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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 27 Jul 2009 (Monday) 23:21
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How microstock is ruining photography

 
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exile
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Aug 06, 2009 08:47 |  #316

Murdoch signals the end of free news

LINK: http://news.bbc.co.uk/​1/hi/business/8186701.​stm (external link) *

Quote:

News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites.

<snip>

"The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution," he [Murdoch] added.

"But it has not made content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media.

"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting,"
he said.

I'm no fan of Murdoch or the stuff he peddles, but at least he recognises a basic truth about the supply side of the supply and demand equation.


(* The irony is that I have linked to a website that is supposedly free, but which actually costs taxpayers £115M a year)


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photoguy6405
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Aug 06, 2009 09:09 as a reply to  @ post 8409537 |  #317

blackshadow wrote in post #8407088 (external link)
Microstock pricing has lowered the prices publications pay for work and that does effect me.

blackshadow wrote in post #8407321 (external link)
That's the whole point - it's a business model for the microstock agency not for photographers.

Compare the two points above. If it's a business model for microstock, then it has also become a business model for photographers, by default. For good or for bad, the two go hand-in-hand and cannot be separated. I'm not saying it's an ideal business model for photogs, but it's a legitimate (read: legal and apparently workable) business model nonetheless.

Piecing together things you say here and there in different posts, I think you know that, but are still fighting it in your mind.

blackshadow wrote in post #8407321 (external link)
Unless I'm mistaken this forum is for photographers not for the microstock industry.

This is such a non-point. It's as if a handful of people on one side of the debate are desparately trying to distract attention from the proverbial elephant in the room. Technically, the forum is named "The Business of Photography", not "Business Photographers", and stock/microstock photography falls squarely within the scope of "The Business of Photography".

And even if it were named "Business Photographers", your original beef itself is with those who devalue themsleves and their work by selling to microstock, so what they're doing... stock/microstock... still fits.


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Aug 06, 2009 11:26 as a reply to  @ photoguy6405's post |  #318

So those 'elite' Getty Images photographers are losing out to microstock......

So is Getty shooting its photographers in the foot by owning StockXpert and iStock???

OK I admit it, I am a hobbyist who uploads images to microstock so that they can earn a few pennies instead of gathering dust on my HDD. Isn't that what most contributors do?

Do I feel guilty about it - nope. The kit below was all bought from the proceeds. I can therefore enjoy my 'hobby' and buy the latest kit etc.

Do I want to do it for a living, nope. I prefer to photograph what I want, when I want to. I want to enjoy it. If I were to do it full time, I would probably lose most of the enjoyment of taking photos. I am therefore exploiting the agencies.

At least I am earning something from them. Now, even the BBC solicits images and footage that they will pay nothing for. "send us in your best weather shot" etc.

Just another point of view for you to shoot down.


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Aug 06, 2009 14:24 as a reply to  @ Scuff's post |  #319

robgr85 wrote in post #8374566 (external link)
Because there are thousands of stupid people who will agree to work for almost nothing.

Isn't that the choice of the "stupid people?"

ChrisRabior wrote in post #8390638 (external link)
Hey, let's take it a step further. The economy sucks, maybe everyone should just take a big pay cut and work for minimum wage. That's cool, right?

If the choice was that or no job at all, yes...

robgr85 wrote in post #8374566 (external link)
Times learned, that they can get decent quality cover shot for 20$. Usually they would pay about 2500$. Why not reduce the budget to 100$ for every cover shot, and add 2400$ for managers payoff (tfu!)?

photoguy6405 wrote in post #8394511 (external link)
Does anybody place any blame on TIME Magazine for choosing a less costly option?

One factor that has been overlooked in this discussion is the effect of the current economy on publisher's budgets. I know because it has happened to me.

For the last couple of years I have been a contract photographer and writer for a monthly aviation newspaper. Because of the loss of advertising revenue, the paper went to bi-monthly publication the first of the year and now I'm informed they are drastically cutting the amount they can pay contributors.

Large magazines like Time are feeling the same pinch and I'm sure they are looking at the bottom line. What's the alternative? Bankruptcy and failure...


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Willie
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Aug 06, 2009 15:12 |  #320

DDCSD wrote in post #8406864 (external link)
None of these have anything to do with Time magazine paying a photographer peanuts for a cover shot.

