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Chris E

Who shot the photographer?

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Nasty but true. I'm really glad that I'll be heading to pension land soon.

 

P.S. and thank goodness for Alamy

Edited by John Mitchell

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As usual my timing was impeccable, getting into stock photography (late 1990's/early oughts). Just in time to have to move from film to digital, shift processes a couple of time, and both contribute to, and be a victim of, the downturn. But I'm still here, and contributing again after a break of a couple of years.

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Again I blame Microstock for this. Their disrespectful ethos driving down the cost of work knowing that there are so many people willing to do anything to get their work sold for buttons. Just so they can turn to peers and say 

 

"I'm on Shutterstock/iStockphoto" 

 

As if its some fashion trend or club. 

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I am not too sure we can 'blame' anyone for this in some respects. Technology will always advance, ultimately for our benefit. There will be winners (mostly) I guess and losers/fallout. Any change in camera technology was BOUND to have a profound effect as we moved away from film to digital; Cost, immediacy, ease of production etc etc.

This, in turn. would inevitably bring a whole new slug of participants who saw dropping of costs, immediate results and a potential to earn anything at all really, which they couldn't or wouldn't have done via film.

If there is 'blame' to be apportioned for the lot of the pro stock photographer it should be aimed, I guess, at those who saw an opening to earn something they hithertoo couldn't. Is that wrong? In turn, business latched on to this and drove prices down.

As night follows day, this was bound to drive down rates for stock photography and drive up the number of 'wannabees'. Inevitable conclusion across the industry - car crash with many of  those hithertoo doing very well suffering the most injuries.

I, too, came into this during the advent of digital - DOH!!

Answer? not a bloody clue. Maybe try seeking new approaches, niche subjects..........................?

nj

PS - afterthought - there is some right old dross on Alamy as a result of content not being edited. I recokon with 38Mn pics on here we could reshoot some of these with a more professional approach? 

Edited by Nick Jenkins
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Nasty but true. I'm really glad that I'll be heading to pension land soon.

 

P.S. and thank goodness for Alamy

You've got a pension?!

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^^. +1. You only need to reflect on how advances in technology have facilitated change over centuries. A good example is the luddites. People have always "blamed" other people for their ills. But human nature dictates that humans will do whatever humans can do. The relentless advance of technology only facilitates people doing what, at a personal level, was unachievable to them previously.

 

Perhaps brain surgery is next.

 

Ken

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I am not too sure we can 'blame' anyone for this in some respects. Technology will always advance, ultimately for our benefit. There will be winners (mostly) I guess and losers/fallout. Any change in camera technology was BOUND to have a profound effect as we moved away from film to digital; Cost, immediacy, ease of production etc etc.

This, in turn. would inevitably bring a whole new slug of participants who saw dropping of costs, immediate results and a potential to earn anything at all really, which they couldn't or wouldn't have done via film.

If there is 'blame' to be apportioned for the lot of the pro stock photographer it should be aimed, I guess, at those who saw an opening to earn something they hithertoo couldn't. Is that wrong? In turn, business latched on to this and drove prices down.

As night follows day, this was bound to drive down rates for stock photography and drive up the number of 'wannabees'. Inevitable conclusion across the industry - car crash with many of  those hithertoo doing very well suffering the most injuries.

I, too, came into this during the advent of digital - DOH!!

Answer? not a bloody clue. Maybe try seeking new approaches, niche subjects..........................?

nj

 

Sounds about right, Nick, though a "slug" of photographers might be a collective noun too far. :unsure:

 

And, yes, technologies advance... but always to our benefit?? Hmmm...

 

I got rid of my TV years ago, and don't miss it (the TV licensing people simply can't believe I don't spend three hours a day gawping at TV, but that's another story). Broadcasting technology is going gangbusters. Watching films on a phone? Wow! But what films can I watch? Erm, one about men behaving like children, one about aliens from space, one about vampires, or werewolves, or??? Drivel, in short.

 

Marshall McLuen was right, back in the sixties: the medium IS the message...

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Bizair,

 

^^. +1. You only need to reflect on how advances in technology have facilitated change over centuries. A good example is the luddites. People have always "blamed" other people for their ills. But human nature dictates that humans will do whatever humans can do. The relentless advance of technology only facilitates people doing what, at a personal level, was unachievable to them previously.

Perhaps brain surgery is next.

Ken

Ken, spot on.

 

There are not so many stone masons around these days since we stopped building cathedrals and the advent of steel and concrete. It is happening in most fields of work; the merely technical skills are being automated, years ago in many (most) manufacturing industries.

I am old enough to remember the same complaints from those using large and medium formats about 35mm dumbing things down, then it was auto-exposure followed by auto-focus ... Digital is just the latest in a long list but remember there are still photographers making serious money by any standards - creativity and effort has not (yet) been automated. Problem is most of us are producing the same sort of stuff with minimal creativity (mea culpa) so there is over supply now that technical skills are no longer as necessary.

