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Topics - Elenathewise

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General Stock Discussion / Asking for feedback
« on: April 20, 2011, 19:48 »
Many of you know that I sell my stock photography from my own site, www.elenaphoto.com.
We have re-worked the layout extensively for it to look more professional and user-friendly.
However, sometimes my customers still have questions like - can we be sure it's your own work and the images are not stolen form somewhere? Of course, I assure them, all work presented on the site is 100% my original work, and I can prove it, but I was wondering it there is something in the layout of the site that makes them doubt that... or is it just simple caution since there are so many cases of theft?
Thanks in advance,

Dreamstime.com / Dreamstime is going nuts?
« on: April 18, 2011, 09:12 »
I received an email today from Dreamstime with a list of about 500 of my images that have been removed from my on-line portfolio with them because they are "similar" to other images.
Apparently, it's done to "improve my sales". And the files that were removed were "approved by accident".
It looks like they are losing it. It sure looks and feels like complete insanity.

General Stock Discussion / Off the peg?
« on: April 12, 2011, 22:21 »
I've heard for some time people saying that only simple, boring, not artistic, unimaginative , "off-the-peg" images are available on microstock and if you want something more sophisticated you should look on macros. Just stumbled on this portfolio:
Need to step up my game.

General Photography Discussion / 100 years old color photos
« on: March 15, 2011, 13:13 »
Some amazing color photos from Russia taken in early 1900s. I absolutely love the composition of some of them, too - which proves that comp rules haven't changed much in 100 years!

Dreamstime.com / Annoying
« on: March 03, 2011, 12:43 »
 I find it extremely annoying that old images that didn't sell on Dreamstime are marked by default as "donate free" if you don't get to them in time. I would much prefer "disable" as default. The fact that these images didn't sell on DT doesn't mean they are not (sometimes actively) selling on other sites. I hope DT realizes they are not the fastest-selling site out there.
But fine, if they don't want to keep images for longer than certain time, it's their choice. But don't offer my work for free! I don't work for free!
And yes I know to avoid that I need to check my messages and delete old images as they come up.... but here is another newsflash - my life doesn't revolve around DT... maybe it's hard for them to imagine, but it's true.
Frustrating at the least.

For almost a year I've been following Aran Goyoaga's blog:
Her food photography is feast for the eyes and her recipes (I've tried a few) are just amazing.
They are also quite healthy, too.

Today is exactly 3 years since I walked out of my corporate job and became a full-time stock photographer.
It's  been a lot of work but also a lot of fun, and in spite of some unpleasant things that are happening in the industry I am looking forward to many more!
I also gave in to nudging from some people and started a blog where I wrote up some thoughts about my experiences and my views on microstock:
There will be more - am planning to update it weekly. Now, where is that champaign? :)

To everyone selling their own images from their own websites:

The weakest point of selling your own portfolio from your website is limited choice of images. You can spend tons of money advertising but still the fact that you cover a limited number of subjects will severely limit your customer base.


The idea is simple. The portal site will have links to participants' sites. The participants will be required to do just 3 things:

1.Link to the portal from their online store homepage
2.Put a link to the portal when a customer search on their site comes up with no results (we can help with the code there).
3.Pay a small monthly fee to maintain the site and advertise it (20 US dollars per link per month).

We are not looking to make money from this site. This is only to help us link to each other, have a small advertising budget and make sure customers have better shopping experience. You can join or drop off anytime you want (if you stop paying we'll just remove your link). We also reserve the right to not accept the link (for example, if you are selling just 5 images on your site we won't accept it).
We don't care what software you use or at what prices you sell your images for, as long as searching and buying on your site works.
We will keep you informed on how your money is spent.

Please PM me if you're interested in participation.

If you have questions, please post in this thread.

