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21 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Again it is my belief that it is up to the contributors to make and submit images

that are worth higher fees and then it is up to Alamy to get those fees.

That doesn't happen, Alamy themselves have confirmed this. It's nothing to do with the rarity or quality of the image, it's just the end usage which determines the prices.

https://www.microstockgroup.com/alamy-com/alamy-tips-on-getting-sales/msg390525/#msg390525

And apart from these high end exclusive deals, it's all about the customer discount.

 

How do you imagine that other than exclusive uses, Alamy could push a price up for unique photos?  In theory, they could have a 'premium' collection, but the problem with these is that what were unique images can become less so over time. (Some can never be repeated, of course).  In practice, a premium collection causes disgruntlement among contributors, "How come is this photo Premium and this photo of mine isn't?"

I'm guessing you have higher than average prices because your content is US-based, and probably sells mostly to US or worldwide customers, where publication runs can be much larger than ours.

If I counted only my (very limited) US content from my port, I'd have much higher average values sales than my actual average.

 

TBH, I've often wondered, as you're getting such good prices here, why you're not increasing your Alamy portfolio. Obviously you're doing other things, but still ...

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7 hours ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

Let's be clear, when you sell your images through an agency, it has nothing to do with your memories or the ability to see how you improved your skills over time… You do not need an agency for that.

 

And yes, some people wish to value their photographs for the money others are willing to pay for them, just as in any job. I'm glad you are OK with that. 

 

When so many photographers sell their images for almost nothing, not only it sets the value of their work, but it also affects the value of photography in general.

Honestly, what's the chance for a photographer to earn a decent living selling RF pictures for $0.50?

Between 2 pictures, one that is sold at a price that allows the photographer to pay the bills and one that is sold for 99% less, which one will the buyer choose? The one the buyer thinks is the best? Or the so much cheaper one that costs virtually nothing after all…

Competition is healthy. But there is no real competition here.

 

That said, you are right, we all have different priorities, values, and ways of assessing things.

What came first so many photographers selling their photos for almost nothing - or so many photographers talented enough to produce technically correct images of the standard customers want?

Maybe a better way of saying how do I value my work - I do not - I never have - of any kind of my work.  Neither have you even if you think you have.  What values my work - and your work - and everyone else's work - is the market.  What caused prices to drop in photography (which incidentally happened way before I happened along) was not photographers suddenly willing to accept tiny amounts of money, but an increase in the number of photographers and acceptable images they were submitting.  Throw in the advances in internet and computer memory and what you have is a massive increase in production while costs remain the same or even drop.  It has happened many times before in all different types of industry and will continue to happen.  When the cloth mills first came along they could output a huge amount more than the cottage weavers - so the price per yard of cloth dropped.  No doubt cottage weavers asked the mill workers what value they put on their work, and how that was affecting the value of cloth in general.  The result was some cottage weavers got out of the cloth business, some went and worked for the mills - and some became highly skilled specialists able to produce quality the mills could not, which was valued by the market at a price that they could live on.

So digital cameras that can record 1000 or more images on a single card,  processing through a computer that uses pence in electric rather than pounds in fluids and papers and film,  an internet that can transfer images in a couple of minutes instead of post taking a coupled of days, and servers that can store a billion images in the space that could previously only hold 1000 transparencies means the total photographic output has hugely increased which means the monetary worth of each individual image has gone down.  None of that is caused by the individual photographer - and none of that can be changed by photographers demanding more than the market will pay.

My choice - your choice - everyone's choice - is to get out of photography, accept the rates the mill now pays, or specialise and create their own niche value.    I accept the rates the mill pays - while obviously trying to find a special niche.   For prices to return to what they were before the mills started outputting at the massively increased rates requires the output to be cut back to previous rates,  and I do not think that is likely to happen.

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

What came first so many photographers selling their photos for almost nothing - or so many photographers talented enough to produce technically correct images of the standard customers want?

The first: there is a history, but this isn't the place to outline it.

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7 hours ago, Cryptoprocta said:

That doesn't happen, Alamy themselves have confirmed this. It's nothing to do with the rarity or quality of the image, it's just the end usage which determines the prices.

https://www.microstockgroup.com/alamy-com/alamy-tips-on-getting-sales/msg390525/#msg390525

And apart from these high end exclusive deals, it's all about the customer discount.

 

How do you imagine that other than exclusive uses, Alamy could push a price up for unique photos?  In theory, they could have a 'premium' collection, but the problem with these is that what were unique images can become less so over time. (Some can never be repeated, of course).  In practice, a premium collection causes disgruntlement among contributors, "How come is this photo Premium and this photo of mine isn't?"

I'm guessing you have higher than average prices because your content is US-based, and probably sells mostly to US or worldwide customers, where publication runs can be much larger than ours.

