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Messages - Hobostocker

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Be Careful When a Big Brand Asks for Your Photo

Totally understandable. A fledgling company like SABMiller can hardly be expected to pay for promotional material.

well, a marketer would tell you to "jump on this opportunity" .. and to contact other big clients with SABmiller in your portfolio ... problem is, marketers tend to be out of touch with reality and clients won't maybe give a sh-it about your CV anyway as they tend to hire creatives just because they've been recommended by other insiders in the industry, in short there's zero guarantee that a CV filled with big famous brands translates in future assignment opportunities.

I think I will open up a separate account for news.

there are just too many news and articles popping up every hour, it's a whole ocean of news i'll never have the time to read, very few of them are actually newsworthy, it's getting harder and harder to filter all the cr-ap out and avoiding wasting time, i usually give 5-10 seconds per article now but i read dozens and dozens every day, actually "scanning" rather than reading from top to bottom apart a few cases.

my opinion, the quality of the contents is absolutely going down compared to 20 yrs ago.
in the past the Title and sub-title were meant to be a summary of the article, now they're there just to grab your attention or acting as click-bait .. this is a terrible development and a waste of time for the readers.

moreover, often they're not a sequence of facts but a garbage of text where it's even hard to understand who's the subject and what's they're talking about ! i can understand that journalism is dieing and they're paid a pittance but c'mon ... being one of the very last bastions of sanity in my opinion.

Facebook has ambitions and publishers are scared.

and rightly so.

with the internet and instant distribution of contents worldwide the role of a newspaper is no longer the same as before, now they're all dime a dozen unless they've a big scoop or an exclusive but this is a very rare event, for instance the Snowden files a couple years ago.

as the online world provides worldwide publishing with a few clicks it's become the major threat to publishers and content producers, you can set all the boundaries you want but it's just to easy to cut & paste or steal and republish elsewhere with no effort and giving nothing back and good luck sueing people around the world for copyright infringement ... it can't get any more Wild West than this, it will take decades before the goverments will find an agreement to manage this mess in the West, let alone in the rest of the world.

4 / Re: Royalty Declines At Shutterstock
« on: May 15, 2015, 04:11 »
the Next Big Thing for stock agencies could be allowing contributors to advertise their images on top of search results, just like Google/Yahoo/Bing .. sort of a poorman's Adsense, this would weed out the amateurs and allow Pros to stand out from the crowd.

well ... i see nothing good coming out of this ...

Facebook's instant articles arrive to speed up the News Feed
And publishers are bracing themselves for the impact

just another devalueing of journalism and photography too ... photos will be geotagged or coming with audio and blah blah blah ... publishers will split the advertising revenue with FB, leaving basically nothing for the content providers, just as they pay a pittance already for print and web content.

in the meantime Live Streaming apps linked to Twitter like Meerkat and Periscope are booming and considered 2015's next big thing .. no idea how they will be monetized, probably in the same fashion as youtube or Ustream i guess but they will open yet another can of worms regarding privacy, spam, scams, and there's already a huge debate about letting kids using this sh-it, business as usual as we've heard the same cr-ap since the 90s but anyway ...

i've the feeling we're living in a world heading to a full blown police state where many people will live a second life online in their own personal reality show, thanks god i was born in times where we still met at the local pub face to face and the only way to interact remotely was a wheel telephone or a coin-operated phone box in the street.

the other issue i see at the horizon is that while demand for good photography is booming, the money is just not there for the content producers and there's little money also for the middlemen and distributors.

we're now able to spread content to billions of readers in real time, but 99% of them are not willing to pay even a cent for it ... actually they will also complain about the low quality of the free content and eventually ruin your reputation too.

once again, Orwell had a crystal clear vision of what was coming decades later.

the high salaries, the beautiful homes the marketing people live in, the all-expenses-paid trips to tropical locales for conferences, etc., to ever give my work to any of them for free. Believe me, they have big marketing budgets and pay for photography and illustration all the time. Don't be a sucker.

EXACTLY the same i've seen so far.

another option is a .NET CMS running on microsoft IIS, i've no direct experience on that but i heard many good things about free or semi-free CMS like Umbraco, Sitefinity, and DotNetNuke and sooner or later i will give it a chance, i'm getting sick of PHP and Unix in general, let alone Android, i even bought a WinPhone just to stand out from the crowd hahaha !!

