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Messages - epixx

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1 / The attitude of a real capitalist
« on: June 23, 2020, 17:38 »
Someone at Stock Submitter Coalition captured the tweet below before it was deleted. It's a chilling reminder of what we are. We are the slaves, and we should keep working no matter what the pay is. I'm no Communist, but this is the very reason why Karl Marx published Das Kapital back in 1867. We are back in the same situation as industrial workers of the 19th Century together with Uber drivers and other participants of the growing gig economy.

"You have the freedom to work, to create value, as much as you want. We have the obligation to pay you as much or as little as we want, if at all, whenever we want."

It's time to create a new United Artists, a new Magnum Photos, a new artist owned cooperation to sell our content. We are many enough to do that, but we would need to organise and establish a management group to lead such a project.

See if this works.

-32.54%, only for subscriptions RPD,  May 1-8 & Jun 1-8
Average per download 0.256 in Jun
 :-[ :-[ :-[

I'm 57.31% down on Subs (previously .38 per download) and 20.56 down on On Demand. One week is far to short time though, and singles are impossible to calculate since the prices have always varied.

I have created an Excel sheet that calculates the change in commission for each sold Subs and On Demand image comparing old and new figures and then making totals for Subs, On Demand and all images, also with percentages.

If anybody wnats one, I can post it here if the forum software will accept an .xls or .zip file. So far in June, I'm down 32.48% compared to what I would have received with the old pricing. Comparing with last year or last month is irrelevant.

The reactions to the pay reduction at SS can't have come as a surprise to them, and I've been asking myself the question if they want me/us there at all. Maybe they are simply targeting a type of photographer who can produce very large numbers of photos at a very low price and regardless of quality. Never mind the fact that my own photos are often rejected for... no reason at all sometimes.

If the profits are in huge numbers rather than in good quality, that might be a business concept that works for the owners of SS.

There's a photographer who is defending SS fiercly at the moment, on Twitter and other social media, stockphotofan1. He has apparently been shooting stock since early 2018, so two and a half years, and claims on his Twitter account that "I take photos w no editing.".

Here's his 25,134 stock photos portfolio at SS:

I don't know what the philosophy is behind the photos and the reasons SS has for accepting them while rejecting better quality photos from other photographers, but if this is the future of SS, getting out permanently might be a good idea.

6 / Re: Shutterstock just became iStock 2.0
« on: June 02, 2020, 10:53 »
The 10 cent sales have started appearing, and some quick calculations tell me that my average will end at around a third of my previous income from SS. That means that 2-4 other agencies will pass them. There is absolutely no reason to upload images when the commission rate is this low. My camera gear costs money and my time is better spent at the beach with my family than in front of the computer editing photos.

One custom job per year will bring in more money than my 3,500 image portfolio at SS. Easy choice.

To those who think that singles etc. will save the situation; I had a single today which brought in 11 cent.

7 / Re: Have sales plummeted for all or just me?
« on: May 13, 2019, 04:04 »
Falling like a stone for me so far this year, in spite of increased uploads.

8 / Re: How can the SS database grow so fast?
« on: June 26, 2018, 20:02 »
As many may know SS is working with IBM about using AI, so those crazy portfolios can be an AI test data, or AI produced "artwork"

I'm sure companies like SS think they see big money in renderings generated by so-called "AI".  What would a fine microstock company like SS enjoy more than putting photographers and vector artists completely out of business?   Yes, these images could be something like that.

Most of the products shown in the Ikea catalogue are 3D renderings. No photographer needed    :'(

9 / Re: How can the SS database grow so fast?
« on: June 26, 2018, 11:38 »
There are apparently also photographers who upload truck loads of duplicates and near duplicates. Look at this portfolio, the duplicates start around page 3:

The quality of many of the photos is also shockingly low, with colour cast, tilts etc. It's as if most of the photos are jpegs straight out of the camera. Makes me wonder if there's any quality control at all at SS.

What the photographer achieves here is to fill up the first pages in any search, pushing those of us with one or two shots of each motive back to page one zillion. No wonder my sales are going down. If this is the new policy, I might as well give up, buy a few rolls of Tri-X and enjoy life in the slow lane. I'm not going to compete on this level.

