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01/09/2006 05:36:19 PM · #51
To answer a couple of your questions, and whether or not I have anything against it...yes, I do. Because it hurts the industry as a whole...there is no doubt about it. These HUGE companies are selling photos for pennies and they're making money and hurting the little guys...both smaller stock agencies as well as stock photographers who are (or used to be) self-employed and self-marketed are taking a big hit because of this somewhat-new trend.

There's no doubt that it helps to get some extra money to buy a lens and everything...but what about a year from now or two years from now when you're ready to really push yourself and you want to venture out on your own and make a substantial income from photography...then the market will be saturated with thousands of new photographers that are just trying to afford a new lens or make a couple extra dollars from the pictures they 'have lying around'.

It's great to have photography as a hobby...and a lot of hobby, weekend warriors are producing photos just as good, if not better, than a lot of the seasoned pros out there.

It's always taken the will to succeed, the drive, the motivation to be a success in the field, but this just makes it that much harder.

I definately don't have the time to sit and read through this all, because I've sat and read through it all a hundred times. Sorry if I repeated anything that was already said.
01/09/2006 05:51:35 PM · #52
Well for me it is a way to make money sitting home in my part time...I enjoy Stock photography and this is a great way for me to make extra money to buy gear that I would not have gotten if I never made money from these sites. I am a stay at home mom. I could sell my prints at other places but I like being able to make money even if I am not working at it. I am having another Baby in like 8 weeks and I can take time away from the computer and I will still make money. I live in a very small mining town in the middle of no where. there is no where here I can go out and sell prints to...So for me this is a great way to make a bit of extra money and have fun.

I have had my photos in Books, magazines like Photoshop , TV and even at the Live 8 Concert and I love it. It makes me very happy and excited and I don't think about all the money I could have made, I think how great it is they picked my image to use.

I guess It just works for me
Melissa
01/09/2006 05:53:58 PM · #53
Originally posted by melking23:


I have had my photos in Books, magazines like Photoshop , TV and even at the Live 8 Concert and I love it. It makes me very happy and excited and I don't think about all the money I could have made, I think how great it is they picked my image to use.

I guess It just works for me
Melissa


So you seriously don't care if you could have made thousands of dollars compared to your (maybe) $200 that you did end up getting if you just put a little bit more work into your marketing?

Serious question there...not trying to start anything.
01/09/2006 06:02:40 PM · #54
I just don't think I would have gotton my photos out there for these people to use if it was not for these sites, but I look at it like this...if I never had them up on these sites than they never would have gotten downloaded and they would still be on my hard drive right now. I don't really have the time to be putting full time hours into this. I Design websites and do all kind of design work too when I have time. I went to college for two years but never had a full time job at it because I wanted to stay at home with the kids. So I just work from home and I love it.

Melissa

Originally posted by dpaull:

Originally posted by melking23:


I have had my photos in Books, magazines like Photoshop , TV and even at the Live 8 Concert and I love it. It makes me very happy and excited and I don't think about all the money I could have made, I think how great it is they picked my image to use.

I guess It just works for me
Melissa


So you seriously don't care if you could have made thousands of dollars compared to your (maybe) $200 that you did end up getting if you just put a little bit more work into your marketing?

Serious question there...not trying to start anything.

01/09/2006 06:08:59 PM · #55
Some people are into photography because they like making great images and like seeing people's reaction to the images. Not all are interested in the money. For these types of people the micro stock sites are fun and easy.

When you try to make a living off something it can take all the fun out of it.

I give my images away free to anyone that asks. I'm just proud they'd want to use something I did. I don't think I'm selling myself short.
01/09/2006 06:25:16 PM · #56
I think the thing that traditionalists are failing to appreciate is that micro stock is selling to an entirely different and new market to traditional macro stock photography.

20 years ago every little club, society and non-profit organisation didn't create their own monthly newsletters - a few might have had a kind member type something up on the old typewriter but most didn't. Ordinary folks didn't have access to home computing and powerful desktop layout and publishing software. Even wordprocessing applications now provide desktop layout features.

20 years ago there were no websites. You don't need me to tell you how many millions there are now.

Both these two examples are two huge markets that simply would not pay the prices charged by traditional stock agencies. Many don't require the sheer quality on offer in traditional stock agencies and it doesn't make sense for them to pay for more than they need. They are looking for simple, reasonably good and not hugely high resolution images for use in small distribution situations.

