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Can it get any worse? Maybe it can?


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You all know the going rate for newspaper sales. It pleases me not to report one for about half that amount for an image taken in Italy. Who's getting a better deal than the newspaper scheme then? 

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3 hours ago, geogphotos said:

I consider myself as a positive person but the facts seem unavoidable.

 

It is going to get worse! 

 

We are 'the crowd'. The crowd gets squeezed until there is nothing left to squeeze. 

 

I have stopped uploading except to my own website.  

 

So far I am feeling good

 

https://blog.geographyphotos.com/2018/07/09/early-days-but-it-feels-good/

 

 

 

Actually, there will probably always be more left to squeeze because crowd is growing exponentially as we speak, and there doesn't seem to be anything out there to stop it. 

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4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

I consider myself as a positive person but the facts seem unavoidable.

 

It is going to get worse! 

 

We are 'the crowd'. The crowd gets squeezed until there is nothing left to squeeze. 

 

I have stopped uploading except to my own website.  

 

So far I am feeling good

 

https://blog.geographyphotos.com/2018/07/09/early-days-but-it-feels-good/

 

 

Good luck, but I'm not sure how you didn't find many* Catalpa bignonioides Aurea  flowers as stock images:

https://tinyurl.com/yb2x3a4l

As usual, some of these aren't the species specified, and many aren't actually in flower, but there are plenty there.

Whether you can prevail by always keywording accurately, I can't know.

 

*obviously, it depends on how you define 'many'. I suspect it's a lower supply, lower demand subject.

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Just returned from a 5 week trip dragging our caravan around mainly France. Over 900 images captured, many more deleted in camera. 

 

Not sure that I can find the motivation to process, upload, and keyword any of them. So far I have processed some  of the holiday snaps (the Mrs and myself)  and processed and uploaded one more interesting  shot to Flickr. My experience has been that photos taken in France do not do well here, I've made some sales, but proportionally far fewer than with those from the UK or the USA.

 

I guess, as the days become shorter and the nights longer, I probably will continue with Alamy, but this year, despite having added many more images, I am predicting an end to the rise in sales and income that I have previously enjoyed and am beginning to wonder, just what is the point?

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17 minutes ago, Bryan said:

Just returned from a 5 week trip dragging our caravan around mainly France. Over 900 images captured, many more deleted in camera. 

 

Not sure that I can find the motivation to process, upload, and keyword any of them. So far I have processed some  of the holiday snaps (the Mrs and myself)  and processed and uploaded one more interesting  shot to Flickr. My experience has been that photos taken in France do not do well here, I've made some sales, but proportionally far fewer than with those from the UK or the USA.

 

I guess, as the days become shorter and the nights longer, I probably will continue with Alamy, but this year, despite having added many more images, I am predicting an end to the rise in sales and income that I have previously enjoyed and am beginning to wonder, just what is the point?

 

That about sums up my feelings too. Fees in the region of $50-$200 are like hens teeth now, for me anyway and motivation is hard to come by.

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Can it get worse? Of course it can as long as people have the money to purchase top end cameras and technology continues to make these cameras cheaper and easier to use. It is not difficult to produce a picture good enough for most applications. There is still room for the true professional,particularly the specialist with access to subjects not available to most and the ability to engage directly with the customer.

 

Its all about supply and demand now photographs have been largely reduced to a commodity and over supply= low prices which is a fact of life.

 

For me it started as a hobby,became a good living for about 20 years, and now is a hobby again with little expectation of a return to the good old days. I stopped uploading to agencies nearly 5 years ago when i saw the writing on the wall. 

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1 hour ago, Bryan said:

Just returned from a 5 week trip dragging our caravan around mainly France. Over 900 images captured, many more deleted in camera. 

 

Not sure that I can find the motivation to process, upload, and keyword any of them. So far I have processed some  of the holiday snaps (the Mrs and myself)  and processed and uploaded one more interesting  shot to Flickr. My experience has been that photos taken in France do not do well here, I've made some sales, but proportionally far fewer than with those from the UK or the USA.

 

I guess, as the days become shorter and the nights longer, I probably will continue with Alamy, but this year, despite having added many more images, I am predicting an end to the rise in sales and income that I have previously enjoyed and am beginning to wonder, just what is the point?

