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Autumn Sky

Managing your Assets

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The problem is Geogphotos is that the micro was well and truly out of the bag in the early 2,000's there is no real going back unless they all go bust tomorrow.

 

The old agencies which used to pay top dollar are pretty much long gone. 

 

I admire the fact you get lots of high value sales.  Unfortunately not everyone can get those high value sales so each person must balance

the need to make money as opposed to making nothing or little from a single agency.

 

I would worry about the P*xab*y outfits which are giving away images for nothing now and there are plenty of people willing to go down that route.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, David Pimborough said:

The problem is Geogphotos is that the micro was well and truly out of the bag in the early 2,000's there is no real going back unless they all go bust tomorrow.

 

The old agencies which used to pay top dollar are pretty much long gone. 

 

I admire the fact you get lots of high value sales.  Unfortunately not everyone can get those high value sales so each person must balance

the need to make money as opposed to making nothing or little from a single agency.

 

I would worry about the P*xab*y outfits which are giving away images for nothing now and there are plenty of people willing to go down that route.

 

 

Maybe so but micro-stock is not compulsory. 

 

But if you really need the money then I can see that you have no choice.

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

Maybe so but micro-stock is not compulsory. 

 

But if you really need the money then I can see that you have no choice.

 

Of course its not compulsory I would never disagree with that. :)

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9 hours ago, Sally R said:

I can relate to your dilemma. I started with an MS agency two months prior to joining Alamy. I quickly got sales there but mostly at the 25c subscription price. As I began to upload to Alamy I tried to upload what I thought were better images which I was making exclusive to them, while ones I thought were not as good I was now uploading at the MS site. While images continued to sell at the MS site, it was a momentary happiness of getting a sale, and then a kind of heart sinking feeling at the tiny price. I was also starting to upload images to the MS site that I didn't feel that good about, because I was valuing them less.

 

I then thought about the future, and how in a few months I would like to maybe do more with my photography, perhaps start approaching clients directly, build my own website etc. If I were to do this, I felt like maybe it is not good to be selling images for such tiny prices at MS agencies, and that it is better to value the images more by keeping them with a midstock agency. I felt compelled to remove the images from the MS site and then upload them here.

 

This was possibly a silly decision in that I was at least making regular sales there, whereas I've only had one here. On the other hand, I'm feeling better about my work, and some of the more average images on the MS site I decided not to put here. I'm also aware that a number of the images I've put here may not be likely sellers, but then again, the unexpected can happen, so it is so difficult to know what to do. So I don't think there is an easy answer, and I have been doing stock for such a short time that I don't have much experience to go on.

 

You have some high quality images, so perhaps you could think about longer term goals and maybe ways of directly marketing them in the future. Another way of looking at it may be considering how much effort you have put into a particular image, and if it has really taken a lot to get that image (travel or trek to the place, scout locations, set up your tripod, post-process etc), then maybe these are the ones you don't want to sell for tiny amounts, or at least ones that are quite unique and not as likely to be replicated by others on MS sites.

 

Thank you so much for this comment Sally, and it mirrors almost 100% how I feel.   I stopped uploading to "15% micro" because of sentiment;  disgusted with rate, total lack of quality standards,  prehistoric cumbersome interface etc etc.  Just don't want to work with them.

 

Solution is not easy, and yes maybe the answer is trying alternate channels.  But while still in stock, I am more and more of opinion decision should be made on image basis & hard numbers.  Example:  This is one of few images I have exclusively on Alamy:

princess-cruises-big-white-luxury-cruise

 

It sold last month for 49.99,  net 25 to me.  If it was non-exclusive, it would be 20.  I doubt very much it would make $5 of difference as editorial with 0.33 cents / download, as market for something like this is probably quite limited.  (And it might sell on Alamy again, although unlikely)

 

But Alamy rates are also going down.  This month I got 2 sales already;  after commission,  it is single digit in my pocket combined from both of them

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8 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

In my view microstock has done untold damage to this 'industry' and continues to do so. I feel the same now as I did then that in wanting to convert my photography hobby to a paying business I should not do anything to undermine the industry and other people's incomes. 

 

 

I've always felt that way as well. My small experiments with microstock (which I guess make me a bit of of a hypocrite) haven't changed my mind either. However, the sheer volume of images being produced nowadays means that the ms business model isn't going to go away. I'd call ms a "sad reality" now.

