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Messages - photojay

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1
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Prices reduced......
« on: February 22, 2008, 15:01 »
I was with the other big sites before I went exclusive, so I have a good idea where they will fall in my earnings.

And I'm really glad I'm not exclusive with them now they're messing with prices again in the form of a sale.  I didn't agree to have my images sell for less...

I also have jewellery selling in a few galleries in the UK, and if one of them did a sale without telling me, and then just sent me less than I was supposed to earn, I'd go mental.  I'd send them an invoice for the difference!

I agree.  There should be a way to opt out of the sale.  Contributors have less and less power each day this system continues. 

2
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Gold!
« on: February 22, 2008, 08:09 »
congrats!  You are an inspiration.  Truly a professional in every sense of the word.  I can't wait to see what you submit now that you can submit more images per week!   ;)

3
congrats!  You have done VERY well with your portfolio!  Hope to follow in your footsteps.  ;D

4
iStockPhoto.com / Re: Prices reduced......
« on: February 22, 2008, 07:40 »
If someone finds an official announcement somewhere from Istock, can you please post it here.  My sales are improving at Istock, but a price reduction would undo all that. :o

5
iStockPhoto.com / Re: How did THIS one get through?
« on: February 22, 2008, 07:39 »

3. I would rather compete against great images than drown in a hoard of sorry images, which is why sales are so slow at places like Canstock.  If a designer has to search through thousands of crap images, they won't ever SEE mine.  On this point I strongly disagree with you.

I'm quite confident that search engines will show good images which sell before crap images which don't sell. I may be wrong however.



I don't know how the search engine determines this, given that a good image isn't determined by the number of sales.  If it was determined by the number of sales, then brand new images would be at a much greater disadvantage. 

Seriously, look at the database of images on Canstock.  They upgraded their server so it would be faster for designers to search for images, yet they keep letting in ameteur-looking, cheezy, mundane, compositionless images that muck up their search engines and it negates the whole process.  Designers spend too much time going through pages of these images to find the images in the same class as the few they show on their homepage. 

I really believe that a database full of great images is good for the whole community.  Have you heard the saying: "It's hard to soar with the eagles when you work with turkeys"? 

I believe this so much that I have gone back through my portfolio and looked at the images that are over a year old and haven't sold once.  I am not saying it is an automatic delete, but I have to look at them critically and ask myself if the quality of the work I was doing a year ago is good enough to represent me today.  In some cases, yes, but as I am only about 3 years into professional photograhy, most cases, no.  When you have been submitting as long as Yuri or Ron Chapple, then the shelf life of your images should be much longer, but as I am just starting out, I expect to put in alot of hard work to get to where they are.

6
iStockPhoto.com / Re: How did THIS one get through?
« on: February 21, 2008, 16:22 »
Whatever, I think it is not a very scientific approach to use such discutable examples as a proof of the fact that exclusive contributors are treated differently than other contributors. I'm sure you will find plenty of bad pictures from non exclusive contributors.

And frankly, I don't care that much because for me, if the photo is bad nobody will purchase it.

You should concentrate more on building your portfolio IMHO. But this is just my own personal opinion of course  ;)


1.  Nice job working in the word 'discutable'. 

2. I didn't mean it to be scientific, but rather a simple example, and hard evidence as to the types of images that slip through the watchful eye of the reviewers, exclusive or not (I did mention it at the end as a PS)

3. I would rather compete against great images than drown in a hoard of sorry images, which is why sales are so slow at places like Canstock.  If a designer has to search through thousands of crap images, they won't ever SEE mine.  On this point I strongly disagree with you.

4. I guess I should stop posting here, too in order to concentrate on building my portfolio.  I am uploading the limit at Istock, so I am doing all I can to build my portfolio. 

7
iStockPhoto.com / How did THIS one get through?
« on: February 21, 2008, 15:31 »
I am not a complainer (doesn't every complainer start their post that way?) but, I couldn't help but to really feel as though the review process needs to be a little...no...ALOT more fair at most of the sites. 

Let me start by giving this image as an example:



If you use the zoom function, you can see a few problems with the image:

1.  The lens is dirty.  We all know that no self respecting photographer is going to shoot through a lens that dirty.

2. The removal of the word "Canon" from the lens is horrible.  The clone is obvious and not even or blended.

3. The blown highlights (which is seemingly 'the old standby' when it comes to rejection reasons-  we all know that digital cameras suck for retaining highlights AND that sometimes we sacrifice highlights in certain parts of an image for proper exposure in the main subject...but I digress)

Overall, it is a pretty simplistic image and well photographed subject.  I can see overlooking some of the issues, but when there are that many, on a subject that well photographed, it seems ludicrous to accept another mediocre (at best) image.

