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

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

  1. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I didn't think he was talked about the news side of stock, but he mentiond Getty and didn't have a real understanding of how they worked. c.cloudwalker is right about stock, I used to do pretty well in the film days/before computer days, when shooting solid images right out of the camera was what sold. There is now a larger stock market for computer generated photo assisted images. Good stock is still required, just not the way it was. I'm sure there are photographers out there still making a living at it, my guess would be they made most of their money in the film days, became well established, made a name for themselves and are working off that side, I do expect that they aren't making the money they used to.

    If Hockeystarz has come up with something new, then good for him, I hope it works.


     
  2. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the support and help imagemaker. I'll get back with our landing page and final idea soon, we're working hard at it. KMH, the rules have changed and we're looking to change them even more. There is plenty of great content out there not being tapped into. Would love if you guys could all give us feedback on the idea later on. Have a great day.
     
  3. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are plenty of outlets currently for all kind of content, good and bad. There is also plenty of content already being licensed, actually more than enough, good and bad.

    What you mean is "there's a lot of content out there that people think is awesome and they should be paid for, but isn't really saleable and nobody really wants to pay for it".
     
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  4. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    I think i'm talking about the concept incorrectly from the photographers point of view. Yea, there is a lot of photography out there that can already be tapped into. I think there is better stuff that can be done for the consumer, that would lead them to more easily finding the exact image they need. The concept needs to be plated with but stuff can be done there.
     
  5. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    I know the thread has gone further but what's quoted above is way off track.

    You Apply for membership to some stock agencies and have to pass a test to be accepted. That's the best four or five. Personally after the top two, they aren't worth the time. Then AFTER you get accepted, you send photos for review, which are accepted or rejected based on commercial value, quality and what that site may think sells for their buyers. All sites don't want the same things. I don't know of anywhere that is culling old photos at this time, but it's a possibility.

    RM is rights managed, Microstock does sell that and RF is what most of them are selling, which is rights free. (not free, but includes model or property release so the person paying for the download and license can use it) The prices of both of these are moving closer together, the old wisdom that there's some big money difference, is antiquated. Micro sites didn't used to sell Editorial, now they are promoting that aspect. Many of the old larger RM sites are finding they have stiff competition and are lowering prices, so the income from that will be dropping. Print media like newspapers are gettng heavily discounted image licenses from old RM agencies, because Micro RF has nibbled into their sales and profits. It's a jungle out there!

    RF can get you 25 cents starting from ShutterStock, and in my opinion they are the best because they make the most sales, so bottom line, more money in the bank. iStock (owned by Getty) will get better license fees, but sells less for many people. Volume or dollars? It ends up close to the same. iStock has just started forcing it's independent contributors into ThinkStock which is competing with ShutterStock and is a subscription service paying 28c a download. At SS once you reach $500 in sales, you will get 33c a download, so again SS ends up better in the long run. The next agencies are a big drop, maybe half the earnings, for most people, of IS or SS. The others are cutting commissions, making more rejections and tightening their belts. There's one where basically everything is approved as long as it's over 5MP. Needless to say, they have low or no sales, because it's clogged with non-commercial images.

    Flickr, I won't even post camera phone shots there. If it was a good one, someone will steal it in 15 seconds. The tie from Flickr to Getty is by acceptance and after that, limited submissions, which are also reviewed. Not easy.

    It appears that people with 1000 images accepted, can make some income. Maybe $500 a year maybe more, it depends on what they shoot and how much need there is from the buyers. More unusual and marketable images, more money. Shoot apples isolated on white and you'll make much less. But both will sell. Some people claim the return per image is $1 per year. Some say they make $2 and that's with multiple sites. The more someone works and produces and builds a big collection, the more they will make from commissions, it's a matter of building.D

    Does someone want to work four hours a day, making 15 new images a week? Edit, keyword, upload, investing time and money? Then have them reviewed, some rejected, and hope that in a year, you'll make $800 for a years work? Once a collection is built the sales of the good images will repeat, that's the whole benefit of MicroStock. Repeat sales, volume sales at low prices. It's not like traditional stock where you might sell something for hundreds, one time or have an exclusive RM license for a couple of years. Whole different party.

    Buyers aren't living in a void, they know which are the biggest and best stock agencies. They know that after 15 million images, they can find pretty much anything they want on ShutterStock. Or that if they want single images from a collection with more business oriented shots, maybe iStock is the place? That's why the new sites, opening by the hundreds, failing every two years, have a problem. The two big established sites are reliable, well stocked and easy to deal with.