If I counted only my (very limited) US content from my port, I'd have much higher average values sales than my actual average.

 

TBH, I've often wondered, as you're getting such good prices here, why you're not increasing your Alamy portfolio. Obviously you're doing other things, but still ...

Because I am also doing commissioned work, where I make more in a day than I make from Alamy in a year.  As per your statement; "It's nothing to do with the rarity or quality of the image, it's just the end usage which determines the prices."  NO that is ALL WRONG, I have an image of Steve Jobs, wearing a black turtle neck shirt on stage, a year before he died,  that image has been licensed by Alamy more times than I have time to count, in just the first week of March It has been zoomed four times, and licensed twice.  I shot that image with a KODAK / NIKON DCS-620 (2.1MP) at 1600ISO.  It took me two weeks to prepare that image and so far it has been well worth my time to do it.  I have many images that have become iconic and Alamy does a good job of getting them out for licensing, I just wish that Alamy had the trained staff to negotiate higher fees?  I come from decades in the News Photo business and to date the most valuable set of images I've been involved with was 1st time U.S. rights $150,000.00 and European for about $175,000.00 (in the days before the EURO) all of that was negotiated by one of the major photo agencies at the time.

 

I do believe, I may be wrong, that Alamy does need to have more experienced staff on the News side that can take valuable images and negotiate better fees.

 

Chuck

 

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

What came first so many photographers selling their photos for almost nothing - or so many photographers talented enough to produce technically correct images of the standard customers want?

Maybe a better way of saying how do I value my work - I do not - I never have - of any kind of my work.  Neither have you even if you think you have.  What values my work - and your work - and everyone else's work - is the market.  What caused prices to drop in photography (which incidentally happened way before I happened along) was not photographers suddenly willing to accept tiny amounts of money, but an increase in the number of photographers and acceptable images they were submitting.  Throw in the advances in internet and computer memory and what you have is a massive increase in production while costs remain the same or even drop.  It has happened many times before in all different types of industry and will continue to happen.  When the cloth mills first came along they could output a huge amount more than the cottage weavers - so the price per yard of cloth dropped.  No doubt cottage weavers asked the mill workers what value they put on their work, and how that was affecting the value of cloth in general.  The result was some cottage weavers got out of the cloth business, some went and worked for the mills - and some became highly skilled specialists able to produce quality the mills could not, which was valued by the market at a price that they could live on.

So digital cameras that can record 1000 or more images on a single card,  processing through a computer that uses pence in electric rather than pounds in fluids and papers and film,  an internet that can transfer images in a couple of minutes instead of post taking a coupled of days, and servers that can store a billion images in the space that could previously only hold 1000 transparencies means the total photographic output has hugely increased which means the monetary worth of each individual image has gone down.  None of that is caused by the individual photographer - and none of that can be changed by photographers demanding more than the market will pay.

My choice - your choice - everyone's choice - is to get out of photography, accept the rates the mill now pays, or specialise and create their own niche value.    I accept the rates the mill pays - while obviously trying to find a special niche.   For prices to return to what they were before the mills started outputting at the massively increased rates requires the output to be cut back to previous rates,  and I do not think that is likely to happen.

WOW, You are so wrong.  Sorry, but you really do not understand photography and photojournalism.  I've been in the business since 1975 and shot my first assignment for NEWSWEEK in 1978.  I do appreciate Alamy and do everything I can to help Alamy succeed, the same for Alamy contributors, but there is a lot more to making images for publication then knowing PS and LR and having an acceptable camera.  See my pervious post and I will add that I brought into one of my agencies at the time an image the was licensed for $80,000.00 in the first 6 hours on the market and it was shot using a disposable film camera......

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54 minutes ago, Chuck Nacke said:

 As per your statement; "It's nothing to do with the rarity or quality of the image, it's just the end usage which determines the prices."  NO that is ALL WRONG, I have an image of Steve Jobs, wearing a black turtle neck shirt on stage, a year before he died,  that image has been licensed by Alamy more times than I have time to count,

Chuck

That wasn't my statement, it was Alamy's.

What were the end uses of the sales of your Steve Jobs pic?

I have pics (UK) which have licensed via Alamy multiple times, but the end usages mean that some US pics licensed once to US buyers have netted me much more.

I had a pic which at the time was the only one of the subject on Alamy and not available on the four main (at the time) micros (I didn't look any further) which netted me <$10. It was the use and (mainly) the discount of the buyer which determined the price. The rarity of the image did not figure at all.

