Monday, May 19, 2008

Assignment vs. Stock - Is Stock Risky?

Photographer Thomas Barwick produces a great deal of images. Getty Images has 3,479 images available online via their Digital Vision brand, and other brands - including Photographer's Choice, where he may well have paid to put the images up. Mr Barwick's work here stands as evidence of the value of actual assignment photography, rather than stock. Doing a "search within" for the phrase reveals 193 images include a laptop. Having a look at those images reveals that he probably lined up the whole class - boys, girls, brunette, african american, glasses, no glasses, and with teachers, among them.

Unfortunately, for two PC part manufacturers, and I stress "PC", they both were fishing from the wrong ocean of images. First, they were images of a Macbook, second, well, you take a look....

(Continued after the Jump)

They tried - probably attempted to secure exclusivity to the image they wanted, because the actual images they each used appear to be off the website, just this one. This is the only image on the Getty site. Note the position of the youth in the background. This is the link to the images on the Getty site, and the image is available on a CD, likely with others from the same shoot of the boy.

Next up, is one of the variations from that same shoot. ASUS used a different image and cropped out the ports, because they obviously were not PC ports, they're Macbook ports. Here's the ASUS official product page.

Then there's the MSI computer. Note that they've modified the ports on the side of the Macbook, and added in the MSI logo. Here's the MSI official laptop section, here.

ASMP has a great recouce that goes further in-depth on this subject - check out their website here -Rights Managed Stock vs Royalty Free Stock. I wrote about this previously, back in November - (Black Friday? Try, "You Get What You Pay For" Friday!, 11/23/07).


The evidence mounts - assignment photography, commissioned for the client, and precluded by others in the same field, or altogether, is worth a great deal. If nothing else, it's worth it to avoid the embarassment.



Via: Zeke K & Jeff Kowalsky/Engadget/ eepc.de


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.

11 comments:

Eric Schmiedl said...

I wonder how many clients hear about things like this and figure, "screw it, let's hire the guy who will do WFH, it's the easiest and cheapest way to make sure this doesn't happen."

Anonymous said...

Au contraire, the evidence mounts that companies and the public don't care. A few fanboys on blogs aside, who else will really notice this? They will take the occasional gaffe like this, to save thousands of dollars over hiring a photographer to shoot this same shot.
You see it as they probably tried to get rights managed, couldn't, so they settled for this. I see it as they probably tried to get what was cheapest and did. If they really wanted rights managed they could have found something, maybe not this exact shot, but something. They, and by they I mean corporations, just don't care, they want to save money, period. The EEE represents tens, maybe hundreds of millions of sales for Asus yet they don't care enough to spend a grand or whatever on a decent photo, they just photoshop their computer in place of a white Mac. Mistake? Or is it the reality of how unimportant an advertising photo is these days? MSI didn't even do that much, they left the mac and added their name to it. Huge mistake or, screw it, no one will notice and it saves us thousands.

I also highly doubt this was an accident. Asia is rife with copyright violation, from cell phone knockoffs to BMX X5 lookalike(but not crash alike) cars. The ASUS EEE has been a hot item for months now. It's entirely plausible that MSI chose the same photo on purpose so people will think they're making a clone of the Asus computer, or maybe people think, what was that little subnotebook I saw, had a kid with an orange cap using it, they search for it and find MSI instead of Asus.
It's easy to hope and dream that everything will turn back to the old ways and people will pay photographers thousands to take simple shots like this. Reality is a lot more grim. People don't care about getting that little extra bit of quality. It simply is not worth it to pay a photographer to custom take every photo. If it was they would still do it that way.

Ken Lopez said...

Sounds like "Anonymous" above must work for ASUS or MSI!

"They (I), and by they (I) I mean corporations (I) just don't care, they (I) want to save money, period."

I believe PLENTY of people notice these kinds of things, because you immediately get the knee-jerk, double take reaction of "didn't I JUST see that photo on another box/website?" or "That's a Mac!" followed by a hearty laugh instead of a major purchase.

Images have a tendency to stick to the brain more than any other part an advertisement. ESPECIALLY when you're talking about PC vs. MAC! A "simple" shot like this could end up costing them millions.

Anonymous said...

Uhh, they didn't modify the MacBook. They cloned it out completely and dropped in their product.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't have been that difficult to commision this shoot.

And what a crappy photo to start with.....could they have possibly saved THAT much money with all the retouching this required?

...oh yeah....they got the retouching done in India, too.....

eric said...

Yep, all the time.

I caught a TiBook in a Dell catalog: here. Selling virus protection even.

Alan Farkas said...

Sure they care. But i hope the client, ad person who OK'd the wrong product got it slapped in there face.
I've been on shoots and the amount of care, thought, and big $$$ spent to ensure we are showing the correct product is amazing. Some clients market properly some are hacks. Trust me the general public is observant and smarter than you realise.

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