Speaking of editorial, they did however, just reject a batch of editorial photos showing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy several months after the storm.  That surprised me.  They said they weren't newsworthy, yet they've sold quite a bit through other stock sites, especially around the anniversary of the storm.

yes because they're sold as "archive" images.

as for what is considered newsworthy it's a gray area as so many of the stuff sold by Reuters or AP would never look newsworthy until your read the caption.

for instance a photo of the earthquake in Nepal could be pretty much about a pile or bricks or about a old lady crying and screaming around, there's no way to judge from the image alone and yes for whatever reason these pics can sell even years later.

My problem became when as time passed they became more and more demanding and seemed to forget I am donating my time just like other volunteers.  If you want people to volunteer, you at least need to treat them with respect, and also not overburden them to the point they can hardly have time for their paid work.

they won't give any respect as volunteers are taken for granted and if they complain they will receive a motivational speech to get back to work ... typically about the concept of saving the world, of giving something (time, money, dedication), blah blah blah .. moral of the story you give them something and they give you nothing back and if you don't like it you'll be told you're an egoist greedy individualistic blah blah blah and that it's because of people like you that this world cannot be changed etc etc ..

So not true. I've worked with small charities and causes who are funded entirely by their volunteers, who also give up hours to put in the necessary work. And bake, design posters and turn up for coffee mornings.
Also I've been offered expenses by bigger charities, but I think, "who needs this money more, (e.g.) someone who needs an overnight cancer nurse, or me?" (Disclaimer: no-one else is financially dependent on me.)

it's all a give and take, if volunteering makes you happy there's nothing wrong with it.

problem is, while this might be the situation for some small NGOs in the West it's not the reality in the third world where the crooks leading the NGOs are making 6 figures while their volunteers are treated like sh-it or they even pay 1000s of dollars to go there ("voluntourism" !!) ...

it's just too easy for a non-profit to turn into a very profitable business, too many temptations and too many gullible volunteers willing to fly overseas to "save the world" ... i really hope the Orgs you joined were a decent place and i could also recommend the Red Cross if that matters but they're all kept in their place because in the West there's still some justice and many laws to follow, anywhere else it's totally Wild West .. i can't imagine the billions pouring in the pockets of the NGO who are now asking left and right for money to save Kathmandu and Nepal .. especialy considering the level of corruption in Nepal and all the sh-it i've seen there done by the NGOs years ago.

They were so surprised!  'But we are a charity!'  BAH.

that's why the big NGOs only hire professionals, look at the job posting for UN, Unesco, ILO, WHO, USAID, Care Internaltional, WorldVision ... sometimes they even seek people with two degrees and a master or PhD ! they're true multinationals and even the few volunteer positions are given to people with a strong background and/or experience in the field.

the only charities paying nothing are the fly by night NGOs doing the "dirty job" that the big ones refuse to mess with, so they end up in these so called "umbrella orgs" etc etc ... most of them being a total scam from top to bottom.

all i can say is stay away from these crooks.

Wow! I can hardly believe that I just read an entire interview/article on stock photography ... and the word "curated" wasn't used even once. That's amazing!

the pattern is very similar in pretty much any industry involved about selling or licencing digital contents.

if we look at the News industry their biz is all about Fresh Content, not about "archive" content, and same goes for music in particular.

Stock is basically "archive" and the agencies should find a way to monetize the Freshness factor somehow.

if you give yourself away for free. you become like the class-slut who gives herself away free".

I object to the word slut. it reeks of Misogyny. In this day and age, women are just as free to express their sexuality as men.

even in this day and age, a slut by any other name won't smell any sweeter 8)
women today still use that word to describe such a girl/woman who gives herself away free.

maybe it's me but i keep hearing the word Slut a lot more often from girls rather than men.

