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Topics - Graffoto

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Tried to get to my own website last night and found a blank page  :-\

This morning I checked with my web host and there was a notice that they had been hacked.

I wish I knew where this geek lived... because I would love to figure out a way to 'hack' his lifestyle.

Ok, we all recognize the technical perfection. The clean, bright, albeit somewhat flat look. The well thought out sets and compositions.

However, I would argue that above all else the secret to Mr. Arcurs success are his models.
He has mentioned on several occasions that he uses agency models and it shows.
I even remember reading on one occasion that he flew in a Russian model for a shoot.
All of his models; male, female, young & old are stunning. Who would not want these people to represent their product or company?

So how is this done? In the Los Angeles region where I am, agency's frown on their models being used for microstock. It dilutes their value.
Not to mention the additional cost of going through an agency to hire models. Ideas? Insights anyone?

General Stock Discussion / I'm paying my models too much!
« on: December 30, 2010, 00:58 »

Looks like I could get a top end high fashion model for less than a normal 'day' rate on MM  ;D

General Stock Discussion / Are winter themes selliing yet?
« on: October 10, 2010, 18:50 »
Being from Southern California, my port is understandably devoid of much in the way of winter themes.
I have however recently uploaded some winter 'concept' shots that are not getting much attention as of yet.

So, my question is: at what point in the year do people normally see winter/xmas themed images start to move?


This model is suing for US $2 million over use of her image.

iStockPhoto.com / IStock iPhone App.
« on: June 24, 2010, 11:31 »
The new iPhone App is up & running and available from the App store.

Has anyone tried it out yet?

iStockPhoto.com / best match Churn
« on: May 02, 2010, 23:39 »
What's up with current best match at IS?
About a third of my downloads last week were from really old files that never sold very well to begin with.

I know I cannot be the only one who has noticed this strangeness.
Why put in a best match algorithm that favors the crummy stuff?  :-\

General Stock Discussion / Spring Break = Sales slowdown?
« on: April 05, 2010, 08:55 »
Its spring break here in the US.
Should we expect slow sales this week?

Since they were available starting this weekend, I was wondering if anyone actually went and purchased an iPad yet? If so, how do you find it so far?

I had reserved one for my wife, but decided to wait for the 3G version, because she wants to be able to connect to the net when she is away from a WiFi hot-spot.

General Stock Discussion / Insurance?
« on: December 28, 2009, 22:21 »
For those of us that from time to time do location shoots; do you carry liability insurance?
If so, who is your carrier and are you happy with them?

iStockPhoto.com / Refund- client did not want this file.
« on: December 01, 2009, 19:18 »
So today I get a notice from IS:

"We regret to inform you that a refund has been issued for a purchase of your file #5688410:

client did not want this image.

The iStockphoto Team"

Okay, it's only around five dollars, and certainly not the end if the world.
But the thing that bothers me is that the file was downloaded early in the morning and I did not get this notice until late in the afternoon.

Now how do I know that the client is not keeping the file and then asking for a refund?

If the file had been downloaded in error, and immediatly contacted IS, would I not have recieved a more timely message?

Maybe am being too suspicious, because my wife has a habit of buying five or six of the same garment in different colors and then returning all but one or two.

What's to stop a designer from doing something similar?

iStockPhoto.com / Free Image of the Week... does it help?
« on: October 31, 2009, 16:42 »
HI All,

I had the FIOTW on iStock last week.
I was pretty excited to see it featured on the front page and it generated well over 54,000 views over the weeks time.

I also had a few downloads of related images this week (same model), so there has been a small amount of action from it, but not nearly what I was hoping for from the exposure.

Has anyone else here had a similar experience?
Is donating images to be used as traffic generators a waste of time?

Your thoughts please.

Off Topic / A Joyous New Year
« on: September 18, 2009, 12:52 »
To those few of us here that belong to one of the oldest monotheistic faiths in this world, I would like to wish you a Shana Tova!

iStockPhoto.com / The Power of Vetta
« on: September 18, 2009, 12:40 »
I have just had today, my first image ever to pass the $200 mark.
This is with only 50 downloads.

That is the power of Vetta.

I think I feel a 'woo-yay' coming on  ;D

Well Pantone has come out with spring color prognostications.

So here are the colors everyone needs to start incorporating in their shoots for next season (kinda makes me hungry):

"After surveying the designers of New York Fashion Week for prominent collection colors, color inspirations and color philosophies, Pantone has deemed the Spring 2010 colors as: turquoise, tomato puree, fusion coral, violet, Tuscany, aurora, Amparo blue, pink champagne, dried herb and eucalyptus.

Taking a closer look at the tones, falling on the more vibrant side of the spectrum is turquoise, a cool, tropical hue; bright Amparo blue, a navy-esque tone with warmth; romantic violet; greenish-yellow aurora; bold and provocative fusion coral; and tangy tomato puree, the season's classic red.

Among the neutrals forming the season's color backbone is the delicate, wispy pink champagne; Tuscany, a warm beige; dried herb, the ultimate green neutral, which will pair well with all other colors; and cool eucalyptus, a classic, practical gray."

