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Jose Elias

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Posts posted by Jose Elias

  1. I think agencies haven't realized that photographers have the power to nuke their business into ashes...


    If my income becomes so low that the effort is not worth anymore, what stops me to put all my portfolio at the disposal of everybody in hi-res even for commercial purposes, and simply try to monetize it from advertising and donations from my website?


    There are other people already calling this as plan B, and it doesn't take many photographers willing to do this to bomb the market and seriously cripple the agencies. After all who will pay for an image if they can get a high-quality / high-resolution for free and for all uses?


    And if photographers are unable to unite to stop the agencies, or to come up with an alternative solution the ultimate action is in our hands. To me Getty's actions, and of many other agencies are pure suicide and they are so blind by greed that they don't see it.


    The truth is, when people have nothing to lose, very bad things usually happen...

    • Upvote 2
  2. !!! What happened in 2008 - start of downward trend?


    The beginning of the crisis in US, that spread all over the world with many businesses bankruptcies, bank with serious problems, countries like Iceland in extreme difficulties, etc.


    Businesses became scared, cut down in advertising and marketing expenses and became more price conscious.


    This lead to a price war between agencies with a race to the bottom in prices and a widespread offer of subscription packages in many micros that didn't have them.


    In a nutshell... :mellow:


    Edit: with the the crisis many part-time or hobbyist photographers joined the stock agencies, some to increase the falling revenue, others trying to survive an unemployment situation as I read frequently in some agencies forums. Thus, more competition between us.

  3. I think it's important to show NET when sharing this kind of statistic, otherwise a little useless?


    I don't think that presenting the Net value is that important, and certainly not useless. Since we know that we receive a known fraction of that value. If Gross declines obviously Net will follow.


    Net value may only be interesting if we're trying to assess how much distributor sales we get. If someone has none than the Net will be 50% of the Gross (at least starting from a certain date of 2013). If Net is lower than 50% (or 60, or 65 depending on the year) then you can get a notion about the contributor distributor sales. Just that.


    Other than that I don't see that presenting only the Gross is useless, as I said.

    • Upvote 1
  4. I too see an evolution similar to that. Yet, 2013 was the first year since 2008 that I've seen the average sale price and my commission slightly rise.


    But considering that I saw a drop of +30% in my sales all I can say is that it was an absolute disastrous year! :(


    Since 2010 I average between 10 to 20 sales per month, so I think these numbers are relatively balanced and not being influenced by an odd sale or two.


    Average per image

    Year        Gross            Net

    2007      $175,52      $ 99,13

    2008      $182,23      $109,43

    2009      $141,43      $  72,23

    2010      $110,89      $  58,64

    2011      $  65,84      $  34,73

    2012      $  52,10      $  28,20

    2013      $  60,41      $  33,15


    Just edited to mention that I do not participate in NU, but participate in the newspaper scheme. So these sales are not brought down by the smaller sales from NU.

    • Upvote 1
  5. Well that's extremely interesting - it sounds as though maybe I don't need a camera upgrade after all. Thank you Jose and vpics. I wonder if I've been assessing the noise on my 5D2 on images that are too under-exposed?




    Using such high ISO's is extremely advisable to get the right exposure as you photograph, because if you need to brighten the image later you may encounter bigger problems with noise. That doesn't mean you cannot make it acceptable but it will require extra work, like to apply a little blur to some specific areas.


    With the 24-105 I can shoot as low as 1/40 without worrying to much as the stabilization works very well. At 1/20 or 1/15 I need to be more cautious not to shake. A 1/10 I need to be really steady, and at 1/8 if I'm not leaning into something there's a good chance the image may be shaken. My wife has a steadier hand.


    So, you can go really slow to get the right exposure if nothing in the frame is moving. And, as mentioned, shooting raw is essencial.


    The 5d MkII is a fantastic camera that allows to take high quality photos in very difficult light conditions.

  6. I know that a few people here have one and would be interested to know what ISO you can push it to and still be able to pass QC.




    Me and my wife both have 5dMkII and in interiors photos it's not unusual to shoot up to 5000iso and in some occasions 6400iso to be able to photograph handheld. After a little noise reduction and downsizing to 12 or 9mp they pass flawlessly through QC.


