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Your stock predictions for 2023


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My crystal ball is pretty cloudy these days, especially when it comes to the stock photography industry. However, one prediction that I'm willing to make is that stock agencies -- including Alamy most likely -- are going to embrace AI-generated content in a big way. What this will mean for contributors, I'm not sure.

 

What are your predictions for where stock photography is headed (on Alamy and/or in general) in 2023?

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1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 However, one prediction that I'm willing to make is that stock agencies -- including Alamy most likely -- are going to embrace AI-generated content in a big way. What this will mean for contributors, I'm not sure.

 

 

G has already stated that they won't accept AI generated content. 

From an email a while ago, " Effective immediately, G Images will cease to accept all submissions created using AI generative models (e.g., Stable Diffusion, Dall‑E 2, MidJourney, etc.) and prior submissions utilizing such models will be removed."

As for predictions, I predict everything I foresee will be wrong, as usual.

I should add, from the email "

There are open questions with respect to the copyright of outputs from these models and there are unaddressed rights issues with respect to the underlying imagery and metadata used to train these models.

These changes do not prevent the submission of 3D renders and do not impact the use of digital editing tools (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) with respect to modifying and creating imagery."

Edited by Rico
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16 minutes ago, Rico said:

G has already stated that they won't accept AI generated content. 

From an email a while ago, " Effective immediately, G Images will cease to accept all submissions created using AI generative models (e.g., Stable Diffusion, Dall‑E 2, MidJourney, etc.) and prior submissions utilizing such models will be removed."

As for predictions, I predict everything I foresee will be wrong, as usual.

I should add, from the email "

There are open questions with respect to the copyright of outputs from these models and there are unaddressed rights issues with respect to the underlying imagery and metadata used to train these models.

These changes do not prevent the submission of 3D renders and do not impact the use of digital editing tools (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) with respect to modifying and creating imagery."

 

I know almost nothing about AI-generated imagery, but another big agency (whose name we won't mention) now has an AI generator of some kind that allows customers to create their own images from existing content. With Alamy's huge collection, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't develop something similar. As you say, though, it gets complicated...

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No good will come of it !

 

Not seeing any reason for optimism at this time. I've seen prices slide downwards over the past several years and they have not yet bottomed. Despite selling many more images I am earning significantly less money. 

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I do not know, probably it will be even harder to maintain good sales. What I have noticed is that I reached the bottom of sales in September and since then my sales are getting better, being this month a good/normal one. The views are still low in relation with last year but when I get a zoom normally my image is the unique selected/zoomed or there are another one and later on there is a sale. Last year's there were much more zoomed images for a search.

Finger cross for the 2023.

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I can only speak as a news photographer.   I agree prices will continue to drop.  Linked to this rising costs, for example travel. Will make it uneconomical for many to continue. The late Keith Morris used to say that minimising costs was key and the majority of his highly successful stock and news photography was shot within a couple of miles of his home.  
 

currently, I am not too concerned about AI.  It is a threat on the horizon.  
 

My personal experience is that it is getting tncresingly difficult and/or expensive to cover national or political events.  As an example, I used to annually cover the National remembrance service in London as an accredited photographer.  This year, there were either two or three places for freelancers, the same applied to Trooping the Colour.  I am under the impression that both the conservative and Labour parties are seeking to control the narrative and thus limiting photography to their own media or limited access.  This trend has been much amplified by the likes of The protester Steve Bray who allegedly harasses politicians around Westminster this great.y reducing ad hoc photo opportunities.  I understand that there was official advice to Ministers and MP’s to stay within the Palace of Westminster and conduct media appearances within that place.   As I understand it is impossible for freelancers to get Parliamentary passes the opportunity to photograph politicians disappear.  
 

I still make money photographing in Downing Street; prime Minister, Ministers etc.   But the lack of shelter, toilets, refreshments takes its toil and in most cases I am in competition with agencies who file from their cameras, makes life interesting.

 

it will be possible to make money from news photography but it will be harder work, long hours and more luck.  You can increase your luck by experience, knowing where to be and when aided by small scale information sharing.  
 

Going back to Keith Morris “know your market”.  There are a lot of news websites who have an inexhaustible demand for news pictures, albeit at stupid prices.  That trend will continue.  Some would say print is dead.  If not dead it’s decline will continue this coming year.  In my case walking heads of politicians are not particularly demanding photography, but it sells.

