

And yes like someone mentioned, there are unquantifiables, such as happiness.

Discussing this is so pathetic in a way. Capitalism is based on indefinite growth. Which is impossible. IS is one of the worst in the way they're following this doctrine (trying to sell us unsustainabilty etc) and it's working since half of the contributors or even more is thinking alike (companies should see indefinite profit growths etc). It seems we have learned NOTHING from the last recession, everything is just the same as it was and the next recession surely is near. IS's end is also near, as most ppl can see from their stats (members with big ports have to produce vast amounts of new material, as much as possible of A/V stuff, to just stay even compared to last year, if they are on the same percentage of course), they'll possibly join the middle tier in a couple of years.

« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2011, 06:50 »
0
"Life's a bigger box than that isn't it?  How about the unquantifiables?  The happiness you get from helping someone do something they never thought they could do? And the mixture of annoyance and excitement when they start competing against you? The despair when they beat you to the ground?  The devilish enjoyment of creating a cunning plan to defeat them? The desperate training montage where you become a master in 3.2 minutes? And the dnouement where you both, lying broken in the dirt, overcome your differences and decide to go and conquer the world together? "

To each his own.  I'm happy paying my mortgage so my kids have a nice house to grow up in.  I'm happy not having to work doing something I hated - now I'm having a great time doing what I do.  I'm happy I can go on vacation with my family.  Maybe that will change when I'm older and looking for some sort of validation or something.  Right now, I'm pretty happy :) .

« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2011, 06:52 »
0
What secrets? Someone really needs some harry potter magic book to manage floodlighting people (or anything) on white background or to choose attractive friendly-faced models?... *... must be a joke. If someone is so confused about reading the lighting from a pic f.e., just zoom on the model's eye. Many photogs don't have the resources to produce some of the best selling stuff, that is the problem for most, there are no secrets.

If it were so easy, we wouldn't have people who just bought their camera coming in here looking for step by step guides to the easy-micro-life they imagine. 

Give your knowledge and experience some value, eh?

« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2011, 10:44 »
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Right now, I'm pretty happy :) .

And here I thought you were grouchy all the time.  ;D

I don't think there is anything wrong with sharing. I really enjoy what I do, so when people want to listen to me jabber on about it I'll usually share. Like others here, I occasionally give really smart a$$ answers to some of those questions you've heard a thousand times. Also, I like to give bad advise to throw off the competition. Kidding... or am I? [insert maniacal laughter here]  ;)

P.S. I feel bad that I missed that other thread. I have a Canon Rebel, and I take really crumby pictures with it. I think that is mostly operator error though. ;D

« Reply #62 on: July 03, 2011, 12:00 »
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It's never enough Sean ;D

Cheers,
J

« Reply #63 on: July 03, 2011, 12:30 »
0
Dat da truth.

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #64 on: July 03, 2011, 17:00 »
0
What secrets? Someone really needs some harry potter magic book to manage floodlighting people (or anything) on white background or to choose attractive friendly-faced models?... *... must be a joke. If someone is so confused about reading the lighting from a pic f.e., just zoom on the model's eye. Many photogs don't have the resources to produce some of the best selling stuff, that is the problem for most, there are no secrets.

If it were so easy, we wouldn't have people who just bought their camera coming in here looking for step by step guides to the easy-micro-life they imagine. 

Give your knowledge and experience some value, eh?

There are ppl who need a manual and several warnings about temperautre for a McDonalds apple pie, so what, that deosn't mean it's a secret, just that they'r stupid.

« Reply #65 on: July 03, 2011, 18:02 »
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eye reflection wont take anyone far ;D

post processing take a big cut too but the picture we took on "set" will be the first "light" it will get, we can get pure white on shooting etc but the real stuff is to master the light you are using (which takes a few more time than seeing softbox/beauty/ring whatever on eye and the approximate angle)

lisafx

« Reply #66 on: July 03, 2011, 18:55 »
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eye reflection wont take anyone far ;D

post processing take a big cut too but the picture we took on "set" will be the first "light" it will get, we can get pure white on shooting etc but the real stuff is to master the light you are using (which takes a few more time than seeing softbox/beauty/ring whatever on eye and the approximate angle)

All true^^.  But I won't discount the usefulness of eye reflections.  I used them a lot when I was learning, and it did help.  I still will zoom in on the eye if I see an image that has particularly interesting lighting and I can't figure out how it was done. 


« Reply #67 on: July 03, 2011, 19:08 »
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I do it too ;)

lagereek

« Reply #68 on: July 04, 2011, 01:22 »
0
I tend to agree with both Sean and Baldrick on this one.

