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How many of you are submiting to a microstock agency?
Yes 10%  10%  [ 3 ]
No 28%  28%  [ 8 ]
What is microstock? 62%  62%  [ 18 ]
Total votes : 29
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 Post subject: Stock shooters here?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:56 am 
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Any stock photographers here? iStock? Shutterstock?

Microstock is a funny business that has a lot of controversy surrounding it, ie pros vs amateurs taking business away from working pros. There's the potential of making some very good money, but for the most part it seems like the money just trickles in a few dollars a day unless you completely dedicate yourself to it.

Just curious to hear some of your thoughts and experiences about shooting stock.

-steve

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:08 am 
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I didn't realise it was called microstock until I googled it. I thought all stock photography was the same.:? So you can guess what I voted.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:22 am 
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I made $1 from Fotolia :lol: , or so they said, I never got a check or anything. I only submitted 3 pictures, but the work involved in building a set of tags wasn't worth the trouble. so basically, I'm a No.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:36 am 
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Hey Graham,

I have to admit that I refer to it as just "stock" 99% of the time, but I thought I'd try to be as specific as possible in the forum.

What would we do without Wikipedia?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:48 am 
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BrianS wrote:
...but the work involved in building a set of tags wasn't worth the trouble. so basically, I'm a No.


This is where I have a hard time too. It's hard to justify sitting down and tagging/keywording photos for hours to earn a few bucks a month.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:15 am 
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Pardon my ignorance in this Steve, but does anyone really make money at this? :shock: If you could make even $100 a month I would be surprised. According to the agreement I read you give up all or most of your rights to your own photos to do this. If you're serious about being a "semi-pro" I think there would be better ways to go.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:59 am 
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No problem Brian. This is the most common question in the stock agency forums I belong to. Most of the time people are very reluctant to talk specific numbers, but there are a handful of people that make a living at doing stock work. I couldn't even begin to guess the numbers, but it has to be just a few percent of the total submitters that make a good living at stock. There are many more that have paid for their equipment. (That being said, I haven't paid for all my gear with stock. It's paid for part of it, but other photography work has been much better) I totally agree with you, there are better ways to go about making money for the semi-pro.

I think a lot of enthusiast seem to use stock agencies as a place for honing there skills because the technical standards to get accepted can be very high and acceptance to one of the top agencies is getting more and more difficult.

When you submit to an agency and your photo sells, you will still retain the rights to the photo. Here's the first part of a contract with a particular agency: "1. Ownership of Submitted Content: the copyrights in and to all Submitted Content remain with the owner of such copyrights. "

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:49 pm 
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seattlesteve wrote:
I think a lot of enthusiast seem to use stock agencies as a place for honing there skills because the technical standards to get accepted can be very high and acceptance to one of the top agencies is getting more and more difficult.


Seems like a good idea. Best case scenario: you make make money doing something you enjoy, worse case scenario: you get to do something you like which I think is worth something just on its own. Unless of course, stock photography is your main source of income.

and..

Forgive me if I sound ignorant(I have no experience in this) but, is tagging photos for stock photography that time consuming? It isn't that hard for flickr.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:17 pm 
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Hi Graham,

Well, a few years ago you could simply take a photo that you wanted to submit and just type in a bunch of words that were loosely related to the photo. After the stock agencies started to catch on that people were pumping up their photos with bogus keywords to increase hits, they started to clamp down on the uncontrolled keywording. Now, on one of the sites I submit to requires a much longer process to submit a photo. There are several steps involved to act as some kind of keyword spam filter. Other sites aren't as time consuming.

Consider this: You set up your studio, get the lighting just right, get your backdrop up and then take a series of photos then you spend a decent amount of time in post trying to eliminate any dust particles, sensor dust and cloning out brand names and trademarks that might be on the subject. Then you submit it and hope you get $.30 for one download.

All in all, it doesn't pay well, but it's another photographic outlet that pays for some of your gear.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:33 pm 
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Hi Steve,

Now that you've explained the process involved, it does seem a little tedious and time consuming for the money that you get in return. :?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:37 pm 
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:lol: Well, after my post here yesterday, Fotolia sold another of my photos :? Hoodathunkit! I suppose when you get past all the rational reasons why stock is a poor idea, your left with the argument "why not?" So many of us simply give away our work anyway. It's kind of an ego booster to have someone buy your photos. I still only have $1 listed for what they owe me -- I suspect the first dollar is simply a come-on and then you only get a few cents (perhaps $.30, as you suggest Steve) each sale after that (It's been a long time since I read the agreement). The important thing is that I'm well on the way to becoming a rich photographer :lol: :lol: :lol:

P.S. If you want to try selling stock, the photos I sold were taken with a P&S Canon A620 -- so the field's wide open.

Thanks Steve, this thread turned out to be fun and informative!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:52 am 
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Brian, that's a really good point. I think it may act as some kind of validation for amateurs and semi-pros. Speaking personally, knowing that someone paid money, regardless of the amount, is satisfying. There are many stories of submitters stumbling across their own work in magazines, books, brochures, websites like CNN, MSNBC, and that must be a good feeling. I have just over 3000 downloads and haven't found one of mine though. :roll:

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