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Posted (edited)

I'm just curious if those who contribute to microstock discuss Alamy on the microstock forums. Do similar discussions as this one - should I just contribute here or should I send my pics over there to a competitor - are permitted? All the agonising over it and the ins and outs, comparison between where you are and the 'other' place. Is it allowed at, for example, Shutterstock?

 

Sorry about this red arrow pilots but I've always felt that there is a kind of childishness about many of these microstock discussions. It's a kind of fantasy business game where people's livelihoods aren't really at stake but they like to pretend that it is absolutely imperative that they make the 'right' decisions, and hard though it is 'business is business', and there is no time for sentiment, and its 'dog eat dog out there', either 'adapt or die' and those that go under will just have to evolve or die like the dinosaurs. But really its just about a bit of pin money and self-image. A bit of fun.

 

To me it is absolutely simple. Microstock is a business model.  It is a destructive business model. If it is supported through 'need' or whatever other reason then please do not be surprised that you then find fees getting lower and lower at Alamy. There are connections. Actions have consequences.

 

I really do understand that the 'genie is out of the bottle' etc etc but I do get tired of the endless microstock discussion on the Alamy forum. Alamy is not a microstock agency, It is an easy-going, liberal company and allows all sorts of discussion but really and truly is it an appropriate places to be discussing the merits of direct competitors?

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

I really do understand that the 'genie is out of the bottle' etc etc but I do get tired of the endless microstock discussion on the Alamy forum. Alamy is not a microstock agency, It is an easy-going, liberal company and allows all sorts of discussion but really and truly is it an appropriate places to be discussing the merits of direct competitors?

 

 

This is not discussion about microstock.   Read the thread title.  It is discussion about optimal way to manage media assets, for which micros are just one option of many.

And btw if I was tired about discussing micros on Alamy,  I'd not read these threads and comment on them.  As simple as that

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Autumn Sky said:

This is not discussion about microstock.   Read the thread title.  It is discussion about optimal way to manage media assets, for which micros are just one option of many.

And btw if I was tired about discussing micros on Alamy,  I'd not read these threads and comment on them.  As simple as that

 

You missed my question about discussing Alamy on the micro forums.

 

Do they allow you to include Alamy in a discussion of 'optimal' media management?

Edited by geogphotos

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micro forums are swamp of constant bickering and negativity george.   I peeked there once when I was starting and never came back.   It is sure way to get depressed.  Alamy forums are different;  generally positive and constructive comments.  Read what folks like wiskerke or john mitchell post.  Makes you glad to be part of group. That is the difference.  But to answer your question, yes you can discuss Alamy there and people do.  They even invented  "professional" microstock forum, just for the reason of discussing (bickering) about other agencies without restrictions.

 

But again this is about managing the assets, not forums and not micros by themselves, so let's please stay on topic

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7 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

You missed my question about discussing Alamy on the micro forums.

 

Do they allow you to include Alamy in a discussion of 'optimal' media management?

 

 

Yes they do, and most in extremely negative fashion, including a few posters who appeared here, refused to adapt to Alamy, and then state that optimal is avoid Alamy. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, meanderingemu said:

 

 

Yes they do, and most in extremely negative fashion, including a few posters who appeared here, refused to adapt to Alamy, and then state that optimal is avoid Alamy. 

 

 Thanks for that but I am not talking about the various non-agency microstock forums.  I am referring to the equivalent of this Alamy forum run by a microstock agency such as Shutterstock, or Dreamstime , or one of the other places that the OP contributes. 

 

Would it be considered okay on that forum to discuss individual images and ask other contributors whether the images should be submitted to that microstock agency or to a 'mid-stock' competitor? In other words the reverse of the OP's request.

 

If so then obviously I have got this wrong and apologise to Autumn Sky and everybody else.

 

 

 

 

Edited by geogphotos

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13 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

You missed my question about discussing Alamy on the micro forums.

 

Do they allow you to include Alamy in a discussion of 'optimal' media management?

 

Technically speaking most of the others forums specifically do not allow discussion of other agencies but people get round that.

 

The contributors usually limit it to "which agency is best to submit to" type questions and how Ad*be is doing so much better than SS and

how bad rates are at I.S.

