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I know this will come as no surprise to any of you and I'm sure we are all experiencing the same thing, so this is really just a moan to get off my chest.....but today the number of sales I have made this year exactly equals the number I made last year (249).  However the revenue is $2352 less, and less than it was in 2010 when I had far fewer images and only 64 sales!  Where will it end I ask myself?

End of moan....

I guess if they were sitting on my hard drive sales and revenue would be $0.

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4 minutes ago, Camera Girl said:

I know this will come as no surprise to any of you and I'm sure we are all experiencing the same thing, so this is really just a moan to get off my chest.....but today the number of sales I have made this year exactly equals the number I made last year (249).  However the revenue is $2352 less, and less than it was in 2010 when I had far fewer images and only 64 sales!  Where will it end I ask myself?

End of moan....

I guess if they were sitting on my hard drive sales and revenue would be $0.

 

Can't argue with any of that. My continuing participation in the Alamy sweepstake has more to do with the fact that I have almost 23,000 pix here, which provide me with a secondary income. If I was hoping to make a start in stock photography, in 2019, I would come to the conclusion that "the game's not worth the candle"...

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I quite agree - and I shall carry on submitting because I enjoy the taking and as you say, its a small supplement as far as income goes.  But I would certainly not advise any newcomer to bother.

 

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The biggest blow for me was the huge drop in price for live news online use sales, how do you go from $50-55 an image to $12!!!???

I use to make regular trips to Hastings, a 45 min drive, as with the sale of a couple of images it would cover my fuel costs.

I don't bother any more.

I'm hoping one day SS and Getty will implode then we might see price rises again 🙄

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11 minutes ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

.......how do you go from $50-55 an image to $12!!!???

I use to make regular trips to Hastings.....

Similarly for me with trips in to London. It has to be a multiple event day to make the cost worthwhile

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4 hours ago, LawrensonPhoto said:

The biggest blow for me was the huge drop in price for live news online use sales, how do you go from $50-55 an image to $12!!!???

I use to make regular trips to Hastings, a 45 min drive, as with the sale of a couple of images it would cover my fuel costs.

I don't bother any more.

I'm hoping one day SS and Getty will implode then we might see price rises again 🙄

Totally agree. I don’t bother with the weather shots as much as I used to unless I happen to be somewhere for another reason.

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I feel your pain.  Number of sales for me is OK - more than 200 this year.  The highest since a bumper crop back in 2012.

But revenue is the lowest since I started.  Only 2006 was lower when I just had a few images up.

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Only been on here a couple of years, used to go out of my way (lots of miles) for images. Not any more, don't get me wrong  love taking images but now just carry the camera everywhere and see what comes along.

Even live news has to be close with todays dwindling returns.

 

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UK contributors seem to be the hardest hit. My average price per image has been fairly stable for the past few years. It's actually up slightly this year to $48. The biggest change that I notice is the sharp decline in $100+ sales. High $$ sales seem to be making their way onto the endangered list as well. That said, 2019 will be my third best for revenue and best for total number of sales .

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My own average sale (across the board) has been steadily dropping for about fifteen years. I see nothing on the horizon that would alter this trend.

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In our first year on Alamy which was 2001 we made around $1600 dollars net from 4 sales.

This year with 2000 images we made $311......

 

 

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So this year my average price per image has been $29. In 2010 it was $115. That is before Alamy and distributors took their percentage. Either way a fall of nearly 400% ?  Not too good at maths so I may be wrong about the percentage but it’s still a massive drop.  These days if I have a sale that is in three figures before everyone takes their share I do a little happy dance! 

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I have said many times that Alamy MUST DO SOMETHING about licensing  rates.

 

For 2019 I am well past the highest number of licenses, but I am only at the fourth

over the years in revenue.

 

I love Alamy, but I can not lockup rare images if Alamy can not produce acceptable

revenue.

 

Chuck

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Alamy do seem to be assisting with the race to the bottom averaging 17.92 dollars gross per sale for me this year. This is in part due to genre and their need to attract bulk deals at absurdly low prices and giveaway licence conditions.  But there are still reasonable prices out there if the agency is prepared to work at it. If only they could match one of my specialist agencies which averaged 35.84 pounds gross per sale this year then it would be worthwhile getting out there again.

Regen

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I believe this year is going to be a watershed. Never has there been so many contributors finding it not worth their while to make the least little effort to produce new images.

I still stick to my opinion voiced over the year that Alamy cut commission in order to fund a further drop in prices. We in Europe, particularly in the UK have had a double whammy,  cut in commission and to add insult, a drop in licence fees. 

I no longer step outside the door to take new images unless, as others have said there is another reason. All my recent images have been taken on holiday and I still have a few hundred that I really have to be in the mood to process and keyword to upload.

