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Author Topic: A veri interesting article in the Times today  (Read 16720 times)
gwhitf
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2010, 12:06:45 PM »
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Quote from: Quentin
What hurts and offends people about microstock is the perceived devaluation of their work.

The race to the bottom continues today:

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2010/03/31/mar...mon-man-prices/

This is NOT what MediumFormat manufacturers want to read. (Or maybe it would be a good wake-up call for them).
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Quentin
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« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2010, 12:12:15 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
The race to the bottom continues today:

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2010/03/31/mar...mon-man-prices/

This is NOT what MediumFormat manufacturers want to read. (Or maybe it would be a good wake-up call for them).

I believe Hassy are pretty much in cahoots with the top mictostock photographers.  My understanding is that they supply equipment free to at least one of the most successful.

If anyone does not like the micros my message is - get over it, they are the future of royalty free stock whether you like it or not.  And how much, exactly, did you pay, per song, for your last itunes download?  

Quentin
« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 12:12:52 PM by Quentin » Logged

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TMARK
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« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2010, 12:15:35 PM »
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I'm with Graham on this one, defending microstock from a professional photographer's perspective is total bs.
My only hope is that there will be a backlash and future generations of creatives and decision makers start appreciating quality and craftsmanship again, because quite frankly the cheap throwaway culture we live in today is getting tiresome.

My thoughts exactly.  

I do think that much of Microstock isn't a threat to shooters that produce compelling images.  I mean compelling in the sense of the content of the shot, not the production hours.  If you shoot sunsets with a P65 and an ALPA, you may be replaced by Jack or Jill 7D and his/her 24-105 zoom who also shoots sunsets. If you shoot over retouched fashion images with a Aptus 75s/AFi, there is surely a dude on model mayhem doing te same crap, but with a cheaper camera.  The content is identical, and no one really cares about the images. Its just an after thought.  Those people weren't going to pay to commission a shoot anyway, and if they were, they were trolling craigslist, looking for some kid who needs to fill his book who'll shoot some images for $500 and a full rights buyout.

The real damage wrought by microstock is two fold: it destroyed the higher end market for stock, and it did, as someone posted above, reinforce the idea that digital images are fungable, commodity products to be bought, sold, devalued, etc.  


So when the revolution comes, iStock will be made accountable, right after The Corcoiran Group and the other real estate brokers in the City.



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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2010, 12:23:24 PM »
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Quote from: amsp
I'm with Graham on this one, defending microstock from a professional photographer's perspective is total bs.
I am against gravity and defending it is total bs... who is with me?

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My only hope is that there will be a backlash and future generations of creatives and decision makers start appreciating quality and craftsmanship again, because quite frankly the cheap throwaway culture we live in today is getting tiresome.
I hope too. Someone, somehow will see his hopes turning into reality someday... that is, after all, what hopes are for: dreaming.

But what that has to do with microstock? Absolutely nothing. You do not have to wait for "future generations"... even today, as in the past, there are market segments (i.e., clients) willing to pay millions of dollars for a single photograph (e.g., Andreas Gursky) ... and market segments willing to pay millions of dollars for a single photographer (e.g. Anne Leibowitz, over lifetime)... or in a single year (e.g. Tom Mangelson). Microstock is just a low-end market segment, and wishing that a low-end market segment turns into a high-end one is... well, like wishing Walmarts disappear and everything is Saks Fifth Avenue.
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2010, 12:42:07 PM »
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Quote from: Quentin
If anyone does not like the micros my message is - get over it, they are the future of royalty free stock whether you like it or not.

Hey Quentin,  if the future of royalty free stock is so fucking rosy then perhaps you should consider giving up your day job as a lawyer?
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Quentin
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« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2010, 12:46:04 PM »
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Quote from: KLaban
Hey Quentin,  if the future of royalty free stock is so fucking rosy then perhaps you should consider giving up your day job as a lawyer?

