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Messages - Elenathewise

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General Stock Discussion / Re: Profitable?
« on: July 28, 2014, 13:08 »
This question came to me from another thread. People always come here trying to figure out how much they can make doing micro. Nobody seems to ask what it takes to be profitable. They only care about how much they can earn per month or year.

I then see some people responding that they have thousands of images and are making a hundred-ish dollars per month. I can't imagine those figures being worth anyones time. There are costs for everything even when trying to be frugal. Camera, memory cards, camera accessories, computer upgrades, gas to travel, parking fees, props, models, and on and on. And then theres time to take pictures and the ton of time to edit, keyword, submit pictures, redo rejections, etc. Micro is a lot of work.

And overall things seems to have taken a downturn from a few years ago. Contributors are reporting they're growing their portfolio but income is dropping.

Can anyone turn a profit earning .05 cents per image per month? Is anyone in micro profitable anymore?

Well it's definitely much worse than a few years ago, I think everyone would agree with that. Many contributors with big portfolios make the same money as they did back then with half of the images - just natural result of increasing competition. When people asking me if it's worth starting now, I usually say - don't bother unless it's just a hobby for you and you get kicks from seeing your images used. I don't think we will return to reasonable profits until everyone on the planet will get their chance to dabble in photography and then get bored of it... but right now it's not that time yet. Fads do pass though, so there is hope:)

General Stock Discussion / Re: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
« on: July 23, 2014, 21:35 »
Zeus, I really liked yours:) I wish I saved more of mine, some of them were real gems. I usually just say no and delete them, but looks like they do have entertainment value. Maybe we should put them up on a website for people to read for fun and sell advertising:)

I think what's gonna happen is that all these photogs willing to work/give away images for free are going to starve to death and business will be back to normal:)

I applied to sell photos and got rejected, although I was invited as a founding contributor to Envato and quite a few other new good places with similar setup.  So... not sure what kind of content Creative Market is really after - I know I have a lot of stuff that graphic designers need and buy. The "review" was very fast, too - I got "no thanks" email the very next day. Makes me wonder if anyone really looked at my portfolio. This reminds me of other new site that rejected my content saying they don't need "generic business images like handshakes and business meetings" - hmm... the problem is I don't do business and handshakes!:) (Ok I may have maybe 50 images like that in my 14,000 images portfolio).

General Stock Discussion / Re: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
« on: July 17, 2014, 12:02 »
Well and I just got another one today! Here it is:)

"My name is ****, I am currently just a regular  17 year old studying for my a levels. I have a dream that one say I will own my own social media website. This summer I am currently in the middle of building that social media website called ***. I want this website to be the finest social media website out there. Then I saw you incredible photography and are amazed by your skill. So I was just asking for your permission to use one of your photographs on my website. For you it would be great advertisement for your company and your work can deserve as much recognition as possible. I will provide an ink mark and a link to your website on the image.For me it would be a honour to have one of your pieces on my website. I am sorry if this has been a waste off your time reading this and you do not want to give me your permission its just I want my website to be perfect and your work would make it complete. In reality I am just a kid trying to make something for themselves but I cant afford these big rental fee's some photography charge so it would mean a lot if you could help me out and make my dreams come true.

Please could you reply as soon as possible

Many Thanks,
***** "

And here is what I replied:
"Dear ****,
I appreciate your kind words about my photography. However, I do not need "credits" or "advertising" - my business is to sell photos and I am doing quite well. I am a bit confused that you mentioned "big rental fees"; you can easily purchase a legal right to use my images on your website for as little as $5 (at www.elenaphoto.com, web resolution). Surely it would be worth to sacrifice a couple of coffees to make your dreams come true?
Good luck with your project,

Am I mean?

Shutterstock.com / Re: Sales on Shutter
« on: June 27, 2014, 11:15 »
Looks like June is going to be 20% down from an average month.

At some point we'll see significant decline in earnings - the tsunami of microstock submitters has not reached it's crest yet. Most of us already notice some decline in earnings because our images are getting lost in a see of similar content.  You can imagine what will happen when SS will be accepting a million images a week. I think unavoidably there will be a phase when most photographers decide that this kind of activity is just not worth it anymore. For full-timers like me it will be a pretty low point. However... I do believe that after passing that point the industry will not be dead completely - it will evolve and will probably take a different shape, and hopefully those of us who decide to stay with this business can evolve with it. I don't see a need for images disappearing, and I don't see people providing high quality content for free. 

