Monday, July 28, 2008

BusinessWeak - Amateur vs. Pros?

I've written about BusinessWeek before ( Diversification and A Variety of Clients, 2/11/07), and usually in more positive terms. A piece datelined July 28, 2008 - Cheap Photo Sites Pit Amateurs Vs. Pros - sub-titled "Graphic design and photography pros are scrambling to stay viable as barriers to entry fall and stock agencies buy from hobbyists", misses it's mark in several places.

When author John Tozzi writes:

Affordable digital cameras and desktop design software unlocked the tools of these trades, but the dilemma isn't unique to visual professionals.
He misses an important point. Unlocking the "tools of these trades" is like handing a pipe wrench from aisle 3, or a voltmeter from aisle 18 of your local Home Depot to a weekend warrior, and then calling those Jacks a plumber and an electrician. Fortunately, because their work runs the risk of flooding a basement, or burning down a house and killing someone, both fields have licensing requirements for them to practice their trade, and the sides of their vehicles read "Licensed, Bonded, and Insured."
(Continued after the Jump)

Where's the license to call yourself a photographer? We should consider the idea (most recently) put forth by New York State, that wedding photographers obtain a license to do their jobs, and put up a $5,000 bond. (Proposal here).

Then the article goes on to suggest:
The line separating professionals from dabblers blurred a little more on July 8, when leading stock photo agency Getty Images partnered with photo-sharing site Flickr (YHOO) to bring select Flickr users into the Getty collection.
No, that's not quite right either. The line that separates professionals and dabblers wasn't blurred, the professional business of Getty Images sought to sell (i.e. monetize) the images of these dabblers. The dabblers aren't all of a sudden (even slightly more) professionals, a professional business is now looking to sell the works of "select Flickr users".

Instead, it might have been said "The largest stock photography business in the world sought to pick the best images from the dabblers who upload their images to Flickr, allowing Getty Images to round out their library with images they don't have sufficient holdings of, and incorporate images that are already ready to be licensed, and who's producers are not as knowledgeable about what their images are worth."

Then the article just doesn't get it, when they write:
So how much do the new Web offerings really hurt these pros? Defenders argue they've created a new market at a lower price range for customers who never would have paid the fees professional designers or traditional photo agencies charge. "The great thing that we see in the emergence of microstock is that it's significantly expanding the pool of people paying for imagery," says Getty Chief Operating Officer Nick Evans-Lombe.
Nor does Getty get it. Yes, I agree that a person working on a term paper will now be able to incorporate a photo for $1 that they might not have. But gone is the inquiry "is this for a term paper, or an annual report?" This contemplating that the production of the term paper takes the image producers photograph and it benefits one person, and for the annual report, that image benefits tens of thousands (or millions) of people. If I could be certain to a significant degree that my images priced at $1 (maybe $5?) would only go to term papers, and in a family scrap book because they just couldn't find a postcard (or take their own photo) to memorialize how they remembered a location they visited, and my image did that for them, I might just consider that license - provided that I didn't have to make any of my own effort to affect the transaction.

Evans-Lombe is just missing the point here. If there were 100 people licensing images before, and now there's 1,000 because the per-image price has dropped from an average of $200 to an average of $1, those additional 1,000 people won't make up for the lost revenue from the 100 people from before. In fact, stories about about photo buyers who are buying those $1 images and charging the same to their end client as before - pocketing a difference that is rightfully due the photographer.

Here's where the article really starts to go downhill in it's credibility (no, it hadn't hit rock-bottom yet) - they cite Derek Powazek, who identifies himself as "designer, photographer, and CEO of Pixish". All Powazek has to do is add Ms. Daisy's driver, Beatnik, and rabble-rouser to his list of things he "is", and I think he's got a double trifecta. Maybe though, it depends on the meaning of what "is" is?

