Stock Photography

Discussion in 'Reality Check' started by Julie, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Julie

    Julie
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    I have read articles in photography magazines that pro photographers are getting more and more into stock photography since the economic downturn.
    I am copying and pasting an article that I read in one of my trade magazines. This article is about how people can get free photos from online stock photos.


    The economy was in a down turn for 2008. The holiday season for purchases has passed. That cold winter chill outside is probably also being felt in your sales. Are you looking for something cheap (or possibly even free) that can be used to liven up your business? These websites include free or very cost-effective images and illustratins that, when used properly to decorate your products, can help to brighten up sales.

    When the term "stock" is used here, we are referring to rights-free or rights-managed imagery. This can include illustration or photography. Rights-free or royalty-free is roughly defined to mean that you are not the only one who has use of this photo. These are much lower in cost than a rights-managed image. There is a possibility of seeing the same image on a sample coaster in your showroom that is on an advertisement for another company or service.
    Rights managed has a higher purchase price yet the chances of seeing the image used elsewhere is very small. The prices usually differ with how you are going to use the image. Prices can range from $250 up to multiple thousands.

    I can count the times that I've seen good products with terrible-quality images used on the piece. The product becomes undesirable immediately. A serving tray with an image that looks like the image has been pulled from online that has been enlarged so many times I could almost count the pixels. Or a family photo that has terrible lighting sublimated onto a nice keepsake box. It's hard to ask customers to look past that and focus on the product you are actually selling.
    We all know that a better-quality image or design makes any product more attractive. Use the images from these websites to create samples of products that you would like to offer to customers. Decorated items always appeal more to people than a non-decorated blank piece. This can give you an opportunity to focus more on customer service and less on time.
    Think of the hours (and frustration) you'll save when you don't have to clean up a so-so image to showcase your products. Also consider purchasing some images to offer as designs for resell. Allowing a customer to pick out an already-established design is another way to fulfill their purchasing needs. These websites offer high resolution photographs and illustrations at little to no cost.
    Stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu) is one of the most popular (and well rounded) free stock websites. Type in the word 'family' in the search bar and you'll discover 50 pages of easy-to-sort through files.
    The website Free Large Photos (www.freelargephotos.com) contains photographs only and no illustrations. The photo topics mainly include the outdoors, whether nature (waterfalls, birds etc.) or architecture. The home page lists topics alphabetically, including by place.
    Stock Vault (www.stockvault.net) offers photographs and 3D renderings. Items are arranged by category and sub-category on the left side.
    The last free website is Free Digital Photos (www.freedigitalphotos.net). The offerings are organized similar to Stock Vault, with a category menu on the left-hand side. The images are free to download for a small low-resolution file, but go up to $10 for a high-resolution print version.
    StockXpert (www.stockxpert.com) includes photos and illustrations available for purchase in prices ranging from $1 up to $10. Only if you are pressing large-format images (think larger than 11x17) do you need the extra-large ten dollar file.
    Dreamstime (www.dreamstime.com) offers both illustration and photography. They even have a 'free images' section on their website. This website works by purchasing credits and then using those credits to buy images. Prices vary depending on size and popularity of an image.
    Cheap Stock Photos (www.cheapstockphotos.com) is priced roughly $1, $3 and $5. StockVault and Cheap Stock Photos have the same search page layout but different offerings.
    Fotolia (www.fotolia.com) offers images in sizes extra small, small and medium for costs from $1 to $3. You can also purchase a subscription for $200 a month. For the majority reading this, a subscription is not the most cost-effective option. They offer great images at the right price for retailers who focus on smaller 'desktop' products like coasters and picture panels or frames.

