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Author Topic: Trying to price a comprehensive microstock post-production service  (Read 7620 times)

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photografix

  • Wage peace, not war
« on: December 30, 2015, 23:57 »
0
What would it be worth to you if small a company would provide you all the retouching, keywording, uploading and submission for flat per image rate across all the Top and Middle Tier sites? You send the Raw selections, signed releases and this service would handle it from there. We'll assume they are reachable by phone and email at central time and based in the United States and English is their primary language.

What kind of questions might you have and what price(s) would you be willing to pay?


« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 10:12 »
+8
A: I do all my own processing so it meets my vision.
2: I wouldn't pay any amount, since it would cut into my net too much, and in reality, doesn't take too much time.

« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 11:00 »
0
I would use my own app Pixendr which is free. I was trying to set a price for it but other companies in the past had to close their business because photographers are not willing to pay for such services. I wouldn't start such a business unless you can do it for ads only

photografix

  • Wage peace, not war
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 11:17 »
+2
Thanks for the responses. Actually, my wife and I have been doing this for 5 years, but for one studio with great success for us and the customer's studio. So the process exists. No automation or applications were usedoutside of the FTP droplets I made. We helped them get from a portfolio on all the sites at 3,000 to 15,000. So we've developed a nice skill-set handling post-production, upload and submission (most services offer everything but submission). And I'd rather not let it go to rust. We just use Photoshop, LR, Bridge and FTP software.

Of course, such a service would only be financially feasible if the photographer wants to expand their portfolio on a large scale. Also, because we're a mom-and-pop operation, we wouldn't be able to work with more than a couple photographers at a time.

I am sure there are some out here that would rather not do the processing, uploading and submission. So I'm just curious what they would be willing to pay. I'll keep lurking. Thanks again for taking time to write.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 15:57 by photografix »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 13:09 »
+3
I've tried several similar services and gave up. They all had the same problems. The time it took me to do QA and show them all the stuff they missed and had to redo wasn't worth the time or money. I'm talking obvious stuff. Giant company logo on a building, big dust spots, and on and on. And they sometimes even missed them on the redo. Then there's the gray-area stuff like my idea of the right keywords and white balance may be different from yours. The bottom line is it takes too much time of back-and-forth to get an acceptable result. If I could find a service I could trust to get it right I may be willing to try it again.

From what I remember these companies were charging around $1-$5 per image. How much I'd be willing to pay would depend on how much of my workflow you could take over and how much I could depend on you to get the right end result based on my needs.

« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2015, 13:46 »
+2
If you'd have asked me that back when I first started you might have had something.  Now that I am experienced I agree with Sean in that I'd rather do it myself and have it exactly the way I want it.  In addition, PP no longer takes me very long to accomplish, which makes it easy to do it all myself.  That being said, I haven't uploaded anything new because I just don't see hiring models to get the kind of group shots that will sell being a good investment these days.  Luckily my old job called me back to work 2 years ago, and I make enough there that I don't really need any extra income, so I've started shooting films and video as a hobby, which may eventually lead to me uploading some video clips at some point.  Finally got the Magic Lantern installed on my Canon dslr (and it's sweet!!!!) and I'm looking at the Panasonic GH4 for 4k. 

photografix

  • Wage peace, not war
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2015, 13:47 »
0
Yeah, those are quite obvious mistakes. Indeed, it takes time to tweak things to the customer's preferences. But when it becomes a hassle and you have a big company handling it, I can see why you'd quit. Duly noted. Thanks Paulie for the insight.

I've tried several similar services and gave up. They all had the same problems. The time it took me to do QA and show them all the stuff they missed and had to redo wasn't worth the time or money. I'm talking obvious stuff. Giant company logo on a building, big dust spots, and on and on. And they sometimes even missed them on the redo. Then there's the gray-area stuff like my idea of the right keywords and white balance may be different from yours. The bottom line is it takes too much time of back-and-forth to get an acceptable result. If I could find a service I could trust to get it right I may be willing to try it again.

