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Messages - traveler

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1 / Re: how strict should they be?
« on: October 11, 2007, 20:00 »
Hey all,

Hatman 12, you're correct, I am talking about the holiday and occasional shooter. Now that the buyers have found images at prices well below the traditional macro site prices they are now going to be more demanding of the quality. It's the agencies job to help them find those quality images and its our job to produce and provide those images. Therefore as this micro industry grows so will their demands. Those photographers who want to make money in the microstock business will step up their art to a new level and grow with the industry and my guess is some who aren't so serious will eventually move on to other things. It sounds like most of you will do well. Remember its a numbers game, the more you have the more you make. My guess is in time the prices of microstock images will rise. Why, because it takes people to manage and control the quality of the images uploaded and if indeed some are finding more rejections that means people are indeed more involved than they have been in the past. This of course drives up operating costs and therefore the agencies will have to find new ways of generating money, that means higher prices, or so I hope. The same thing happened with royality free photography and my hopes are that is what will happen here. How much? Who knows.

Good Luck to all and don't be disappointed in rejections, let it be a motivator.

2 / Re: Reduced upload limits...
« on: September 27, 2007, 07:45 »
OK Folks, You all got me curious about microstock. I've not been the easiest person to convince nor am I convinced but I'm going to give it a try. I'm reading in this post that there are limits to the number of images one can upload at any given time. I just had a staff member pull about 10000 images from my files that are older but not dated. These are images that have been collecting dust, in other words I haven't been submitting them to anyone. I want to put these onto a microstock site(s) to see what happens. I can probably come up with another 5000 or so but I want to test the waters first. How on earth am I going to get these on if the sites only allow a handfull of uploads at any given time? Another question, these images are made up of mostly travel from around the world and some nature and outdoor, do these topics sell on microstock sites? After looking at all the sites it seems to me that travel doesn't really sell very well, it looks as if lifestyle and people related images sell while all the others are a tiny percentage of sales. Is this the case? Any advice or recommendations would be welcomed.



Off Topic / Re: Big Stock Licensing Question
« on: September 18, 2007, 21:04 »
A book cover for a dollar. Great job. I just sold a image for a book cover last month at a print run of 6000 and got $2500. In January sold another image again for a print run of 6000 and got $1800 (6000 is typically a minimun print run with most book publishers). If I go through all my sales which I know I have sold several book covers I am sure I have never sold one for a dollar. Hey folks you gotta ask a whole lot more. By the way, I was just in New York at a conference on the state of the industry, got some food for thought. The image you sold for a dollar, what if that publisher decides they want to use it on future book covers, on a web site, a major ad campaign and on lots of postcards and coffee mugs and they decide not to pay you any additional money, what are you going to do about it? The answer is probably nothing. If you take them to court for copy right infringement, the judge will probably award you $1 for each use because have already indicted the worth of that image to be $1. Another thought, You won't even get an appointment in front of the judge if that image isn't registered with the copyright office in Washington DC. If your outside of the United States, I have no idea how your laws look at copy right infringements.

Wonder if the book publisher paid the author a buck for his or her writing?

Good luck folks with your sales but please be reasonable in your prices.

I'll be posting in the very near future some thoughts on the industry as a whole when I get caught up from my travels. Got some items I think might be helpful to some. Just a quick note, I have traveled to New York, Seattle and Montreal talking to major players in the stock industry and will share some of their comments with you. These folks are very much important players in the industry, including microstock.


4 / Re: Alamy Questions
« on: September 02, 2007, 07:24 »

I would be happy tp discuss the matter, but I'm off to the airport this morning for a photo shoot. I'll be back on September 14th. I'll log on when I get back and I'll share my experiences and for those interested my thoughts on the industry as a whole. I am very active in the industry and think I can share some insights that might be of help or at least food for thought.

