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Mostphotos.com / Canceled MostPhotos
« on: June 14, 2009, 08:22 »
After two years, I just canceled my MP account. My "Index" is was still under 85 since I don't have to time to play their silly Flickerish rating game. Some are over almost at 9,000. Sales don't count at all for the silly system at MP, as was denied by Arian before. I had three sales in the begin when the rating system didn't count that much, but for over a year, I had no sales at all. It's quite obvious you have to waste a lot of time commenting and rating to be successful there, and that's what brings you in front of the search engine. Sorry, I have better things to do.

Bye bye Mostphotos.

Off Topic / 3D animation from Aniboom
« on: June 12, 2009, 22:24 »
From Aniboom : An old man shares his life story on the piano with his young grandchild through evocative music.

The song is: "Comptine d'un autre t: l'aprs midi" composed by: Yann Tiersen, a sortof minimalist (mostly piano) composer like Philip Glass.
Animation by Aidan Gibbons.


Things are changing at Featurepics. We all supported it for the option to set price and license, and for the 70%. This seems all to be gone soon. The thread at the FP forum is (too) long and confusing, but Madelaide is quite busy there.

The intention of the site is clear though. Site owner's quote:
For buyers: 12 months $2275 - any size image for as low as $0.25 or up to 9150 images
$0.35 goes to Authors.

Sorry but not another subscription site, no no.
We won't have the possibility to opt out and they're going to pick the "gold images" (whatever that is) themselves. No thanks FP, not another Crestock.

Another site owner's quote:
I know that customers are leaving for a better deal.

If indeed customers want 10MP+ pictures for 25 dollarcents (2275/9150), they can go shoot those images themselves. Nobody needs 9150 images per year, except CD-resellers, leechers and Heroturko. If a serious company is that big that it needs 9150 pictures per year, they can very well afford the right price, and that ain't 0.25 cents.

Lighting / Minimal power for softboxes
« on: March 30, 2009, 11:11 »
Planning to buy a studio set with softboxes for quite some time, I just discovered both the Linkstar 750 and 600 w/s sets (2 strobes, 1 softbox, 1 umbrella) are out of stock. The only one available is the 500 w/s set. Since I need it within days (will travel), I will have to decide soon to settle for 500 w/s, or browse for other brands. The advantage of the Linkstar is that I worked with it before.

The set will be used in studio to shoot 1-2 persons on a white background, intended to isolate. I'd like to use it on the lowest ISO, and at least F11 for the DOF with 2 models or poses that don't have the hand perfectly in the plane of the eyes. Canon 5DMKII and occasionally D200 Nikon.

To all those marvelous studio gurus out here, my question is if 500 w/s is really enough for this kind of work, and if there is that much difference between 500 (guide number 70 at 100 ISO) and 750 w/s (guide number 85 at 100 ISO).


Off Topic / Off Topic: Vintage Wheelchair
« on: March 25, 2009, 23:28 »
Some ideas for model scouting and original new props and concepts.  ;D


Dreamstime.com / Dreamstime - it is time to join
« on: March 15, 2009, 01:40 »
It's fun to look at Dreamstime on the wayback machine.

In 2001. Distributing your Dream CD with images.

Somewhere in 2003 they disappeared to resurface in july 2003 anouncing a brand new concept. The logo was still a film roll.
Dreamstime will re-open soon along with a brand new concept.
Photographers and designers using film or digital equipment will be enabled to sell their portfolio of images online. Our new concept is based on creating a powerful photo community, providing royalty free images and royalty free stock imagery or photos to DTP designers, web designers, photos for printing brochures, advertisements, magazine or newspaper ads, and electronic use on websites and Flash interactive animations.
We're looking for photographers and designers!

The rebranding took a long time, and Dreamstime as we know it opened on March 9, 2004 with 25 photographers listed on the front page.

Around July 2004 they already had 200 photographers.

Statistics October 2004:
Online files: 19296
Users: 3923
Photographers: 487

Statistics end of 2004:
Online files: 31388
Users: 7006
Photographers: 767

On March 5, 2005, the spiral logo first appeared as a dot on the i of Dreamstime.
Photoshow has 367 images online, and Andresr 601. Online files: 44656.

