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Messages - basti

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General Stock Discussion / Re: Is Shutterstock for real???
« on: October 10, 2015, 00:33 »
It is funny how many people excuse obviously inconsistent and sometimes obviously absolutely stupid way how SS deals with rejections. Im in this business long enough to recognize bad and good picture. If it gots rejected by 5 of 7 agencies, it is probably really bad. If it gets accepted by 5-6 of 7 best agencies, then the reviewer is probably idiot. The latter is the case with SS mostly... I dont bother with uploading bad pictures and Im with them since 2007. These "killing sprees" really bother me...

Viral business is earning a HUGE money and it is easy to set up and duplicate - because you do not have to create anything, you simply steal it. Big Google Ads and Facebook turn blind eye because you bring them millions of visitors and load of cash. This is why these viral crap is extremely dangerous unless it becomes slapped by copyright issues and heavy fines.

1) I think they automatically reject based only on iso or camera type. Good to strip off all the EXIF info.

2) Reviewers really have reject targets, two of them confiremd this to me. So in fact its easier to simply accept everything and then reject to fill the quota and you save a LOT of the time.

3) Unless agencies quit this crap behaviour causing me substantial loss of time, I will resubmit the same images again and again. I will not bother complaining at forums or posting questions to support - it never works. Simply minor change and resubmit. This is especially true on SS, but also Pond is now rejecting photos like mad. 

Honestly, I know few reviewers and they earn between $1000-1500 and usually work about 4 hours a day with some experience. It might be low salary in USA, UK or Germany but it is a hell lot of money for such short hours in 90 % of the world. In my homecountry 2/3 ppl earn less for full time jobs! And it doesnt mean that people in east Europe or Asia are idiots and lazy workers.

There is of course constant problem with absolutely inconsistent rejections, lack of proper training and lack of proper equipment. Also paying reviewers based on volume and not quality is simply built-in rejection machine. How can you argue with crap rejections like "poor light" or "low commercial value"? But as I remember it is like this all the time since 2007 when I started with microstock. One would expect that with all those earned billions agencies should invest into proper review process - but obviously contributors are still the last to think about in this business...

5 / Re: Alamy - is it worth the time and trouble?
« on: February 24, 2015, 07:32 »
Huge portfolios are usually not quality but quantity and this does NOT work on Alamy! There is no sense in uploading 10k similars!

I rarely shoot series of pictures, currently 400+ photos on Alamy and earned me $160+ NET in 2014. Shutterstock has 900+ of my pictures and managed to earn some $830 in 2014. Alamy makes about 10 % of my stock income = definitely worth it. Especially compared to massive crap rejections at ALL microstock sites. Alamy and Depositphotos are the only growing agencies for me, all other are going down despite increasing volume of uploading new work. 

Symbiostock / Re: People Still Using SymbioStock?
« on: February 02, 2015, 09:59 »
First: The Symbiostock still works, but setting up all properly and tweaking template is a LOT of pain in the a**. Especially new plugins and Wordpress version might make some problems and you have to know exactly how it will go on your hosting - there are some tricky settings which are not always available.

Second: To succeed, I hardly recommend creating also blog with stories, tutorials, extra showcase etc. NO eshop or commerce site is able to compete against content rich blog and NO SEO features will overcome this. I do websites for over 15 years and simply put - you have to get backlinks, you have to create and periodically improve text content (not just few sentences or keywords) and you have to build serious social presence. Otherwise there is no reason in building your own website. This takes a LOT of time and effort - especially if you are not well known person or do not have any background in internet marketing. It is easy to overcome agencies SEO because agencies rely 90 % on pure brute force advertising and PR.

General - Top Sites / Re: EU VAT Changes from January 2015! ALERT
« on: December 22, 2014, 02:24 »
To put it short: These new rules are 100 % crap and only way to avoid it is to use some VAT registered service. As long as VAT is around 20 % and just filling all papers would cost $50-100/MONTH (!!!) I would gladly pay 25-30 % commision. Cant wait to EU finally got bancrupt and finally get rid of this insane regulations.

Btw. I would NOT bother with this would I sit in US - by the US law, you should pay taxes where you are! Not where some other country (EU) thinks you should pay! This insane thinking says that while doing business you must obey (conflicting) law of dozens of countries worldwide and that is simply impossible.

