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Author Topic: Istock now accepting cellphone pics.  (Read 19349 times)

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lisafx

« on: April 07, 2012, 09:11 »
0
I know this was brought up in another thread, but I really think it deserves its own thread. 

I am really shocked that after years of telling us all to improve our standards and produce more professional images, Istock is now telling its contributors its okay to shoot with cellphones.

It appears from examples posted that some of the folks submitting cellphone pics are eligible to bypass the normal inspection process.  I seriously doubt the average contributor could get them accepted.

More to the point, is this what we want to be offering buyers?  After so many years of trying to convince them that microstock shooters are not just a bunch of amateur hacks???

I read quite a lot here from people who claim Istock has the highest standards and has lifted the industry by example.  What does this do to that reputation?  Is image quality yet one more thing Istock was known for that Getty is willing to throw out the window? 


ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 09:17 »
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I believe they are trying to embrace the 'Flickr aesthetic' as was mentioned in a thread months ago.
JJRD was one of the first I was aware of to have iPhone pics accepted, at the end of last year.

For me, it isn't at all the equipment that matters (we all know the Bert Hardy/Box Brownie example). So long as the usual standards are upheld, I don't care if the image was shot with a pinhole camera.

But if the usual standards aren't being upheld, that there should be a special collection for them, for buyers who might want that 'look'.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 09:20 »
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I feel obliged to point out that the Flickr aesthetic is a bit of a misnomer. Many of the photos in my Flickr groups are fantastic.

« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 09:31 »
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I believe they are trying to embrace the 'Flickr aesthetic' as was mentioned in a thread months ago.
JJRD was one of the first I was aware of to have iPhone pics accepted, at the end of last year.

For me, it isn't at all the equipment that matters (we all know the Bert Hardy/Box Brownie example). So long as the usual standards are upheld, I don't care if the image was shot with a pinhole camera.

But if the usual standards aren't being upheld, that there should be a special collection for them, for buyers who might want that 'look'.

I agree. I can see cellphone images being a certain look, but it's totally wrong to allow SOME from inspectors and then reject them from regular contributors. But then again, I am certainly not surprised that the "rules" don't apply to everyone on istock. Been that way since the Getty beginning. With them, it's not about the image itself, it's about who is submitting the image.  ::)

Microbius

« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 09:37 »
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looks like poopy is the new not poopy. I can't keep up with all these trends.

lisafx

« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 09:39 »
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So long as the usual standards are upheld, I don't care if the image was shot with a pinhole camera.

Well, that appears to be the rub.   Are standards being upheld?  With some members able to bypass inspection altogether, how can a consistent set of standards be adhered to?

Cellphone pictures are improving, but they are still no better than a point-and-shoot and it has been common knowledge that it is nearly impossible to get P&S photos that are clear, tack sharp, noise free, etc. enough to pass the normal inspection process.  

The pinhole comment provides a perfect example that image quality is necessarily limited by the technology that produces it.   You may be able to take a CREATIVE image with a cellphone camera (or pinhole camera!) but you aren't going to get one that is up to the technical standards that this industry has (up to now) aspired to.

Sorry, but this marks a dramatic change of direction from the image standards Istock used to set and enforce.  
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 09:41 by lisafx »

« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 09:39 »
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looks like poopy is the new not poopy. I can't keep up with all these trends.

Kind of like all the images that are getting posted from Instagram on FB...they all have that "retro" feel. The new not poopy.

« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 14:21 »
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I'm gobsmacked too, Lisa. But I have a theory. It's got to do with the Apple cult. The iPhone is so cool (because it's an Apple product) that whatever comes out of it has to be perfumed like angel's urine.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 14:38 »
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I'm not seeing this as such a big deal.  Isn't the cell phone/iPad/ whatever else has a camera being constantly improved -- increased pixel count, larger sensors?
At some point, I think the cell phone images will match a point and shoot, maybe?
I have several P&S images selling at several sites.

