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Messages - DigitalDarrell

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We've created a new PUBLIC (non-nude) category called Pregnancy & Babies.  View the brand-new category here:


I just created it an hour ago, so there are few submissions there yet.  If you have some nice model released family-style pregnancy and baby stock, we sure would appreciate your submissions.

We also have a private (non-public) category for images containing pregnancy, childbirth, baby care, and breastfeeding, with non-erotic nudity.  This category was created at the request of a teaching hospital's nursing center who wanted childbirth images for adult female education in a third-world country.  We have had few submissions to this private category, and would like more.  They want graphic childbirth images.  Hard to come by!

Warm regards,
Digital Darrell

StockXpert.com / Re: StockXpert slowed down reviews?
« on: September 14, 2007, 11:08 »
I've had several images up for review for about 5 days.  Slower than normal, since they are training new people.  However, I have also noticed that my images have been selling quite nicely in the last month or so.  A big change.  They are now my # 4 site, behind IS, SS, and DT.  Keep up the good work StockXpert!

We are making sales now at NaturalLifeStock.com, and are "on the list" for several magazines and book companies.  I have found that the competition is fierce, and am trying to make our site different to differentiate us from the others.  Still seeking our niche!

I appreciate your patience, submitters.  We have only been online four months now, so we are still just a baby site.  Can't run without learning to walk first.  The problem with new agencies is getting enough images to market something, while trying to market with a limited number of images compared to the larger agencies.  It is difficult to compete.  Even more difficult than I expected!  We now have about 8,300 images, and are growing.  As Stacy mentioned, we have some incredible images on our site now, and about 140 photographers. 

If submitters will send me an image or two now and then, I suspect that we will survive, since I am keeping the overhead down as much as possible.  We aren't going to disappear any time soon.  This is a tough venture, with lots of competition.  We are working on establishing a base in "environmental" images, of which there are a shortage in the industry.  Specialties!

I appreciate your support, and am open to talk to anyone that has questions.  Thanks for your patience!

Warm regards,
Digital Darrell

The link listed above only works if you have a session cookie.  If you want a password, please contact me.  Thanks!


We have created a private category at NaturalLifeStock.com (NLS) concerning non-erotic human reproduction.  The category is called Pregnancy & Childbirth.

If you have images related to Pregnancy and Childbirth, please submit them.  This is NOT about erotic nude photography, since our site is family-oriented and PG rated.  However, the subject of pregnancy and childbirth has a strong interest in the book publishing world.  We do not want to display images of childbirth and pregnancy on a public site, so we created this as a Private category. 

We will be marketing this directly to companies that publish medical editorial and self-help books.  If you have marketable images related to pregnancy and childbirth, including actual birth pictures (fully model released, of course) we will accept them in the private category. 

This will have sub-categories such as stages of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, infant childcare, and maternal love for a child.  Images that are not graphic (nude) will be posted under the normal non-private categories also.

Here is a direct link into the sub-category:

The category is password protected, and will be directly marketed as a private invitation-only sub-specialty.  Do you have appropriate marketable images, or know of a photogapher who does?  If so, we'd appreciate your submissions. 

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell


We are just now beginning the marketing process.  We have several thousand images, many provided by individuals from here, and are growing quickly.  Sales will follow soon, because we have a difference.  Check by the site and see what I mean.  (Notice the majority of the wildlife/plant images:  www.NaturalLifeStock.com)

I just posted a call for images here:

I've been enjoying your images, Penny.  You have a great eye.  Keep uploading!

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell


As of April 2nd our marketing process has begun.  We are initially contacting those involved in the publishing of wildlife images, since we have a large quantity of those now.  We can always use more, if you have some to upload.   Be sure and put the type of animal or plant in the name of the file so that we can add Latin names.  Even better, add Latin names yourselves.  Theyll sell better!