General Photography Discussion / Free photography e-book
« on: January 06, 2011, 12:00 »
One of my favorite Canadian photographers, Darwin Wiggett, is offering a free e-book titled "Good photos in bad light". Darwin is an amazing master of landscape photography. Here is the link to the book:

I find his blog very informative, too: http://darwinwiggett.wordpress.com/

Cameras / Lenses / Good "bridge" camera?
« on: November 27, 2010, 01:25 »
I am tired of lugging around heavy stuff. I want something portable and light just to have with me all the time, and I want it to have good image quality.
I looked at Leica V-Lux 2 and it seemed promising, but I couldn't find any decent review of it. I found some images taken with "pre-production" camera and kinda looks like crap at full resolution. I mean, I shoot with Nikon D3X usually so it's hard to compare to, but still - is there anything decent in the "bridge" cameras categories? Decent meaning good enough quality to sell.
Would appreciate any advice or links or pointers to reviews.
Thanks in advance,

Adobe Stock / EL price change at Fotolia?
« on: November 17, 2010, 00:48 »
Did Fotolia just changed the upper limit for EL license for emerald contributors or is just me? Used to be 200, now the upper limit is 100... What's going on? No announcements, no explanations... I am getting sick of this.

This has nothing to do with the summer slowdown.
With over 10, 000 images in my portfolio currently I see a troublesome trend on Shutterstock - my sales are practically the same there as they were 2 years ago, when my portfolio size was about 6,000. So adding extra 4,000 images just kept me afloat there.
However, I am not at all "hitting the wall" on other agencies. Fotolia has grown substantially, so did Istock. The only other agency with the same pattern as SS is Dreamstime - in spite of increasing portfolio size, sales are actually worse than 2 years ago.
Does with mean that both Shutterstock and Dreamstime are losing their market share? If this was due to the economic slowdown, or growing libraries,   you would expect to see the same trend everywhere, which I don't see.
But then I see people reporting good sales on SS - makes me wonder if there is something wrong with my portfolio on SS (some technical problem?)
Anyone with large portfolios and more than 3 years in this business - what's your data on SS for the last couple of years?

Adobe Stock / Fotolia director of content?
« on: March 22, 2010, 15:19 »
Does anyone know who is Fotolia's director of content and how to contact them? I used to know someone, but my old email folders got wiped out unfortunately. I am puzzled by my recent approval rates there - getting as low as 30%... I submit images of good technical quality (been told by many agencies that it's "excellent", never had a rejection on any macro sites I am working with), never submit  batches of similar images, the content has good sales potential as it proves somewhere else, and being currently #14 in the Fotolia ranking I think indicates well enough that my images are in demand by Fotolia's customers.... Am at loss why so much of my stuff gets rejected. It's getting to the point it's not worthwhile spending time on submitting... Does someone know how to address these issues?

It is considered "common knowledge" that people shots - lifestyle, business, medical - are best selling subjects in stock industry. It is definitely way easier to get them approved. Most of the best-selling photogs have their portfolios almost entirely consisting of people shots. And yet, I have my doubts!:)
First, look at the size of those portfolios. Most of them are way over 20,000 files. Last time I looked, Yuri Arcurs's was over 27,000. Second, when you specialize in one subject, you unavoidably get better and better at it. Some of Yuri's people shots sell very well simply because they are great shots. But do they have to be people? He has a shot of a coffee cup that's one of his best-sellers on Shutterstock. I bet it was way cheaper to produce than multi-model shots in specific setups.
My own portfolio is over 10 000. I am an "omnivore":) I shoot anything I think may sell. I do try to do people shots on a regular basis, but none of them became my all time best-sellers. Surprisingly, it's nature (!!!) and food and sell best for me. Even a good old travel shot would occasionally perform better than people. So is true that what most customers want is people?
Let's hear your thoughts:)

General Stock Discussion / Nikon D3X
« on: December 29, 2009, 21:48 »
I got myself a Nikon D3X as a Christmas present.... did some test shots today, WOW!... This IS a nice piece of equipment! I don't even want to look at my backlog images shot with D300 now... which is a pretty good camera, but D3X is just amazing!  I am so excited, just had to share:)

I got a payment from a German agency and found out that PayPal charged me 4% just for receiving it!!! (I am located in Canada). I have a personal, not business account, and the agency sent me money directly from their PayPal account, no credit cards or anything like that. Looks like they changed their policy on June 3'2009 - I never was charged a fee for receiving money to personal account before, unless I was paid my credit card. I consider it highway robbery. No direct notification about policy changes, too - just a little link in the corner where they silently post their "policy updates".
What are the other options I can use? I have heard about MoneyBookers - are they better? Any other internet banking options? I would very much appreciate your recommendations.