Only two components of FastStone are free, Capture and MaxView are only free for 30 days. They offer the free versions to convince you that the other versions are worth paying for.

Unix is mostly a mess.

Picasa is distributed by Google, who I can assure you is making money off of it.

Firefox Is distributed by Mozilla Corporation, a for-profit organization. They make millions on Firefox. Google pays them millions and millions ($50mil+) for Google to be the default search engine.


Wikipedia entries are mostly written by educational institutions, corporations, fans or people that have a vested interest in the entry that they post.

The fact that you don't have to "pay" for these services is immaterial. The developers are making money by offering them for "free".

No one should feel guilty that they are using them and not paying for them directly.

I unsubcribed from this, but looked in again.

Are you going to list every piece of free or discounted software? There are thousands.

And the question is not of guilt for not paying directly.

There is much software that is provided by "hobbyist" programmers that have no desire to be compensated in any way. This is the same as many who upload images to microstock sites, which is supoosedly de-vauling the photography business.

Here's how I look at it and where the free software analogy comes in:

I own a photography business (not really, just hypothetical). I feel that people should not post to microstock sites becaese they are de-valuing my work, and the work of other photographers. If I believe this to be wrong, then I would not encourage that behavior in any other way that would devalue other profession's work. I would not call the handyman who left a flyer on my doorstep to come fix my fence. I would instead hire a licensed contractor for all minor repairs and pay more money. The handyman who might be trying to earn some extra cash is devaluing all full-time contractors.

Likewise, I would only buy my meat from a butcher rather than the supermarket. I would also only buy Photoshop or Lightroom or Elements or some other expensive commercial program. I definitely would not use Gimp or Irfanview or any free Raw convertors or such. That's not fair to the commercial developers.

See, that's where the hypocrisy comes in, do unto others...

I wonder if the photography business model is different among the 1800s, 1950s and today's photographer. I'm sure it's always changing and microstock is just one of those changes.

In high school I worked at a lumber yard. Those are mostly gone now, replaced with Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's. I hate going there for lumber. It's impossible to get any good service, I need to pick my own wood and the selection is crap. The lumber yard offered much better service, selection and time-savings. Sadly, they didn't survive.

If you can't adapt you die.




  
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DDCSD
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Aug 06, 2009 18:41 |  #321

Willie wrote in post #8412055 (external link)
I unsubcribed from this, but looked in again.

Are you going to list every piece of free or discounted software? There are thousands.

And the question is not of guilt for not paying directly.

There is much software that is provided by "hobbyist" programmers that have no desire to be compensated in any way. This is the same as many who upload images to microstock sites, which is supoosedly de-vauling the photography business.

Here's how I look at it and where the free software analogy comes in:

I own a photography business (not really, just hypothetical). I feel that people should not post to microstock sites becaese they are de-valuing my work, and the work of other photographers. If I believe this to be wrong, then I would not encourage that behavior in any other way that would devalue other profession's work. I would not call the handyman who left a flyer on my doorstep to come fix my fence. I would instead hire a licensed contractor for all minor repairs and pay more money. The handyman who might be trying to earn some extra cash is devaluing all full-time contractors.

Likewise, I would only buy my meat from a butcher rather than the supermarket. I would also only buy Photoshop or Lightroom or Elements or some other expensive commercial program. I definitely would not use Gimp or Irfanview or any free Raw convertors or such. That's not fair to the commercial developers.

See, that's where the hypocrisy comes in, do unto others...

I wonder if the photography business model is different among the 1800s, 1950s and today's photographer. I'm sure it's always changing and microstock is just one of those changes.

In high school I worked at a lumber yard. Those are mostly gone now, replaced with Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's. I hate going there for lumber. It's impossible to get any good service, I need to pick my own wood and the selection is crap. The lumber yard offered much better service, selection and time-savings. Sadly, they didn't survive.

If you can't adapt you die.


I listed those "free" software because they were specifically listed in the post that I quoted. I'm simply pointing out that just because something is offered for "free" doesn't mean that it is not competing on a level playing field with the comparable products that you need to pay directly for.