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10 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

WOW, You are so wrong.  Sorry, but you really do not understand photography and photojournalism.  I've been in the business since 1975 and shot my first assignment for NEWSWEEK in 1978.  I do appreciate Alamy and do everything I can to help Alamy succeed, the same for Alamy contributors, but there is a lot more to making images for publication then knowing PS and LR and having an acceptable camera.  See my pervious post and I will add that I brought into one of my agencies at the time an image the was licensed for $80,000.00 in the first 6 hours on the market and it was shot using a disposable film camera......

Uh, I was talking about the industry in general, including microstock, no Alamy in particular.  I know that there is more to making images for publication than having just the software and camera my point is the development of the software and the cameras have put the opportunity for MORE photographers to make MORE images that are suitable for publication, especially of the generalistic non-unique subjects.   Go back to the old film agencies - how many photographers were there creating on average how many photos suitable for use each per week?   Now how many photographers are there producing how many many suitable photographs each per week?  Do you want to deal with the elephant in the room?  Fine I will say it.  Modern cameras and lenses combined with PS/LR mean that less talented photographers can now produce images as good as or maybe even better than those managed by the really talented ones 30 years ago.  Sure the talented photographers with the new kit and software are still producing images aeons better than the less talented ones - but as yet a large number of customers have not caught up and will be happy with an image that would have made them go wow 30 years ago.

I do not claim to be worthy to lick the boots of many photographers on here - especially yourself.  I do not claim to be good or talented - I will be happy with workmanlike.  What I have done is look at the achievable industry returns over time and decided they meet my needs.  So I am seeing whether I meet industry needs.  Now my needs are incredibly modest - my health means if I can get to $400 a month from all photography streams I am satisfied.  From what I see looking at the industry needs right now I believe I am capable of satisfying them - technically acceptable photographs that customers will actually buy and buy multiple times.    I get that for many their needs are much higher, and I fully appreciate how horrible it is to be in the situation where an industry that previously met your needs changes and no longer does so.  I just do not think the blame lies with those whose needs are still met.

10 hours ago, Cryptoprocta said:

The first: there is a history, but this isn't the place to outline it.

If you are talking about unsplash - unsplashes success occurred because technology allowed it.  When the first agencies doing transparencies started was there a glut of photographers sending them quality images they wanted less money for?  What there an agency that hosted transparencies that could be used for free with just an attribution?  If not why not?  Why did that first photographer offer their work for nothing?  At what point were there enough photographers offering their work for nothing for it to affect prices?  Why did that number of photographers willing to get nothing for their work occur when it did?  Not earlier, not later?

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12 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

What came first so many photographers selling their photos for almost nothing - or so many photographers talented enough to produce technically correct images of the standard customers want?

Maybe a better way of saying how do I value my work - I do not - I never have - of any kind of my work.  Neither have you even if you think you have.  What values my work - and your work - and everyone else's work - is the market.  What caused prices to drop in photography (which incidentally happened way before I happened along) was not photographers suddenly willing to accept tiny amounts of money, but an increase in the number of photographers and acceptable images they were submitting.  Throw in the advances in internet and computer memory and what you have is a massive increase in production while costs remain the same or even drop.  It has happened many times before in all different types of industry and will continue to happen.  When the cloth mills first came along they could output a huge amount more than the cottage weavers - so the price per yard of cloth dropped.  No doubt cottage weavers asked the mill workers what value they put on their work, and how that was affecting the value of cloth in general.  The result was some cottage weavers got out of the cloth business, some went and worked for the mills - and some became highly skilled specialists able to produce quality the mills could not, which was valued by the market at a price that they could live on.

So digital cameras that can record 1000 or more images on a single card,  processing through a computer that uses pence in electric rather than pounds in fluids and papers and film,  an internet that can transfer images in a couple of minutes instead of post taking a coupled of days, and servers that can store a billion images in the space that could previously only hold 1000 transparencies means the total photographic output has hugely increased which means the monetary worth of each individual image has gone down.  None of that is caused by the individual photographer - and none of that can be changed by photographers demanding more than the market will pay.

My choice - your choice - everyone's choice - is to get out of photography, accept the rates the mill now pays, or specialise and create their own niche value.    I accept the rates the mill pays - while obviously trying to find a special niche.   For prices to return to what they were before the mills started outputting at the massively increased rates requires the output to be cut back to previous rates,  and I do not think that is likely to happen.

 

As Chuck said: WOW, you are so wrong…

Digital cameras and the internet have never been a problem, on the contrary, it has been an opportunity.

And competition has never been a problem either.

So many amazing pictures from so many talented photographers all over the world should just invite us to get better at what we do.

You seem to think that $0.50 is some sort of market price and, again, you are so wrong.

I also do commissioned work and I can tell you for sure: this is not!

Even for general purpose images, such as the ones I have on Alamy, my average price is still about $50 per license.