On April 13, 2005 the homepage was much (too?) simplified for non-logged in visitors. 55,204 images online.

July 1, 2005 has 81,599 images online.

I joined August 3, 2005 when there were 94,091 images live.

End of 2005 there were already 211,847 images online, more than 100,000 added in 4-5 months. Everybody seems to discover microstock.

End of 2006 gave 861,473 images, 600,000 added in one year. That's around the time LuckyOliver and Featurepics started, not realizing the first mice got the cheese already. Milestones can be followed from now on in the DT milestones thread on Dreamstime itself. Over 10,000 images are added per week.

End of 2007, 2,149,835 images online, 1,300,000 added in one year.

One year ago, 4 months later (April 1, 2007), there were 2,680,851 images online.

End of 2008, Tangie said: "we reached 4,500,000 images online only a year after announcing the first million". Actually, from end 2007 to end of 2008, 2,350,000 images were added.

End February 2009 was the 5 million milestone, less than 2 months after the 4,5 million. Extrapolating this over 2009 would give 3,000,000 images added in one year, and 8,000,000 images online end of 2009, 10,000,000 somewhere late Q1 in 2010.

My bet is that DT won't count photographers around 2020 any more in absolute numbers but in % of the world population with about 100 billion images online.  ;D

Video Equipment / Sofware / Technique / The Crevasse
« on: February 27, 2009, 12:42 »
A time series of painting an optical illusion on a road.
In Dun Laoghaire the "Festival of World Culture" took place from 21. to 24. of August 2008. Edgar Mller has followed the invitation and continued his series of large-sized 3D Street Art there. For this year's Festival of World Cultures renowned German artist Edgar Mller transformed a huge slice of the East Pier into a dramatic ice age scene.


General Photography Discussion / Fringe: any ideas?
« on: February 26, 2009, 23:13 »
In a discussion with Vonkara in another thread, he posted some tables comparing the CA of a prime 50mm and a 18-125 Sigma Zoom, gold band. The worst number was around 0.8 px there. I'm using the latter zoom lens on a D200 as an allround lens but some wide angle landscape shots in the tropics show fringe that is much higher.

I'm posting some shots here for advice. Is this normal? The CA seems well above 0.8 px. Am I doing something wrong?
Note: same lens, no CA visible in studio.

1. Overview.

Location: 8 degrees N of equator, april, sun exactly in azimuth at 11.30am; time of shot 9am, sun around 35 degrees from the left, very hard, clear morning.

Nikon D200 - raw with no adjustements except exposure from 1 to 1.15;
Sigma 18-125 DC 1:3.5-1:5.6
ISO 100, 1/160s, F10, 18mm, all raw settings "normal"

2. Clip 1: shadows on pavement right-center-bottom

Top: 1:1. Bottom: 700%. Seems to exceed 0.8 pix, right?

3. Clip 2: trees left-center-top

300% and 1:1

4. Clip 3: tree stem left-center-top

Only 500%

5. Clips 4: uploaded version

Since the shot was borderline focused, I uploaded it reduced from 10 to 4MP, with lightness channel sharpening of 0.9px, 22% and removed the fringe. The process took 20mins which is not really productive. The clips are 1:1.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Off Topic / The Simple Truth
« on: February 06, 2009, 16:53 »
The simple truth on Flickr - another Valentine illustration  ;D

Crestock.com / Attempt to close account - again
« on: January 28, 2009, 20:42 »
From: Crestock (no reply) <[email protected]>
Subject: Crestock - Image sold
To: xxxxx
Date: Friday, January 23, 2009, 7:15 AM

One of your images has been purchased: Find out more here

Listen guys, I have asked months ago for my account to be closed, and I never got a reply. I don't sell my shots for 25 cents, sorry. You can keep the money, just cancel my account and the 7 images I uploaded/got accepted here on a blue monday. I make 1000's with other agencies, and they don't have an insulting Judge Ross and the most ridiculous standards and the lowest pay in microstock . I'm not interested in Crestock as my agent, clear? Please cancel my account AT ONCE. And if you ignore this email again, I'm going to give you a good time on forums and on Google.

