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DPChallenge Forums >> Stock Photography >> istock / shutterstock are ruining the industry
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12/07/2004 07:44:27 PM · #1
Shutterstock and iStockphoto are two of the worst things that have happened to the stock photography industry.

Reason 1: they base themselves on Royalty Free

RF is a good way to make a quick buck, but it is most viable for people who don't have Photography as their primary income. Selling images Royalty free makes no sense, when seen on a long-term basis.

Reason 2: They charge peanuts for something that is far more valuable

$3 for a high-res photograph? A subscription that lets you down-load as much as you want? No difference between commercial and non-commercial use?

Give me a break! Corbis, Alamy and the other serious agencies charge from $50 for a low-res image used with low prominence up to several thousands of dollars for high-prominence, high-res images.

The mentioned agencies trick newbie photographers and insecure amateurs into giving up their photos (which are potentially worth a lot of money, especially if you are any good) for next to no money. It isn't fair on the photographers.

Look at it this way: Would you rather sell a lot of pictures (and see them being used again and again and again, potentially making someone a lot of money through PR and advertising use) for $100, or would you rather sell one or two images, with the possibility of getting repeat business from the people who licence them for a specific use?

RF makes no sense for (most) photographers.
Selling images for low fees makes no sense for photographers.

I would strongly advise good photographers against using any of the mentioned stock agencies. If you aren't good enough to be accepted by one of the "serious" agencies, get some more practice in, or take a course or something.
12/07/2004 07:56:32 PM · #2
True!
12/07/2004 07:56:43 PM · #3
OK. Your thoughts noted.

But can tell us "newbies" where to find "serious" agencies?

I for one, if I had any idea where to go, would avoid royalty free agents like the plague. But when we have no idea on earth on where to even find a "serious" agency, let alone how to submit or what they require... well... you get the picture.

I've been trying to find a a way to "break into" freelance photography for a while now but so far haven't got a clue. Suggestions?

Message edited by author 2004-12-07 19:57:54.
12/07/2004 07:58:52 PM · #4
I wished I had a dSLR <sigh>.
12/07/2004 08:01:05 PM · #5
I hear you -- and I know for sure that I could make more money in line at Target getting an 8x10 print made in one Saturday than I have in my entire history at iStock or ShutterStock just from the people around who see the print.
12/07/2004 08:10:21 PM · #6
For those of us who aren't good enough to be accepted at the Corbises of the world, online stock agencies are an excellent way for us to practice and develop the necessary chops. I have photographs taken for photo class assignments last year that are making me money at the aforementioned sites. Otherwise they would have been sitting on a CD on my shelf, ignored.

My shutterstock portfolio. If you think any of these would be worthy of Corbis, holler.

//www.shutterstock.com/gallery.mhtml?id=934
12/07/2004 08:19:06 PM · #7
Originally posted by ahaze:

For those of us who aren't good enough to be accepted at the Corbises of the world, online stock agencies are an excellent way for us to practice and develop the necessary chops. I have photographs taken for photo class assignments last year that are making me money at the aforementioned sites. Otherwise they would have been sitting on a CD on my shelf, ignored.

My shutterstock portfolio. If you think any of these would be worthy of Corbis, holler.

//www.shutterstock.com/gallery.mhtml?id=934


Absolutely agree. I'm still waiting for views on my DPCPrints account.

I guess the only thing left to do is follow a star around LA. 1 photo= 6 or 7 figures.

Message edited by author 2004-12-07 20:20:09.
12/07/2004 08:25:46 PM · #8
Maybe I can just win the lottery, retire, do photography full time and open up a little shop...and all of you who want to get some exposure can just get your prints made up and hang them on my walls for sale -- at 50% of course.
12/07/2004 08:29:42 PM · #9
To sell your prints, you have to be a tireless salesperson. Just having a portfolio on some website called "DPCPrints" (which is totally meaningless to the person wanting to find you) is not going to be enough. I agree with the sentiments that these kind of sites undersell the submitting photographers talents. Still, they seem to be a reality in the modern stock photography world. It's best to accept their existence and move on.

I, for one, will never be uploading any pics to these lowball sites. It's just a matter of not wanting to cheapen any future value I might want to cash in on later.
12/07/2004 08:30:39 PM · #10
Alamy is the obvious choice if you have few credentials, as they only look at your photo quality when they choose if they want you or not - they are, however, not very good for news images, and they have many other flaws.

If you do have credentials (i.e work full-time as a photographer, or similar), Corbis or Getty Images are two of the heavy-weights. For the press market, Camera Press is quite famous as well.

Most countries have their own stock agencies and photography distributors too, however. Norway has ScanPix, for example, and if you shoot for editorial use, many news agencies have photography sections.

There are also many specialised agencies, that deal only with sports images (such as Maziarz), medical images (such as CMSP) or boating images (Keith Pritchard's website).

Basically, if you are serious about making money off photography in general, and stock photography especially, get in the business properly - don't waste your time selling your images for nothing.

There is also a Photographer's Handbook, published yearly, which has loads of important tips, contacts etc. Probably the best investment you can possibly make, next after a decent camera, some lenses, and a good backpack.
12/07/2004 08:32:30 PM · #11
Originally posted by ahaze:

My shutterstock portfolio. If you think any of these would be worthy of Corbis, holler.