A huge and distinct market still exists for traditional macro stock photography - newspaper and magazine editors, graphic and advertising designers are looking not just for good images but for stunning images and what's more those images have to be at sufficient quality/ resolution to work on a billboard, magazine front cover, bus shelter poster etc. This market will continue to pay the higher prices charged by the traditional stock photography agencies in exchange for the knowledge that the images they are sifting through are all of sufficient quality for their requirements and that the dregs have been sifted out for them already.

Two different markets, two different types of agencies.

I do believe that amateur photographers who have the talent and equipment too should strongly consider putting their best work for sale with the traditional macro stock photography agencies. No question.

But there are many amateurs who either don't quite have the skill, or more likely here on DPC, don't have the right equipment. At first glance (looking at a web preview) their work looks bloody fantastic but it simply wouldn't pass muster with the macro stock sites. They can still make respectable money from their efforts, often efforts which are simply pleasure/ hobby time stuff anyway.

:o)
01/09/2006 06:52:20 PM · #57
I can\'t resist adding my pittence here either.

The folks who continue making this a relativism arguement are really not listening to the issue. I will try to summarize it: Those photographers who are uploading \'good\' photographs to microstock agencies are hurting photographers who depend on the income they receive from stock.

Now I will elaborate on a few points. First, If you are just another point-and-shooter, and most likely if you are reading this on dpchallenge you are not, then fine, go ahead and sell your shots on crapstock.com. But, if you have images that are good enough to be submitted here or that you are proud to show friends and family or that would make you happy were they published, then at least ask for a minimum of $25. This is an arbitrary number roughly based on the going rate of 8x10 prints sold at tourist spots around the US. And even small publications can afford this (their membership dues are probably more costly).

Second, There is no great divide between making photos for money and making photos for personal pleasure; in fact most pro photogs love what they do. So don\'t think that by asking for a few bucks it will cheapen your experience. Furthermore, giving your photos away is fine... to an extent; you wanna donate your images to local papers, your church, a friendly business owner, fine. It is when you give your property away to strangers that you start looking like a cheap prostitute.

Third, it does NOT take any more time to upload to photographers direct or alamy. So if you work two jobs and shoot on the weekends and can only upload your photos sunday night after the kids go to bed - then you have plenty of time to ask for the $$$ you deserve.

Fourth, maybe photographers should unionize. We can begin by supporting one another and boycotting microstock agencies. And we can follow by blacklisting any company that purchases photography well below their budget to do so.

Fifth, I first came across this debate as a writer. Folks were saying the same things: people who give thier writing away are killing the livlihood of freelance writers. Well, freelance writing is still around, albeit a much tougher way to make a living. I believe that photography will be the same. In the end, quality photographs will still be needed and the best images will still fetch a decent price.

Sixth, You wouldn't even try to sell your old coffee mug at a yard sale for less than 50 cents. Why the hell would you think your photography isn't worth evn that much.

Seventh, This arguement is timeless. The cycle is viscious. We do this to ourselves and gripe about it. It is not necessarily all Wall-Marts fault - the laziness and apathy of the people who shop there are to blame as well. But they will always shop there...

I probably have more to say but will stop here. It makes me very sad that, as a society, we no longer cherish quality, that our ethical value system is so skewed, and that the arts are so plundered by consumerism and a desire for that 15 minutes of fame (even if no one will remember who you are in the end).

With deep regret and a sustaining joy of photography

CW Lawrence

//www.pbase.com/charleswilliam3
01/09/2006 07:02:42 PM · #58
Originally posted by cwlawrence:



... You wouldn't even try to sell your old coffee mug at a yard sale for less than 50 cents. Why the hell would you think your photography isn't worth at least as much?



This is the best argument I have heard on this debate in some time.

(I edited cw's post a bit for punctuation and clarity.)
01/09/2006 08:35:49 PM · #59
Originally posted by melking23:

I just don't think I would have gotton my photos out there for these people to use if it was not for these sites, but I look at it like this...if I never had them up on these sites than they never would have gotten downloaded and they would still be on my hard drive right now. I don't really have the time to be putting full time hours into this. I Design websites and do all kind of design work too when I have time. I went to college for two years but never had a full time job at it because I wanted to stay at home with the kids. So I just work from home and I love it.