Thats what I like about these microstock threads - they never fail to bring out the best in intelligent, well reasoned debate  

Quentin
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Rob C
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« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2010, 02:10:23 PM »
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Quote from: Quentin
Thats what I like about these microstock threads - they never fail to bring out the best in intelligent, well reasoned debate  

Quentin




Quentin! You sound just like a politician: never answer the asked question. Or did you pick up that little trick when you were reading Law?

Rob C
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mcfoto
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« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2010, 02:49:08 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
The race to the bottom continues today:

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2010/03/31/mar...mon-man-prices/

This is NOT what MediumFormat manufacturers want to read. (Or maybe it would be a good wake-up call for them).

Been reading this thread with interest and I am not surprised anymore. I felt the snapshot time in photography did not help. With the march of digital now everyone can take a photo in focus & correctly exposed, but put them in a studio with lights & then lets see what they can do? I really hope craft & ideas will prevail. Also photographers have to be aware of retouching houses doing CGI & in house photography competing with those very photographers who use there services ( I know of one in Sydney ).
Cheers Denis
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AldoMurillo
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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2010, 02:51:54 PM »
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Quote from: Quentin
most stock photographs are not "art" but products
Quentin

I can agree more.  I can't see why people can't accept that you can sell a photograph for a $1 to 1,000 local magazines with a print run of 1,000 or sell it for $1,000 dollars to a magazine with a print run of 1,000,000...  so what's the difference?   I know one is "high" end and the others "local" but if I made that decision before taking the photograph with carefully "commercial thinking" not "artistical thinking" why not?

Let be real, most of the photographers in this forum would never take a job for a local magazine with a budget of $75 for a photo shoot...   In the real world the editor of that local magazine probably would ask their cousing to take the photo with their rebel or whatever or paid a photography student.   Now with internet they have the oportunity to license an nice image (I'm not saying the best image in the world) from microstock and have a completely different look in their magazine.   The problem is when a high end magazine with a budget of $2,000 buy an istockphoto image instead of hiring a profesional photographer that would do a great job...  but that ain't the photographer decision... is it?  Its the editor decision!   So instead of being angy with the photographers of microstock you should get angry with the editor that thinks that an image of istock that has been sold 1,000 times is equal to a personalized and unique image made by an "international known photographer".  

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Aldo Murillo

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« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2010, 03:03:30 PM »
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IMO the worst things about microstock are not the prices, but royalty that goes to the photographer. And it's around 20%. 20% doesn't sound like a fair deal.

And another thing, which is even worse, is that all contributors' statistics are shared with everybody. How much each image makes, best sellers, number of downloads etc.
Thus, if a contributor manages to produce a best seller, a number of copies can be expected to appear very soon.

It's good for the microstock companies, they have a flood of new contributors who don't have to learn and figure out what to produce. They can just copy the material and bring them money, diluting per-contributor income at the same time.

I wish there were regulations for those companies, which they would have to comply with.
With Getty buying out everything around it's all slowly turning into one big fraud scheme that takes advantage of photographers.

I'd be happy to know if anybody else thinks likewise.

Alex
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Quentin
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« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2010, 03:10:54 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Quentin! You sound just like a politician: never answer the asked question. Or did you pick up that little trick when you were reading Law?

Rob C

Well, there is an election coming up here in the UK : you never know  

But more seriously, I wasn't being asked a serious question, it was just another "shoot the messsenger" post I was responding to, complete with gratuitous bad language.  

I think its incredibly difficult to make a living from any type of stock photography.  Some do, however, and all credit to them.  Its not going to get any easier either.

Quentin
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« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2010, 03:12:47 PM »
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Quote from: Oleksiy
IMO the worst things about microstock are not the prices, but royalty that goes to the photographer. And it's around 20%. 20% doesn't sound like a fair deal.

Fairness has very little to do with business. To abuse the analogy used earlier, was it fair that Henry Ford made hundreds of buggy-whip producers obsolete? Was it fair that incandescent light bulbs made lanter-makers jobless?

As for the 20% itself, it's what the market has set. It (apparently) is profitable, and enough for the contributing photographers to make it worth their while. If somebody could make a profitable business offering 50% or even 30% to the photographers, I'm sure it would be around already.