Believe it or not, $0.50 per license is just the price you accepted, nothing else.

And please stop comparing image licenses to physical products (house, car, cloth…), this is irrelevant.

If you absolutely want to be part of some race to the bottom, then that's your own choice.

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29 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

Uh, I was talking about the industry in general, including microstock, no Alamy in particular.  I know that there is more to making images for publication than having just the software and camera my point is the development of the software and the cameras have put the opportunity for MORE photographers to make MORE images that are suitable for publication, especially of the generalistic non-unique subjects.   Go back to the old film agencies - how many photographers were there creating on average how many photos suitable for use each per week?   Now how many photographers are there producing how many many suitable photographs each per week?  Do you want to deal with the elephant in the room?  Fine I will say it.  Modern cameras and lenses combined with PS/LR mean that less talented photographers can now produce images as good as or maybe even better than those managed by the really talented ones 30 years ago.  Sure the talented photographers with the new kit and software are still producing images aeons better than the less talented ones - but as yet a large number of customers have not caught up and will be happy with an image that would have made them go wow 30 years ago.

I do not claim to be worthy to lick the boots of many photographers on here - especially yourself.  I do not claim to be good or talented - I will be happy with workmanlike.  What I have done is look at the achievable industry returns over time and decided they meet my needs.  So I am seeing whether I meet industry needs.  Now my needs are incredibly modest - my health means if I can get to $400 a month from all photography streams I am satisfied.  From what I see looking at the industry needs right now I believe I am capable of satisfying them - technically acceptable photographs that customers will actually buy and buy multiple times.    I get that for many their needs are much higher, and I fully appreciate how horrible it is to be in the situation where an industry that previously met your needs changes and no longer does so.  I just do not think the blame lies with those whose needs are still met.

If you are talking about unsplash - unsplashes success occurred because technology allowed it.  When the first agencies doing transparencies started was there a glut of photographers sending them quality images they wanted less money for?  What there an agency that hosted transparencies that could be used for free with just an attribution?  If not why not?  Why did that first photographer offer their work for nothing?  At what point were there enough photographers offering their work for nothing for it to affect prices?  Why did that number of photographers willing to get nothing for their work occur when it did?  Not earlier, not later?

 

12 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

What came first so many photographers selling their photos for almost nothing - or so many photographers talented enough to produce technically correct images of the standard customers want?

Maybe a better way of saying how do I value my work - I do not - I never have - of any kind of my work.  Neither have you even if you think you have.  What values my work - and your work - and everyone else's work - is the market.  What caused prices to drop in photography (which incidentally happened way before I happened along) was not photographers suddenly willing to accept tiny amounts of money, but an increase in the number of photographers and acceptable images they were submitting.  Throw in the advances in internet and computer memory and what you have is a massive increase in production while costs remain the same or even drop.  It has happened many times before in all different types of industry and will continue to happen.  When the cloth mills first came along they could output a huge amount more than the cottage weavers - so the price per yard of cloth dropped.  No doubt cottage weavers asked the mill workers what value they put on their work, and how that was affecting the value of cloth in general.  The result was some cottage weavers got out of the cloth business, some went and worked for the mills - and some became highly skilled specialists able to produce quality the mills could not, which was valued by the market at a price that they could live on.

So digital cameras that can record 1000 or more images on a single card,  processing through a computer that uses pence in electric rather than pounds in fluids and papers and film,  an internet that can transfer images in a couple of minutes instead of post taking a coupled of days, and servers that can store a billion images in the space that could previously only hold 1000 transparencies means the total photographic output has hugely increased which means the monetary worth of each individual image has gone down.  None of that is caused by the individual photographer - and none of that can be changed by photographers demanding more than the market will pay.

My choice - your choice - everyone's choice - is to get out of photography, accept the rates the mill now pays, or specialise and create their own niche value.    I accept the rates the mill pays - while obviously trying to find a special niche.   For prices to return to what they were before the mills started outputting at the massively increased rates requires the output to be cut back to previous rates,  and I do not think that is likely to happen.


If you are serious about making money from photography, maybe you should concentrate on learning the technical side of the craft (that workmanlike thing you mention above) and do less talking. I pointed out to you clearly a few months back that you are consistently underexposing your images but you appear to have done nothing about it. Technically your images are far from a professional standard so I would suggest that that is the first thing you need to address. You have almost twice as many posts on here as images. You certainly talk the talk but what are you actually saying? You are arguing with experts as if you are an expert yourself but your verbosity is obfuscating the meaning if there is any.

 

Perhaps I should have posted this in the Portfolio thread where you actually asked for a critique but do take it as an honest assessment of your work. It needs a lot of work on the technical side and that is only the beginning.