 

 

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I see this as an extension of yhe market for photography in general. Commissioned work from clients is for work that has a shorter and shorter shelf life.  Social media eats content and the money has to go further. This last year in the uk Brexit has completely stalled the market clients reusing old work instead of commissioning new.

The stock agency's are reacting to the market, a percentage of something is better than nothing.  When is spoke to art buyers about Gettys dumping of RM  they said great ! When I explained the economics of the situation and it would mean that nobody will bother shooting new expensive stock they looked a bit per perplexed but then understood.

I suspect it market will have to collapse before it can be rebuilt. You certainly can't make a living out of this anymore. 

In 2004 my average sale was 200 now its about 35. Depressing really.

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1 hour ago, Camera Girl said:

These days if I have a sale that is in three figures before everyone takes their share I do a little happy dance! 

And cross the fingers hoping it isn't refunded?

 

19 minutes ago, BobD said:

Never has there been so many contributors finding it not worth their while to make the least little effort to produce new images.

All my recent images have been taken on holiday

Yap.  Don't know how 'travel' photographers do it, I mean the expense! 

 

Highest revenue totals when commissions were 70% obviously.  Highest # of licenses per month were in the Huff Post and Daily Mail days.  Not so good since.  Anyone else affected similarly (referring to Huff Post, Daily Mail)?

Helen

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Wow, some interesting comments! Many are so distant from my own experiences that I need some time to think them over.

 

Bob, what's different about this year? For me, it's just more steady decline in stock sales. And if things were different in the UK, the substantial percentage of my Alamy collection that was shot there would have lower numbers. I don't see any difference at all. 

 

And Chuck ... what can Alamy do about prices? There is no way they can really raise prices without competitors swooping in. 

 

This decline isn't new, it's been the industry trend for decades. And certainly, the old rule of thumb that less income equals more contributors has been proven true over and over again. I was dependent on stock for decades - I used to live a nice life in NYC from my stock income. What are you going to do? Shoot more of the same? Lots more of the same? 

 

What can photographers change?

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2 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

Wow, some interesting comments! Many are so distant from my own experiences that I need some time to think them over.

 

Bob, what's different about this year? For me, it's just more steady decline in stock sales. And if things were different in the UK, the substantial percentage of my Alamy collection that was shot there would have lower numbers. I don't see any difference at all. 

 

And Chuck ... what can Alamy do about prices? There is no way they can really raise prices without competitors swooping in. 

 

This decline isn't new, it's been the industry trend for decades. And certainly, the old rule of thumb that less income equals more contributors has been proven true over and over again. I was dependent on stock for decades - I used to live a nice life in NYC from my stock income. What are you going to do? Shoot more of the same? Lots more of the same? 

 

What can photographers change?

 

I don't see how we can change prices, the market determines those for the most part. Plus it's too late to warn new photographers to stay away from microstock. The damage has already been done to traditional licensing models. Speaking personally, I realize that going forward I need to work smarter -- i.e. put more thought into what kind of subjects I photograph and submit. There's no longer any point in uploading images just for the heck of it, which I'm as guilty of as anyone else.

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4 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

Wow, some interesting comments! Many are so distant from my own experiences that I need some time to think them over.

 

Bob, what's different about this year? For me, it's just more steady decline in stock sales. And if things were different in the UK, the substantial percentage of my Alamy collection that was shot there would have lower numbers. I don't see any difference at all. 

 

And Chuck ... what can Alamy do about prices? There is no way they can really raise prices without competitors swooping in. 

 

This decline isn't new, it's been the industry trend for decades. And certainly, the old rule of thumb that less income equals more contributors has been proven true over and over again. I was dependent on stock for decades - I used to live a nice life in NYC from my stock income. What are you going to do? Shoot more of the same? Lots more of the same? 

 

What can photographers change?

Alamy could put a minimum license fee for certain "Exclusive and Rare" images.  I just had a very rare image licensed for pennies and I am not happy about it.  I would rather the image not be licensed and if I see this continuing I will start removing exclusive and historically important images from Alamy.  It is up to Alamy to act in the photographers best interests.  I do not give a DAxx about markets.

 

Chuck

Edited by Chuck Nacke
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9 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

 

 

Bob, what's different about this year? For me, it's just more steady decline in stock sales. And if things were different in the UK, the substantial percentage of my Alamy collection that was shot there would have lower numbers. I don't see any difference at all. 

 

 

 

Brian, In 2008-2009 my average licence fee was $104. I realise this was a golden era and don't look at those years as a comparison to what is happening now.

More important is what is happening now. The last four years my averages are as follows.

2016 - $32

2017 - $26

2018 - $26

2019 - $20

These are gross figures, the nett are laughable. In 2018 I thought the pricing had bottomed out, but I was wrong. I always set $20 as the absolute minimum I would accept as an average licence fee so next year will probably see my last submissions.

I believe that if the prices drop too much further Alamy will be forced to cut commission again. 

