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Messages - Elenathewise

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151 / Re: ShutterTalk?
« on: April 30, 2014, 16:55 »
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?

I don't have a graph but I am pretty sure my earnings on FT look very similar to OP's.
My earnings are now less than 1/3 of what they used to be with less images in my portfolio. I was emerald long time ago (now sapphire with over 14K images) but I don't think it has anything to do with such dramatic drop in earnings. I think they just lost some market share at some point, that's it. Which they are trying to recapture it seems with their "dollar club" idea.

Still requiring property releases for  residential houses makes no sense to me. I photographed several properties with legit releases signed by the owner (one of them being me) that have been sold to someone else in recent years. Now someone else owns these buildings. Do my releases still stand or not? And if they do, how is this not absurd?

21 deactivated - most of them are non-recognizable cookie-cutter suburban homes. And, by the way, I never received any emails from Istock notifying me that this is going to happen - this is complete news to me.

Off Topic / Re: Unsustainable!
« on: April 13, 2014, 10:35 »
I can agree with that.  The only caveat is that there are a lot of shooters like me that don't do it for a full time income or because we need the money, so it may take longer than it would otherwise. Plus there is no real incentive to remove images unless the agencies do something that require it, so there should always be high quality images around. I could be wrong though.

For someone who doesn't do it for income there is little incentive to produce a lot of saleable content. Getting image to the point of being saleable is a lot of work. If you don't do this for money, then it's for enjoyment of it, and there is only so much work one can enjoy:) There are not that many people out there that are good photographers capable of producing high quality content both technically and visually and not needing the money. And images do age. You can't keep going just on the content that 5-7 years old - styles, subjects, technology change all the time, you need it fresh to stay competitive.

Driving for an hour to a friend's house to photograph their dog on white background and realizing my white background is back at home. Solution: stop at nearest Wallmart and get the cheapest white shower curtain. It worked:) The dog was pretty wild though and nipped my daughter...

Off Topic / Re: Unsustainable!
« on: April 13, 2014, 10:07 »
I am still making a decent living from microstock, and I live in Toronto where cost of living is pretty high. We can speculate all we want about what future holds, but the truth is, no one knows. If you apply common sense to the situation, however, there always will be people needing to legally license images, and if "the pie gets cut too many times" there won't be many people supplying them - and that would force the agencies to increase payouts to photographers to attract new content. It's a self-correcting system.
And yes cost of living in developing countries is rising, and will continue to do so, and even though there are still photographers there that are happy with getting a few hundred dollars a month it will not last long.

158 / Re: Dreamstime, what's the secret?
« on: April 09, 2014, 12:07 »
Some time ago I contacted Serban about "similars" rejections on Dreamstime - and found out that to have a better acceptance ratio you have to be very strict about selecting images from the shoot, more so than with other agencies. Even if you think images are not that similar but they portray the same subject, you should only select just a few best ones. Images are selling mostly by subject after all. It's ok to have 2-3 variations on the subject, but not more. It's actually a good thing for your discipline - you'll have better portfolio, plus your images will perform better in DT's searches. I used to try to give customers more options with different angles, etc., but the truth is it's the subject that matters most, so these days I am trying to be more selective about what I submit - to them and in general.

Print on Demand Forum / Re: FAA Launches Art Licensing
« on: April 08, 2014, 11:11 »
I am confused about the fact that you can offer the same image for both RF and RM usage. In stock industry they are mutually exclusive. Maybe FAA means something else by "RM" licensing? Then they shouldn't use the same term in my opinion.

No they aren't.  It depends on the rights being sold.  Yes, maybe "restricted license" would make more sense there.

Thanks for correction Sean  - still, regular FAA contributor wouldn't know anything about managing rights. This may create a lot of confusion with both buyers and sellers.

Print on Demand Forum / Re: FAA Launches Art Licensing
« on: April 08, 2014, 11:02 »
I find it messy by accident... If you have there RF and RM images just be carefull when setting bulk pricing as you can set all images as RF, ooops.

I like FAA, it's very strong tool to sell prints. But I'm not sure about licensing here...  :-\

You can actually offer the same image as both "RF" and "RM" - FAA doesn't stop you from doing that. Edit the image, enter prices in both categories, and voila! In fact, in their description of "RF" and "RM" licensing they never mention they these things should be mutually exclusive. So I bet a lot of people will be doing just that - have the images as both RM and RF. Of course, FAA might say they are not responsible for any problems like that, but somehow I doubt it will save them from trouble... with all the recent lawsuits about copyright infringement and misuse... as one friend told me once, lawyers go for the person who has more money. And there is soo much copyrighted content there!

