geogphotos

Has stock lost its Mojo?

Recommended Posts

Feeling empathy reading about a contributor who would rather rearrange his sock drawer than re-keyword images, noticing the low number of posts compared with the past, sensing that the stock industry has entered a sort of mature settled stage of the product life cycle, seeing nothing much very innovative or exciting on sites that report on stock industry movements, I wonder if, as the title says, stock has kind of got a bit....whisper it.....boring?

 

Or more likely, as I am sure somebody will kindly point out, do I need to reflect in the mirror? :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think stock has always been like a lot of professions glamorous to look at from outside but hard work day in day out. The only difference was when the floodgates opened and the tsunami of crowd sourcing came to stock photography. Like all popular movements sundry opportunities pop up like blogs writing about it, YouTube channels with tutorials, all trying to create more income off the popular trend. 

 

The biggest hurdle to stock photography is to keep yourself engaged (motivated) to produce content regularly and this is why there are less stock photography agencies (MS), as the crowd sourced contributors fall by the way. People are prone to second guess themselves to the point of defeating themselves and give up. So yes there is less hype these days and that could appear to prove your statement right but taking photos and getting paid, working to your own schedule, never boring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Normspics said:

The only difference was when the floodgates opened and the tsunami of crowd sourcing came to stock photography.

 

Interesting choice of words Norm. Back in 1971 when I was in vocational high school and had a part time job at a small stock agency, a salesman in a Manhattan camera store used the phrase "tidal wave" in his description of how stock photography would be destroyed by the new crop of 35mm automatic cameras. So I went back to the agency and asked the boss. He told me that he was told the same thing when Japanese twin-lens reflex cameras were hitting the market.

 

Back at work, we used to get dozens of submissions from new photographers every day - nothing we could use - but still, more than a mailman could carry. The glut was the target of jokes and insults, but at least, if some rejected photographer called us, we could tell them what we needed. (Nobody ever shot it - or if they did, they didn't send it to us. And I didn't shoot it for another fifteen years.).

 

From a photographer's point of view, the situation today is better than ever, all those photographers who were rejected back then could get into Alamy now and experience the market in a much more "up close" way. The market is more fair in another way too. Back then, most of the revenue went to a handful of top players while the rest of us saw nothing. Today, thanks to web-based collections, the revenue pie is cut into many more slices. We all have a shot, not just the few. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider myself part of the tsunami and do this more for the fun than any expectation of being able to pay for my very expensive trips to see my beloved wild animals. At least I have stayed away from the microstock agencies so I hope I haven't done too much of the damage to pricing. I feel foolish admitting that I think my aversion to the current image manager has slowed me down. I am finally starting to get photos up from an India trip in April. I can definitely use the money I am getting from sales but in terms of what I make hourly and pleasure from the job my cat-sitting pays better than submitting to Alamy.

 

Paulette

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Brian, Nice story and when I tried to contribute in the early eighties I could not generate the volume that was required also 35mm Kodachrome had to be exceptional shots, the preferred format being 6×6. I agree with you that Alamy has given photographers a chance of getting into stock photography along with the rise of digital and the personal confuser with broadband now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Normspics said:

@Brian, Nice story and when I tried to contribute in the early eighties I could not generate the volume that was required also 35mm Kodachrome had to be exceptional shots, the preferred format being 6×6. I agree with you that Alamy has given photographers a chance of getting into stock photography along with the rise of digital and the personal confuser with broadband now.

 

Definitely a confuser where I'm concerned. :)

 

Paulette

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll add that since my first thousand or so stock images were shot on Japanese Twin-lens reflex cameras (which could be bought used for forty or fifty bucks each back in the seventies) I was part of a previous tidal wave or two. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And Ian ... if we don't look in the mirror every now and then, how do we know when we need a haircut?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Brian Yarvin said:

And Ian ... if we don't look in the mirror every now and then, how do we know when we need a haircut?

Ian can't tell that anyway, he's got a towel on his head.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't "stock" supposed to be boring? You don't generally go to the pantry looking for excitement.

 

Perhaps the term "stock photography" has had its day. I never liked it much anyway. Unfortunately, I can't think of a good replacement. :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if Stock has lost its mojo or if it’s a question of aging, I’m sure I had mojo maybe I just misplaced it, where are my glasses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Normspics said:

Not sure if Stock has lost its mojo or if it’s a question of aging, I’m sure I had mojo maybe I just misplaced it, where are my glasses.