10 / Re: huge sales drop for new images
« on: June 23, 2018, 00:07 »

AS is doing better, indeed. But not by as much as some try to suggest.
I am selling about 10-15% more per week than a year ago, but my weekly rank hovers around similiar levels.
This is telling me that AS has grown by 10-15% in a year. And this means that they still have a long way ahead, before catching up with SS.

As for SS I already exceeded June 2017 and I still have a full week ahead to dig deeper in the 4 digits revenue realm.

Btw, my new stuff is selling. Did you consider that maybe your new stuff is not as good as the work you produced when you were better motivated? All this negativity is not conducive to creativity.

My current images are higher resolution, my post processing skills are much better and the number of relevant keywords twice as high as they were 10 years ago. Much of my material is editorial, and when photos from an event in 2008 are outselling better and more relevant photos from the same event in 2018, I find it worrying. This is not about negativity, but observing a trend that has been going on for a while and that affects my, and apparently other's, bottom line negatively.

I'm uploading more and better images than I have in many years, and I see a positive effect with several agencies, even Bigstock, but no effect at SS. Quite the opposite actually.

There might be more than one reason for this. One thing I and others have observed is what I call "image spaming", several nearly identical images with the same search words that effectively move to the next pages other photos with the same theme from other contributors. In many cases, some of the keywords used aren't even correct, but will still place the image earlier in the queue than correctly keyworded images.

If you search for "singapore airshow a380 interior", you get 96 images of which 76 are not from Singapore Airshow, all from the same contributor, many of which are effectively duplicates. The photos are taken on a Sydney to Singapore flight. A380 was not on show at Singapore Airshow 2018. The result is that the honest contributors with A380 interior images that are actually taken at Singapore Airshow are pushed down to the bottom of the page.

Ironically I earn from this phenomenon also. I have lots of photos from floodings in Thailand 2010 and 2011. They sell well simply because they rate high on the "Popularity" search, but in reality they should have been surpassed by newer flood photos. When that is said; many of the newer photos I find are crap, pure and simply. This may be one of the reasons why customers search for "Popular" rather than "New". Under "New", they would often have to go to page umpteen to find a usable photo.

I'm actually consentrating more on Alamy these days. Less money, but less annoying also.

11 / Re: huge sales drop for new images
« on: June 22, 2018, 05:21 »
Something new has happened. There have been sales drops before, but nothing that resembles this. Images that are 10 years and older (just sold one with number 1,1xx,xxx) are selling better than before, while new photos don't seem to sell at all, particularly the last 6 months.

Even some editorial categories where I have little competition have died more or less completely for recent photos, categories that have sold well since I started this. It's all in the algoritms of course, and they must have changed them in a way that doesn't match previous patterns. This is happening while my Adobe/Fotolia sales is showing a healthy increase along with some of the smaller agencies. Even iStock, where I haven't uploaded in years, is improving.

12 / Re: Title rejected, scratching my head
« on: January 05, 2018, 07:42 »
I added more words as suggested. It worked. It's weird though. Buddha and Myanmar are international words and shouldn't be affected by this, although I believe the Americans still kling to the old English name Burma. The name of the country has always been Myanma (without the "r") in Burmese.

13 / Re: Title rejected, scratching my head
« on: January 05, 2018, 04:43 »
Thanks, I'll try.

14 / Title rejected, scratching my head
« on: January 05, 2018, 02:58 »
Usually when I get rejections, I just move on. Most or all of my photos are accepted by most of the agencies anyway, so usually I don't waste time trying to get it accepted everywhere. However, this time I've received one from SS that makes me scratch my head. It reads:

"Title -- Title must be descriptive of the subject matter and must be in English. Titles cannot contain special characters, spelling/grammar errors, or repeat words/phrases in excess."

The title of the photo is:

"Reclining Buddha in Myeik, Myanmar"

Here's the photo:

General Stock Discussion / Re: Shooting film for stock?
« on: September 20, 2017, 09:29 »
You have to scan the trannies or prints and pref drum-scan!  not a cheap service unless you have your own drum!