In looking through our database of images I see a gap.  We have very few pictures of people enjoying nature.  I suppose that this is due to the fact that many are not comfortable with asking people for model releases, so dont take a lot of people pictures.  In my experience, people are not too concerned about it, when you explain that you are a freelance photographer creating images that might be used in books and magazines.  Most will happily let you photograph them.  The model release issue is usually just an issue in our own minds.  People are generally pretty friendly when they are out enjoying nature.  Why not ask the next ones walking by if they mind your taking a few pictures of them.  Afterward ask them to fill out this model release in case you get to use any of them in a magazine, and tell them that you will provide them with free prints if they will just contact you. (Give them a card) Most will happily sign the release and many will never contact you.  If they do, you can give them some low-cost 4x6 prints. Try it.  Its pretty easy. 

Also, youve got your family.  Dads, moms, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and your children.  Most of the time they will happily allow you to take pictures of them.  Plus, since you are licensing your images through a natural stock agency, they may be happy to see themselves in a natural magazine or book.  I will do my best to let you know who have licensed your images, so that you can check their materials for your work. 

The upcoming months will provide lots of opportunities for you, as a photographer, to get some good people pictures.  Remember, the main theme of our site is:  Images of Life Lived Naturally in an Active World.   With that theme in mind, go out there and get some great images of people hiking, swimming, reading a book on the beach, surfing, sledding, running, cycling, climbing, boating, or anything else showing the active lifestyles of people enjoying nature.  If it is your family, or even YOU, the model release part will be easy.

We look forward to marketing your natural lifestyle images.  Send the ones you have now, and go make some new ones.  Soon, our site may well be providing you with income far above the others where your images are buried under 50,000 other photographers.  Your images really make a difference to us!

New Photographer Sign-up Webpage:

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell

I like the concept here, where are you going to market?

I am starting with editors that I know at nature related magazines.   I am a published author and photographer myself, both in print and on the web. Plus, one of our photographers is nationally recognized and has been published in hundreds of journals, books, and magazines.  I will leverage his inside knowledge of his clients.

I am also going to personally contact every major book publisher, magazine, and such that consumes a regular quantity of natural history images.  There are literally thousands. 

I also plan on approaching small to medium sized designer firms who buy people and nature images.  As revenue increases, I will be putting ads in trade magazines specifically targeting graphic designers. 

Basically, I will be marketing this site to anyone I can find that buys natural images.  I will be doing this  full-time once the site has enough images to fully benefit all the photographers involved.  As revenue allows it, I'll add staff to help with the process.

I'll also be writing articles on nature stock and how to buy great images.  This attracts google searches of regular individuals looking for one or two pictures to illustrate a report.  I also am creating internal "gateway" web pages for seeding the search engines on all major web search portals.  These are webpages that are invisible to normal traffic UNLESS they do a web search.  They are pages that are like a site index whereby each link is a search on the site.  Here is an  example of one of them on birds, small mammals, and plants:  (under construction for April 1 rollout.)


These internal pages are not linked from within the main site, but instead are gateway pages that I directly seed on all the major search engines.  Their robots love these pages, since they link directly into the search engine, and expose the text and binomial names of the wildlife within.  So, an average John Smith types in "Zonotrichia leucophrys" and finds the link into our website's internal search engine for "White-crowned Sparrows."  Or they can get the same from a search of White-crowned Sparrows, instead.  In any case, I am using the world's websearch capability to expose our site to whatever buyer happens to come along looking.

So, in conclusion, I am targeting specific buyers of natural images, along with allowing websearches to generate traffic.  It will take some time to get this place off the ground, but I am sure our 100 or so photographers will have better exposure for their nature images without being buried under the One Million images of the major general microsites.

NaturalLifeStock.com will be a boutique, with a following.  That is my goal. Having buyers come back to get more of YOUR images, because they like YOUR style of shooting.  No longer a nameless, faceless business.  More personal service!

Ask any of NaturalLifeStock's current photographers about the personal service that the agency gives them.  You'll see that we truly appreciate that YOU take the time to submit your best images.  This will not change.  You are the reason we can accomplish the task at hand.  Without your images we are nothing.  That's what I mean when I say , "your images actually mean something to us."   

I honestly hope you'll join us!

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell

Magellanic penguin is Spheniscus Magellanicus.

One good place to find scientific names is Wikipedia. 

I also often ask in specialized sites, they're generally helpful.