From what I remember these companies were charging around $1-$5 per image. How much I'd be willing to pay would depend on how much of my workflow you could take over and how much I could depend on you to get the right end result based on my needs.

photografix

  • Wage peace, not war
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2015, 13:50 »
0
Glad to hear you got re-hired. The modelsand releasesare a pain. We got it down to a nice system for our customer when we do submissions. Even made a catalog. Anyway, good luck and welcome to stability.  ;D

If you'd have asked me that back when I first started you might have had something.  Now that I am experienced I agree with Sean in that I'd rather do it myself and have it exactly the way I want it.  In addition, PP no longer takes me very long to accomplish, which makes it easy to do it all myself.  That being said, I haven't uploaded anything new because I just don't see hiring models to get the kind of group shots that will sell being a good investment these days.  Luckily my old job called me back to work 2 years ago, and I make enough there that I don't really need any extra income, so I've started shooting films and video as a hobby, which may eventually lead to me uploading some video clips at some point.  Finally got the Magic Lantern installed on my Canon dslr (and it's sweet!!!!) and I'm looking at the Panasonic GH4 for 4k.

« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2015, 14:06 »
+3
a large factor is subject matter - studio shoots usually are obvious, but travel would be difficult - how are workers to know which temple, city, or even country is in the image without a lot of pre-postprocessing by the photog

for me the slowest part of my workflow is providing informative captions and keywording, and deciding which images can be edited to avoid 'editorial' status

the service would also need to monitor at least SS to determine which rejects are legit, which need minor edits, and which can just be resub'd to a new reviewer
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 14:10 by cascoly »

ShadySue

« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2015, 14:08 »
+1
a large factor is subject matter - studio shoots usually are obvious, but travel would be difficult - how are workers to know which temple, city, or even country is in the image without a lot of pre-postprocessing by the photog
Not to mention wildlife. Which is why I always do it myself.

« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2015, 14:17 »
+2
To do the post processing on 95% of my microstock images does not take me more time than it will take to send the files to somebody else to do the job And when I do the job myself I am sure that I get what I want. So I don't see any reason to use the services of somebody else.

« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2015, 18:24 »
+6
I'm a part timer, and to make things work for microstock, costs need to be low. Given the uncertainty of payback, I'd see it as a risk to pay someone else to post process even if they did everything exactly as I would have done.

I can't imagine a scenario in which I'd hand over post processing, even if you did it for free. But if I were thinking about it, here are some of the things I'd consider.

A good fraction of my images depend on the post processing for their success, so I can't farm the vision out. For the images that don't need much, then I'm skilled enough to do those very quickly anyway. Also, my skills depend in part on doing a lot of post processing, and they'd grow stale if I didn't keep in shape (so to speak).

If I were going to hand over my raw files to a third party, I'd need to have some sort of assurances/references that the images were not being misused in any way. Assuming we're any good at this, there's value in what we produce and just as it behooves us to check out any new agency before shipping them our high res JPEGs, that applies even more so when handing out RAW files.

I'd echo the comments about images where place information (or event details) is critical - you might recognize Palm Beach in Aruba or Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos but you might not. I don't see how to save any time on stuff like that.

« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2016, 10:28 »
+1

(...)
What kind of questions might you have and what price(s) would you be willing to pay?

Yuri Arcurs always had his own submissions manager. Being an (external) submission manager is exactly what you're proposing here, so it's good thinking and a legitimate idea, of course. Yuri Arcurs also has been paying substantial amounts to his assistant (no matter whether he has made him a partner or as an employee). From that PoV, there should be plenty of opportunities and potential.

Not being as much of "a business" as Yuri Arcurs, it may be more doubtful though whether or not Microstockers would come forward to hire someone for this and pay. The consensus from the other posts suggests similarly.

For me personally, it would depend on what exactly I want to achieve: for uploading large backlogs of images or tapping into that pile of "historic" shots or slides, it might be worth x-amount per image to me for being able to make it happen at all. Depending on shot quality (and hence selling potential, particularly these days with Sweatshop price levels all over the place!), I'm afraid I'd come down somewhere in the $.50 to $3.50 band per average image, maybe $4-$5 for my "better ones" as far as they can actually be processed by an outsider.

-- Cliff

« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2016, 10:50 »
+2
I would pay for a service to keyword and upload my video's!

« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2016, 14:01 »
+1
I would pay for a service to keyword and upload my video's!

yes!   embedded iptc in images makes submission to multiple agencies easy; having someone doing that for videos would certainly be worth considering

« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2016, 14:36 »
0
I would not be interested in this service unless it was provided by somebody I already had a trusting relationship with.   I do a lot of editorial stuff and my guidelines for what I will and will not do to correct/enhance these images are stricter than some photogs.  I do my own post to maintain QC of my own work.  It's my reputation that is at stake and I am hoping to use my stock work as something of a foundation to expand in other areas.

