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Author Topic: A veri interesting article in the Times today  (Read 16416 times)
N Walker
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« Reply #60 on: April 03, 2010, 03:14:26 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Indeed, Cooter is on the money. I'm surprised that anyone writing books on stock should seem to know so little of its history. There was Image Bank and also, in terms of fine work, FPG. Getty came along relatively recently as a financial afterthought, simply another business 'opportunity' seen from the perspective of huge financial resources looking for alternative places to lie and grow; cancer-like, some might think. Ditto Corbis.

In Britain, the big player was Tony Stone, who started as a photographer but soon realised that getting 50% from several photographers was a better deal than getting 100% from his own photography. Consider the micro situation of today and ask yourself one simple question: if 50% of somebody else's work is good, how much better is over 90% of somebody else's work - for the agency?

As for Quentin's "overpriced image from Getty" I  believe that reveals a shocking lack of understanding about the real expense of producing good stock material. I spent many years with Stone-prior-Getty and I can tell him that my own speciality of model work cost so much to produce that only by using the extras from assigned commissions was I able to provide any such stock. I once decided to risk my own capital and I floated a trip specifically for stock. How did it fare? It took me around three years to get my invested capital back, and I would never have managed that within the viable life of such images had Stone not managed to bring me two sales from a single image that returned over fifteen hundred pounds on one occassion and over seven hundred on the other. Those were my 50% earnings on each sale. Other sales were down in mainly double figures with the now-and-again rise into triple. There was nothing "overpriced" about it. Why does anyone think that shooting stock is any cheaper for a photographer than shooting the same shot on  commission? The only difference is the snapper's fee: on commission he gets one; on self-assignmenet he may or may not. BUT, the cost of production is exactly the same. The difference in cost between using digital and film, in such work, is neither here nor there; if those are your worries, you are in a very strange market segment.

I suppose that unless you (in the sense of one) put all your money where your mouth is, you will never know what the business really is.

Rob C
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Hywel
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« Reply #61 on: April 03, 2010, 03:42:35 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
The difference in cost between using digital and film, in such work, is neither here nor there; if those are your worries, you are in a very strange market segment.

I suppose that unless you (in the sense of one) put all your money where your mouth is, you will never know what the business really is.

Hi Rob,

  Whilst I wouldn't disagree with most of the good points you make, I'd just like to add that the people who DO have the worries about the cost difference between using digital and film are the microstock libraries, and they are in a very strange market segment. A market segment where an individual photograph is more or less costless to sell. They have fixed overheads by the bucketload (servers, web designers, etc. ) but the marginal cost of one more sale of an image is essentially zero for them. And since they aren't paying the costs of the shoot either, the marginal cost of one more image being added to the catalogue is ALSO zero. In exchange for this, they pay a pittance of a commission, which maintains this "no marginal cost" business model.

  In the pre-electronic days this just wasn't possible: for a client in New York to buy your image from an agency in London, somehow the image had to get from the library in London to the client's desk. That cost has simply disappeared from the equation, and I still believe that it is fundamentally that change to instant online free perusal and distribution which has facilitated the rise of the microstocks.

  I must admit the thing which surprises me about all this is that market forces haven't driven the commission percentages up. I'm wondering if there isn't a market opening for "high end" photographers' collective microstock with a better payout to attract photographers, run as a relatively non-profit organisation for the benefits of the photographer members. I'm sure that model has been tried; I wonder why it isn't the one that's really caught on?

  Cheers, Hywel.

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Quentin
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« Reply #62 on: April 03, 2010, 05:24:05 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
As for Quentin's "overpriced image from Getty" I  believe that reveals a shocking lack of understanding about the real expense of producing good stock material.


Rob C

You have to define what "good" stock material is, Rob.   A lot of good stock material is most assuredly *not* expensive to shoot.  When it is, it's destined for a different outlet.  

