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Phil and all,

 

First, I Do Not Like Stock Photography or most "Stock Photographers"  I am not now nor have I

ever been a "Stock Photographer"  I do know Jim and I often do not agree with him I.E. his blog.

 

If you make pictures, fine.  If you make pictures for people that wish to publish or use for whatever

reason or license, you need to understand your client, market, or the people that are paying to license your images,

or if you are doing Royalty Free images (what I consider below Sewer Level) you need to understand that

market.

 

I have been in the "Agency business for decades"  NOT THE STOCK LIBARY BUSINESS.  While I do know "Stock Photographers"

who make over 250,000 a year and as a photographer and I have billed over $300,000 a year doing assignment photography

for magazines and corporations.  I have quit the assignment business, now I spend my hours, days, months and years scanning

and preparing images for license by Alamy as well as two of the other major "Stock Agencies" or picture libraries.  I will say

that for the most part I have been very happy with Alamy.  In my opinion they are doing the very best that they can for the contributors.

 

In closing I would say, If you would like to make images for license or for publication, make better images, with better caption and keywords.

 

FYI when I was recruited to Alamy in 2003, my average license for an image, after agency commissions was over $300.

 

I need some more Vodka......

 

Chuck

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Well, some folks aren't doing too badly by the sounds of it.

 

Interesting that Alamy isn't mentioned in the article given that it is one of the last refuges.

 

P.S. I thought you had retired the vodka, Chuck.

Edited by John Mitchell
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When the author uses the word 'your' instead of 'you're' in his article, you know it just isn't worth reading any more...

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It's tough to argue with this statement:

 

"More customers are paying for images, but they are paying lower and lower prices, so the net result is no increase in revenue and possibly an overall decline. The only people making any money are the owners and investors of the companies that have found ways to exploit image creators."

 

However, I wouldn't include Alamy in the list of exploiters. I too believe that as a business they are doing their best for contributors, which is why I think most of us continue to stick around.

 

 

 

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I look forward to an update on Alamy's new strategic direction ( or whatever it is called).

 

They keep piling up more and more images so presumably they see purpose in that effort and expense. 

 

I also see Alamy as head and shoulders above the rest. I've stopped submitting elsewhere and may pull the plug on G completely given a couple more insulting sales statements of micro stock prices. The money is useful but self-respect is more important. 

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I don't think Jim ever made much from photography, but sold advice well. As far as he was concerned there was only America which works for some but is a pretty limited view

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I can't disagree with anything he said but need to be pedantic on one point. Thailand is not a cheap country to live. Those days have long passed. I got a surprise when I got stuck in the UK for 3 months due to the covid lockdown - it was cheaper for me to live in the UK than in my home in Thailand ;+)

 

Edited by Panthera tigris
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4 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Phil and all,

 

.........

 

I need some more Vodka......

 

Chuck

 

I think we can forgive his bias Chuck as his website is called "selling stock"

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6 minutes ago, Panthera tigris said:

I can't disagree with anything he said but need to be pedantic on one point. Thailand is not a cheap country to live. Those days have long passed. I got a surprise when I got stuck in the UK for 3 months due to the covid lockdown - it was cheaper for me to live in the UK than in my home in Thailand ;+)

 

 

Oh my. I was not planning to move to South East Asia, but that is scary news, Paul. Scary news everywhere is what we are facing now. 

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Not making excuses but Mr Pickerell's advice to an aspiring pro photographer student on the cusp of starting a full-time photo career might be somewhat different than to an established experienced pro photog with a substantial portfolio.

 

In any case - I took Community College professional photography classes in the waning days of film and the beginnings of digital. 

I was not aware of stock photography then - as I recall it was never mentioned. 

 

But the college's photo Dept Chair's prophetic words to us back then ring even truer today were   "If you want to make $$$ in photography - find something to sell to the photographers".  

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8 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

"Last year I earned about $6,500 from my newsletter and $300 from my photo archive." $300? Is that a typo? If not, get a grip, Jim. I could earn that renting out my socks. 

 

I guess that would make you a "sock photographer". Not sure what Chuck would think about that. 😄

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1 hour ago, Phil said:

Not making excuses but Mr Pickerell's advice to an aspiring pro photographer student on the cusp of starting a full-time photo career might be somewhat different than to an established experienced pro photog with a substantial portfolio.

 

In any case - I took Community College professional photography classes in the waning days of film and the beginnings of digital. 

I was not aware of stock photography then - as I recall it was never mentioned. 

 

But the college's photo Dept Chair's prophetic words to us back then ring even truer today were   "If you want to make $$$ in photography - find something to sell to the photographers".  

 

I have a feeling that selling advice and make-money schemes to other photographers -- which might have worked well at one time -- is no longer a growth industry.

 

Hate to sound pessimistic (a bad habit of mine), but I fear that "stock photography" (in its current form anyway) is a slowly sinking ship. Fortunately, I've reached an age where I don't have to worry much about that. For me, photography is now just an enjoyable pastime that I'm grateful to still be able to make some needed extra income from. I think that the last two paragraphs of Pickerell's article offer some good advice to young people wanting a "real" photography-related career -- i.e. concentrate on areas like video, graphic design, etc. rather than traditional still photography, which might just be better pursued as a fulfilling hobby in the future.