When Alamy cut commission this time I actually moved away from being exclusive and for the first time this month I have earned more at an ms agency than I have at Alamy with less than half the number of images.

Unless a contributor has a very large portfolio made in the days of better pricing it is impossible to make more than pin money from stock.

I have taken a look at the portfolios of the contributors to this thread and what I found is all are producing well processed saleable images. These images must be valued by Alamy, if they no longer have value then who will want to continue producing new images.

Fortunately I am retired with a reasonable pension and don't need the income.

 

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5 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Alamy could put a minimum license fee for certain "Exclusive and Rare" images.  I just had a very rare image licensed for pennies and I am not happy about it.  I would rather the image not be licensed and if I see this continuing I will start removing exclusive and historically important images from Alamy.  It is up to Alamy to act in the photographers best interests.  I do not give a DAxx about markets.

 

Chuck

 

We will reach the point, I suppose, where photographers will no longer feel justified in spending much money to shoot stock pix, because they know they'll never recoup their 'investment'. The media will still require shots which take time or money or effort or access or permissions to shoot or specialist skills, which may mean more work for photographers on assignment... if the quantity of 'hard to get' stock pix dries up. 

 

Equally, photographers may not see much financial revenue in travel photography. However, if we take a broader view, we can see that for every travel destination worth photographing, there are plenty of capable photographers who live in such places, who are able to use their local knowledge to fill in the gaps.

 

The global reach of an agency like Alamy is game-changing. Thirty years ago I never imagined that my pix could be licensed around the world, with my share of the proceeds appearing in my bank account at the end of every month. Nor did I forsee that millions of other photographers could do the same... with the resulting decline in the fees being offered.

 

As new gaps appear in the market, we'll no doubt see new responses. We already have smaller, 'boutique' agencies, with specialised collections. We'll have to see what the future holds...

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6 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Alamy could put a minimum license fee for certain "Exclusive and Rare" images.  I just had a very rare image licensed for pennies and I am not happy about it.  I would rather the image not be licensed and if I see this continuing I will start removing exclusive and historically important images from Alamy.  It is up to Alamy to act in the photographers best interests.  I do not give a DAxx about markets.

 

Chuck

Chuck you obviously have some rare images (much more than mine). My particular gripe was about scarce images on Alamy anyway,  I had a licence for an image which if you use the search string to find it only yield 6 or 17 images depending how you word the search (6 of them are mine), so the client did not have allot to choose from. Surely Alamy could negotiate more than small $ Net for it. Just seems lazy to me.

  

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1 hour ago, BobD said:

 

Brian, In 2008-2009 my average licence fee was $104. I realise this was a golden era and don't look at those years as a comparison to what is happening now.

More important is what is happening now. The last four years my averages are as follows.

2016 - $32

2017 - $26

2018 - $26

2019 - $20

These are gross figures, the nett are laughable. In 2018 I thought the pricing had bottomed out, but I was wrong. I always set $20 as the absolute minimum I would accept as an average licence fee so next year will probably see my last submissions.

I believe that if the prices drop too much further Alamy will be forced to cut commission again. 

When Alamy cut commission this time I actually moved away from being exclusive and for the first time this month I have earned more at an ms agency than I have at Alamy with less than half the number of images.

Unless a contributor has a very large portfolio made in the days of better pricing it is impossible to make more than pin money from stock.

I have taken a look at the portfolios of the contributors to this thread and what I found is all are producing well processed saleable images. These images must be valued by Alamy, if they no longer have value then who will want to continue producing new images.

Fortunately I am retired with a reasonable pension and don't need the income.

 

 

Bob, these gross numbers aren't the trend, they're just a small part of it. If (like me), you'd been in stock longer, you'd be able to extend those numbers back to about 1999 or so before the trend would be to  prices increasing. I saw price and revenue growth all through the nineties. 

I'm even more disturbed by the "large portfolio" comment. How large is "large?" Over the years, that number has increased in order to compensate for dropping prices and volume. Currently, this number is often given as "ten thousand" online and far higher in personal discussions. This has turned into a kind of inflation - if you're trying to build that "large portfolio" it will never be large enough.

 

Finally, you are fortunate to be retired, but not everybody is. Many of us made career decisions decades ago and have found the rug pulled from underneath our feet. Stock photography used to be one of the most solid and lucrative career moves in photography and it seemed smart at the time. 

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57 minutes ago, John Morrison said:

 

We will reach the point, I suppose, where photographers will no longer feel justified in spending much money to shoot stock pix, because they know they'll never recoup their 'investment'.

 

John:

There's no way that this can happen. The supply of photographers who are anxious to join stock agencies is infinite. As quickly as one group that doesn't like the current situation leaves, another will step in and take their place.  On this very thread, there's a person who described the era ten years ago as a "golden age." For him perhaps, but only because he hadn't been around ten years before.

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