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Messages - kacper

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iStockPhoto.com / Re: How's it been at iStock for October?
« on: November 07, 2006, 17:53 »
The disambiguation has me baffled though. Now I have gone and done my entire portfolio (shitload of work). And I've basically noticed three things:

1. Disambiguation didn't help at all my older very well selling files (which are no longer well selling)
2. It helped a lot my older not so well selling files (which are now well selling)
3. One file that HASN'T been disambiguated started selling like hotcakes (40 times half a month): stupid me... I disambiguated it and now it hasn't sold once since October 30th...

So I suggest doing a very careful portfolio analysis and disambiguating your files on a case to case basis.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Potential Earnings - Are they big?
« on: November 02, 2006, 17:38 »
Pish posh... that article is not viewable for non-subscribers :(

Dreamstime.com / Re: Dreamstime Adds a New Feature: Keymasters
« on: November 02, 2006, 16:47 »
$12 an hour would be quite a draw. However...

there is no way in hell you'll be able to populate images title, description and appropriate keywords in under one minute. Then also consider lag time of system processing it and loading up next image. You have to look at an image, decide, type, check spelling. For me (and I'm fluent in english and two other languages) keywording and filling in the EXIF data (title, description, copyright and keywords) takes a good part of 3-5 minutes per image. I usually put between 25-40 keywords per image but there are images when I am absolutely stumped and I'll waste 15 minutes just thinking of something clever. What about destination, landmark shots? What if you don't know the name of the landmark and it's the key feature of the photo. You'd need to look it up online then populate it.

I think in reality it is fair to say that in the beginning stages you're looking at 5 minutes per image then within a month you'd probably narrow it down to 3 minutes including loading the images. So we're talking about $2,40 to $4,00 an hour. I think it's more for the hobbyist than as a way of living.

And consider this  ...

If someone's going to keyword an image accurately (rather than cut and pasting) it's going to take longer than a minute ... agreed? But, let's for sake of argument say it can be done in a minute. 20 cents a minute is $12 per hour (without taking into account any breaks).

You could earn more serving fries in a fast food restaurant.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: How's it been at iStock for October?
« on: November 01, 2006, 14:40 »
It is possible that Kacper is trying to throw everyone off the trail by providing disinformation...
Or maybe not...
Who knows for sure?

Yeah :) I'm an admin for iStock who wants all the sales to meself. Seriously now... if I wanted to throw people off the trail, I'd try a bigger forum so I'd get a bigger potential audience. I didn't say ratings DON'T matter, just that they matter so much less than everyone thinks.

Quote from: CJPhoto
[edit: time on site seems to have an effect as well looking in more detail - are you suggesting they have a similar system to SS where it is a DL/month basis)

CJ: the example you provided is correct: picture with 4 dl's with a rating will be higher than the one without a rating. But: it could be age. And YES, iStock DOES have a SS-like variable. It's called DL'S/MONTH (it's one of the columns in your list when looking up your uploads). I have two images of the same situation currently both with 25 downloads. One was uploaded in September last year, one this October. They both have 1 rating each, they both have been disambiguated. One appears on page 2 of the appropriate search, the other on page 46 of the same search. The newer file got 25 downloads in a month, the old one got... none.

What I'm pointing out is lack of logic shown by people who are in this ratings craze and the best way to illustrate my point is to show unquestionable data. Look at Andresr folio on iStock. Barely over 500 ratings, more than 42,000 downloads in two years. Now look at t-lorien: almost 5000 ratings and barely over 3,000 downloads in three years. True her portfolio is three times smaller, but that's a HUGE difference (about 7-10 fold proportionally). Do your own research, don't believe in mine. Look at Top 30 Rated pictures and see how many of those have decent downloads. And then you'll figure out that the only ones that do (and also the ones that have the most ratings) are previous IOTW (Image of the Week).

It's just that I'm surrounded by lack of logic in my daily life (just the part of the world I'm from lacks all center of logic) and this has seemed to spread to a large part of iStock users who think that their portfolios will get tons and tons and tons more downloads if they can get tons of ratings from their CN. The fact is, they're likely to get their priviledges taken away, suspended or even banned. Ultimately what sells pictures is 1) quality, 2) originality, 3) uploading what sells, 4) uploading in a timely fashion (ie: uploading summer pictures now means they will get lost in a shuffle because no one is buying summer shots now).

But... let me be the last person to dissuade you from this ratings craze. If more people get banned for block rating, the better it will be for the rest of us.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: How's it been at iStock for October?
« on: November 01, 2006, 11:35 »
Second half of the month has been brilliant: the revamp of the "best match" search helped. First part was crap: with the changed searched none of my popular images were visible (despite being disambiguated). It had to do with them being in popular sections. Several flame and double-flame images not appearing in the top 1000. That sucked! But now with the search kicking out new images that haven't been downloaded I'm back. Overall I did somewhat better than the previous month and that's saying a lot because within the last three months my sales have more than tripled.

