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My view on shooting for STOCK

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New article posted: My view on shooting for STOCK
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/04/2013, 04:50:39 AM
it's too easy to photograph today.
but cheer up.
i believe that quality make the difference.
Canon 7D Olympus EM5 II
Posted: 06/04/2013, 09:41:39 AM
Hi Steve,

You have a great portfolio with many quality images. I wish I had photos 1/10 of yours on DT :D

So what is your advice for the new/armature photographers since the price has been dropping? Do we have any place?

Canon EOS 7D, Canon EOS 450D, EF-S 15-85. EF-S 18-200, Canon S5IS,
Posted: 06/04/2013, 10:18:26 AM
Your images are amazing. It shows that you send a great deal of time and energy and I am sure, a lot of discomfort taking such photos. You disserve every penny you earn. You are a true professional.
Posted: 06/04/2013, 10:46:03 AM
Hi Henrymm
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with anybody, professional or part time supplying the stock market with images, I have to move with the times. My observations are just illustrating why I see why my income has dropped over the years.
Stock is a numbers game, now more than ever. The more images you have on sale, and especially the more images of subjects/concepts that few other have on sale, the more you will earn.
Very few can make a living from supplying just to Microstock. Really the only way to make enough to live on is to get a contract with a top mainstream agency and build up a big portfolio with them. But it's harder now than it's ever been.
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/04/2013, 10:54:20 AM
Perhaps I'm new to the stock game, but I completely concur with you! With the market flooded by anyone with a camera, the tons free images out there, the pittance given for subs and the theft of high res photos, making good money is a thing of the past for many.

I don't have any extended licenses marked on my images and wish I could undo the U/I-EL. It's insane to get so little when the buyer gains so much. I'm under no illusion that I'll ever become a great photog or make money at this. Like you, I decided to put images up on stock sites I have around for the 1.5 yrs. I've been doing this, to see if I could make something off them. Also hopefully learn from others how to be a better photog and improve my skills in capturing images; art and stock.

Unfortunately, if the stock sites continue to support the buyer and themselves leaving the contributor with a lot less, along with many not caring how little they make, it will stay that way. Really can't see all stock sellers disabling their accounts to make the point we deserve a fair share for doing all the work/putting out the expense or no use of our images.
Posted: 06/04/2013, 12:30:10 PM
Thanks for info, all my respect to a pro!
I am here for about 4 year and in the last two I saw that DT is experimenting new ways to stay in business. Hope they will find a way.
Posted: 06/04/2013, 12:47:14 PM
Quite a substantial difference in income between the sites, but I'm just going to stick with DT as an exclusive (finally approved this week) and start slow. If things work out I'll slowly add some better group model shoots as i can afford to put them together
Canon T2i and 5D classic, 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.8, Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS...
Posted: 06/04/2013, 15:28:04 PM
hello steve I read with great interest your article and I can only share your every thought. I must also confess that I am probably one of those who has helped to overcome your earnings, in the worst sense of the statement.

I am an an amateur photographer who upload for fun photos on microstock and still gets emotional when a photo is sold and that shares selling on Facebook when it exceeds $ 2! It's basically a hobby that is becoming a passion and a challenge. Thanks to the microstock I could buy a new lens, improve my equipment and buy some good photography's books.

I'm sorry, I feel, however, one that has damaged you and professionals like you. I do not say with irony, I say with sincerity.

But in the same way I believe that all this is inevitable, that responds to changes in the market that are also present in other sectors, not only in the photography.

The thing that I can tell you for sure is that quality always wins and my portfolio can never be like your (as well as the gains!). Good luck to all, have a good day.