Good suggestion Adelaide!  I find Wikipedia.com and my Audubon Society books to be indispensable.  It is not often that I have to go outside of the two to find proper Latin names. 

Ok thanx Darrel, I updated that image..

I really like your penguin image.  It is very creative, and gets the point across:


I hope you'll create more like that!

Does anyone know the latin name for penguin ::)

The latin name for the Penguin that sings so well, and has really "happy feet" is:

Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)

Don't forget that, there will be a test later.

Hmmm.  I think I'll stay away from this one too.  Everyone has their own levels of tolerance but there are some pretty over the top terms on legalities. 

Looking at the photographer agreement, section 9 is very one sided, section 13 attempts to restrict any disputes to arbitration rather than a legal court of law, and section 14 indicates the photographer indemnifies the agency by providing for all legal costs incurred.

Tell me again what responsibility the agency is assuming in acting as "agent" for the photographer?  I don't get it.

We'll still like you , even if you don't join us!

Marketing starts 1 April - is this a joke  ;D ;D

Kinda funny, eh?  But, yep, marketing actually does start on April 1st.  In fact, it continues for all the days after April 1st too.  If it makes you feel better, I could start marketing on April 2nd.  I could then sleep in on April 1st.  ::)

Due to extensive discussion here about "What is a Nature Image?," We have changed the name of our stock agency to NaturalLifeStock.com.   This allows a strong nature concept, with the ability to add man-made items and human images to the site.  The site's theme is "Life Lived Actively in a Natural World."  Do you have images like that?

Also, with the kind advice of YinYang0, we have our new "attorney approved" legal documents online.  Our primary marketing begins on April 1st.  We have several thousand premium nature images online already, with most of them having the binomial nomenclature (latin names) needed to attract professional nature buyers.

We are still seeking excellent nature images, with good keywords, and latin names.  I have been assisting several photographers in becoming used to acquiring and using the latin names we need.  This site is turning into a world-class nature site.  All we are missing is YOUR images!

If you have GREAT nature images and the other stock sites give you messages like "too many of these on our files already," come and see us.  We probably want them.  We are not looking for photographers to dump their nature stuff that they can put nowhere else.  We want photographers who are willing to show they care about natural history images by including latin names and some species info on their excellent images.  We want our site to be waaaaay above the rest in the nature field.  Our market will, of course, include general stock buyers, but will be specifically targeted for book publishers, magazines, and other buyers of natural images.

We have full IPTC data pickup, so your current keywords will come in automatically.  We offer FTP and HTTP uploading, with fast image turnaround.  Your commission rate is 50%.

Right now we have a shortage of good "people enjoying nature" images.  Do you have some of those?  Well, we need them, and will value them.  At our site, your images will actually make a difference, instead of being buried under 50,000 other photographers.  The future is uncertain in this world, but I think we have a great opportunity to fill a gap in the stock industry.  Do you want to join us?  I hope so!

Here is the Photographer's Signup Page:


I hope you'll add your images in these last few days before the nationwide marketing begins.  The call is out ... Will you join us!

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell

Thanks for all your excellent input and suggestions!

I have deleted a good 25% of the images in the database due to a lack of nature theme.  I am striving to be a nature stock site, and to provide scientific names for all species found there.  If people do not name their species, I am taking the time to look up the latin names in my big supply of Audubon Society manuals.  Lots of work ahead.

From the quality of several who have joined from here, I am seeing very nice imaging, none of this "dump your junk" idea.   I am accepting critically.  At this point there are almost 1000 images in the database.  I am still cleaning things out, but have the worst of the non-nature stuff out of there.

I have listened to what you are saying, and applied it.  You have changed my thinking to a large degree about what is a nature shot.  I am still not prepared to exclude people and people doing things from this site, since these are BIG sellers on other sites, and my site is also about making money, not just collecting pretty pictures.  I am also going to have a sub-specialty in certain mostly natural areas, such as food isolations.  But, on a percentage basis, I would say that PNS will be about 96.3567365% PURE nature stock.  The rest of the images will be related to nature in a big way, and reflect nature. 

I honestly appreciate the efforts you have made to respond to this query and all your intelligent replies.   You have helped shape a new "up and coming" site, and hopefully will have helped it stay on track to being a successful agency.  Thanks to all of you!