Thanks for the update Alex! Good to hear you're looking for better shipping options.

I've uploaded a few files from my fine art portfolio (http://500px.com/elenaelisseeva) - it's fun to watch the "pulse" and so on, however, international shipping costs for prints are plain prohibitive. It seems that quite a lot of 500px users are not from US - so 500px really need to find a way to ship cheaper internationally. Noone will every buy a print if the shipping can double the price.

Shutterstock.com / Re: Sales on Shutter
« on: June 03, 2014, 10:58 »
Noticeably slower sales end of May - beginning of June.

 "245,969 new stock images added this week"

It looks like they do accept some;-)

Dreamstime.com / Re: "Confidential" email from Dreamstime
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:19 »
I understand that Dreamstime is testing a new opportunity to generate revenue and they need to see how this goes before deciding if it's worth it, what kind of money they can charge for this use and what kind of commission to pay. However, I do not agree that this kind of testing should assume free image use. If someone is using my image in online add, during test run or not, I should be compensated.

General Stock Discussion / Re: GraphicStock?
« on: May 23, 2014, 14:53 »
Here's the thread:


I think they run videoblocks too. Same kind of deal.

Ah... thanks... Nice thread deterioration there:)

General Stock Discussion / GraphicStock?
« on: May 22, 2014, 11:20 »
Looks like these guys are giving away their entire collection for 7 days... basically a free weekly subscription just for signing up... anyone knows anything about them? http://www.graphicstock.com/

I had a very unusual slow day yesterday - almost weekend-like. Got me paranoid, too:) Today things are looking up again.

Amazing work! Love this  :)

Timely posttoday  on the Freelancer's Union blog:


Love this  :) :) :)


I have the same problem, like all of us. But maybe you get even more of these emails because there is a Free Images section on your web site. I don't know why, but that was the first thing I noticed when I clicked on you web site. I was looking for Images section, but there isn't one, only Prints and Free images. If somebody wants to buy an image it's hard to figure out how.

EDIT. Sorry, there are galleries on the right side, didn't see it at first. But, there is word Free again.

Ya I should get rid of that. I while ago I tried putting up a page of small res images for free download to see if this can attract traffic (it doesn't really). Don't think it's the cause though -  I was getting requests for free image use before that too. I see some people here advocate working for free as a way to get a job or assignment. My question is - who pays your bills while you do free work? My daughter volunteered for community hours and ended up getting a summer job - cool, but I was paying all her expenses while she was volunteering.
I like Shelma1's story. It's what p*sses me off most. People spend a lot of money on everything from food to luxury items, and somehow there is this idea that a photographer will work for free or next to nothing. Try asking your plumber to fix your toilet for free - tell him if he does a good job you will consider paying him next time... I am glad most of the people say no to this kind of thing. Stock  images costing a few dollars not a few hundreds these days  - why not just pay a very small fee and license image properly? I suspect Getty's image giveaway for bloggers is making things worse - instead of educating people that  a stock image is a product and you have to pay for it.

What bothers me is that it even occurs to them to ask. If I get emails about it, it's to the email address listed on my personal business site where my photos are for sale. So they know I sell photos and it's my business, and yet instead of spending a few bucks they'd rather send me lengthy emails. Does anyone ever says "yes" to requests like that?

General Stock Discussion / Requests to use images for free
« on: May 12, 2014, 11:42 »
I often get emails from people asking if they can use one or few of my images for free on their web sites, blogs, their future company logos, and so on. Usually what's offered in return is "credit" - they promise to put my name next to the photo, or put a link to my website.
It really puzzles me. You can buy a small size image for a price of a coffee these days. No one walks into a coffee shop and asks for a cup of coffee for free and in return just offers to tell their friends that they got a coffee from that shop. It doesn't even occur to people. Why do they think they can use the product of my work for free? I don't understand. I don't care about credit  - if I wanted to be famous, I wouldn't be shooting stock, plus I doubt very much that my name on their webpage would make any difference whatsoever. If I was begging on the street, they'd drop a few coins into my cup - but they wouldn't pay the same few coins for the image they like!
How did this attitude even come into existence??