Here is the ....'and then...':  The photographer is exclusive to Istock!  Could that be the golden ticket?  Being exclusive means that you can submit so-so images and build your portfolio faster?  I am submitting quality images, 15 at a time per week, and getting silly rejections on one or two of them, so I am not complaining that I never get any images accepted, but I just wonder if those one or two would slide if I was exclusive?

8
I sit at my desk most of the day and wait for people to come in and give me information or ask me for information, so I have free time in between to learn about MS here.  I really enjoy hearing from other contributors away from the MS Site forums where everyone is like "I love (insert MS Agency here).  They are the best!" and they only say it because they think the reviewers have a spare second to read the forums AND match that comment up with the THOUSANDS of images they see each day. 

Needless to say, I am not a big fan of MS Site forums, but here we can discuss the trends and sites openly.  It works out much better for me and I think is time well spent when I CAN'T be shooting. ;D

9
OnOne Software has a program call maskpro that I am trying out right now.  It is suppose to be able to do those "difficult" isolations and (according to the intro video) it does.  I have yet to perfect it, but I haven't played around with it much.  You can download a trial version as a plugin for PS CS2 or above.  It cost $159.95.

Here is the link


10
Site Related / Re: StockXpert nightmare
« on: February 06, 2008, 08:31 »
I agree with hatman.  More than three of the same image series and you are going to see rejections coming your way.  Heck!  I uploaded ONE image and got a rejection for too many of the same series!! lol.  Still waiting for them to correct that mistake. 

11
General Stock Discussion / More Microstock talk
« on: February 06, 2008, 08:27 »
I found this online Microstock club that is just getting started.  The overall site is kind of like myspace, but the members get a part of the advertising income for contributing content.  I would never stop coming to this site to talk about MS, because this site rocks, but we could really use some more insight at our club if you can stop by and check it out:

Microstock Club

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D :o ;D ;D ;) ;D ;D ;D :-*

12
I just got accepted there and uploaded 280 files, 200 accepted, with one that I am still waiting to hear back on that I think was rejected as an administrative or procedural error.

I signed up on Jan 22nd and had my first batch accepted on Jan 24th and had my first sale on 26 January. 

I haven't had any sales since then, but I expect that more sales will be forthcoming.  I think Stockxpert is definitely going the right direction and with Jupiterimages being the main company, they have resources to compete with the bigger MS sites. 

IMHO, StockXpert is a site that deserves to have contributors send their portfolios to.  As the site grows, reviews are going to get tougher, but fairer.  I think that there is still a ways to go to get the review process under control and more online across all reviewers, but I have found that contacting them, with a professional and detailed message, about administrative errors usually yields favorable results.  If you are going to contact them to complain about a difference in opinion, you are wasting your time and only slowing down the process.

I am predicting at least 20 downloads for February for my portfolio.  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there were many more.

13
StockXpert.com / Re: Review time @ Stockxpert...
« on: January 31, 2008, 11:10 »
Well, I have three last images (of a 30 image batch) waiting to be approved for 2 days beyond when the other 27 were reviewed.   ???

Also, I had a rejection for "please remove stray areas of background" rejection on some outdoor snow images.  Usually I get those rejections for isolated on white (which I try to correct, but don't complain about), but I don't understand what it is they want me to remove?  The snow in the background gives the images context. 

I also had a rejection of "too many images of the same series" for an image that was the only one of its kind.  I sent two messages via the sitemail (I can't find an email address for support) and still have not received a reply. 

I don't mind having rejections. Nobody is perfect and if the rejection is based on opinion, then I defer to the admins.  It's their site.  On the other hand, if the rejection is basically carelessness or accidental mistake by a reviewer, then I believe the image needs to be reviewed again.

Haste makes waste. :P

14
Photo Critique / Re: Tear me apart
« on: January 28, 2008, 17:27 »
I am finding that my black background is not a designer's friend :P.  I will definitely be rolling out my roll of white seamless paper alot more often for these types of images.  Thanks for the info on the grays.  I never thought about that POV.  I always think "curb appeal" at thumbnail size and grays seem to be sooo bland. 