All angels in heaven, I hope this helps...  ???

General Stock Discussion / The Great Washing Out
« on: January 24, 2009, 12:30 »
From Lee Torrens' MicroStockDiaries an anonymous comment of an "old school" guy a while ago on the entry Microstock Talking Points in 2009.

As not everybody can read everything, a repeat here of that comment, as food for thought (paragraphs added for readability).

Here are the facts!

Microstock does not pay enough for a real photographer with a studio and or professional equipment to submit images with the intent of earning a living and running a successful business. The photographers that submit to micro now and get good enough will find that they need to move to better sources of income to develop their hobby into a business. As well the pros that try to make a living at micro will find that it doesnt pay enough to survive. The only people making money with microstock are the agencies.

The two best examples of this are Yuri Arcurs and Ron Chapple. Yuri, the king of micro is now shooting RF for one of the top RF distributors in the world. He doesnt say much about this on his blog, but the facts are there. Just search for his last name on Getty.

Why is he shooting RF? Well lets put it this way. He shoots with the best equipment available he is renovating a new huge daylight studio in Denmark, and he has several full and part-time employees. He has to progress into a business model that will allow him to continue growing his business ideas. Not to mention that he is a seriously talented photographer and businessman.

Ron Chapple a long time RF shooter and founder of Thinkstock has been running his own Micro agency(Iofoto) for the past two years and in a recent article said this Overall, I am no longer bullish on the opportunity for individual photographers within the microstock licensing sector. The distributors will make money, but with the ever increasing supply, statistics do not favor the contributor. After two years of Micro he is just now predicting that he may be able to break even on his investments.

Im sorry if some of you microstock photographers are pissed off at us photographers that have the talent and business sense to make a successful living at photography, but thats just the way it is. If you want to be a serious photographer you need to step up to the plate and prove yourself. It takes a hell of a lot more than just a few pretty pictures to make you a pro photographer.

Now I dont usually participate in these forums because I honestly dont have the time to sit around chatting about this crap. But I was searching around for some info on Micro and saw this little discussion and thought Id drop a line to back-up Don and Saxon. Im not planning on sticking around to read half witted comebacks from some pissed off amateur that spends half their day blogging and chatting about the evils of RF and RM, Ive got better things to do.

But I will let you know this. The stock as well as photo industry needs a good washing-out. And when its over, the good photographers will still be here to produce quality work. And agencies dont choose photographers. Photographers find the best partners to distribute their work. If you are good enough no door is closed.

Oh! One more thing. Micro is the redistribution of wealth? Come on!
Even Obama aint that stupid!

From TechCrunch, read here.
In late 2007 Flickr was strongly considering creating a marketplace where users could buy and sell photographs hosted on the service. It was to be called Flickr Stock.

Then-employee Sarah Cooper worked on the project and described it as The concept of Flickr Stock was to create an online marketplace where existing Flickr users could offer photos for sale as well as purchase photos taken by others. Cooper worked on the project in late 2007.

But Flickr abandoned the idea in early 2008 and decided instead to partner with Getty Images. A just launched beta program lets a handful of Flickr photographers sell their images on the Getty Images website. That program is being expanded and should launch in the next couple of months, Flickr General Manager Kakul Srivastava told me this afternoon.

Comment of Paul Melcher:
Getty protected its valuable Istockfoto asset thanks to this deal and delayed the opening of the flood gates. I would love to have heard how Yahoo was convinced to drop such potential revenue. Or is getty paying them a fee to be their exclusive representative ?

To be fair and honest, I should report a 100% acceptance at CanStockPhoto from a batch of 10 last weekend. I was a test batch after a long time with a mix of just OK and good images, your typical batch and not selected for "best".

After the flood of unjust rejection posts here, CanStockPhoto probably reconsidered their rejection criteria. But it's too early to tell.

As to the "changes", CanStockPhoto will mollify its stance about the 15 keyword limit, according to a post of Duncan, and as a result of the vote on CanStockPhoto. All keywords will be used in the search algorithm, with an emphasis on the first 15. Me thinks that's a productive compromise, and as far as I know, also the politic of Fotolia (with 7 keywords).

