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Author Topic: Forgiss stops uploading  (Read 13627 times)

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CCK

« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2009, 01:47 »
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.... after all he makes a seven figure amount (in US$) from microstock annually.

Really? How do you know this? Everywhere that you can actually see his sales suggests he's making mid-five figure amounts at most. He'd have to be at Yuri's level to be doing 7 figures.

I heard it from Forgiss, and I trust him to tell the truth.


Maybe it is $12345.67.  :)

Fred, please accept my humble apologies - I typed seven figures in my original post, it was a mistake, should be six figures. When I wanted to rectify it (immidiately) I pressed the quote button in stead of the modify button. So it is six figures - $100000.  All my mistake, and I accept full responsibility.


« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2009, 03:08 »
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Hahahaha.... I actually can't believe this whole thing is causing so much furore!

Google picked up this thread, so I thought I should just come in and clarify a few things:

1. Income:

I have stopped discussing my income a long time ago, but I will share this for the sake of clarification. I do a comfortable 5-figure $US income, Six figures in our local currency (maybe that is where the confusion came in) This is our main/only income source, and we live quite comfortably and virtually debt free. I am not Yuri or Andres, and currently I only spend about 2 hours, 3-4 days a week on stock images right now. Both my wife and I earn about the same from stock, although we have vastly different strategies and styles.

Our income has grown, year on year with a minimum of 13% which I feel is a pretty decent growth rate, given the time spent, the sizes of our portfolios, and the growth of competing submitters.

2. Reason for stopping uploads:

I have made it quite clear (I think...) that I am not quiting Shutterstock, and not stopping uploads. All I have done is to move Shutterstock down in the "upload list" we run.

Basically it comes down to "not uploading" because I rarely get to spot number 5 or 6. Shutterstock has moved to spot number 7. If and when I have a slow month, and/or remaining bandwidth, I will upload images to SS and see what happens. I just didn't want to spend more time and effort on a process that is currently very frustrating.

I have also spent some time in discussions with Anthony C of Shutterstock to try and resolve the "bad lighting" issues some reviewers have with my images.

Our discussion ran on a test set of images of natural textures. Anthony felt they were all underexposed and didn't "pop" enough, although I matched the exposure to match as close as possible, to the actual texture. My personal feeling is that, as a texture, it should be acurate.

I then took the top three images on the shutterstock search (most popular sort) and did comparitive levels to view how far under I was. The results was that I had a perfect exposure, spot on in the middle of the range comparing with the top three current sellers. Pushing the image exposure up, would create specular highlights, burnout, and blocking of one of the three colour ranges, so it's not really an option... appart from removing the realistic view or "look" of the image.

The actual quality of the images was not disputed. Shot on a tripod, incedence lightmeter reading +2/3stop exposure to match Whitepoint reading, ISO 100, RAW conversion to 16bit tiff for final edit, custom Whitebalance done on location. 21mp sized down to 16mp to ensure smooth gradients and no noise, shot with a 24-70 f/2.8 L at 50mm f/11 (the sharpest point of the lens) - In my opinion there is not a lot more I could do to get a perfect shot for this test out of the camera, but Anthony C. still felt it wasn't good enough (although, during our discussion the shot was accepted by another reviewer)

That leaves me in the situation, that I honestly feel my quality is not good enough for SS. I can't stop doing this, as it's my main income source, and the images that do get through review on the first, second or sometimes third review does indeed sell. (I counted, and 7 of my all time top20 sellers at SS has been rejected on the first submission, and resubmitted without doing any editing)

I do not, and never will claim that I am a super artists... but I do not feel I am very bad at this stock thing either.

Personal viewpoints aside, if the quality of an image is good, it has an ability to sell to some markets. If an image is sharp, well focussed, noise-free... most probably it will sell somewhere. That is my opinion... the proof is in the fact that wifey's port is less than a third of mine, but she chose to go a different route with what and how she shoots. Also going from the standpoint that if it gets rejected for LCV, she just moves on. Initially rejected images on her side (specifically for LCV) has then gone on to sell 600-800 times in the last year... 

I think there are serious issues in the Shutterstock house, I also think that SS can't do anything than protect it's reviewers in public, whether the reviews were good or bad. I think the review process is flawed, and I have had this same discussion for the last three years.

But... I do respect the fact that any agency can chose what they want on their site, and If what I am producing is not what they want, then I shouldn't be wasting my time, and their time by uploading what they feel is not good content.