Im in Czech Republic

I pay just 15 % from the net income after deductibles. Looks great, dosent it?

However, I also must pay $200/month for compulsory healthcare and social security (its called insurance but in fact its just tax) - these $200 must be paid even if I earn ZERO that month. If I go over $5000 net income per year, this insurance is raised to the 38 % of the income (but never gets bellow that $2400/year). And I pay 15 % income tax also from this insurance. So we are at 53 % of the income taxed directly!
Then add another taxes like road tax, house tax, recyclation taxes on every device you buy and many other hidden indirect taxes - these easily make few grands per year. And you pay 21 % VAT from every single thing/energy you buy from the remaining 47 % NET you get. So in total I pay something between 75-80 % of my income back to the state.

Since 1st January 2015 Im forced to pay VAT in every single country of EU where I sell any digital goods - including photos. This means at least $50-100/monthly just for paperwork + of course about 20 % VAT from every single sale and then we get to the beginning above. So I think 30 % income tax and no VAT is just paradise...

My dear Alex,

we probably do not uderstand each other. Our concern is this:

1) WHY do you try to cheat and do not fully and openly disclose your business? Photographers and agencies should be partners. If you (agencies) do not accept this fact and try to cheat and screw us all the time, it will backfire. Look at iStock now or what happened with Fotolia DPC.

2) We understand you have costs. We also have costs. Please, keep in mind, that if your "business partner" (as you call it) has some problem with payments or costs, its solely THEIR problem! We authors agreed to 50 % of openly stated price. We DID NOT agree to some tricks with currency or participation in some non-disclosed and suspicious contracts. We also did not agree to cover extra costs (or pay extra profit) of your business partner from our share!

3) We are all very tired of these politically correct business talks, which are just trying to hide the fact, that you simply screwed us. We saw such things many times and believe me, we are pretty fed up with such non-ethical and greedy approach.   

10 / Re: Istock's back
« on: September 15, 2014, 16:03 »
Hobostock: On the previous site, you probably missed one fact. Agencies are not our employers, they are our business partners and without us, they are dead. So they better behave like in partnership and not corporate b*** trying to squeeze us more and more on each step. This is what got IS down and what made big trouble to Fotolia this year - its harder and harder to earn even that $10 a month with stock and technical requirements are well beyond amateurs. Only serious folks are in microstock now and they are fed up with screwing by agencies.

I think we are heading towards the change in whole stock photo industry. As you said, there is no lower price to go. IS made double kill with repelling XS buyers while screwing all XL/XXL and premium collection authors. We shall see in a few months, Im curious where this goes. I do not upload to IS since January 2012, their "improvements" were simply too much for me.

General Photography Discussion / Re: HDR Time lapse
« on: December 17, 2013, 07:35 »
I tried stars also and it is not easy task, unfortunately I still did not complete the video into proper output. Definitely you have to go to high iso, 1600 is usually a minimum. You need to have aperture about 4.0 as most 2.8 lenses are too soft fully open. The best achieved timing was with 15 second shots and 3-5 second delays, otherwise you get gaps in star trails. Too short delays result in sensor overheating and irregular lags because of picture saving time. You should use RAW and shoot only in RAW format (turn off all those RAW+JPEG options) and also turn off all denoise programs.

If you take HDR photo of the foreground and then stitch all star shots timelapse and fit all togeher, you might get something like I di here This shot is a composite of several hundred shots but all were real and made from one place during one session.

You might find interesting this archaeology skeleton excavation timelapse
Ancient skeleton exhumation

Symbiostock - General / Re: Symbiostock script - VAT, TAX question
« on: September 05, 2013, 10:52 »
There are only two working solutions to idiotic EU VAT rules and only one is legal:

1)  Dont give a * about the customer, simply sell it and if somebody asks, then tell all your customers were outside EU. This is risky and illegal way but I bet many ppl will do it this way.

2) Start a company in some offshore country or somewhere without VAT and well outside potential reach of EU stupid ideas. Then for example LLC on Seychelles has separate bookkeeping and you put only real personal income from that company into your tax papers. As long as it is outside EU and you do not go into thousands of euros monthly, nobody cares.