We previously wrote about Pixish (Pixish - Stupid Is, As Stupid Does, 2/12/08), and the article notes that "Powazek argues that the people posting jobs on his site, who generally offer rewards of $100 or less...", but did the author bother to check some of the silly "job" postings? Powazek himself offered:
"Fray's Geek Issue - Winners will be published in Fray issue 2. Winners will get a few copies of the book, credit and promotion on the website, and our eternal thanks."
ETERNAL THANKS? But wait - it gets more laughable. Another request from Powazek -
A Leaf in the River Tattoo - The Details - I want your work on my body - I will paypal the winner $100 and email them a photo of their work on my arm upon completion.
Other "rewards" we highlighted
"The winner will get a hearty pat on the back"; and then there's "The prize is priceless: My love and admiration. ... But really, do prizes and goodies drive your craft? Are you in this game because you love to see a grown man smile?"; or try this one - "You'll bring serenity, hope and joy to people who really need it. Isn't it great?"
No, actually, it's not great, Derek. Yet no doubt, Dereks' venture capitalists will be pleased to see their little gem (my VC friends, that's CZ you're admiring, not a FL/4Ct/D/Trillion you've spotted) cited in BusinessWeek. Yet, Pixish will be a part of the roadkill of Web 2.0. Bet on it.

Then, on a (supposedly) hopeful note, they cite PhotoShelter (yes friends, an advertiser here on the blog)
"One company positioning itself as a photographer-friendly alternative to microstock sites with its PhotoShelter site is Bitshelter."
Yet after citing it, they are more than happy to find the photographer who hasn't made a sale, " San Francisco freelancer Lane Hartwell said she never made a sale on PhotoShelter, nor had any colleagues she knew of."

Yet, Hartwell's site shows she has 98 images (search results here) on her personal site, and just FORTY-TWO available for sale/licensing on the PhotoShelter site she's complaining about (see graphic). but of course She has 24 of Barack Obama (here), 14 of Ted Kennedy (here), and FOUR random others (here). The search of ALL of her images can be seen here.

Apparently, Hartwell could well find herself a Flickr/Getty Images photographer? Or, perhaps not. This Wired Article (Why Lane Hartwell Popped the 'Bubble' Video, 12/14/07), refers to her as "A constant chronicler of the local technology and art scenes, she's about as "wired" as a photographer could be, documenting everything from colorful geek parties to the annual Burning Man festival."

The article starts "When one of Lane Hartwell's photographs showed up without her permission in a popular viral video, she wasn't flattered. She was frustrated... she switched her Flickr account to private, pulling most of her 5,000 images out of public view.", because prior to that "A magazine plucked an image from her Flickr account, and many websites have stolen her images"
, and "Gutting her public Flickr account was a simple act of self-protection, said Hartwell."

I will say this though, in defense of Hartwelll, when the article suggests "She admits some people react like she's a "crazy cat lady" when she stands up for her right to protect her works, an unpopular stance in certain online circles", I say go get more cats. Go get more crazy. But she'll have to have a lot more than 42 cats up for sale to generate revenue from PhotoShelter, so complaining when you have that few isn't a valid complaint - especially for subjects so over-photographed as Obama and Kennedy! Worse, why didn't the BusinessWeek reporter ask her questions like "how many photos do you have up for sale?" That would seem like an obvious question to ask.

Grover Sanschagrin, Co-Founder and VP of Business Development of PhotoShelter notes, "if people expect to sell images like crazy and take business away from Getty, they're gonna have to whole-heartedly participate in the movement that displaces them. Photographers who stand on the sidelines with a 'wait-and-see' mindset have no right to complain about the state of the industry."

Sounds to me like somebody's got some keywording, captioning, and uploading to do, post-haste.

Dan Heller, who's blog (Dan Heller's Photography Business Blog) has gone dormant since mid-May, noted at the end of the piece "Selling yourself is not selling your photos," Heller says. "You can't say, 'My images are worth a premium,' but you can say, 'I am worth a premium.' " Well said, Dan.

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.


Anonymous said...

"In fact, stories abound about photo buyers who are buying those $1 images and charging the same to their end client as before - pocketing a difference that is rightfully due the photographer."