Stock however is just ONE way of commercial photography, most tend to forget there is a gigantic world outside stock-photography. Im talking about dayrate work, assignments, commissions, journalism, Advertising, fashion, Industrial, etc, photography.

This is a "word by mouth" world based on skill, contacts and recomendations, a world which, and I say "fortunately" is closed for neewbies, competitors, etc, and where these little 20MP cameras dont count for very much.
A serious creative client with a budget for say advertising, very, very seldom consult any picture-agency, ofcourse there are as alway exeptions, but in general thats true.
A young assistant in a photo-studio will watch and learn from you and then comes the day when he himself is ready to go on his own, not only will he have learned from you but on the way he will also make damned sure he takes a couple of client with him. Its a way of life.

See, stock-photography, any kind or form of this, isnt really associated with Professional photography, not in the eyes of the graphic or media industry, its not.
Even the very best within the RM, has not really ever been looked upon as professional photography.

Stock, is and will always be looked upon, no matter, RM, RF, micro or whatever,  the universal "dustbin", left-overs over pictures that really couldnt cut it in the real world of photography.

« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2011, 04:48 »
0
It's the most basic extortionate capitalistic way of doing business. Make your employees fight for every cent, turn them against each other, make 'em compete for those pathetic few $ more. If they are united, they pose a threat.
Do you really imagine that teaching newbies how to get stuff accepted is going to create a sense of unity that will threaten iStock's ability to dictate terms? If so, I think you are wildly off track.

No one said newbies, at least I surely didn't. I'm talking about the sense of unity that diamond videographs showed, pushing IS into a corner and giving them higher royalties for Vetta. IS had to back off, because of their unity;). For once they were, the weak, powerless and had to swallow the fact that they're getting a smaller cut. I'd love to see that in the photo community, not just for the money, but also for the pure perverse pleasure of seeing the greedy corporate *insult removed* taking a hit.

IMO your way of thinking is exactly the kind IS would want from every contributor.

I really don't see how you jump from sharing skills (but not with newbies, apparently) to diamond-level videographers uniting to protect their commercial interests. Do you really got together because they share techniques with each other? You don't think it might be purely about a ridiculous plan to make supposedly premium clips pay lower commissions than non-premium ones, thereby making it stupid for any diamond videographer to have material in the premium collection?

Do you think Yuri and Lise Gagne should huddle together to share information about the minute technical detail that made one image or another particularly successful, and that doing so will make them join forces against the next iStock outrage?

We are not employees or workmates in a co-operative; we are all small, private businesses in competition with each other. That's a fact, not a point of view. And businesses do not usually benefit from making their competitors more successful. We have a common interest in getting the best deal from the agents who handle out work but that is completely different from having a common interest in teaching each other how to improve our photography or get a bigger slice of the overall earnings.

You are completely wrong about my thinking being what iStock would want. It is the exact reverse of what iStock would like. Istock would love to have all the black diamonds and diamonds "sharing the secrets" of making big-selling pictures with bronze and silver-level contributors. That would shift sales away from people taking 40% commission towards people making 30% commission, boosting iStock's commission.

So I think you are confusing sharing photo skills with being united because of common interests, you possibly don't understand that you are now a small businessman in a competitive world, and you wrongly believe that iStock is more interested in sowing disunity among contributors than it is in making as much money as possible - which is what the united, sharing community it used to have did for it.

It may look as if iStock would like to drive wedges between its contributors but I'm pretty sure that's just an accidental side-effect of the RC system.
 

« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2011, 05:49 »
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Good post again!

RT


« Reply #71 on: July 04, 2011, 05:53 »
0
Stock however is just ONE way of commercial photography, most tend to forget there is a gigantic world outside stock-photography. Im talking about dayrate work, assignments, commissions, journalism, Advertising, fashion, Industrial, etc, photography.

I agree with this.


This is a "word by mouth" world based on skill, contacts and recomendations, a world which, and I say "fortunately" is closed for neewbies, competitors, etc, and where these little 20MP cameras dont count for very much.

I don't agree with this, it use to be but unfortunately nowadays the majority of commissioned jobs even from blue chip companies couldn't care less what equipment you use, the very high end advertising stuff may demand it but unless you've got a good agent or you're shooting a niche industry with little competition you're not even going to get a look in. I hardly ever quote on commissioned work now because experience tells me that when it comes down to the final decision I'll be hit with being asked to compete with some wedding/family portrait snapper that has quoted at a quarter of my rates, and I have NEVER been asked what camera I use, just like the stock industry these days anybody with a camera can set themselves up as a commercial photographer and for some unknown reason they seem willing to do it for peanuts.

lagereek

« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2011, 06:11 »
0
Stock however is just ONE way of commercial photography, most tend to forget there is a gigantic world outside stock-photography. Im talking about dayrate work, assignments, commissions, journalism, Advertising, fashion, Industrial, etc, photography.