The past week, I did some tweaking of my Keywording Tool Flemishtagger to get the work flow of keywording shots a bit faster: spell check is now in all windows so that's one click less to spell check the keywords.

Why FlemishTagger?

It's a script (program) to make the work flow of keywording images faster, especially as to sorting the keywords in order of relevance. Primarily done for Fotolia a year ago, CanStockPhoto now also introduced a 15-keyword limit.
In Fotolia you can sort on the site, but that's slow, very clumsy, and the result is not in your images' IPTC but on their site.

OK, since the keywords are in the script anyways, I added some more goodies like
- automatic removal of duplicates
- spell check
- 1-click delete of irrelevant keywords
- templates (you can add your own templates!)
- undo/redo
- output with all kind of separators (comma, semicolon, newline, space...)
- optional automatic sorting in function of the most popular keywords on SS and LO.

For the lazy  ::) - Yes I know you can do the same in Word or any word processor, but then you need a lot of cut/paste, mouse/keyboard switching. Since I'm lazy by nature, I liked to have a script where all could be done with simple mouse-clicks. I'm using it for over a year now and all my latest shots are priority-keyworded in the IPTC.

If ever any other site comes up with keyword relevance in their search algorithm, my images are ready.

Is it safe? Yes, totally since javascript can't access files on your disk except cookies, and those aren't used. The only connection to my server is to increment a counter. The source code is open anyways.
Still paranoid? Download the script then on your PC (CTRL-S) and use it off-line. In fact, this will save you and me bandwidth when you use the script often.

What does it cost? The same price as the tutorials of RJMIZ: nada, rien, nichts, nothing, wala  ::)

CanStockPhoto.com / CanStockPhoto Alexa ratings
« on: March 02, 2008, 20:41 »
Anybody saw this curve lately? It's sad to see this patient slip away. It was the first site that accepted me August 2005. Soon sweet memories?

Mostphotos.com / MostPhotos playing with legal fire
« on: March 01, 2008, 20:00 »
Not asking for a copy of the MRF and inspect it properly like all micros do will bring MP in legal trouble, sooner or later. If even (semi)pros on Alamy fake MRFs, the more on MP were there is no treshold for amateurs that probably don't even grasp the concept of a Release or Royalty Free.

That's OK in Europe, where the model has to prove damage to get a compensation from the photographer, not from the site. But since MP is going international, I wonder if they ever looked for legal advise in the US where the situation is different, as Dan Heller wrote here.

Another thing are property releases. About every micro site now knows that the Brussels' atomium is copyrighted. Since I live in Brussels part-time, I have many shots of it but they were all refused on iStock and Dreamstime. I mailed the organization that holds the Atomium copyright for info and they wrote back that any site that puts an Atomium picture online has to pay SABAM (a license collector company) 150Euro per month per picture.
Now look at this shot on MP: the atomium in full. No I won't flag it. I don't want a row of 1's back.

Conclusion: MP is playing with legal fire and sooner or later they will have to introduce inspectors at least for the Releases.

Note: Alamy does the same - a search on "Atomium" Royalty Free brings up 3 pages, half of the shots grossly mistagged, half of them with the actual atomium.

Featurepics.com / Featurepics stalling?
« on: February 24, 2008, 20:26 »
One month without any sale on FP now, quite unusual. I normally have 2,3,4 per month. It isn't the season because DT did very well for me the past month. The Alexa ratings show a down trend too. Anybody else with the same impression?

Zymmetrical.com / Zymmetrical appears to deliver
« on: February 13, 2008, 14:19 »
I know I should keep this secret, but I got 2 sales of 7$ and 11$+ at Zymmetrical with just a tiny portfolio. Somehow, these guys seem to deliver, quiet as they are amongst the big loud guns of SnapVillage, Albumo and even MostPhotos that will rock the world... next year.

I uploaded 5 shots last September to test the waters, and then I was off in the jungle for a few months. When I logged in to my email in a Netcafe somewhere in November, I had a mail that I earned 7$ on one of those shots. OK... a random hit I thought.

