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Messages - Roger Mitsom

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I like this question. As I have not figured out yet what sells best. These two pictures I posted on stock about the same time which would be around 15 years ago. If you ask my neither one is really a good photo but with said the Octopus has made me on 12 different sites a total of $ 6000 dollars and the leopard skin has made me $25,000 total. I have a lot of photos that I think are good and have made very little money. i guess it is just all about luck and timing.   

For someone having just been doing this for a few months this is very encouraging. I consistently see these simple, elegant pictures that resonate and apply to so many different things being top sellers.

I just started in April (I know, perfect timing right?). I went months on Alamy with absolutely zero sales with modest and consistent sales at other agencies. I'd even started considering not even bothering to upload to Alamy anymore.

Then a few weeks ago I checked in and had a single sale for $30 (actually $99 but after their fee).

So that's my biggest so far. And surpasses sales on any image I have on other sites.

Thanks all. When I initially started Dreamstime was part of the mix. I uploaded just a handful of images and then based on reviews here thought I'd narrow my 5 agencies down to four. Sounds like the tides with Dreamstime may have changed and I should reconsider. 

I just started with this a few months ago. Bad timing I know. Im with AS, SS, IS, and Alamy.

I've had a number of sales. I get about $25/ month from everyone but Alamy. Alamy zero. (What's the deal with getting a sale on there?)

I'm thinking I need to upload all this content to another site since after high hopes starting out with Alamy not even ONE sale.

I know everyone has issues with SS now and rightfully so. So I'm just kinda keeping what I had there for now despite the slap in the face of a $.10 sale.

If you were to pick one more site, which would it be? I'm only wanting to upload stills. I don't want to manage more than 4 sites.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Which agencies are DEAD?!
« on: July 14, 2020, 12:38 »
Its summer. On top of everything else. They are all pretty much dead.

Is summer always slow for stock sales?

General Stock Discussion / Re: I NEED YOUR HELP
« on: July 13, 2020, 23:10 »
My .02 is that the reason stock is so cheap to buy now is because there's a lot of garbage/ redundancy and everything is cost averaged down. Also, a lot of buyers aren't looking for "creative" or beautiful content they are looking for a picture of a caucasian mom in a kitchen, or a dime next to an egg. And there are thousands of each.

I think you'd have to do something radically different. You'd have to make the interface more intuitive for the client in a way that I don't think I've seen yet in the world. They need to be able to "see" more images at once.

If you can make their search faster and more efficient, ie not wading through 24,000 pictures of happy faces to find what they are looking for, they will pay more money for what they want.

But like others have said, you can have the best ideas in the world... what you need are clients.

My other thought is you could take a boutique approach to this. Get say 100 of the top photographers in the world together and form a collaborative where they can produce work on spec or a client can draw from archives. Client base would be high end and discriminating.

Years ago while working at a photolab in downtown Chicago while going to school the owner told me something. He said the client wants 3 things but they can only ever have two.

Price, quality, speed.

So you can give them prints at a good price and great quality... but it's going to take some time. If they need it fast and want great quality... it's going to to cost them. Want it cheap and fast?... ok but don't complain if the color is a little off.

I mention this because you have one of these three factors that you either don't want to change or you want to increase... price. So you either have to make the process more efficient for clients (speed. Mcdonalds increased revenue by simplifying the menu and getting people in and out faster). Or you have to give them better quality at a higher price and find the market for that, people that will pay a premium for less but higher quality content.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Which agencies are DEAD?!
« on: July 13, 2020, 22:26 »
I've only been doing this for a few months. I know, great timing right? But for me AS is the only one worth while. I won't even mention that IS/ Getty is like 2 months behind on data so I wouldn't know.

I know a guy who is very, very talented... had a great idea for a creative business, had a perfect plan, a fantastic workspace, access to resources, even had cash.

One thing he didn't have though... Clients.

I don't want to discourage you but it seems to me you'd have to do this in a new way. The platform you are talking about sounds great for photographers (if you can find clients) but why would a client choose this over the other options?

General Stock Discussion / Flickr
« on: July 07, 2020, 20:39 »
Since I've been doing stock photography this year I'm noticing the credits more on newsfeed or general internet images. I just saw a picture that gave credit to someone on the Flickr platform.

From some quick research it seems that an organization can just use images posted to Flickr for free? Is that what we're up against?

General Stock Discussion / Re: Respect your elders?
« on: July 02, 2020, 20:13 »
I think of an "elder" as someone who attempts to mentor others with their experience. I think this person is just elderly, probably well off, and the thrill of knowing someone liked their picture is more important than income.