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell
www.PureNatureStock.com, www.PlanetNikon.com

Is this a "nature" image, in your opinion?

I would have to say that it is not a nature shot, since the subject is the log cabin.  To me, the picture is of a log cabin surrounded by nature.

Nice shot by the way!

So, you would say the cabin is a "natural" shot, but not a "nature" shot?

Is this a "nature" image, in your opinion?

I have to agree with Adelaide.

To me, the answer is fairly clear, if not simple:  A nature image is an image in which the emphasis is the natural world.  Note that this does not exclude people, or even the odd artificial object like a building or car.  But, the point of the picture, its central focus, is nature--flora, fauna, and landscapes that do not prominently feature anything artificial.  Under my definition, then, I would judge the following as "natural" images:

1. Beautiful places of the earth.
2. Beautiful animals enjoying life.
5. Things people have made in natural settings, such as a sailboat on a lake.  (If the emphasis is on the setting rather than the "things")
6. A bride and groom kissing next to lovely lake. (depending on how much a part of the photo the setting would comprise)
7. Children playing in the surf on the beach. (depending on how much a part of the photo the setting would comprise)
8. A lion eating a gazelle.  (Gross but natural)
9. A family having a picnic under a beautiful oak tree. (depending on how much a part of the photo the setting would comprise)
Obviously, no matter what criteria are used to determine if an image qualifies, there will be gray areas.  But, I think that if the emphasis in the photo--the interesting visual elements, the parts that give the photo its character--isn't in some way about flora, fauna, or unspoiled land, then it should not qualify.

I must say I agree with you Professor!   "A nature image is an image in which the emphasis is the natural world."  That sums my feelings up pretty well. 

Emphasis is the keyword here.  Emphasizing nature in all its forms.  Hopefully leaving few things out over time.  I relish leaving behind model/property releases and creating beautiful artistic pure nature images.  But, I also like shooting pics of cute kids doing things like swimming in a mountain river, and friends looking up at a huge redwood tree.  If people using nature are not valid natural images, why do they sell so well?

DD, the images we expect should reflect the name you choose for your site.

What you seem to envision as criteria for acceptance is the natural feel of a picture, not limited to a nature setting.  The title thus would be misleading.

Then change your name to something like 'PurelyNaturalStock' which encompasses the elements you describe in your previous post.  Photographers, as well as buyers, would exactly know what to expect, and it will make your life much simpler and enjoyable  :)

Shutterstock also accepts Vector Art which is certainly not created with a "Shutter."

Dreamstime is not a site full of dreamy images.

StockXpert does not have images full of expert created stock, nor are the stock experts or they would be selling more than they do.

So... PureNatureStock can feature natural images of all sorts, including people and things in natural settings.  The name will attract buyers who want PURE nature stock, and there will be a much higher degree of that type of images on PNS than on any other site.  My original name for this agency was SmokyMountainStock.com, but I shot in more places than the Great Smoky Mountains.  Maybe I'll buy five different domain names, and change the headers per the user click thru.   8)

Honestly, even though the site name is PURENatureStock, it would be very difficult to limit the site to nothing but non-human nature images.  I think that humans enjoying nature are a very valid subject.  Backpackers in the mountains, people rappelling down the side of a cliff, a fisherman flyfishing in Alaska, a photographer taking images for his stock agency dreams.

Realistically, absolutely pure nature images are rather static and many designers don't want them.    Most designers are interested in people doing things.  Interacting with animals in nature, enjoying nature, or using nature in some way.  That type of image sells as well as the isolated people with paint specks and smiling business people ready to shake hands.

I can picture that a lot of buyers might be plain sick of using images of supermodels on white backgrounds, and might welcome a few good looking real people enjoying themselves in a natural setting.  Most of my sales on SS and IS are that type of sale.  I sell  fewer absolutely pure nature images, but I guess that is due to the heavy competition for those images.

Let me just say that I am not a purist in the sense that I want to be fanatical about nature being absolutely natural.  We are natural too, and a big part of nature.  I am happiest when I am out taking pictures in the Smoky Mountains.  I feel natural at that time, even though I am laden down with camera bodies and lenses.