Take care,


5 / Re: Alamy Questions
« on: September 01, 2007, 20:15 »
Freezing pictures,

I'm surprised that any one would consider $800 to $1200 a month with roughly 800 images is good money. Alamy is much more of a numbers game than the two bigger agencies.  I don't want to mislead you, what I probably should have said is $800 is typical and a good month is around $1200. I do see on my report for the month of August I have $1750, which is my best month ever. Keep in mind I don't actively work with Alamy it has been almost two years since I uploaded any images. 800 images at Corbis or Getty can easily gain you $5,000 to $7,000 a month maybe more depending on what one has on file. If you want to make bigger dollars at Alamy you probably need to be in the 10000 image number to see significant numbers. If I remember correctly, I believe someone mentioned changing RF to RM or RM to RF at Alamy. I would be very careful at changing anything after you mark these one way or the other. You could find yourself in some big trouble. Live with the label you put on your photos, don't go changing them. You'll lose a lot of credibility with photo buyers and maybe in court. As I mentioned in my first posting, don't dwell on the images you already have in the market place, put your energies into the new images you create. Freezing pictures, I will be happy to share info with you, but I'm off to Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa for a photo tomorrow. I be gone for two weeks and when I return I'll get back with you and see if we can connect up. I might mention I don't work in the Micro Stock agencies but enjoy listening to what you folks are doing. I like sharing info and hope to help a couple of you folks out when I can

Good Luck to all

6 / Re: Alamy Questions
« on: August 31, 2007, 20:57 »
Freezing Pictures,
I would do a little test and try some images as royality free and the others rights managed. I don't know what kind of images you have but if you have a lot of nature images I would try those in royality free, travel I would take common locations such as Italy in royality free and maybe some lesser traveled places in rights managed. I have about 800 images on Alamy and I don't actively work this agency as I do with Corbis and/or Getty, (for obvious reasons). I think Alamy has a lot of potential but they have a few problems that need to be worked out and I think they are very well aware of them. The real key to success at Alamy as it is with any agency is keywording. Keywording is more important than a pretty picture. Alamy has millions of images online and if a buyer can't find yours it doesn't matter how pretty it is. Most photographers on Alamy have no clue as to how to keyword images. When keywording is done incorrectly it turns buyers off and they won't waste their valuable time coming back. Most buyers who purchase from Alamy are professionals from design studios, ad agencies, etc... where as for microstock most are one, two or three person businesses or personal projects that bring users to these sites and of course need of protecting an image from a competitor using the same image is not a worry. When you keyword, think like a buyer not like a photographer. Check out Corbis and Getty and look at some of their keywords. If your selection of royality free and rights managed turn out not so good don't worry about it and learn what works and doesn't work. I never worry about the images I have already created and being marketed by my agencies, I keep looking forward to creating new images and getting those in circulation.  My sales are not the greatest from Alamy but they do bring in on average about $500 to $1000 a month for 800 images not great but not bad. If your work is good, spend time learning how to keyword and you treat photography like a business I think Alamy will pay much better than any Microstock site.

Best of luck

Microstock News / Re: Big H*cking News
« on: July 21, 2007, 12:06 »
Vicu, I have been honest up front and said I don't know much about the micro stock industry. I'm simply throwing food for thought out there and hope photographers give their decisions some serious thought. I don't know what will happen. Let me repeat this, I don't know what will happen. I may be totally wrong, but if history repeats itself ????? Maybe image exclusive will turn out to be a sweet deal for micro, go ahead and test the waters if you wish. What I will say is Getty has a very powerful marketing machine, this may be very good for micro stock? Where are the end users (buyers) coming from? Do they have a favorite micro stock site or do they browse all of them? If Istock (Getty) is paying photographers more then are they going to charge the buyers more? If so, will this lead the buyers to other sites, after all micro stock is part of their cost cutting plans? Let me throw one more peace of advice out there, Think like a buyer not a photographer when making some of these decisions. If someone can direct me to the Istock contract I'll be happy to read over it.

To all: I'm trying to help, not trying to be your enemy. If you guys would prefer me to keep my opinions and years of experience out of your forum, I'll be happy to do so.

