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Mirco Vacca

Microstock leave or stay

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Dear fellow photographers,

 

I am since few months sending my images to Alamy and similar stock sites. Before this time my work went to RF Microstock. I noticed that i can get good sales here at Alamy or others and let me came to the conclusion that it is worth it to keeps sending images. In general it gives me somehow a better feeling having images here at Alamy. On Microstock it is starting to get really bad.... i used to have 5 dollar sales 3 years ago. Now the most are like 35 cents. So 100 sales and my images are spread everywhere for unlimited use and getting 35 dollars.

 

My question is if there is someone that also leaved microstock to continue with only traditional stock and do you think it is even better for my Alamy sales to totally get rid of microstock?

 

 

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That depends entirely on your portfolio.

 

I started submitted to microstock in 2005.  I left it altogether 2 years ago after I saw the decline and realized the nonsense that the "agencies" were pulling on their contributors.

 

I may be leaving traditional stock altogether as well - stock is no longer sustainable from a business perspective.  These days it's simply a place to earn a dollar here or there.  Nothing more than that (and I blame the agencies for that - not microstock).

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Thanks for your answer Ed.

 

I dont think it is not sustainable. I see growth. The point is to keep on uploading regulary. My point was just if people experienced extra growth in traditional stock after leaving microstock. I dont know if i just should leave the microstock what i have or that i am losing extra sales. I am wondering what others would do in that situation.

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I'm not sure either model is particularly viable in terms of financial return realative to effort because it's a saturated market and getting more saturated every day.  If one is being professional, images have to be regarded simply as product and a case of getting the best return.  From observation rather than experience, you could be (figuratively speaking)  throwing away 1000 @ €0.35 for maybe 1 @ €100 which doesn't sound like good business. The good news is that it's not either / or because you can have both.

 

As for the "giving away for pennies" argument, sure if you are giving away the images but all you are actually doing is allowing certain limited usage - I certainly wouldn't expect to get $100 from someone to illustrate a blog using one of my images.  Even from a personal, non-business point of view, isn't there some satisfaction in having virtually all your commercially available images actually used instead of just taking up space on a disk somewhere?

Edited by woody

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Mirco, I think you need to do some research.  Agencies are cutting prices and royalty distributions to the contributor....agencies are complaining because contributors are not uploading images from self-financed shoots as much anymore (because photographers cannot pay for these shoots with the royalties they are receiving).

 

Agencies are blindly trying to compete on price rather than the value they provide to their customers (which for most agencies is nothing more than providing a search mechanism similar to Google to find images).

 

The market is saturated with images that cost little or nothing to produce.  You will find multitudes of images of wine in glasses over white, strawberries and kiwis on a cutting board, etc., etc.

 

If you want to sell images, you need to come up with a unique concept that is in demand...and you need to finance that shoot.  With the prices we are receiving, those financed shoots are not paying for themselves.  If you are not one that shoots models, and you shoot travel, the same concept applies.  Unless you are retired and travelling for fun, travelling just to shoot stock does not pay for itself anymore (and there are already people at your destination that know the area better than you that probably have images available to license somewhere).

 

None of these issues are specific to traditional stock or microstock.  If you feel that it is sustainable and you can turn a profit, then go ahead.....but note that you will be more successful in investing the time and money spent on photo equipment in the stock market or leaving it to earn interest in a savings account.

 

This isn't something to do to be successful in business anymore.  Those days are long gone...it's something to do to pass the time.

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For every image you have both on here and MS, your potential customers will always research the cheapest price. That may end up being the microstock site. 

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If you look at the size and success of Alamy there must be a reason. My recent average sales values have been rising modestly so maybe there is hope for the future. IMO having the same images on Alamy and a MS site is likely to end in up with the buyers going for the cheaper alternative.

 

dov

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Mirco, I think you need to do some research.  Agencies are cutting prices and royalty distributions to the contributor....agencies are complaining because contributors are not uploading images from self-financed shoots as much anymore (because photographers cannot pay for these shoots with the royalties they are receiving).

 

Agencies are blindly trying to compete on price rather than the value they provide to their customers (which for most agencies is nothing more than providing a search mechanism similar to Google to find images).

 

The market is saturated with images that cost little or nothing to produce.  You will find multitudes of images of wine in glasses over white, strawberries and kiwis on a cutting board, etc., etc.

 

If you want to sell images, you need to come up with a unique concept that is in demand...and you need to finance that shoot.  With the prices we are receiving, those financed shoots are not paying for themselves.  If you are not one that shoots models, and you shoot travel, the same concept applies.  Unless you are retired and travelling for fun, travelling just to shoot stock does not pay for itself anymore (and there are already people at your destination that know the area better than you that probably have images available to license somewhere).

 

None of these issues are specific to traditional stock or microstock.  If you feel that it is sustainable and you can turn a profit, then go ahead.....but note that you will be more successful in investing the time and money spent on photo equipment in the stock market or leaving it to earn interest in a savings account.

 

This isn't something to do to be successful in business anymore.  Those days are long gone...it's something to do to pass the time.

I think this is a great summary, thanks Ed.

 

Regards

Lionel

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For every image you have both on here and MS, your potential customers will always research the cheapest price. That may end up being the microstock site. 

 

Possible but probably not very likely.  One reason is that Alamy really serves a different market, even if there is some overlap on the images used.  Secondly, MS is not necessarily a cheap option for buying a single image as it's a volume model based around purchases of image packs and, where single image purchase is an option, the prices would be comparable.

Edited by woody
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For every image you have both on here and MS, your potential customers will always research the cheapest price. That may end up being the microstock site. 

 

Possible but probably not very likely.  One reason is that Alamy really serves a different market, even if there is some overlap on the images used.  Secondly, MS is not necessarily a cheap option for buying a single image as it's a volume model based around purchases of image packs and, where single image purchase is an option, the prices would be comparable.

 

True. You also have to factor in that not all sales are .35 cents. Today, I've made 2 $28 dollar sales at Shutterstock.... $56 sales here. This month they have matched what Alamy has given me (net income) and Micro as a whole significantly more. I have two ports, one RM and one Micro. I don't sell high valued shots via Micro, not worth it. I only have 500 images in Micro now while Alamy has over 4000.

 

At the moment, Alamy sits in third place behind Corbis and Micros. There is a little overlap but I don't just place a copy of all images with all Agencies. Place the right image in the right shop window.

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"This isn't something to do to be successful in business anymore.  Those days are long gone...it's something to do to pass the time."

 

no

 

its a business

 

km

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"This isn't something to do to be successful in business anymore.  Those days are long gone...it's something to do to pass the time."

 

no

 

its a business

 

km

 

+1

 

Like all businesses now... (and i mean ALL), it's more work for less returns but if you target your work correctly, look at whats selling, the return is there.....

 

That said... I'm happy if you all want to throw in the towel ;-)

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"This isn't something to do to be successful in business anymore.  Those days are long gone...it's something to do to pass the time."

 

no

 

its a business

 

km

 

+1

 

Like all businesses now... (and i mean ALL), it's more work for less returns but if you target your work correctly, look at whats selling, the return is there.....

 

That said... I'm happy if you all want to throw in the towel ;-)

 

Hell yeah.... it's all doom, everyone might as well give up now  ;)  :P

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