I believe this is Microstock's dirty little secret, and why designers love the $1 stock photos so much - it allows them to pad their own bottom line on the back of other people's work.

It's interesting how the same designers object when someone creates a startup (e.g. Pixish - although this one is not really a serious threat IMO), that threatens their own livelihood.

MarcWPhoto said...

Full Disclosure: While I do not work for PhotoShelter, I am a contributor, and I am a volunteer moderator on their user forums.

You hit it on the head, sir. The forums consist of approximately 10-25% whining about how I've had my images live for MONTHS, where's the money rolling in? (It depends on the day. It tends to cycle.) How many? Oh, gobs! At least two dozen! What of? A bunch of black and white unreleased pictures of nondescript kids getting drunk somewhere.*

I more or less just refer them to prior threads: "It takes a while for a stock library to establish itself. It takes a while for sales to start. When you have the image a buyer wants when the buyer wants it, you'll make a sale. Until then, you won't." *I* have made a sale, and I had about sixty images live at the time and they'd been up for about two months. I had what the buyer wanted when the buyer wanted it. It's MY job to get the images the buyers want on the site. It's just PhotoShelter's job to get the buyers to look at them. They can't do anything without images to work with.


*They were really good pictures, the ones I'm thinking of. I'd have allowed them. But they're pretty specific - when somebody wants to do a gritty article on teen drinking, they'll be just the ticket. Anything else, especially with no releases? Not so much. But the person was convinced they should be bringing in hundreds a week.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably one of the newcomers who'd be right along side everyone else ruining this profession. Photography is not my primary source of income and I’ve considered myself some level of “pro” for about a year now. But before you tune me out, John, I'd like to say thanks.

If not for the advice doled out here, I probably would be charging JC Penny prices for portrait work and happy pulling in a couple dozen dollars off of iStockPhoto, losing money while doing it, and not knowing it could be better. Instead, I'm doing less portrait work, for more money, and I signed up with PSC last fall. I’m with Mark – there are A LOT of whiners on the forums there. I don’t know how he can hang out there, but to his credit he hands out a lot of fee advice there from a legal standpoint.

I have about as many images as Hartwell live on the collection (but a lot more varied.) Unlike her, I’ve made a sale. Doing the math, that ONE sale would have had to be hundreds of THOUSANDS of sales on iStockPhoto.

If you're a newbie like me, it can sting a bit (sometime, a lot) to read what John puts out here. There isn't a lot of love for expanding the profession here, at least in terms of actual headcount. But if you read between the lines, there is plenty of tough love that will do you right to listen to. For that, I say thanks, John.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine, an hard working man, live only of stock and editorial photo.
His archive give him around 70.000 $ during year 2007.
He opened last month an account on Photoshelter...
It could be interesting to take a look to his business
18.000 images on Alamy
2.500 images on Corbis
2.500 images on Getty
5.000 images on DRR (and he starts to upload here his best shots from 2008)

And other 10.000 images in a couple of microstock sites...
He also sells posters.

His archive is quite big 38.000 images tha cover more of less 100 countries in the world. He starts this kind of job 5 years ago and his analogic archive was impressive.
Let's do some math:
70/38 is less than 2$ a year for every picture...
So it is not so easy to survive...

Anonymous said...

I totally support the idea of a bond being posted for professional wedding photographers. I hope that this idea will catch fire and spread throughout the country. This will "fix" some of what has gone wrong with that part of the business; and force these "weekend pros" to have some accountability when they make mistakes.

As far as the art directors using cheaper sources for photography and then billing their clients "pro" prices; this has been going on for some years now with no end in sight. I can only hope that a major ad campaign uses a microstock image and then after spending the monies for the media buy they find out that it's been used before.

Anonymous said...

I'm a photographer, but I also know how to use a pair of scissors. It's easy, you just squeeze the the little round handles together, while there's something between the blades and voila!

Anyone need a haircut?

I'll charge much less than one of those ripoff professional barbers.

Anonymous said...