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On 08/03/2019 at 15:44, Starsphinx said:

If said one image on microstock sells 100 times I consider it to have earned $50, not $0.50.
I do not count value in wealth either.  The value of the photo to me is that I actually managed to get out and take it - and for someone with health issues that is worth a hell of a lot more than money.  The value of my photographs to me is the memories they evoke.    That I can look back through my images over time and see how I have improved and changed and explored new things.  Their financial worth is something separate.
 

But Alamy is a business selling pictures, the fact you submit pictures to be sold makes you professional, or semi professional.  What you've said there is something a hobbyist would say.  Selling, or attempting to sell, pictures isn't a hobby.  If you want to be successful at the stock game, you have to change your way of thinking.

 

I've been pro since Feb 2013 and now I only pick up the camera if there's a chance to earn money from it.  The hobby days are gone.

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50 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

twice as many posts on here as images.

Interesting measure. A ratio above 1:1 is very rare.

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

 Modern cameras and lenses combined with PS/LR mean that less talented photographers can now produce images as good as or maybe even better than those managed by the really talented ones 30 years ago. 

Rubbish.  Whatever about LR, PS etc, the composition of the pic, the subject, angle, etc, etc is the crucial thing.  The 'less talented' photographers simply don't have the eye, unlike seasoned pros.

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1 hour ago, Starsphinx said:

 Modern cameras and lenses combined with PS/LR mean that less talented photographers can now produce images as good as or maybe even better than those managed by the really talented ones 30 years ago.
 

😮

Modern cameras and lenses combined with PS/LR mean that less talented photographers can now produce rubbish at 100 times the rate at 1/100 of the price and distribute it for free.

This isn't the camera club.

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1 hour ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

As Chuck said: WOW, you are so wrong…

Digital cameras and the internet have never been a problem, on the contrary, it has been an opportunity.

And competition has never been a problem either.

So many amazing pictures from so many talented photographers all over the world should just invite us to get better at what we do.

You seem to think that $0.50 is some sort of market price and, again, you are so wrong.

I also do commissioned work and I can tell you for sure: this is not!

Even for general purpose images, such as the ones I have on Alamy, my average price is still about $50 per license.

Believe it or not, $0.50 per license is just the price you accepted, nothing else.

And please stop comparing image licenses to physical products (house, car, cloth…), this is irrelevant.

If you absolutely want to be part of some race to the bottom, then that's your own choice.

I never said digital cameras and the internet were the problems I said they were the reason that production of what customers consider quality images has massively increased - resulting in dropping prices.  Reason for market change does not make something a problem unless you consider market change itself a problem.
.50c is the market price in some markets for some images.  Not all markets and not all images.  Once there was no market for 50c images.  Now there is.
Is your average price on Alamy more or less or equal to what it was 2 years ago?  5 years ago?  
I am not comparing photos to physical objects I am comparing the market for images to the market for physical objects.

1 hour ago, MDM said:

 


If you are serious about making money from photography, maybe you should concentrate on learning the technical side of the craft (that workmanlike thing you mention above) and do less talking. I pointed out to you clearly a few months back that you are consistently underexposing your images but you appear to have done nothing about it. Technically your images are far from a professional standard so I would suggest that that is the first thing you need to address. You have almost twice as many posts on here as images. You certainly talk the talk but what are you actually saying? You are arguing with experts as if you are an expert yourself but your verbosity is obfuscating the meaning if there is any.

 

Perhaps I should have posted this in the Portfolio thread where you actually asked for a critique but do take it as an honest assessment of your work. It needs a lot of work on the technical side and that is only the beginning.

There is a simple reason I talk more than I do and why the lessons I learn take so long to appear.  I am physically fucked.  I quite simply cannot do physically what is in my head.  My brain now works at about half its previous speed and my body will do a fraction of what is in my head.
So yeah I talk - because most of the time it is the only way I can connect.

I am arguing with experts in photography, not on how to take photographs, but on how markets work - which possibly I do know more about.  It does not matter if the producer thinks what they have produced is crap or gold the price will be set by the number of similar items and the demand for them.  It does not matter if the producer thinks their product is a million times better than all their competitors if the customer will not pay a million times the price.  My work may be crap compared to yours - but it is not the most crap out there, and so far I am hitting the targets on my own path.   At this point, my target of $400 a month from all photography sources seems achievable.

The simple Market facts are that in the last 2o years the number of photographs being offered for sale has exploded and the buyers of those photographs were happy to take the poorer quality ones for cheaper prices.  While this has negatively impacted the market for those selling the better quality ones it has opened the market those selling the poorer quality ones - and faced with a choice of being a useless lump contributing nothing which is how I have had to spend a decade of my life,  or being at least partially productive, even if what I produce is crap then I will take partially productive.    While I get that you and others do not like those, who, like me, have very low targets due either to life circumstances or living in areas where income levels are very different,   we are unfortunately for you, now part of the market place.

