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Would you rather have 16 sales for $800 or 7 sales for $700, in month's time. It is frustrating to see more sales only to net what you used to get with fewer sales. Maybe we should be just concerned with the bottom line? Not that we have much of a choice, either we go along with the game or we don't. I think, at this point, I would have the 16 sales for $800.

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It's all about the profit, if the 9 extra sales costs $101 more to produce, well you can guess which one I will take.

 

If Alamy's your only game, you're in trouble.

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Michael and all,

 

The answer to your question, in my opinion, is simple.  I would rather have 7 "Licenses" (I do not sell images nor do allow Alamy to) for $700.

I do not make widgets, I make images that have long term value.  Many of the images that I speak of can not be made again and cost my client

or myself money to create and anything that decreases the long term value of those images disturbs me, I did mention this in another tread.

 

Again in my opinion, digital photography and the ease of uploading images to the growing number of libraries has helped to devalue the "Image"

Another major part of the problem is that too many photographers do not value their own images.

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I think that just about everyone (including me) would prefer the fewer sales / higher fees model, but the fact is that everything in this super-saturated digital world is based on volume. Preserving the long-term value of individual images is becoming increasingly more difficult.

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Chuck, I should print your post and hang it on my wall above comp.

Sometimes I forget what I am doing that for... It's easy to loose our way and give work for "free"... And it's so hard to not forget about value of our work.

 

If I would sell tomato isolated, one of milion similar... I don't care much about price. But if we talk about RM, something unique, special, value... we better keep control.

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Again in my opinion, digital photography and the ease of uploading images to the growing number of libraries has helped to devalue the "Image"

Another major part of the problem is that too many photographers do not value their own images.

 

I have to agree with Chucke,  it has become a snowball effect with more image suppliers stacking the shelves high and selling cheap,  i remember the old days when a image had some value and  photographers had a degree of control and business sense when it came to licensing their work,  where is it all going??

 

I would rather have 7 sales for $1000.

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I totally agree with Chuck.  I shudder and get somewhat irritated when I read "a sale is a sale at any price"...aaaaaaahhhh.   I have placed a restriction on all of my images which prohibits a license for editorial>editorial website as I refuse to license images for next to nothing.  If I "lose" a sale, then so be it. 

Edited by Sheila Smart
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  Many of the images that I speak of can not be made again 

 

This 100%

 

I think this has been lost in this world. Yes it's easy to walk up to a store front or a bank and take a picture of the sign and hope that it sells to the media in amongst the rest for what is buttons. It's easy to forget that it took you 20 mins to walk there. It cost you £1.20 for the parking, or the bus. It then sells for £3.71 and you just accept that that's the price with no knowledge of how it was sold for that or any appeal if you don't agree. 

 

I'd rather have one or two big sales in the year to add to my gear than see a sale and not get excited about it. 

 

Lots of agencies are using this Getty model of embedding as an excuse now to say they need to compete with pricing. I find that the true race to the bottom for which there will be no return. 

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Answering the original question as it stands, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind: I'd take the $800 for 16 sales.  I'm posting images here in order to earn money.  If I had the option of choosing a monthly income of $800 or $700 as a return on a certain volume of images already posted here, then why would I choose the lesser amount?  Doesn't make sense.

 

Unfortunately, it's not such a simplistic option and the original question has been answered by most with lots of suppositions made about long-term trends in per-image value etc.

 

If you are asking would I prefer to see the value of my images decline on a monthly basis, thus requiring an ever increasing portfolio size just in order to stand still (which is pretty much where we are now in any case), then the answer is clearly NO.  Would I take a short-term boost in earnings now as a 'bribe' in order to accept a lower value per image, given all the caveats that come with it?  NO: give me the 7 sales and the $700.

 

EDIT: unfortunately, the only choice that any of us have in the matter is to take it or leave it.  If you wish to object, then you must 'walk the walk' in any way you see fit, as Sheila has done.  Who's brave enough to chuck their dinner in the bin?

Edited by losdemas
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Would you rather have 16 sales for $800 or 7 sales for $700

This might as well be rephrased as "Would you rather have $800 or $700".  You do not choose how many images you will sell, the customers do that.

