Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The iStockalypse

Heading to France today, August 30th, those groovy iStockPhoto contributors are partying like it's1799, and they've "paid for the experience of shooting photography in a fun and professionally organized environment" at what is surely to be a fun-filled iStockalypse, billed as:

iStockphoto's exclusive contributors have committed themselves to our growing international community and we're proud of our ongoing professional relationship with our talented artists.

To show our appreciation, we're throwing an exclusives-only iStockalypse...We're going to be rocking one of the most diverse cities in the Mediterranean — iStock-style — and this is going to be our biggest gathering yet, with 100-plus contributors, inspectors, and staff attending from around the world.

Our eager planners have already been scouring the city, exploring shoot locations, including a picturesque vineyard and the sun-drenched nearby beaches. We're also bringing in the best equipment and experts from across the world of photography and accessories for a variety of interactive workshops and studio sessions.

We're really pulling out all the stops, booking an enormous professional film and television set, which will be divided into several studio environments with top-notch lighting. Dozens of experienced models will be on hand and we'll be providing diverse wardrobe choices for concept shots.
Does "We're going to be rocking one of the most diverse cities in the Mediterranean — iStock-style...", mean, on the cheap, for pennies on the dollar of what 'rocking it' should be?

They also say "We're also bringing in the best equipment and experts from across the world of photography..." I spoke with one of the experts they solicited to bring in, and guess what? When he inquired about what he'd be paid to travel to one of these get-togethers to teach these iStockers, all he heard on the other end of the phone were crickets chirping.

(Continued after the Jump)
From this link, they talk all about just what the iStockalypse is:
Under savvy expert guidance, beginners and seasoned pros get to share what they know and create brilliant images with old and new friends.

Bringing together dozens of highly creative individuals in a strange city makes for some boisterous times and in order to attend an iStockalypse, attendees need to be of legal drinking age in the host city...A good sense of humor and lots of water can go a long way.
Nice. What they should write is "plan on getting drunk because we'll be 'boisterous' at times...". And that 'water' they were recommending when things don't go as planned, is probably best saved to hydrate yourself before you fall asleep inebriated to avoid a hang-over in the morning.

There's even a forum posting with tips such as:
  • If isomeone is posing a creative shot and shoots it - they should be the ones that get to upload it.
  • If someone is hooked up to strobe lights, give them space to shoot what they want during their turn.
  • If someone is hogging the lights, but incredibley creative... take a few minutes to learn from them but dont be afraid to jump in there and ask for a turn!
  • If everyone has paid to be there, they have as much right to shoot as you do, so let them, how would you feel if they kept getting in your way, or stealing models, or interrupting your shot?
  • See it like speed dating and treat it like a speed shoot where the quickest ideas are framed
  • I think if one photographer is setting up the models and the shoot, those poses and what not should be for that photographer alone...........but somehow that won't fly at a lypse event.
The iStockalypse site goes on to say:
The events transform hobbyists into knowledgeable photographers, and endow them with the skills for a professional career.

Each day iStock sets the stage for participants to launch into high-end photo-shoots...
Hmmm. Maybe they missed the ModernPostcard e-mail which billed iStockPhoto as an opportunity to "...skip the expensive photo shoot..."

I do hope that the models are not French (meaning they would have to import them from another country) because clearly Getty (yes, that would be the parent company if iStockPhoto) has had problems with French models because of the model's rights, because Getty has very specific model releases when the models are French Nationals:
The "French/France" release should only be used in France and only when using French National models. This release looks markedly different compared to the mandatory 2004 Getty Images releases, in other languages for use in other countries. It is different because French laws are very unique and specific when it comes to protecting model's rights. Therefore we have had to develop a special version for use in France with French national models.
Good luck photographers, I do hope you've looked at your ROI on this one, and bring your #2 pencil, there's an entire hour devoted to "Fill out Appropriate Forms" first thing Friday morning - what a way to start the day. Oh la la'lyspe is right. Beware the potential to be asked to reduce your commission rate because they're providing all the venues and models - read that fine print!
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

John, this is really starting to get old... So it's obvious no one is going to get these folks to stop so you need another approach besides saying they are idiot scum.

John Harrington said...

I don't recall typing the words "idiot scum" in the post. iStockalypse is posted about because, well, there's just so much to chuckle about in the materials, and ESPECIALLY if you read some of the linked postings at the forums.

Allen Sullivan said...

Not getting old at all to me. Bring on more. I wholly appreciate your takes on the current state of the photo biz. I did initially think you'd linked to the wrong site, though. Thought I was reading from theonion.com instead of the iStockalypse site. Equally as funny.

Mark Scheuern said...

Not getting old to me, either. I had a good chuckle over this report from the wonderful world of iStockers. The iStock forums themselves never fail to fill me with both laughter and horror. Also, the recent incident with the (now former) relationship with iStock and Modern Postcard should be a reminder that getting the word out does work.

Rod MacPherson said...

So John, are you saying that if you and a bunch of random independant photographers decided to rent studio space you wouldn't have to pay? If so can I join in on the next event you run?

iStockalypses are not iStock assignments, they are partys/workshops/shared studio time organized by the photogrphers for their own benefit, iStock's only involvement is lending their name and a few free t-shirts.

John Harrington said...

Rod -

No, iStock hires all the models, equipment, teaching pros, secures locations, gets you your forms to sign (away) and then everyone gathers 'round and takes turns with the lights and models. They then expect to have a large collection of images to sell at their pennies-on-the-dollar rate.

To suggest that their name is lent and t-shirts bought is the "only involvement" is just a falsehood.

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