    And we end up using almost always the 24-105 to take advantage of the stabilized wide-angle. For example:


    CTED9X.jpg  CXR5H8.jpgCTED6G.jpgBC0R3A.jpg

  7. At least you can track down the infringements with Image Search.


    Could this be a way to establish ourselves as the copyright owners of the images to Google?


    And have them rank better in the search results from our own websites, compared with the agencies, increasing the licensing chances from our own store?


    I share the worries about the content grabbing though.

    • Upvote 1

    9k is below the minimum wage here for a full time worker. Its about 30 hours a week on minimum wage so you couldnt live on that here...

    As for extra taxes, well my rates (yearly house tax) are about 1000 euro. That would get reduced if you were on a low income but you probably would still pay more than the 200 euro.

    Prescriptions are free here in NI but up until recently were about 7-8 quid but again I think you may get reductions on a low income and you can pay for a year bulk prescription for about 100 quid.

    Fuel is about 10-20% dearer here and we are also car taxed etc etc. Heating, electric etc are a lot more expensive here and we use more and these are all things that they get the tax back on the low income.

    So its pretty much swings and roundabouts. At the level of income you quoted you would pay less income tax here but then again you couldnt afford to live here!

    No matter which government, no matter what happens they will all relieve you of your income. Its the way it works, you are just renting space ;-)



    I understand all you've said. The 11.000€ was just an example and actually not my household income in case you're thinking it, which is higher.


    But as spacecadet mentioned that for a 20.000€ you'd be paying 15% while in Portugal we pay 37% plus 12*248€ payments for Social Security as self-employed. And despite the higher prices in some things in UK, many cost the same or less than in Portugal and there are a lot of advantages in others.


    Through Amazon the only things that costs the same or very slightly more are TV's, Hi-Fi's and computers. Everything is generally so much cheaper that even when Amazon applies the 23% to the announced prices to comply with Portuguese tax law they are still much cheaper in most cases than if we bought them in Portugal.


    So, generally speaking I think that the cost of living may be much lower in UK (dependant on the chosen area obviously). Some taxes, fuel and heating may be higher but the taxes over income are astonishingly lower and groceries, Healthcare and even Public Transportation too.




    The most ridiculous thing I've encountered is that in Portugal Death Certificates have an expiration date and last only a few years!!!! If my mother needs to prove my father is dead by some reason she needs to pay for a new death certificate every time because the one she has, has expired...


    How odd. It's not as if you don't stay dead.



    The Portuguese government doesn't seem so sure...


    And this is true. I myself had to by a new death certificate when I sent a car in my father's name to the junk-yard and to cancel them from the authorities list as a circulating vehicle. When I got there they said I should get a new one because that death certificate had expired. I thought they were joking... but on analysis of the document... they weren't...


    When we get to this level, you start to realize the madness around here...

  10. Seriously? Over 7000 out of an income of 11000? That's 65%!


    A self-employed worker earning 11.000€ (9184£) will pay in the end of the year a total of 3.592,56€ (2.9856.50£) in taxes and contributions over the income. So, the worker will keep 7407,44€ (+-8888£) of all earned.


    These are only the taxes over income. As mentioned before there's a whole array of taxes in every thing you do in Portugal. And the cost of living is similar to UK. In fact I've frequently bought goods from Amazon UK because they waaaay cheaper than buying the same here. And I'm even talking about groceries like lentils, Pesto sauce, etc!!!!!!

  11. Probably very little. That sort of earnings (if you can call it that) is below the income tax allowance.

    You would have to pay your national insurance contributions at a fixed rate and then profit over roughly 7.5k but thats only about 2-300 quid in total.


    Its not really a like for like comparison though just comparing income tax, you need to compare overall taxation levels to get a more accurate picture.


    Sorry, but I didn't understand exactly what you mean. For example I don't understand what you mean with: "That sort of earnings (if you can call it that)"


    If you mean they are too low for UK standards (I believe they might be) they nevertheless allow for a comparison. But if I use a 20.000€ income or superior the taxes here are even more severe that the ones shown for 11.000€. The monthly Social Security payment will escalate from 186€ to 248€ and the tax over income will sky-rocket.


    Tell me what income you'd like to compare and I may give you numbers.