An elder says, here's what happened when I was younger and what we did. Someone elderly says you're on your own as long as it's not on my lawn. And if you're lucky might tell you what you could buy with $.10 when they were in knickers.

I'm just curious how everyone finds out where their images are being used. Are people just doing reverse image searches or is there something I don't know?

Adobe Stock / Re: Aldobe stock earnings. Woohoo!!!!
« on: July 02, 2020, 19:42 »
I think Adobe is wondering if they did the right thing by buying out Shutterstock...

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

Adobe bought Shutterstock? I can't find anything to corroborate that.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Figuring out a way forwards
« on: June 11, 2020, 15:33 »
Maybe everyone else should use your gear and expertise to get commercial work. The event space isn't super difficult to get into. Then while someone is paying you to shoot their function you can be piggy backing images for stock.

Not really. Event coverage is payed work and it is completely unprofessional uploading and side selling wherever you want without clearance from the client. Except it is at the contract as term to use images for resale, acknowledged and side signed by the client. Half knowledge is how to shoot and other half how to protect interests and reputation.

In absence of a contract I retain copyright to any image I take at an event. The client is essentially licensing the imagery from me for use. I would not shoot an event, corporate or otherwise for a client that wanted me to sign off on rights, or they would pay for that privilege. I've shot major conventions in Vegas, Orlando... corporate incentives retreats in Barcelona... and in general there is no "contract". I shoot and deliver. And I've been doing this for 20 years.

Now, obviously any photos that show executives or any individual, guests, etc... would not be appropriate to sell for stock. Nor would privileged or proprietary content... logos, design elements etc... But there is a lot of content that I shoot for conventions and events... food, scenery, hands picking up cocktails, tight shot of someones dog looking cute and being pet, sunset from a particular location... that is completely professional to resubmit for stock as I have done and will continue to do. So you are correct that discretion is required, but it is both possible and professional done properly.

Here is a way to beat SS. Unfortunately I have not the intellect to design this . As a group setup a new site, with free images. Yes free images, might as well be free if SS and the other sites go with this new model. Hard to beat free. Not even the evil SS can beat free. You have a site that is just like every other site with the difference all images/videos are free. To get a free image you have to listen to a 30-60 second add . Just like the adds on youtube. The difference you can't rush are turn off the add. At the end of the advertisement you get a unique number/code for one free picture or video that day. You can get as many pictures per day as you listen to different adds and get different codes.The codes are only good per image per 24 hours. The the payout which I guess is small , you get an advertising fee for showing the add. No this most likely won't get you more money than the slims at SS but free is hard to beat. No sure what those  adds pay but I am guessing 20 to 40 cents each. You could also charge a yearly fee like Costco dose, maybe 29 bucks a year to make a little more revenue.

I see. So get back at SS low rates by giving your images away for free. Brilliant. Reminds me of a guy who once cut off his nose to spite his face.

Thank you all very much. Being a student, I've yet to pay taxes for the first time. I have a large portfolio of pictures that were ready for stock but I think I will wait until I settle down to avoid double taxation.

Most importantly, I hope everyone understands that this question was never meant in an offensive way, as made clear by my age, it's an honest one, I thank you for your replies!

Having been freelance for 20 years in the photo industry (though new to stock) let me tell you that you are better served using the system to your advantage by utilizing deductions than by trying to hide income. I didn't pay taxes on income for a few years when I started out and just know it will come back to you with interest. And the government doesn't forget.

Your income with these companies is logged. That's why they have your info.

Also, likely you aren't making a whole lot from stock right now. Working your deductions on gear the right way right now is an advantage. You can deduct a $3500 camera purchase from your overall liability even if you only made $300 that year.

Also, if you are freelance/ independent contractor, finding an accountant who understands the business will save you more money than it costs.

General Stock Discussion / Send a message to Shutterstock
« on: June 10, 2020, 20:05 »
I've found that these days some companies are more responsive to complaints on Twitter and other social media than anything else, they certainly aren't concerned about your email.

They don't want their clients, or in the case of SSTK... investors, seeing a parade of negative social media. Twitter is especially good for this. I just used it to get the attention of a business that had done me wrong and got a phone call with resolution.

You might for example on a newsweek story of clients taking advantage of the pandemic make a reply saying how photography has been effected too and how @shutterstock is a major perpetrator. Things like that. I did that for about two days with the company I mentioned before they gave me a phone call saying let's talk about this.

Bottom line is that there are just too many pictures of the same thing anymore. For all the people leaving SSTK they will still have plenty. Especially for clients that just aren't very discerning. They just want a relevant image for their slideshow and move on.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Figuring out a way forwards
« on: June 10, 2020, 19:48 »
Something very strange is going on with Adobe Stock.
Since Shutterstock's change my sales at AS have almost tanked while it should be the other way round.
It's all too much of a coincidence to me. Anyone else? I know lots of people seeing improved sales.