Microstock News / Re: Big H*cking News
« on: July 21, 2007, 09:00 »
I forgot to mention something. That price increase photographers are talking about for going exclusive may be temporary. It might be a ploy to draw you in to an exclusive contract. I certainly don't know this for sure but it happened in traditional stock. The cost of doing business continues to grow and keep in mind, I believe Getty lost money last year. I recommend photographers go out and study the companies that are distributing your work as well as the competitors. I think it is important to know your business so you can make good business decisions. There are lots of great website out there to keep you informed. One of the best industry magazines is PDN (Photo District News). Rather if you are a part hobbist or trying to break in as a professional, this is a business and you are a part of it.

Microstock News / Re: Big H*cking News
« on: July 21, 2007, 08:50 »
I don't know a whole lot about the microstock industry and still learning. I do know alot about traditional stock and Getty Images. My understanding is Getty owns Istock and they are asking photographers to go exclusive. If this is the case let me put my 2 cents in. Getty is the trend setter in the stock photography industry. Whatever they do others will eventually follow. No one knows for sure where microstock is going and what the dollar amounts per image will eventually go. That being said Getty will determine this. They have the dollars and the power to determine this. My guess is there are a number of photographers who will say lets give exclusive a shot. Keep in mind once you give Getty exclusive usage of that photo, you lose all power and usage of that photo as long as Istock (Getyy) is distributing that image. There will probably be enough photographers who will say yes to exclusive and God only knows Getty has more than enough images to fill the gap for those photographers who say no to exclusive. In other words, Getty will eventually weed the non exclusive photographers out over time. If you don't believe me ask any stock photographer who has been in the industry long enough and knows the history of Getty and they will tell you exactly what I'm saying. That all being said, every other microstock agency will follow whatever pattern Getty sets. If you really want to make money in microstock as least in the short run, I suggest every photographer you can touch base with say NO. The biggest problem with photographers is they never work together on anything, therefore the Getty's of the world have 100% of the power. What other retail business do you know where the distributor gets to put his product on the shelf for free. Photographers have more power than they think, if only they work togother and not against each other.

Good luck to all.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Are you serious?
« on: July 20, 2007, 08:53 »
Great comments, thanks all who replied. First let me say to PR2IS, your absolutely correct, macrostock agencies are doing no great favors for stock photographers either. As all they are in business to make money. Matter of fact a few weeks ago I was in New York talking with stock photography editors, sellers, buyers and a couple of managers, I asked the question why royality free images only get 20% of the sale versus 47% to rights managed. His reply, because photographers never fought it. But I might add that these guys are at least getting a fair market price for usage rights on images. I do appreciate you catching this one. One last comment on this and I'll move on. I would guess you have never been in the offices of a macrostock agency. Their overhead is enorious. They spend millions each year on marketing and research, have full time staffs of sales people, editors who know the market place, legal professionals who help protect the agency, the photographers and the end users and many more behind the scenes people who help make it all happen. This may not sound important to some but it is very important to me. I also have overhead and need the guidance from people who know what the market place needs and to help me make good business decisions.

I never entered into to forum to argue against microstock, I believe I stated I want to learm more about the photographers who are contributing to micro stock. I did question why anyone, in my words, would give their time and talents away for pennies. First about my stock situation, I am a full time stock and assignment photographer. The numbers I mentioned are from one agency and doesn't reflect my business as a whole. I hope all of you strive to make more than $90000 a year selling your work. This will speak volumes about the industry. Yes, it is very difficult to get into one of the three big macrostock agencies today. I am bothered that new younger talent are having problems getting a contract. I understand this is starting to change, time will tell. I suppose there are a lot of sour grapes out there because of this, maybe a couple of you are these people. I understand a thousand images doesn't sound like a lot and it isn't (I might add that I have thousands being distributed through several smaller agencies and tens of thousands collecting dust or being distributed through my own efforts). But let me also say stock photography is not the numbers game it once was, microstock I would guess is still very much a numbers game. Stock photography has become much more of a quality game. Even these larger agencies I speak of complain about photographers not wanting to prep their digital files correctly, therefore they are receiving substandard images, hence, for those who want to break into a macrostock agency one must not only show good quality images but show they understand the digital process.