Nevertheless, last week I started uploading in bulk part of what I had in 300DPI (there seems to be a DPI problem on ZM) and 50 were approved already. Checking in a few days later, I noticed there was almost 20$ on my account. Somehow, one of these recent shots must have sold.

I know, I should keep this golden tip secret since the first mouse gets the cheese but if you like this tip, here is my referral link:

Zymmetrical - referral

and for those that are allergic to referrals or can't stand me  :o :

Zymmetrical - clean

By the way, I'm an avid fan of Paul Melcher's blog. It's one of the 10 that are left over in my feeds, next to Dan Heller of course.

Zymmetrical is still a bit confusing as to the trajectory uploaded photos go. After FTP (hey why can't SnapVillage or iStock make an FTP?) the photos seem to vanish in the hays, but after a while, and like the monster of Loch Ness, they surface again.

A neat thing about ZM is that the reviewer (an angel told me in a dream) is PM himself, and that he puts prices on your photos. Those range from 3 to 25$ and it gives a pretty good idea where ZM is heading to: no culture, architecture, nature - but PEOPLE.

In short... the best experience in new sites, as FP seems slowly going down the drains too, at least for me this month...

Cameras / Lenses / The 1$ tripod replacement
« on: January 30, 2008, 09:37 »
Lose your tripod.
The 1$ image stabilizer

Hat tip: Duncan, CanStockPhoto forum

CanStockPhoto.com / Woohoo, a whopping sale at CanStockPhoto!
« on: December 08, 2007, 02:52 »
Guess what. After 3 weeks of no sales at all I got a whopping 25 dollarcent from a subscription sale at full 10MP size. After 2,5 years on CanStockPhoto, payout is finally in sight. 4.5$ to go.... or 18 sales.  ;D

Disclaimer: this is a sarcastic post.
25 dollarcent for 10MP, what's that? nanostock or picostock?

It might be that market pressures make sites decide to go for the subscription model. That's fine for a site like SS where the sheer volume on sales makes up for the low price, so the net result for the photographer is still good.
A market, however, is made up by demand and supply. I don't know about others, but for me, I rather dump my shots for free on Flickr (which I enjoy immensely) than going through the hassle of make them 100% noise-free, 100% isolated, and to categorize them, just for an occasional 0.25$ sale.

This is no critique of CanStockPhoto.

New Sites - General / StockPhotoPro ?
« on: December 02, 2007, 00:01 »
I got a Flickr mail of stockphotopro solliciting submissions. Anybody any experience with them?

Featurepics.com / Interview with Elena of FP
« on: November 20, 2007, 05:24 »
Since Peer Mangia doesn't seen to post on this forum, I take the liberty of linking his mini-interview with Elena Oryol of Featurepics.

One statement struck me:
"What we are realizing is that there are artists who do care to see their work in good hands and there are some who abuse the system. Our effort has been concentrated with helping to promote the artists and eradicate the abusers."

What would those abusers do then? I'm intrigued.

SnapVillage.com / Snapvillage not Corbis any more
« on: November 07, 2007, 23:24 »
Many photogs have endured the Snapvillage "beta" debacle, the non-watermark and the lack of IPTC for a long time, just because it was a company owned by Corbis, and ultimately by Microsoft. As such, there would be potential in the site.

Not any more. Snapvillage moved to Ireland under a low tax scheme, and is now owned by a sortof offshore shell company that shelters hundreds of other companies. As an Irish company, Snapvillage can escape US taxes and copyright practices easily. In fact, it will be very difficult to sue Snapvillage as it is not a US company any more.

So where is Snapvillage's USP (unique selling proposition) now? It aint Corbis, it aint Microsoft, its just another newcomer in the tsunami of new mictrostock sites.