Takes all sorts, then, France is proportionally one of my best markets. Even the French occasionally buy them. Most are taken on the way to somewhere else.

Edited by spacecadet
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As usual, I guess I am late to the party.  To add to the depression (my apologies) last week I asked a pro for advice on charging a local newspaper owned by Newsquest group for shots of football matches as I am likely to be shooting some of the most in-demand local games this season.  The pro told me in our particular area they have pretty much stopped paying anything for photos and my best hope was to get a link to my own website where the images are available for sale.

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It is not just photographers; authors and writers too have seen their median earnings (in real terms) decline by 42% since 2005. I know some of us here are both writers and photographers so we are getting hit in both pockets :(

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/27/publishers-pay-writers-pittance-philip-pullman-antony-beevor-sally-gardner

 

and a reply by Society of Authors to publishers' response:

https://societyofauthors.org/News/News/2018/June/An-open-letter-to-the-PA

 

At least the Society of Authors are active (for what it is worth) on this matter.

 

 

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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And yet my earnings for the year on Alamy are today (mid July) at 73% of the total for the whole of 2017... (from 71% of licenses compared to 2017 .. and 217 was my highest earning year since I joined in 2009) 

 

More photographers might mean more photos but it does not mean more photos of VALUE.....

Times are changing (have changed), its up to you how you earn your money but it IS possible.... 

 

(but if you want to quit, its fine by me ;-) )

Edited by Julie Edwards
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12 hours ago, Bryan said:

Just returned from a 5 week trip dragging our caravan around mainly France. Over 900 images captured, many more deleted in camera. 

 

Not sure that I can find the motivation to process, upload, and keyword any of them. So far I have processed some  of the holiday snaps (the Mrs and myself)  and processed and uploaded one more interesting  shot to Flickr. My experience has been that photos taken in France do not do well here, I've made some sales, but proportionally far fewer than with those from the UK or the USA.

 

I guess, as the days become shorter and the nights longer, I probably will continue with Alamy, but this year, despite having added many more images, I am predicting an end to the rise in sales and income that I have previously enjoyed and am beginning to wonder, just what is the point?

Similar thing here, just back from 3 weeks in central Spain with our caravan, one day of full sun and down to 6 deg! unbelievable, so only a few hundred images to process.  

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10 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

As usual, I guess I am late to the party.  To add to the depression (my apologies) last week I asked a pro for advice on charging a local newspaper owned by Newsquest group for shots of football matches as I am likely to be shooting some of the most in-demand local games this season.  The pro told me in our particular area they have pretty much stopped paying anything for photos and my best hope was to get a link to my own website where the images are available for sale.

Same here, my local papers are all run by Newsquest and they generally don't pay, so Live News is pretty pointless for me unless a local incident is likely to be of national interest. Once (2014) I did send localish-only-interest Live News, and the local paper used photos with quality worse than my pre-smartphone phonecam.

 

Even way back in 2010, I took pics of an acquaintance and his friend ice-climbing a local waterfall which had frozen. At that point, the waterfall had only frozen twice in the 30 years I'd lived here. The local paper refused to pay for a photo, which was surely of local interest, and there were no other photos of ice climbers that winter (in the local papers).

 

The next year, a pal (not a stock seller) was out birding (so had a big lens on his camera) and saw a very unusual thing (I can only find one other similar-ish incident in Scotland on the BBC website). He offered them to the local paper, and they refused to pay. He actually got a reasonable sum from the Beeb for a short video, it was on at least the Scottish News and their website, and one of his stills was at the back of the newsreader during the report. The local paper paraphrased the info from the Beeb, and published it without an image.

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Sales are up and this year - for the first time in ages - average fees are up.

Most of my sales (with quite a few notable exceptions) these days are coming from recently-uploaded images. 

Though I can understand the lack of motivation, I think people who stop uploading due to lack of sales may be contributing to their own downward spiral.

Things are getting better.

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11 hours ago, Cryptoprocta said:

Same here, my local papers are all run by Newsquest and they generally don't pay, so Live News is pretty pointless for me unless a local incident is likely to be of national interest. Once (2014) I did send localish-only-interest Live News, and the local paper used photos with quality worse than my pre-smartphone phonecam.