Progress!   :o ;D

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 14:59 »
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IMO, it isn't the technology, it's some of the images produced and accepted that is the real issue.
http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/is-the-new-istock-standard-of-picture-quality/msg249996/?topicseen#new
And regarding the images referenced in that thread, I don't find Kelvin's answer remotely relevant:
"...it is important to offer the clients strong imagery and sometimes the demand for technical levels of perfection are matched or outweighed by the power of the picture to get a message across."

WarrenPrice

« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2012, 15:08 »
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IMO, it isn't the technology, it's some of the images produced and accepted that is the real issue.
http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/is-the-new-istock-standard-of-picture-quality/msg249996/?topicseen#new
And regarding the images referenced in that thread, I don't find Kelvin's answer remotely relevant:
"...it is important to offer the clients strong imagery and sometimes the demand for technical levels of perfection are matched or outweighed by the power of the picture to get a message across."


Agreed ... the images suck.  I doubt, however, that it was caused by the equipment.

helix7

« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2012, 15:50 »
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To be fair, SS also accepts iPhone images, and has for at least a few months now.

My issue with these images is that it seems as though technical imperfections are giving way to conceptual and compositional flaws that get overlooked because of the technical issues. It's like the reviewers can look at these images and overlook a compositional flaw because they've already got it in their mind that the image should be flawed.

I think the same standards need to be adhered to. In the right hands, someone can create an exceptional image with an iPhone camera. I follow Zack Arias and some of the stuff he shoots on his phone is disgustingly good. But mostly what I'm seeing accepted in microstock from iPhone cameras is stuff I probably could have shot. And I'm not a photographer. But really, I'm looking at that overhead teriyaki dinner shot and thinking, "I could go down the street, get the same meal, hold my phone over the table and get the same shot, get dinner for two, and still have paid less than the $15 istock would charge me."

That's the biggest problem, in my opinion. The technical considerations, sure that's an issue as well and I think it sends a bad message throughout the industry. But the conceptual and compositional oversights that seem to be overlooked just because of technical limitations is the more scary issue.

rinderart

« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 16:43 »
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One of my Favorite Photographers out there for creativity is Chase jarvis. I bought his book on Iphoneography Called "The best camera is the one with you" In my view about 90% of the Images in that book were Great and if I was still reviewing I would have accepted them  because there fresh, Great concepts of just stuff he sees. That 99% of all of us don't and one of the reasons he has the best clients going. His eye. This all has to change soon , This BS 100% Perfection rule in exchange for solid Unique work that tells a story. And he has that part nailed down IMHO. I think all the folks with there perfect Little overblown fake composites and stuff is way Old school very soon. Welcome back creativity....Best way I know to cull the herd. LOL

« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 17:04 »
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Tastes change, ideas about what people like or respond to in imagery change, too.  Now people want photos that seem spontaneous, taken on a phone by an unskilled person, without any forethought.  It's a fad, but to be fair, the whole concept of stock photography has been one of calculated phoniness since day one - plastic models with perfect teeth in fake-y setups.  Now, it's a different fad, a new kind of fake 'realism' - like the jerky hand-held camera work in a 'reality' show.

I have no doubt that IS has customers telling them they want photos "that look like they came from cell phones".   But  I get the distinct feeling that if we submitted  low-res, shaky, harshly lit, off-center DSLR photos that looked just like cell phone shots, but didn't actually come from a phone, they'd be rejected.  
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 17:27 by stockastic »

lisafx

« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2012, 18:50 »
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Really interesting thoughts in this thread so far.  Maybe I do have a prejudice.  If so, it's one that has been beaten into me for 7 years by the level of technical excellence that has been demanded (imo quite correctly) by the agencies up to this point. 

I agree with Liz that the quality of the accepted images (that we've seen) doesn't justify the policy at all. 

