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Messages - Elenathewise

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Print on Demand Forum / Re: Best sites for selling Prints
« on: October 09, 2015, 09:54 »
I've had multiple sales on redbubble where I have a very small portfolio, one large sale on Crated, and have some UK friends who sell a lot on P4  - I make the most on FAA - I'm not on zazzle - that's it for my experience.

Interested to know other's experience.

Has anyone heard of eagalart? They look to be a new Canadian site.

What's P4?

Dreamstime.com / Re: Dreamstime dropped to Middle tier??
« on: October 08, 2015, 16:44 »
I was not following that number (database exposure) since I am not sure what that means. My current number is 0.04%. Someone who's currently a featured photographer on DT with about 2,800 files has a database exposure of 0.09% - so this can't be just number of files relative to the whole database. Do you know how this number is calculated? or is it just arbitrary set?

Elena, your number is 0.4%, not 0.04%
database exposure = portfolio size / total number of files on DT  ?

Ah, right:)

Dreamstime.com / Re: Dreamstime dropped to Middle tier??
« on: October 08, 2015, 14:36 »
Would you mind telling how many images you have in your portfolio on DT and how many sales you've had over the years? Just to see a clearer picture of what's going on there. I have, as of this moment, 13,324 files on DT (all shot and processed by me) and 97,455 total sales. And my earnings were cut to 30% of my previous earnings there - I guess, as a "reward" for all my hard work...
I meant to ask, have you been able to maintain your database exposure? I have just about so far. Maybe if that is in line with your drop it could just be that the database is growing faster than your portfolio.

I was not following that number (database exposure) since I am not sure what that means. My current number is 0.04%. Someone who's currently a featured photographer on DT with about 2,800 files has a database exposure of 0.09% - so this can't be just number of files relative to the whole database. Do you know how this number is calculated? or is it just arbitrary set?

Dreamstime.com / Re: Dreamstime dropped to Middle tier??
« on: October 07, 2015, 14:18 »
DT are doing fine for me. Slow increase in sales over the months/ years. If there's a general trend I would say that it's less sales on the smaller sites and more on the big ones. Of these DT is the only one offering a decent rpd. The main problem is the decline in IS income/ appalling compensation for contributors.
Would you mind telling how many images you have in your portfolio on DT and how many sales you've had over the years? Just to see a clearer picture of what's going on there. I have, as of this moment, 13,324 files on DT (all shot and processed by me) and 97,455 total sales. And my earnings were cut to 30% of my previous earnings there - I guess, as a "reward" for all my hard work...

Dreamstime.com / Re: Dreamstime dropped to Middle tier??
« on: October 06, 2015, 16:43 »
I agree fellow Old Timer.DT at one time was a major Player for me. with half the Images I have.The boys got fairly wealthy on us. Maybe they just don't wanna play anymore?
Not sure. Could be they are losing market share or could be their search results manipulation - didn't they say they "rotate" contributors, so everyone's getting an equal "opportunity" in search results... which could result in everyone's getting equally sad returns...

Dreamstime.com / Re: Dreamstime dropped to Middle tier??
« on: October 06, 2015, 15:10 »
WOW, Thats a first..

Yup - was just looking at my earnings history there. Scary picture - I am right now at 30% of what I used to earn there... while growing my portfolio. I think I will hold off uploads until I see an upswing of that curve. Right now it's just not worth the time.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Cap on daily earnings?
« on: September 27, 2015, 20:52 »
As an ex-analyst (13 years as a Credit Scoring Analyst), I would say there is an element of control over the amount a contributor can earn in any one 7 day period. I believe this is part of their ranking system. Sad as it may be I still enjoy building SAS programmes that import and integrate data to find patterns and there is plenty of evidence to be found. It does't mean they are being underhand, i't just THEIR way of ranking contributors. Whether it's the right way is open to individual opinion.