15
CanStockPhoto.com / Re: Left CS yesterday
« on: January 28, 2008, 12:02 »
I have over 500 images to delete.  I gotta start somewhere. 
I am going to start today to take pictures off that I know will not help me reach a payout.

I average 5 - 10 dl's a week there and I NEVER know what will sell. It's like a reviewer at a site rejecting an image because "it's not stock material"...they have no idea what "stock" material is and what will or will not sell (if they did, they'd be making so much money SELLING photos, they wouldn't have time to review). You've already uploaded it, let it ride.

16
Photo Critique / Re: Portfolio Critique Thread
« on: January 28, 2008, 09:06 »
Thank you Jay. 

You are right in that the toys basically do not sell...except for the trains.  Those sell.  And frankly those were the ones that stood out to me.

Believe it or not, the "typical" ranch home sells 4-6x per month at iS whereas the more spectacular mansion collects a lot of dust pretty much everywhere.   :D   

This is a weird business, is it not?

Wow!  I don't know what to say!  I never would have guessed that in a million years.  I guess it is just the other way around, if I just stopped to think about it.  I call it the "pretty girl" theory.  The plain ranch style house is the pretty girl.  I would think that everyone has access to a house like this and that they would be filling the galleries, but if you do a search, there are MANY more HUGE houses out there, making the extraordinary in real life--commonplace in the world of stock.  So, nobody photographs the plain house, thinking that everyone has photographed it.  I guess it all boils down to doing the research when you think of an idea.  If I come up with a concept, I gotta go to the sites and do a search to see if someone ELSE has thought of that idea.  I could, just as I am in this case, be very surprised!

17
Photo Critique / Re: Tear me apart
« on: January 28, 2008, 09:01 »
You asked for it, so here goes.  The StockXpert reviewer was right on, the picture of the boy crying is one of the worst lit images I have ever seen offered for sale.  If you are going to shoot low key then shoot low key don't mix low key and high key lighting.  The right side of his face is totally burned out as is his right shoulder.  The left side of his face is way too dark.  Evening up the lighting ratios a little would allow the right side to still be brighter than the left and would also open up the shadow on the left side of his face so we can see that he has 2 eyes.  Did you shoot a close up of just the eye and the tear?

As for the girl in the oversize clothes, photograph her doing everything you can think of with any kind of prop you can think of (playing a musical instrument, reflected in a mirror, on a bicycle, putting on makeup . . .).  Also photograph her from as many different positions (high, low, front, back, left, right, inside, outside . . . ) as you can think of.  Get her input, I bet she will think of things that you won't.

I see what you are saying.  I could have dialed down the light from the left side a bit to preserve the details (almost like the strength of the light from the right side), and bounced a little bit of light up into his face to bring that left eye out of the shadow so much.  Thanks for the critique! 

I am planning a ton of shots for the "big suit" on a white background.  I will definitely let her experiment a bit.  Thanks again.

18
Crestock.com / Re: Any downloads?
« on: January 27, 2008, 10:18 »
can you opt out of sub sales at CS like you can at StockXpert?

19
Shutterstock.com / Re: My dog selling like hotcakes
« on: January 27, 2008, 09:37 »
I keep hearing everyone talking about this idea of making room for text.  It is my opinion that any designer worth his salt can easily do just what you did and make his room for text. 

Let's not forget that there are non-designers who buy images on these sites and need "finished" images. As much as we'd like to believe that there are nothing but skilled PS buyers, that just isn't so... people buy all sorts of "photoshoped" images that are more than a great designer would need... just look at the top 50 on SS any day and see how many images are put together from other pieces and sell like hotcakes.

Good point.  I do tend to forget about the non-ps users.  I remember a time when PS was a foreign language to me!  lol

20
Alamy.com / Re: Another best strategy thread...
« on: January 27, 2008, 09:34 »
Alamy asks for 48MB that is megabytes (48*1024*1024) which equals to 50,331,648 bytes. Considering that each pixel is 3 bytes in a 8-bit jpeg file that will mean 16,777,216 pixels.

They say that you might need to upscale using a bicubic algorithm.

So how do you determine the factor to upscale the image? Easy: divide 16,777,216 by the number of pixels of your image area. One more thing: make sure you do a sqrt of that number to determine what to use for each dimension.

Here is an example:
I have a 2000x3000 photo. What factor should I use for each dimension to meet the minimum Alamy size?