Real legal solution of being registered VAT tax payer will result in so many programing problems and so much paperwork, that each photo would cost a fortune. It is simply not possible to fullfill all stupid requirements...

Brute force solution is to modify .htaccess file of your web:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain.tld [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ http://yourdomain.tld/sample-image.jpg [NC,R,L]

This will stop hotlinking images as Google will show sample-image.jpg instead of hotlinked one. It is really "brute" server solution but I dont know any better now. You can put eg. your contact or invitation to your website into sample-image.jpg - or some form of protest again hotlinks. Its up to you. However keep in mind that this will make problems to search engines to index your image content. 

14 / Re: 82 refunds in the past hour
« on: January 31, 2013, 03:56 »
Mbug: This behaviour is quite typical, honestly said not only for IStock. I would write a short email to the support with about this:

My dear guys, I was loyal exclusive many years and because of YOUR mistakes MY illustrationes were stolen. When I told that to you, I was accused of lying, banned and told some excuses of "risk of selling online". Im sorry that it got this way and I will publish whole story including screens from phorums on independent phorum. You should take also some responsibility if you take most of royalties and behave this way.

Have a nice day ;)

They should realize who is really making most of work in this business. Definitely not tha agency which is taking most of profit...

My dear guys, at first, churches in Europe are mostly not private and NOT run from donations. In my homecountry most of church income goes from taxes we ALL pay, in church or not. Also most of churches were built before 18th century and maybe you americans have it different but ALL people had to work for free for church and they had to pay taxes to church in those times. Compulsory free work and church taxes are not donations in my opinion. So if we start talking about "ethical", we should start from the beginning ;)

So YES, most European churches were built from taxes and many are still run from taxes, despite excuses like donations which often make just small part of the whole budget.

I saw some ridiculous thoughts on this so:

In fact you should have PR or it should be editorial (depends on kind of church).

BUT here in old Europe:
1) State HAS NOT any property, it was all paid by tax payers and so I take paying entrance fee as an isult. The state bought or built it, pays the staff and service and all that is paid from taxes.

2) Catholic church build most of their churches and cathedrals from taxes or compulsory work for church, most churches are paid and run from taxes and so they should be fully public. In my homecountry even priests are paid from my taxes despite the fact that I do not visit church or anything. Quite fair, isnt it?!

So, you cant compare shooting in church to shooting someones living room. Unless the living room owner built the house and fully pays the service from public money. Requiring PR for church is simply very crippled logic... The church DIDNT built it, DIDNT pay it and in most cases they even DO NOT pay the service, repairs, staff from their own money. The same applies for state owned castles, monuments, museums etc. We all paid it but we have to pay extra if we want to visit it or make some pictures.

If you want just stupid proof solution without big investment, try - it is not good for huge collections though.

Other option might be KTools or Photoshelter (paid) or CopperMine gallery (free but needs some tweaking).

If you want to do it yourself it could be done via PayPal Express Checkout. Do not read whole Paypal manual and rather google something like "implementing paypal payments" - there are dozen fool-proof tutorials and PHP codes. In short - you need paypal business account. Then you just need 3 functions - one to send info to paypal, one to receive payment confirmation from paypal and third to create unique download link.

18 / Re: the new DT
« on: August 31, 2012, 11:51 »
August 2012 is by far the worst month in last 2 or 3 years. $2 with 650 pictures online is just insane. Plus I got 70% rejected because of "too many similar" crap. I wouldn't mind if they sell those "non-similar" but they simply don't :(

Even DepositPhotos or 123RF with just 400 pictures make more then double what DT makes...

19 / Re: Where are my money?
« on: August 30, 2012, 15:26 »
Wrote email to support and... nothing :( No refund email, no message...

20 / Where are my money?
« on: August 28, 2012, 09:51 »
I just noticed strange thing. I got sale for $0.35 but the real balance raised only $0.19 - is this supposed to be some new kind of hidden commision cut or what? Im 100% sure about the balance because it was still for about a week.   

General Photography Discussion / Extreme timelapse questions
« on: August 03, 2012, 07:29 »
I have some questions about serious time-lapse project.