You are completely missing the point here, Rob, which Hywell, on the other hand,  does seem to appreciate.  The traditional libraries were just not nimble enough to react to a market in which much of the cost of producing stock photography had been driven out of the system.  This happened at the precisely the same time as demand for inexpensive stock for use in e-newletters, websites, etc, skyrocketed.  The micros were a reaction to these changes.  Most traditional librarties stood by and watched...

and as Hywel said

Quote
I must admit the thing which surprises me about all this is that market forces haven't driven the commission percentages up. I'm wondering if there isn't a market opening for "high end" photographers' collective microstock with a better payout to attract photographers, run as a relatively non-profit organisation for the benefits of the photographer members. I'm sure that model has been tried; I wonder why it isn't the one that's really caught on

Everyone knows about iStocks 20% commission for non-exclusive photographers, which I agree is too low, but other micros offer better pecentages, ofter more than 50%.  iStock have pushed their prices up in the last few years.  

I don't represent the micros, nor do they need me to defend them.  Their astonishing success speaks for itself.  A debate about whether they are good or bad ultimately misses the point, which is how individual photographers deal with the phenomenon.  In making that decision, you need to stand back and look at how the market in all digital data is evolving.  My reaction has been to split my stock submissions between traditional RM libraries and the micros.  Different work for different markets.  The micros are the future for all RF, but there will remain a healthy demand for rights managed work of high quality and a much higher price, as my own experience in continuing to sell work though RM channels proves.

Quentin
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 05:33:45 AM by Quentin » Logged

Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
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« Reply #63 on: April 03, 2010, 07:20:14 AM »
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Quote from: Quentin
The micros are the future for all RF...

True, but no great insight needed there.

Microstock exists because there is an almost endless supply of indifferent images that wouldn't make the grade in any other sector of the industry and an almost endless supply of indifferent "photographers" looking to make a few bob towards their hobby. Go to any RF outlet and try wading through the trash in search of the treasure, it's soul destroying.

Of those I know who actually make their living from photography - and that runs into the hundreds - virtually all are opposed to RF and microstock. There is widespread contempt for the business models and for those who would promote them.

By all means get on the truck, just don't be surprised when you're taken for a ride.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 07:21:36 AM by KLaban » Logged

gwhitf
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« Reply #64 on: April 03, 2010, 07:34:32 AM »
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Quote from: KLaban
By all means get on the truck, just don't be surprised when you're taken for a ride.

Completely agree. I want to start an entire thread that is only analogies and metaphors (like above) that people have been ponying up.

I pray for the day when the law industry does not require a license, and every housewife and construction worker can moonlight on weekends. No office needed; no staff needed; no pension needed; no overhead whatsoever -- just offer up law advice, (that can actually be used in court), for free, or for a dollar.

We'll see if it's a different song then.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 07:35:06 AM by gwhitf » Logged
Quentin
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« Reply #65 on: April 03, 2010, 08:09:48 AM »
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Here is where one guy, Yuri Arcurs, is now at.  He owes his career to microstock.

http://bit.ly/VXm8O

Quentin
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #66 on: April 03, 2010, 08:20:32 AM »
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Quote from: Quentin
Here is where one guy, Yuri Arcurs, is now at.  He owes his career to microstock.

http://bit.ly/VXm8O

Quentin

Well, he is supposedly the most successful in the world. It's a bit like saying "actors are doing ok - just look at Tom Cruise!" Not exactly representative.
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« Reply #67 on: April 03, 2010, 08:25:35 AM »
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Quote from: Quentin
Here is where one guy, Yuri Arcurs, is now at.  He owes his career to microstock.

Please, don't insult me, I'm well aware that a few microstockers have made money.
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feppe
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« Reply #68 on: April 03, 2010, 08:35:02 AM »
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Quote from: Quentin
Here is where one guy, Yuri Arcurs, is now at.  He owes his career to microstock.

http://bit.ly/VXm8O

Quentin

Just watching that is soul-crushing. I'm glad as an amateur I can shoot whatever I want.
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Quentin
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« Reply #69 on: April 03, 2010, 08:45:18 AM »
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Quote from: Graham Mitchell
Well, he is supposedly the most successful in the world. It's a bit like saying "actors are doing ok - just look at Tom Cruise!" Not exactly representative.