Print on Demand Forum / Re: FAA Launches Art Licensing
« on: April 08, 2014, 10:54 »
My print sales on FAA this month are not going to be even a third of my normal month there. I wonder what's going on. It could be that the site is getting overwhelmed by new images every day, and offering a way to license images will increase the number of images even more. Some people will be uploading images just for licensing, and FAA library will be full of "non-fine-art" regular stock photography stuff. Let's say I came to the site to buy a nice print for my living room and instead I see business handshakes and people pretending to be doctors.  This just doesn't make sense to me.
I loved FAA as a way to indulge my creative side and as a refuge from stock. Now it's all going to be mixed up.  :(

Print on Demand Forum / Re: FAA Launches Art Licensing
« on: April 08, 2014, 10:37 »
I am confused about the fact that you can offer the same image for both RF and RM usage. In stock industry they are mutually exclusive. Maybe FAA means something else by "RM" licensing? Then they shouldn't use the same term in my opinion.

Photographer's blog post about the Getty deal (warning, foul language ;)):

Nice article, loved the foul language! ;D
I am not a SEO specialist, but if a gazillion sites embed links back to Getty wouldn't that propel them right to the top of search results? That would be a very tangible benefit for them.
And I don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but for photographers having their images plastered all over web - wouldn't that reduce the sellability of the image instead of increasing it? Just one more point on "how Getty screws photographers" list...

I asked Getty public relations a couple questions. They supplied me with the following answer that can be attributed to Getty Images.

1 Are customers able to embed images that are on iStock and Thinkstock?

Right now the embed feature is only for images on It is not on the companys master delegate sites. It is not on iStock or Thinkstock. Getty Images will see how it resonates and then make decisions about iStock and Thinkstock.

Of course the iStock images that are on are available for embedding including Yuris image

The moment they allow embedding on my non-exclusive iStock portfolio (over 9000 images) I'll be gone from there. I will not be giving away for free images that I sell on other sites, this would be complete insanity. Whoever is in charge of decisions like that please take note.

You have a point there - maybe there will be less and less photographers wanting to sign up with the "prestigious Getty agency" when they realize that Getty will take their imagery and devalue it to the point of it being worthless.
Getty has had a dreadful reputation for the way it treats is photographers for a long time, since at least 2005, yet most of us took the risk of thinking, "They can't be as bad as all that," at least for a while.
Well Sue I do think they outdid themselves this time... plus there is such a thing as a cumulative effect. This might be just the log that will break the camel's back  :-)


Sure - Getty is going to lose hundreds - if not thousands - of photographers because of this move.  But they have thousands of replacements waiting in the wings that would give anything to be part of Getty.  I know one guy who paid Getty thousands under the Photographer's Choice banner so he could brag that he was a Getty photographer. 

That said - even if every Getty photographed bailed (not likely) - they still have millions of images from agencies that they've acquired in the past.  And they can disrupt the marketplace long enough that they can cash out.

I don't know about thousands waiting in the wings... I closed my direct account with Getty last year after Google "deal" (they were asking me why :o), and the only reason I am still selling on iStock is I am doing it non-exclusively. The moment I see my sales affected by this "free" bulls**t I am gone from iStock. So will many remaining others. Let them offer their own in-house content for free.

SS shares now down 7% today, that's a significant hit.

Time to buy  ;)


Second, assume the worst for a moment.  iStock kills microstock.  None of us make any money going about this the way we do it today.  We would all stop doing it, right?  There would be no more fresh content.  Sure, with 30+ million images out there, the world would exist just fine for a few years if not a single new image was created.  But it couldnt go on for long.

New imagery would be needed, and if no one produced it because microstock was dead, a new model would HAVE TO rise from the ashes to make image creation profitable.  Its supply and demand.

I happen to think this is not the revolution.  This effort will not be embraced widely enough to kill our livelihoods.  But a revolution will happen one day, maybe soon, and a new model will emerge that makes creators want to create, or the world will have no new images.  And since the world is becoming more visual every day, relying more on effective images and less on text every day, Im confident the work I produce will be more in demand tomorrow than it is today.

Thats my prediction, anyway.  Now back into retirement.

My thoughts exactly:) However, when something like Getty makes one stupid decision after another instead of concentrating on what a stock agency is supposed to do - just selling images, plain and simple! - it is extremely annoying....

Not sure they can even pull this off technically. Even at low res the computer power needed to access the photo each time it is seen. Ever notice when a news program does a story about a company you can not access web site for a day. What if they have a technical glitch and it would effect every blogger.

Not a good deal for the blogger in a way. So they save $5 or less for an image. They will be bait and switched looking for them.. time consuming. If the image is deleted their content will not show up. If the service is down their content will not show up. Once they start with ads you loose control over your content on the page and will make it look junkie. No sense in giving your site control to someone else to save a few dollars.