Quote
And another thing, which is even worse, is that all contributors' statistics are shared with everybody. How much each image makes, best sellers, number of downloads etc.
Thus, if a contributor manages to produce a best seller, a number of copies can be expected to appear very soon.

It's good for the microstock companies, they have a flood of new contributors who don't have to learn and figure out what to produce. They can just copy the material and bring them money, diluting per-contributor income at the same time.

It's also good for the customers: if all of a sudden everybody wanted photos of dachshunds catching ice-cubes in mid-air, it's better to have many suppliers and variety of approaches, instead of just one. Customers are the ones that pay the bills.
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AldoMurillo
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« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2010, 04:05:31 PM »
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Quote from: Oleksiy
IMO the worst things about microstock are not the prices, but royalty that goes to the photographer. And it's around 20%. 20% doesn't sound like a fair deal.

Alex

I can't agree with you more.

I became an istockphoto.com  "exclusive contributor" (25% royalty) 3 months after my first upload.   And after 1 year (not as a full time stock photographer) I became a "diamond" contributor (40% royalty) so it depends, at least in istockphoto.com


Quote from: Oleksiy
And another thing, which is even worse, is that all contributors' statistics are shared with everybody. How much each image makes, best sellers, number of downloads etc.
Thus, if a contributor manages to produce a best seller, a number of copies can be expected to appear very soon.

Alex

That's true, at least on istockphoto.com. They tried to do something rounding the downloads numbers, but it haven't solve this particular problem. I hope they could remove all stadistics soon.
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Aldo Murillo

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« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2010, 06:04:02 PM »
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The base problem across the industry is photographers - and other artists - who have no clue about their true costs, no understanding of business, and who are giving their work away.

Everyone says "well of course they have no talent", but that is not true in many cases. I have a friend who is a very good graphic artist. But he did one job where he drove 1 hour each way to meet the client, then drove 1 hour each way another day to shoot, then shot for 3 hours, then spent 2 hours compositing in Photoshop. All for $50!  

Then the client slow pays him ..... I told him to go get a job at McDonalds.

Of course there were all kinds of promises along tge way - they would hire him to maintain the web for he company, etc.

And their are a ton more like him waiting in line, when he (inevitably) goes bancrupt and gets a job at a call center.

So it is stupid idiots like that who have no conception of their CODB, amortization of equipment, understanding why they need insurance, etc. who are particulary irritating. Of course in law you have requirements to pass a bar exam, etc., which keeps out the know-nothings who would offer to represent you in court for $5 an hour, draw up a will, etc. In retail you have laws against selling for less than the cost of goods sold, like milk at  $0.25 per gallon.

There are three primary effects of these folks, in stick or any other niche:

1) it makes it impossible for young professionals to earn enough to support themselves while they build a business,

2) it takes away the bread-and-butter, day to day jobs that help local photographers survive between more creative, lucrative paying work, and

3) it conditions clients who would have the funds to pay realistic rates for what they are reqesting to have no clue as to what decent photography should cost. They waste a lot of our time, and it is too late to educate them about realstc rates. Like I am going to haul $15k worth of equipment and put in an 8 hour day for a job that won't even pay to cover equipment wear and tear?

I would get job offers for $150 for a day when my Canon 1DsII was renting for $250 per day! I found it more profitable to just rent out the equipment and stay home.

So the irritation isn't with the "laws of the economy", or gravity, or whatever. It is with idiots who don't have a clue babbling about their "profession" in photography. I don't mean to imply that any of tge folks here are like that. But there are certainly enough of those folks in most niches now - sports photography, senior portraits, stock, etc. that the economics really don't make any sense at all as a "profession."

And when I can make an average of $50 to $100 per hour -  since 1995 at least - with some variation of my photography/Photoshop/digital imaging/computer skill set, I don't even self identify as being in that business, because I don't want to waste time talking to clients who want something for $25 to $100. I'd have to bill them more than that to cone out ahead answering their e-mails and endless phone calls.