Nikon D3200 Nikon 18-55 VR Nikon 70-300 VR
Posted: 06/05/2013, 03:42:19 AM
All my respect for you!I read your blog with pleasure!I have one curiosity.Just one:how much money you have invested in the past 25 years in total(cameras,lens,accesories,lights,etc.).In total.Thank you!
Posted: 06/05/2013, 09:52:29 AM
Hi Lenutaidi
To answer your question: A LOT !! Impossible to give you a figure.
My biggest cost is not equipment, although I do spend a fair bit on computer and camera gear.
My biggest cost by far is TRAVEL.
In the past 15 years I have visited 88 countries on all 7 continents, as you can imagine this has not come cheap!
As income has slowly decreased over recent years (from about 2007 up to date) I have had to cut my travel and equipment spend to match. In the good old days I did 3 big photo trips a year plus the odd smaller one, but now it's only one major trip a year.
Steve Allen
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/05/2013, 10:02:55 AM
Mr. Allen is one of the finest photographers around today and his
images from all over the world are truly striking and of the highest
quality. What he has written in his blog is extremely well expressed
and totally truthful. But, like it or not, stock photography today is
precisely as he has stated and we must all deal with those realities
whether we like them or not. The big money that we all made
from major photo stock agencies before the advent of microstock
is a thing of the past as photography has evolved in so many ways
with the advent of the digital format....and not necessarily for the
good of stock photographers. One can only hope that first-
class agencies like DT will make every effort to support the best
interests of its valued photographic contributors.
Nikon D90, Nikon D80, Nikon Lenses exclusively
Posted: 06/05/2013, 10:05:13 AM
From what I understand, microstock started out with amateurs selling at amateur prices. Then the professionals decided they wanted a piece of it too. They jumped in and showed the world that you could buy top quality images at amateur prices. I don't blame the market fall on cheap equipment but rather human greed. Lately it seems a few of the big names have figured out that microstock doesn't make any sense for highly produced images and are leaving.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 06/05/2013, 15:52:10 PM
Thank you for sharing this blog. I found it not only interesting, but very helpful. Its scary to think you added 2000 more photos in one year, and you are making less money than the year before. Wow, really makes me depressed.
Nikon Equipment, Nikon Lenses, Professional Photo Software
Posted: 06/05/2013, 23:34:02 PM
I admire you. But I don't know why you joint DT. $500 compare to $9000? You are wasting your time here to make so little. Then people would buy your similar images here cheaply instead of buying your expensive ones from the other website. Don't you think?
Posted: 06/06/2013, 00:56:08 AM
Hi Jackbluee
A good example of why I 'waste my time at DT'........
I have recently returned from a trip to Myanmar (Burma). I returned with about 700 good shots. My main agency 'cherry picked' the best 134 images. I placed a further 150 or so with other agencies.
The remainder are still good images that can at least earn something, so they go to Microstock and DT is my main micro outlet. This is the way I work on all my travel shoots.
Also when I joined DT I had a lot of older images that are below the 50mb minimum size that my main agency now demands - DT was a good home for them. I also send most of the 'editorial style' images I may produce when traveling, to microstock, as mainstream agencies take little of this type of work. I shoot very little that's directly intended for DT.
$500 per month is still $6000 a year and worth having instead of just leaving these images sat on my hard drive.
The main reason buyers go to mainstream agencies is because they need RM (Rights Managed) images and because they can also find 'high production value' images that are not available elsewhere. There is surprisingly little cross-over, RM buyers tend not to look on microstock sites.
Steve Allen
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/06/2013, 02:39:39 AM
Steve isn't it true though that mainstream agencies are extremely difficult to be accepted as a contributor? That they only except very good photogs? I remember a private teacher I hired awhile back to be critiqued, get the truth of what I was doing wrong/right, learn from and see if I should bother pursuing photography as a possible second career, suggested I do stock to further my learning, but it was tough, almost nonexistent to get into the major agencies and make decent money. Of course, I'm no way good enough at this stage and perhaps I'll never be. ;)

Lenutaidi, I'm just starting out in photography. I'd say with equipment and trips to date the minimum cost invested so far is near $30K, which doesn't include my time or other expenses that would tack on at least another $30K, prolly more. Plus won't be long before I need a new camera as mine is nearing the end of its lifespan from shooting so much and I'm not a great photog yet, chances of succeeding not good. Though if professors and well known photogs say I have a shot, I'm willing to invest, take classes and work hard to see where it leads me. Cuz I truly love photography! :)
Posted: 06/06/2013, 07:46:54 AM
Thank you for explaining, Steve. I guess a lot of buyers here are like me. I am a buyer also. I needed a lot of travel pictures but did not need to buy the expensive ones, so I found DT was good enough. I also bought a subscription once. DT's subscription is the cheapest. I also bought images from I_S_P before I found DT. DT was cheaper. Since all images start at level 1 price here, it is much cheaper to buy good images compare to the other websites. DT also have more variety of images to choose from. I guess because DT accepts more contributors globally from every corner.
Posted: 06/06/2013, 10:14:17 AM
This is how a global world now works, I don't agree with this too... My regards to you and to your work, you're an inspiration for all of us the hobbie photographers.
and equipment: - Nikkor 70-300 mm - Nikkor 18-105 mm...
Posted: 06/06/2013, 20:06:44 PM
Hi Imagerybycharly
Yes, I'm sorry to say it is very difficult to get a contract with the mainstream agencies. My main agency G___y will usually only sign people THEY contact and invite to become contributors.
I joined the Telegraph Colour Library in 1972. Then I managed to get a contract with Image Bank. Eventually IB were taken over by G___y and I got a 'home' contract with them allowing me to submit to all the G___y brands (there are about 8).
I was lucky and things were different back in the day, however, yes your right, now it is very difficult to join mainstream agencies.
of Canon lenses and accessories from 15mm fisheye to 500mm telephoto....
Posted: 06/07/2013, 02:28:32 AM
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