First, dividing 16,777,216 by 6,000,000 and we get 2.8 (rounded of course). Secondly, square root of 2.8 will give you a 1.68. This is the number to use to upscale each dimension. To verify: 3*(2000*1.68)*(3000*1.68) = 50,803,200 bytes.
In other words, in Photoshop I would use 3360x5040.

Some might find this hard to believe but I have a bunch of 6 megapixels shots on Alamy.

Hope it helps.



I am currently using my 10.1MP Canon 40D, which has pixel dimensions of 3888x2592.  Using the math you gave me, I divide 16,777,216 by 10,077,696 which equals 1.665.  So if I multiply 3888x2592 *1.29(the square root of 1.665) I get 5015x3344. 

This gives me a little over an 18.44MP image.   For the image in question, when saved as an 8-bit jpeg at maximum quality (minimum compression) converted first from raw(17MB) then to a 16-bit TIFF(57MB), I end up with an 8.15MB file. 

So, as long as my TIFF file is larger than 48MB, I am not sending them the TIFF, I am sending them the 8.15MB 8-bit JPEG file, right? 

21
Photo Critique / Re: Tear me apart
« on: January 27, 2008, 07:44 »
First photo is cute but it doesn't say anything to me. It seems mismatched. Her expression feels like "I'm embarrased to be doing this". She's also directly looking at the camera which just isn't working for this image. As others have said it would be more time consuming to extract her from the background, unless the designer was already using a dark background. Go with white.

Image of the boy is closer to having a stronger presence to it.

THANKS!  your opininion is well noted.  I can definitely see what you are seeing.

22
Photo Critique / Re: Critique need for Shutterstock Application
« on: January 27, 2008, 07:14 »
Photojay,

Thanks for the referral about the book on lighting !

From one vet to another ... I served US Navy in the late 80's prior to "The Wall" coming down, the Invasion of Panama and served during the 1st Gulf War.

Thanks for Serving !

Mark




HEY! It's what we do, right?  I just got home from Iraq in November 07.  What a place.  I am getting my pictures put online from my tour slowly but surely at My Iraq Album 

23
CanStockPhoto.com / Re: Left CS yesterday
« on: January 27, 2008, 07:02 »
I am also about to close my accont at CS. I too feel that the subsales are bad for the photographers and that it is killing our profits in the long run. Do you have to delete all your pictures one by one or can you just close the account?

There is a spot (under my account at the bottom) where it says "delete my account".  Problem is that you have to take all your pictures off, one by one, before you can do it.  I am going to start today to take pictures off that I know will not help me reach a payout.

24
Shutterstock.com / Re: My dog selling like hotcakes
« on: January 26, 2008, 20:43 »
Great looking dog, Jay, and nice shot. In the intersest of capitalizing on a good thing, why not extend the frame to the left and fill it with your black background?

Something like this, or maybe a bit more






Those two blacks are completely different. Is that deliberate in some weird way? What would be the point? The black on the left is clearly considerably darker than the background.

Non. Je ne comprends pas. You might as well add a pink strip to the left.


I agree.

25
Photo Critique / Re: Tear me apart
« on: January 26, 2008, 20:41 »
StockXpert just rejected 2 of those three images, BTW, for poor lighting.  I guess there needs to be a "notes to the reviewer section" like there is in SS so I can explain that the lighting was created on purpose to add to the somber mood and not an accidental flop.  I created the one with more light on his face because I figured that some stock sites wouldn't get the whole "mood lighting"


People say this at times, but I don't get why you'd have to explain.  Either the image works for the reviewer or not.  Intentional or accidental, if it doesn't work, it doesn't.


Here is one of the images that we are speaking of:



The reason I photographed him under this light is because it makes his ear look red, darkens the front of his face, while bringing the tears dripping from both eyes right off his cheeks with the side lighting.  It's harsh light rather than the normal soft lighting you see with the  ;D portraits.  If they said: too noisy or bad composition, I could take that rejection, but StockXpert said: bad lighting.  I disagree, and (without a reason supplied to the reviewer) I think the Istock reviewer did, too. 

But, I do agree that there shouldn't HAVE to be an explaination for why you used a certain lighting.  Unfortunately, some reviewers should have more experience as photographers before they are allowed to be reviewers.  I only have 3 years as a photographer and (me being the way I am) I would stress out too much about reviewing someone elses work, regardless of the stringent guidelines that may be set forth by the admins.  I just don't think I have the experience...yet.

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