I agree. Given that Getty doesn't quite "shine" in technical aspects they probably did a pretty sad job implementing this. For a blogger who doesn't want to pay it's much easier to get an image somewhere else - through a screen dump or just some other site where the image is not protected. A blogger who wants to pay (= be legit with their image use)... will get it through Getty for free now! (how does this even make sense??). All Getty did by this move is gave the customers who'd be paying otherwise a free product, and led millions of internet uses to believe that stock images are now free to use... people will continue "stealing" images but now with a belief that they are not doing anything wrong.

To me this sounds like a definition of anti-competitive practice... I wonder how other stock agencies going to react to that, especially SS. Unless Getty makes only their exclusive content free?

171 / Re: iStock New Sub. Model Just Announced!
« on: March 04, 2014, 13:59 »
Well, including the istock exlusive imagery into a sub model seems to be a bad move fom me. The world is already overfed with stock images, if you want something you will get it doesn't matter which agency you work with. But the iStock exlusive imagery had a huge advantage: it was more expensive. Still everyone could afford to buy a licence but meawhile you always knew that you are not buying the cheapest stuff so it is likely that you will not see it again and again everywhere on the internet. Now this last advantage is gone.

IStock is not leading or dictating anymore on this market but trying to catch up with Shutterstock. SS just won another battle this is what I think.

An image buyer who doesn't want to buy something that's all over the internet buys RM. Current RM prices are very affordable. He would not pay more for RF image which is not in any way unique or special (and majority of Istock's exclusive collection isn't). So, including exclusive content in their sub program is a logical move for iStock. In the business where everyone sells subscriptions you can improve your chances by offering more content for the subscription price (and um, having your site up helps too ;-)).

172 / Re: iStock New Sub. Model Just Announced!
« on: March 04, 2014, 11:49 »
Being unable to understand that having what competitors doesn't have --don't even matter if better or worse-- it's a big plus for any business in any part of the world, is extremely nearsighted.

Ummm.... how is it a plus for any business to have something worse than your competitors?  ;D

173 / Re: iStock New Sub. Model Just Announced!
« on: March 04, 2014, 11:30 »
Well, in my opinion exclusivity is an outdated concept and was for a while. Clients need the right image at the right time, and they don't care at all if that image is sold on one agency only, not if the quality is the same. Istock had some delusions for a while that their exclusive content was better than non-exclusive, and it really isn't the case, and it looks like they're starting to realize that. Which will eventually result in diminishing benefits for exclusives... they'll probably retain some form of exclusivity perks but not significant ones. My prediction is that all contributors will be on about the same level pretty soon, they'll keep reducing payouts until it doesn't make sense to contribute anymore. Not for the people living in countries with high cost of living, anyway.

Interesting way to boost their cashflow for the next 6 months.  Are they for sale again?

Don't forget this affects your personal taxes also because you actually received the money in 2013 and are having it clawed back in 2014.

Have any Canadians received their T-5's yet?  Poor Elena (You are from Quebec I believe?), she likely has to pay about $560 in taxes on that amount if she is in say a 36% tax bracket because she received it in 2013 - but say she has lower tax earning this year of clawback (like she drops Istock perchance  ;)) she may be at a lower tax rate and get screwed again by the difference.

Toronto actually:) But ya I thought about that - I am to pay taxes on the amount they will claw back, and it will affect my tax installments. So, fun year ahead of me - my tax installments will be bigger, and my income - smaller!

Got my notice.  Overpayment of $1571.00.  Monthly recoupment $261. 

It's going to hurt.

Lisa, mine is
Over Payment Total=$1,570.50
Monthly Recoup Amount=$261.75

The numbers are just way too close. What's your portfolio size on istock? I wonder if this is all bullsh*t and they are just taking money back according to portfoilo size... may have nothing to with actual "overpayment".

Interesting.  Almost the exact same figure.  My Istock port is arond 6400.  I dont know if it is based on port size or perhaps sales volume.  Either criteria seems fishy.  Who is to say that this bug or issue should necessarily follow either port size or sales volume?  Feels a bit shady.

  I agree with the posts calling for an itemized accounting of the overpayments.  As awful as the fraud clawback a couple of years ago was, there was an itemized list sent of the fraudulent sales.

Same here. The other thing - I looked at my totals for Sept/Oct 2013 and they are actually LOWER than for the other months of the year. And based on previous years sales are usually HIGHER during this time. So there was no unusual spike in earnings, just the opposite. It looks to me they have no clue who was overpaid and how much and just randomly distributing the pain. 

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