I live in Bangkok, and professional, high quality scans are not too expensive here. Processing plus scanning up to 8 or 10 MP is usually around $15. Add $10 for a high quality film like Portra, so I'm at around $0.70 per image. It will never be as cheap as digital of course, but it's not as bad as it sounds. A typical shoot with a model easily costs $200 or more plus my time which I would value at $200 too for a day. Adding 8 rolls of film, 290 exposures for another $200 is not what's going to break my economy, and I save some of it by spending less time post processing.

At any shoot, I'd probably do 70-80% digital, but since I tend to be more elaborate when shooting film, the keepers will probably more like 50/50.

Still, I don't know what the agencies will say because, even if there will be no visible grain in the images, a trained eye will see that it's film, particularly when I use 35mm. Medium format should be problem free, but that ads to the cost, since there's only 9-16 images per film at the same cost per roll.

General Stock Discussion / Shooting film for stock?
« on: September 19, 2017, 21:27 »
From a purely financial point of view, this doesn't make sense, but as I'm getting tired of reading about new revolutionary cameras that I "must" have to stay competitive, I went back to my Nikon F6 and Fuji GX680 to shoot a few rolls of film, mostly Portra 160 and 400. When I received the results back from the lab, I was struck by the quality of the output and the fact that at 6-10MP, they looked as good as or better than any digital file, but with the big difference that colours, contrast etc. look great straight out of the box.

So I would like to shoot some film for stock too, just for the satisfaction of doing it, and because there is actually something called "film look". Yes, I know there are plugins available for this, and yes, I know that would be cheaper, but it's not nearly as fun.

Has anybody submitted film shots to microstock lately and had it accepted?

17 / Re: Is iStock worth it?
« on: March 29, 2017, 10:53 »
Pardon me for my ignorance, where do you people see those 19 cents or 9 cents?

From my ESP, I could only see the total, and not the individual sales.

Thanks for enlightening me!
In ESP, go to Royalties - Export
Download the text file - it will look like garbage, but if you then import it into a spreadsheet like Excel or Google sheets, you'll have your details (delimited text file - auto detect or tab-delimited).

Thanks for the guidance, RoamingPro. Opened fine tab-delimited in Libreoffice 5 Calc. Not that I was all that excited about seeing those stats anyway. Oh, well, at least I had only one 15-cent royalty in Jan-Feb---what a comfort....
[To be fair, there were a few >$1 and a couple >$2. Still, not even enough to make payout this month.]

This is actually funny. The downloaded file reminds me of the hex dumps we took from mainframe computers during the seventies. I would assume that the world had moved on slightly since then, but apparently not at Getty's.

18 / Re: Is iStock worth it?
« on: March 29, 2017, 10:31 »
I left exclusivity two years ago.  I was diamond with 110,000 downloads.  My portfolio isn't huge - just 4,000 images.

I have spent the last two years rekeywording, reprocessing, and gradually uploading to agencies on a seasonal basis.  Doing the rekeywording has been exceptionally time consuming, but necessary.

In my second full year (just finished) I earned about 15% LESS than I used to earn in my final few months as an istock exclusive.  I have never had a month as an independent where I earned more than I used to earn as an exclusive.

Nearly all the independent agencies have met my expectations.  The one exception is Shutterstock which has been a big disappointment.  It's been very hard indeed building momentum there, and I am earning about $1,000 a month LESS from Shutterstock than I expected at this point.  Had Shutterstock met my expectations I would now be earning a little more each month compared to when I was exclusive (and probably quite a bit more than I would now be making at istock had I remained exclusive).  Anyone deciding to leave the exclusive ranks now needs to be aware that Shutterstock is probably NOT going to meet expectations.

Having said all of this, I'll bet that had I stayed at istock my earnings would have continued to decline (as others are experiencing), and I suspect that my independent earnings are now slightly higher than I would now be making as an exclusive.

So the grass is not greener, but I can tell everyone that it is a HUGE relief not to have the stress and worry of being tied to an agency that is clearly in long term decline.

