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Messages - cardmaverick

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Pay to play, this has been done before, in a far more onerous way: Getty Images Photographers Choice - if my memory serves me right on the name of it... last time I looked into it, $50 PER IMAGE listed. Not that's serious gambling.

I buy a lot of lifestyle stock and I rarely use models isolated on white. What I am always looking for are natural looking people, not posing, not looking at the camera. I want to see an instant of real life captured. I want great lighting, and artistic flair. As the boomers age, there is definitely a growing market for good looking, active older people. Shopping, golfing, eating, drinking, biking... It sounds cliche, but I need those images all the time, and most of what is available is awful.

Sounds like you need either assignment work shot for you or higher end RF / RM images. You won't find many microstock photographers who can create those kinds of images in bulk.

95 very simple pictures done in 2 hours (shooting) with zero editing (model on white)

Revenue   $ 1555.28
Downloads   3177
Assets   95
Creation   Feb 15, 2011
Agency   Shutterstock
RPI/m   $ 0.59
RPI   $ 16.37
RPD   $ 0.49
STR   92%

can I add a ;) now?

Care to show us these images  ;)

I would assume Sean would pick one of the better photographers who does a lot of isolated on white shots to make his point and the people that do it well get a lot of downloads.  Look at Lisa with around 3,000 isolated on white or the guy with 300,000 sales he has 17,000 isolated on white images or look at Yuri with 1,000 isolated on white.  Anyone can shoot bad shots and not get sales but that can be said about every single subject and doesn't add anything to the discussion.  Speaking of adding nothing to the conversation, thanks for chiming in.

These aren't the best examples - they are all people who got started a long time ago. The guy on IS with the 320K sales has been active on IS since 2002 - that's 11 years.

Let me repeat it one more time.... 11 years of production and sales. Find someone of similar portfolio size and history with mostly location shots and I'm sure you'll see a stark contrast in numbers.

A while back I actually did a little experiment - shot some white isolations and then composited a few, uploaded them and then compared after many months. In every instance, the location composite version outsold the white isolation, by a far margin - even though the composites were actually uploaded a few months later... With that said, a GOOD composite just takes too much time and in the long run costs far more than just shelling out up front for a real location to work with. Also keep in mind that no one will buy a bad composite... so you can't just rush them thinking that they will sell.

Yes, I looked thru a few sites with my proposed scenario but white background is most feasible now due to location cost.

You can shoot in a white background and then add backgrounds later in PS. You should start building a background library to do that.

I wouldn't recommend composite backgrounds for micro. Too much time required, and most people suck at compositing.

What do you think a location goes for?

All the top selling "people pics" are location shots. Very few white background shots ever become high sellers. If you want to separate yourself from the pack, location shots are a must, not an option.

Paying models on a % is really only feasible with ONE site. You'll go nuts doing that with micro, assuming you get sales.

2- What's the return on such a shoot? I estimated around $1-1,500 up front cost (model, hair & makeup, studio, and retouching - I work in fashion so I can style). In return I'd like to get around 50+ images per session (multiple scenario, multiple angles). Can I make that money back with in 6 month or less, given it's well executed?

If you're spending more than $100, you're not going to make it back.

That's not entirely true, you can spend over $100 on a shoot and make it back, but I will say this, you won't break even spending $1,500 to produce only 50 white background style shots. Don't even try that.

If you're gonna drop over $1,000 on a shoot - it better be a location shoot producing more than 50 shots.

These independent image collections are just another middle man... I can't imagine what their subscription royalties look like after both the agency and collection take a cut... $0.15 a shot? It's possible, unless they have a special deal to get a higher payout....

General Photography Discussion / Re: Web storage service
« on: April 20, 2013, 20:19 »
I use online storage solution (dot) com for my backups. It's a very powerful little service that's only $35 a year and gives you unlimited storage and you can backup from any device you have - internal drives, USB externals, etc.... they take it all - unlike most other services. It's also true cross platform, unlike most backup sites that only work with proprietary programs on Mac or Windows. They allow rsync to be used if your a power user, you can also use regular FTP, create public folders, users with login names, etc... It's really nice. The only downside, don't expect any customer support. It's mostly via email. With that said, it's a great bargain for the power user out there. They do seem to fix any issues fairly quick when you email them. I've been there for 2 years.