Not corbis. But if you have them in high enough res, these three would probably be accepted at Alamy, and be likely to sell: link / link / link.
12/07/2004 08:51:17 PM · #12
istock and shutterstock were inevitable! Digital has made amateur photography accessible to MANY more people and raised the quality of the results they can produce. Ignore istock and shutterstock for a moment and look around the rest of the internet.... it's saturated with "good" photography. Given the volume of photographs available and the current demand, istock and shutterstock are selling images for what they are worth. If you examine the images on these sites and then browse the rights managed work on corbis you will notice a difference. istock and shutterstock do not devalue great photography, but they have raised the bar of good photography. The only answer is to be better than a majority of the photographers in the market and push yourself to a higher level. I may never produce great work, but I'm not expecting anybody to protect the price I can charge for my average images.
12/07/2004 08:56:44 PM · #13
All I am saying that if you have ever rated in the top 20 or so in a DPC challenge, you can do better than iStock and Shutterstock. Trust me. DPC is a critical bunch.
12/07/2004 09:01:08 PM · #14
Originally posted by SharQ:

All I am saying that if you have ever rated in the top 20 or so in a DPC challenge, you can do better than iStock and Shutterstock. Trust me. DPC is a critical bunch.


Place: 21 out of 638 -- does that count or am I not quite there yet?
12/07/2004 09:01:16 PM · #15
Alamy size requirements:

48 MB minimum. We strongly recommend that digital camera images are captured on a digital camera capable of producing files of 17MB and upwards. Please then interpolate the images to a minimum of 48MB using professional upsizing software. We recommend Genuine Fractals (//www.lizardtech.com) for the best results.

Sharpening is not acceptable. - this rules out most of my portfolio prior to now.

I'd be interested in seeing if anyone gets into Alamy and makes any "real" money.

M
12/07/2004 09:07:09 PM · #16
Originally posted by mavrik:

Alamy size requirements:

48 MB minimum. We strongly recommend that digital camera images are captured on a digital camera capable of producing files of 17MB and upwards. Please then interpolate the images to a minimum of 48MB using professional upsizing software. We recommend Genuine Fractals (//www.lizardtech.com) for the best results.......


Like I said earlier: "I wished I had a dSLR <sigh>"
12/07/2004 09:08:48 PM · #17
Originally posted by mavrik:

I'd be interested in seeing if anyone gets into Alamy and makes any "real" money.


I am a member of a few photography unions and interest groups. I know of several people who live off their stock work, pulling in several thousand dollars a month from Alamy sales - in addition to specialised sales.

So yes, it is perfectly possible.

For myself, I merely see my stock sales as a bonus, as most of my work is commissioned, but once you have the photos, not submitting them as stock is a bit silly - it's free money, after all!

-h

edit: if anyone is interested, //www.kamps.org/g/?alamy is my current stock portfolio with Alamy.

Message edited by author 2004-12-07 21:09:42.
12/07/2004 09:09:26 PM · #18
Originally posted by SharQ:

Originally posted by mavrik:

I'd be interested in seeing if anyone gets into Alamy and makes any "real" money.


I am a member of a few photography unions and interest groups. I know of several people who live off their stock work, pulling in several thousand dollars a month from Alamy sales - in addition to specialised sales.

So yes, it is perfectly possible.

For myself, I merely see my stock sales as a bonus, as most of my work is commissioned, but once you have the photos, not submitting them as stock is a bit silly - it's free money, after all!

-h


I mean someone from here. Just another Joe Blow with a 10D or something.

M
12/07/2004 09:10:55 PM · #19
Originally posted by mavrik:

I mean someone from here. Just another Joe Blow with a 10D or something.


If this Joe Blow is a decent photographer, there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to make some money - if not a decent living - off stock photography.
12/07/2004 09:11:43 PM · #20
I just hadd two of what I thought were great photos rejected by both shutterstoc and istock. Could someone tell me what is wrong with them?

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12/07/2004 09:12:13 PM · #21
One of the issues that SharQ fails to address here is the FACT that most of these rights managed stock companies simply won't touch an amateur photogrpher... period. Those agencies won't even look at you unless you have a LARGE portfolio of stock images right off the bat (500, for instance).

I don't shoot for the purpose of selling stock. I shoot whatever I feel like shooting. If it would work as a stock image, I upload it to one of the royalty free sites.

I'm waiting for SharQ to simply say that he feels like the royalty free stock market is hurting the sales of the rights managed stock companies.

In some cases it does, but mostly it does not.

12/07/2004 09:14:27 PM · #22
Travis,

The eagle's head is completely white - totally blown out and no detail on the top of his head. It's also chopping his body in half and there's too much room above his head. That's my guess on that one.

The second is also too bright, the bars interfere with the view and there's not much of a market for an image like this - would be my guess on that one.

M
12/07/2004 09:14:40 PM · #23
Originally posted by SharQ:

if anyone is interested, //www.kamps.org/g/?alamy is my current stock portfolio with Alamy.


How are you getting 48MB- or even the 17MB they recommend- file sizes from your 10D?

edt: and while I'm at it, why are they more concerned with the file size than image dimensions??

Message edited by author 2004-12-07 21:27:59.
12/07/2004 09:15:11 PM · #24
Originally posted by SharQ:

If this Joe Blow is a decent photographer, there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to make some money - if not a decent living - off stock photography.


Define decent then.

//www.shutterstock.com/gallery.mhtml?id=137

That decent?
12/07/2004 09:18:47 PM · #25
Originally posted by Travis99:

I just hadd two of what I thought were great photos rejected by both shutterstoc and istock. Could someone tell me what is wrong with them?


Both sites will likely have given you an indication in the rejection email they sent you. I've had all but 8 of my photos rejected by canstock, mostly for being too noisy. Shutterstock as accepted 26- (that is all but 1 that I've submitted and I've made the most $$ from them thus far), istock accepted 16, dreamstime 19. Most of my rejections were for noise issues. The amusing thing is that some of my rejections are the most popular downloads I have on the sites that accepted them.
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