. It won't be long until there are 35 million images of sliced bread.

once every possible niche will be filled and oversupplied the only option left will be about buyers seeking "fresh content".

exposure is not the issue, the issue is that you won't get any proper exposure or tangible benefits from these fly by night operations.

photographers lowered the bar as a direct consequence of agencies lowering their fees, simple as that ... 2+2 = 4 !

on top of this they should remember the whole idea of Stock was born as a cheap alternative to assignments so they can't expect top quality on par with paid assignments unless they pay very well.

in fact the perimeter where Stock is operating now is getting smaller and smaller as all the odds are stacked against suppliers and the natural outcome is an ocean of "good enough" imagery that was never meant to stand out or to be as good as a top quality set shot by a top quality photographer.

but these agency drones have no idea what they're talking about and are not artists or creatives and not photographers of course, it makes no sense to ever read their BS, i mean find me another industry where the salesman keeps up to 90% of a sale for himself and while he's at it he will also complain the biz is "unsustainable" ...

i keep saying the only way to stay afloat is a big portfolio but if the trend keeps going on the party will be over sooner or later, the issue is not just the oversupply but the agencies allowing oversupply to exist and being more than happy to open the doors to any random guy with a portfolio of 50 images, today they have 50 millions micro images on sale, in 2-3 yrs from now they will have 200 millions, what's going to happen ? and what's the point considering only the top 20% images make steady sales while the 80% is never ever zoomed/clicked/sold ?

they ask for quality but giving nothing back, just like any other gold digger.


I really hope no one at SS reads your post. Because they could easily do that, and the vast majority of their contributors would pay.  No question.

hahaha they could claim they're giving us free exposure and free storage and that we should be grateful and thank them ...

What I meant was offer something unique that can't be replicated by a cellphone yet.

for starters, anything shot with a 15mm or 20mm lens, and/or shot in F1.4.

cellphones are such a joke, they're basically webcams, and it makes my blood boil thinking so many photo editors think that sh-it is even remotely "good enough" ! the only reasonable explanation is that nowadays even a dog can be hired as a photo editor and this is more than obvious looking at some of the top selling magazines and newspapers.


I'm hoping over the next couple of years that the free social usage thing hits critical mass and there's a backlash.

as much as the medias keep raving about Facebook or Twitter i'm seeing some disruptive changes already, lots of users moved to WhatsApp 2-3 yrs ago and then switched to Telegram once WhatsApp started asking 5$/year, and if we talk about Asian users most of them are hooked on QQ, LINE, and Tango, with FB/Twitter being just a minor player, and what about Russia where VKontakte is nr.1 and they've also many other less known russian-centric apps ?

and young users seem to reject FB at all, they're on Snapchat and other trashy social apps as FB now is perceived as something obsolete, just like MySpace not long ago ...

as for Sharing and Spamming and the whole Viral content debate, maybe it's me but i've the clear feeling people is using these Socials only as a messenger in 90% of the case, very very few are wasting time to share or cut/paste ... moreover the attention span of the average user is getting shorter and shorter and thanks god many are realizing Socials are a huge waste of time, no surprise considering they're nothing more than a glorified revamp of the ancient IRC and Usenet with bells and whistles, i mean chat and instant messaging and groups/forum were already a fad in the 80s but good luck telling it to the young guys i was chatting on a BBS on my C64 and Amiga before they were even born ... oh and we even had FTP and EMail and Gopher and VideoTel/TeleText hahahaha .... i remember reading about a few cases of people on VideoTel dating and getting married ... i'm feeling like an old fart writing this ! :)

so, once again the trend is heading to "get more for less" ?
exactly as we were expecting from SS and now by domino effect the other agencies will fellow.

where will they draw the line ? these new subs are already so cheap the next step can only be a coupon for free monthly unlimited downloads.

one day they will ask ME to pay them for storing my images on their site ... just like on POD sites.

ps Viral images make the news, make the web, are seen by millions, but don't seem to make any income. Do they?

Publishers seem to be in love with Viral content they get for free, there are already many TV shows made up of viral youtube videos, and soon you will see blogs and magazine made mostly of stolen/lifted/viral images.

actually i remember similar things in the past century about shareware games and apps for 8 bit computers, it's really nothing new.

but yeah, the author never makes a dime out of that, and to top it off sometimes he's not even credited properly or at all !

in the end it's really a matter of "vanity" to stick free stuff on the web just for the sake of enjoying your 30 seconds of fame.

you could probably earn a few sales adding a watermark with your web site URL in your viral images but who knows, people nowadays are so used to the free lunch culture that i see no way back at this point unless we talk of selling physical things like a framed print.

