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Author Topic: The Blame Game  (Read 24622 times)

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« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2010, 02:11 »
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I think there is a bit too much focus on 'who is pro' and 'who is not' and where the line should be drawn.  I do agree that it is nice to know when someone posts about a 100% increase in earnings when they have a portfolio of 20 images, but to shun people who are 'not pro', however you define the term, or if we take the attitude that they don't have anything to ad - I think is narrow sighted.

For some reason there seems to be some sort of vibe that microstock shouldn't be for people who are new - that you need to be a seasoned pro before you can submit to the micros.  Perhaps this is part of the negativity seen?

I think that is forgetting what microstock IS and how it started.  Microstock is crowd sourced and can be contributed to by everyone.  If the images aren't good enough they won't get past the review process.  Micro is one the stock arena where everyone is allowed to play no matter how many images you have or how long you have been involved in the industry.  Being so tightly reviewed it allows everyone to at least try submitting.  Some people are happy making $50 a year - that should be fine.  For those who want an arena which is an exclusive club and only pro's can submit - they should apply to Getty or Corbis or one of the big macro agencies.  

I'm not for drumming up hype that microstock is any sort of unopened treasure chest, but to discourage someone simply on the basis that they are 'new' or don't have top notch images, I think is unfair.

edited for clarity - .. hopefully it is clearer.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 03:00 by leaf »


« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2010, 02:32 »
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This trade doesn't belong to anyone.  ...

I agree with you, and I'm sure that's what most people here think, too. I've been a member here for three years, joining shortly after I started my career in this industry. I always openly encourage people to improve their skill, both on this forum and in person.

I don't think there should be a need to differentiate people at all. ...

I don't agree with that, and I don't quite understand why do, leaf - why did you implement the 'speed gauges' if you didn't think it was necessary to diffentiate between the various experience levels present here? My only problem with this forum is that there are a lot of people here who seem to enjoy 'spouting off' about things they know little about. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not some sort of microstock authority - I'm just weary of having to wade through all sorts of misinformation to get to the good stuff, that's all.

« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2010, 02:54 »
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I also have a perhaps-related quesion:
it seems that people are differentiating "less-pro" (to avoid derogatories) people versus pros by the size of the portfolio.
Shouldn't we be measuring the user's level by something like RPI (or your favourite similar stat)...?
Speaking generally, there are always certain tendencies typical for certain groups of people; and there are always some individuals within these groups who don't follow these tendencies.

What we see quite often in this forum is that "new" contributors argue very hard and make very strong conclusions about microstock market being there only for a short time and having very little portfolio. Of course "new" here is just a label, some people remain such "new" for years. And not all "new" behave like that. And no, portfolio size isn't a bulletproof indicator of a "pro" but it gives some idea about the person, and how reasonable his/her judgments are.

I like how jsnover explained that:
There are a few people who have more posts here than images in their portfolios and for the most part I think the best way to deal with incivility from this group is just ignore them. If people don't have any stake in the game, why feed the trolls by arguing with them?

« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2010, 03:00 »
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I don't think there should be a need to differentiate people at all. ...

I don't agree with that, and I don't quite understand why do, leaf - why did you implement the 'speed gauges' if you didn't think it was necessary to diffentiate between the various experience levels present here? My only problem with this forum is that there are a lot of people here who seem to enjoy 'spouting off' about things they know little about. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not some sort of microstock authority - I'm just weary of having to wade through all sorts of misinformation to get to the good stuff, that's all.

Yeah, I should have explained myself better - which I have now done.   I do think it is nice to see where people are coming from when they are making a statement, which is a good reason to differentiate people. 

RT


« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2010, 04:37 »
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For some reason there seems to be some sort of vibe that microstock shouldn't be for people who are new - that you need to be a seasoned pro before you can submit to the micros.  Perhaps this is part of the negativity seen?

I don't get that vibe at all, the vibe I get and certainly the one I try to put out is that there's nothing wrong with being new (we were all new at some point) but don't expect to have things handed to you on a plate, anybody that's had any success in microstock has done it by hard work, long hours, learning the craft and doing the research. I will and do support people who want to do the work but need a little guidance but I won't support or respond kindly to the one's that come here with questions like "what should I shoot" "how much do you earn" "what's your best seller" and I have even less patience for the one's who sole aim is to get info to put on their blog for enticing referrals to make an easy buck.

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2010, 05:19 »
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This trade doesn't belong to anyone.  I believe everyone should be free to try their skills at a trade, and if they're good, they should be allowed to prosper.   You can't build a wall around your little industry and kick down people as they try to enter.  That's protectionist (bad) and elitist (not much better).

Everyone, ask yourself: when you started in your livelihood, whatever it is, did the veterans in your industry kick you down and say you shouldn't be allowed to prove yourself and grow your skills?  Sure, you had competitors who felt threatened by your arrival, but was there a concerted effort by your peers to keep you out?  That's what it feels like here.