BTW, ratings don't matter as much as you think. Everyone is doing the same mistake: looking at a first page of some search and assuming that because all the images are rated that ratings matter. Approach it with a scientific method and you'll figure out the algorithm no time.

A) You will notice that plenty of "Top Rated" images with perfect 5 ratings numbering in 20's-100's have very few downloads and some have NONE.

B) You should not assume that images get downloads BECAUSE of ratings, but that it could be vice versa: images get ratings because of downloads and views (my top rated image has more than 1000 downloads and more than 3000 views. Coincidence that it has many ratings?)

I get inundated with people from the yahoo list and my creative network sending hundreds of stupid, pointless e-mails saying "oh please rate my image" and share their ridiculous theories based on completely flawed data and throw accusations of admins rating images of people they like. You know what? To give you some approximates: within the next month I shall have more than 20,000 downloads on iStock and yet I have: less than 400 ratings. I have NEVER had a file in the Top Rated section. And guess what? My sales go on. And guess what again? he logs show ratings activity on 100's of files of a single photog at once and admins know about it and already started removing ratings (light punishment) and suspending people (hard punishment). I know from high up sources that this ratings game is about to end because the next step is suspending photogs rating's priviledges.

Maybe it's silly of me to disclose this (keep my advantage for one and keep others occupied with the ratings game), but the three most important factors of the best match search are: age of the file, dl's per month and having the proper boxes ticked and no others (disambiguation).

General Stock Discussion / Re: time for stock to be unionised?
« on: November 01, 2006, 11:11 »
This depends on you having a marketable name. Honestly, no microstock photographers in existance today have a name that can stand on it's own. No one out there is Anzel Adams. I guarantee you that even Lise Gagne or Andresr or Abu or PhotoEuphoria would starve to death if they were dependent on their own sales (be it at a much higher prices and a 100% profit to the photog). I have a well functioning site and I had a purchase function built in. I got in the range of 100 visits a day, some of them from designers and I roughly 1-2 sales per week generated from the website. I gave up on that and instead ref-linked my entired portfolio to a microstock agency (one that pays the highest commission to me). Suddenly I have about 5 sales per week generated (based on the affiliate info, since I not only get the commission but also affiliate commission now).

The BEST model for any photog,once they have sufficient catalog, is to simply have their own site, for their own work, and directly market themselves to design firms et al. Of course this would take a lot of your time and effort,and you won't be spending as much time shooting.

General Stock Discussion / Re: time for stock to be unionised?
« on: November 01, 2006, 11:06 »
It won't matter squat. iStock depends heavily and bases their model upon the exclusive photographers. In fact in the last year alone the share of exclusive photographer photos on the site risen twofold. They have higher upload limits (MUCH higher) get priority reviews, free business cards and most importantly to them: get commissions in order of 25-40% vs the 20% that everyone else gets. There is NO CHANCE IN HELL that any of the key photogs on iStock (and there is a lot of them: LiseGagne, Hidesy, Abu, Aldra, Mammamart, sx70...) would support this as they get a fairer share of profits. And none of our action will matter squat.

All Top 10 on iStock are exclusives and only 8 of all Diamond (> 25,000 sales) photogs are NON-exlusives. So I'm afraid this action is as futile as spitting at the sun to put it out.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: Istockphoto in now cost uneffective for me
« on: September 22, 2006, 09:03 »
After about a year, iStock is still my bestseller. I have about 50-75% of images there that I have in other agencies and now the ratio keeps shrinking as we're stuck with very low upload limits. But I handle it by the following process:

1. First I submit to LuckyOliver, FeaturePics, Fotolia, Shutterstock, 123RF, StocXpert (StockXpert is REALLY tough on rejections recently for some reason)
2. Whatever gets through (usually rejected: 0% at LO and FP, 10% at FO and 123, 20% at SS and 50% at SX) I send to DreamsTime and resubmit to SS and SX with changes (smaller sizes usually, sometimes I just resubmit without ANY changes to see what gets taken)
3. I wait for a couple quickest sites and then out of approximately 70-80% of photos accepted I pick the best selection for iStock theme wise. I do not submit ANY duplicates, multiple angles or B&W/sepia versions. I wait with those until the files start selling, then I can always submit with the next batch.

This has worked really well. In the last couple months I have about 95-100% approval rate on iStock.

A thief, stealing someone else's intellectual property, is a common thing. Music pirates, hotlinkers, plagiarizers... But this is something completely different. This guy is not only a double thief (stealing images AND bandwidth), but he's also completely without common sense (in other words: moron, idiot, wanker, tosser...).