Anonymous said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,美國aneros,rudeboy,英國rudeboy,英國Rocksoff,德國Fun Factory,Fun Factory,英國甜筒造型按摩座,甜筒造型按摩座,英國Rock Chic ,瑞典 Lelo ,英國Emotional Bliss,英國 E.B,荷蘭 Natural Contours,荷蘭 N C,美國 OhMiBod,美國 OMB,Naughti Nano ,音樂按摩棒,ipod按摩棒,美國 The Screaming O,美國TSO,美國TOPCO,美國Doc Johnson,美國CA Exotic,美國CEN,美國Nasstoy,美國Tonguejoy,英國Je Joue,美國Pipe Dream,美國California Exotic,美國NassToys,美國Vibropod,美國Penthouse,仿真按摩棒,矽膠按摩棒,猛男倒模,真人倒模,仿真倒模,PJUR,Zestra,適趣液,穿戴套具,日本NPG,雙頭龍,FANCARNAL,日本NIPPORI,日本GEL,日本Aqua Style,美國WET,費洛蒙,費洛蒙香水,仿真名器,av女優,打炮,做愛,性愛,口交,吹喇叭,肛交,魔女訓練大師,無線跳蛋,有線跳蛋,震動棒,震動保險套,震動套,TOY-情趣用品,情趣用品網,情趣購物網,成人用品網,情趣用品討論,成人購物網,鎖精套,鎖精環,持久環,持久套,拉珠,逼真按摩棒,名器,超名器,逼真老二,電動自慰,自慰,打手槍,仿真女郎,SM道具,SM,性感內褲,仿真按摩棒,pornograph,hunter系列,h動畫,成人動畫,成人卡通,情色動畫,情色卡通,色情動畫,色情卡通,無修正,禁斷,人妻,極悪調教,姦淫,近親相姦,顏射,盜攝,偷拍,本土自拍,素人自拍,公園露出,街道露出,野外露出,誘姦,迷姦,輪姦,凌辱,痴漢,痴女,素人娘,中出,巨乳,調教,潮吹,av,a片,成人影片,成人影音,線上影片,成人光碟,成人無碼,成人dvd,情色影音,情色影片,情色dvd,情色光碟,航空版,薄碼,色情dvd,色情影音,色情光碟,線上A片,免費A片,A片下載,成人電影,色情電影,TOKYO HOT,SKY ANGEL,一本道,SOD,S1,ALICE JAPAN,皇冠系列,老虎系列,東京熱,亞熱,武士系列,新潮館,情趣用品,約定金生,約定金生,情趣,情趣商品,約定金生,情趣網站,跳蛋, 約定金生,按摩棒,充氣娃娃,約定金生,自慰套,G點,性感內衣,約定金生,情趣內衣,約定金生,角色扮演,生日禮物,生日精品,約定金生,自慰,打手槍,約定金生,潮吹,高潮,後庭,約定金生,情色論譠,影片下載,約定金生,遊戲下載,手機鈴聲,約定金生,音樂下載, 約定金生,約定金生,開獎號碼,統一發票號碼,夜市,統一發票對獎,保險套, 約定金生,約定金生,做愛,約定金生,減肥,美容,瘦身,約定金生,當舖,軟體下載,汽車,機車, 約定金生,手機,來電答鈴, 約定金生,週年慶,美食,約定金生,徵信社,網頁設計,網站設計, 約定金生,室內設計, 約定金生,靈異照片,約定金生,同志,約定金生,聊天室,運動彩券,大樂透,約定金生,威力彩,搬家公司,除蟲,偷拍,自拍, 約定金生,無名破解,av女優, 約定金生,小說,約定金生,民宿,大樂透開獎號碼,大樂透中獎號碼,威力彩開獎號碼,約定金生,討論區,痴漢,懷孕, 約定金生,約定金生,美女交友,約定金生,交友,日本av,日本,機票, 約定金生,香水,股市, 約定金生,股市行情, 股市分析,租房子,成人影片,約定金生,免費影片,醫學美容, 約定金生,免費算命,算命,約定金生,姓名配對,姓名學,約定金生,姓名學免費,遊戲, 約定金生,好玩遊戲,好玩遊戲區,約定金生,線上遊戲,新遊戲,漫畫,約定金生,線上漫畫,動畫,成人圖片, 約定金生,桌布,桌布下載,電視節目表, 