As a "profession", photography is a mess right now.

Michael
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« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2010, 06:42:25 PM »
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Quote from: mmurph
The base problem across the industry is photographers - and other artists - who have no clue about their true costs, no understanding of business, and who are giving their work away.

Couldn't agree more. But the market has changed irrevocably, so if your only expertise is easily reproducible generic stock, you need to do massive volume and/or really know your target market to be able to compete.

But it's not only that. When pros have to compete against those stay-at-home moms taking what amount to nothing more than snapshots as stock, it is clear that something or somebody has to change. I guarantee that will not be the demand for cheap photography, or the amateur who gets paid to take her family out every once in a while.

And finally, what consistenly surprises me here is that how poorly many photographers grasp basic business tenets, and act like a kid when you take away their lollipop whenever the world serves them a perceived injustice.
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« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2010, 07:54:09 PM »
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You guys are so focused on stock you are forgetting the thousands of business that sell things.  They need images and you can't get those images from stock.  Anyone selling products needs images of those products and that is and will always be true.  

Worrying about the dumb-ass with a new camera is a waste of time.  Deal with what is real and what works and let the rats eat the leftovers.
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TMARK
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« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2010, 08:48:28 PM »
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Products is or soon will be all cgi. Products isn't even a market anymore.


Quote from: gdwhalen
You guys are so focused on stock you are forgetting the thousands of business that sell things.  They need images and you can't get those images from stock.  Anyone selling products needs images of those products and that is and will always be true.  

Worrying about the dumb-ass with a new camera is a waste of time.  Deal with what is real and what works and let the rats eat the leftovers.
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« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2010, 09:06:12 PM »
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Products is or soon will be all cgi. Products isn't even a market anymore.

Exactly. Don't think the guy APE is on about hasn't known that for a while.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2010, 10:04:57 PM »
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...what consistenly surprises me here is that how poorly many photographers grasp basic business tenets...
Indeed. And yet the most constant complaint coming from professional photographers is that the industry is ruined by amateurs who have "no clue about business".

However, both claims stand: today's amateurs indeed have no clue (nor they care) of yesterday's business models of the pros, and pros have no clue of today's business models (other than hating it), desperately clinging to the models of yesteryear.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2010, 03:45:05 AM »
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Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
Indeed. And yet the most constant complaint coming from professional photographers is that the industry is ruined by amateurs who have "no clue about business".

However, both claims stand: today's amateurs indeed have no clue (nor they care) of yesterday's business models of the pros, and pros have no clue of today's business models (other than hating it), desperately clinging to the models of yesteryear.





Slobodan, you are, unfortunately, absolutely right on both counts.

Further, mention has been made of the guy whose only (only?) talent is generic images. Well, I remember from the good old days of Stone-pre-Getty that generic material was exactly what stock was about: you were asked to work towards the idea of concepts that fitted standard market image needs: honesty; love; romance; business; youth; sports; medical; health; calendar girls; beauty etc. etc. The pictures were required to fit standard emotional triggers - it was the art of the business. And there were some damn good shooters doing it very well. And the money matched the effort during those years, and cheaper sales were frowned upon. And 50% commission was the norm. Eat your effing hearts out, micro slaves. And eat them out because you helped ruin your own industry. Those 'cheaper' sales were frowned upon by the snappers but not by the agencies. You must never forget that the agencies, ALL of them, are in business to make money for the agency above all, the photographers being but necessary evils encountered en route.

That the amateur is or isn't a good photographer hasn't much to do with it: some, exactly like the pros, are good and others useless. The huge difference is that the pro has to live from his work whilst the amateur is on an ego trip. Customers will always pay the least they need to and will attempt to extract the utmost mileage from any assignment - that's business. To imagine that the pro photographer should charge less because then he will enable a poor client to use photography is bullshit. Why the hell should the photographer be concerned with that? His concern is making a living in a real market from equally real clients; there are enough wannabe photographers and none of us needs wannabe clients to cloud the issue even further!

Rob C
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