Issues with Stock Photography....Need your advice and experience

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Hockeystarz, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    The past couple of months I have had numerous friends complain to me about shooting for stock photography sites and how trying to get some supplemental income from them is near impossible. I have also been looking through stock photography sites to find images for some websites I was involved in and have had very little success. These two scenarios led me to want to build something better than the current option.

    I would love to hear what good and bad experiences you have had with taking pictures for stock photography and with using stock sites to search for photos. All feedback will help create a business that will be a better alternative.


     
  2. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    How do you plan on shifting the current paradigm?
     
  3. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    I wanted to get more feedback to find where the real problems are with stock photography and which ideas are worth pursuing. This will help us further develop the idea and then we can go into details.
     
  4. 2WheelPhoto

    2WheelPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I talked to a guy here in FL that has a successful business, builds pool cages and high-end screen rooms and such. I commented his web site is awesome, and asked who shot the pics for him. "Those aren't of my work". Ok, I asked which stock photo site did he purchase them from and the reply was "Google images, you mean people sell that stuff?".

    So I asked several other business owners and got close to the same response.

    Not right, but I found thats how it is around Tampa.
     
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  5. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply 2 wheel. A lot of people do steal pictures, which is not right and a lot of sites are cracking down on that. We want to make it easy for people to find the exact image they're looking for. Also photographers should have channels to distribute their work collectively. From research I have found the stock sites have all of the power and give very little percentage of the sale to the artists supplying the pictures.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Supply and demand. There are millions of people who own good cameras...

    The market is probably saturated with average/good photos...so the stock agencies don't have to pay much for them. As with just about anything, there is money to be made at the top of the market, where there is much less competition...but you have to be really good to get those top quality stock photos.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Mike hits the nail on the head.

    You also seem to be missing the fact there are 2 stock image licensing models: Royalty-Free (RF, which pays pennies) and Rights-Managed (RF, which pays dollars).

    Most trying to enter the stock photography market don't have images of a high enough quality, or of marketable subject matter to warrant a stock house charge RF license rates for the work.
     
  8. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The alternative is to shoot good, technically proficient, and most importantly, saleable stock photos of interesting subjects. The above tells me that you and your friends are just likely shooting random things you come upon or shots that are not up to industry standards. Wasting time trying to build something will not help that. There is no rule out there that says everyone with a camera gets to make money from shooting stock.
     
  9. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The stock photo world is so over-saturated with poor quality images and everyone still see it as a way to make lots of "extra" money. The big stock agencies are still looking for high quality images, but they have to be exceptional, and the average camera owners looking to make the "extra" money don't have the creative skills to supply them with what they may be selling. Money can still be made from shooting stock, but it takes money to make the money, it takes being in locations that the can offer up the best images. There are some "agencies" that boast having millions of free images for use, who is shooting all this stuff for them? The people that figure just by sending them photos they will get something back, that doesn't happen. I know photographers with skills that have been sending extra images( they were being paid by someone else to shoot an event) from shoots to the bigger agencies and after a couple of years they have made less than a $100 on sales from the pictures. It's a tough area to make money, even for the skilled professionals.

    I supply specific images to an agency in Japan, and have been doing this for 12 years, even with that, I may only make a couple thousand a year from them. It is extra money as I have been on assignment for another paying client.
     
  10. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all of the responses. I understand a lot of what you guys are saying. Do you think that some people don't want to be bothered with the extra effort that goes into working with these companies and that an easier alternative would entice them to share their work. This industry is dominated by giants telling photographers what to do. The age of the internet has changed this model where now the crowd can become the ones with the power. I don't know how you feel about this, but I think it can make major changes to any industry, specifically this one.
     
  11. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What 'extra effort'? You have to shoot and process, upload and keyword. Do you expect someone else to do everything for you? It actually does take work. You don't have to 'entice' any more people than all the people that are already contributing. Oversaturation is the problem. Not the solution.The crowd thing already happened. You're 10 years too late.
     
  12. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    Can you please explain how crowd sourcing is used already? I would call stock photography more of an interview and hire process than crowd sourcing.
     

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