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2 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

 

If you are talking about unsplash

I wasn't. That's a new kid on the block (2013).

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17 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

I am arguing with experts in photography, not on how to take photographs, but on how markets work - which possibly I do know more about…

 

OK, well… It seems you know better than a lot of people who have been doing this for a very long time…

I wish you luck.

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4 hours ago, Colblimp said:

Rubbish.  Whatever about LR, PS etc, the composition of the pic, the subject, angle, etc, etc is the crucial thing.  The 'less talented' photographers simply don't have the eye, unlike seasoned pros.

A bit like saying amateurish oil painters of today can produce better art than the old masters because of better paint brushes. 

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4 minutes ago, andremichel said:

A bit like saying amateurish oil painters of today can produce better art than the old masters because of better paint brushes. 

Exactly.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

WOW, You are so wrong.  Sorry, but you really do not understand photography and photojournalism.  I've been in the business since 1975 and shot my first assignment for NEWSWEEK in 1978.  I do appreciate Alamy and do everything I can to help Alamy succeed, the same for Alamy contributors, but there is a lot more to making images for publication then knowing PS and LR and having an acceptable camera.  See my pervious post and I will add that I brought into one of my agencies at the time an image the was licensed for $80,000.00 in the first 6 hours on the market and it was shot using a disposable film camera......

 

18 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Because I am also doing commissioned work, where I make more in a day than I make from Alamy in a year.  As per your statement; "It's nothing to do with the rarity or quality of the image, it's just the end usage which determines the prices."  NO that is ALL WRONG, I have an image of Steve Jobs, wearing a black turtle neck shirt on stage, a year before he died,  that image has been licensed by Alamy more times than I have time to count, in just the first week of March It has been zoomed four times, and licensed twice.  I shot that image with a KODAK / NIKON DCS-620 (2.1MP) at 1600ISO.  It took me two weeks to prepare that image and so far it has been well worth my time to do it.  I have many images that have become iconic and Alamy does a good job of getting them out for licensing, I just wish that Alamy had the trained staff to negotiate higher fees?  I come from decades in the News Photo business and to date the most valuable set of images I've been involved with was 1st time U.S. rights $150,000.00 and European for about $175,000.00 (in the days before the EURO) all of that was negotiated by one of the major photo agencies at the time.

 

I do believe, I may be wrong, that Alamy does need to have more experienced staff on the News side that can take valuable images and negotiate better fees.

 

Chuck

 

 

 

19 hours ago, Starsphinx said:


....  What values my work - and your work - and everyone else's work - is the market.  

 

First, I will say I don't think Alamy is becoming a microstock site and I hate what the industry has done to reduce the price photographers receive for their work, but Chuck & others, I feel I have to defend  Starshpinx analyses' - to the extent he is talking about the current market, and to the extent that you dismiss him as not understanding the market so harshly. You are looking at it from your experience but you fail to recognize that those of us who joined this industry when it had already become democratized and overcrowded have had a very different experience from you.

 

This should be a discussion not a bashing of other's views.

 

Each of us has to determine what works for the way we shoot, the access we have, and our own experience. To dismiss the experience of others because yours, as a veteran of a marketplace that was very different than the one we face today, does not move this discussion forward. It just discourages people from honestly airing their views. I don't believe in red marks so you won't get one, and I appreciate your experience but I'm quite discouraged by how harshly you have stated your views.

 

Like him (her?) I too have had health issues in the past decade+ that have limited my ability to consistently work on commissions, and so have turned to stock as a way to grow my business. I have had my photos in Smithsonian magazine, National Geographic books, Coastal Living, and dozens of others as well as in solo and group juried shows in the New York metro area, including at the Museum of the City of New York, so I am not a hobbyist despite the fact that I am only able to work part time. 

 

I think that what really damaged our industry was the macrostock agencies that came up with the concept of RF - compounded by a name that confuses the average person who thinks that it means these images are actually available for use at no charge. The microstock agencies then built on this woefully damaging concept by underpricing the established marketplace, But now those established agencies have followed suit devaluing our work, and so we face an industry that is very different than the one you envision. 