Protests, strikes and civil disobedience will grow this year returning to pre covid levels.  Good contacts and inside information is essential.  Expect to see the continuing trend of violence against photographers as well as issues with the police and other authorities.  Some of the new public order legislation creates many grey areas and some legislation relating to whistle blowing will spill over in to our work. I see no let up of the “you cant take my photo” crowd.  Overall risk for news photographers will continue to increase.

 

Sadly, I can see no good news on the horizon for news contributors, in fact there is little but downside,

 

All the best for the new year….

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If my sales figures for 2022 is any indicator of the future, I had the 2nd best year, just shy of last year, in terms of number of sales, but the 2nd worst year, since I started here in 2005, in terms of revenue.  That does not paint a very rosy picture, for me at least.  More like a withering cactus. 

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4 hours ago, Brian1947 said:

Perhaps Alamy would like to comment on how they see the next year developing. Let us know what they think will happen as regard to LOW fees and less income for contributors.

 

 

Yep, they could produce a video and announce that all is going well and that they had no plan, nor was there any need to have such a plan,  to change commission rates. 

 

😜

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16 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

My crystal ball is pretty cloudy these days, especially when it comes to the stock photography industry. However, one prediction that I'm willing to make is that stock agencies -- including Alamy most likely -- are going to embrace AI-generated content in a big way. What this will mean for contributors, I'm not sure.

 

What are your predictions for where stock photography is headed (on Alamy and/or in general) in 2023?

 

Well, SS, a well know micro, will start to pay contributors if their work is purchased for AI generated "art" or whatever.  So I agree AI-generated content will be working its way into stock, and I think in a big way.

 

I don't see it coming to Alamy.  I do see downward pressure on sales pricing though.  It is inevitable.  AI-generated content will be a factor in that downward pressure.

 

I do see an upward trend in sales for Alamy, though at lower prices.  

 

Rick

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33 minutes ago, Rick Lewis said:

 

Well, SS, a well know micro, will start to pay contributors if their work is purchased for AI generated "art" or whatever.  So I agree AI-generated content will be working its way into stock, and I think in a big way.

 

I don't see it coming to Alamy.  I do see downward pressure on sales pricing though.  It is inevitable.  AI-generated content will be a factor in that downward pressure.

 

I do see an upward trend in sales for Alamy, though at lower prices.  

 

Rick

 

I can't help wondering if Alamy's new "creative" collections aren't a prelude to offering AI-generated content cobbled together from existing images. You never know who might be looking for a picture of a walrus eating a peanut butter sandwich in a French bistro. 😁

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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My guess is that fewer people will remain active in stock ( and on the Alamy forum). There will be a continuing stream of new entrants but most won't last long before they become disillusioned. Something has to give with these micro fees and falling income - it is unsustainable to carry on squeezing contributors and expecting them to keep producing for agencies. 

Edited by geogphotos
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On 31/12/2022 at 14:19, John Mitchell said:

 

I can't help wondering if Alamy's new "creative" collections aren't a prelude to offering AI-generated content cobbled together from existing images. You never know who might be looking for a picture of a walrus eating a peanut butter sandwich in a French bistro. 😁

 

 

 

When did they take away the LOL response? 

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On 31/12/2022 at 08:45, Michael Ventura said:

If my sales figures for 2022 is any indicator of the future, I had the 2nd best year, just shy of last year, in terms of number of sales, but the 2nd worst year, since I started here in 2005, in terms of revenue.  That does not paint a very rosy picture, for me at least.  More like a withering cactus. 

 

I don't have your volume of sales, but 2022 was strikingly similar for me, my best year for # of sales and third worst for revenue, over $400 less than what I earned here in 2021. My only worse years were 2009 when I started with a handful of images, and 2020 when Covid hit. 

 

I found a couple of images of mine online today crediting me & Alamy, one in a book published 6 months ago and another on msn.com/en-gb published last month, neither of which appeared in my 2022 sales. I hate that I have to ferret out uses and then get a few dollars for all my trouble. I wrote to them about the book, but have to diary 2 months out to see if the msn sale shows up. I have my work at Alamy to avoid the tedium of having to chase down delinquent clients and keep track of sales. 

