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Author Topic: Nervous breakdown - Istockphoto, what else? Exlcusivity etc...  (Read 24122 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2012, 20:13 »
0
if it really is the end of the stock work then what? what is left?  pack up our bags and go home?

it's gonna take a few years to reach the point of non-return but the die has been cast.

agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.
the OP has 3500 images on IS and he's starving, soon you will need 5000 images, then 10.000, and then it will be finally financially unsustainable and people will give up.

this industry has been completely cannibalized and it lived on his laurels for too long.
there's simply no more cake to eat and buyers are screaming for even  cheaper prices (!).

Plus, on top of buyers being spoiled by cheap images, there are plenty of image users that don't buy. A ton of stuff is copied/pirated. I recently saw some pirating stats, and can't remember the numbers, but the percentage of pirated images on the net is unreal. A lot of those people are ignorant to copyright but a lot of them steal intentionally because they don't believe they'll be caught or even punished even if they are caught.

If supply continues to increase, prices continue to drop, and there's no easy and cost effective method of tracking and recovering pirated images, it's going to be pretty challenging to be profitable moving forward.


« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2012, 21:28 »
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agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.


Seriously? What agency sold you that line? Look at http://www.terragalleria.com and try to convince me this guy needs an agency.

antistock

« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2012, 00:52 »
0
agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.


Seriously? What agency sold you that line? Look at http://www.terragalleria.com and try to convince me this guy needs an agency.


he's a case apart.

for starters his web site has 30,000 "organic" unique visitors a day !
and his site is basically an e-commerce selling fine-art prints and the odd stock photo.
he started 10 yrs ago, but he would never make it starting in 2012 unless he's willing to invest huge amounts of $$ in SEO, paid links, and paid advertising just like any other e-commerce sites.
judging by his blog he's also well connected and networked with academic insitutions, governance, and rich clients, which helps a lot !

antistock

« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2012, 01:01 »
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Plus, on top of buyers being spoiled by cheap images, there are plenty of image users that don't buy. A ton of stuff is copied/pirated. I recently saw some pirating stats, and can't remember the numbers, but the percentage of pirated images on the net is unreal. A lot of those people are ignorant to copyright but a lot of them steal intentionally because they don't believe they'll be caught or even punished even if they are caught.

If supply continues to increase, prices continue to drop, and there's no easy and cost effective method of tracking and recovering pirated images, it's going to be pretty challenging to be profitable moving forward.

fully agree !
and the worldwide thieves' mafia seems to be rampant and supported by the biggest brands including google and wikipedia screaming against SOPA and other proposed laws against piracy.

and what potential buyers should think if even the top-10 biggest sites openly support piracy with the usual lame excuse of sharing information, freedom, and yadda yadda ?

it's not enough they destroyed the music business, now they're up against photographers as well.
but unlike musicians we cannot play live gigs or sell t-shirts with our name !

i mean, you'll hardly make a vernissage or exibition with microstock images or cross-selling on POD sites (postcards, calendars, etc).
that's ok if you make "fine art", not stock.

lagereek

« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2012, 01:17 »
0
agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.


Seriously? What agency sold you that line? Look at http://www.terragalleria.com and try to convince me this guy needs an agency.


he's a case apart.

for starters his web site has 30,000 "organic" unique visitors a day !
and his site is basically an e-commerce selling fine-art prints and the odd stock photo.
he started 10 yrs ago, but he would never make it starting in 2012 unless he's willing to invest huge amounts of $$ in SEO, paid links, and paid advertising just like any other e-commerce sites.
judging by his blog he's also well connected and networked with academic insitutions, governance, and rich clients, which helps a lot !


No, agencies can not survive without contributors, thats their life-blood, has always been and will always be. having said that, ofcourse they can survive without millions of copycats but the specialized, nieched contributor is always needed.
I do agree with you, that its the internet which eventually will destroy the stock-business.

« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2012, 04:52 »
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The internet has brought us millions of new customers and is allowing me to sell my pictures from Wladiwostok to the South Pole.

Without the internet I would never have been able to enter the world of stock - I would need to rely on the buddy, buddy system and hope that one day I would get to know the cousin of the nephew of the mother in law that will get me into a "real" agency.

I love things just the way they are.

lagereek

« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2012, 05:28 »
0
The internet has brought us millions of new customers and is allowing me to sell my pictures from Wladiwostok to the South Pole.

Without the internet I would never have been able to enter the world of stock - I would need to rely on the buddy, buddy system and hope that one day I would get to know the cousin of the nephew of the mother in law that will get me into a "real" agency.

I love things just the way they are.

Hi there!

Well I cant argue with you on that point, certainly, without the internet, micro wouldnt be possible but at the same time, look at the magnitude of it all, the supply is outstripping the demand by lightyears and because agencies open their arms to millions of applicants, along comes spamming, keywording, billions of generics and ofcourse tons of irrelevant material, just hanging in there.

« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2012, 06:26 »
0
Just a bit of clarification on the matter in hands.

50% of my failure is my own fault that happened in my life by a odd streak of circumstances, bad luck, depression, lack of confidence in my own work and a bit of laziness etc... Other 50% I blame on Istock!
Also, there is a lot of "my own choice" regarding piracy that I wouldn't ever do! I'm sure things would be different if I had gone down that road and copied successful portfolios etc... I didn't. I think (another story about ideas, copyright and inspiration and stuff)

I picking my self up and starting to do again what I have done my whole life - being creative for the sake of my own feelings and dopamine or whatever is the chemical that our brain is pumping into our body (or vice versa) so we could feel "happiness and pleasure"... I lost "that" feeling somewhere down the road chasing money and well being for me and my family... I can blame internet to a point, hyper production, not getting into your own work with enough of your soul etc... one can argue that stock is business and only that, and it should and can be done just like that - cold, sterile, strategic, smart, calculated etc... I agree... but it CANNOT be only that. At least not for me. And there I've lost it down that road. Only me to blame for that...

Other 50% of Istock guilt I don't wanna repeat cause we all have some down's with them so it would be boring to chew on that story again.

And to clarify something else - I got around 1300 videos, 2000 audio's and less than 200 photographs... So my portfolio CANNOT be taken (to a point) into discussion with photographers portfolios. It's a mash-up of medias and my work (portfolio) is "mediocre", "good" and a few examples of "excellent" works (by my standards and mostly in audio, few in video and few in photos) so I'm the biggest critic of my own work and I'm sorry now that I let some of the clips into my library but other part of my brain is telling me - hey, that can be useful to somebody, you are (me) not a trend-guru so you can pinpoint stuff that will sell and stuff that will not... etc...

I think you get point... It's on the individual to decide when is enough of "this, that"... It's a net of choices and circumstances that lead to a certain event but in this story it's the same thing with one more side involved in those circumstances :) Istock.

Thank you all for your clever thinking and words and time writing and replaying in this topic...
Yes, I feel welcome here :)))

antistock

« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2012, 06:37 »
0
Without the internet I would never have been able to enter the world of stock - I would need to rely on the buddy, buddy system and hope that one day I would get to know the cousin of the nephew of the mother in law that will get me into a "real" agency.

just go to a photo-fair like PhotoKina, talk with the main stock agencies in their booths, ask them if they're in search of new talents and how you can eventually apply as a contributor, how to show them your portfolio, where to send prints/slides/negatives etc etc

it was the same for every industry i've worked for, even videogames in the late '80s !
all face to face, eventually followed by phone calls, fax, and floppy disks sent by mail :)

« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2012, 07:33 »
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Well, now I am already part of the club ;). getty is working well for me, need to feed them more content though.

« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2012, 07:45 »
0
if it really is the end of the stock work then what? what is left?  pack up our bags and go home?

it's gonna take a few years to reach the point of non-return but the die has been cast.

agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.
the OP has 3500 images on IS and he's starving, soon you will need 5000 images, then 10.000, and then it will be finally financially unsustainable and people will give up.

this industry has been completely cannibalized and it lived on his laurels for too long.
there's simply no more cake to eat and buyers are screaming for even  cheaper prices (!).


i am at over 4500 images and I too am starving.  I think 5000 or 10000 would not stop me from starving.  i am with less than twenty percent my value from a year or so ago

helix7

« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2012, 07:57 »
0

I'm a bit confused by all of these posts about how big of a portfolio you'll need to not starve in the future. When has anyone ever benefited from simply increasing their portfolio size without regard for marketability? As much as some folks are starving with 3,500 image portfolios, some people are thriving with as many images, sometimes far fewer.

It seems like sheer madness to me to look at your portfolio and think, "Well, I'm starving with 3,500 images, but maybe with 7,000 of the same images I'd be doing ok."

I could be totally wrong about this, but I'm venturing a guess that quantity isn't the factor that's going to distinguish the starving artist from the thriving one in the future of microstock.

Anyone else noticing a lot of the mentality that what sold in the past should still sell as well today? Browse the various forums and you'll see lots of complaints about how someone used to do so much better, meanwhile they're barely uploading anything different than what they shot years ago. If you're still uploading isolated fruit or smiling business people and seeing falling income, quantity is definitely not your problem.

« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2012, 07:59 »
0
if it really is the end of the stock work then what? what is left?  pack up our bags and go home?

it's gonna take a few years to reach the point of non-return but the die has been cast.

agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.
the OP has 3500 images on IS and he's starving, soon you will need 5000 images, then 10.000, and then it will be finally financially unsustainable and people will give up.

this industry has been completely cannibalized and it lived on his laurels for too long.
there's simply no more cake to eat and buyers are screaming for even  cheaper prices (!).


i am at over 4500 images and I too am starving.  I think 5000 or 10000 would not stop me from starving.  i am with less than twenty percent my value from a year or so ago

It's not quantity that counts but quality. Quality trumps quantity every time. The contributors who will survive are the ones who produce the best images in their subject matter, not the most images.

« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2012, 08:29 »
0
if it really is the end of the stock work then what? what is left?  pack up our bags and go home?

it's gonna take a few years to reach the point of non-return but the die has been cast.

agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.
the OP has 3500 images on IS and he's starving, soon you will need 5000 images, then 10.000, and then it will be finally financially unsustainable and people will give up.

this industry has been completely cannibalized and it lived on his laurels for too long.
there's simply no more cake to eat and buyers are screaming for even  cheaper prices (!).


i am at over 4500 images and I too am starving.  I think 5000 or 10000 would not stop me from starving.  i am with less than twenty percent my value from a year or so ago

It's not quantity that counts but quality. Quality trumps quantity every time. The contributors who will survive are the ones who produce the best images in their subject matter, not the most images.


it is actually a combination of both.   every submitted image isn't going to be the highest quality.  also even with the highest quality image, you will need more than just a few.  this sweet spot is going to be different for each contributor.  also, the value of the amount earned is going to be different.  for me I my images aren't the best but they are pretty darn good yet they have disappeared from the best match over the last year or so.  you may have the most awesome perfect image ever but it is useless if no one can find it.

« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2012, 08:46 »
0
it is actually a combination of both.   every submitted image isn't going to be the highest quality.  also even with the highest quality image, you will need more than just a few.  this sweet spot is going to be different for each contributor.  also, the value of the amount earned is going to be different.  for me I my images aren't the best but they are pretty darn good yet they have disappeared from the best match over the last year or so.  you may have the most awesome perfect image ever but it is useless if no one can find it.

True enough but what you are also highlighting is the danger of being exclusive with one agency (which I presume you are from what you have written?). Your best images may disappear on Istock, with a few lines of code changing the best match, but on other agencies they can continue to sell and sell. It also never fails to amaze me how, from a series of images, the individual images can perform completely differently on different agencies. The best selling image on IS may be largely ignored on SS and vice versa. FT is even weirder in that relatively few images sell in any quantity but those that do can make staggering money. Your income is likely to be much more stable if your portfolio is spread across a number of agencies.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2012, 09:07 »
0
if it really is the end of the stock work then what? what is left?  pack up our bags and go home?

it's gonna take a few years to reach the point of non-return but the die has been cast.

agencies can survive without too many contributors, but contributors can't survive without agencies.
the OP has 3500 images on IS and he's starving, soon you will need 5000 images, then 10.000, and then it will be finally financially unsustainable and people will give up.

this industry has been completely cannibalized and it lived on his laurels for too long.
there's simply no more cake to eat and buyers are screaming for even  cheaper prices (!).


i am at over 4500 images and I too am starving.  I think 5000 or 10000 would not stop me from starving.  i am with less than twenty percent my value from a year or so ago

It's not quantity that counts but quality. Quality trumps quantity every time. The contributors who will survive are the ones who produce the best images in their subject matter, not the most images.


it is actually a combination of both.   every submitted image isn't going to be the highest quality.  also even with the highest quality image, you will need more than just a few.  this sweet spot is going to be different for each contributor.  also, the value of the amount earned is going to be different.  for me I my images aren't the best but they are pretty darn good yet they have disappeared from the best match over the last year or so.  you may have the most awesome perfect image ever but it is useless if no one can find it.

How is quality defined? Highest resolution? Prettiest colors?

I think the future has little to do with quantity or quality. We already have a gazillion images floating around the internet and tens of millions of "quality" images available as stock. Do we really need more? I've only seen a handful of people who seem to have a handle on the future.

helix7

« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2012, 09:15 »
0
...my images aren't the best but they are pretty darn good yet they have disappeared from the best match over the last year or so.  you may have the most awesome perfect image ever but it is useless if no one can find it.

I hate to state the obvious here, but if we're talking about only having your work at istock and no one is finding it, then I think we know what the real problem is, no?

And I'm not even suggesting that exclusivity is all-around bad. Apparently some people do well with it. It escapes my understanding as to how, but for some, it works. But if you're only selling through istock and you're not happy with the results, maybe you're one of the folks like me who exclusivity just doesn't work for. You have to do what works best for your unique portfolio and workflow.

« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2012, 09:32 »
0
It's not quantity that counts but quality. Quality trumps quantity every time. The contributors who will survive are the ones who produce the best images in their subject matter, not the most images.

I say neither quantity nor quality are ultimately that important.