約定金生,線上電視,約定金生,線上a片,約定金生,線上掃毒,線上翻譯,購物車,約定金生,身分證製造機,身分證產生器,手機,二手車,中古車, 約定金生,約定金生,法拍屋,約定金生,歌詞,音樂,音樂網,火車,房屋,情趣用品,約定金生,情趣,情趣商品,情趣網站,跳蛋,約定金生,按摩棒,充氣娃娃,自慰套, 約定金生, G點,性感內衣,約定金生,情趣內衣,約定金生,角色扮演,生日禮物,精品,禮品,約定金生,自慰,打手槍,潮吹,高潮,約定金生,後庭,情色論譠,約定金生,影片下載,約定金生,遊戲下載,手機鈴聲,音樂下載,開獎號碼,統一發票,夜市,保險套,做愛,約定金生,減肥,美容,瘦身,當舖,約定金生,軟體下載,約定金生,汽車,機車,手機,來電答鈴,約定金生,週年慶,美食,徵信社,網頁設計,網站設計,室內設計,靈異照片, 約定金生,同志,聊天室,約定金生,運動彩券,,大樂透,約定金生,威力彩,搬家公司,除蟲,偷拍,自拍, 約定金生,無名破解, av女優,小說,民宿,約定金生,大樂透開獎號碼,大樂透中獎號碼,威力彩開獎號碼,討論區,痴漢, 約定金生,懷孕,約定金生,美女交友,約定金生,交友,日本av ,日本,機票, 約定金生,香水,股市, 約定金生,股市行情,股市分析,租房子,約定金生,成人影片,免費影片,醫學美容,免費算命,算命, 約定金生,姓名配對,姓名學, 約定金生,姓名學免費,遊戲,約定金生,好玩遊戲,約定金生,好玩遊戲區,線上遊戲,新遊戲,漫畫,線上漫畫,動畫,成人圖片,桌布,約定金生,桌布下載,電視節目表,線上電視, 約定金生,線上a片,線上a片,線上翻譯, 約定金生,購物車,身分證製造機,約定金生,身分證產生器,手機,二手車,中古車,法拍屋,歌詞,音樂,音樂網, 約定金生,借錢,房屋,街頭籃球,找工作,旅行社,約定金生,六合彩,整型,水噹噹,貸款,貸款,信用貸款,宜蘭民宿,花蓮民宿,未婚聯誼,網路購物,珠海,下川島,常平,珠海,澳門機票,香港機票,婚友,婚友社,未婚聯誼,交友,婚友,婚友社,單身聯誼,未婚聯誼,未婚聯誼,婚友社,婚友,婚友社,單身聯誼,婚友,未婚聯誼,婚友社,未婚聯誼,單身聯誼,單身聯誼,婚友,單身聯誼,未婚聯誼,婚友,交友,交友,婚友社,婚友社,婚友社,大陸新娘,大陸新娘,大陸新娘,越南新娘,越南新娘,外籍新娘,外籍新娘,台中坐月子中心,搬家公司,搬家,搬家,搬家公司,線上客服,網頁設計,線上客服,網頁設計,網頁設計,土地貸款,免費資源,電腦教學,wordpress,人工植牙,關鍵字,關鍵字,seo,seo,網路排名,自然排序,網路排名軟體,

Anonymous said...

クレジットカード 海外旅行保険
薬剤師 求人

Anonymous said...

But it is what it is. If the new price for stock photos is $1, then we had better all get used to that and find 10,000 term papers to make up for the lost annual reports.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

徵信, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社,

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! thanks a lot! ^^

徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 離婚, 離婚,

徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信

Newer Post Older Post