 

I also downloaded my sales report and realized that I get 1 cent out of the insulting top-up of 3 cents for the 2 cent sale to China back in the summer, despite having opted out of China sales a year ago, this despite the promise of 100% commission. 1 cent vs 3 cents obviously doesn't matter,  but being lied to does. 

 

So my prediction for 2023 here is that it will be full of ups and downs, the downs outweighing the ups, and more disappointments. I hope I'm wrong. I could use some $$$ surprises. 

 

Stock image revenue on another site continued to grow, so I guess there is some life in the industry yet, but I'm far from enthusiastic about stock photography's potential anywhere these days. 

 

AI is interesting. I've tried out midjourney and Dal E but the files mostly need a lot of post-processing. I'm currently working on an astronaut Panda and one in a yellow submarine for my 4-year-old grandson. It seems like more of a future problem, but the future arrives very quickly these days. I've been licensing stock since 2009, when digital was already changing the landscape, and it seems like there have been a lifetime of changes in just those 14 years. 

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It doesn't take much imagination to think that the future will mean increasing number of sales at Alamy and a continuing steady decline in NET income.

I would also say that SS will continue it's decline in sales and income, while AS is on track to continue to surpass Alamy for income with increasing sales.

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3 minutes ago, Reimar said:

It doesn't take much imagination to think that the future will mean increasing number of sales at Alamy and a continuing steady decline in NET income.

I would also say that SS will continue it's decline in sales and income, while AS is on track to continue to surpass Alamy for income with increasing sales.

 

Is it fair to call microstock downloads "sales," though? They're more like a kick in the teeth IMO. At least that was my reaction when I was experimenting at those other sites. I found the whole micro business model totally demoralizing.

 

Just sayin'... 🙄

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On 05/01/2023 at 01:38, geogphotos said:

My guess is that fewer people will remain active in stock ( and on the Alamy forum). There will be a continuing stream of new entrants but most won't last long before they become disillusioned. Something has to give with these micro fees and falling income - it is unsustainable to carry on squeezing contributors and expecting them to keep producing for agencies. 

 

I predict that you're probably correct (unfortunately). 😕

 

The "micro-ization" of stock photography will no doubt continue. Hopefully, Alamy can stem the tide somewhat for awhile longer. Glad I'm getting long in the tooth. 👴

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5 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Is it fair to call microstock downloads "sales," though? They're more like a kick in the teeth IMO. At least that was my reaction when I was experimenting at those other sites. I found the whole micro business model totally demoralizing.

 

Just sayin'... 🙄

 

Right and it was those business models that has forced Alamy to appear more and more like a micro.  Thank goodness we still see some of the +$$$ sales here.

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4 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Is it fair to call microstock downloads "sales," though? They're more like a kick in the teeth IMO. At least that was my reaction when I was experimenting at those other sites. I found the whole micro business model totally demoralizing.

 

Just sayin'... 🙄

For me it's all about total income.  For that, Alamy is not at the top, and actually has some of the lowest price per image I've seen yet (1 cent).  Granted, higher value sales are more likely here, but right now it's two sales here and 63 at AS averaging just under a buck each.

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4 hours ago, Reimar said:

For me it's all about total income.  For that, Alamy is not at the top, and actually has some of the lowest price per image I've seen yet (1 cent).  Granted, higher value sales are more likely here, but right now it's two sales here and 63 at AS averaging just under a buck each.

 

Guess I've lucked out as I've yet to to have any of those "for pennies" sales on Alamy (touch wood). My lowest sale in recent history was about $1.50 as I recall. Personally, I found those $0.10 "sales" at the huge micro agency to be bad for my mental health.

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Is there a new breed of picture editor in our UK local newspaper titles who just grab any old picture with the main keyword in it from stock agencies... or just lift the images off social media, because the quality of imagary being used has gone right down the pan?

 

I have alerts set up for some of my main subject keywords and I'm seeing low quality, very old pictures being used to illustrate current stories.

 

So, my prediction is that quality will no longer count for much in general stock photography and with prices of a few cents for some shots it will be pointless (in general) to spend hours editing, so a quick fix of the black and white points and composition will suffice.


The future for stock, for me?

My highest sales this last year have been video clips... elsewhere.

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