It takes time to build momentum at Shutterstock. I had a 3 year uploading pause with sinking sales as a result, particularly towards the end of the period. After 18 months of uploading again, I'm still not nearly where I was, but sales are increasing.

My iStock sales are going one way only: down. I'm now at 10-15% of the income that I had 5-6 years ago, and I have no idea what images are selling. Time to remove my portfolio.

19 / Re: Can't find my portfolio
« on: March 17, 2017, 08:36 »
cant find my portfolio or any stats either. istockphoto is nightmare.
have you written to them?

Can't you find your port via

Yeah, well... kind of. I can see all my photos. They come in some strange sequence of course, and when I click on "Most Popular" the photos that come first some that never or rarely sell. But most important of all, it's apparently not possible to see which photos have sold and what the commission was for each sale. I'm getting a feeling that they hide that on purpose, so that we won't see how we're being screwed. Time to close the account I suppose.

20 / Can't find my portfolio
« on: March 10, 2017, 17:09 »
Maybe I'm not too smart, but it's typical that this happens at iStock and nowhere else. Where on earth do I find my portfolio om iStock. Is there any way at all to see the performance of each image?

Interestingly, I can now log in to ESP with my old password (through iStock) and my new password (through Getty). Is there some deeper purpose of this that is beyond my comprehension as well?

Yes, I have stopped uploading there, and I guess it's time to leave.

21 / Re: Amounts disappeared from Stats Page
« on: December 30, 2016, 18:57 »
I always use this to view all my sales... far easier than anything else.
just login to istock and use the following link:

This is the second time that page is linked to, and that is all fine, but:

- How do I find it as a link on the iStock page?
- These exact statistics were available on the "Stat" page when I clicked on my user name, top right on their page. Why on earth would they remove it from there while keeping it somewhere else? (Rhetoric question, like most questions about iStock, since they don't have an answer anyway.)

22 / Re: Amounts disappeared from Stats Page
« on: December 30, 2016, 05:57 »
To stop anyone posting, if you're not signed into the forum, you can't access the threads. If you're an active contributor there, you should have got info about signing in at the time of the forum change. If not, you'll need to contact their support. There was a specific support address for this, but presumably opening a ticket would eventually get you the info you need.

Another typical iStock feature. Instead of just signing in with my user name at iStock, there's some mystery routine that I have to figure out by browsing through old emails. Makes me wondering why I've been supporting that bunch for so long.

23 / Re: Amounts disappeared from Stats Page
« on: December 29, 2016, 20:21 »
It was moved up below total earned.

Added: there's a thread over on their forum which has a link where you can see your royalties charts.

I can't find it ShadySue, could you tell me the name of the thread I would find it in please? (Is that allowed?)
It just seems that iStock wants to keep all information secret and tell us nothing.

Do they still have a forum? They've apparently killed the old one, and I haven't been able to find the new one.

24 / Re: Amounts disappeared from Stats Page
« on: December 29, 2016, 20:03 »
And there's more:
When I go to My Uploads and click on the Royalties link to see the sales history and sales amounts for each photo, it goes directly to the iStock front page. It's like they try to hide financial information from us, like they've done for subscription sales for a long time already.

This information is essential, partly for motivation like others have mentioned, but also because I want to see how each of my photos are performing. Also, I've made daily statistics since I started this more than 10 years ago. iStock has always made that task a bit difficult. Now it's becoming impossible.

I stopped uploading to them a couple of months ago when I had my first $0.02 sales. Now it's time to consider the next step, which would be deleting my portfolio. I've never gone that far before, since I've always hoped for things to turn around (like they did with Fotolia), but with the current policies at iStock, I'd rather have customers not find what they're looking for at iStock, forcing them to go elsewhere. iStock is moving in the opposite direction of all the good microstock agencies, and sales are dropping. It doesn't make sense.

25 / Amounts disappeared from Stats Page
« on: December 29, 2016, 18:14 »
Suddenly I can only see the number of photos sold, not the amounts, on my stats page at iStock, for the current as well as previous months. The account balance has also disappeared from the line at the bottom of the browser window. I can see it on the Financials Page though.

Anybody else had this happen?

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