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Author Topic: The end is nigh. What will you do?  (Read 12062 times)

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« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2012, 16:23 »
+3
The one thing that has been constant in micro and every other industry for that matter is 'change'. Our futures in the industry will be about embracing change and taking advantage of new opportunities that will present themselves, and of course as always, there will be people who will fight change....and this will probably mean many people will leave the industry. Its going to be interesting if nothing else.


velocicarpo

« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2012, 17:13 »
0
Ok, one possible scenario consists of two sides of the coin(just playing around with probabilities) :
1. There is a huge low quality demanding market (in terms of resolution and technic) which MS stimulated at first: Bloggers, private websites, etc.. Possibly this market will focus more and more on even cheaper offered crowd sourced material which incorporates phenomena like instagram or phone photography. This market segment never hd been soooo quality sensitive like e.g. the prepress and print segment when it comes to image quality. On the other hand this trend might get pushed from the content creators too. Many People will not see the point anymore to buy a 36 MP / 2 Kg DSLR and walk around with that but will rather just switch completely to other mobile devices, low end system cameras or whatever.
So: imagine a site like Flickr working as a Agency. People upload their content directly from their device. Quality is not that a huge issue anymore, so inspection process is easy. Content is available almost immediately. Clients download the images for 5 or 10 cents a unit or have incredible cheap sub-plans. Most content is from mobile devices and includes not only creative material but editorial too.

The natural rebound effect to 1. is:

2. Because most of the low end / private clients / consumer market is covered by sites like above and most photos / creatives do use lower end devices instead of high end heavy and expensive cameras there are less and less people who shoot in this area. Buyers who are looking to buy these images are mostly professionals who seek out for either exclusive material or printable or high quality stuff. Prices here establish at a higher level and although the market is nowhere near where it was in the old, traditional stock days it may make some people remember those days. This high end market is not a mass market anymore since devices for creation are not considered as "sexy" anymore by the mass nor there is such a huge demand anymore for 50MP files since most of the media moved to the net. Exclusivity may be a important matter in this field. Photographers here may make a good living anyhow since competition might not be as harsh anymore.

....well, just playing around with concepts and strange predictions :-)
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 17:17 by velocicarpo »

« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2012, 18:05 »
+1
Ok, one possible scenario consists of two sides of the coin(just playing around with probabilities) :
1. There is a huge low quality demanding market (in terms of resolution and technic) which MS stimulated at first: Bloggers, private websites, etc.. Possibly this market will focus more and more on even cheaper offered crowd sourced material which incorporates phenomena like instagram or phone photography. This market segment never hd been soooo quality sensitive like e.g. the prepress and print segment when it comes to image quality. On the other hand this trend might get pushed from the content creators too. Many People will not see the point anymore to buy a 36 MP / 2 Kg DSLR and walk around with that but will rather just switch completely to other mobile devices, low end system cameras or whatever.
So: imagine a site like Flickr working as a Agency. People upload their content directly from their device. Quality is not that a huge issue anymore, so inspection process is easy. Content is available almost immediately. Clients download the images for 5 or 10 cents a unit or have incredible cheap sub-plans. Most content is from mobile devices and includes not only creative material but editorial too.

The natural rebound effect to 1. is:

2. Because most of the low end / private clients / consumer market is covered by sites like above and most photos / creatives do use lower end devices instead of high end heavy and expensive cameras there are less and less people who shoot in this area. Buyers who are looking to buy these images are mostly professionals who seek out for either exclusive material or printable or high quality stuff. Prices here establish at a higher level and although the market is nowhere near where it was in the old, traditional stock days it may make some people remember those days. This high end market is not a mass market anymore since devices for creation are not considered as "sexy" anymore by the mass nor there is such a huge demand anymore for 50MP files since most of the media moved to the net. Exclusivity may be a important matter in this field. Photographers here may make a good living anyhow since competition might not be as harsh anymore.