I'm a sensible person.  I'm not going to help anyone submit images in my style and in the niches I've found are successful for me.  But I am going to share some common sense insights that I've figured out along the way, offer encouragement, and speak out in defense of a newbie's freedom to put his or her skills to the test.  And if that scares the veterans out there, you better step up your game.  God didn't grant you the position you hold today.  You worked hard to get where you are, but you can't deny others the right to do the same.

when i started years ago there were no forums nor blogs nor fast internet connections.
agencies required an initial batch of 500 edited pictures sent on CD and it took ages
to get a reply from them and month to see the images online.

and i had no one teaching me the trade as anyone here were doing weddings or
assignments, never heard of photographers selling stock in my town apart for
news with getty/ap/afp/reuters.

so i can tell you, years ago it was much tougher than today and yet there
were plenty of photographers doing it anyway.

this was good because only the ones really wanting to do this job
were applying to agencies and getting their foot in the door.

nowadays it takes a few holiday shots and in a few hours you can join
many agencies and start selling right away.

of course now there's too much people and too many images and
sales fall down, they destroyed the eco-system and i can't see
how it can fix itself ... it's broken and it's too late now.


if anyone can be a photographer and if anyone can sell photos, THEY WILL.
multiply this for tens of thousands of newbies and you get the actual
scenario.

and i'm seeing the same dark situation in journalism and photo journalism
where they lowered the bar so much that the big question is if there will
be still full time journalists in 10 years from now.

there are plenty of interns and temps in national magazines in europe getting paid
as low as 500 euro a month, yes it's less than grilling burgers and they
all have degrees and post-degree accreditations.

at the same time a good wedding photographer can make 3000 euro in a day
and have a good lunch and dinner included.

it's gonna be very tough from now on for those shooting very generic images.
and in my opinion microstock has not yet hit the rock bottom, this is just
the tip of the iceberg as the getty guys are only after the money and couldn't
care less if their contributors are starving, for them is the more the better...
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 05:27 by macrosaur »

« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2010, 06:03 »
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When all is said and done it is the buyer who decides who has their finger on the Zeitgeist of commercial imagery.  Those who are successful are successful for that reason and that will always be a truism, no matter what competition exists.  As to the value of this craft, well, when you invite the world to compete then the premium for exclusiveness is eliminated.  Thats the microstock concept . . . . like it or not.

But what must be frustrating is the copying of someone's point of view or concept.  Years ago I had a one man show of my paintings in New York.  Some other artist copied  one of my works,  the next month it was on the cover of Art In America (the artist obviously had financial backers since that is the easiest was to get on the cover of an important magazine), I was not pleased.

lagereek

« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2010, 06:27 »
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I dont like newbies at all. They smell, bad breath and general BO and then they come with their stupid little 2mp shots and expect heaven and earth.
Boycott them! out with them in the cold even better send them to Riyadh for stoning.

Lisa is right actually. Were all on the same side. Good point.

RT


« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2010, 06:51 »
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There's been a few threads recently discussing upcoming events where one of the topics is 'the future of photography' and in our case the future of stock photography, as somebody who does this for a living I face the same dilemma as many others in my position and that is we need to justify our production costs against our income, and those production costs involve a very important factor and that is our time.
 Selling images via microstock puts us up against many amateurs for whom time is not an important factor, years ago before I took this up for a living I was into wildlife photography and would think nothing of "stalking' a subject for two or three days, I have a photo of a wild rabbit in my port that took me four mornings of lying on my stomach covered in camouflage waiting for the right moment, it sells well enough but I could not commit to doing that now for the microstock market as I'd go bust, my point being that even though I like to go for the quality rather than quantity approach in my port I still need to produce a fair number of images each year to make a living, and to make a living I need to get a justifiable amount for the work I put in.

 Buyers searching for images do not differentiate between the guy doing this for a living producing 1000 images a year and the guy doing this for fun producing 10 images a year, and they don't care how long or how much it cost all they want is the best image, the microstock sites themselves don't seem to care either as there is no discernable recognition and this is what I feel will lead to the microstock sites own self harm because in time the full timers won't be able to justify selling via microstock because the return is not sufficient enough, the microstock sites will still get quality shots from part timers but not in the quantity they'll require.

So my own interest regarding the future of microstock photography is how can a person doing this for a living compete against someone who is prepared to sell at a loss if the sites do not recognise that we need sales volume or commission to match our level of input, and my question to the microstock sites would be " Who do you consider more valuable 500 full time photographers producing 1000 quality shots a year, or 20,000 amateurs producing 10 quality shots a year? " and "What are you going to do to keep me producing for you and not concentrating my efforts on the RM macro market"

So for me the 'blame' does not fall on the amateurs but the sites for not supporting the full timers appropriately.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 06:53 by RT »

« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2010, 07:16 »
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So for me the 'blame' does not fall on the amateurs but the sites for not supporting the full timers appropriately.