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Again I blame Microstock for this. Their disrespectful ethos driving down the cost of work knowing that there are so many people willing to do anything to get their work sold for buttons. Just so they can turn to peers and say 

 

"I'm on Shutterstock/iStockphoto" 

 

As if its some fashion trend or club. 

 

I'm on Shutterstock / Istock and a couple of others. I shoot specifically for them and upload them here to, as a cover all bases approach. A lot of my Alamy stuff I wouldn't dream of putting on Micro, i.e. the more unusual hard to replicate stuff. It's not worth it and not the right shop window for it.

 

Until this month I had 100 images with micros and they return $110 a month (last 3 months) and increasing. Last month I received $300 here and took £150 of that. Nothing yet this month. So I earn more money from a portfolio that is only 2.5% of the size of the one here at Alamy. No surprise that I have uploaded an additional 250 images to the Micros this month.

 

Would i stop uploading here, not a chance! Will I look at developing the Micro side further, without a doubt.

 

I believe in not having all my eggs in one basket and that there is more than one type of customer. Would the person who wants a cheap cut-out come here more or would they go to a micro. Some may but the most probably won't. You will get some cross over but there are 1,000,000's of customers who potentially use Micros that wouldn't dream to use Alamy and a lot of the main customers here are getting such big discounts, they don't feel compelled to look elsewhere. There will be some that do, but the money lost on these sales is more than made up through the 100's / 1000's of sales per month at a Micro.

 

In my opinion, in comes down to research. Understand what is selling at each shop and provide them with the goods that are popular to their customers. Move with technology and not against it as it will still happen even if you don't agree or like it.

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The 'narrative arc' of stock photography, since the advent of digital, seems kinda predictable. Is anyone really surprised that prices are going down?

 

On one single trip on a passenger steamer, from one end of Windermere to the other, I'd guess that more photographs are taken than William Fox Talbot shot in a lifetime...

 

D6NJX9.jpg

Edited by John Morrison

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I'm only on one microsite as well as Alamy. I earn on micro about what I earn on Alamy. But my micro site has 10% of the number of images on Alamy. I target my micro shots for micro, and my Alamy shots for Alamy. What's the big deal? They are different markets. It's not about micro sites selling licenses for peanuts, or about Alamy prices going down south, it's all about the overall return on investment, mainly in time.

 

I'm happy with my lot, at the moment at least.

 

Ken

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I'm only on one microsite as well as Alamy. I earn on micro about what I earn on Alamy. But my micro site has 10% of the number of images on Alamy. I target my micro shots for micro, and my Alamy shots for Alamy. What's the big deal? They are different markets. It's not about micro sites selling licenses for peanuts, or about Alamy prices going down south, it's all about the overall return on investment, mainly in time.

 

I'm happy with my lot, at the moment at least.

 

Ken

 

Exactly. The stuff I send to micros has next to £0 cost to produce when compared to travel shots. It doesn't mean I won't do travel, it just means I combine it with other things / events to keep costs down.

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Again I blame Microstock for this. Their disrespectful ethos driving down the cost of work knowing that there are so many people willing to do anything to get their work sold for buttons. Just so they can turn to peers and say 

 

"I'm on Shutterstock/iStockphoto" 

 

As if its some fashion trend or club. 

 

I'm on Shutterstock / Istock and a couple of others. I shoot specifically for them and upload them here to, as a cover all bases approach. A lot of my Alamy stuff I wouldn't dream of putting on Micro, i.e. the more unusual hard to replicate stuff. It's not worth it and not the right shop window for it.

 

Until this month I had 100 images with micros and they return $110 a month (last 3 months) and increasing. Last month I received $300 here and took £150 of that. Nothing yet this month. So I earn more money from a portfolio that is only 2.5% of the size of the one here at Alamy. No surprise that I have uploaded an additional 250 images to the Micros this month.

 

Would i stop uploading here, not a chance! Will I look at developing the Micro side further, without a doubt.

 

I believe in not having all my eggs in one basket and that there is more than one type of customer. Would the person who wants a cheap cut-out come here more or would they go to a micro. Some may but the most probably won't. You will get some cross over but there are 1,000,000's of customers who potentially use Micros that wouldn't dream to use Alamy and a lot of the main customers here are getting such big discounts, they don't feel compelled to look elsewhere. There will be some that do, but the money lost on these sales is more than made up through the 100's / 1000's of sales per month at a Micro.

 

In my opinion, in comes down to research. Understand what is selling at each shop and provide them with the goods that are popular to their customers. Move with technology and not against it as it will still happen even if you don't agree or like it.

 

I have to applaud you for even getting through the door of microstock. Before Alamy, I tried about 15 times and basically smacked myself over the head and said that I wasn't clearly at the level yet. I don't have the creative imagination that they require. I was on Canstock and Fotolia and sold a couple of images but I felt the upload process and keywording drama all a little annoying and not worth the effort for $0.95 for each image. 

 

Sounds like you're winning, however creative juices fail to flow in my brain lol 

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Why the term 'Microstock'? Micro -= what? Is it one of those phrases like Royalty Free that folk misunderstand?