I still have no idea how any of this ("free software" talk) relates to Time Magazine using a photo from a microstock site on their cover. The analogy might work if we were comparing Time not hiring a photographer to make the photo and instead used a stock image.


Below is the thread that I quoted, that you must have missed. Here is why I listed those particular software titles.

hollis_f wrote in post #8402637 (external link)
So please explain because, up until now, you've ignored my post.

Are you against free applications? Do you write to Encyclopedia fora bemoaning the way that all those Wikipedia contributors are devaluing the value of their work and undercutting those poor people who earn their living by writing entries for paid enclyclopedias?

Or do you, in fact, take advantage of all that wonderful free stuff like FastStone, various forms of Unix, Picasa, Firefox, etc. And do you use Wikipedia as a handy, free, information source? I bet you don't use online dictionaries either.


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jetcode
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Aug 07, 2009 10:01 |  #322

The developers are making money by offering them for "free".

I am a developer and I cannot survive giving the software I develop away for free. On the contrary I get paid a decent clip to develop custom software for a wide variety of industrial and consumer applications. That said I'm not living the life of a stock broker or bank executive that's for sure.




  
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Aug 07, 2009 10:19 |  #323

DDCSD wrote in post #8413106 (external link)
I still have no idea how any of this ("free software" talk) relates to Time Magazine using a photo from a microstock site on their cover.

I took these comment(s) to mean 'free' to the consumer, not the supplier. 'Free' being a minor variant of 'low-cost' as the tangent had been taken by some others. TIME Magazine being the consumer in this instance.

DDCSD wrote in post #8413106 (external link)
The analogy might work if we were comparing Time not hiring a photographer to make the photo and instead used a stock image.

The analogy does work if looked at from this perspective. TIME did not hire their own photog, nor did they opt for a more costly stock image. No, they opted to economize. Something their shareholders would and should expect them to do.

Most people here would agree that PS is the best PP software. Not everybody wants to pay Adobe's prices, so they search for free and/or lower cost... to them... alternatives. And most of us here are ready and eager to help them with suggestions and advice. I cannot recall any thread that suggested people should be conscious of Adobe's worker's livelihoods and to stay away from GIMP.

The analogy is valid.


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ChrisRabior
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Aug 07, 2009 10:44 |  #324

Scuff wrote in post #8410776 (external link)
So those 'elite' Getty Images photographers are losing out to microstock......

So is Getty shooting its photographers in the foot by owning StockXpert and iStock???

OK I admit it, I am a hobbyist who uploads images to microstock so that they can earn a few pennies instead of gathering dust on my HDD. Isn't that what most contributors do?

Do I feel guilty about it - nope. The kit below was all bought from the proceeds. I can therefore enjoy my 'hobby' and buy the latest kit etc.

Do I want to do it for a living, nope. I prefer to photograph what I want, when I want to. I want to enjoy it. If I were to do it full time, I would probably lose most of the enjoyment of taking photos. I am therefore exploiting the agencies.

At least I am earning something from them. Now, even the BBC solicits images and footage that they will pay nothing for. "send us in your best weather shot" etc.

Just another point of view for you to shoot down.

I'm not attempting to shoot you down, I just want to understand what drives you to the microstock pricing instead of traditional pricing, when both models require the same amount of work on your part. My kit came from stock too.. the difference being that mine only required a mere 15 sales, and from images that otherwise would have been collecting dust on my HDDs.

I dabbled in micro until I realized I could actually make money from it, then stepped up to traditional stock. Funny, it's making me more money than micro did (despite having far fewer actual sales).

I do find it funny that most of the angry sentiments come from people who've never played in both venues.. and really don't know what they're talking about.

But, what I was saying.. why do you choose to stick with micro? You know you can always test out macro stock, and if you don't like it, go back to micro.


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Aug 07, 2009 10:51 |  #325

photoguy6405 wrote in post #8416787 (external link)
The analogy does work if looked at from this perspective. TIME did not hire their own photog, nor did they opt for a more costly stock image. No, they opted to economize. Something their shareholders would and should expect them to do.

And in corporate America shareholders rate higher than the commonwealth meaning that it is more important to pay shareholders than it is to offer the commonwealth a decent living wage. Personally as a member of the commonwealth I am tired of being sucked dry to fund the lifestyles of the rich.