    I've had my tag line for probably five years now ( Shutterstock :: Make money with your photos! ) and nine people have joined ShutterStock using my referral link. Not one has ever been accepted and uploaded one image, let alone sold one. It's not just a matter of taking out your P&S, walking around the neighborhood or shooting things around the house, and getting to be a member and make money. :lol: The people who do make good money from Micro, (Most of them, there are exceptions) work hard, hire models, do location shoots, have studio settings, use DSLRs often a Canon 5D or High end Nikon of similar standing, own some lighting, soft boxes, alien bees, reflectors, or much more than on camera flash.. Some are individuals, but many of the top earners have teams and run as a professional business, editors, submitters, multiple photographers. Some of the top shooters were professional photographers before they went into MicroStock. And then there are people like me who find it an entertaining HOBBY where I shoot something if I see it, or get an idea and don't care if it makes $1 a year or nothing.

    There are people who depend on the income and are out of work graphic designers, it's not all photography. Stay at home Mom's or Dad's with free time and in fact, some nice free models! Oh be prepared to have model releases, property releases, and know your legal requirements for selling images, or what you can't sell! Yes, the web is full of free images, but many people thing the web is free and will "borrow" images from a site for nothing until you file a DMCA and guess what, once you have them take down the stolen image, you get nothing! Kind of like catching a shop lifter exiting a store and the penalty is, they give back the item. Not even, oops, I forgot and they buy it, they just hand it back and walk away. There's little protection for artists on the web, the way it is right now. SAD.

    I'll close with the challenge for anyone who has any interest, even if it's just for fun. Follow this link, pass the test and get one image accepted. Not even make a sale, just get onto ShutterStock as a contributor with one image. Then come back and explain how easy or hard it is to make money with crowd-sourced images. Shutterstock :: Make money with your photos! I'll bet not one person can join, using the link so I can follow along as only NEW entries count, and get an image accepted.

    Some critics say it's just snapshots and not real photography. Actually it can be more critical than shooting "art" and expression images. Technical demands are high, sharp, no artifacts, no CA, no noise, and after that it needs to be something that's marketable to buyers. First hint, don't even bother with shallow depth of field on your application images. :( High ISO, I don't think so. Heavily edit or filtered, hit the road Jack. No trademarks or logos and humans need model releases, even if you can't see their face.

    Considering all this, you want to start an agency? You might want to investigate the competition and the hundreds of sites, losing their shirts, on crowd-sourced images. Just the same, you may want to open HockeyStarz Burgers in between a McDonalds and Burger King, with a Hardee's across the street. ???
     
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  6. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What, are you inventing keywording, or categories, or searching by color? The various agencies have spent years on searching. What eureka do you think you have that you've come up with in four days, that isn't out there?
     
  7. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    I agree that agencies have been working on search for years and it is great, which is why we will never try to compete with them on that. There are a lot of other ways to innovate and we have found one. We'd love for you to check our site out when it's up and give us your honest feedback. Open invitation for everyone who see's this (domain to be put on here in the near future.)
     
  8. orljustin

    orljustin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can't wait. Are you going to let pesky things like model releases and licensing terms get in your way?
     
  9. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Funny I looked and no one is taking me up on the challenge to just get accepted and have one picture on ShutterStock. :D

    Anyway, Hockey and I will take the discussion to email so I don't bore you all with the reality check and possibly negative aspects. There are many good parts to Microstock, I was just looking at the current Race To The Bottom that agencies are involved in. Cutting commissions, cutting prices, chopping at sellers for who they sell at. Oh except for SS who just added a 20% minimum single image commission to the already top program. (others are 15% or 13% or worse!)

    They were the best in many people's opinion. I think they gained some more fans. :)

    I promise to help anyone interested get accepted and pass the entrance test. Just for using my referral link: http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=111418

     
  10. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    Maybe one day I will try, not yet with my current photography skills, but thanks for the challenge.
     
  11. mavrik

    mavrik TPF Noob!

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    Anything you can create as a new microstock industry, istock and shutterstock will instantly copy. Think about Vivozoom. They had a great idea - we're going to guarantee our images and protect the buyer from any lawsuits about the use of them - in copyright, model releases, ANYTHING. They warranted that all images on site were legal to use.

    About a month later, iStock, Shutterstock and Fotolia followed suit. Vivozoom now claims to be the "first" in the industry and their main page mentions iStock because they have to or they're dead.

    Anything you can do in a month, iStock/Getty can do in about 5 minutes. Contributors to micro sites have started their own site - if they don't know what's wrong with the current model, how do you when you don't seem to have a grasp of that current model?
     
  12. Hockeystarz

    Hockeystarz TPF Noob!

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    Maverick you make a very good point. Something that we are definitely currently thinking through. It's all about building a loyal community to make sure your customers stay with you. Our differentiation will deffinitely seperate us from the micro sites and stock sites. It's just about making sure we can execute it really well. If we get great quality non-cheesy images then we will hit our niche and be off the the races. If not it will be a slippery slope. All the challenges and risks that come with starting a business especially in a crowded space. However, when we hit our niche the space will be a lot more wide open. Thanks for the input
     

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