 

The prices we get are what they are: no amount of bemoaning the industry and where it is going/has gone will change that.  And once the images have been uploaded, there is no more work to be done - they just sit there, until they sell, or do not, and then they may sell again, who knows. 

 

I sold an image licence yesterday which, after Alamy and distributor commission, will net me about £2.39.  Do I think it is a good return for my time and effort in taking and processing that image? - in this particular case, no.  Having uploaded the image a year ago, am I happy that I have at last got at least something out of it (unlike the substantial majority of the pictures I have uploaded)?: yes.  I wish I could have got more for the picture, but I do not wish I had not made the sale: I am glad to have got something.

 

Therefore my answer to the original question is £800 - I will take that over £700 any day of the week.

 

Graham

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I know I have said this before, only 0.5% of my output is stock and I do appreciate this is a stock photography forum. However, similar principles apply to my selling my original prints through major galleries. Of course I am going to wish for the highest price a gallery can get for each of my prints. (They, like Alamy also take 50% - that has been standard for almost ever with good galleries). 

 

I have had the opportunity to sell prints cheaply through a number of galleries over the years but I held out - to my ultimate, long-term benefit. It meant hard times in the early days so I fell back on 'commercial' photography to supplement my living until print sales perked up. I truly believe that a proper professional should hold out for proper fees. Even in hard times. 

 

The big difference of course is that I have a big say in what the minimum is that I will accept for one of my prints. If any gallery thinks I am 'getting above myself', or pricing myself out, they will tell me. There is a dialogue, I have to work with them and respect their judgement and knowledge of their clients and the market.  Whereas, the only say you have with Alamy is not to submit work, as they licence your images as they see fit without you having a say. That's the nature of stock photography and always has been.

 

Like a lot of people here, I can track back many years and look at my photo library returns from the mid 1980's and chuckle. Average per image was far, far higher than now. take into account inflation, and it goes way higher than that even. Sadly for those who rely on stock it is now a struggle and I sympathise. Diversify, keep at it, keep your head up and continue to work to high standards and it will come. I'm still here after being professional for over 50 years and in photography for nearly 60. 

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Yes it's easy to walk up to a store front or a bank and take a picture of the sign and hope that it sells to the media in amongst the rest for what is buttons. It's easy to forget that it took you 20 mins to walk there. It cost you £1.20 for the parking, or the bus.

 

 

But you wouldnt just be making *one* image? Or at least I wouldn't. 

 

I don't live in a city, but when i visit say Cardiff then i'd be making sure that on a walkabout in the city centre i'd come away with at least 50 good solid editorial images, shops, people, details, activities, situations, .......and i could get all of them in 30 minutes

 

 

if you can't see all those subjects all around you in everyday life, well, maybe this sort of stock work isn't for you

 

 

km

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Yes it's easy to walk up to a store front or a bank and take a picture of the sign and hope that it sells to the media in amongst the rest for what is buttons. It's easy to forget that it took you 20 mins to walk there. It cost you £1.20 for the parking, or the bus.

 

 

But you wouldnt just be making *one* image? Or at least I wouldn't. 

 

I don't live in a city, but when i visit say Cardiff then i'd be making sure that on a walkabout in the city centre i'd come away with at least 50 good solid editorial images, shops, people, details, activities, situations, .......and i could get all of them in 30 minutes

 

 

if you can't see all those subjects all around you in everyday life, well, maybe this sort of stock work isn't for you

 

 

km

 

 

Aye but Keith you're a Jedi at this sort of thing :)  I was using that as an example because you might not license every image from that set of 50. 

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Yes it's easy to walk up to a store front or a bank and take a picture of the sign and hope that it sells to the media in amongst the rest for what is buttons. It's easy to forget that it took you 20 mins to walk there. It cost you £1.20 for the parking, or the bus.

 

 

But you wouldnt just be making *one* image? Or at least I wouldn't. 