Why do it? Keeping as many contributors happy as possible (earning money) means more varied work to present to clients. If the same people stayed at the top all the time while the rest sank below they would stop submitting and variety in images would decline. They have already stated they want to keep changing images for clients. Shifting images up and down the search means clients see a greater variety of images. However, it can also P1ss some off.... it's a balancing act. Time will tell if SS have got the balance right

One of the more interesting stats to watch is the 7 day rolling average. For me, I often see medium - large variation in daily sales. This is not unusual on it's own but when I see the 7 day average stay within a couple of $'s from the previous day after such a large variation in actual daily income, then it's either a massive coincidence or, there is a a cut off that slows sales down once a threshold is met. It would be very easy to manage / operate (anyone who's been involved in building scorecards would know). I'd imaging each contributor will have a score (rank) for each client type (subs, ODDs,SODs etc etc) and depending on who searches and for what, will alter what lands at the top of their search. From time to time they will alter the way the algorithm makes use of the contributor scores etc to see if the mix of images results in greater or reduced sales compared to what it was (champion / challenger analysis).

Here's an example of what I mean in terms of daily inc and the average over the previous 7 days.

Daily Inc        7day avg
$75.89   $ 177.34
$14.4   $ 179.34
$38.26   $ 177.05
$13.1   $ 176.29
$11.72   $ 176.61
$2.88   $ 175.08
$20.94   $ 177.19

This is just a 7 day average but there are ways to monitor similar patterns over 30days, 3 & 6 months etc. Very revealing.

Excellent post HalfFull - I think this is exactly what's happening.   "...there is a a cut off that slows sales down once a threshold is met" - that's what I see. Which brings me back to my original question - does SS decide how much to pay each of us and we're just getting a salary? It sure feels like that to me. What's the point of improving then and growing your portfolio? Motivation - down the toilet...
Time to move out of this business.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Cap on daily earnings?
« on: September 25, 2015, 20:46 »
I honestly do believe there is a delay or server lag sometimes, because you can sit there and refresh your earnings for an hour at a time (sometimes) and not see a change.  Even on high-earnings days.  Although those seem to be fewer and further between, lately.  It might be a technical thing.

I don't think Shutterstock is "skimming" or limiting us in our income potential.  All contributors are the backbone that helped them gain and continue to hold their top spot in the microstock market.  They haven't been shady in the past, and let's hope it stays that way.

I don't think anyone's "skimming" either, or not reporting sales or anything "shady" like that- but I do have a strong suspicion that there is a certain "weight" number assigned to your portfolio. I upload regularly still and my earnings stay surprisingly the same, every month very close to one number. Let's say I uploaded 500 new images this year - that's someone else's portfolio right? Shouldn't I see at least *some* increase? Newbies with 500 new images do report nice earnings, right? So -  where is mine?
And yes it would make sense to pay less to people in developing countries - they'd stay motivated for less money (not saying this is happening, but could be)...

Shutterstock.com / Re: Cap on daily earnings?
« on: September 19, 2015, 16:06 »
Possible answers to some questions (theoretically - I have no solid proof of anything, so this is a speculation):
 - An agency can easily limit a contributor's exposure in search results. It's fairly easy to do, just some not too complicated code.
 - Why would they do that? They are interested in getting fresh content daily. For someone starting now, it would be nearly impossible to sell anything, unless their new content is pushed up in searches. If someone's content is being pushed up, someone else's has to be pushed down. How much down? - now here is a big question. Some time ago I had an interview with SS's contributor's department, and first thing I was asked if I was happy with my earnings. I wish I said no (which was the truth - I feel I should be earning more with my portfolio), but I misunderstood the purpose and the context of the question and said yes. My earnings have been on that level ever since. It could be that they would pay you whatever they think you'd be happy with to keep uploading.
- Why wouldn't they display they "best" results to customers? Well, is there even such a thing with over 60 million images? It's A LOT of images, and even if most of them are mediocre, there is still A LOT of good ones to choose from even if they do cap people's earnings. Customers won't lose anything, and the agency would still get their sales.
Again, in the absence of any proof or statements from agencies this is all speculation. However, something's definitely going on, I wish agencies kept us informed about thing like that, at least we'd know what to expect. Most likely they won't of course, but I am fairly convinced that we're not dealing with the "let the best man win" environment like it was in the early days of microstock.

Shutterstock.com / Cap on daily earnings?
« on: September 18, 2015, 21:06 »
Not sure if fellow conspiracy theorists here discussed this topic already... but it looks to me there is a cup on daily earnings on SS - well at least something funny is going on. This morning I had a couple of large SODs and a couple of extended license sales, nice surprise, no complaints there. But after that my downloads just stopped - never seen anything like that before, and by the end of the day, even though I had a nice total, if you subtract the SODs and extended sales I ended up with the total well below my daily usual, even for a Friday.
It seems to me once you images sold up to certain daily amount they push your portfolio down the search results??
Would hate to think that I am working for a salary and can't grow because someone there decided how much they should pay me.
Anyone else with large ports and tin foil hats seen anything like that?