I don't too often shoot outdoors, but I do the occasional beach shoot.

Usually I attempt early AM or late afternoon to avoid the harsh shadows of the sun, but that also means I often wind up with an overcast looking sky.

So how much power is really needed to over-power overhead full daylight?
I currently have two 330 ws and two 660 ws strobes.

The shot below was done using the two 660 ws strobes connected to a Vagabond battery pack. Even with that much power going for me, I had to have an assistant cut the ambient with a diffusion cloth held to the models left.
Shot @ 1/125 f7.1

Computer Hardware / Single 30" or a pair of 22"?
« on: September 07, 2009, 23:49 »
Hi All,

Well my trusty old CRT is showing signs of age. It is almost not reaching calibration brightness any longer. I expect to have to replace it before the year is out.

I currently run a dual monitor setup.
A Dell 20" LCD for tools and internet & the CRT for color critical editing work.
I really like the idea of a 30" monitor, it would get some clutter off my desk.
But I wonder if it is not smarter to get one of the slightly smaller LCD graphics monitors such as the NEC 26" LCD2690WUXi2 and continue to run a dual monitor set up?

Any thoughts on this?



iStockPhoto.com / This weeks Photographer of the Week
« on: August 31, 2009, 23:47 »
Has anyone else noticed that this weeks Photographer of the Week also had a Photo of the Week back in April?

Here is the previous discussion: http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/ha-ha-ha-istock-photo-of-the-week/

General Stock Discussion / Are US photo buyers bigots?
« on: August 09, 2009, 17:17 »
I had a discussion with a photo buyer in my company's marketing department the other day.
I was trying to get an idea of what age demographic we were shooting for as well as ethnicity wanted/needed. 
I was also looking for guidance of the general 'feel' that we were trying to project.

Here are some of the answers that I received:
* We can use most any ethnicity, but unfortunately was probably can't use African-Americans. (Why not? Did we not just elect Mr.  Obama to the highest office in the land?)
* We target 20 somethings and 40 somethings.
* Sexy/sultry is out, we want approachable/friendly etc. (Duh)
* Conspicuous consumption is out. These days even people that still have $$ are embarrassed to show that they are
  spending a ton. (So what are we going to sell them?)

General Stock Discussion / Summer Slowdown
« on: June 27, 2009, 10:03 »
Well it is late June and school is out here in the US.
My sales have become slow and the downloads that I do get are in the smaller/cheaper sizes as of late.

I know that I am not alone, and others are seeing a similar sales slump.

So the question is; when do we start to pick up again?
Is it as I suspect that around late August/early September when school starts back up and people return from vacation?
Or is there some other dynamic that I am unaware of (besides the present stinking world economy) that affects the yearly cycle?

Also wondering if I should hold off from uploading finished edits at this time and wait until near the end of summer to keep them 'fresh'.


iStockPhoto.com / Premiere Collection nomination
« on: June 11, 2009, 20:41 »
I just received an email from IS informing me that their editors had chosen one of my shots for inclusion in the PC.

I already have three images there that I nominated myself and were accepted, but this is not one that I nominated myself.
While I think it is an OK shot, I would not have nominated it myself as I feel that there are a couple of others from the same series that are superior.
I guess that I just do not have a firm handle as to what the criteria may be for the PC collection.

Does anyone have a more or less definitive idea?

Here is the image:

General Stock Discussion / A different sort of buyer
« on: June 09, 2009, 00:10 »
I have often assumed that microstock buyers were either designers for magazine/print/web advertising and/or buyers for small organizations such as churches and schools that need images for web sites and brochures.

Today I met with a potential client; a cosmetic surgeon who wanted high end glamor 'after' shots of some of his patients for his web site. When I arrived at his sumptuous office I noticed several poster size prints that I recognized as the work of several different microstock photographers.

As the good doctor was gushing (no really he was) over my print portfolio, I casually mentioned that I also was an exclusive on iStock.
To my surprise he was very familiar with IS, and DT but none of the other big six. He did mention several other sites like Crestock and a few that I had never heard of. 

Of major interest to me was the fact that he felt there was a lot of low end garbage on IS and had trouble locating the sort of shots that he wanted on IS. On the other hand he did mention that he thought the prices were good. He even was savvy enough to keep a lightbox on IS. Obviously, he needs training in using search terms to find what he is looking for.

I am beginning to wonder how many sales many of us are missing, not because we don't have good keywording, but because the clients are not full time image  buyers and don't know how to search effectively?

After shooting 300 frames of a subject, culling it down to 20-30 good ones and then post processing them, I am totally sick of seeing my own shots.

After I complete all the post, I fall in love with two or three of the best ones.  I even print out hard copies in 8X10 and 11X14 for my portfolio books. Alas, it is an ill fated love and lasts but a few short weeks or months.

Then I am absolutely sicked by the site of anything I have done before and set out to do better.

I am betting that there are others that feel the same way, yes?

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