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View Full Version : How much has the world of selling photos changed?


Ivor
28th March 2016, 11:10 AM
I have been reading, mainly just out of interest in all things photographic, an old thread (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=14721&page=1) from 5 years ago about selling stock images and wonder how much that world has changed since then.

I took a trip to one of the stock photo sites which boasted over 100 million images in its archives. I guess that the odds of having a photo picked from that size of pool will be tiny. Also, one of the sites insisted on uploads being an uncompressed JPEG of at least 18MB. That's larger than the raw files produced by my E-5. I guess this restriction is to try to limit the number of submissions.

Looking back at the original thread, even well established and very talented photographers were not making much from their images in this way even back then. Are stock photos a thing of the past for photographers?

Ivor

Ricoh
28th March 2016, 11:33 AM
100 million is close to the odds of winning euro millions, in round terms, but one's chances are improved by the use of key words and tags.

In the smartphone age almost everyone is a photographer and images are generally transient and have low value, even to the person who took them. When I flick through Flickr most of the images grab no more than 5s of my attention before flicking to the next.

Photographs have fairly low value and it must be hard to make a living as a 'professional' unless the individual targets a specific need, eg weddings, or war zones and selling (to newspapers) an image of someone having their head blown off. Or something off guard about the Royal Family that will sell to the gutter press.

Edit: in terms of image size, I suppose anyone wishing to purchase wants the best bang for the their money, and anyway storage space is dirt cheap, so why not go big?

Ivor
28th March 2016, 08:37 PM
100 million is close to the odds of winning euro millions, in round terms, but one's chances are improved by the use of key words and tags.

In the smartphone age almost everyone is a photographer and images are generally transient and have low value, even to the person who took them. When I flick through Flickr most of the images grab no more than 5s of my attention before flicking to the next.

Photographs have fairly low value and it must be hard to make a living as a 'professional' unless the individual targets a specific need, eg weddings, or war zones and selling (to newspapers) an image of someone having their head blown off. Or something off guard about the Royal Family that will sell to the gutter press.

Edit: in terms of image size, I suppose anyone wishing to purchase wants the best bang for the their money, and anyway storage space is dirt cheap, so why not go big?

That's where I'm coming from, and why I don't do the lottery. :D

I think the days of anyone making much at all from online images are over, unless anyone can prove me wrong. Taking away the commercialism of photography and turning it back into an art for art's sake is a good thing in my book.

David M
28th March 2016, 09:26 PM
It's not just the number of images in libraries, rates are in free fall and anyone not prepared to pay a few quid for an image will find something online to steal.

Ricoh
28th March 2016, 10:20 PM
That's where I'm coming from, and why I don't do the lottery. :D

I think the days of anyone making much at all from online images are over, unless anyone can prove me wrong. Taking away the commercialism of photography and turning it back into an art for art's sake is a good thing in my book.

I would be more than happy if anyone wanted one of my shots without payment. Fundamentally I 'do' photography for my own enjoyment and of course my best shot will be the one I take next, or the one after that, or the one after that or...

pdk42
28th March 2016, 11:24 PM
I would be more than happy if anyone wanted one of my shots without payment. Fundamentally I 'do' photography for my own enjoyment and of course my best shot will be the one I take next, or the one after that, or the one after that or...

Steve - I think a lot of us feel the same, but in truth that's one of the reasons for the steep decline in stock image libraries. With so much excellent gear about, even rank amateurs like me can do a half decent shot of something eye catching. Hell, there are even web sites that will tell you where to stand, on what day of the year and at what time! Short of pressing the button for you, Google has all the answers.

Photography is definitely something personal now - I doubt there are any easy ways to make money from it professionally any more; except maybe school shots or weddings and I for one really can't work up any enthusiasm for that. A year doing either would probably have me running to the hills vowing never to touch a camera again!

Zuiko
29th March 2016, 01:03 AM
I would be more than happy if anyone wanted one of my shots without payment. Fundamentally I 'do' photography for my own enjoyment and of course my best shot will be the one I take next, or the one after that, or the one after that or...

So you manage to grab a street shot of Nigel Farage in a passionate kiss with Diane Abbott and all the tabloids want to print it. Or you capture a beautiful sunrise over a field of wheat and an advertising agency want to use it in a big new promotion of Hovis. And in either case you just let them use your picture for free?