    Plus, we also have a lot of extra taxes in Portugal. Since there's no real house renting market the only way people can avoid to live in the streets is to buy a house and for that we must pay a yearly tax. In my case it's over 200€ for a crappy house but it's probably going to raise. We make payments on all medical acts. Even a simple call to the Family Health Unit for the family doctor to pass a prescription for medicines related to a chronic disease will cost you 3€. Everything else is payd, consultations, exams, prescription drugs.


    In our services bills like electricity, water, etc you are charged a Tax for the use of the underground by the companies bringing you the service charged by the municipality and, on, and on, and on. You even pay taxes over goods that have summed other taxes previously. So you pay taxes for paying taxes! The cars for example. You pay an auto tax over the base price of the vehicle, sum both (and any other appliable), and over the sum you apply a tax about  consumption like Vat.


    There's barely anything in Portugal where you don't pay a tax or two and the deductions to taxes are almost gone.


    The most ridiculous thing I've encountered is that in Portugal Death Certificates have an expiration date and last only a few years!!!! If my mother needs to prove my father is dead by some reason she needs to pay for a new death certificate every time because the one she has, has expired...


    I understand that there are more taxes in UK but from what I've been hearing I think we pay more in Portugal.

  12. Can anyone please simulate how much someone earning 9.184£ of gross yearly income will pay in Taxes, Social Security contributions and any other eventual mandatory expenses as a retirement pension contribution a self-employed worker must pay in UK?


    Ignore any deductions that may exist, consider 0 children and not married and the fact that if 9.184£ is enough for a person to make a living in UK, just to simplify the comparison with what a Portuguese must pay with a similar income.


    I'm asking this because I found several UK tax calculators and despite the results being similar between them the difference is so HUGE when compared to Portugal that I'm shocked to the point I'm physically shaking. Not even kidding. I just need to know if the results I saw in the calculators are right!


    In the Portuguese calculators a self-employed person with 11.000€ (9184£) of gross yearly income will pay yearly in Taxes + Social Security contributions a total of: 3.592,56€ / 2.9856.50£


    Social Security: 2233,56€ (1.856,80£)


    Tax over Income (IRS): 1359,00€ (1.129,70£)


    Can someone tell me how much someone in the UK would pay with this income? In 2014 these taxes will substantially aggravated in Portugal as announced.

  13. Thanks Barking I'll take a look to that link later.


    The National Insurance is the contribution made for retirement, sickness and unemployment? If it is then it's the equivalent to what in Portugal we call Social Security and must pay 35% just for that no matter how low your income is...


    Then we also have the taxes over income to be added to the expense and the contribution to the state for self-employed people can get to be 50 or 60%, plus all kinds of other taxes even if you earn 500 or 600€, and the services here can be pretty insensitive and cannot give you a straight answer. Ask five state workers the same question and you get five different answers...


    Does Stock Photography in UK has any kind of benefits as an artistic source of income? Something like exemption for taxes for part of the income or any other benefit?

  14. Hi,


    I'd like to ask for your help about which obligations does a self-employed stock photographer has in UK.


    What type of taxes and contributions, for Social Security for example, are mandatory to make? What are the percentages of income necessary to give to the state for both taxes and other contributions?


    If you can answer my questions I'd appreciate it a lot. Thanks for your help.

  15. Guys, I appreciate your feedback. My image creating process is not that fast. I dont shoot like a machine gun. I shoot more creative then editorial. Adding another 2500 images to get sales, is going to take me at least 3 years. Thats a long time to see a return, and will it be worth it? I am really on the fence here. I could add another 500 and see how it goes. I just wonder why my images stopped selling as of July and why my CTR has dropped to 0


    In my case I also saw a big change in January, and comparing to 2012 I'm seeing an almost 50% drop without any apparent reason since the increase in the number of uploaded images to alamy wasn't big enough to dilute my portfolio.


    Last month things seemed to return to used to be the normal, and I'm expecting to see what is going to happen this month.


    This leads me to think that something happened from alamy part that may have changed the search results affecting my portfolio exposure. Maybe the Commercial Collection selection?... So, you may have been affected by the same thing who knows...