    The agreement gives you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the image. This means that you are not the only one allowed access to this image for use and that you understand you cannot transfer your downloaded versions of the image to another person.
    These permissions (what you can, can't, should or shouldn't do) are fairly general on a majority of the websites. Always check the rules and regulations for using images (usually on FAQ page). When in doubt, send an email and ask.
    Images can be used in digital format on websites and multimedia presentations. Usually you can use the image in printed and promotional materials, magazins, newspapers, brochures, flycers, CD/DVD covers, etc. It is standard to allow decorating your home, your office or any public place. These images are great for creating samples to showcase online or in your retail environment.
    Present to your customers how great your stuff can be, the wide range of interests your products can meet. Think of how paint companies show thier colors. They don't show a white room, they present a basic idea to the customers that allow them to see how they customize the 'canvas' to fit their needs. Sublimation blank products should be thought of in much the same way.
    Typically, the images may not be used for pornographic, unlawful or other immoral purposes, for spreading hate or discrimination, or to defame or victimize other people, societies, cultures. Don't use the images in a way that can give a bad name to the website or the person(s) depicted on the image. For more details, please review the contract purchase terms for the website being considered for use.
    Contact the photographer if you feel this is an image that you will want to use on multiple items for resell. You'll find a lot of photographers willing to work with you and excited about someone seeing potential in their work. If an image seems perfect for use on multiple items that you will sell productions of, invest in it. It'll be worth more than your purchase price (which maybe only be $100 for unlimited reproduction use) when it comes to bringing in new business.
    The opportunity to use not only better images but also a wider range on sublimatable products will allow your service offerings to be better highlighted for current and potential customers to feel more comfortable making a purchases when times are still tight on everyone's wallet. Use these images to create decorated samples for tradeshows, promotional pieces (or as a leave-behind piece at a big meeting), showrooms or your website to represent your company to potential customers. The best way to sell your products is to show how great they can be.


    A long read I know.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. nb132

    Drunk Batman hates you

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    I'm an exclusive iStock artist....I put almost zero effort into it(although I keep meaning to dedicate some time to it-because there is REAL earning potential there)and i make decent cash off of it every month even on a smallllllll portfolio 100 something images....people that shoot and upload stock photos earn well over $1000 a month easily. If you have the technical abilities it's a good road to begin head down, even if it's just a supplement. Like I said...i put almost no time in it and it easily pays for a few nights out with friends each month.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
  3. Arod

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    I will have to put some serious effort in to stock come this spring....
     
  4. Julie

    Julie
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    Stock photography is good. Great that you are making money off of it. It just kinda shocked me to read this article in a trade magazine that offers high end items to customers.
    It gives websites where to get free photos for items that are produced. Because of the downturn in 2008, the decorator needs to cut costs, etc. But, nowhere does it state to bring the savings down to the customer.
    I am all for free things. But the impression that I got was here are the sites for nothing or next to nothing images to promote the business of the imprinter and if you contact the photographer they would be giddy to hear from you.
    I didn't check out the links to see what the images were like.
     
  5. nb132

    Drunk Batman hates you

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    people pay to license the photos at iStock. there is one free image of the week each week. other than that, it's all based on a credit and subscription system. i don't doubt there are places to get 'free' images, but who knows what kind of quality those might be, how long you'd have to search to get something useful, and what kind of copyright/intellectual standards are upheld. iStock is the leading agency as far as quality and standards go. :)
     
  6. nb132

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    me+you=stock magic buddy.
    may.
    duhn duhn duhhhhhhhhhhhhhn
     
  7. chainsaw

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    Waiting on the iStock exlusive decision myself today. Would have gone through yesterday but 1 site that I had deleted my account on still had one of my files for sale... imagine that.

    As what Mosher said, I have been putting no effort in since probably September, need to get back at it. And some months can be quite profitable even with little/no effort.

    Not to blow iStock's horn, but my sales remain steady and or grow each month, not the case with many other sites, including ones where I had a port that was 9 times larger. I always swore I would never put all my eggs in one basket for stock, but since Sept, the decision made itself, and I'm making the move.
     
  8. shaun

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    It's awesome that a trade magazine was advertising all the free sites. :hsugh:

    That being said people will pay for a quality product. iStock started out being a free site as well, but over time the prices have risen. With an improved product comes higher cost, and the designers have not been scared off by it.

    To be honest stock photography is really the only revenue stream I utitilize. Gallery sales of prints are hit or miss, I tend not to shoot weddings & portraits, so stock photography is a great fit for me... it's not for everyone, but I suggest every photographer at least give it a try for a few months if not a year at minimum.
     
  9. shaun

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    Good for you. You will absolutely not regret it.
     
  10. Julie

    Julie
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    I'm not saying that there is anything against selling stock photography. I'm just appalled that and Awards and Engraving magazine that prides itself on high end items are giving links to it's readers who are usually imprinters, how to get free images or for next to nothing. It's saying that due to economic hardships, this is how you can improve your business sales on free images. Now, if these images are free or next to nothing, how much is the photographer who contributes to these sites make? I guess that is the point that I am trying to make.
     