Things like that make me so mad... A person I know got sued (in the States of course) because he broke a leg of a burglar. He caught the guy burglarizing his house, they got into a scuffle, he pushed him down the stairs and the guys leg popped. Month later he got a subpoena. Fortunately he won the case, but not outright. He won only because it was proven that he was acting in "self-defence of his life". The burglar had a knife...

ScandinavianStockPhoto.com / Re: Scanstock in the news
« on: August 28, 2006, 04:35 »
well avoiding numbers :)

I am making more on there than on canstock, if that says anything.

not much, but a little.

Yeah. Out of all earning agencies CS brings up the rear for me as well. I have now made more on LO...

That's the crux of the matter Boylet. It seems that it's frowned upon.

Download mine  ;D

StockPhotoMedia.com / Re: How's the sales for SPM?
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:33 »
Mmm... murky pond scum

Yeah, I concur.

SPM sales are as fast as a salmon swimming upstream to spawn ;)

as stagnant as a pond on a warm summers day

ScandinavianStockPhoto.com / Re: Scanstock in the news
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:31 »
Okay, now the issue: is anyone making ANY money on ScanStock? And I mean ANY money. I don't like posting stats (maybe saying which sites are doing good and which aren't), but in this case I'll make an exception.

A year on, > 200 photos. 0 sales!

New Sites - General / Re: GalaStock any experiences
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:28 »
Nothing from me. I refuse to try out any more new sites, unless there is absolute proof they are working / selling / marketing / making money. Got burned enough on GimmeStock, TotallyPhotos, CreStock, StockPhotoMedia, ScanStockPhoto...

Agreed Mitch,
   however as Phil pointed out your # 7 is not so obvious. He got a message stating it was no good that another photog was downloading Phil's photos. That's what I asked Bryan. If you can't use tokens to download your own photos and you can't use them to download others' photos, whose photos can you download? ;)

7) I personally think it is clear - you may use the tokens just as if you'd bought them with cash to buy other people's photos. No, you can't buy your own and it isn't ethical to set up a "i'll buy yours if you'll buy mine" network. But if you need photos, you can buy them from the inventory... and I have done that. And I haven't gotten a note from management asking me not to do it.

Off Topic / Re: Free speech
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:21 »
I don't think there is a chance of this forum going politically correct or * ass of any agency Aquilegia. No worries :D. Just to make you feel better scope out my comments on iStock in other threads. There are still those of us who tell it how it is. And I don't think most of us are here to blatantly attack anyone without a reason or purpose or for sport. It's just that we're being censored on the agencies' forums, so we tell it here. So keep on saying what's on your mind.

Cameras / Lenses / Re: Canon Digital Rebel XTi
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:17 »
Lovely camera. Won't upgrade from 350 XT 'cause too little motivation. 10.1 mp will still not get me into the XL sizes on most sites (12 mp needed). Bigger LCD don't mean much to me, but self-cleaning sensor and noise reduction is a big bonus.

Canon Digital Rebel XTi Available September.


Cameras / Lenses / Re: Canon Digital Rebel XTi
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:15 »
4 main improvements:

1. 10.1 mp v 8.2 mp
2. noise reduction
3. self-cleaning sensor
4. bigger LCD

And how does it compare with 350D, since it's supposed to be an update of this one, if I understand it right?


General Stock Discussion / Re: Top Producing Site (Take II)
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:13 »
In terms of pure numbers still iStock. Dreamstime and Shutterstock tied to within $10 closely behind. Fotolia and StockXpert in third with a bit more than 50% of IS. BigStock, 123RF, FeaturePics at about 25% each. CanStock becoming obsolete: getting mostly 20 cent subscriptions now and considering removing my portfolio entirely.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: iStock Stirs the Pot Once Again
« on: August 27, 2006, 16:36 »
No kidding. With their new lowered limits... blimey I used to be able to submit 50 a week, now... not even worth mentioning.

Aah... iTunes... Love 'em, especially now that they have Stargate SG-1 episodes available to download (no Stargate SG-1 where I'm at :(). I reckon I spend ten times more money on iTunes that I've ever spent on CD's. Brilliant system and it proves the point that most people don't want to steal music. I'll spend an average of $10-$15 a month now, get the 10-15 songs I want, everyone wins, everyone's happy. I'll still pirate an occassional song now and then, but only if I can't get it on iTunes or iPlay, and that's rare. So far this year I ripped two songs, as compared to hundreds per month before iTunes and other services were available.

Heck, I owe you two for the fun you've provided, and the insight.  This is exactly why I joined this site--a frank exchange of ideas to learn from and participate in.

Now, if only Istock will review my files.  Because so many of their contributors are exclusives, I find myself waiting in line while they get all their files reviewed.  It makes it hard for someone like me to even consider exclusivity because I can't get reviewed fast enough (and upload enough) to reach the requisite 500 DL.