 

For a few years now, Alamy has been encouraging us to switch unlicensed images to RF, to upload new images as RF and they also license our RM images on terms that may as well be RF (like 25 years for a book). I have two images, one on the frontispiece and another full page as a chapter cover in a book by a major UK travel publisher that were licensed as RM in ~ 2014 and, when they showed up in the 2016 edition, which should have required a new license under the terms Alamy disclosed to me, and I contacted Alamy, I was told that the actual deal they had made permitted use in subsequent editions notwithstanding the language they had posted in my sales history (it's been in subsequent editions too). So, given that the trend in the industry is going toward RF and that the sheer number of images on here (155 million images) continues to grow at an astounding pace (I think Alamy had 8 million when I started in 2008), how can you compare what you are earning on commissioned work or what you earned for an image "back in the day" when the landscape was so different, to what people are earning today? If Alamy is making you the kind of money you feel your images deserve, why do you have such a small port here compared to what must be the size of your archive? 

 

I too have spent a lot of time defending Alamy against the microstock sites, even writing articles about it because I felt it was important to encourage people to value their work, but Alamy has encouraged microstock photographers to join and they have always said it was okay to have the same RF photos on both sites. I finally put a handful on both the microstocks and Alamy to compare and on one site alone I earned over $750 on an image which has earned me $80 on Alamy although it was on Alamy exclusively for two years longer (and before prices across the board began their decline in ~2011-2012 - and if I add earnings on other sites it is well over $1,000). Another that Alamy just licensed here for $10 last month  ($4 net with the new reduced commission) has netted me over $250 on one microstock site alone. In fact, in the last few years my top five best-selling images on a single microstock site have earned me more than all my 100+ sales here on Alamy since 2008. A  sobering reality.

 

It's easy to blame microstock sites or photographers' refusing to charge what they deserve for the state of the market, but the digital revolution, the ease with which photographers from anywhere in the world can upload their photos for sale, and the fact that stock photography is no longer a "members only" club - anyone with a good eye can enter if their photos meet the standards of the particular site they are shooting for - these all affect the market and serve to commoditize our images. Is it really foolish to earn pennies that add up to $1,000's of dollars in this new overcrowded market or is it foolish to cling to the past when reality stares us in the face? I hate to admit that for average photos the "Walmart" model of low prices is more lucrative than the "Nordstrom" model of fewer sales at high prices - but I also agree that special photos like yours of Steve Jobs that can't be duplicated, or highly styled or artistic photographs on boutique stock sites, the old model will still work, but for those of us who joined this industry when it had already become democratized and overcrowded, splitting our images between the "Walmart/micro" model and the "Nordstrom/macro" model may make sense. 

 

I see the future as finding commissioned work, applying to boutique agencies that still place a high value on special images, direct sales at reasonable prices, and average (which means quite excellent but common photographs) on 3-5 different agencies where even with low prices each image will earn its keep. My top price for a single sale on the micros was $750 earning me $375, top on Alamy $450 earning me $225. And the top 4 micros have earned me thousands more than Alamy with a portfolio of 100-350 images. I wish Alamy was my top earner. But it is not. If I had put all my Alamy images on other sites, they would have earned me tens of thousands more by now. But I also license stock directly for mid to macrostock prices, and I will not put those images on a microstock site, but I will no longer ignore the fact that I can make good money on subscription sites, and I will split my portfolio accordingly. That's my reality. 

 

I realize your experience is different than mine. There is no right and wrong here. Alamy with its 155 million images cannot change the marketplace.  So, you can't expect a single photographer to do so. 

 

Edited by Marianne
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4 minutes ago, Marianne said:

 

 

 

 

First, I will say I don't think Alamy is becoming a microstock site and I hate what the industry has done to reduce the price photographers receive for their work, but Chuck, I feel I have to defend  Starshpinx analyses' - to the extent that you dismiss him as not understanding the market so harshly. You are looking at it from your experience but you fail to recognize that those of us who joined this industry when it had already become democratized and overcrowded have had a very different experience from you.


 

 

Marianne, thank you.  You have explained what I was trying to say better than I did - or could.

Oh, and one thing.................I am a gal lol.  It is generally believed by people who have not met me that I am a dude but I have found they feel better if I inform them straight away rather than them tripping over it by accident a few posts down the road.   

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3 minutes ago, Starsphinx said:

Marianne, thank you.  You have explained what I was trying to say better than I did - or could.

Oh, and one thing.................I am a gal lol.  It is generally believed by people who have not met me that I am a dude but I have found they feel better if I inform them straight away rather than them tripping over it by accident a few posts down the road.   

 

You're welcome. ...and LOL ... on another forum I have a pseudonym and people often assume I'm a guy... that old boys' club, I guess. 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Marianne said:

... the fact that stock photography is no longer a "members only" club

The 'members only club' mindset was what actually precipitated the first micro - a rejected wannabe with an entrepreneurial talent.

... and ironically, that same entrepreneur now has a 'members only club' agency!

Edited by Cryptoprocta

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Cryptoprocta said:

The 'members only club' mindset was what actually precipitated the first micro - a rejected wannabe with an entrepreneurial talent.