 

Alamy doesn't seem to figure a lot as they perceive it as a low seller, too regional/UK centric or Live news oriented.

 

That is of course when they aren't tearing eachother to pieces 🤣

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

 Thanks for that but I am not talking about the various non-agency microstock forums.  I am referring to the equivalent of this Alamy forum run by a microstock agency such as Shutterstock, or Dreamstime , or one of the other places that the OP contributes. 

 

Would it be considered okay on that forum to discuss individual images and ask other contributors whether the images should be submitted to that microstock agency or to a 'mid-stock' competitor? In other words the reverse of the OP's request.

 

If so then obviously I have got this wrong and apologise to Autumn Sky and everybody else.

 

 

 

 

where did i mention non agency forums?  

though in fairness I would say only one is really such active.

Edited by meanderingemu

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42 minutes ago, meanderingemu said:

where did i mention non agency forums?  

though in fairness I would say only one is really such active.

 

Thanks for the clarification.

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3 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

Thanks for the clarification.

no problem.   as follow up even if one has badmouthing competition as a no-no in forum rules,  reported offences were not addressed by moderators. 

 

in the end i actually want their posters to think,  and i quote: "Alamy is a joke" 

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40 minutes ago, meanderingemu said:

no problem.   as follow up even if one has badmouthing competition as a no-no in forum rules,  reported offences were not addressed by moderators. 

 

in the end i actually want their posters to think,  and i quote: "Alamy is a joke" 

 

 

I bet there would be lots of moans from those same people if Alamy didn't exist and they had no choice but micro-stock.

 

Just to repeat myself - Alamy gives everybody the same opportunity to participate in proper, serious stock photography. No barriers, no favouritism. 

 

Perhaps some of those you mention (who say 'Alamy is a joke')  need to think about that rather than blaming the Alamy for their perceived failures. 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

 

If so then obviously I have got this wrong and apologise to Autumn Sky and everybody else.

 

 

 

 

No need to apologize.  But once again,  let's please stay on topic and talk about micros only in context of possible channel to manage/monetize our assets.

 

There are other options out there.  For instance, one I've been thinking about are gallery prints.   I live in small mountain town and in downtown we have several such places that cater to tourists.  I browse sometime & yes they are nice, but I think I have some that are better.  Last yr on return from hike I met fellow from California & chatted on way out -- he is monetizing his photography exclusively through galleries in LA & spends summers in Canada shooting landscapes.  This is his website: http://www.seandu.com/  Or, the other day I met guy on afternoon walk;  serious gear & had chat.  He has shown me digital copy of custom print he sold for $350.  But he has 50 megapixel FF SLR, which I don't.  So there is issue of further gear investment because 20 megapixel SLR I have is simply not good enough for that.

 

Other option would be try selling digital stills directly & avoid the middle man.  I get inquiries at times on photos on my website, but this is mostly by local book authors looking for free photos.  I've been published in one such book, as inside cover, but I just gave it to him for free as it looked like right thing to do in terms of community spirit and maybe get bit of free advert.  Perhaps I should seriously look into  this as possible avenue.  But you need "name";  for instance this guy https://zizka.ca/   people come to him & he has local business he completely lives from.  You think he does stock lol.   I am nowhere his quality of course, but maybe this is the path to consider.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Autumn Sky
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Autumn Sky said:

No need to apologize.  But once again,  let's please stay on topic and talk about micros only in context of possible channel to manage/monetize our assets.

 

There are other options out there.  For instance, one I've been thinking about are gallery prints.   I live in small mountain town and in downtown we have several such places that cater to tourists.  I browse sometime & yes they are nice, but I think I have some that are better.  Last yr on return from hike I met fellow from California & chatted on way out -- he is monetizing his photography exclusively through galleries in LA & spends summers in Canada shooting landscapes.  This is his website: http://www.seandu.com/  Or, the other day I met guy on afternoon walk;  serious gear & had chat.  He has shown me digital copy of custom print he sold for $350.  But he has 50 megapixel FF SLR, which I don't.  So there is issue of further gear investment because 20 megapixel SLR I have is simply not good enough for that.