 

 

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Jim Pickerell has been dispensing stock photo advice since the early 1980's at least.

 

He considers himeslf a journalist. He has got under everyone's skin, both agency owners and photographers, at one time or another.

 

He has been right more times than wrong.

 

Many photographers have made more money because of his advice. Myself included.

 

I think some of you are shooting the messenger.

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1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I have a feeling that selling advice and make-money schemes to other photographers -- which might have worked well at one time -- is no longer a growth industry.

 

 

My observations since the rise of digital imaging for the masses seems to indicate that photographer education is a high percentage of income for many new and established photographers trying to make a living.     

 

YouTube and other video platforms in connection with their advertisers & affiliate incomes have many types of photographers offering photography education, advice, workshops, etc. to other photographers.  Numbers they've disclosed show that their YT videos along with their education offerings are easily their primary source of photography incomes with print, stock, etc incomes in the low single digit percentages.

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

My observations since the rise of digital imaging for the masses seems to indicate that photographer education is a high percentage of income for many new and established photographers trying to make a living.     

 

YouTube and other video platforms in connection with their advertisers & affiliate incomes have many types of photographers offering photography education, advice, workshops, etc. to other photographers.  Numbers they've disclosed show that their YT videos along with their education offerings are easily their primary source of photography incomes with print, stock, etc incomes in the low single digit percentages.

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder how long that can last, though, with so many photographers getting discouraged by all the competition and low-income from photography.

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1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I wonder how long that can last, though, with so many photographers getting discouraged by all the competition and low-income from photography.

 

IMO - most of their clients are hobbyists/amateurs that do not have professional aspirations.   So competition and poor-income outlooks are likely not a factor.

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It used to be possible to make a living out of stock photography though most professional photographers looked to make more of our income from assignments and the stock was likely to be what filled in the quieter times and build up a collection for some future revenue. That worked pretty well up until, maybe ten years ago. Habits die hard or perhaps we just like to keep our hand in. Maintaining this crumbling pile and garden can fill a lot of time before I succumb to daytime television. So far I've made 59 sales for 2020 which is still a little better than pin money but let's not kid ourselves that is making a living.

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I think it's probably fair to say that stock photography, and perhaps photography in general, is part of the so-called "gig economy", where people have to hold down several jobs in order to make a living. This model has both advantages and disadvantages. Alamy suits me well as I'm a pensioner, plus I have another part-time "gig" tutoring high school students. Put my earnings together and they amount to enough to get by. I'm not a daytime TV fan either. I do like tennis.  However,  I had a hip replacement a couple of years ago, so it's probably not a good idea to get back into running around. Golf is too expensive. As far as the future of stock photography goes, my biggest concern is that it doesn't get completely gobbled up by microstock agencies. That would be the end of it for me.

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When Tony Stone sold his stock agency to Big G in the early '90s, and then everything went digital, I went back to music for six years. That didn't work for me. I was ghost writing for a couple of guys on the West Coast. Music too was a younger person's world. 

 

Putting aside the pandemic numbers for a minute, there are now almost 8 billion people on Earth. Of those, 6 billion are stock photographers, and of those, 5.6 billion do how- to and equipment videos. 12 or 15 of those speak in sentences and sometimes have something helpful to say. 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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On 13/09/2020 at 15:44, Phil said:

 

IMO - most of their clients are hobbyists/amateurs that do not have professional aspirations.   So competition and poor-income outlooks are likely not a factor.

 

The last poet to make enough to live on from readings and books was Allan Ginsberg, and even he ended up teaching.  I've figured that some people make more on a weekend from teaching a high aspiration course (movie script writing, song writing, writing fiction), than they make on average from writing scripts, songs, or fiction.   People get to feel like part of a creative community while the class is on.  The writers teaching these vary from people who love teach to people who use their students as a substitute for an audience.   People who are too critical and not encouraging enough don't get classes.

 

My impression is that while the instructors see their teaching often enough as recruiting an audience for better work outside the class room, that most people taking graduate courses or writer's workshops are hoping to escape the jobs they have by becoming creatives.  

 

In Fine Arts MFA programs, there's Yale where a third of their graduate MFAs get NYC gallery representation and pretty much every other MFA program is lucky if five percent makes any money as artists.  My brother had some local gallery representation in North Carolina as a landscape painter.  One of the galleries mentioned that he had a Masters from Wake Forest in their promotion material.   Um, in Business Administration.   When my brother lived in Philadelphia, he made friends with a retired Pennsylvania Academy painter, driving the car to places where they'd paint and where the old painter would occasionally give pointers.  Probably a purer form of craft transmission than the usual classroom.

Edited by MizBrown
tidying up.

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Commercial poetry? You're forgetting Rod McKuen.

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Leonard Cohen

 

wim

 

edit: His Bobness; Patti Smith

Edited by wiskerke

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