 

I don't live in a city, but when i visit say Cardiff then i'd be making sure that on a walkabout in the city centre i'd come away with at least 50 good solid editorial images, shops, people, details, activities, situations, .......and i could get all of them in 30 minutes

 

 

if you can't see all those subjects all around you in everyday life, well, maybe this sort of stock work isn't for you

 

 

km

 

 

Aye but Keith you're a Jedi at this sort of thing :)  I was using that as an example because you might not license every image from that set of 50. 

 

 

Keith probably would  :)

 

But I often return from Copenhagen without even half the number of editorial images worth to upload. Probably also a difference whether it is a British city for at British agency or just a city abroad.

Edited by Niels Quist
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Yes it's easy to walk up to a store front or a bank and take a picture of the sign and hope that it sells to the media in amongst the rest for what is buttons. It's easy to forget that it took you 20 mins to walk there. It cost you £1.20 for the parking, or the bus.

 

 

But you wouldnt just be making *one* image? Or at least I wouldn't. 

 

I don't live in a city, but when i visit say Cardiff then i'd be making sure that on a walkabout in the city centre i'd come away with at least 50 good solid editorial images, shops, people, details, activities, situations, .......and i could get all of them in 30 minutes

 

 

if you can't see all those subjects all around you in everyday life, well, maybe this sort of stock work isn't for you

 

 

km

 

 

Aye but Keith you're a Jedi at this sort of thing :)  I was using that as an example because you might not license every image from that set of 50. 

 

 

Keith probably would  :)

 

But I often return from Copenhagen without even half the number of editorial images worth to upload. Probably also a difference whether it is a British city for at British agency or just a city abroad.

 

 

*scratches head* Aye Keith probably would sell the lot to them lol 

 

Maybe this game isn't for just any photographer? 

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Thanks for the thoughtful responses! It seems most of you would rather make a little less, overall, if it meant that each image sold for more.  I have been in the stock photo biz since the early eighties and and enjoyed the consistent higher value sales.  Back then, a $300 to $500 sale was not that unusual.   And this is why I cannot ever go the micro route even if it could possibly make me more, it just seems so wrong to me.   But then I see my monthly sales here really not moving much, it takes more sales to make what I was making just a year ago with 50% fewer sales.   Of course we would all love to have more sales at higher values but that does not seem to be the reality in today's market. 

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The potential client couldn't care less how much time or money it cost to produce an image. If more than one suitable image is available he will take the best/cheapest option. It would cost me hundreds of pounds to get a photo of New York - an NY photographer could do it for next to nothing. The customer isn't going to pay me any more because I had to catch a plane.

Some photos are unrepeatable - many of Chuck's images couldn't be taken again and he is not alone in that. Unfortunately it isn't possible for an organisation with a database of nearly 50 million images to give them each a rarity rating which dictates the level of fees they deserve. 

 

I would rather have 8 sales for $800 than 16 for $800, but I'll go with the 16 if the alternative is losing the $100.

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"Like a lot of people here, I can track back many years and look at my photo library returns from the mid 1980's and chuckle. Average per image was far, far higher than now. take into account inflation, and it goes way higher than that even. Sadly for those who rely on stock it is now a struggle and I sympathise. Diversify, keep at it, keep your head up and continue to work to high standards and it will come."  Pete Davis

 

True, but factor in leaky film backs, traffic jams on the way to drop films off, the cost, return trips to redo shoots etc etc you could argue that things aren't that bad.  I still get some decent prices (a $550 sale in Feb at Corbis, a $1000+ distributor sale last month at Getty, both RM).  There is also a much greater appreciation of (indeed need for) work that isn't formulaic stock.  Let's face it - stock in the 1980s was pretty awful.  Thankfully the microstock industry has hoovered all that up.

 

There is, of course, a particular problem that prices are falling  and sales are declining at Alamy.    

 

RB

Edited by Robert Brook
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There is, of course, a particular problem that ... sales are declining at Alamy.    

 

 

not universally

 

km

 

 

Correction:

 

There is, of course, a particular problem that ... sales are declining at Alamy. This might be because too many contribs think church doors, swans and Big Ben are what editors are looking for.

 

Not life.

 

RB

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