True, but the difference is that Yuri and others like him would not have a career in stock but for the micros which have been an entry point for a whole generation of photographers.
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
Rob C
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« Reply #70 on: April 03, 2010, 09:57:00 AM »
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Quote from: Quentin
What on earth makes stock photographers think that they should be treated as a special case?  Who said photographers should be insulated from the forces of modern business models that have grown out of the internet and digital technology / media?  

Roadkill?  You just didn't move fast enough.  

Quentin




Perhaps, somewhat intentionally, you just 'don't get it' either.

The reason professional photographers of all types get pissed off at the shamateur, as distinct from the amateur with whom I see no fight, is this: the professional learns his trade and through choice of career pays his dues to himself, family, clients, fellow photographers and even to the Inland Revenue. On the other hand, the shamateur pays no dues to anyone and is nothing more than a parasite living off the body photographic, which body he is slowly killing.

You may not like it, may refuse to accept it, but that is the reality.

Rob C
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JonRoemer
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« Reply #71 on: April 03, 2010, 10:38:19 AM »
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Somewhat ironic to note:

aPhotoEditor.com had a recent April Fools post about the NYT going all stock all the time (obviously in light of the article which started this thread.)

But here's Adobe publishing a YouTube video highlighting a new CS5 feature, Puppet Warp.  Be sure to check the photo credit on the bottom right....
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Quentin
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« Reply #72 on: April 03, 2010, 11:24:00 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Perhaps, somewhat intentionally, you just 'don't get it' either.

The reason professional photographers of all types get pissed off at the shamateur, as distinct from the amateur with whom I see no fight, is this: the professional learns his trade and through choice of career pays his dues to himself, family, clients, fellow photographers and even to the Inland Revenue. On the other hand, the shamateur pays no dues to anyone and is nothing more than a parasite living off the body photographic, which body he is slowly killing.

You may not like it, may refuse to accept it, but that is the reality.

Rob C

I totally agree with your underlying point and it explains some of the frankly pathetic bleating about the micros we see each time the subject is raised in certain circles. That's because Photography requires no formal training or qualifications.  Ask any wedding pro under pressure from mom and pop outfits. But then many pioneers of photography were amateurs.  The boundarys are flexible.   Our friend Yuri Arcurs started out as an amateur, and now works full time as a pro photographer.  If you are unwilling to accept the competition, then you should have chosen an different profession, because 'twas always thus.

Quentin
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« Reply #73 on: April 03, 2010, 11:25:49 AM »
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Quote from: Quentin
True, but the difference is that Yuri and others like him would not have a career in stock but for the micros which have been an entry point for a whole generation of photographers.


Quentin,

I think your on to something.  Team up with Yuri and write another book on motion footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SItFvB0Upb8


BC
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Quentin
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« Reply #74 on: April 03, 2010, 12:09:36 PM »
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Quote from: bcooter
Quentin,

I think your on to something.  Team up with Yuri and write another book on motion footage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SItFvB0Upb8


BC

Brilliant  
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
N Walker
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« Reply #75 on: April 03, 2010, 12:45:42 PM »
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Quote from: Quentin
I totally agree with your underlying point and it explains some of the frankly pathetic bleating about the micros we see each time the subject is raised in certain circles. That's because Photography requires no formal training or qualifications.  Ask any wedding pro under pressure from mom and pop outfits. But then many pioneers of photography were amateurs.  The boundarys are flexible.   Our friend Yuri Arcurs started out as an amateur, and now works full time as a pro photographer.  If you are unwilling to accept the competition, then you should have chosen an different profession, because 'twas always thus.

Quentin


It is very easy to sell a picture for less than the cost of a regular cappuccino at Starbucks. The skill is selling RM images to commercial clients against stiff competition, when your price is similar, if not higher.