....well, just playing around with concepts and strange predictions :-)

I totally agree with prediction #1... I think that's where we'll get to eventually (but probably not in the next couple of years, I'd say maybe 5?). But I think prediction #2 is a bit too optimistic... in the part where it would still be possible to "make a good living"as traditional stock shooter. Higher quality and bigger resolution images will most likely be produced by assignment photographers for specific needs of the client. Photographers' compensation will decrease even more (happening already), so it will be more convenient and cost-effective to hire a photographer than to find a suitable high quality stock photo. So, I see huge cheap lower (but reasonable) quality libraries of images on one end, and higher quality custom produced work on the other.... and no place for traditional stock agencies.

velocicarpo

« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2012, 18:18 »
0
Ok, one possible scenario consists of two sides of the coin(just playing around with probabilities) :
1. There is a huge low quality demanding market (in terms of resolution and technic) which MS stimulated at first: Bloggers, private websites, etc.. Possibly this market will focus more and more on even cheaper offered crowd sourced material which incorporates phenomena like instagram or phone photography. This market segment never hd been soooo quality sensitive like e.g. the prepress and print segment when it comes to image quality. On the other hand this trend might get pushed from the content creators too. Many People will not see the point anymore to buy a 36 MP / 2 Kg DSLR and walk around with that but will rather just switch completely to other mobile devices, low end system cameras or whatever.
So: imagine a site like Flickr working as a Agency. People upload their content directly from their device. Quality is not that a huge issue anymore, so inspection process is easy. Content is available almost immediately. Clients download the images for 5 or 10 cents a unit or have incredible cheap sub-plans. Most content is from mobile devices and includes not only creative material but editorial too.

The natural rebound effect to 1. is:

2. Because most of the low end / private clients / consumer market is covered by sites like above and most photos / creatives do use lower end devices instead of high end heavy and expensive cameras there are less and less people who shoot in this area. Buyers who are looking to buy these images are mostly professionals who seek out for either exclusive material or printable or high quality stuff. Prices here establish at a higher level and although the market is nowhere near where it was in the old, traditional stock days it may make some people remember those days. This high end market is not a mass market anymore since devices for creation are not considered as "sexy" anymore by the mass nor there is such a huge demand anymore for 50MP files since most of the media moved to the net. Exclusivity may be a important matter in this field. Photographers here may make a good living anyhow since competition might not be as harsh anymore.

....well, just playing around with concepts and strange predictions :-)

I totally agree with prediction #1... I think that's where we'll get to eventually (but probably not in the next couple of years, I'd say maybe 5?). But I think prediction #2 is a bit too optimistic... in the part where it would still be possible to "make a good living"as traditional stock shooter. Higher quality and bigger resolution images will most likely be produced by assignment photographers for specific needs of the client. Photographers' compensation will decrease even more (happening already), so it will be more convenient and cost-effective to hire a photographer than to find a suitable high quality stock photo. So, I see huge cheap lower (but reasonable) quality libraries of images on one end, and higher quality custom produced work on the other.... and no place for traditional stock agencies.

Yes, I know what you mean about "too optimistic" on point 2. However, I made that prediction based on my current RM sales on trad Agencies which are actually growing (although I thought two years ago that this market would completely disappear). Off course you could be right with the "hiring" part which could be a version of how the high end market evolves.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 18:20 by velocicarpo »

gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2012, 18:19 »
0
#2 is pretty realistic in terms of the general population. I shoot socials a lot and 99% of people use their phones to take pics. Last night there were 6 of us real photographers (working for various media) and one in-house staffer who had a cheap SLR, not another real camera to be seen. Same story can be told at weddings nowadays. So for many areas of photography (like portraiture, weddings etc) I think we are going to be ok as most people can't look past the convenience of their phones as a camera.

Those who shoot solely for stock are very talented and committed to be making a living from just the one genre. Like most photographers we have to be willing to shoot anything to make a living.

gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2012, 18:25 »
0
Ok, one possible scenario consists of two sides of the coin(just playing around with probabilities) :
1. ...
Photographers' compensation will decrease even more (happening already), so it will be more convenient and cost-effective to hire a photographer than to find a suitable high quality stock photo. So, I see huge cheap lower (but reasonable) quality libraries of images on one end, and higher quality custom produced work on the other.... and no place for traditional stock agencies.
you think so? I'm charging $300 for 10 images for business' marketing needs. Most of the time they need me cos they don't want the fake look of stock images, but the reality is that their workplace is usually unattractive, as are their staff, so my pics don't look as good as stock, but cost more. Ha! So long as newbie 'togs don't come in and start charging $100 for a giant shoot then I'm doing my bit to keep myself employed but also keep the stock side looking attractive.

« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2012, 18:33 »
0
So for many areas of photography (like portraiture, weddings etc) I think we are going to be ok as most people can't look past the convenience of their phones as a camera.

Very true. The thing is, though, the cameras in their phones are evolving into something much better than even the original pro digital cameras used to be. And most people are and will be very happy with the results.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2012, 19:55 »
0
So for many areas of photography (like portraiture, weddings etc) I think we are going to be ok as most people can't look past the convenience of their phones as a camera.

And many people don't really see any point in paying for better quality: they're happy enough with what they get. I guess to a large extent it depends where you live, but I see photographers come and go here like buses. They get their start up grant, use it up, and shortly after that, disappear, and another hopeful comes along. Some of their work is good. Some really launch themselves into marketing. The current one in my small town seems to have done a course in American-style marketing, meaning she's getting out there, but it's not what people here need/want.

Even wedding nowadays sometimes (I've no idea of the proportion) don't have a 'proper' photographer. People say they don't like the 'fake' 'set-up' photos which have really nothing to do with the day. Guests complain about hanging about waiting to be fed while the photographer tweaks every little detail. Everyone knows once the family has seen the photos, they just sit in a drawer for ever afterwards.

However, that, along with the prices people seem to get for jobs (as I've read here), is just one more thing that's different in the US, apparently.

tab62

« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2012, 20:51 »
0
unless the door slams in my face CD  ;D



CD123

« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2012, 23:11 »
0
unless the door slams in my face CD  ;D
Oh, poor Tom!  :'(  What did this industry do to you?   ::)  If I where your family I'll keep you as far away as possible from all bridges and sharp objects  ;D

« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2012, 01:56 »
0
Ok, one possible scenario consists of two sides of the coin(just playing around with probabilities) :
1. There is a huge low quality demanding market (in terms of resolution and technic) which MS stimulated at first: Bloggers, private websites, etc.. Possibly this market will focus more and more on even cheaper offered crowd sourced material which incorporates phenomena like instagram or phone photography. This market segment never hd been soooo quality sensitive like e.g. the prepress and print segment when it comes to image quality. On the other hand this trend might get pushed from the content creators too. Many People will not see the point anymore to buy a 36 MP / 2 Kg DSLR and walk around with that but will rather just switch completely to other mobile devices, low end system cameras or whatever.
So: imagine a site like Flickr working as a Agency. People upload their content directly from their device. Quality is not that a huge issue anymore, so inspection process is easy. Content is available almost immediately. Clients download the images for 5 or 10 cents a unit or have incredible cheap sub-plans. Most content is from mobile devices and includes not only creative material but editorial too.

The natural rebound effect to 1. is:

2. Because most of the low end / private clients / consumer market is covered by sites like above and most photos / creatives do use lower end devices instead of high end heavy and expensive cameras there are less and less people who shoot in this area. Buyers who are looking to buy these images are mostly professionals who seek out for either exclusive material or printable or high quality stuff. Prices here establish at a higher level and although the market is nowhere near where it was in the old, traditional stock days it may make some people remember those days. This high end market is not a mass market anymore since devices for creation are not considered as "sexy" anymore by the mass nor there is such a huge demand anymore for 50MP files since most of the media moved to the net. Exclusivity may be a important matter in this field. Photographers here may make a good living anyhow since competition might not be as harsh anymore.

....well, just playing around with concepts and strange predictions :-)

Good predictions! very probable scenarios indeed. Exept the Trad RM agencies will always play a part. There will always be customers willing to pay for rights, etc. simply because they have to.
Example: a German corp. just purchased 23 images for a campaign and in a futile effort to actually save the company and they needed the rights for logos and trademarks changes and for a profile, etc. These kind of clients will always exist.

Same as you, my own RM sales have doubled in the last two years.

« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2012, 02:14 »
0
I believe the microstock industry will become increasingly inaccessible to amateurs ... it's only a matter of time. Too many images are added every day on the agencies collections.... something must be done in the future and this is the only way...

« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2012, 02:32 »
0
I believe the microstock industry will become increasingly inaccessible to amateurs ... it's only a matter of time. Too many images are added every day on the agencies collections.... something must be done in the future and this is the only way...

This I agree with 1000%!  its to weed out the amateurs and a hell of a lot of generic garbage. This has got to be done just to get a clear overview of this mess. Some of them have already started with strignent reviewing, etc.

They slso have to realize that in the search, the heart of the agency, they simply have to include the commercial sellers, the bread and butter stuff that ensures revenue. The days when they could just sit and wait for great portfolios are over.
As one CEO of an agency said to me on the phone, 99 new ports of 100, are just pure rubbish.

Reef

  • astonmars.com
« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2012, 06:10 »
+1
I believe the microstock industry will become increasingly inaccessible to amateurs ... it's only a matter of time. Too many images are added every day on the agencies collections.... something must be done in the future and this is the only way...

This I agree with 1000%!  its to weed out the amateurs and a hell of a lot of generic garbage. This has got to be done just to get a clear overview of this mess. Some of them have already started with strignent reviewing, etc.

They slso have to realize that in the search, the heart of the agency, they simply have to include the commercial sellers, the bread and butter stuff that ensures revenue. The days when they could just sit and wait for great portfolios are over.
As one CEO of an agency said to me on the phone, 99 new ports of 100, are just pure rubbish.

well mine's good so yours must be rubbish  ;)

« Reply #39 on: November 23, 2012, 06:43 »
0
I believe the microstock industry will become increasingly inaccessible to amateurs ... it's only a matter of time. Too many images are added every day on the agencies collections.... something must be done in the future and this is the only way...

This I agree with 1000%!  its to weed out the amateurs and a hell of a lot of generic garbage. This has got to be done just to get a clear overview of this mess. Some of them have already started with strignent reviewing, etc.

They slso have to realize that in the search, the heart of the agency, they simply have to include the commercial sellers, the bread and butter stuff that ensures revenue. The days when they could just sit and wait for great portfolios are over.
As one CEO of an agency said to me on the phone, 99 new ports of 100, are just pure rubbish.

well mine's good so yours must be rubbish  ;)

Let's see ... they want premium portflios to pay less and less money, selling less and less quantity ????

Agencies also have a big problem ... good photos cost money, and if we start to see that they don't sell at good prices or sell many times at small prices ... we leave, or we start to distribute in other market's, or we just photograph for fun (nice tought).

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #40 on: November 23, 2012, 06:58 »
0
its to weed out the amateurs and a hell of a lot of generic garbage.

Generic is what sells in bulk and made micro possible.
If someone wants expensive shoots, they need to pay for it.
Perhaps what Micro has done is raise expectations of pixel peeping quality (how often do we read of someone who's been supplying macros for years and finds it difficult to get accepted at micros) at rock bottom prices.
This was not a good thing.

« Reply #41 on: November 23, 2012, 07:00 »
0
What would your advice be for someone who's just starting out? 'Don't bother' I'm guessing.

I'm a full time graphic designer and I struggle to find time to take pictures and i don't have anywhere near enough good quality images yet to make any kind of trickle of income but it's an avenue I really want to try out. Am I wasting my time or should I just plod on taking images I like and/or think will sell and keep adding but not expect anything from it?

Just ordered my first telephoto zoom lens (canon 55-250mm) and am excited to get out there and start snapping

Any advice would be grand!

Cheers


« Reply #42 on: November 23, 2012, 07:07 »
0
At $300, I wouldn't expect much stock use out of that lens.  It's consumer grade.

« Reply #43 on: November 23, 2012, 07:16 »
0
True. First misstake as a photographer is to skimp on the equipment. Some here will say Oh but its only low res this and that, it doesnt matter.
It does matter and it matters a lot. Many micros are going towards macro and second class equipment just wont cut it. The lens you just bought is just about a kit lens, no more and if you can afford it get a better one, a second hand L optic wouldnt hurt actually.