What I think are Nature images:

1. Beautiful places of the earth.
2. Beautiful animals enjoying life.
3. Man-made structures in beautiful settings.
4. People being humans in various ways, including some technology in natural settings. 
5. Things people have made in natural settings, such as a sailboat on a lake.
6. A bride and groom kissing next to lovely lake.
7. Children playing in the surf on the beach.
8. A lion eating a gazelle.  (Gross but natural)
9. A family having a picnic under a beautiful oak tree.

Things which I think are not quite nature images:

1. People up close, posed, doing things artificial like typing on computers in a field of flowers.  (How often do people really do that?)
2. Closeups of man made objects like that same sailboat on the lake, with no natural setting.
3. Children playing sports in a school field.
4. A bear in a cage or zoo with exposed captured habitat.
5. A family having a picnic on a picnic table at a roadside pulloff.

All I am trying to say is that a balance must be reached.  I think being a human in nature and doing the things that humans do is as natural as a Lion eating a Gazelle.

We don't need absolute micromanagement of what is a nature image, do we?  Do you think you can decide what is a nature image, based in part on your experience as a stock photographer?

What type of nature images sell best for you?



Yeah, I know what you mean about the bride pic.  I deleted about 200 images this morning that were not nature stock.  Some of the images on my site are still under discussion, and this thread will help me decide what to do with them.

As to the number of photographers, that is up in the air.  I do not want thousands of photographers, even though that might mean more money for my company.  I want my photographers to have an opportunity to make some money.  If I limit the number of photographers, and find good productive ones, then they should be able to make more money than with most other sites.  Like I said, I am unsure what to do along this line, and it is part of my evolving business plan options.  I'll have all this pinned down before the LLC is finally approved in the next month or so.  Don't worry about the number...maybe I'll leave it open for a while and see where it naturally settles.  I certainly don't want to become another huge impersonal giant corporate agency with tiny commissions, and little concern for individual photographers.   I guess I'm a Mom & Pop store kind of guy, in a world full of Wal-Mart superstores.

As to commissions, I have priced the site at a similar rate to IS, with much higher commissions.  Do you think a higher rate is justified for basically RF stock?  What if an image is on another site, and the price is lower, why buy it at PNS for more?  Are you saying I would be better off getting exclusive photographers and charging like a prime boutique while only accepting exclusive images?

The RF non-exclusivity is the reason I have prices my general stock at competitive prices to IS, DT, and FT.  Here is my pricing again:

$10.00 for 12+ Megapixel Full-Size JPEG
$8.00 for 8-10 Megapixel Full-Size JPEG
$6.00 for 6-7 Megapixel Full-Size JPEG
$4.00 for 3-5 Megapixel Full-Size JPEG
$3.00 - 1024 pixels wide Web-sized Large
$2.00 - 800 pixels wide Web-sized Medium
$1.00 - 400 pixels wide Web-sized Small

Anyway, back to the discussion at hand.  What is a nature shot?  You feel a bear stealing food is a good nature stock shot.  Okay; how about a closeup of a boat, half sunk in the river, half full of leaves?  ::)


Creative Microstock Photographers,

Since my new nature stock agency is in its infancy, I am asking for your input as to the creative aspect of "nature" images.  My desire is to have a nature stock agency unlike SS, IS, DT and the others.  It is still going to be an RF agency, with similar pricing, but better commissions (50%), but, it will be a boutique with limited photographers (50 to 100, haven't decided yet).  The official name, according to my attorney is PureNatureStock, LLC.

Now, what exactly is a Nature Image, in YOUR opinion?   

Could we be successful with a site that refuses to allow a beautiful barn in an open field of yellow flowers?  What if a person was using a cellphone next to a huge waterfall?  How about a pair of binoculars to look at a bear?  (What's the difference?)  Are people in nature acceptable? (are people natural?)  How about log cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains?

Clearly wildlife of all sorts will be acceptable, but what if a bear is stealing food from a picnic table at a state park.  Is that a nature image?  Do you see my quandry?

