Jump to content
Paul Mayall

Competing with 50.500,000 + images and still making the odd sale

Recommended Posts

 

 

The trick is to try and evolve yourself, though it isn't easy turning a supertanker on inland waterways.

 

 

A most artful metaphor. 

 

My wallet misses my time with Tony Stone . . . and 14 years it was.  B)

 

 

I wasn't with Tony Stone, but I know what you mean. This whole "evolve yourself" thing has become exhausting. For some reason, the words from an old childhood song come to mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Philippe, I tend to agree with you on this but everytime I think about weeding out my own crap images, some of that crap (or dross) sells.

 

Depends on what you call crap / dross ;)(Looking at the first few pages of your images, you're light-years away from what I call dross ;) )

 

cheers,

Philippe

 

Yes well thats the problem, too many images, too many chefs in the soup. For a buyer, wading through an agency with 40 million images is a nightmare, so many copies, so much dross. I personally know lots of corporate-designers who favor the smaller agencies, less irrelevant material and easy to search.

 

Yhis is why, in the really high-end stock-agencies, images are given their search-ranking by merit, by commercial value, etc. To make sure the buyers find them.

 

Hi!  well if it was that easy, we would all be laughing to the bank!  :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I say thank's to all who added their thoughts here, interesting reading.

 

Another thought on how nice it would be to have a Alamy clone supplier or similar whome only dealt with individual photographers and not take on distributors or other suppliers, it certainly would offer the contributor a better chance of being seen and perhaps more sales!

 

Paul.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert Brook.

 

 I supply one in South London, recently taken over by a dynamic new manager.  All the work I supply to them I have here.  While my sales here are falling (while my rank is creeping up) my sales there are rising.

 

Robert i would have to agree!

 

I also supply a smaller agency in Germany, i am not sure if they have a dynamic manager, however they sell more of my images than any of the big guns.

Edited by Paul Mayall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

The trick is to try and evolve yourself, though it isn't easy turning a supertanker on inland waterways.

 

 

A most artful metaphor. 

 

My wallet misses my time with Tony Stone . . . and 14 years it was.  B)

 

Yeah I agree, I was with Tony between 87-95, different ball-game, different class in fact. The man was a master in his own right. Same with Stan and Larry of the Image-Bank. These guys were all photographers but with great business-minds.

The majority oif agency-owners today, what are they?  computer whiz kids and software-developers. Wow! not the slightest clue of photography.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Christian58.

computer whiz kids and software-developers. Wow! not the slightest clue of photography

 

You might have something there!  i also remember the days of good editing and having to produce images that would sell,  countless times i sent out transparency's at great postal cost's only to have 90% rejected,  however the kept 10% had a good chance of being licensed for a reasonable sum, by editors who knew what a good image was.

Edited by Paul Mayall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah yes those were the days. 

 

Tony cashed out, moved to the South of France, and left photographers in the hands of the Getty trust. The new Getty contract so outraged the now Getty photographers that they formed the Stock Artists Alliance, picketed the New York offices, and a one even sued her new masters.

 

Klein, CEO of Getty, later said "We are not the Photographer's Friend"

 

In 1984 Stanley acquired Masterfile after a long running lawsuite with Masterfile's owners. The Masterfile photographers resisted. Veiled threats were exchanged. At considerable expense, the Masterfile photographers retained a lawyer who convinced the Canadian government to pressure Stanley to give up under the Foreign Investment Review Act. Stanley then sold Masterfile to the Masterfile photographers and management. This event was known locally as "The Great Fiasco".

 

At the same time Stanley was also being sued by a former business partner. I think it was all too much for Larry, who died of worry.

 

In those good old days photographers did not concern themselves over a few rejected images. In fact most agencies required photographers to take their shoes off and tap dance for 4 hours on sharp broken glass as a condition of admission. 4 sharp images, piece of cake.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Christian58.

computer whiz kids and software-developers. Wow! not the slightest clue of photography

 

You might have something there!  i also remember the days of good editing and having to produce images that would sell,  countless times i sent out transparency's at great postal cost's only to have 90% rejected,  however the kept 10% had a good chance of being licensed for a reasonable sum, by editors who knew what a good image was.

 

Hahaha!  funny!  well it wasn't all a dance on roses. First three years after the Getty ownership of Stones was for many the most profitable years in the history of stock. We all earned money Bill. Some difference.

 

Today! thanks to the internet, look whats happening in lets say the Micro-stock world. Even the biggest one, all of them are changing their searches, changing it to benefit lower royalty members, that way saving millions in pay-outs BUT slaughtering many of the successful higher royalty portfolios. This is how they earn money.

 

I run my own Off-line private stock-business supplying many of my clients with shots for annuals, profiles, etc, etc. I only have around, 90K images, digitalized of course but I still run it in the traditional way and its doing great! I sold a pic last week for some 4000 dollars with rights, etc, RM. How many agencies could do that nowadays?

 

I say, sure, digital but back to the trad way of selling. The Internet lends itself to too much scullduggery.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here is our problem as I see it.

 

The invention of the internet and the digital camera resulted in an easy entry to our stock business, for talented amateurs and semi pros.

 

The easy entry to the stock business, meant that there were too many images chasing too few buyers. This lowered the price of an image.

 

The solution to our problem is to compete on both technical quality and by shooting interesting subjects in an interesting way. We have to up our game, so that the dentist with a Hasselblad cannot occupy our market space. It is all about keeping out competition through higher quality in every aspect of the image.