 

Even way back in 2010, I took pics of an acquaintance and his friend ice-climbing a local waterfall which had frozen. At that point, the waterfall had only frozen twice in the 30 years I'd lived here. The local paper refused to pay for a photo, which was surely of local interest, and there were no other photos of ice climbers that winter (in the local papers).

 

The next year, a pal (not a stock seller) was out birding (so had a big lens on his camera) and saw a very unusual thing (I can only find one other similar-ish incident in Scotland on the BBC website). He offered them to the local paper, and they refused to pay. He actually got a reasonable sum from the Beeb for a short video, it was on at least the Scottish News and their website, and one of his stills was at the back of the newsreader during the report. The local paper paraphrased the info from the Beeb, and published it without an image.

It just seems daft to me - I mean we know Newsquest has the budget even though they cry poverty.  We know local papers are challenged for circulation but you do not maintain or increase circulation by reducing the quality of content.  I was speaking to another football photographer yesterday and he told me the local paper had stopped taking his photos and was using a small number of stock photos to illustrate football reports.  This has to be suicidal by the local paper,  local people hear tell of a screamer of a goal or a brilliant save look in the paper and find a generic footballing stock image nothing to do with their local team are going to stop bothering with the paper - when there are high-quality shots available of the goals and saves and stuff that the papers could purchase for low sums.  If the paper ran proper photographs especially of stuff like you are describing detailing unique stuff about the area more people would buy the paper.

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11 hours ago, funkyworm said:

 

That's fair enough, and I can quite understand why your sales are on the up. We are of course not party to your sales reports but if I look at mine, the few events I have covered with UK celebrities have done comparitively well. You obviously have good access and that doesn;t happen overnight. 

 

However one persons success in a niche that doesn;t necessarily translate to others. We have to remember too that sales are just one part of the equation. Many do well with UK weather images... for me  and many others to get the same sort of images incurs costs, so I am three nil down before the ball has been kicked. To translate a Dutch saying, we have to row with the rowlocks we have.

 

Funilliy enough - much of my income is not from celebs... I also cover politics. Etc... The highest VALUE sales are general stock.... celebs bring in lots of lower value licenses ...

 

It’s easy to say it because you have good access... I work hard, I make my access, I plan my shoots, I make my images and I work long hours at it....its my job, its not a side line... that’s the key...  an example - I did ok in the nationals this week .. because I sought a different viewpoint, I did not shoot from the mall or QVM like the 100’s of others..

 

Bottom line ...as in all lines of work its easy to make excuses .... work bloody hard and the rewards are there... it’s not the easy sideline that it once was or it is made out to be ..

 

 

Edited by Julie Edwards
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7 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

.... We know local papers are challenged for circulation

Indeed they are... I worked on 'em most of my life, and things are very dire indeed, two examples.

1) In the mid late 80's I worked on the Express and Star, then Britain's largest regional newspaper, and we sold close on a quarter of a million copies a night. We had a photographic staff of 20 odd, including people based around the patch, and picture desk staff.  In 2007 that circulation had dropped to 174,989. but by June 2014 this had fallen to 73,473 and in 2016 dropped down to 55,373 around a fifth of the late 80's total.

2) Now pretty much retired, I read for the Talking Newspapers for the Blind - (we produce a weekly bulletin of local news that goes out on a USB stick to the visually impaired) - but we're in crisis as an entire chain of local weeklies collapsed, leaving us with no news to read out from several areas. We scrounge up what we can, but there is no longer a central source at all.

Put simply, people are just not buying local papers, and no circulation equals no photographers whatsoever on vast numbers of the surviving weekly rags. Pictures used are those sent in by members of the public who photograph their own event. No budgets at all, I'm afraid, and no likelihood of a turnaround.

 

Edited by TeeCee
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2 minutes ago, funkyworm said:

 

Sorry. With that comment about acces I had hoped that the insinuation, that you have good access and that didn;t happen overnight, is that you have obviously worked hard and do work hard at this job. Sorry if that didn;t come through. 

 

Thank you xx

 

Yes that is the case... may people think this job is just about taking photos, editing and key wording...... its not....

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3 minutes ago, TeeCee said:

Indeed they are... I worked on 'em most of my life, and things are very dire indeed, two examples.