Got this from Paul Melcher's blog on http://blog.melchersystem.com/2007/11/02/so-far-away-from-it-all/.
Some quotes:

Corbis the Corbis ( how else to describe them ?) have again taken the world by surprised. A few months after launching Snapvillage.com, they have posted a new contributor agreement, effective August 31, 2007, but only posted a month later, on September 27. Most of the contract is all about changing the legal name of Snapvillage, and adding some very threatening comments that is not particularly contributor-friendly. One would think that if you have a UGC company, you would have an agreement that doesnt scares the pants out of those Users. Corbis is afraid of no one, not even its own contributors who find themselves forced to fly to Ireland if they need to sue Snapvillage and pay all legal fees even if they win. Furthermore, the agreement makes no efforts to be readable by the common man. Quite the opposite. So much for being user friendly.

SnapVillage Ltd.
Attn: Matsack Trust Limited
70 Sir John Rogersons Quay
Dublin 2

The Matsack company websites clearly specifies : Our in-house company Matsack Trust Limited acts as Company Secretary for several hundred client companies, comprising public, private, unlimited companies

MmmNow everyone knows that Corbis will do anything to protect its very wealthy and only stockholder, Bill Gates, from any possible liabilities. Fair enough. This agreement does not even mention Corbis at all. But Ireland ? and a empty company ? Well, an article on the American Chamber of Commerce explains it all :

These [benefits] include Irelands open and transparent tax regime, a standard 12.5% corporation tax rate which applies to all companies. Equally important are the double taxation agreements with 44 countries and the favourable [sic] tax incentives given to intellectual property and to Research & Development investment.

A tax shelter. Apparently, Corbis idea of making a profit is to pay less taxes overall, and none in the USA at all.

SnapVillage.com / Snapvillage QC?
« on: October 14, 2007, 20:10 »
Browsing through my "huge" portfolio (I deleted most because of the initial absence of a watermark) of 3 photos at SV, I noticed that the view count staid unchanged for 6 weeks (4,4,24). Not much going on?

Doing a search on "asian, man" I found (1) that my shot with those keywords doesn't turn up and (2) some real beauties that make me wonder about SV quality control.

Perfect isolation and absence of hard frontal flash shadow. Look how well the black gun stands out against the black suit:

Perfect isolation, perfect contrast, no blown-out highlights, great focus on the eyes, copyspace at the right side (his back of course):

Very sharp shot of a lady glued on a sunset. What a great idea, collect all your bloopers where the focus went wrong, and call them 'blurs'. May I suggest Gaussian blur 20px? A very noise-free image too, SS would love it. A real bargain for just 25$!

No further comments....

The search function is also defective. What the heck is going on with their tag separators? Looking for "soldier, man, jungle" or "soldier man jungle" or "soldier,man,jungle" gives me:
"You searched for: soldier, man, jungle - No images found."
"You searched for: soldier man jungle - No images found."
"You searched for: soldier,man,jungle - 36 images found."

One of them is this (where is the soldier, man, jungle? It's an underwater shot):

And of course, my shot with these tags (below) isn't included:
"elated,  laptop,  male,  military,  shirtless,  computer,  people,  tropical,  wireless,  young,  young man,  victorious,  victory,  reaching,  screen,  dress,  shout,  shouting,  sitting,  skin,  slim,  soldier,  stud,  success,  tanned,  teeth,  terrorism,  terrorist,  triumph,  triumphant,  muscular,  necklace,  notebook,  nude,  PC,  man,  manly,  masculine,  elation,  exotic,  expression,  fatigues,  guerrilla,  happy,  joy,  jungle,  keyboard,  arms,  army,  Asian,  beach,  camouflage,  cheer,  cheering,  chest,  communication"

(link to photo: http://www.snapvillage.com/PictureDetail.aspx?vcb6uh=NURJwh2QzWoouLkxOmVxnDLM%2beKAsktd7I%2buPl%2bcQ8%2fr4GZpafSnknfIVohYJzmK)

SnapVillage.com / Keymentoring *for free*!
« on: July 25, 2007, 16:50 »
My first photos were approved at SnapVillage, and yes, they filled in a description and keywords. Not bad at all.

Am I the only one that has this wicked idea of uploading to SV first, wait till they are online, then just copy the keywords/description that they provided and after that upload to the rest of the 6-gang?  :P

Goofy.  ::)

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