I realize some of you don't have the camera needed to capture the file sizes some of these macro stock agencies require. You'll get it some day but until then keep perfecting your skills. I might also suggest when you get that one or two great shots that you hope will make it into a macrostock agency hold it back from your microstock agency. The reason is simple, once a image is distributed through microstock or even royality free they are worthless in a rights managed library. Let me also throw something else out there. There are lots of royality free libraries out there that pay pretty darn good fees. You might consider looking into these. I know many photographers from across the country who are doing quite well selling royality free. These images are selling from any where between $100 to $300. Those of you who do have 8 mega pixel cameras and higher do have another option, although not the greatest of deals but something to think about. Getty Images has a fee based library open to all photographers called Lifesize. The photographer gets to put ten images per quarter on the Getty web site for I believe $50 a piece. I spoke to three colleagues of mine who have participated in this and have all said the investment has paid for itself many times over in a short few months. Not the greatest option but will get your work noticed. Again, as I mentioned in my first comments, try I am hearing good things from photographers who are participating with this agency.

I may not know as much as hatman12 and PR2IS but I have been around this industry for 12 years (not a long time and not a newbe either) and have seen many changes, some good some not so good. I'm sure these guys have many more answers than I. I do know the the industry pretty well and have been an active member of the stock photography field speaking with industry leaders and lecturing on many topics that pertain to the industry. Yes I am optimistic about the future of stock photography but a little concerned about what photographers are getting paid for their talents. I will never tell anyone what they should get for their work but simply asking everyone think about what they have invested and ask you to think about what fair market value is for your investment. If you think 25 cents is what your investment and talents are worth then so be it. Maybe hatman12 can tell you better but from my understanding in most professions the more experience you gain and the better you become you demand a higher salary. Why are photographers different? I wish each of you the very best in your photography rather it be professionally or as a hobby. Have fun with it and enjoy every second behind your camera.

I believe there was one person in this forum who mentioned they would like to talk with me, please pass on some contact info and I will gladly help in any way I can.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Are you serious?
« on: July 19, 2007, 21:17 »
Hey all. I just found this forum due to my research on microstock agencies and very curious as to the type of photographer who would be willing to give their talents and time for pennies on their investment. "Are You Serious" caught my attention. I will first admit I don't know much about this area of stock photography and simply wanting to learn more about it. I first must state that I am one of those macro stock photographers someone mentions in this forum. I do very well as I am represented by one of the top two stock agencies. I am just at 1000 images with this agency and just shy of $90,000 per year. The reason I share this number with you is I am guessing no one who participates in micro stock comes close to this amount of income. I would guess you would need hundreds of thousands if not a million images to even consider such a number. Maybe I'm wrong. But my real concern is why would anyone except from my understanding 25 cents to $1. per image when to consider not only your cost of equipment but the expense of getting to your location rather it be at a local park or an far away destination which might include airfare, hotels, restaurants, rental cars, fuel, etc... Then if you look at the time in front of a computer converting raw images into tiffs, cleaning dirt spots, any color corrections, etc... Then on top of all that I understand these microstock agencies want you to keyword the images which is no easy task if you do it correctly. How much is your time worth? I would guess that if you have a job outside of photography you wouldn't even consider putting this kind of time and effort for the few cents you earn from micro stock. I have looked over several of these sites and I must admit there is a fair share of bad photography but there is also a lot of really good photography as well. If you are one of those photographers who are serious about photography and pretty good behind the camera then I suggest you put a fair market value on your time and talents. Most stock photography buyers are people who have a product or service they are trying to sell and I would venture to guess their product and service is selling well over a buck. If your work is good enough for these people to download and use in their marketing pieces, magazine articles, wall decor, etc... than let these people pay you a fair market price for your talents. I guarantee you these micro stock agencies are sitting back and laughing all the way to the bank, what do you think it cost these guys to operate a microstock site providing it is making money. Making money is the only reason their in business, their not doing it as a favor to photographers. There are other venues for those of you who are serious photographers to make money from your talents, try I don't have a track record with this company but what I do know is the folks (I met the owners in New York) who are running this company are working hard to make good things happen and are getting photographers a fair market price for their images. I truly wish all those photographers who   are serious the very best of luck. I welcome any comments that might open my mind to the benefits of belonging to a microstock agency. Are You Serious?

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