  
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Aug 07, 2009 12:16 |  #326

jetcode wrote in post #8417002 (external link)
And in corporate America shareholders rate higher than the commonwealth meaning that it is more important to pay shareholders than it is to offer the commonwealth a decent living wage. Personally as a member of the commonwealth I am tired of being sucked dry to fund the lifestyles of the rich.


If buying shares of stock is all it takes to be rich, then you should just buy some shares. :rolleyes:


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RbbrDckyBK
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Aug 07, 2009 12:39 |  #327

ChrisRabior wrote in post #8416949 (external link)
But, what I was saying.. why do you choose to stick with micro? You know you can always test out macro stock, and if you don't like it, go back to micro.

Speaking for myself (although I imagine this would be the case with others as well), it is the accessibility of microstock that made me decide to give it a shot.
I quite literally was able to load my entire library (at the time) of stock-worthy images up onto a micro site during my lunch break at my real job. There was no barrier to entry other than filling out a registration form online and uploading a bunch of images that I already had. A few minutes of effort, and my images were available for sale (after passing review).

When I looked into macro (and I admit, this was a long time ago), the process seemed quite different. All of them required far more work, and the relationship seemed far more akin to something that you'd see with a "real" job. Some examples: requiring that images be upsized to higher resolutions via interpolation (which seems pretty silly), requiring that images be submitted via mailed CD instead of FTP, etc.

Also - I've seen many of these "micro vs macro" threads, on this site and others. From the people that are actually willing to post their own sales numbers (very rare), the overall $/image difference between macro & micro does not seem to be very significant. I read a thread a couple months ago (on these forums, I think) where somebody was bragging about his own success on Alamy over the past year and calling microstockers "stupid". While he had a handful of sales over the year that amounted to a few hundred dollars each, it came out that he had over 2000 images posted with Alamy. His $/image figure was quite low - it might sound great to be able to say "hey, I made $3000 last year on macro, and it only took 15 sales earn it" - but if you have 2000 images available, then you only made $1.50/image (which a microstocker would likely easily clear on their own images). I wish people would stop posting useless "I made $500 on one macrostock download!" comments and start giving out some information that might actually allow others to make informed decisions.

Frankly, I don't expect to make much money from my images via either route. I don't go out with the intention to shoot stock - I shoot for my own enjoyment. If I happen to get a few shots along the way that appear appropriate for stock, then I'll upload them. I've paid for all my gear this way (and then some), so I'm quite happy with the results. I'd be happy to try macro as well, provided it was as easy to get into as microstock - I'm not looking to feel like I have a part-time job.




  
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ChrisRabior
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Aug 07, 2009 15:20 |  #328

RbbrDckyBK wrote in post #8417566 (external link)
Speaking for myself (although I imagine this would be the case with others as well), it is the accessibility of microstock that made me decide to give it a shot.
I quite literally was able to load my entire library (at the time) of stock-worthy images up onto a micro site during my lunch break at my real job. There was no barrier to entry other than filling out a registration form online and uploading a bunch of images that I already had. A few minutes of effort, and my images were available for sale (after passing review).

When I looked into macro (and I admit, this was a long time ago), the process seemed quite different. All of them required far more work, and the relationship seemed far more akin to something that you'd see with a "real" job. Some examples: requiring that images be upsized to higher resolutions via interpolation (which seems pretty silly), requiring that images be submitted via mailed CD instead of FTP, etc.

Also - I've seen many of these "micro vs macro" threads, on this site and others. From the people that are actually willing to post their own sales numbers (very rare), the overall $/image difference between macro & micro does not seem to be very significant. I read a thread a couple months ago (on these forums, I think) where somebody was bragging about his own success on Alamy over the past year and calling microstockers "stupid". While he had a handful of sales over the year that amounted to a few hundred dollars each, it came out that he had over 2000 images posted with Alamy. His $/image figure was quite low - it might sound great to be able to say "hey, I made $3000 last year on macro, and it only took 15 sales earn it" - but if you have 2000 images available, then you only made $1.50/image (which a microstocker would likely easily clear on their own images). I wish people would stop posting useless "I made $500 on one macrostock download!" comments and start giving out some information that might actually allow others to make informed decisions.