« Reply #44 on: November 23, 2012, 07:30 »
0
Oh dear.  I can't justify huge amounts of money on a lens at this stage as I'm just starting out. However, I'm aware that the more expensive the lens the better but can someone explain what are the precise benefits of a more expensive lens in order of importance? ie is it sharpness / aperture size/speed etc etc?

I read a book on microstock that made promises like - "as long as you have a DSLR with a range of lenses and a good knowledge base of the equipment then you too can make a living out of the wonderful world of microstock... blah blah promises promises"

It just seems theres an unscalable mountain to climb (and I'm not usually a negative person)

Thanks guys



lisafx

« Reply #45 on: November 23, 2012, 08:05 »
0
What would your advice be for someone who's just starting out? 'Don't bother' I'm guessing.

I'm a full time graphic designer and I struggle to find time to take pictures and i don't have anywhere near enough good quality images yet to make any kind of trickle of income but it's an avenue I really want to try out. Am I wasting my time or should I just plod on taking images I like and/or think will sell and keep adding but not expect anything from it?

Just ordered my first telephoto zoom lens (canon 55-250mm) and am excited to get out there and start snapping

Any advice would be grand!

Cheers

I don't think you can count on giving up your day job for photography, but I think you can make some decent extra money.  As a graphic designer, you have a huge advantage on the average microstock submitter.  You know what types of images are going to SELL, and also have, presumably, an innate artistic sense. 

The graphic designers in this business produce some of the most marketable work. 

I would stay away from the super zooms though.  Not good quality and overkill on the range.   For stock a mid range 24-70 would suit you better.  Tamron has the 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Lens that is excellent and also reasonably priced. 

Best of luck :)

PS - there are a lot of books out there touting the "get rich quick" microstock industry.  They were A) written before competition was so stiff, and B) written by people trying to sell books, and grand promises do that better than painting a realistic picture. 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 08:07 by lisafx »

« Reply #46 on: November 23, 2012, 08:25 »
+1
I predict that what will happen in the future is what has already started happening right now. Agencies like Getty will try to move their good photographers back to "traditional" photography. They will try to dismantle the microstock agencies that are left, but as long as there is a print industry, there will be clients for microstock. The oversupply of photographers will mean that there are only maybe 2 or 3 agencies that can make it (shutterstock being one), but I can't see there NOT being a microstock company, unless print disappears altogether and the world is totally digital.

The companies will continue to push to increase their profits, and decrease the commission they pay to contributors (no big prediction there, as this has already been happening and I believe will continue to). I don't think microstock is going away anytime soon. I think there is a market segment somewhere between the bloggers and individuals who are happy with their cell phone snaps and the large companies who can afford to pay $300 for an image. That segment would be the small to midsize companies and designers who still need good photography at less than traditional stock costs.

« Reply #47 on: November 23, 2012, 08:26 »
0
Thanks Lisa! Very helpful. I've always looked upon stock as a potential string to my future income bow. I'll give it a shot, what's the worst that could happen? I like photography so it won't be wasted time.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2012, 08:28 »
0
I read a book on microstock that made promises like - "as long as you have a DSLR with a range of lenses and a good knowledge base of the equipment then you too can make a living out of the wonderful world of microstock... blah blah promises promises"
PS - there are a lot of books out there touting the "get rich quick" microstock industry.  They were A) written before competition was so stiff, and B) written by people trying to sell books, and grand promises do that better than painting a realistic picture.
+1
@OP: Your prospects depend a lot on you having access to American-looking models who don't mind having their image used to promote 'any product or service', and being able to photograph them to microstock standards, which are very high. Some people do well with non-people shots; but more and more, properly released imagery is what will sell, as most other things can be acquired CC, especially if pixel perfection isn't needed (which it seldom is).

Much as I hate to say it, it's not just 'what you do with it', but also your actual equipment which counts, when you get down to pixel-perfect pernickitiness.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 20:17 by ShadySue »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #49 on: November 23, 2012, 08:32 »
0
I'll give it a shot, what's the worst that could happen? I like photography so it won't be wasted time.
The worst that could happen is that you'll spend so much time looking for things that will sell rather than what interests you that you'll be in danger of losing your own vision, creativity and enthusiasm.
(Unless you happen to actually enjoy the commercial stuff.)


 

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