Puzzled of Cardiff

:)

Edited by Nick Jenkins
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I agree technology is the main culprit and of course microstock is part of that. Just yesterday my Photography professor said, 'Everyone with a camera be it phone up to expensive camera thinks they're a great photographer. All because family and friends have told them so, but the reality is most are mediocre photogs at best.' 

 

Honestly they only reason I joined microstock was because images sitting on my computer can't make anything. Well after 7 mo. and about 70 sales, a measly $30 just isn't worth it to me; I mean .0216 - .35 cents per sale is a joke! And what's even funnier is people on those sites excited they are averaging .02 - .13 cents per image! To me that way of thinking is more destructive to photography than most anything else. So I left all but one microstock that is holding me hostage. lol

 

To be even more honest, I am not really a stock photog, but more so a Fine Art photog. My extreme left brain is hard to crack into being really creative, so I'll put up some on Alamy and just keep working at becoming the best photog I can be. Perhaps over time become more creative to put up more stock. But hopefully I'll make a few coin at a private level, through winning contests, being published in their books and figuring out the business end of it; web site, acquiring clients, selling Fine Art prints, etc. over time.

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This thread reminds of one saturday at my printers studio many years ago.

At the time almost all wedding photographers were using medium format (including myself). There were about six of us having a coffee and talking the usual rubbish etc when one chap walked in to enquire about printing prices and proceeded to hand over a few rolls of Boots 35mm film.

The room was silent, the old pro's were aghast to say the very least. Not just because he was using 35mm but the unbelievable sight of a Canon T70 that he just set to programme and let the camera do the rest. Needless to say he didn't last very long.

It's like building cathedrals, the technology has improved but the skills a severely declined.

How many camera owners nowadays could shoot a full wedding with an old TLR with no light meter and get away with it?

Andy

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This thread reminds of one saturday at my printers studio many years ago.

 ...

How many camera owners nowadays could shoot a full wedding with an old TLR with no light meter and get away with it?

Andy

But why should they? Could you drive yourself to your next assignment by horse and cart? That said I believe a professional should understand the underlying science and craft of their field, whatever it is. BTW I see (from what I have seen on other forums) many "professionals" who do not have even a basic understanding of their equipment or photographic science and technology. I expect writers to understand grammar or cabinet makers to understand the characteristics of their tools and different woods. Part of being professional and a craftsman.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Another week another study on the demise of stock photography - like we hadn't noticed!

 

dov

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Nasty but true. I'm really glad that I'll be heading to pension land soon.

 

P.S. and thank goodness for Alamy

You've got a pension?!

 

Those would be government pensions. We have two in Canada, one that you can elect to collect at 60, and another that kicks in at 65. I'm between the two at the moment.  Fortunately, I also have a non-photography-related part time job as well. Factor into this complicated equation income from Alamy, etc.  and you have a living of sorts.

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"Marshall McLuen was right, back in the sixties: the medium IS the message..."

 

Glad to hear that someone remembers Marshall McLuhan. He really got it right when it comes to the digital world we're now living in.

 

If you've forgotten the sixties or were still in diapers back then, this old interview might be of interest:

 

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/arts-entertainment/media/marshall-mcluhan-the-man-and-his-message/oracle-of-the-electric-age.html

Edited by John Mitchell

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He seemed to predict the internet age, with his idea of the 'global village'...

 

Glad to hear that someone remembers Marshall McLuhan. He really got it right when it comes to the digital world we're now living in.

Edited by John Morrison

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Interesting and referenced.

 

http://tinyurl.com/p9tl7xd

 

It's a brave new world...

 

Regards

 

Chris E

How good is the analysis? It seems to be largely based on microstock data, isn't it? I also got an impression that it is more like a marketing piece: have a point and cherry-pick the data and their presentation to support that point.

 

GI

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He seemed to predict the internet age, with his idea of the 'global village'...

 

Glad to hear that someone remembers Marshall McLuhan. He really got it right when it comes to the digital world we're now living in.

 

Yes, his "global village" idea is probably what he's best remembered for. McLuhan's ideas seem to be enjoying a comeback now that people have figured out what the heck he was talking about (nobody could back then). I was a student at McGill University in Montreal in the late 60's when McLuhan was all the rage. But then, they say if you can remember the 60's, you weren't really there. :blink:

Edited by John Mitchell

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Interesting and referenced.

 

http://tinyurl.com/p9tl7xd

 

It's a brave new world...

 

Regards

 

Chris E

How good is the analysis? It seems to be largely based on microstock data, isn't it? I also got an impression that it is more like a marketing piece: have a point and cherry-pick the data and their presentation to support that point.

 

GI

 

Good question. ImageBrief is a photo request service that is in competition with stock agencies, so they aren't exactly unbiased. Alao, most of the data is based on miscrostock only. But the analysis of where things are going in general does seem to hold water IMO. Let's hope that Alamy can keep the boat afloat for as long as possible.

Edited by John Mitchell

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