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My view on shooting for STOCK

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Thanks Steve, I appreciate your candor! You are a great photog deserving of the mainstream agencies! Your portfolio is an inspiration and can only hope with some very hard work I can be nearly as good as you one day. :)
Posted: 06/07/2013, 07:25:35 AM
Steve, One thing you don't mention is that the world has gotten smaller via the Internet. Today there is no need for a photographer from the UK to get in a plane and travel the world. The world comes to microstock. Contributors here represent every corner of the world. What is exotic to us might be someone else's backyard. Why pay for someone's travel expenses when you can find a local photographer?
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 06/07/2013, 07:47:13 AM
Hi Peanutroaster
If the local photographer is shooting stock he should expect to earn just as much as a photographer from the other side of the world for the use of his stock images.
I have many hundreds of images taken in my home country of the UK, that sell for exactly the same as any other image I have taken from around the world. Buyers are not going to get their images cheaper by trying to use a local photographer. Not in the stock business anyway. Commissions are a different matter, for commissioned work, local could be cheaper, although not necessarily better! Commissioning travel photography, even when using a local photographer can be a very expensive option compared to using a stock image, and an option normally only used in exceptional circumstances.
Please don't try to tell me working as a travel photographer is pointless. I have made my living doing just that, traveling the world shooting travel and wildlife images, for the past 20 years. It has given me and my family a great life, one that I would not have wanted to change in any way. My income may be less now due to market forces, but I still make a very good living doing what I do.
Steve Allen
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/07/2013, 08:36:09 AM
Excellent article full of interesting information.
Dear MrAllen can you clarify what % of your folio is concepts and do they sell better or the same as travel on G...ty? Thanks and good luck.
Posted: 06/08/2013, 12:41:39 PM
Hi Mango2013
On DT less than 10% of my images are concepts, most are travel images.
Roughly 80% of my 12,000 DT sales are travel.

On G___y something like 25% are concepts and the rest travel. Here the concepts make up about 40% of sales and 60% are travel sales. However to complicate matters about 80% of my concept images are for sale as RF, and only around 20% of the travel are RF. The rest are RM (Rights Managed) images.
Overall I get fewer RM sales, but these give the lions share of income. RF sales tend to be smaller, but there are more sales.
And to complicate it even further, most mainstream agencies, G___y included, will take very few editorial type images. Any they do take are usually RM, (unless I have a model release, which is not very often on editorial style images).
Complicated, I know !!

Steve Allen
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/08/2013, 13:25:43 PM
Very interesting article Steve. I agree with you in many points. ( Yehp why should someone give away pictures for long term just undermines all photo stock business and photographers work..And creates the general feeling ,online, that is fine to pinch or disregard the authorship of any image.
I share many of your views.
Just a pity that generally contributors (specially in micros think that agencies are doing a favor when accepting their images ...without contributors agencies couldn't exist. Contributors should believe more in their own power to shape the rules of this business (and value of their own work-even if for the majority is "just" a hobby. Cheers!
Film cameras 35 Nikon,Olympus E1,nikon 5000D,5100D
Posted: 06/11/2013, 07:21:50 AM
Bluwarrior, I could not agree more!
Unfortunately, any 'power' that contributors have is so spread out amongst hundreds of thousands of contributors over hundreds of stock agencies, that it is very diluted. Trying to get thousands of contributors working together to force the industry to change is, I fear, a non-starter.
I think the majority of the public worldwide (and many businesses too) have little knowledge about copyright and care even less. I think this is especially true of young people who have grown up with the internet, seeing images everywhere. Many seem to have a 'if it's on the net it's free' attitude. The proliferation of 'Free' images by microstock agencies just helps to reinforce this belief and devalue our work even more.
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/11/2013, 10:05:12 AM
I view this process of hundreds of thousands of people trying to produce stock as crowd sourcing the photo business. Crowd sourcing happens in many fields, not just in stock photography. All these amateurs me included do not expect to make a living out of this. Let's take for example Wikipedia. In the last couple of years it managed to push out of business all the professional encyclopedia writers including the venerable Encyclopedia Britanica. How about computer software? Linux is today the only unix system left standing. It pushed out Sun Solaris HP UX and IBM AIX. How about journalism? Bloggers replaced many professional journalists, most papers close or downsize, can't operate free. Many more examples I can come up with many more but it is too depressing. And also interns work for free. No need to pay them. They are just happy to serve. I did not buy a computer book for many years. I find answers to all my questions on Google, much faster and cheaper.
Posted: 06/21/2013, 16:11:17 PM
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