 

Ageing participants and arguably an ageing concept. I'm thinking back to the furore from many of the Flickr 'community' when Getty muscled in to monetise content and the backlash against people supposedly selling out for dirty old money - how could you sacrifice your art for a handful of coins? etc.

 

Seriously, if stock becomes boring then it has an existential problem. Think about how the micro-stock industry was built on fun, and the excitement of being part of a ground breaking movement and a global community. Look what happened to that! 

 

Agencies rely on us to have the motivation to do a lot of routine grunt work for ever more meagre returns. If it truly does become boring that will be an enormous problem,.

 

How many youngsters ( in their 20s) take to stock photography - those I know prefer to do personal arty work and share with others on cool websites? Or just sort of glaze over when they see what is actually entailed in stock and that it is not a short cut to easy money. 

Edited by geogphotos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Perhaps the term "stock photography" has had its day.

 

Even worse is 'royalty free'. I don't like royalty... and I don't like free...

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, John Morrison said:

 

Even worse is 'royalty free'. I don't like royalty... and I don't like free...

 

 

Do you like paying? ie) to access websites 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

Ageing participants and arguably an ageing concept. I'm thinking back to the furore from many of the Flickr 'community' when Getty muscled in to monetise content and the backlash against people supposedly selling out for dirty old money - how could you sacrifice your art for a handful of coins? etc.

 

Seriously, if stock becomes boring then it has an existential problem. Think about how the micro-stock industry was built on fun, and the excitement of being part of a ground breaking movement and a global community. Look what happened to that! 

 

Agencies rely on us to have the motivation to do a lot of routine grunt work for ever more meagre returns. If it truly does become boring that will be an enormous problem,.

 

How many youngsters ( in their 20s) take to stock photography - those I know prefer to do personal arty work and share with others on cool websites? Or just sort of glaze over when they see what is actually entailed in stock and that it is not a short cut to easy money. 

 

I'm not sure that stock photography has an existential problem. The demand for images seems healthier than ever, and "crowdsourcing" will probably ensure that there is more than enough supply, even if young people don't stick with "stock" for very long. However, I do think that, with what is happening to prices, we face an existential crises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I'm not sure that stock photography has an existential problem. The demand for images seems healthier than ever, and "crowdsourcing" will probably ensure that there is more than enough supply, even if young people don't stick with "stock" for very long. However, I do think that, with what is happening to prices, we face an existential crises.

 

I certainly lost my own mojo for stock 2-3 years ago and I submitted nothing much last year.; I am just about to give it one more short trial and then I will take the decision about what I do. I have made my views clear (more than once ;) ) on the inevitability of (generic) stock's decline, so I will not repeat myself . I do not see a total decline for photography itself though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I'm not sure that stock photography has an existential problem. The demand for images seems healthier than ever, and "crowdsourcing" will probably ensure that there is more than enough supply, even if young people don't stick with "stock" for very long. However, I do think that, with what is happening to prices, we face an existential crises.

 

Perhaps I should just be grateful that we are living in quieter times. Stock just seems all a bit beige and plodding at the moment. No doubt when the 'next big thing' does happen I'll hate it and look back to the good old days. :)

 

But there was a real buzz of excitement about Alamy and the stock industry in general that seems to have ebbed away as things have settled down into maturity. 

Edited by geogphotos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, funkyworm said:

To what extent are we masters of our own mojo?

 

I would argue we are the masters of our mojo, but its expression may be dictated by external factors beyond our control. That is why I have been writing and doing things other than stock photography. I now have a baseline to guide me and against which I can test whether there is a worthwhile opportunity to redevelop my (stock) photography; so during 2018 I will make efforts to  create new stock but it will simply be work rather than mojo driven ;).

Edited by Martin P Wilson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For an individual photographer, I think it all comes down to why you do stock.

 

For a professional/person who relies upon it for a substantial part of their income, then I guess they carry on riding the roller coaster or find some other way to make the money.

 

I am an enthusiast/hobbyist and I tend (predominantly) to take pictures of what interests me but stock gives me some purpose otherwise I would take pictures and half the time they wouldn't even make it off my memory card. So for people like me, it more comes down to an interest in taking pictures and wanting to learn to take better pictures. As a result my 'Stock mojo' will likely continue for as long as I enjoy photography.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now