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Yesterday, I bought the current issue of a science magazine that I hadn't read for a long time. I was attracted by the powerful image of a Maya pyramid on the front cover. After I got home, I discovered in the credits that the cover image had been licensed from a large microstock agency, which means that the magazine probably paid almost nothing for it, and the photographer walked away with chump change. This is a respected publication that has been around for a long time, and it has a circulation of almost 600,000. Running the usage terms through the Alamy calculator comes up with a price of over $500. Depressing or what?

Edited by John Mitchell
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4 minutes ago, regen said:

Just as depressing as Alamy offering magazines full page inside or cover for around 5 dollars!

 

Just as depressing to me is the fact that the photographer put such an exceptional image on a microstock site. It smacks of desperation.

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Alamy encourage us to submit images as RF because "clients are increasingly asking for them" but I don't for the reasons given above. I'm lead to believe that RF images once commanded better rates of commission but if that's not the case any longer why would anyone give images away for life and for beer money? Am I missing something or is it just plain crazy? I'm not surprised clients want more RF. 

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RF used to command a premium but for many years this premium has been eroded so now its debatable whether it exists at all. i have never supported RF and historically neither have the agencies I supply. Just another example of Alamys drive for volume at any cost to improve their bottom line ,

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10 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Just as depressing to me is the fact that the photographer put such an exceptional image on a microstock site. It smacks of desperation.

Why so? One of my best selling photos on my micro site has sold so many times that it has more than paid for the entire trip to Newfoundland, where it was taken, on its own. And others from that series together have more than doubled that income. I have no files on Alamy which have come even close. I had one Alamy sale netting me $400 not long after I uploaded it, but the file has never sold since. I think that's the only file I've sold on Alamy for anything like the price on Alamy's calculator.

Alamy has said officially that it's not the quality or rarity of an image which determines its price, only the discount the buyer has negotiated.

 

 

And as for what you wrote in the OP (below, sorry for the poor formatting) that's not accurate either. The top three micros all require an extended or enhanced licence for print runs of over 500,000. I'm guessing that the front page of such a publication would maybe encourage them not to cheat, though Time magazine were caught cheating at least twice. (However, when they were caught, they had to pay the full price, not a reduced price like cheats do if caught by us and reported to Alamy.)

 My highest value single sale in 2018 was via my micro, not via Alamy.

 

Here's the skinny. If you want more average rpd, Alamy is still probably doing better for most people.

If you want to be netting 50% of many sale prices (or even 40%), Alamy is the place, and we can opt out of distribution.

These are perfectly valid stances.

 

However,  if you want a better total net earning, Alamy is almost certainly not the place for that. Last year, my port on Alamy overtook my port on my micro site, so that over the year, I had more or less the same number of files here and there. Yet I netted twice as much on my micro, despite having uploaded exclusively on Alamy for over 2.5 years and adding over 1/3 to my Alamy port in 2018. And despite only getting 30% on my micro, my net was still twice as much.

You can well imagine, I have a different strategy for 2019.

 

Note, I'm not pretending all is well in micro-land. My income there is a third of what it was some years back. But there is no point in positing inaccuracies as facts.

 

10 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Yesterday, I bought the current issue of a science magazine that I hadn't read for a long time. I was attracted by the powerful image of a Maya pyramid on the front cover. After I got home, I discovered in the credits that the cover image had been licensed from a large microstock agency, which means that the magazine probably paid almost nothing for it, and the photographer walked away with chump change. This is a respected publication that has been around for a long time, and it has a circulation of almost 600,000. Running the usage terms through the Alamy calculator comes up with a price of over $500. Depressing or what?

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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To be fair, I have no experience with microstock. The model has never appealed to me and probably never will. One thing is for sure, though, microstock is steadily creeping into every corner of the market. The science magazine that I mentioned, which appears to be in good shape, probably would have thought nothing of paying a few hundred dollars for a cover image not long ago. Now, of course, they don't have to.

Edited by John Mitchell
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6 hours ago, Sultanpepa said:

Alamy encourage us to submit images as RF because "clients are increasingly asking for them" but I don't for the reasons given above. I'm lead to believe that RF images once commanded better rates of commission but if that's not the case any longer why would anyone give images away for life and for beer money? Am I missing something or is it just plain crazy? I'm not surprised clients want more RF. 

RM or RF doesn't really seem to matter given that Alamy just licensed one of my RM images for $6. 

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42 minutes ago, Cryptoprocta said:

And as for what you wrote in the OP (below, sorry for the poor formatting) that's not accurate either. The top three micros all require an extended or enhanced licence for print runs of over 500,000. I'm guessing that the front page of such a publication would maybe encourage them not to cheat, though Time magazine were caught cheating at least twice. (However, when they were caught, they had to pay the full price, not a reduced price like cheats do if caught by us and reported to Alamy.)

 My highest value single sale in 2018 was via my micro, not via Alamy.

 

 

Just checked, and extended licenses at this popular micro agency seem to run from approximately $68 to $100, better but still a bargain -- especially for a cover -- for the magazine and not much for the photographer. Hmmm... why am I not surprised that Time would have been caught cheating. B)

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43 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Just checked, and extended licenses at this popular micro agency seem to run from approximately $68 to $100, better but still a bargain -- especially for a cover -- for the magazine and not much for the photographer. Hmmm... why am I not surprised that Time would have been caught cheating. B)

 

And this is one of my Alamy sales in October:

Country: Worldwide
Usage: Magazine, editorial print and digital use, cover and/or inside, repeat use within a single issue
Industry sector: Media, design & publishing
Start: 25 September 2018
End: 25 September 2020

$ 52.41 (gross)

 

... I could go on. :-(

 
Edited by Cryptoprocta
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Country: United Kingdom
Usage: Editorial
Media: Magazine - print, digital and electronic
Print run: up to 500,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size:1 page
Start: 01 February 2018
End: 01 February 2023
Duration: 3 months. Any placement: Inside or cover.