I would consider training someone I already trust to do this for me, if my business expanded enough, but I don't see myself trusting an "outsider." I definitely think there is value to your service and I hope you find a way to build it up.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 14:42 by CJH Photography »

Tror

« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2016, 14:48 »
+3
I would be highly interested in such a service. At the moment I employ people myself for that - freelance as well as fixed, so it would simplify my life.

However, some thoughts:

1. You would need to be cheap. And the pricing should be calculated not only on the amount of images, but as well the amount of similar images. I have usually batches of 5-15 pics which are variations of differents compositions/angles/etc. of one scene/set which means lots of copy and paste and photoshop actions. Right now one image costs me about 1,5$ to push it through (retouch+keyword+upload - low income country). I might go up to 1,7 $ or so but thats it.
If I have however a batch of files in which every pic is different, requires a different set of keywords, specialized Retouch, etc. I might pay up to 3 $ for each which is still not much.

2. You would need to be highly flexible. Every photoq has special preferences. Different quality standards. It even varies from shoot to shoot for me. My file naming is special. Some prefer fewer keywords with stronger database weights, other want to fill in as many keywords as possible. You would not be able to apply a generic mode of work / generalized workflow to all of your clients. Many would complain if you do not deliver what they usually see / try to achieve when they process the files themselves.

3. I think the most desired feature would be the Retouching/Keywording part. The distribution of files is a whole nother planet. Many have trust issues at first. But thats not all. Most of us do not upload a shoot instantly after it was processed. We spread the files and upload them over the period of month, sometimes a year or so. We like to mix and select. Chose a right timing for each agency etc.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 14:51 by Tror »

« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2016, 15:42 »
+3
1. You would need to be cheap. And the pricing should be calculated not only on the amount of images, but as well the amount of similar images. I have usually batches of 5-15 pics which are variations of differents compositions/angles/etc. of one scene/set which means lots of copy and paste and photoshop actions.

using lightroom, you can add iptc to multiple images, no need to cut & paste
Quote
2. You would need to be highly flexible. Every photoq has special preferences. Different quality standards. It even varies from shoot to shoot for me. My file naming is special. Some prefer fewer keywords with stronger database weights, other want to fill in as many keywords as possible. You would not be able to apply a generic mode of work / generalized workflow to all of your clients. Many would complain if you do not deliver what they usually see / try to achieve when they process the files themselves.

what might work would be to develop a short questionnaire for the photog to submit, then do a test batch for free or 50% off and let the photog review the results before submitting

photografix

  • Wage peace, not war
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2016, 21:15 »
0
I am really grateful for all the responses here. Again, this wouldn't be for anyone that doesn't like letting go any part of their process. That would be torture for both parties. Also, as noted by some of you, Editorial pix are a different animal. We have experience with those too. However, as mentioned, the metadata must be entered by the photographer (at least the Description and Title fields). It's just too hard to get that right. However, having someone with 5+ years in microstock submissions would be helpful as a second pair of eyes for keywords.

Here's a question for you video artists: What are your average file sizes? We also have experience in the video metadata and submission realm, but with an illustrator that does 30 second animations.


« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2016, 06:42 »
+1
My 4k prores clips are about 2 gigs each.  An affordable (upload once) distribution platform would be useful.  I would continue to do all the post production and keywording myself though.

« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2016, 06:15 »
0
I'm interested in a service like this, but the problem is:
 
- for a photoshoot with a model and a theme, like beach for example, submiting 150 photos of that shoot, 70 of those being accepted by the microstock company, earning $0,30 for each sale of maybe 20 photos of those 70, expecting $50 to $100 return value in 3 years that the images can "stay" in the market. You've got to make your prices cheap. Find bulk prices or discounts.  so $1 per image is expensive. And some times i have to buy acessories for the shoot, or spend something on a location, like your local horse association.

You've got to make $0,10 per image and that includes retouch, keywording and submission.

Only 20% of our portfolio is actively selling. Another 20% is sporadically selling.  And the rest doesn't sell at all.



 

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