Are there stalkers in stock trying to screw us wherever we go or am I getting (too) paranoid?

I've just been in stock photography for a couple months now. I'm on IS, AS, Alamy, and SSTK. Adobe has been by far more sales and consistently better payout averaging $.99

I have similar content on all of these sites. But since I'm so new that might not mean much.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Figuring out a way forwards
« on: June 10, 2020, 19:41 »
I used applicable images from shooting corporate events and business events photography to start my initial stock photography portfolio a couple months ago. I'm an advertising/ commercial/ event photographer for 20 years. Just trying to diversify.

Maybe everyone else should use your gear and expertise to get commercial work. The event space isn't super difficult to get into. Then while someone is paying you to shoot their function you can be piggy backing images for stock.

In other words, maybe try doing both stock and corporate/ event/ portrait?

I can shoot 30 heads in two hours on a blue background. That is 150 an hour....That is less than a plumber make but more than most photoogs make.

By the time you're talking about lighting setup/ teardown, processing, file delivery... you're basically talking about a full day. And I'm going to assume you don't do this 5 days a week. Do you do any marketing to get new clients? Are you investing in new equipment? How much do you pay for that studio of yours? It adds up.

Not only are you selling yourself short but you're bringing everyone else's rates down. Start telling clients you're shooting a "portrait" or "executive portrait" and stop calling it a headshot. Sounds cheap. Like I said in my earlier post this isn't like stock where you can sell these images again and again. Although I do know some guys who've done that with consumers, never executives.

I'm a photographer for 20 years and just started with stock photography.

I think it's ironic that the complaints voiced in this thread about stock (low payout/ requiring high volume) you now seem to be applying to headshots. If you're any good please up your rates and don't bring this race to the bottom to the portrait world. $10 for a headshot is nuts. Most clients I know wouldn't even take you seriously. Experienced shooters charge $350 and up. In quantity maybe $125. Plus extra for retouching. You'll find lowballing ($10?!) isn't worth the effort as unlike stock you can't keep reselling images. At least I can't because a corporate client isn't going to sign a model release.

As for getting into the commercial world, it's definitely good to diversify. That's why I got into stock recently. Also, if you shoot events like I do as well, you get paid for shooting jobs that you can then select appropriate images for for stock photography. That's how I put together my initial stock portfolio.

Frankly it was a garbage stock even before this. Something for traders maybe, who play the chart not the investment, that's why it dips and peaks so much. Low volume. Not really even on anyones radar.

Shareholders may actually like this move as they like the idea of less at the bottom for more at the top. But ultimately it will depend on profit margin. People who don't actively invest sometimes don't realize that investing is about growth, not revenue. Same revenue year after year is not a good investment, as that means what you bought the stock for doesn't change, ie you don't make money.

I actually transfer all the money I make (which hasn't been much considering I just got started with stock photography a couple months ago) from stock photography into my stock investment account. Been a photographer for 20 years and actively trade the market for 5. Never even considered this stock. It's just not even talked about, which isn't a good thing.

If you know anything about investing in the market SSTK is a pretty terrible looking investment. Not even on anyones radar honestly. No idea why anyone would think to invest in stock photography lol. Unless you're just so simple that you're like... oh hey I like pictures, let me invest in a company that sells them. Pitiful volume. For example volume on Apple (AAPL) today was 20 million shares. SSTK was 200 thousand shares. That's nothing. Means no one is even talking about it. And a market cap of 1 billion is actually peanuts.

I'd imagine to increase profit all they can do is hire less people, pay them less, and give contributors less money from sales. From the look of their chart seems to be a downhill strategy considering their high was in 2014 at $94 and the trend is just downhill to current price of $36. Probably why Getty left the exchange in 2012. Sure you can make money as a stock photography company, but the only growth would be through acquisition. And without growth there's no reason for an investor to get on board.

Sorry to bore anyone here with these details. I actually use my profits from stock photography to invest in the stock market lol. So maybe ironic you couldn't pay me to hold SSTK. Garbage stock. Can't imagine why anyone would hold it outside of some sort of swing trade or as a short.

Made 10 sales so far today for a grand total of $1.35.

What a ******* joke.

As soon as I get payout Im done.

You're killin' it. I've got one sale so far this month on SS for $.10

It's actually kind of an insult. Something I just shot recently specifically for stock. One thing about SS for me is they definitely review faster than the others. I was excited because the day after shooting  and submitting it was sold. I look at the stats. $.10


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