$12.57 Gross direct sale

 

many of these in last 12 months but this licence(1 of 3 in april last year) is somewhat misleading. How can the placement be inside and inside or cover on the same licence. How can the duration be 3 months when the period is feb 18 to feb 23!

 
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25 minutes ago, regen said:

How can the duration be 3 months when the period is feb 18 to feb 23!

I think that means that it's a quarterly magazine.

 

How can the placement be inside and inside or cover on the same licence

I'm guessing that the licence allows the file to be used for either use. But actually, the placement is specified in this case as being inside (I didn't notice that at first).

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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13 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

Yesterday, I bought the current issue of a science magazine that I hadn't read for a long time. I was attracted by the powerful image of a Maya pyramid on the front cover. After I got home, I discovered in the credits that the cover image had been licensed from a large microstock agency, which means that the magazine probably paid almost nothing for it, and the photographer walked away with chump change. This is a respected publication that has been around for a long time, and it has a circulation of almost 600,000. Running the usage terms through the Alamy calculator comes up with a price of over $500. Depressing or what?

 

I would want to know the economic model under which the image was offered up on a microstock site.

 

Did the talented photographer take the image on paid assignment? Is the talented photographer a paid leader of photo tours? Is the talented photographer a paid ambassador for a camera manufacture? Did the talented photographer, or their estate, sell the image copyright outright to the microstock site for an upfront payment from the microstock site? Did the talented photographer have a profitable picture book published on Maya culture. Is the talented photographer also a paid writer? Is the talented photographer a social media influencer?

 

In other words, did the photographer make a large profit on the image before it started making an even larger profit from microstock sales?

 

Not so depressing, if you are in both a position and a mindset to adjust your business plan. More of a pointer to the future of profitable stock photography, Microstock or not.

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8 hours ago, Sultanpepa said:

Alamy encourage us to submit images as RF because "clients are increasingly asking for them" but I don't for the reasons given above. I'm lead to believe that RF images once commanded better rates of commission but if that's not the case any longer why would anyone give images away for life and for beer money? Am I missing something or is it just plain crazy? I'm not surprised clients want more RF. 

 

Just for clarity. Microstock is RF, but both Alamy RF and Alamy RM are not Microstock. Yet.

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3 hours ago, Cryptoprocta said:

 

And this is one of my Alamy sales in October:

Country: Worldwide
Usage: Magazine, editorial print and digital use, cover and/or inside, repeat use within a single issue
Industry sector: Media, design & publishing
Start: 25 September 2018
End: 25 September 2020

$ 52.41 (gross)

 

... I could go on. :-(

 

 

Well, it definitely won't make you rich. No print run numbers given, so on microstock you might have literally walked away with pennies if it had been a standard license. I get your point, though.

Edited by John Mitchell
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1 hour ago, Bill Brooks said:

 

Not so depressing, if you are in both a position and a mindset to adjust your business plan. More of a pointer to the future of profitable stock photography, Microstock or not.

 

It seems to me that our mindsets and business plans are being adjusted for us.

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On 16/02/2019 at 06:35, John Mitchell said:

 

Just as depressing to me is the fact that the photographer put such an exceptional image on a microstock site. It smacks of desperation.

 

I expect this desperate travel photographer was faced with a choice such as: 

 

1. Exclusive on Alamy for maybe $200 net a month and fail to even cover travel costs

2. Put on 5 top MS sites plus Alamy and get $1000 plus net per month

 

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1 hour ago, andremichel said:

 

I expect this desperate travel photographer was faced with a choice such as: 

 

1. Exclusive on Alamy for maybe $200 net a month and fail to even cover travel costs

2. Put on 5 top MS sites plus Alamy and get $1000 plus net per month

 

 

Interesting response. No doubt the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach works for some people. I can't help noticing that your Alamy collection is RM. Does this mean that you aren't a fan of RF or microstock yourself?

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51 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Interesting response. No doubt the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach works for some people. I can't help noticing that your Alamy collection is RM. Does this mean that you aren't a fan of RF or microstock yourself?

I am not describing myself but I believe this is how many microstockers operate and have done well financially that way. Like many on here I am one of those who has avoided MS as I felt it was damaging to the industry. Though I expect my bank balance has suffered due to that stance. 

 

Today however I don't think travel stock is viable as a business with traditional stock. 

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1 hour ago, andremichel said:

I am not describing myself but I believe this is how many microstockers operate and have done well financially that way. Like many on here I am one of those who has avoided MS as I felt it was damaging to the industry. Though I expect my bank balance has suffered due to that stance. 

 

Today however I don't think travel stock is viable as a business with traditional stock. 

 

I've always felt the same way about MS, although the damage has been done now, and it was inevitable I suppose. That said, I do have footage with MS agencies plus a handful of still images that have found their way onto MS sites via another agency. I fear you're correct about travel photography, which is the main reason (other than financial) that I don't travel much any longer.

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I doubt its pretty much impossible to make a living from traditional stock in any genre now. Does not matter wether its RM,RF or micro stock! It used to be but now its only a bit of jam on the bread. If you are successful at news ,do lots of commissions,run courses or tours for example then stock can provide a little jam on top. Stock is dead unless you are happy helping a large agency with little interest in photography per se continue to make a profit at your expense. 

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