Melissa


I've looked at your portfolio, you should be stepping up to get more cash. Not only is it more income per image, it's a higher percentage rate of the sale.

01/10/2006 05:19:40 AM · #60
Originally posted by dpaull:

To answer a couple of your questions, and whether or not I have anything against it...yes, I do. Because it hurts the industry as a whole...there is no doubt about it.

So it's protectionism, pure and simple.

I do at least give you credit for honesty. You want other people to modify their behaviour to protect your own market.

Welcome to capitalism. The world has found a cheaper way to produce stock photography - if you're an "old world" stock photographer you can either adapt, or die. Either outcompete them on quality and/or cost, or you cease to be profitable.

General Ludd would be proud of you.
01/10/2006 07:14:18 AM · #61
Well thank you very much! Right now I don't have to time to step it up but maybe in the Future I might give it a try. Thanks

Melissa

Originally posted by Brent_Ward:

Originally posted by melking23:

I just don't think I would have gotton my photos out there for these people to use if it was not for these sites, but I look at it like this...if I never had them up on these sites than they never would have gotten downloaded and they would still be on my hard drive right now. I don't really have the time to be putting full time hours into this. I Design websites and do all kind of design work too when I have time. I went to college for two years but never had a full time job at it because I wanted to stay at home with the kids. So I just work from home and I love it.

Melissa


I've looked at your portfolio, you should be stepping up to get more cash. Not only is it more income per image, it's a higher percentage rate of the sale.

01/10/2006 09:09:52 AM · #62
Originally posted by melking23:

Well thank you very much! Right now I don't have to time to step it up but maybe in the Future I might give it a try. Thanks

Melissa

Originally posted by Brent_Ward:

Originally posted by melking23:

I just don't think I would have gotton my photos out there for these people to use if it was not for these sites, but I look at it like this...if I never had them up on these sites than they never would have gotten downloaded and they would still be on my hard drive right now. I don't really have the time to be putting full time hours into this. I Design websites and do all kind of design work too when I have time. I went to college for two years but never had a full time job at it because I wanted to stay at home with the kids. So I just work from home and I love it.

Melissa


I've looked at your portfolio, you should be stepping up to get more cash. Not only is it more income per image, it's a higher percentage rate of the sale.


Just a quick question. Have you looked at agencies such as Alamy?
If you have, what has been the reason why you do not submit to them?
I made 150 dollars (probably around a 1000 downloads) at shutterstock a year back then decided to pull
everything because I was selling myself short. I recently made ONE sale at Alamy with a small portfolio that was DOUBLE what I made at shutterstock with 1000 downloads.
01/10/2006 09:37:55 AM · #63
Originally posted by Damian:

Just a quick question. Have you looked at agencies such as Alamy?
If you have, what has been the reason why you do not submit to them?
I made 150 dollars (probably around a 1000 downloads) at shutterstock a year back then decided to pull
everything because I was selling myself short. I recently made ONE sale at Alamy with a small portfolio that was DOUBLE what I made at shutterstock with 1000 downloads.


I have about 5000 images online if you count all the sites I sell to...out of these images I might get 100 - 200 big enough and good enough for sites like Alamy. I cannot see me making the same kind of money I do with the sites I am on now. I get checks all the time, I don't have to wait and hope I sell one print to get paid....I am selling alot of images all the time.

Melissa
01/10/2006 09:44:58 AM · #64
Originally posted by melking23:

Originally posted by Damian:

Just a quick question. Have you looked at agencies such as Alamy?
If you have, what has been the reason why you do not submit to them?
I made 150 dollars (probably around a 1000 downloads) at shutterstock a year back then decided to pull
everything because I was selling myself short. I recently made ONE sale at Alamy with a small portfolio that was DOUBLE what I made at shutterstock with 1000 downloads.


I have about 5000 images online if you count all the sites I sell to...out of these images I might get 100 - 200 big enough and good enough for sites like Alamy. I cannot see me making the same kind of money I do with the sites I am on now. I get checks all the time, I don't have to wait and hope I sell one print to get paid....I am selling alot of images all the time.

Melissa


Just so you know, you do not have to pull your images with shutterstock,istock etc. You can test the waters with something like Alamy while making money @ shutterstock. Although I wouldnt recommend using the same images for both.
01/10/2006 09:51:45 AM · #65
Originally posted by Brent_Ward:

[I've looked at your portfolio, you should be stepping up to get more cash. Not only is it more income per image, it's a higher percentage rate of the sale.