Surely they already do, at least to some extent, in that you get increasing commissions based on your sales at most agencies. I'm pretty sure that on some agencies it is also more difficult to get images accepted until you have the sales record to justify their confidence in you. What more would you have them do to 'support' full-timers?

« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2010, 07:47 »
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We can't blame the sites because there is nothing to stop us creating our own site and using it exclusively.  That would soon put our site at the top of the microstock poll results.  We don't need to spend any money on advertising, just use twitter, myspace, facebook etc.  I know people will find all sorts of reasons why we can't do it and that is a shame because I think it would be more positive than constantly reading threads about how bad the future could be for us.  If it is impossible, there must be other options.  I refuse to believe that we just have to sit back and watch sites cut commissions.

lagereek

« Reply #36 on: March 04, 2010, 08:17 »
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I did have my own small very specialized agency in the beginning of the 90s, fair enough its differant today but the Admin work is still the same. Its a hellish job, no time for photography, every second went to overlooking the agency, as it grew I couldnt find time and then you have to get people and they have to be paid, etc.
Ended up selling out.

no thanks never again.

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2010, 08:19 »
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We can't blame the sites because there is nothing to stop us creating our own site and using it exclusively.  That would soon put our site at the top of the microstock poll results.  We don't need to spend any money on advertising, just use twitter, myspace, facebook etc.  I know people will find all sorts of reasons why we can't do it and that is a shame because I think it would be more positive than constantly reading threads about how bad the future could be for us.  If it is impossible, there must be other options.  I refuse to believe that we just have to sit back and watch sites cut commissions.

selling direct works fine for those selling something special, like news reportage, wildlife, rare animals, rare food, and anything hard to find elsewhere.

how do you hope to sell generic microstock photos at premium price when it can be found anywhere else for 0.25$ ?

it reminds me of one citizen journalism agency i joined months ago, called Demotix, they accept anyone and they think using Twitter and Facebook
sales will come but despite all their bells and whistles i've got not a single sale so far ... losers !

as far as i know the only decent sales they had in 1 year were the photos in Iran taken from Twitter.

and to top it off when you upload a new story they'll tell you the upload went fine and then they encourage you
to link the story to all your twitter and facebook friends..

* that's the last thing i wanna hear from an agency that's supposed to sell and promote my images getting its 50% fee.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 08:24 by macrosaur »

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2010, 08:22 »
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I did have my own small very specialized agency in the beginning of the 90s, fair enough its differant today but the Admin work is still the same. Its a hellish job, no time for photography, every second went to overlooking the agency, as it grew I couldnt find time and then you have to get people and they have to be paid, etc.
Ended up selling out.

no thanks never again.

i agree 100%.

it's simply cheaper and faster to join a good RM agency and give them their well deserved share.

people take it too easy when talking about direct selling, they've no idea how messy is it.
just for getting paid is a big pain in the ass, it's exactly like having your own small agency
with just one photographer .. you.

RT


« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2010, 08:30 »
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Surely they already do, at least to some extent, in that you get increasing commissions based on your sales at most agencies. I'm pretty sure that on some agencies it is also more difficult to get images accepted until you have the sales record to justify their confidence in you. What more would you have them do to 'support' full-timers?

Yes you get an increase on some sites, but that applies to everyone irrelevant whether you upload 1 or 101 images a month, there's no incentive to upload other than what would be the result of your own skill. When you or I upload our images to a site they sit in the queue the same as the next person, they're reviewed by a reviewer same as the next person and on some sites reviewed by someone who may have only been doing this for six months and has a tiny amount of sales, when approved they go into the bin along with the thousands of others some of which may never see a sale.
FT changed the cannister thing a while ago so now you're competing against people on a higher cannister level who have produced and sold less than you, DT cut's it's extended license commissions and your images get flagged by people who haven't got a clue how the system works and model releases get rejected depending which way the wind blows, I get the same commission rate on iS as a guy with ten images and two sales, I'm top tier on SS but that's it there's no higher incentive, BigStock have a ridiculous upload system that requires wasting time to correct their system errors.
I'm sure I'm not the only one that's seriously considering whether microstock is financially viable anymore, or as in a lot of cases going exclusive with iS to get that little bit extra treatment (yes I know it's the same for all exclusives full or part time)


We can't blame the sites because there is nothing to stop us creating our own site and using it exclusively.  That would soon put our site at the top of the microstock poll results.  We don't need to spend any money on advertising, just use twitter, myspace, facebook etc.  I know people will find all sorts of reasons why we can't do it and that is a shame because I think it would be more positive than constantly reading threads about how bad the future could be for us.  If it is impossible, there must be other options.  I refuse to believe that we just have to sit back and watch sites cut commissions.