Having a huge port isn't going to make buyers choose your stuff.  And being technically the best at what you do isn't going to cut it either.  Face it... there are thousands of contributors whose skills are just as good or better than yours.

Instead, there are two qualities that will sell your pics today, and they're of equal importance:

1. Images that buyers need.  You can have a giant port, but if today's customers don't need them, you don't see sales.  On the contrary, you can have a small port, and if those images are in great demand, you'll have sales through the roof.  

2. Images that stand out.  You can be an award-winning photographer or illustrator, but in a market where quality is in over-supply, all it does is get you in the door.  It won't make buyers click on your stuff.  You need images that are unlike anything else out there.  Quality won't be what gives you the edge.  A unique style or perspective on an in-demand subject is key.

What do I know?  Here's an anecdote.  I just checked in at a registration desk... I won't tell you where... but staring me in the face was a giant poster of one of my pics.  I don't have a huge port, so the size of my collection didn't sell that image.  And the pic itself isn't technically anything special.  It sold because it did an effective job of communicating the unique message this venue had to convey, and there are no other images like it available anywhere.  That image owns the market for its subject, and I'll be the first to say it's not very good.

If you keep blindly racing to upload more stuff than the next guy, or being anal about details with the goal of technical perfection, your sales will continue to plummet.  For success these days, you must be two things, and nothing else really matters: be in demand, and be different.

velocicarpo

« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2012, 09:45 »
0

I'm a bit confused by all of these posts about how big of a portfolio you'll need to not starve in the future. When has anyone ever benefited from simply increasing their portfolio size without regard for marketability? As much as some folks are starving with 3,500 image portfolios, some people are thriving with as many images, sometimes far fewer.

It seems like sheer madness to me to look at your portfolio and think, "Well, I'm starving with 3,500 images, but maybe with 7,000 of the same images I'd be doing ok."

I could be totally wrong about this, but I'm venturing a guess that quantity isn't the factor that's going to distinguish the starving artist from the thriving one in the future of microstock.

Anyone else noticing a lot of the mentality that what sold in the past should still sell as well today? Browse the various forums and you'll see lots of complaints about how someone used to do so much better, meanwhile they're barely uploading anything different than what they shot years ago. If you're still uploading isolated fruit or smiling business people and seeing falling income, quantity is definitely not your problem.

I totally agree. This is what I noticed for myself just a few weeks ago. Before complaining about freedom of speech (wasn`t it the foun dation for our society? Do you wanna move to north corea, antistock?) check your own skills.

Yes, imho much damage is done by the current agencies. But they will disappear before the contributors. There will be always a market for stock media. So there will be always a possibility for artists. The stock market it into transformation, as almost everything on our planet right now, and compared to many other industries we still do very well...

antistock

« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2012, 09:46 »
0
quantity might be of secondary importance but on the other side nobody is starving with 10,000 images in portfolio.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2012, 09:56 »
0
quantity might be of secondary importance but on the other side nobody is starving with 10,000 images in portfolio.

I would disagree. I've seen people with 10,000+ image portfolios and 20,000 downloads. Unless those people are living for free in their parents' house anywhere in the world they couldn't possibly be profitable.

« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2012, 10:39 »
0
quantity might be of secondary importance but on the other side nobody is starving with 10,000 images in portfolio.

i also disagree.  10000 in the portfolio does not make you successful.  i want to change my position from a little earlier also and say that I agree it's not quality or quanity that really counts either.  it is placement.   you can have 5000 great images on page 200 of best match and you will starve.  you can fave some crappy images one best match page one and you will thrive.  for the most part your success is defined by the matrix.

« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2012, 10:46 »
0
quantity might be of secondary importance but on the other side nobody is starving with 10,000 images in portfolio.

I would disagree. I've seen people with 10,000+ image portfolios and 20,000 downloads. Unless those people are living for free in their parents' house anywhere in the world they couldn't possibly be profitable.

talking about IS right? once there are no stats for SS, the lowest on IS with over 10k files has 27k downloads (5 years), actually its the only one, after its 39k

the discussion of survival is interesting but quite hard to be accurate once we all live in different countries and have different spending habits

helix7

« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2012, 10:47 »
0
quantity might be of secondary importance but on the other side nobody is starving with 10,000 images in portfolio.

Totally false. Just look at the guy over at the SS forums who is always bragging about his 10k image portfolio, meanwhile me makes a few hundred dollars per month.

« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2012, 10:54 »
0
quantity might be of secondary importance but on the other side nobody is starving with 10,000 images in portfolio.

Totally false. Just look at the guy over at the SS forums who is always bragging about his 10k image portfolio, meanwhile me makes a few hundred dollars per month.

perhaps if he havent quit all other agencies..

p.s: not to mention that half of them are the same pics with ROOM FOR TEXT!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 11:04 by luissantos84 »


 

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