1) In the mid late 80's I worked on the Express and Star, then Britain's largest regional newspaper, and we sold close on a quarter of a million copies a night. We had a photographic staff of 20 odd, including people based around the patch, and picture desk staff.  In 2007 that circulation had dropped to 174,989. but by June 2014 this had fallen to 73,473 and in 2016 dropped down to 55,373 around a fifth of the late 80's total.

2) Now pretty much retired, I read for the Talking Newspapers for the Blind - (we produce a weekly bulletin of local news that goes out on a USB stick to the visually impaired) - but we're in crisis as an entire chain of local weeklies collapsed, leaving us with no news to read out from several areas. We scrounge up what we can, but there is no longer a central source at all.

Put simply, people are just not buying local papers, and no circulation equals no photographers whatsoever on vast numbers of the surviving weekly rags. Pictures used are those sent in by members of the public who photograph their own event. No budgets at all, I'm afraid, and no likelihood of a turnaround.

 

I get no circulation equals no photographers - but it does work the other way around as well no photographs equals no circulation.  From what I hear on the ground in my area the tiny little town independents are getting more circulation because they are using photographs taken by local photographers.  The larger local papers owned by Newsquest (who I repeat is not in financial trouble) have not only laid off photographers directly but stopped buying shots from skilled local photographers choosing instead to use generic stock images.  When the local person goes to read about their local teams' success they see a picture of a generic unknown footballer not even in a similar kit - despite the fact that the local game was covered by a local photographer.  This causes them to decide not to bother with the paper anymore. 

 

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My local newsquest papers are using local photographers, just not paying for them. And indeed the local clubs, associations etc are perfectly happy to provide copy and images for publicity (better than taking out expensive adverts).

I can't imagine what would make me buy a local paper, to be honest. In a rural/dormitory area, each paper covers quite a number of small towns over a wide area. If I'm involved with something local, I know about it, I don't need to read about it, and only a page or less is relevant to my own area.

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9 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:

You think your free photos are benevolent, but they play role in cutting off financial legs of stock shooters worldwide, IMO.

There is no way teachers in state schools could buy stock images. There was no way I could have when I was teaching.

Why should pupils have to buy them? All that proves is "Mummy / Daddy has a credit card".

That doesn't mean we should have to give them pics free, it's a choice. But it's also not affecting anyone's sales.

I also used to allow my website photos (it wasn't set up like geogphotos' site, it was a site with tiny photos from dial-up days with text and images), for educational use, many years ago; but then I had a few entities debating what was 'educational', and I didn't want private schools using my images for free, so I gave that up.

However, various local groups (conservation charities) know they can get my images - and these get proportionately less in monetary donations.

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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1 hour ago, Julie Edwards said:

 

Funilliy enough - much of my income is not from celebs... I also cover politics. Etc... The highest VALUE sales are general stock.... celebs bring in lots of lower value licenses ...

 

It’s easy to say it because you have good access... I work hard, I make my access, I plan my shoots, I make my images and I work long hours at it....its my job, its not a side line... that’s the key...  an example - I did ok in the nationals this week .. because I sought a different viewpoint, I did not shoot from the mall or QVM like the 100’s of others..

 

Bottom line ...as in all lines of work its easy to make excuses .... work bloody hard and the rewards are there... it’s not the easy sideline that it once was or it is made out to be ..

 

 

 

No it's not easy at all. Least of all trying to figure out the "who", "where" and "when". If there's a secret to it I haven't found it. Taking pictures is one thing but actually gaining the business knowledge/acumen and putting it all together is another thing entirely.  I keep plugging away at news but never seem to get anywhere with it. It's like I'm always two steps behind the "money shot", or finding out a celeb was in town but the first you know about it is when it's being reported in the press. Yes, it really is hard work in all regards

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3 hours ago, JeffGreenberg said:

You think your free photos are benevolent, but they play role in cutting off financial legs of stock shooters worldwide, IMO.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/09/giving_money_to_child_beggars_don_t_do_it.html

I haven't clicked on the link, but I'm assuming it's informing anyone who didn't know (I've known since the 70s at least) that in some countries, children are blinded or lamed and sent out to beg for money for their sometimes well off familes (or buyer, or kidnapper).

However, you can't possibly extrapolate from that that all benevolence has adverse effects, which is what your sweeping statement did.

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