It's a very good point and one I've thought of before. If a site suddenly appeared that consisted of only the top 1000 microstock photographers (and finger painters  ;D ) selling their images exclusivly at microstock prices for a fair commission it would be goodnight SS, FT ,DT et al. You'll never see the figures but I'm pretty sure that the top 1000 produce over 90% of all microstock sales. Yuri you reading this ;)

lagereek

« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2010, 08:38 »
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RT !!  youre a dangerous guy!  look now what youve started.

RT


« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2010, 08:42 »
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RT !!  youre a dangerous guy!  look now what youve started.

Hey Christian don't worry you'll easily make the top 1000  :D


lagereek

« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2010, 08:45 »
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RT !!  youre a dangerous guy!  look now what youve started.

Hey Christian don't worry you'll easily make the top 1000  :D


I know! you too,  but I must admit youve come up with a terrific idea.

« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2010, 08:50 »
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How much is the microstock industry worth now?  If we ran the biggest microstock site, it shouldn't be hard to attract investment and pay decent wages for a team to run it.  If microstock is too small, why not do higher priced RM as well?

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2010, 09:00 »
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Getty Images already has the top 1000 RM shooters.

maybe one day iStock will follow with the best 1000 RF shooters ?

« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2010, 09:11 »
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Back on topic.

Quote
I don't get that vibe at all, the vibe I get and certainly the one I try to put out is that there's nothing wrong with being new (we were all new at some point) but don't expect to have things handed to you on a plate, anybody that's had any success in microstock has done it by hard work, long hours, learning the craft and doing the research. I will and do support people who want to do the work but need a little guidance but I won't support or respond kindly to the one's that come here with questions like "what should I shoot" "how much do you earn" "what's your best seller" and I have even less patience for the one's who sole aim is to get info to put on their blog for enticing referrals to make an easy buck.

This sums up my feelings exactly. Everyone was a newbie (noob, newb, whatever term you want to use) at one time. I would like to think that my skills have improved over the years because there were helpful people on forums. There were also people who gave the standard "read the f**king manual" answers, and sometimes I actually did exactly that. On some occasions I am frustrated with people who can't grasp a concept or expect someone here to do their research for them, but I always try to remember that I was there once.

There is no need to exclude the person shooting 20 snapshots who expects to get rich. If the snapshots are good, they will sell and that person will learn and no longer be a newbie. If the snapshots suck, nobody buys them and the shooter gives up or learns to shoot better. I don't have to do a darn thing!

« Reply #46 on: March 04, 2010, 09:21 »
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Quote
In the context of microstock, I'd say you're a noob if you've been at an agency for, say, one year and are still earning an entry-level commission.

The only problem that I see with that is that not everyone has the same goals when it comes to microstock. Some are looking to make a full-time income, some are just looking for a few extra bucks.

If you're in the second camp then you won't be shooting/uploading as much so your portfolio won't grow as fast or earn as much as someone from the first group. That doesn't mean that the images produced by the second group are lower quality or that they shouldn't be allowed to submit IMHO.

« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2010, 09:29 »
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But I am going to share some common sense insights that I've figured out along the way, offer encouragement, and speak out in defense of a newbie's freedom to put his or her skills to the test.  And if that scares the veterans out there, you better step up your game.  God didn't grant you the position you hold today.  You worked hard to get where you are, but you can't deny others the right to do the same.

It's not scary.  But there's a difference between saying "Good luck on your next milestone" (being friendly) and providing a roadmap, which is what some people seem to want to do with their classes, books and such.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 09:34 by sjlocke »

RT


« Reply #48 on: March 04, 2010, 09:32 »
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Getty Images already has the top 1000 RM shooters.

maybe one day iStock will follow with the best 1000 RF shooters ?

Wonder where I got my idea from  :D It's a similar situation without the fair commission part, Getty have their top 1000 shooters, but there are lots of good shooters that won't work with them, my idea of the microstock version would be attractive because the top 1000 would be getting a better deal than anywhere else.
There would be a natural transgression process because nobody would want to remove all their stuff from the existing sites where they are making money, but just imagine they only uploaded their new stuff to the new site and then once the marketing campaign took hold and sales started coming in they dumped all the other agencies.
The marketing would be easy - "Hey buyers the people that create 90% of what you buy are fed up with how they've been treated so they've started their own site and will shortly only be selling their work here, there's no difference in price or terms for you"

I don't think iStock could do it, their affiliation with Getty might put people off, but they would be important to have as competition though.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2010, 09:37 »
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Doesn't this thread remind anyone of the outrage that REAL PHOTOGRAPHERS displayed in the beginning of MICROSTOCK?

By the way ... I am a late-comer to microstock.  But, I was a Professional Photographer long before most of you got your first camera.


 

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