==============

The lighting question - Images (the last one is my version)



and 100% crop:


==============

As a subnote, since posting, and it seems the little ruptions it caused (which was really not the intention) I have been contacted by an RM agency that would like my whole portfolio... I don't think we will go that route, because I still believe in Microstock, but it's definitely something I will look at. What was interesting was the comment that they want the images because "it doesn't look like mass produced MS stock" ... food for thought?

« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2009, 11:18 »
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One question comes to my mind: You say bandwidth is your limiting factor in uploading to SS. And you mention an image that was taken with 21 MP and downsized to 16 MP.
Why don't you (partially) solve your bandwidth problem with downsizing your images to the minimum required (4 MP)? That would significantly decrease the time to upload.
Or do you have the experience that offering higher resolution leads to higher sales on SS (on other sites I would agree not to downsize, but since SS produces an upsized "Super" version anyway...)?

« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2009, 12:16 »
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...
Or do you have the experience that offering higher resolution leads to higher sales on SS (on other sites I would agree not to downsize, but since SS produces an upsized "Super" version anyway...)?

Given that majority of my sales on other sites are in the "XS" to "L" range (i.e. <=6MP), and that SS upsizes everything to "XXL" size, I'd say that there's absolutely no advantage to upload anything larger than 4MP to SS. In some cases such as this one, it even works against you. Taking a quick look at his SS portfolio, Forgiss downsizes only some of his images, and even then not as much as he could/should. Although I'm sure he has his reasons for working that way, I'm not aware of any conditions which might make them valid.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 14:11 by sharply_done »

helix7

« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2009, 13:24 »
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Good luck, Forgiss. Shame that it has come to this.

What amazes me most is that photographers face such strict review standards at SS, obviously to the point where some clearly very good photographers can't even get their images through, yet vectors undergo such lax standards.

Maybe that's the solution, Forgiss. Get into vectors. Seems SS accepts pretty much anything with an .eps extension these days. ;)



« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2009, 14:05 »
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I don't understand why everyone is in such a tizzy that this guy isn't uploading as much to SS as he was in the past. Why can't people just worry about themselves? In a way (and I hope I don't get flamed for this) this is good for other people who dont make that crazy amount of money...more of a chance for your images to sell...

I looked at the images he posted on the ss forums. Some of them I can understand the rejections. Some are dark and underexposed, some have blown out areas, some have white balance issues.

I think the reasons that SS and other sites are getting more difficult with quality is because the industry is growing so rapidly. If you go to any of the top sites and search the oldest images, you'll see that a lot of them are complete crap. Back when these sites started, they just needed a catalogue. Now, they have one...they need really good images, not just any old images. Obviously this is a drastic example, but come on, when something is exposed poorly, it will get rejected. Get over it. (Not directed at Forgiss...more at everyone else whos complaining about it)

Tuilay

« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2009, 14:16 »
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I think the reasons that SS and other sites are getting more difficult with quality is because the industry is growing so rapidly. If you go to any of the top sites and search the oldest images, you'll see that a lot of them are complete crap. Back when these sites started, they just needed a catalogue. Now, they have one...they need really good images, not just any old images. Obviously this is a drastic example, but come on, when something is exposed poorly, it will get rejected. Get over it. (Not directed at Forgiss...more at everyone else whos complaining about it)

Hear, hear.  This is something many longtime stock contributors have admitted themselves. There is no secret, and anyone with 20 20 sight will notice the crap in plenty. They sold because it was a new business and the inventory was untapped.
Now the proliferation of stock sites, and cheap digital cameras, on top of the attractiveness of the foreign exchange (even mentioned by Forgiss ), have brought about a boom of inventory. Supply over demands.
Naturally, SS and other sites can now be snooty or cautious (take your pick)
to judge apple for apple, regardless of who you are.
Forgiss did not quit (by his own testimony) because he felt unfairly treated. As jmich pointed out, good for him and good for everyone who is new and is able to produce something stock worthy.
Competition is stiff, you betcha , this is time for the cream to rise, and all else to disappear.  Survival of the fittest .
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 14:23 by Tuilay »

« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2009, 14:30 »
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I don't understand why everyone is in such a tizzy that this guy isn't uploading as much to SS as he was in the past. ...

In a tizzy? I haven't seen that.

This is noteworthy/newsworthy because of the tenure and stature he has in this industry. He's made a lot of money through SS, but he's now finding that things are changing such that it no longer makes good business sense for him to aggressively build his portfolio there. Given the empahasis that SS places on new images, this might prove to be pretty big news: Will he be alone in this decision, or the first of many?

« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2009, 14:49 »
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Sean's got plenty of form when it comes to public whining when he doesn't get his own way. The trouble is SS have caved in before to similar demands so it is only to be expected that he's going to try it on again.

I don't know what his problem is with regard to rejections as there are plenty of us long-term, high-volume uploaders that are either not experiencing the same or are keeping very quiet about it if they are. Personally, in 50 months of submitting to SS, I've never felt the need to contact Support. I get the impression that Sean struggles to do 50 hours without doing so.

Sure, standards are slowly increasing, but then so should your own skills and awareness of the industry's needs. The reviewers get paid a pittance for their efforts and quite frankly, if they were half-decent stock photographers themselves, they'd make far more money submitting their own content. That's the harsh reality of it.

« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2009, 17:01 »
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Sean's got plenty of form when it comes to public whining when he doesn't get his own way. The trouble is SS have caved in before to similar demands so it is only to be expected that he's going to try it on again.

I don't know what his problem is with regard to rejections as there are plenty of us long-term, high-volume uploaders that are either not experiencing the same or are keeping very quiet about it if they are...

... who are you again?

I am not sure what you are talking about. I open my mouth when something seems out of place. I didn't realise that it's a bad thing.

Actually, I have been a big defender of Shutterstock's decissions in the past, and promote them at almost every step, so your statement baffles me. The only times I have gone against SS policies was when it was clearly wrong (for instance, converting TIFF files from the JPEGs and selling them as a high quality option) but even in my last posts I kept on repeating that Shutterstock has a right to choose what they want to sell and who they want to represent. What you are suggesting is that I have or had the power to "force" a decission previously upon Shutterstock management? A submitter with a few thousand images against a company with close on 6 million images and 150,000 submitters and signing up a few thousand more a month?!

I am honoured, but you give me a little bit too much credit...

My issue here is with consisency in review, something you clearly have never had a problem with, or do you just continue on when it happens? To me, it's a waste of time and resources, and that is what I have said on the SS forum, and here.

« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2009, 08:20 »
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... who are you again?

I am not sure what you are talking about. I open my mouth when something seems out of place. I didn't realise that it's a bad thing.

Actually, I have been a big defender of Shutterstock's decissions in the past, and promote them at almost every step, so your statement baffles me. The only times I have gone against SS policies was when it was clearly wrong (for instance, converting TIFF files from the JPEGs and selling them as a high quality option) but even in my last posts I kept on repeating that Shutterstock has a right to choose what they want to sell and who they want to represent. What you are suggesting is that I have or had the power to "force" a decission previously upon Shutterstock management? A submitter with a few thousand images against a company with close on 6 million images and 150,000 submitters and signing up a few thousand more a month?!

I am honoured, but you give me a little bit too much credit...

My issue here is with consisency in review, something you clearly have never had a problem with, or do you just continue on when it happens? To me, it's a waste of time and resources, and that is what I have said on the SS forum, and here.

Sorry but when I joined this forum I made the decision to become anonymous for a number of reasons but mainly because I don't want to keep flagging up my best-selling images for others to copy. I know that in the long-term it is likely to cost me money and, because this is how I make my living, it is best avoided. If folk disregard my posts because of my anonymity then that's fine with me. Most LT-ers know me anyway.

I was referring to your recent very public squabble with SS when you complained long and hard about having images rejected for having excessively long titles, in direct contravention to the uploading instructions. Why can't you just follow instructions and do what they ask __ it is their agency after all.

I really don't know what your problem is. I've got 3000-odd images online with SS and have had an acceptance rate of well over 95% for the entire 4 years I've been doing this. Sure, you get the occasional 'rogue rejection', but then I just look at it again, make any corrections necessary and re-upload. Job done.

In my view and from what can be seen from the thumbnails you posted I'd say the reviewer made the right decisions. The lighting on several images is generally poor with excessively dark shadows and/or bright highlights. On others the composition is poor, etc, etc.

The last shot of the coins for example looks like a 'first attempt at photography' by some newbie with a point-and-shoot. I can see what you were trying to achieve but if you'd placed a reflector to the left and actually exposed for the subject instead of that ridiculously distracting background then there might have been a stock-worthy shot to be had.