The markup is material. If you go to a photo and choose a print and then click pricing details its all broken down for you. It is quite transparent to be honest.

I am not talking about material markup and framing commissions, and I am well aware of the "pricing details". What I am looking at is the "Print" price which is supposed to be what I set, and it isn't. 

Here is an example:

I think it is clearer for them to say that the price you set is the price you get, but clearly that's just an opinion.

It's clear in terms of how much you get, but since you're setting prices yourself you need to know how much the buyer is getting charged. The reason this came to my attention is a buyer asked about the pricing and what shows on the purchase page is not what I set.  When you set prices for a phone case for example, it shows you the base price, your markup, and the price the customer will see on the purchase page. With prints for some reason there is this silent and not even consistent add-on that's not defined anywhere or mentioned anywhere. Not ok. 

AFAICR, they only say you get 100% of the price you set.
I can't see where they say that they don't add their own cut as well as the other charges.

Wouldn't be more transparent and honest to say that my cut of the print price is 80%?

I thought FAA let you set your own prices for prints and didn't add anything on top apart from printing/framing and shipping charges. Am I mistaken? It looks like they are adding anywhere from 12 to 20% on top of my markup!
Here is what I see (FAA's markup on top my markup in brackets):
My markup   FAA "print price"
8"  - $30           35  (5)
10" - $40          45  (5)
12" - $50          60  (10)
14" - $75          87  (12)
16" - $100      115 (15)
20" - $125      142 (17)
24" - $150      170 (20)
30" - $175      197 (22)
36" - $225       252 (27)
40" - $250       280 (30)

So, while they advertise that they are being "fair" to artists and pay 100% of print price, they sneak up they own percentage on top of the price they present to the customer. And here is silly me thinking that I charge $250 for a 40" print when in fact it's $280. Not amused. Do they explain this additional markup anywhere - why it is there? Seriously, you want to get extra money - increase my annual fee, but don't burden my customers with additional mysterious charges!

General Stock Discussion / ImageBrief "premium" membership
« on: August 11, 2015, 11:40 »
ImageBrief is closing their "founding premium program" on Aug 14... I have a basic account there and never managed to earn anything, although been "shortlisted" a number of times. To upgrade to "premium" is $500 a year. Anyone here holds their "premium" account? And if yes did it help at all with getting sales?
Thanks in advance.

Glad you've got a new reply from them - still, one shouldn't NEED to fight for things like that! In your case the rejection reason was complete nonsense, it shouldn't have happened in the first place. My time should be spent on creating new images not on having to fight to resolve the problem that isn't mine - it's the agency's responsibility to control the quality of their reviews.

I got new reply from Shutterstock that gives me hope!

I knew they can be professional as they were before, they apologies for double incorrect rejection and gave me case number for those images to resubmit.

Even it takes some time to "fight", it is worth it.

Thanks everyone and thanks Shutterstock support team, looks like they DO listens to their contributors if we are demanding some kind of justice.

panicAttack, it could be just a simple case of a reviewer himself having a similar shot in his/her portfolio and not wanting the competition. It's a huge conflict of interest but everyone knows reviewers can and do have their own portfolios with agencies. Some of the rejections I had recently made as much sense as yours - they give completely absurd reason, you try to resubmit, they just bounce it back. I tried to get some help from my old contacts there, the result was the same - it looks like resubmitted image goes to the same reviewer who rejected it in the first place, and no matter how ridiculous the reason is the file stays rejected. It's either not letting in competition or could be that they have some new system that tracks reviewer's statistics and if the rejection/acceptance is invalid it affects their ratings or something like that.
You're not the only one dealing with this, take comfort in this:) Plus, your image will sell on other agencies, no real loss.

I know it's frustrating dealing with the idiotic review system at SS, (and I'm not trying to invalidate your complaint in any way) but you could just change the color of the shoes in Photoshop and resubmit. If it's anything other than red, you'll be fine.