Ricoh
29th March 2016, 09:19 AM
So you manage to grab a street shot of Nigel Farage in a passionate kiss with Diane Abbott and all the tabloids want to print it. Or you capture a beautiful sunrise over a field of wheat and an advertising agency want to use it in a big new promotion of Hovis. And in either case you just let them use your picture for free?

Jeez, Nigel and Diane Abbott - I'd be too stunned to operate the camera! However, should I be fortunate to take such a picture I would instantly appreciate its commercial value, assuming I was the only person with a camera at the time. On the other hand, if I took a sunrise shot I'd probably put it on social media (Flickr, and/or here possibly) and wouldn't worry further, but I'd appreciate recognition if someone used it. Both situations are far fetched though: Nige has far better taste and I don't do landscapes. :)

This has got me thinking. Is there a business in Flickr, do the owners (Yahoo I believe) get commercial gain? Most users seem to have standard membership, ie don't pay for uploading and storage. Perhaps Yahoo intend sucking as many in and then changing the T&Cs to become a subscription.

Petrochemist
29th March 2016, 09:42 AM
I would be more than happy if anyone wanted one of my shots without payment. Fundamentally I 'do' photography for my own enjoyment and of course my best shot will be the one I take next, or the one after that, or the one after that or...

If it's for a good cause I'd be happy for it. So far the only times I'm aware of where someone has used my on-line photos it's been for their profit. I wouldn't want much in return but a little towards my lens/camera fund would seem fair to me!

Ricoh
29th March 2016, 09:46 AM
If it's for a good cause I'd be happy for it. So far the only times I'm aware of where someone has used my on-line photos it's been for their profit. I wouldn't want much in return but a little towards my lens/camera fund would seem fair to me!

Was it (or were they) pinched from Flickr?

Zuiko
29th March 2016, 09:56 AM
Jeez, Nigel and Diane Abbott - I'd be too stunned to operate the camera! However, should I be fortunate to take such a picture I would instantly appreciate its commercial value, assuming I was the only person with a camera at the time. On the other hand, if I took a sunrise shot I'd probably put it on social media (Flickr, and/or here possibly) and wouldn't worry further, but I'd appreciate recognition if someone used it. Both situations are far fetched though: Nige has far better taste and I don't do landscapes. :)

Haha, fair comment, Steve, but let's put this another way. How do you think a professional, self-employed gardener would feel if an amateur gardener in the area loved his hobby so much that he was prepared to do everyone else's gardening for free? Or how would a catering business cope if a local cooking enthusiast offered to cater at functions without charge?

The sad thing is that standards are not going up - it takes far more than just owning a top of the range digital camera to produce a really good photograph. Rather, publishers are settling for mediocre work just because they can get it for free. A good example of this is the quality of pictures used by television broadcasters as a background to their weather reports.

An indication of how recognition of the true craftsmanship of professional photographers has fallen is the current advert for the Galaxy 7 phone (or whatever it is). Apparently, it "takes pictures like a pro." So there you have it, Samsung believe that the technology has finally taken over and photographers are now redundant, no wonder they are pulling out of camera manufacturing. :rolleyes:

benvendetta
29th March 2016, 10:26 AM
If a company is making money directly or indirectly from my images, I would expect payment.

David M
29th March 2016, 10:45 AM
So you manage to grab a street shot of Nigel Farage in a passionate kiss with Diane Abbott and all the tabloids want to print it. Or you capture a beautiful sunrise over a field of wheat and an advertising agency want to use it in a big new promotion of Hovis. And in either case you just let them use your picture for free?

Stop pretending to be surprised John, we both know that is one of the reasons photography is so devalued these days.

I'm waiting for someone to ask how much they should pay a client to use a photo.

Zuiko
29th March 2016, 11:20 AM
Stop pretending to be surprised John, we both know that is one of the reasons photography is so devalued these days.

I'm waiting for someone to ask how much they should pay a client to use a photo.

Exactly....

David M
29th March 2016, 11:32 AM
To get back to the original post, a friend with a specialist agency has seen his quarterly sales drop from five figures to three figures over the past couple of decades. One of his images was licensed for 5. Not a bad as a friend of his with the same agency who got 3 for the use of an image.

Ricoh
29th March 2016, 11:58 AM
iPhone 6 is an extremely competent camera, and you can use it to text and make calls - plus there's no need to change the clock to 'spring' forwards or 'fall' back, it happens automatically.

Thanks to John, I can't get rid of that thought of poor old Nigel and Diane Abbot - I feel a nightmare coming on tonight. :) But on the other hand it's common knowledge about Jeremy C and Diane A. Would you believe it!