You got some great images in your port so you obviously know what you are doing with a camera. It is completely beyond me why, with your experience, you would upload some of those images and even more mystifying why you would create such a public outcry when they were rejected. Even if the reviewer had accepted the images it is unlikely in my view that they would have sold in sufficient quantity to have made it worthwhile anyway __ but you know that surely?

« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2009, 09:51 »
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I was referring to your recent very public squabble with SS when you complained long and hard about having images rejected for having excessively long titles, in direct contravention to the uploading instructions. Why can't you just follow instructions and do what they ask __ it is their agency after all.

Hmmm referring to a thread started in September last year... more than 4 months ago? so that is the "can't go more than 50 hours"

For the sake of the non-anonymous members here that has no idea what you are talking about:

    1. Shutterstock has
no length limitation for titles in their submission guidelines
2. About two years before, Reviewer Lisa (the head of reviews at that time) asked for full and complete descriptive titles. You can check my older files... all were 3 to 7 words.
3. The title field at shutterstock has always been 200 characters and still is.
4. Shutterstock has by choice, decided to pull that data from the EXIF "description" field instead of the EXIF "Title" field
5. For no reason whatsoever it seems a single SS reviewer started rejecting submissions for long titles
[/list]

Now... this was clearly not the case for the previous 4 years, the titles were extended to match a request by the Then Head reviewer, and WITHOUT any communication this policy seems to have changed.

Does the title have anything to do with the image quality? No.

Does other sites use this information to rank searches? Apparently yes.

But, in the end it seems this was not the case of a Policy Change. This was reviewer error, and so confirmed in a telephone conversation with Anthony... then also posted to the forum as a clarification, and then in subsequent reviews. I did exactly what I was told, and I followed Shutterstock submission guidelines, as per site documentation as well as per instruction from the Head Reviewer at the time.

So... seeing as you are so adamant that this was a "direct contravention of their uploading instructions" please point me, and all of us following the issue to that document on the Shutterstock Website.

Now... the only guess I can make is that seeing that you are miffed about it, so maybe you are that reviewer?

« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2009, 10:15 »
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So... seeing as you are so adamant that this was a "direct contravention of their uploading instructions" please point me, and all of us following the issue to that document on the Shutterstock Website.

Now... the only guess I can make is that seeing that you are miffed about it, so maybe you are that reviewer?


Ok then ... here's the bit from the uploading instructions that you have such an issue with;

 Description should be short and simple - example: 'Red Apple' - please don't include a story.

You practically had 'War & Peace' in the examples you posted. Like I said, you have a history of making a lot of noise when you try to skirt around the rules and then get caught out.

No, I'm not a reviewer although I have been one (elsewhere) in the past so yes, I do have some sympathy for the job that they do.

« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2009, 11:34 »
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Well... you keep on going with red apple... Shutterstock keeps on importing the wrong field, and as such, the 200 char limit has not been reduced, so I asume they are not planning anything.

From Anthony:

"The description/title field is capable of having 200 characters (including spaces).

The character length field has been at that length for quite a long time. The idea behind the image description itself is to put a simple concise description for your image."

Con-cise
Adjective
Giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive

So if there is more in the image than a red apple... and the longest title in that question was 104 char... hardly "war and peace"... and definitely not so exagerated as your claims...

I am not Skirting the rules. I Asked for clear guidelines, not given. I asked for consistency... not provided... in both instances.

You seem ticked off at me personally. I can't for the life of me think why, and as you remain masked, I suppose I will never know. I share all my information freely, posting various articles, behind the scenes videos, and share all I know to anybody who asks freely.

You on the other hand, prefer to hide your knowledge from all other submitters, so that they "don't steal your ideas" you hide your face, you hide your identity you hide your portfolio, and then you shout from behind a rock... very big of you.

I will keep on butting heads with management when I see something obviously going wrong, and you keep on hiding behind your rock, and we can both go our seperate ways. Wish you all the best in your endeavours.

So... seeing as you are so adamant that this was a "direct contravention of their uploading instructions" please point me, and all of us following the issue to that document on the Shutterstock Website.

Now... the only guess I can make is that seeing that you are miffed about it, so maybe you are that reviewer?


Ok then ... here's the bit from the uploading instructions that you have such an issue with;

 Description should be short and simple - example: 'Red Apple' - please don't include a story.

You practically had 'War & Peace' in the examples you posted. Like I said, you have a history of making a lot of noise when you try to skirt around the rules and then get caught out.

No, I'm not a reviewer although I have been one (elsewhere) in the past so yes, I do have some sympathy for the job that they do.


 

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