I don't want to make this site so restricting that it is boring to buyers.  How many pretty landscapes and flowers do we need?  At the same time, I don't want to lose the legitimate business of those looking for a guy using his laptop in the park, OR turn buyers away who are looking for pure nature.

I really need your help in deciding these issues.  I will be drawing on you as photographers, and you know what you think a Nature image is. I want to know YOUR thoughts.  My agency title says a lot.  (www.PureNatureStock.com)  Now, please help me figure out what is really nature!

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell

well interesting concept.  Will be fun to see if it flys.

isn't the woman with the laptop in the park enjoying nature?? It will be tough to draw the lines of what is nature or not.

Yes, you are right!   I have been battling in my mind over this subject for weeks.  I think I'll start a new thread along this line so that we can discuss this iin more detail.  This thread has been more about the legal and contract side of this website.  See you in the new thread!


After sleeping on it I am making changes today.  I have called my attorney and am arranging for the contracts to be reviewed and supplemented by him.  I appreciate your input on this.

To Others,

If any of you do decide to join, it is with the understanding that the site is not ready for marketing images yet.  I am creating an LLC (corporation), which will take a little time.  And, these contracts must be finalized.  I still am only going to have about 50 photographers, and I am up to 29 right now.

I am also removing any image not related to nature directly.  I am convinced that a "Pure" Nature Stock agency is different enough to draw buyers, and will proceed in that direction.  No pictures of a woman sitting at a park bench enjoying her notebok computer.  A picture of the same woman climbing up a cliff face is fine...IF...you have a model release.  If we display people they must be enjoying nature in some way. 

This whole genre is still under development in my mind, and I would appreciate your thoughts on what is really a nature image.  Comments?

I think you need to step back a bit.  You're clearly being defensive when YingYang is merely pointing out the morass you're potentially creating for yourself.  The man's a lawyer.  I would think that you would listen to him rather than poking him with a verbal stick.

I am poking him with a verbal stick in jest, not seriously.  Everyone wants and needs the opportunity to poke a lawyer with a stick once in a while.  If he's truly working on being a lawyer, he'll need to build up a thick skin for this kind of poking, 'cause when it comes from others it won't be in jest.  In fact, he probably appreciates the opportunity to flex his litigation muscles with an opponent who does appreciate his advice, but likes some good natured bantering.  I am a forum owner, and I know better than to flame a fellow poster, especially one who is trying to help.

Let me make very clear, this:

1. I am forming an LLC, and it will be in place before the first picture is sold.

2. My lawyer (yes, I already have one) will read over, correct, expand, and approve my final contracts, before the first image is sold.

3. Anyone who uploads images must do so with the understanding that my Photographer's Terms & Conditions are not complete.  I cannot forsee that they will change much from the scope of what I posted in the link above, except maybe for some other unreadable stuff that lawyers insert into perfectly readable contracts.

4. The promises I make are:  I am in this for the long haul, am semi-retired, have the resources to make this work, have my own server webfarm and control my own hardware/software, and am not about to go away.  This has been a dream of mine for several years now.  I am no fool, have built several successful "hard-nosed" businesses, and have selected this for my retirement income (I am 48).

So, if any of you kind-hearted photographers, who are not hardened by this world's greed and litigious attitudes, and who have always wanted to submit to a Nature Stock site, and finally, are not scared away by all this scary contract talk; I offer you my baby agency, who will soon grow up into a mature stock agency. (Gaacck!, a run-on sentence if I ever saw one)

My current Photographer's Terms state that I will remove your images with 30-days notice.  Plus, my software allows you to remove your own images en-mass.  So, fear not...all is well...help me build this site, and in a couple of weeks, when my contracts are solidified, we just might make some money together.   Nothing is certain in this world, but your investment is mainly keywording time, and if you have IPTC data in place, even that is gone. 

I am having a good time, and I already have 23 photographers pumping images in daily.  I think I'll close my site to photographers after about 50 have signed up, and maintain the level at 50, so that we can make some reasonable money.  I'll never be an IS or SS, or even a DT, but I will be PNS (PureNatureStock) the finest boutique Nature Stock Agency on earth.  (I hope!)

Warm Regards,
Digital Darrell

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