I agree with this.


This is a "word by mouth" world based on skill, contacts and recomendations, a world which, and I say "fortunately" is closed for neewbies, competitors, etc, and where these little 20MP cameras dont count for very much.

I don't agree with this, it use to be but unfortunately nowadays the majority of commissioned jobs even from blue chip companies couldn't care less what equipment you use, the very high end advertising stuff may demand it but unless you've got a good agent or you're shooting a niche industry with little competition you're not even going to get a look in. I hardly ever quote on commissioned work now because experience tells me that when it comes down to the final decision I'll be hit with being asked to compete with some wedding/family portrait snapper that has quoted at a quarter of my rates, and I have NEVER been asked what camera I use, just like the stock industry these days anybody with a camera can set themselves up as a commercial photographer and for some unknown reason they seem willing to do it for peanuts.

Hi there!

Yep!  youre right in a sense, although when it comes to advertising, pr, even some annual-reports, middle spreads, etc, I must say the majority of ad-agencies or at least the ones Im working with, well, they dont stipulate make of camera but they certainly demand enough to dig out the MF and backs, etc.

However, with time that might change as well, leaving nothing over for us that do comissioned work.

Willing to do it for peanuts!  yes and you know why, simply because they dont know or have never experienced the differance.

RT


« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2011, 06:15 »
0
We are not employees or workmates in a co-operative; we are all small, private businesses in competition with each other. That's a fact, not a point of view.

Absolutely correct and it's exactly why I laugh every time I see posts about forming a union, we don't work together we work against each other.

The problem is a lot of people here aren't running a small business they're earning pocket money from their hobby, these are the folks that see some top stock shooters "sharing" and don't understand that they're using that to promote themselves and their business not because they want everyone to become more successful. They're the 'caring, sharing, baby kissing, hand shaking politicians' of the stock photo industry

RT


« Reply #74 on: July 04, 2011, 06:19 »
0
Willing to do it for peanuts!  yes and you know why, simply because they dont know or have never experienced the differance.

I can understand wanting the experience, what I can't understand is how these guys can afford to do it so cheaply or why the clients would accept the quality folks like that pump out.

lagereek

« Reply #75 on: July 04, 2011, 07:29 »
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Willing to do it for peanuts!  yes and you know why, simply because they dont know or have never experienced the differance.

I can understand wanting the experience, what I can't understand is how these guys can afford to do it so cheaply or why the clients would accept the quality folks like that pump out.

Well its a new generation of photographers and buyers. Few weeks back a young AD phones me, asking me to take some shots of the Gothenburg container-port, he said " oh I want it digital ofcourse"  I said OK, only the previous one wanted it Velvia, E6 processing, He then said, " *! I wouldnt know what to do with trannies".

That just about sums it up,  they dont know!  this happend to be an Advertising guy,  then try to imagine what the average Micro buyer is like.

« Reply #76 on: July 04, 2011, 08:22 »
0
I read somewhere or other that there are entire industrial regions now where you can't find a drum scanning service. Without that, Velvia probably isn't much use. On an Epson flatbed scanner you are struggling to get the same quality as a 20MP digital file out of a 6x6 neg.  So the young guy was right: you use what the industry can handle.
There aren't many people out there who would know how to make a flong from hot metal, either. It's called progress.


lagereek

« Reply #77 on: July 05, 2011, 02:01 »
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I really dont know if you can call that progress. The more electronics in a new car, the more will go wrong and the more often you end up with heavy repair bills, is that progress?

I did a search on IS, for a professional lumberjack with protective gear and everything, I found one on page 10 ( if I remember correctly) on previous pages, way up front were some kids playing with an axe, shot by daddy ofcourse and with zero dls ofcourse but as far as the search? these kiddie pics were more relevant?
Progress?
Dont think so. Embarrassing rather.

« Reply #78 on: July 05, 2011, 02:41 »
0
Well, I wasn't talking about cars - though I do remember that back in the 60s it was quite normal for the radiator to boil halfway up a hill or to need starting with the crank-handle (what happened to those?), whereas my current car has had only one breakdown (recently, due to dirt in the radiator) in nine years. So some credit for improved quality should go to the car makers.

The switch from film to digital is generally regarded as progress, which is why drum scanning services are getting to be as hard to find as crank-handles. There's not much call for either. Or for flongs.

I doubt if anyone except an iStock employee would consider their bizarre keywording and search system and results to have anything to do with progress, as you still need the crank-handle for when it stalls. The prize for progress in search engines must belong to Google.


 

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