I am so lucky that I had to gain accreditation to photograph professional golf events - accreditation requirements have fortunately kept hobbyists, with little or no clue about this business, out.

istock is here to stay but it has devalued photography when a commercial client with a large advertising budget can purchase a snap for peanuts.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 02:16:10 PM by Nick Walker » Logged

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« Reply #76 on: April 03, 2010, 12:51:48 PM »
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B Roll - Im gonna be doing it

It will be an addition to the (rights managed) image library i built

beachfeature

I already populated that library with grabbing shots on my travels - just need to roll the 5d2 too

S
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 12:53:03 PM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #77 on: April 03, 2010, 01:31:37 PM »
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Quote from: Quentin
If you are unwilling to accept the competition, then you should have chosen an different profession, because 'twas always thus.

Quentin


You see, Quentin? You really, really do not get it: it was not always thus. I have been in that world since 1960 and have seen a lot of it.

I had to spend the best part of six years working in professional photography before it was possible to become a self-employed professional myself and run a business. Amateur competition wasn't even thought about, and there were always great amateurs around, as you rightly pointed out. The two worlds were totally apart.

Reference is made to wedding photographers. With respect, and at the risk of causing unintentional pain, I do not consider that a branch of professional photography in the sense of skill beyond the amateur; there, an amateur can often match the 'pro' sector. Yes, it churns money so has to be deemed professional, in that sense, but that is another matter. It is a very different sector with far fewer knowingly educated critical clients than photography intended for commercial markets, which stock is. The problem is that in the commercial (business) sector, the availability of cheap material, in a graphics world now run by accountants and lawyers rather than by creative minds, it becomes a requirement to use that material. When the man at the top only understands numbers, there is little alternative for the lowly art department but to follow budgetary dictates.

Of course, it is also a matter of wider education. The attitude that governments display towards such matters as copyright, 'orphan' works, registration/qualifications before practice is permitted, all those sorts of things, just perpetuates a situation where the arts are considered a pastime, a hobby, not to be taken seriously. Neither can it have helped that so many within the art world appear to walk with a heavy, anti-business tilt towards the left.

But I ain't gonna be able to fix it! That's for a younger generation to fight.

Rob C
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« Reply #78 on: April 03, 2010, 01:35:49 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
Just watching that is soul-crushing. I'm glad as an amateur I can shoot whatever I want.

Yeh, that's one thing I agree about. All power to Yuri's elbow, but I would find shooting what he shoots absolutely soul destroying. Demonstrably he is an absolute master of calculatedly just-plain-enough shot, the shot which will appeal to lots of different customers. To my personal eye they are bland and absolutely soul-less. I'm sure he does not see them in that way, which is why he's making a great career out of shooting them and I'm not.

He has a nice studio- its contents is remarkably similar to my previous studio, except that I had more bondage steel collars, whips and chains than he has  I wish I'd had the vertical height to do the over-the-top shots, but I chose to leave mine on two levels and double the floor space to have double the number of different sets.

So he's obviously doing just great shooting his thing and selling them by microstock; I'm getting by shooting my thing and selling them by a subscription website. Whatever works for you. I won't be competing with Yuri because I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed in the morning to shoot another set of photos of smily fake call centre workers in their deliciously anodyne slightly grey fake office with their fake headsets on their heads and their fake smiles on their faces!  

The first rule of all, I think, is that you gotta shoot what you love. Then you gotta market it. And if you are good enough at both those things, and enough other people like what you do, you can make a living out of it. Simple as that.

  Cheers, Hywel.





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« Reply #79 on: April 03, 2010, 02:16:12 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
... in a graphics world now run by accountants and lawyers rather than by creative minds... When the man at the top only understands numbers, there is little alternative for the lowly art department but to follow budgetary dictates...
The ONLY time accountants and lawyers run a company is when the company is already run into the ground by the "creative" minds. "The man at the top" has ALWAYS understood only numbers... when "creative" minds produce big numbers, Da Man does not mind giving them big budgets (e.g. Annie Leibowitz-size budgets, or SI swimsuit-issue budgets). When "creative" minds screw up, Da Man calls in accountants and lawyers.
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