I heartily second this opinion!
01/10/2006 10:28:17 AM · #66
Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Those photographers who are uploading \'good\' photographs to microstock agencies are hurting photographers who depend on the income they receive from stock.


Markets change. Photographers are not exempt from that. Every other industry/profession has changed over the years. The successful people roll with their industry and adapt/evolve. Companies that make cell phones, DVD players, VCRs and calculators canít sell their product at the same profit margins today compared to 10-20 years ago. Law of supply and demand, more photographers taking more photos = lower prices.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

If you are just another point-and-shooter, and most likely if you are reading this on dpchallenge you are not, then fine, go ahead and sell your shots on crapstock.com. But, if you have images that are good enough to be submitted here or that you are proud to show friends and family or that would make you happy were they published, then at least ask for a minimum of $25.


I think some people would argue that they make more total money with micro stock with less effort. That is up to the individual (I have no opinion on it as I have not researched it). ButÖ not everyone submitting to micro stock has the right equipment to submit to the bigger sites either.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

There is no great divide between making photos for money and making photos for personal pleasure; in fact most pro photogs love what they do. So don\'t think that by asking for a few bucks it will cheapen your experience.


Different strokes for different folks. I shoot what I like to shoot. If people want to buy those images, COOL. If I were shooting for profit to make a living, Iíd be shooting things I think people would buy, or weddings and screaming kids. I wouldnít enjoy it as much. I have a friend that is a full time professional photographer and he rarely shoots when he is not working/getting paid.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Furthermore, giving your photos away is fine... to an extent; you wanna donate your images to local papers, your church, a friendly business owner, fine. It is when you give your property away to strangers that you start looking like a cheap prostitute.


To clarify, I give my images away to anyone that asks if itís to hang on a wall. I only charge the cost of printing as I usually wonít give out the digital file. I wouldnít give them to someone that would profit off them. If someone wants to hang something I took on their wall, pride is enough profit for me. I do give my images to a local non-profit place that gives me photo credit and returns the favor as well.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Third, it does NOT take any more time to upload to photographers direct or alamy. So if you work two jobs and shoot on the weekends and can only upload your photos sunday night after the kids go to bed - then you have plenty of time to ask for the $$$ you deserve.


Good to know. Now that I shoot mostly with a camera that they will accept I might look into them. For the record I have about 50 photos each on three different micro stock sites. Iíve spent all of 3-4 hours over the last two years on it. Iím not looking to make a big chunk of money so I donít put much effort into it.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Fourth, maybe photographers should unionize. We can begin by supporting one another and boycotting microstock agencies. And we can follow by blacklisting any company that purchases photography well below their budget to do so.


Trying to fix or fight the market is usually not a good idea (exception, before OSHA and child labor laws). Iíd recommend adapting and evolving. Plus, itís a whole different rant, but Iíd never suggest unionizing as I bet that would only push more people to submit to the micro stock sites to avoid the fees and regulations that come from a union.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Fifth, I first came across this debate as a writer. Folks were saying the same things: people who give thier writing away are killing the livlihood of freelance writers. Well, freelance writing is still around, albeit a much tougher way to make a living. I believe that photography will be the same. In the end, quality photographs will still be needed and the best images will still fetch a decent price.


Youíll come across this same debate in every field sooner or later. Discount brokers in real estate, overseas programmers, telemarketers and tech support, do it yourself booksÖ

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Sixth, You wouldn't even try to sell your old coffee mug at a yard sale for less than 50 cents. Why the hell would you think your photography isn't worth evn that much.


If I could re-sell the same cup thousands of times for less then .50 each time I would do it in a heartbeat with a big smile on my face.

Originally posted by cwlawrence:

Seventh, This arguement is timeless. The cycle is viscious. We do this to ourselves and gripe about it. It is not necessarily all Wall-Marts fault - the laziness and apathy of the people who shop there are to blame as well. But they will always shop there...


Damn people for wanting low prices and damn businesses for giving us low prices!!!!
01/10/2006 06:59:35 PM · #67
Originally posted by Damian:


Just so you know, you do not have to pull your images with shutterstock,istock etc. You can test the waters with something like Alamy while making money @ shutterstock. Although I wouldnt recommend using the same images for both.


Thanks, maybe I will look into this later.
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