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Robert Brook

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About Robert Brook

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  • Joined Alamy
    12 Dec 2002

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  1. Thanks Ian. I have just done one on this forum topic - bloke jumping out of a high window. Can't give a link here though
  2. The elephant in the room here is CGI. Technically flawless commercial imagery - products, interiors, even creeping into fashion - are now increasingly done in CGI. .
  3. One of the ones I mentioned got removed by the moderator, so I had better not say. Needless to say, those that place technology (programming, apps, platforms, neural networks are just round the corner) at the heart of their operation rather than editing, curation, art direction, etc. Traditional agencies were, possibly still are, created by photographers, tech companies by programmers, or are bolted onto existing tech operations like this one (computers, cancer research etc.). I agree about your comments on cameras. The dominant trend in commercial photography at the moment is 'authenticity'. There is legacy of over-stylised, over-composed, flawless, beautifully lit imagery which buyers don't want any more. It's actually quite difficult to produce, but the spec of camera is neither here nor there. Not that I am particularly trying myself.
  4. Ian Nothing wrong with fodder which you describe accurately, and is essential sustenance for the media world to munch away on, and I produce a quite pungent variety myself. But I now mainly place it on micro sites (or midstock as they may now more accurately) because they pay. As simple as that. The tech companies now control most of the business, and there is nothing anyone can do about that. If you are looking for a cause, the issue now is the survival of RM, and I don't see anything in your position which is supportive of this. If RM is to survive then it requires very considered work that buyers are prepared to pay for. What the tech companies are doing is closing the space in which RM can survive by offering this in special collections as RF and also offering buyouts for those who want exclusivity. Alamy is falling into line by encouraging everyone to go RF, even for images that are plastered in logos and trademarks. What RF will do in this context is enable buyers to purchase limited rights for ever decreasing amounts, just as it is happening in another place.
  5. I said 'the model'. It takes photographers to do the damage, placing their best work there, while others fill traditional agencies with piles of fodder that is largely unsaleable, then complain because it has to be sold for peanuts. Do it the other way round and many of the current problems in the industry would be resolved. The tech companies now seem to be creating a structure whereby this becomes easier. (Examples would be close-ups of signs or basic images of generic objects. Why on earth would anyone pay more than a few dollars for these or think it appropriate to place them with RM agencies, unless they are applying a very distinctive aesthetic? It makes no sense at all.)
  6. I mean both Ian. It might be that the micro companies have woken up to the fact that their model is causing the whole industry to crash, and that they will go down with it, which is causing this new trend. It's mirror image in the trad world is that you have pile 'em high sellers and smaller niche collections generally selling for more. The micros, however, are creating their own niche collections, sometimes setting higher prices than the trad agencies, and more importantly, actually selling for those prices. Buyers don't have much in the way of bargaining chips when there is a whopping great bargain basement for them to be directed to. Basic sales craft. With small trad agencies, at least one I know of in the US has been applying a firm line, selling almost exclusively for three figures to editorial clients, and occasionally more. They can do that because their collection is sufficiently well defined and has enough unique content. At Alamy, a lot of the best content comes from distributing agencies that have editors and art directors. Unfortunately this is also distributed to many other agencies including their major competitors. So, as much as it produces revenue, it won't do much to keep prices up.
  7. I'm seeing the opposite, Ian. I only put in my best material, have a near 100% acceptance rate, and the higher fees. But the majority of my output, whether I like it or not, is, in comparison, low value - unless it's news orientated. That's just reality: if we get one good piece for every twenty duds, we are doing really well. Well I am. So - is it better to put the duds in the place where they are needed, or just swell the ranks of trad agencies with useless material that makes searches such a joy for buyers? Well ... maybe actually a joy if they can use them as bargaining chips. I haven't subbed here for a couple of years, but I believe that some people who adopt that principle (here) are doing alright, without having to bung in thousands of images every year.
  8. Hello Richard It goes right across the board, but it's the tech companies that are doing it. The problem with the traditional sector is that it has tied itself in knots treating each buyer as a separate entity, and in effect doing bespoke pricing. This can only go one way. One of the things the microstock companies got right was to set their price points at a level where they didn't have to bother with haggling, essentially a waste of resources. Which means that where the price happens to be high, that's what the customer pays. I have sales in all three areas: news and documentary is the most fluid, but fees tend to be £25, higher end and distributor sales are pretty close to either £240 or £480 and on the micro site I get the usual $1+ subscriptions downloads plus many much higher 'on demand' sales (nearly all $9.40). The images that I sell on the main site are all ones that would be mainly rejected by another agency, or would sit around here gathering dust, and are mainly bought by small design companies and others in connection with one or two deeply unromantic industries. Work that sells is much more highly considered, as is work I sell to my main traditional agency. Look around at other tech companies, and you see the same thing happening, all under one roof. Nowadays if you want to raise your aggregate RPI to a level at which the OP's question even makes sense, it is not only pointless putting all your eggs in one basket, but also necessary to find different outlets for different kinds of work.
  9. Hello Ian – I may be just passing by. BTW - I thought you made some interesting points on another forum about PA etc. You wouldn't think, would you, that the unique selling point here is documentary and specific? The front page is full of the sort of images small design companies, etc., running on a shoestring, scoop up from Adobe etc. in great sackfuls. Whether that is a problem or not I don't know, but from the smidgin of business I do here I detect more of a price fall than anywhere else. I know PA is driving us all insane, but still I have much more frequent good two and three digit sales over there, given respective size of collections. And distributor images which sell regular in small agencies in small countries like Norway, never sell here. My feeling is that if you have a mix of cheap generics with unique editorial content, it won't be the latter that lifts up the former, and it won't be the former that brings in the buyers left with deep pockets. And the question then will be whether you can make enough even to have your camera serviced occasionally by specializing in secondary editorial.
  10. Get too hung up about the problems that microstock has caused – old news – we are likely to miss what is happening in the wider industry now: stratification. Long gone are the days when all pictures could be sold for the same price. Most of the major players now have price differentials, albeit in some cases through different brands and platforms - SS has Offset and Rex, Adobe represents Reuters plus a clutch of boutique collections from partner agencies, and so on. In my experience, and from comments by others, buyers pay what it says on the tin. In some cases these are prices you will see here maybe once in a blue moon. This is bound to impact here, unless buyers can see where the value is. If Alamy can't sort this out, then the trend towards micro prices will carry on until there isn't anywhere else to go.
  11. It's not the type of image, but the buyer and the job that determines price. All my four figure sales here and elsewhere, bar one, have been commercial ones (and others will tell you he same): images used in brochures, mailers, print adverts etc. Image will only be used commercially if you have releases for visible people,and company logos are removed. Property is less of a problem.
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