 

Other option would be try selling digital stills directly & avoid the middle man.  I get inquiries at times on photos on my website, but this is mostly by local book authors looking for free photos.  I've been published in one such book, as inside cover, but I just gave it to him for free as it looked like right thing to do in terms of community spirit and maybe get bit of free advert.  Perhaps I should seriously look into  this as possible avenue.  But you need "name";  for instance this guy https://zizka.ca/   people come to him & he has local business he completely lives from.  You think he does stock lol.   I am nowhere his quality of course, but maybe this is the path to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If that is the sort of thing you want to be doing I strongly suggest that you stop messing about with microstock and build yourself a reputation based on quality - which you clearly have already. It sounds like you don't really need the money from microstock in the short-term, it isn't essential to what you do, so why do it? 

 

My advice would be to think of the long-term and where you want to be in a few years time even if that means turning away from the immediate gratification that micrsotock sales bring you. Alamy provides a ready made platform for you and instead of agonising over which images to send where just concentrate on building up your collection of quality images, building a website and see where that leads ( prints, direct sales etc). 

 

Trying to go in more than one direction at the same risks confusing yourself, and when you do have a website for direct sales and prints I expect you will want all your images to be there not scattered around on a mix of sites and vastly different price levels and licences ( which would confuse your buyers). 

Edited by geogphotos

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On 06/03/2020 at 11:48, Autumn Sky said:

 

Thank you so much for this comment Sally, and it mirrors almost 100% how I feel.   I stopped uploading to "15% micro" because of sentiment;  disgusted with rate, total lack of quality standards,  prehistoric cumbersome interface etc etc.  Just don't want to work with them.

 

Solution is not easy, and yes maybe the answer is trying alternate channels.  But while still in stock, I am more and more of opinion decision should be made on image basis & hard numbers.  Example:  This is one of few images I have exclusively on Alamy:

princess-cruises-big-white-luxury-cruise

 

It sold last month for 49.99,  net 25 to me.  If it was non-exclusive, it would be 20.  I doubt very much it would make $5 of difference as editorial with 0.33 cents / download, as market for something like this is probably quite limited.  (And it might sell on Alamy again, although unlikely)

 

But Alamy rates are also going down.  This month I got 2 sales already;  after commission,  it is single digit in my pocket combined from both of them

 

 

if you want to use  MS, there is a way to optimise your assets by creating distinct assets for distinct distribution methods.  yes you might have had to wait 15 minutes to get a new image with this one, but for most scenarios it's not as dramatic.

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On 07/03/2020 at 10:52, geogphotos said:

 

 

If that is the sort of thing you want to be doing I strongly suggest that you stop messing about with microstock and build yourself a reputation based on quality - which you clearly have already. It sounds like you don't really need the money from microstock in the short-term, it isn't essential to what you do, so why do it? 

 

My advice would be to think of the long-term and where you want to be in a few years time even if that means turning away from the immediate gratification that micrsotock sales bring you. Alamy provides a ready made platform for you and instead of agonising over which images to send where just concentrate on building up your collection of quality images, building a website and see where that leads ( prints, direct sales etc). 

 

Trying to go in more than one direction at the same risks confusing yourself, and when you do have a website for direct sales and prints I expect you will want all your images to be there not scattered around on a mix of sites and vastly different price levels and licences ( which would confuse your buyers). 

That is very good comment, thank you.

 

I think we all 'evolve' in whatever we do in our lives;  3 yrs ago when I started,  there was excitement with MS sales.  ("Wow, someone actually paid for my photo").  Then came first non-trivial Alamy sale.  Etc etc.  Now I am simply feeling MS is not right for me anymore.  I don't just snap and upload.  I spend time in post-processing.  I.e  I just spent an hour on photo of Reclining Buddha taken in Vientiane, Laos.   Pano stitch of 4 frames.  Search on Alamy for this and you will see people don't even bother removing electric wires in the background, but besides cleaning that I also replaced entire sky (original was gray, and I felt it was taking away from the scene).   Ya I know, replacing sky is not rocket science, but it is not entirely trivial either.  Etc etc.  I have a good photo now I am not afraid to show to anyone.  Now to get 'rewarded' for all this with 33 cents or even lower, I don't know. It just doesn't feel right.   But I also feel I am still not good enough for some of these other purely professional avenues I mentioned.  I still can not produce commercial quality star trails or anything from domain of astrophotography.  I feel gear limits, because sometimes lens I have are not fast enough, sometimes it is too soft in the corner, etc etc.  None of this mattered before, but now it does.  So it is some sort of transition phase, and in the meantime I am looking for optimal way of managing what I already have and what is long term asset.  