 

Christian you appear to be doing this. I have done assignments for an oil company, and even when working for the oil company, it was difficult to get permission to work in the explosive atmosphere of an oil refinery. The dentist with a Hasselblad will not compete in that space.

 

As to selling stock directly to clients at high prices. It takes a lot of work and it takes the photographer away from shooting.

 

I think the best approach is to integrate high quality stock as a lost leader, into other aspects of your photography business.

 

Every once in a while I read a manifesto from a group of stock photographers who will band together, form a boutique agency, and raise prices. After a year they either disappear or lower prices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Here is our problem as I see it.
 
The invention of the internet and the digital camera resulted in an easy entry to our stock business, for talented amateurs and semi pros.
 
The easy entry to the stock business, meant that there were too many images chasing too few buyers. This lowered the price of an image.
 
The solution to our problem is to compete on both technical quality and by shooting interesting subjects in an interesting way. We have to up our game, so that the dentist with a Hasselblad cannot occupy our market space. It is all about keeping out competition through higher quality in every aspect of the image.
 
Christian you appear to be doing this. I have done assignments for an oil company, and even when working for the oil company, it was difficult to get permission to work in the explosive atmosphere of an oil refinery. The dentist with a Hasselblad will not compete in that space.
 
As to selling stock directly to clients at high prices. It takes a lot of work and it takes the photographer away from shooting.
 
I think the best approach is to integrate high quality stock as a lost leader, into other aspects of your photography business.
 
Every once in a while I read a manifesto from a group of stock photographers who will band together, form a boutique agency, and raise prices. After a year they either disappear or lower prices.

 

Ditto!  I totally agree. Yes thats what I am doing I work on commission basis and my clients are Oil and Gas, refineries type Shell, Exxonn, etc. Been shooting for them for over 15 years now and of course built up a client-trust relationship whereby I can easily shoot different stock and get MRs and PRs. To my knowledge there are not many who can copy me, if any that is, simply because they can not gain access to these places.

 

You're right its extremely hard work running your own agency and expensive and in the long run its best left to an independent agency which leaves time for photography. Problem is and thats why I can not run on-line, many industrial images are sensitive, type Nuclear, interiors of car corps, rocket engines and stuff like that so you can imagine? going on-line with stuff like that and I would probably getting sued all over the place.

 

Nice to find a collegue who's also been shooting the same stuff as myself.

 

best.

Edited by christian58

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the meantime we are allready on 65 million.

 

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the meantime we are allready on 65 million.

 

:)

 

For some reason, numbers like that don't seem as intimidating as they used to. Perhaps we've just become numb to them in this high-volume digital world. Keep 'em coming...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Here is our problem as I see it.
 
The invention of the internet and the digital camera resulted in an easy entry to our stock business, for talented amateurs and semi pros.
 
The easy entry to the stock business, meant that there were too many images chasing too few buyers. This lowered the price of an image.
 
The solution to our problem is to compete on both technical quality and by shooting interesting subjects in an interesting way. We have to up our game, so that the dentist with a Hasselblad cannot occupy our market space. It is all about keeping out competition through higher quality in every aspect of the image.
 
Christian you appear to be doing this. I have done assignments for an oil company, and even when working for the oil company, it was difficult to get permission to work in the explosive atmosphere of an oil refinery. The dentist with a Hasselblad will not compete in that space.
 
As to selling stock directly to clients at high prices. It takes a lot of work and it takes the photographer away from shooting.
 
I think the best approach is to integrate high quality stock as a lost leader, into other aspects of your photography business.
 
Every once in a while I read a manifesto from a group of stock photographers who will band together, form a boutique agency, and raise prices. After a year they either disappear or lower prices.

 

Ditto!  I totally agree. Yes thats what I am doing I work on commission basis and my clients are Oil and Gas, refineries type Shell, Exxonn, etc. Been shooting for them for over 15 years now and of course built up a client-trust relationship whereby I can easily shoot different stock and get MRs and PRs. To my knowledge there are not many who can copy me, if any that is, simply because they can not gain access to these places.

 

You're right its extremely hard work running your own agency and expensive and in the long run its best left to an independent agency which leaves time for photography. Problem is and thats why I can not run on-line, many industrial images are sensitive, type Nuclear, interiors of car corps, rocket engines and stuff like that so you can imagine? going on-line with stuff like that and I would probably getting sued all over the place.

 

Nice to find a collegue who's also been shooting the same stuff as myself.

 

best.

 

You don't have to have the "sensitive part" of your library public. It is very easy to set-up with Photoshelter for example so that a certain gallery only is accessible by those you give that privilege to - i.e. people that you trust with that material or different privileges for different clients - options are endless and easy to implement. Setting up you own shop now-a-days ain't expensive, and don't forget that keeping 92% of a sale, at a price level you decide is one hell of a good reason.

 

Photoshelter also have a global search, spanning all PS website, as well as starting a form of curated collection in Lattice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Shouldn't it be Spiny babbler (Turdoides nipalensis) ?

 

Why 0 results? How many times does the name of this Nepalese bird pop up in - especially - the European media? :mellow:

You have to understand that images are not published because they are pretty, but because someone mentions their name in an article or book or whatever. Lots of images of European squirrels and European woodpeckers are published on a daily basis because they are useful illustrations every time someone writes about a European city park or simply about gardens or a walk in the forest. But the rarer or the more exotic (Alamy is based in the UK) the fewer the demand.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

agree with you. i understand this. it was just a thought!.!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.