... and ironically, that same entrepreneur now has a 'members only club' agency!

 

I know. The irony is not lost on me. 

Everyone is looking for greener pastures. Of course he's laughing all the way to the bank. I bought some stock after the IPO and selling half of it financed some nice equipment. 

 

Or if you mean the other guy whose agency was bought by the big guys and then started his boutique agency...I know folks who are doing very well there. 

 

The self-proclaimed "top micronselling photographer" also switched to a macrostock agency. 

 

But yes, when our income stops growing as much as we anticipate, we all look for other ways to earn. I don't intend to go from here to a microstock model, but I will increase the small portfolios I have there as I continue to also make work that I hope to place on one or more boutique agencies. POD sales also spiked up for me last year by nearly 100% after years of small growth, so I will keep growing that portfolio (and will make sure my best selling travel photos remain RM here, no personal use sales), and I will keep adding photos to Alamy. 

 

Everyone's experience is different. And we can learn from that of others but at the end of the day, we all need to look at what we do, what we are comfortable with, and make our own decisions. 

 

 

Edited by Marianne
Perhaps you mean the other guy?
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This has turned into an interesting conversation. I think Marianne is correct. It was the "invention" of RF -- by whom I don't remember -- that totally changed the landscape. It began the unraveling of the established RM business model that eventually led to microstock and the current state of confusion. I've resisted the notion of RF licensing from first hearing about it back in the early 90's. It's only recently that I've grudgingly come to accept that this is where things are headed. That said, I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to get my head around the microstock way of doing things, which is probably a symptom of advancing age ( I just turned 70). Also, I'm not sure how sustainable the MS model is. The big micros already appear to be eating each other alive. Alamy's custom hybrid RM/RF licenses seemed like a good compromise when they first appeared. However, they too are becoming more and more like regular RF, further eroding what's left of the RM model. Who knows what the future holds. I'm afraid that my crystal ball remains as cloudy as ever...

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4 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

This has turned into an interesting conversation. I think Marianne is correct. It was the "invention" of RF -- by whom I don't remember -- that totally changed the landscape. It began the unraveling of the established RM business model that eventually led to microstock and the current state of confusion. I've resisted the notion of RF licensing from first hearing about it back in the early 90's. It's only recently that I've grudgingly come to accept that this is where things are headed. That said, I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to get my head around the microstock way of doing things, which is probably a symptom of advancing age ( I just turned 70). Also, I'm not sure how sustainable the MS model is. The big micros already appear to be eating each other alive. Alamy's custom hybrid RM/RF licenses seemed like a good compromise when they first appeared. However, they too are becoming more and more like regular RF, further eroding what's left of the RM model. Who knows what the future holds. I'm afraid that my crystal ball remains as cloudy as ever...

 

I have never been able to fully embrace the RF nor the microstock model either John, but though I hate to admit it, the micro model seems to work, and that is why many traditional shooters and not just hobbyists jumped on board, although it was much more lucrative in the past than it is now. There's a part of me that wishes I'd taken advantage of it then, but I couldn't wrap my head around it either, except to experiment with a very small portfolio.  I don't know how much longer it will be sustainable - the companies are making money but the competition keeps growing. The fact that I sell photos from my small portfolio daily as they compete with tens of millions of other images is mind-boggling to me, but the volume needed to make real money is substantial and I hesitate to commit so much of my portfolio to it.

 

Being on the fence between RF and RM has kept 1000s of photos in my portfolio since if I commit them to RM I can't put them anywhere else, but RF has its drawbacks. So I sit on the fence and they sit on my hard drive making me $0.

 

There's a part of me that thinks the only option is to upload as much as I can while things are still selling...I'm 60 and had hoped that in the next decade or so I could really grown my portfolio and have a nice residual income, but who knows what the landscape will be like a decade from now.

 

So right now I'm preparing a few hundred stock photos for a long-time publishing client who will probably license 10-20% of them now (and then more over the next several years if I'm lucky) - at a decent fee for each. Preparing them wouldn't be worth the few thousand I hope to make this year except that even though they purchase a one-time use license, I may also simultaneously upload them RF or RM to any stock sites I wish - my choice - but of course since I'm licensing directly I don't want to undercut my own prices, so they will probably only go to Alamy. I was invited to join a German stock site that does not permit me to have the same photos on micro sites, yet they distribute to subscription sites ... so it seems prices keep eroding everywhere and I can't really trust what any site tells me. I am also working on a submission to two exclusive sites, so those photos and their sister images can't go anywhere else, including to my client or to Alamy or elsewhere. Deciding what goes where takes so much time away from taking and processing photos, so it would be easy to just pick one site and upload everything there, but I don't want all my eggs in one basket. My trust has eroded and my crystal ball is cracked...

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