Cameras / Lenses / Re: What type of camera are you using?
« on: August 27, 2006, 04:43 »
i HAVE had problems with focus but i am not sure if it is me, or the camera, or the lens.

I am currently using two 10D's, and they have served me well... just itchen for an upgrade, when i see the fancy new cam's roll off the canon mill.

It's not just you. Canons are EXCELLENT cameras, but are known for soft focusing. I'm actually still using the 350, just never bothered upgrading. Find that 8mp serve most of my needs (except in the recent commission when I ended up needing to produce 9000 pixel vertical image (3500 is JUST a bit short). The art's in the lenses. Canon makes great ones. Now that there are Leica /R to Canon EF adapters, I'm drooling over the Noctilux

iStockPhoto.com / Re: iStock Stirs the Pot Once Again
« on: August 27, 2006, 03:20 »
Well you're right. We agree to disagree. I wasn't dissing anyone in particular at iStock, but rather the admins in general and I had personal dealings with quite a few. And believe you me Amanda, besides Brianna, the rest took a rather lofty: "what . do you want?" approach. Being an exclusive, you're likely to have nice feelings about iStock, because as many people will point out here: iStock treats their exclusives much nicer. Much MUCH nicer. Seperate fast queue, very relaxed approvals. Preferrences for every contest, AOTW, IOTW, etc.

And it was the same attitude about this "grandpa porn" design. Putting the issue to the side, it's about how it was handled. As long as it was people mainly discussing whether or not it was a good design, whether it crossed the line or not and just one photographer expressing their concern and suggesting that he's pulling pictures it was left on. Then legal beale chips in saying "pretty much our release is so fluffy that we are protected, but can't and won't do anything about issues like that" and many photogs start to worry about their models. Of course the ones that worry most are the photogs with their children and wives and girlfriends in their portfolio, not semi-pro models. Then two admins chips in with some sarcastic remarks and the worried photogs get yet more pissed off and messages about pulling model released photos start flowing in. Pretty soon, thread is locked.

Now to something completely different. Take a look at this thread http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=38573&page=1. It's about piracy. It's about stealing music and videos. Whether you do it or not is not important. Check out the admins "sarcastic" comment that pretty much outlines the best way to steal work off the internet. You'd think that people that are in business in selling copyrighted works woud be a little less hypocritical about things like that...

recently corbis asked me to do a survey on microstock agencies. does this mean they may be planning to buy out someone or start their own microstock agency?

That's good insider info man. I think someone's about to make some money. Maybe CanStock or BigStock is being bought?

Thanks for sharing that Phil. Yeah, that leaves our tokens completely useless. A) We can't download our own photos, B) We can't download anyone else's photos. I mean I see I could spent about couple hundred credits downloading Forgis' pictures of girl in a bath (drool......) or Phil's Asians in short shorts (drool.......). Bryan: please let us know in plain English: HOW CAN WE USE THE TOKENS?

I don't think I will be uploading much more to Lucky Oliver until this issue with tokens is resolved. It is good to see you on the forums Bryan but I don't think you've quite answered everyone's queries yet. I know another photog who likes my pics and decided to download some of the ones with the pretty girls in (can't blame him) and then I got an email saying that this was against the good of the community. What did I do? You don't want someone to download my pics? If that is the case, why give us photographers the tokens. Of course, by initiating this 'incentive programme'  there was bound to be a "you download one of mine and I'll get one of yours" mentality since most photographers are NOT designers. What else to do? Especially with no sign of any other sales yet.

iStockPhoto.com / Re: iStock Stirs the Pot Once Again
« on: August 26, 2006, 22:28 »
What kind of images does that leave you with?  How well do they sell?  (Not that I'm asking you to reveal trade secrets . . .  :D).

No trade secrets involved here. :) Especially with the microstocks having "Top photos" lists available for everyone to peruse. My portfolio now purely consists of:

1. variety of architecture shots (primarily the least original photos that fall by the waysides of my assignment shoots: I am involved in a lot of corporate construction / architecture shooting)
2. selection of non-exclusive travel stock I've accumulated along the years of freelancing for Travel & Leisure, Vacations, Conde Nast Traveller, Natural Geographic Adventurer, etc.
3. experiments with a light tent / studio setup of shooting socks, CD's, hammers, half-eaten sandwiches and plates of spaghetti.

That's pretty much it. I do have just couple principles for submission to microstock: I never send pictures with the "ooh and aah" factor. Yes, they would make me more money on microstock (my best selling photo on micros is now worth just under $1000, my best selling macrostock photo is now worth $819, the most I ever gotten for a single assignment shot: $500 for a cover), but on principle I just won't do it. I do not submit any of my previously sold assignment photos, even if they weren't exclusive (if they were good enough to sell for $50-$100 a pop, I won't have them at a discounted rate of $1). I do not submit pictures of myself as a model: ever! :)

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