Frankly, I don't expect to make much money from my images via either route. I don't go out with the intention to shoot stock - I shoot for my own enjoyment. If I happen to get a few shots along the way that appear appropriate for stock, then I'll upload them. I've paid for all my gear this way (and then some), so I'm quite happy with the results. I'd be happy to try macro as well, provided it was as easy to get into as microstock - I'm not looking to feel like I have a part-time job.

I can appreciate that. What got me out of micro was that the images only actively sold for a short while, then sales dried up.. so short of constantly uploading new stuff, it wasn't a long term source of income. I'm not looking to have to turn this into a full time gig.. but I'd love to have a long term income from my photos, and micro didn't seem to offer it.

I guess it frustrates me to hear micro contributers attempt macro, but give up before they really get anywhere with it because there isn't a slow but steady trickle of sales.

Btw, the pain of submitting to Alamy (which once required submission via CD and postal service) is no more.. you can do it all online (though still with upsizing). Every consider myLoupe or Photographers Direct?


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jetcode
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Aug 07, 2009 19:53 |  #329

DDCSD wrote in post #8417454 (external link)
If buying shares of stock is all it takes to be rich, then you should just buy some shares. :rolleyes:

my bank shares are up $7.5k on a 5.6K investment so yes I play the game too

Actually I want one of those jobs where I figure out how to maximize profits for a company and take home a hefty 1-100 million dollar bonus each year. There were 4,800 of them this year at 9 different banks, some who took our tax dollars I might add. It doesn't really matter that my policies as chief profit maximizer took food out of the mouths of some of my clients ($315 in over draft charges on $200 of purchases over 3 days) what matters most is the bottom line; profit, my salary and bonus lucky me.

What's that book out ... "The best way to rob a bank is to run one"

Happy giggle :rolleyes:




  
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harroz
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Aug 08, 2009 00:45 |  #330

that about sums it, if you're not taking it seriously, can't be bothered creating epic images, can't be bothered going through processes of having images ok'd etc then go microstock. Easy, fast, simple, just not much return per image, but then you're not looking for a big return, so all good. Just think though, if you DID spend that extra time, would you be able to buy that gear... and a boat?! that'd be pretty cool huh, and for what, an extra couple of hours to set everything up?

RbbrDckyBK wrote in post #8417566 (external link)
Speaking for myself (although I imagine this would be the case with others as well), it is the accessibility of microstock that made me decide to give it a shot.
I quite literally was able to load my entire library (at the time) of stock-worthy images up onto a micro site during my lunch break at my real job. There was no barrier to entry other than filling out a registration form online and uploading a bunch of images that I already had. A few minutes of effort, and my images were available for sale (after passing review).

When I looked into macro (and I admit, this was a long time ago), the process seemed quite different. All of them required far more work, and the relationship seemed far more akin to something that you'd see with a "real" job. Some examples: requiring that images be upsized to higher resolutions via interpolation (which seems pretty silly), requiring that images be submitted via mailed CD instead of FTP, etc.

Also - I've seen many of these "micro vs macro" threads, on this site and others. From the people that are actually willing to post their own sales numbers (very rare), the overall $/image difference between macro & micro does not seem to be very significant. I read a thread a couple months ago (on these forums, I think) where somebody was bragging about his own success on Alamy over the past year and calling microstockers "stupid". While he had a handful of sales over the year that amounted to a few hundred dollars each, it came out that he had over 2000 images posted with Alamy. His $/image figure was quite low - it might sound great to be able to say "hey, I made $3000 last year on macro, and it only took 15 sales earn it" - but if you have 2000 images available, then you only made $1.50/image (which a microstocker would likely easily clear on their own images). I wish people would stop posting useless "I made $500 on one macrostock download!" comments and start giving out some information that might actually allow others to make informed decisions.

Frankly, I don't expect to make much money from my images via either route. I don't go out with the intention to shoot stock - I shoot for my own enjoyment. If I happen to get a few shots along the way that appear appropriate for stock, then I'll upload them. I've paid for all my gear this way (and then some), so I'm quite happy with the results. I'd be happy to try macro as well, provided it was as easy to get into as microstock - I'm not looking to feel like I have a part-time job.



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