Just found one of my images on Flickr under some other user's name (I don't even have an account on Flickr):
Apparently, somebody called "misallphoto" thinks they can just download other people pics and build their portfolio that way....
I contacted Flickr about this, but I see other images in his "portfolio" that I know belong to other people. Some of them Yuri Arcurs', some from the user known as "ioannis kounadeas" on Fotolia. Please take a look and see if you have been stolen from, and contact Flickr as well, maybe this will result in their faster action.

Lighting / Profotos vs AlienBees?
« on: February 12, 2009, 19:11 »
The price difference is quite substantial. So, does anyone know what Profoto strobes are doing better than, say, AlienBees B1600? Is the difference just power and recycling time (and AB1600 looks quite powerful and fast enough to me), or there is something else? What kind of shoot would require Profoto  strobes and why ABs won't work in that case?
Thanks in advance for your comments!

General Macrostock / Accepted at Getty
« on: January 14, 2009, 11:18 »
About a month ago I sent test submission to Getty and today got a reply. What I am offered is "Photographer's Choice Placement Fee Collections", which basically means you have to pay 50 dollars per image placement fee, before any possible earnings. Is it even worth trying out? With prices going down and sales being slow, will I ever see my 50 bucks per image back? Anyone has experience with this?
All comments are welcome,

General Stock Discussion / RM licensing - a few questions
« on: November 30, 2008, 00:09 »
Can someone please help me with this.
I have realized that I am a bit confused about RM licensing. So it stands for "Rights Managed". However it doesn't have to be exclusive. So let's say I sell RM with one agency. Since it doesn't have to be exclusive, I can sell the same RM images on another agency, right? As long as they are RM, not RF.
But then how do people manage the situation when an image is sold with certain rights on one agency - do you have to notify another agency? Does agency manage the rights or the photographer?
And what's the point of RM if it's not exclusive? Or is it exclusive to certain industry?
Would appreciate if someone could clarify this for me.
Thanks in advance,

iStockPhoto.com / Referral earnings on Istock
« on: November 07, 2007, 18:25 »
I just looked at my profile page on Istock and saw that I have a whole bunch of referral earnings.... Are they included in the account total, anybody knows?

Shutterstock.com / SS took 5 out 50
« on: November 01, 2007, 15:36 »
Before you tell me I deserve it, please take a look at my portfolio first:)

By hard work and reinvesting most of my money into professional equipment I made it into the top 20 best selling photogs across the microstock industry. On some agencies, top 10.

SS took 5 out of 50 submitted images a couple of days ago. That's 10% approval. I never ever had such low acceptance rate. I never complain when i get rejections - those rejections earn me good money somewhere else. But please not 10%!!! Reasons? None of them make sense to me at all. "Out of focus" for perfectly focused images, "limited value", "similar submissions" for images that are not similar... stuff like that.

Yes SS is a number one earner for me right now (well IS would have been better if not for their stupid upload limit). But - I also want to enjoy doing business with agencies. And if they don't take something, it has to make at least a little sense. A few more rejections like this, and I'll go exclusive with IS. Can use that bigger upload limit, you know...

Sigh.... soo frustrating.

I emailed Jon, got a reply that he "agrees with some of the rejections" since their quality standards increased... and that support should contact me on this issue.
I don't know what quality standards they have - my stuff passed every macro-mid-micro initial submission that I ever bothered to try (didn't try Getty but will once i get 12 mp D300).
So, why isn't it good for shutterstock?

Ok venting here did help a bit... please don't be mean, just having a low moment and looking for some sympathy:)

New Sites - General / Travelingstock
« on: October 23, 2007, 23:02 »
Anyone heard of Travelingstock.com? Any experiences with that site? Just found it accidentally while browsing the web...

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