22 / Re: Oringer gets $28 million grant
« on: May 10, 2015, 02:08 »
I warned everybody over and over and over again years ago to prepare for what was coming. I wonder if anyone listened.

There are still a large number of people who will defend any action they take as you can see by the negative votes you received. It is called believing what you want to happen in lieu of looking at reality.

stupid is what stupid does

hmmm .. yeah ... but realistically without microstock the industry would turn to midstock or to some dollar-bin promotions and in any case you would have some form of Subs, not as cheap as they're now but still very cheap.

we can blame micros and greed but in the end the actual downturn is a mirror of the whole economy, the Editorial and Publishing industry is in dire straits since the 90s, it was in deep sh-it well before the internet, digital cameras, photoshop, the 2000 and 2008 bubbles.

should we bet on the final takeover of digital publishing in the next few years ? the death of paper news/magazines/books ? online web sites finally paying good money for quality images ?
this is the big question in my opinion, actually the KEY factor, if most of the content providers are not willing to pay and stick with the cheapest Subs who's going to produce new content, let alone making a living out of Stock ?

moreover, if nothing changes we should expect agencies balancing this dreadful scenario pushing for Midstock or selling non-RF licences, probably coming up with a new kind of licence designed for Online content as the whole idea of RF is totally obsolete nowadays and against the interests of photographers and agencies as well.

they've already squeezed us like a lemon, i say now it's buyers' turn to be scre-wed and if these cheap-as-s buyers expect a new wave of talented shooters in the third world willing to work for a pittance sorry but it's not going to happen as far as i've seen, they're too busy shooting weddings, events, etc no matter if now they've fast ADSL connection and bank accounts and can even write in broken english.

23 / Re: Oringer gets $28 million grant
« on: May 10, 2015, 01:32 »
Now? They are in a power position and publicly traded. NOT A GOOD RECIPE for suppliers.

yes and yes !
however, there's a big price to pay to earn this power .. they're probably spending at least 50% of their income in advertising and if one day this strategy stops being effective they're basically F'ed just as it happened with iStock once they killed their own brand and alienated both their suppliers and buyers.

now the only option for iStock is a "rebranding" or being merged into a Getty collection, no matter if they spend billions in Ads, it just won't change much.

as for us, the game is rigged and i see no way out, we've just no leverage on pricing, none of the top stock agencies allow us to set any price and selling on PODs looks to be a total waste of time once you consider the real TCO vs ROI involved.

i would love to sell on my own site and/or on PODs setting a minimum price of 50 or 100$ per image but we're in 2015 and it can only work in a few specialized market niches or where you find your own buyers one by one, in which case you will soon realize 50-70% of your budget is spent on promotion and acquiring buyers, your net gains won't be so different from outsourcing your sales to stock agencies in the end unless you're lucky enough to hit a goldmine niche but how long it's going to last ?

all i can see around is that competition is cut throat and due to the actualy economy in the West buyers have all cut their budgets to the bone, not just about photography but pretty much about anything else.

24 / Re: Oringer gets $28 million grant
« on: May 10, 2015, 01:22 »
For most of us, once it gets bad enough we have to quit SS, its game over,

we must always keep our eyes open, just yesterday i heard interesting things from a friend of mine about freelance photographers he's using for events, supermarket billboards, corporate, etc .. these guys are totally generic and will shoot pretty much anything, no idea about quality but it seems they're in high demand because of their flexibility and cheap rates .. just to give a practical example of alternatives to Stock ... problem is .. are we willing to jump into such jobs ? personaly i would find a well paid office job instead but that's just my opinion.

i think many of us are in Stock exactly to avoid working on assignment or shooting weddings.

25 / Re: Oringer gets $28 million grant
« on: May 08, 2015, 06:34 »
well, what else could they ever had in store for us once they become the leader in microstock and are growing 33% per year with investors in Wall Street throwing billions at them ?

greed and loss of touch with reality is the natural consequence of all this, as much as we're here complaining about SS paying the lowest fees in the industry i'm sure Oringer and his gang of cro-oks are not even aware of whats going on for contributors, they probably think we're paid fairly well actually !

these guys dont reason with the logic of a photographer, it's all about money and quick profits, that's their only goal and the only reason for SS to exist, in their eyes we're merely a cost, a nuisance, a necessary evil ...

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