I need camera capable of shooting CONTINUOS 2fps for at least full hour and ideally 4 hours. This means 7200 frames per hour. That brings us to first problems:

1) which camera is capable of buffering 2fps continuously?
2) how to store such data flow? is there a chance to directly save pictures from camera to HDD? 
3) how to solve battery? even battery pack will not survive this, so probably extrenal battery is a must

In ideal case I would like camera to operate on wire or wireless with computer control.

Second and even more challenging quest. Do the same but with HDR timelapse so there is a need of 6fps. 2 pictures with -2EV, 0EV and +2EV corrections. I think this could be done with some mirror-less camera which is not slowed down by mirror. However I understand that for such quest some firmware hack might be necessary.

Please respond only if you really KNOW what are you talking about, have used such equipment or worked on similar project. Im interested in PROVEN data about fps, buffering hundreds of pictures and remote control of cameras. Body recomendations are highly welcome. In the first round there is no financial limit, however I would prefer solved this with body for $1500 or less.

Thanks :)   

First, ALL intellectual property MUST be protected for free and without any tricks. My work is my work and that is. No god * govt or agency or company has right to steal it under any circumstances. Orphan work is just a legal excuse for stealing someones work. As it is I consider this law as absolutely unethical.

Second, all agencies MUST keep original copyright line untouched. All about saving space and blahblah are just excuses. As was said, they willingly render our images "orphan work" and so directly make the stealing much easier or even legal. This is absolutely inacceptable as agency should try to make the best profit from photographers images (including theft pevention) and not try to screw photographers in every possible way and throwing off photographers images out like orphan work. By the way in many countries is absolutely illegal to write something like "(c) Agency ltd./photographer" - agency did not move a finger to create that image so they have no copyright to it. They just charge commision for selling it but that doesn mean they also got copyright to that image.   

Intellectual work is still work and authors do not live from sunshine. As up to 80% of citizens of western Europe or USA work in "services" which are mostly intellectual work and not manufacuring, all governments should protect intellectual property and not shoot themselves in the foot.

23 / Re: DT - for facebook
« on: June 04, 2012, 15:24 »
I think there was much truth said. Ppl want free stuff and Facebook isnt really the market with huge crowd of happy buyers. Stolen images are not tenths of thousands but billions. It is estimated that there are about 300 millions of pictures uploaded to Facebook only every day! You bet there are millions of stolen images, I will not guess how many. Facebook has about 900 millions of users - even if half of those are just fake marketing accounts, it is still huge number. Many times larger then any stock agency customer base.

So to the point. I dont like stealing or misusing pictures but in current state it somehow become socialy accepted. Thats the way we pay for easier exposure to potential buyers. On the other hand, there are hundreds of millions of users just on Facebook alone and if just one promile of them will buy just one licence per year for just one buck it makes 450 thousands $$ per year(I counted only half of FB users as real users). Does developing timeline images website still looks stupid to you? I would definitely give it a try if the development would cost me just few grands and there is potential to earn hundreds of grands every year even if the conversion is extremely small.

Yes it is a bad thing for photographers in some ways and I definitely dont like Pinterest button on DT. On the other hand TimelineImages at least educates users, that there exist ways to legally buy pictures and that they are * cheap. There are still lot of users who would simply buy it.

What really makes me sad is the fact, that there was a HUGE talking about SOPA/PIPA and later ACTA, all the politicians full mouth of IP protection and blahblah. Megaupload was taken down partially illegally and tons of absolutely legal data and backups were deleted illegally and without any hesitation, just because someone got feeling megaupload is damaging intellectual property.

And then we have BILLIONS of illegal shares, likes, downloads etc. on Facebook and now Pinterest and because we are not a photographers union or music studio or Hollywood studio, nobody gives a s**t... And as a bonus, the agencies which should in their own interest make their best to get as much profit as possible are the first in line to make "pinning" (read abusing) of our images easier...

Image Sleuth / Re: Microsoft's new pinterest clone !!
« on: May 23, 2012, 13:24 »
I dont like all that about Pinterest but in fact I see hundreds of actually stolen images on Facebook everyday. They are liked, shared, downloaded and used all the time. As someone mentioned stealing was never easier. And it will not become socially accepted - it is already widely socially accepted.   

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