 

 

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On 08/03/2020 at 02:52, geogphotos said:

Trying to go in more than one direction at the same risks confusing yourself

 

This is precisely what I was doing and yes it confused me 🤔 I realised I'm not a great multitasker, but also it starts to get messy trying to figure out what you are doing with two different models for licensing images at different price points that make you think about your photography differently.

 

4 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

So it is some sort of transition phase, and in the meantime I am looking for optimal way of managing what I already have and what is long term asset.  

 

I think this is a good place to be. It means you are growing forwards with your photography. I wouldn't worry too much about not being up with astrophotography or other specialised skills yet. I did an astrophotography course a few years ago, and our teacher said how images that he took earlier in his career looked good to him at the time, and that they look like rubbish to him now. The wonderful thing about photography is it is an endless learning curve where you never run out of things to learn. Like you, I used to be less fussy about corner sharpness, now soft corners annoy me. So don't worry too much about what gear you have. As you make some sales, you can put some money towards maybe lenses you would like to have, but also work with the strengths of the lenses that you have now. Sometimes I find limitations can also make you think creatively and differently. I have a 90mm macro lens that I do use for macro, but I have also used it as a general walk around lens as it is beautifully sharp, and because of being limited by the focal length I think of new ways of photographing subjects that I might not otherwise have thought of.

 

So I would say your transition phase is a good thing, and you are heading in a positive direction!

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11 hours ago, Sally R said:

 

 teacher said how images that he took earlier in his career looked good to him at the time, and that they look like rubbish to him now. The wonderful thing about photography is it is an endless learning curve where you never run out of things to learn.

That is so true.  I look back at my pics I thought were great at a time, and now they don't look so great anymore;  it is sign of getting better.  But it is also important to have fun and enjoy the ride, not just think about the destination.

 

Yes Alamy is good because there is seriousness;  there is QA,  rate is decent compared to micros -- although I still think 40% non-exclusive is low -- but also you can learn by participating in community, look at other people work etc.   I am now leaning to keep Alamy and Photoshop Micro, ditch the others

 

btw here's that Laos Reclining Buddha with replaced sky;  cleared QA overnight.   Original was all gray, and there were telegraph wires just left of his head.  Blue sky is from La Jolla Shores, California :)   It might never sell, but I really, really like this one

2B57TC8.jpg

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Very impressive reclining Buddha!

 

Yes staying with PS micro might be good to keep your eggs in more than one basket. I hope I haven't overly influenced you to ditch micros based on my decision to do so if they are a source of income. I just got an overwhelming sense that it was the right thing for me to do. It simplified things and made me feel clearer about what I was doing. So make the best decision for you that feels right.

 

Also, ignore the info below from my previous post. It just automatically pasted in when I went to reply and can't seem to be able to remove it. All the best! 

 

 

On 08/03/2020 at 02:52, geogphotos said:

Trying to go in more than one direction at the same risks confusing yourself

 

This is precisely what I was doing and yes it confused me 🤔 I realised I'm not a great multitasker, but also it starts to get messy trying to figure out what you are doing with two different models for licensing images at different price points that make you think about your photography differently.

 

On 09/03/2020 at 11:22, Autumn Sky said:

So it is some sort of transition phase, and in the meantime I am looking for optimal way of managing what I already have and what is long term asset.  

 

I think this is a good place to be. It means you are growing forwards with your photography. I wouldn't worry too much about not being up with astrophotography or other specialised skills yet. I did an astrophotography course a few years ago, and our teacher said how images that he took earlier in his career looked good to him at the time, and that they look like rubbish to him now. The wonderful thing about photography is it is an endless learning curve where you never run out of things to learn. Like you, I used to be less fussy about corner sharpness, now soft corners annoy me. So don't worry too much about what gear you have. As you make some sales, you can put some money towards maybe lenses you would like to have, but also work with the strengths of the lenses that you have now. Sometimes I find limitations can also make you think creatively and differently. I have a 90mm macro lens that I do use for macro, but I have also used it as a general walk around lens as it is beautifully sharp, and because of being limited by the focal length I think of new ways of photographing subjects that I might not otherwise have thought of.

 

So I would say your transition phase is a good thing, and you are heading in a positive direction!

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