Adobe Stock / Re: Fotolia D-Day (Deactivation Day) - May,1
« on: May 06, 2014, 20:28 »
Well, since there's so much speculation about what I intend to do, I will chime in. 

First, I have not received ANY special inducement to stay opted in to DPC. 

Second, I understand that there are improvements to the program that are imminent and should alleviate a lot of the concern about cannibalization of credit sales. 

And Third, I am struggling to understand why .37 per download for an emerald on DPC is so much worse than .28 per download for every single non-exclusive on Istock subs and PP.  Not to mention most of my credit sales on FT are small and yield the same price as a sub.

I am not saying that I like the way things are going in stock.  It is obviously a race to the bottom at this point, however I struggle to understand why this one initiative is so much worse than everything else that's happened in the past couple of years. 

I reserve the right to opt out if there are not improvements or the improvements are not sufficient, but I don't plan to be goaded into it.  This is an individual business decision and I plan to make it myself based on the best information available and not based on a feeding frenzy in a forum.

Lisa, yes the difference is in the amount a customer is required to spend upfront, as other people mentioned before. Subscription model is very popular with businesses - it simplifies accounting greatly, no approvals per image, just one yearly (or monthly) fee to deal with. And of course they download a lot of images for their design and other needs, even though many images never even make it to final product. So sub system is here to stay, and, looking at everyone's earnings at SS is quite sustainable for photographers. What Fotolia is doing is different - their 10 images for $10 dollars deal is not aimed at big or medium businesses, but rather at individuals or small design shops. These customers would not bring a significant volume of sales - they would just get our work really cheap, while in many cases their budgets allow for at least $50 per image.  And I am still to meet an individual who actually pays for images for personal use - even if they are self-employed professionals. They will keep downloading free images because it's practically impossible to police.
Fotolia is not the only agency that tries to get ahead of competition by slashing prices, but I don't think it will work, partly because you can only push contributors so far, and partly because prices at the level they are now are not really a problem. SS is successful because of their advanced technology and marketing strategies, and they have never actually reduced prices. That's my take on this, but of course participation in DPC is everyone's personal decision, and no pressure should be applied to anyone.

Adobe Stock / Re: Fotolia D-Day (Deactivation Day) - May,1
« on: May 01, 2014, 21:20 »
More important than deleting a portion of your portfolio from Fotolia is to opt-out of the DPC. Those of you who have not done so already, please consider doing it. You will do yourself and the whole microstock community a huge favor.

My Account > My Profile> Contributor Parameters > Sell my files on DPC - Modify. (Make sure the text now reads Dont sell my files on DPC.)

I can see that some contributors are expressing their discontent with Fotolia's move, some are deleting files from Fotolia (and notifying those deletions here), but they are not opting out of the DPC. I can't understand why.

I just opted out of DPC(14,145 files) - I don't want to undercut my sales elsewhere. And the fact that nobody was even notified about it is not cool.

Shutterstock.com / Re: ShutterTalk?
« on: May 01, 2014, 21:15 »
Ah found it - thanks! Opted out now.

Shutterstock.com / Re: ShutterTalk?
« on: May 01, 2014, 21:02 »
I'll be running this event in Toronto as a Canadian Community Leader. It is for Canadian contributors and primarily focused on Canadian content. But, as Scott said, there will be events like this happening around the world, in the US, and other parts of Canada too. Building the Shutterstock community, making information about creative briefs available, and helping new and existing contributors connect with meetups, workshops and events is the goal.

Anyone in the Toronto area, looking forward to seeing you there. Even if you're not a Canadian contributor, you're certainly welcome. The information will be relevant for all stills and video contributors.

Stacey, could you be more specific about the agenda and who the guest speakers will be?


Do you realise that your 14k+ images are still available (full size, at $1 a pop) at the Dollar Photo Club?

See here;


Why haven't you opted out yet?

Hmm is there an opt-out for that? How do you do that?

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