If you have some patience, you can get a copy of Lightworks from Editshare at the end of the month. It's a real professional NLE, no holds barred, and you'll even have access to all the proprietary codecs the post industry uses. Once it's out, I suspect Kdenlive will probably lose a lot of users and go defunct. Hard to compete with a program like Lightworks.

Newbie Discussion / Re: Model looking for work...
« on: April 13, 2013, 19:09 »
Being a minor will work against you for a while, it's always easier to work with adults.

What kind of model do you want to be? Keep in mind that a lot of agencies really hate or even prohibit their models from doing stock shoots. YOU are a BRAND. Do you want to loose control of your brand? That's what you risk doing when you pose for stock photography and it's why most of my models are not models. Just people I find and then coach.

Think about this from a buyer's perspective. Offset is a new BRAND.

Would you pay more for a Ferrari if you knew it was made in the exact same manner as a low end high volume production car? I don't know anyone who would.

There's a reason why the smarter photographers in micro created a label specifically for their micro stock  work. Banding.

Can you have a closed network and decide who you want to team up with? Collection curator's play a big role in the success of a stock collection.

Sweet. Fight back !

I don't see this as fighting back but rather turning lemons into lemonade.

My one concern is this whole cloaking thing... will it get you removed? I don't know.

I just ran into a picture via google image search that somehow manages to overlay a message on the enlarged google images view stating "CLICK HERE FULL RESOLUTION". Under it says: "HOLINK PROTECTION ACTIVATED - THE DOMAIN YOU ARE VIEWING FROM HAS BEEN EXCESSIVELY EMBEDDING - MAX ALLOWANCE 100GB".

I knew someone out there would figure this out, totally awesome. Next step is to somehow overlay an e-commerce kind of thing - one click and you're already at the checkout - no need to create an account.

Personally, I'm all for the more exclusive agencies that make it harder to contribute to. My highest paying agency isn't a crowd source agency, it's a traditional agency I was invited to join. You won't find a single page on their site about how to contribute.

Like it or not, stock photography has a stigma among a lot of ad agency people - microstock has even more of a stigma. I see this as an attempt to capture that crowd of people who really don't prefer microstock but are at least ok with more traditional club like agencies.

Stocksy / Re: Stocksy - Are you in or out ? Experiences.
« on: March 27, 2013, 12:32 »
Because basically I can shoot whatever they want, its just not in my portfolio.

The golden rule of this business is that you only get work shooting what you've already shot - and that extends to stock agencies as well. I totally understand what you mean, but how are they gonna be so sure you can shoot whatever they want the way they like unless you've already done so? It's a total gamble.

The huge problem with non-exclusivity models is that people only have pricing to compete with, and once that happens, you will see you're earnings fall. Never compete on price.

The irony with micro - small images for web use - check. But the web is getting high res too ;) 4K internet is coming after it bombards TV standards.

Camera requirements are a holdover from the old days of traditional stock photo business models - but they are not necessarily invalid. You gotta remember that some of these agencies cater to a group of buyers who are in the market for images that can be blown up into very large prints and the standard for that kind of printing is well into the medium format world, even large format. If you're that type of customer, you wont' even bother with micro - there's no guarantee that any file you like was shot with a good enough system for your use. Why do you think Yuri shot with medium format? Because he probably understood that issue and did his own direct marketing making it known - that's what I would have done ;) Also keep in mind that even if the customer is going to commission the shoot, it will most likely be shot with a medium format camera, unless you're doing something that requires high speed bursts, etc... medium format isn't used for action.

I'm at one agency right now, traditional, that will not accept anything less than 12 megapixels.

I doubt they will be sending out mass invites to micro stock shooters. The thing micro lacks is quality direction. Nothing looks authentic.

Photoshop Tutorials / Re: How to Change the Background
« on: March 09, 2013, 20:45 »
Refine edge is one of the coolest new tools in Photoshop, but even with all of it's power, it still does a sketchy job with hair in my opinion. Halo's and crunchy edges are basically the two end results you can pick between unless you're going to a background that isn't too different in color or even white can look good since they are essentially graying out the fine edges.That knockout 2.0 looks interesting, never heard of it.

They aren't actions. I kinda wonder why anyone would buy an action, but that's just me I guess... My tools are actually hard to find on the web, hard to make, and I suspect the right audience will be willing to spend $10 or so on them.

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