Here's the thing.  If buyers want crappy spontaneous looking photos shot with cellphones, can't they do them for themselves?  Why pay for a stock image?  Isn't the big advantage of the stock agencies that they offer higher quality than the average joe can get for himself? 

Mike, yes, absolutely, the compositional and conceptual aspects should still be there, ESPECIALLY if the technical quality isn't.

I just worry that if crappy cellphone shots start filling up the searches it's going to take buyer perception right back to the early days where microstock was seen as poor quality trash.  Having watched for years as the agencies and we contributors have worked to change that perception, it's very disheartening to watch things going back the other direction. 

Yes, I am sure that you can get a creative, well composed, even well lighted shot with a cellphone.  But you can get that with a DSLR too, along with technical quality. 

Rapideye probably got to the heart of it here:

...I have a theory. It's got to do with the Apple cult. The iPhone is so cool (because it's an Apple product) that whatever comes out of it has to be perfumed like angel's urine.

« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2012, 18:57 »
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it would be non sense unless they are looking for immaculated pics which I am sure they arent.. sure the artsy look is so cool etc etc but come on it must have all the crap IS inspectors are so keen to find out lol.. will IS have an iphone category?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 19:01 by luissantos84 »

« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2012, 19:59 »
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They will zoom at 10% for inspection ;D

rinderart

« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2012, 20:03 »
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Really interesting thoughts in this thread so far.  Maybe I do have a prejudice.  If so, it's one that has been beaten into me for 7 years by the level of technical excellence that has been demanded (imo quite correctly) by the agencies up to this point. 

I agree with Liz that the quality of the accepted images (that we've seen) doesn't justify the policy at all. 

Here's the thing.  If buyers want crappy spontaneous looking photos shot with cellphones, can't they do them for themselves?  Why pay for a stock image?  Isn't the big advantage of the stock agencies that they offer higher quality than the average joe can get for himself? 

Mike, yes, absolutely, the compositional and conceptual aspects should still be there, ESPECIALLY if the technical quality isn't.

I just worry that if crappy cellphone shots start filling up the searches it's going to take buyer perception right back to the early days where microstock was seen as poor quality trash.  Having watched for years as the agencies and we contributors have worked to change that perception, it's very disheartening to watch things going back the other direction. 

Yes, I am sure that you can get a creative, well composed, even well lighted shot with a cellphone.  But you can get that with a DSLR too, along with technical quality. 

Rapideye probably got to the heart of it here:

...I have a theory. It's got to do with the Apple cult. The iPhone is so cool (because it's an Apple product) that whatever comes out of it has to be perfumed like angel's urine.

Lisa....Your forgetting the most important aspect. Yes the one posted was crap But, you Take a very good photographer that has a commercial Mind far greater than most and let him or her go to town with a cellphone camera. All the rest is moot. He will sell and the clients and buyers will buy.. In my 50+ years of taking Pics and teaching the past 12, I've seen people with $500 cameras that would blow away most of us with there Natural talent of seeing and....I've had students with $45,000 Hasselblads That couldn't shoot a flower in focus. It's the eye girlfriend and the commercial Mind. You wait and see. Give it a year. We ALL get hooked into the more the better when in reality it's not. it's the usefulness of an image and none of Us..NONE OF US including the sites know what that is.

« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2012, 20:09 »
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they dont know? thats a great one sorry to tell you but that is an awesome statement, what are they selling everyday? sure agencies have tons of crap.. we all have pictures that have never sold, not even once but saying agencies dont know the usefulness of a pic its quite too much.. beside that happy birthday, seen the topic at SS

« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2012, 21:00 »
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Here's the thing.  If buyers want crappy spontaneous looking photos shot with cellphones, can't they do them for themselves? 


They don't want real spontaneity any more than they ever did - they want a new kind of fake spontaneity.  It's just as contrived as those happy seniors on bicycles ever were - but with a new and different cultural sensibility.   

« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2012, 21:00 »
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They will zoom at 10% for inspection ;D

LOL

velocicarpo

« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2012, 00:04 »
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I agree that the should be accepted. You can create great art and stock with phones.
Nevertheless, istock was the company who killed lots of creativity. No noise? No direct flashes? Many great art shots have that, including noise etc. So, finally, it marks them (istock) just another time as people who don`t know what they are talking about and approves one more time that we cannot take them seriously. Suddenly one thing is a trend and - tataaaa - they change their mind after punishing OUR creativity without any real understandment of Photography.

« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2012, 00:19 »
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"Take a very good photographer that has a commercial Mind far greater than most and let him or her go to town with a cellphone camera. "

... And they'll still likely be snapshots.  Limiting people to what is essentially a point and shoot is no way to free the creativity within.  It's aim and snap and you get whatever was in front of you.  Might as well hire a monkey.

« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2012, 01:00 »
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So , now I can sell all my Canon "L" glass and dump my 5D Mk2. There is no need to even contemplate a Mk3 any more.
Oh happy day! I just need to upgrade my iPhone 4 to the 5 when it comes out and I'll be all set :D

« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2012, 01:10 »
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Lisa....Your forgetting the most important aspect. Yes the one posted was crap But, you Take a very good photographer that has a commercial Mind far greater than most and let him or her go to town with a cellphone camera. All the rest is moot. He will sell and the clients and buyers will buy.. In my 50+ years of taking Pics and teaching the past 12, I've seen people with $500 cameras that would blow away most of us with there Natural talent of seeing and....I've had students with $45,000 Hasselblads That couldn't shoot a flower in focus. It's the eye girlfriend and the commercial Mind. You wait and see. Give it a year. We ALL get hooked into the more the better when in reality it's not. it's the usefulness of an image and none of Us..NONE OF US including the sites know what that is.

Yes, for sure there are geniuses who could shoot us all into a cocked hat with a camera obscura, a pencil and some tracing paper.

But, in general, the microstock revolution can be put down to one thing -- the rise of the cheap DSLR with spectacular image quality. And in fact the improvement began nearing an asymptote about eight years ago: my old 20D puts out a file that, resolution aside, is not markedly inferior to one from a 5D Mark II.

So, for all this time, you've been getting a great bedrock image. Later, you can warp the colour balance, contrast etc to suit your tastes. You can even do a fake cross-process and add a vignetta. You can be "artistic" (if that's what artistic means), but at the end you still have a file of very high quality that will not behave badly on a printing press.

Sometimes, it's true, art is served by working under constraints, i.e. with lousy equipment. Here are some of the constraints on phone photography, which are so extreme that true art must be guaranteed:

1. Low-light shooting is impossible because the tiny sensor erupts in a fireworks display of chroma noise.

2. You can't sync a flash to your phone, so you're stuck with whatever light you have. See above.

3. Action shots (loosely defined) are difficult because of abysmal shutter lag.

4. Depth of field is practically infinite because of the very short focal length of the lens. Goodbye to subject isolation with background blur.

5. No manual control of aperture and shutter speed on any phone I've heard of. Okay, never mind aperture because of (4) above, but it is useful to know what shutter speed you're dealing with.

6. Handholding a cellphone is challenging because, like a P&S, it has no viewfinder and must be held out at arms length. This exacerbates the problems raised in (3) and (5) above.

7. The lens is not very good. Flare and particularly veiling flare are ever-present dangers in cellphone photography because the plastic lenses aren't properly coated (that would be expensive. But any minute now, some enterprising Gary Fong type will be offering stick-on lens hoods for cellphones. Imagine.) Sharpness is actually not too bad, but that's because the tiny sensor (see (1) above) can be in the sweet spot of a not-quite-so-tiny lens.

8. The sensor in a cellphone is pretty poor quite apart from its pigmy dimensions. Dynamic range is seriously lacking and, moreover, you can't shoot RAW.


 

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