  16. >  Alamy continues to be the ONLY agency that reverses decisions based on the photographers feelings



    Did any UK law covering involuntary payment-related fees, etc., play a role...?


    I cannot answer that Jeff. But I've witnessed other situations where alamy dropped some decisions based on forum feedback. Maybe UK law had something to do with it, but if it didn't I wouldn't be surprised that it was a decision based on feedback.


    I cannot say the same with other agencies I work with. In fact, some delete portfolios instantly if a member critiques certain decisions, even in independent forums.

  17. These are good news, and Alamy continues to be the ONLY agency that reverses decisions based on the photographers feelings expressed in this forum and through MS.


    Yet, if its alamy policy to drop decisions due to their lack of popularity it would be nice to ask us beforehand, in a case of two more sensible since we don't run the agency, and spare us the torment.


    Nevertheless it's a good decision.



    Belgium here.

    I am being paid in Euros via bank transfer. What's it going to cost me? I have nothing to do with Paypal nor Skrill.





    Please read the information on the links provided via email and in this thread. Euros via bank transfer are charged at $3.10.


    If you do not want to pay this fee, you have a free payment option in Skrill.


    But on Skrill it's said I'll be charged up to 10€ for sending money from it.


    I won't pay for receiving there, but to get my money on my bank account it seems to be a very different story. So, either receiving directly from alamy, or using Skrill I'll always have to pay to receive my money.


    - We don’t charge you when receiving money back into your Skrill account

    - Sending money costs 1% of the amount sent but is capped at a maximum of €10."



    Honestly, to me this is just a tortuous way for alamy to make yet another commission cut to their contributors. Since cutting the commission itself would create a bigger uproar, you just found a way to pass an expense to the contributors dressed up like a good thing, so you can keep more money...

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  19. "Definitely agree about not running down Alamy on a forum for all to see as it's  bad practice......, I have worked for myself for 35 years and lately  with 50 % of my time doing photography and the other 50 % doing my other trade sub contracting where I have to take various tests get certificates to carry out works which I have to pay for, pay for tools, pay for vehicles and fuel and public liability insurance and then at the end of the day I get a small percentage of what the company charges me  out for... now if I kept on moaning about how they are making all of that money out of me ( with all of their high overheads buildings permanent staff costs  etc ) I know what their answer would be ... Take it or leave it....it's your choice.

    Alamy is a UK company and much of its business is in the US so why should it bear the cost of paying into euro accounts?

    Another thing, it's rather bad form to run down your agent on a public forum. Alamy is not our employer and we don't have to use it. If we do, we abide by the contract."


    Steve B,


    This forum is the tool alamy provided for contributors to communicate between each other, but more importantly, as a way for the generality of the contributors to communicate with alamy itself, as recognized, in an interactive way that cannot be achieved by mailing the Services.


    If this forum is public it's a decision made exclusively by alamy, and if the critiques received prove to be too unpleasant, all it takes for alamy to do is to close the discussion, eventually ban a member, or make this a private forum, which I don't think it would be a bad idea.


    If your way to do business is to accept everything anyone wishes to give you, and you don't feel the right to negotiate and make the work even if you just get paid a handful of peanuts, that's your problem. As a matter of fact, it's being discovered some farms in Spain using Slave Labour. I can try to discover the address since it's ok for you to work with payment others decide to give you and not protest...


    I, not being consulted in this decision and not having any chance to negotiate, only have left the possibility to express my views in this forum. Despite the incredible unbalance between me and alamy I still feel we're partners and before anyone decides to leave I think we have the right to speak what we think to our other partner.


    If it's public, again, it's a decision made by alamy and many times commented. Honestly I think some members are more worried about this issue than alamy, who could take measures at any time all along these years. Unless you believe they don't know how to make this forum private...

    • Upvote 4
  20. This means that I'll be paying $3.10 for the bank transfer that until now was free.


    Picking up an idea read elsewhere why should I, and many other contributors I'm sure, who have uploaded thousands of images which actually sell and meet payout every month suffer, simply because some contributors uploaded a couple of test images that were approved because they were sharp and got an occasional sale but never get to the payout limit?


    Is this the way alamy treats the most committed contributors to this agency, that despite the brutal fall in sales volume and rate value still upload and are able to make a monthly payment?

    • Upvote 2
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