  11. chainsaw

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    They $/dl is low for sure, but with a decent size port with decent images on a site that has a good rep and advertises well, the traffic alone makes the difference.

    Every bit of camera gear I own has been purchased through stock revenue, I'm not in a position to quit my day job, but it allows for those extra toys.
     
  12. chainsaw

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    How about giving them a nundge... the wait is killin' me! :brows:
     
  13. CTMFC

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    Same here. Exclusive...but have to get my ass in gear to start making some real money! Whoever isn't shooting stock is really missing out.
     
  14. nb132

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    i guess i've been lucky enough to always be too busy to dedicate any real amount of time to shooting stock, but it's nice to know if i decide to allocate more time/energy into that end of things the return will certainly be worth it. hell, most of the stuff i've upped have been just things from other shoots i've thrown up there-really nothing stock specific except my plows and a couple other recent images....and the return on those has been nice.
    It's a learning curve for a lot of new shooters as many are quick to find the quality/technical standards are usually higher than what they're used to aiming for...so really it can also help some grow as a shooter. Once you start looking at all of your images at 100% and demanding tack sharpness and no crud...it changes things.
     
  15. Julie

    Julie
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    aren't most stock agencies interested in images of photos?
     
  16. nb132

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    ummmmm
     
  17. chainsaw

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    Had the same thought myself lol
     
  18. Julie

    Julie
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    ooops seniors moment I meant images of people :lol:
     
  19. SheOfManyChildren

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    No.....pretty much anything any everything you can think of. Have you ever been on Istock?
     
  20. Arod

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    :muri:
     
  21. A~Photography

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    istock is something I'd like to pursue later on as well..
     
  22. Julie

    Julie
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    yep and shuttershock. I thought that I read on one of those sites that they have enough landscape, animals, product images. I was also told to by a photog that's what most stocks want now is people.
     
  23. nb132

    Drunk Batman hates you

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    well fuck. if you were told that by a photog.
    someone should tell all the inspectors to stop accepting images that aren't of people immediately.
     
  24. shaun

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    Do a landscape well & it will sell. No question. As for people... I can probably count on my hands (and maybe my toes) the number of people shots I have on iStock. You do not have to stick to shooting only people.

    As for landscapes and iStock accepting them.... if it's a poorly lit landscape, it will be rejected. Again, it has to be done well. Same applies to animals and products.

    On a related note...there is a good article on lighting just posted:
    http://www.istockphoto.com/article_view.php?ID=524

    I'm an Image Inspector with iStockphoto, so if anyone has any questions please feel free to post here or privately if you wish.
     
  25. nb132

    Drunk Batman hates you

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    word. do anything WELL and it has potential to sell...however a crappy/mediocre shot of a common item/theme will do nothing but bring your acceptance rate down:)
     
  26. Julie

    Julie
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    I submitted 3 photos quite awhile back, then was told that these companies look mainly for images of people. Didn't bother with it. Still gotta practice before I'd even consider submitting any more photos.
     
  27. chainsaw

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    take some more shots and try again
     
  28. Julie

    Julie
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    gotta practice and get better first :)
     
  29. nb132

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    what were the first round of 3 rejected for?(i'm assuming istock, since shutterstock is 10 images for your inital submission)
     
  30. Julie

    Julie
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    dunno. gave no reason.
     
  31. shaun

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    That's not true if it was iStock you submitted to. They will always list the reasons the files were declined in the email.
     
  32. nb132

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    i didn't want to call her a liar, but I was pretty sure they communicated what the issue(s) were if you were rejected. I wasn't, so I wasn't 100% certain, but I thought that was the talk around the forums.
     
  33. SheOfManyChildren

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    I wasn't either, but when a single FILE is rejected you get a reason.....and I'm the upload queen, so I know.
     
  34. shaun

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    Even during the application process when you submit those first three files there is always a rejection reason listed for each file.
     
  35. Julie

    Julie
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    nope no reason. The email said basically sorry to inform you, your photos were not approved and to submit them to the critique section for find out why. I'll look and see if I still got the email. I think that I deleted it.
     

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