If the shot is more important than the shoes, just work around the challenged reviews if you want to get it for sale there.

I can do it but I really would like to have some things cleared. Why so many contributors can have images of red shoes (some of them have even red soles) but me or someone else cant have red shoes even without red soles and not only that, but shoes are not main subject in photo (full body portraits). and there are images selling at shutterstock where only legs and shoes can be seen so we can say that those are main subject in the image.

I'm not asking too much... I hope.

If we contributors need to make progress in quality, we need to expect same with reviewers and support, or at least constant quality not declining in quality over time.

Thank you all.  Dear Elenathewise, isn't it be hard send to different agencies images? In your opinion, what should ı do?

Well if you want to make a living doing stock photography, prepare for a lot of *very hard* work... ;-)

hammarby007, I wouldn't advise being exclusive with any agency. If you're exclusive, it's less work to upload and track submissions, but at the same time it's way more risky - I've been 11 years in this business and seen agencies go up and down, earning like crazy and then dwindling to nothing. If you submit to many, your income can remain stable regardless of what this or that agency is going through.

General Photography Discussion / Can you do that??...
« on: June 02, 2015, 10:42 »
Apparently it's ok to take any instagram photo and sell it as your own "artwork"! I guess we've been missing out ... <sarcasm>


From the article: "... these works are posted on the Internet and therefore theyre not a purely private image" - WHAAAAT???

I've been with Shutterstock almost from the very beginning, about 10 years now. It's always been the most technically reliable agency, never down, never any serious glitches. During the last year or so it started to change noticeably. That combined with recent absurd image reviews could be an indication that Vogons are taking over...

b) Another clue pointing to automated reviews could be the recent change in submission comments from a free-form text field to a drop-down menu with just a few standard (and useless) options.

Yup means no human is expected to read it... agreed. It's like automated "customer service" for most companies these days - they don't even give you an option for "operator" anymore (although stubbornly pressing "0" about 25 times sometimes still works:))

Not at all justifying the rejections and reviewers,

but lets' look at the numbers:
At present, SS is accepting presently 400,000 images a week.
If they are rejecting about half, that would be another 400,000,
the current practice discourages photographers from resubmitting 200,000 images and dissuades them from submitting another 200,000  - adding all these numbers to the present 400,000 would bring it to a total 1,200,000 images a week or 62 million new images every  year. Where it will end?

Les, sure they shouldn't be accepting everything that get thrown their way, but you would expect at least some common sense in the review process. They reject high quality content for absurd reasons and non-existing issues, I don't know if it's their software malfunctioning or human factor but it's sometimes just pure nonsense. Here is a couple of images that I mentioned in my post earlier:
- these are accepted to 500 Prime, note they have absolutely relevant and very different descriptions, there is no technical problems with them, and yet I am told by SS review team that the descriptions are the same and images are blurry. This is after my second attempt to resubmit (with proper process). This doesn't make any sense whatsoever, so something is just not working right.

1) I think they automatically reject based only on iso or camera type. Good to strip off all the EXIF info.

2) Reviewers really have reject targets, two of them confiremd this to me. So in fact its easier to simply accept everything and then reject to fill the quota and you save a LOT of the time.

3) Unless agencies quit this crap behaviour causing me substantial loss of time, I will resubmit the same images again and again. I will not bother complaining at forums or posting questions to support - it never works. Simply minor change and resubmit. This is especially true on SS, but also Pond is now rejecting photos like mad.

Something's definitely going on. I had to contact SS about the review on my editorial images - 6 rejected for focus issues, wrong descriptions, color cast, etc... They almost drove me bonkers by telling me my images have the same descriptions - they do not!!! They say all images are out of focus - the are not!!! All sharp, right relevant descriptions, no cast - all 6 are accepted *everywhere* else I submit to, and that's a few dozens agencies.... Seemed completely absurd to me until I saw this thread - looks like someone's trying to improve their reject stats or fulfill quota or whatever, I see no other explanation. I won't be resubmitting the images, having close 15000 images in my port it's not gonna make or break me, but for sure weird stuff is happening there...
Being in this business for over 10 years I see a pattern: it looks like the more agency is selling (=the more submissions they get) the weirder their review process becomes... I guess you can only handle so many submissions in a reasonable way, it's doesn't scale right, so you get results that are close to random.

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