Thursday, 4 December 2008

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Microstock results for October 2008

It was an interesting month – Getty (owner of istock) bought out Jupiter (owner of Stockxpert).  Fotolia changed its affilate program and didn’t tell anyone and StockXpert hasn’t being paying out on some sales (from affilate sites).

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

20% shutterstock
11% dreamtime

11% Fotolia
20% istockphoto
6% bigstockphoto
14% 123RF
18% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

Dont forget to check out my other blog:

Previous results for 2008:

September 2008 Earnings

August 2008 Earnings

July 2008 Earnings

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Microstock results for September 2008

Another good result with constant results despite no uploads.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

28% shutterstock
7% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
14% istockphoto
5% bigstockphoto
17% 123RF
18% StockXpert
3% Featurepics

Dont forget to check out my other blog:

Previous results for 2008:

August 2008 Earnings

July 2008 Earnings

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images

Monday, 1 September 2008

Microstock Photography results for August 2008

Not a bad month considering.  I was lucky with a couple of Extended licenses at Shutterstock and Fotolia , otherwise it could have been a disaster.  Shutterstock is trending down and I dont think this is just me.  My referrees are down about 50% this month on the average for 2008.  Other sites are ticking along nicely but slowly.  I really need to start editing photos and getting them online.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

26% shutterstock
10% dreamtime
14% Fotolia
17% istockphoto
5% bigstockphoto
9% 123RF
19% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

I have decided I am not doing this Blog proud.  I am not keeping up with market news.  If you want news about the microstock industry, the best source is on Lee Torrens Blog who is making a very good job of publicising what is happening in the Microstock world.  I will keep publishing my monthly results but my main focus will be on my personal blog and to get through the 10,000 photos I took on my last holiday (while keeping my day job).  So add my personal blog to your RSS feed - and have a look at Lee’s for Microstock news.

Previous results for 2008:

July 2008 Earnings

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images

Saturday, 30 August 2008

NIkon’s new D 90

Just days after Canon announced it’s new 50D with a huge 15MP sensor (thats big for a cropped sensor), Nikon has announced its new D90.  The big news here is that is shots HD video -  a first on a SLR camera.  Otehr spec’s are:

  • Newly designed Nikon DX-format CMOS image sensor with 12.3 effective megapixels and Integrated Dust Reduction System
  • Incredibly low-noise performance throughout a wide sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 3200; can be set to ISO 6400 equivalent
  • Incorporates Nikon's comprehensive digital image-processing EXPEED concept
  • The world's first D-SLR movie function: D-Movie, selectable from 320 x 216 pixels, 640 x 424 pixels or 1,280 x 720 pixels in AVI format
  • Scene Recognition System, utilizing 420-pixel RGB sensor, improves autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance performance and is also integrated with the new Face Detection System
  • Live View enables face priority AF with the 3-in., approx. 920k-dot, high-density color LCD featuring 170° ultra-wide viewing angle
  • Picture Control System offers new Portrait and Landscape options for more vibrant customized colors
  • Active D-Lighting for smooth tone reproduction in high-contrast lighting
  • Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module featuring 11 AF points offers fast and precise autofocus coverage across the frame
  • Viewfinder with approx. 96% frame coverage and an easy-to-view 19.5 mm eyepoint (at -1.0 m-1)
  • Advanced Scene Modes that automatically adjust exposure, image processing, Active D-Lighting and Picture Control settings for superior image quality
  • Extensive palette of in-camera Retouch Menus including several new retouch options such as Distortion Control, Straighten and Fisheye
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting and quick response of 0.15-second start-up and 65-ms shutter release time lag (CIPA standard)
  • Built-in flash with 18mm lens coverage and Nikon's original i-TTL flash control that commands Advanced Wireless Lighting
  • Highly efficient energy-saving design that allows approx. 850 images on a single charge of the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e (CIPA standard, with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, with 50% of pictures taken with flash)
  • Versatile Pictmotion menu that creates slideshows combining five choices of both background music and image effects
  • Compatible with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output
  • Optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D80 extends shooting capability and enables use of six R6/AA-size batteries
  • Included Nikon ViewNX software makes browsing and organizing your images easy
  • Optional photo-editing software, Capture NX 2 allows users quick and easy photo editing
  • Lightweight compact body

SLR purists must be turning over in there grave (unless they are still alive of course).  First DSLR get live view (thats what the view finder is for), now it gets video!

If I was to be choosing a new camera out of the Canon 50D or the Nikon D90, I am not sure which one I would choose (larger sensor v video).  However, since I already have Canon Lens, I will stick with this system.  By the time I upgrade, Canon will probably offer video as well.


Saturday, 23 August 2008

Canon to release new 50D?

News broke on the Internet that Canon China put the specs of the new 50D up on their website for a brief period. Some one spotted it and the specs have been leaked.

When the story first broke, people though it had in body IS which would have been a giveaway that it was fake (Canon makes great IS lens and have said they wont do in body).  Apparently people just misread the Chinese – it actually said it works well with in lens IS.

The specs are as follows:

  • 15.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4
  • 1.6x crop
  • Dust Reduction
  • Auto Brightness Processing
  • 95% viewfinder .97 magnification
  • 9 point af (All Cross Type)
  • 35 meter area equipped with high-precision sensors AF Fine Tuning
  • ISO 100-12800
  • 6.3 fps (high speed) 3fps (low speed)
  • Buffer: 16 RAW - 60 JPG - 10 RAW+JPG
  • 920,000 points VGA 3.0-inch LCD monitor
  • 100,000 cycle shutter
  • Rugged magnesium alloy body

I don’t think it justifies a body upgrade for me (I am using a 20D) – I can justify the money at the moment.  For me 8mp is more than enough and the rest is incremental improvements.  A better autofocus and less noise at higher ISO would be the main reason for me to upgrade.

People are also expect the full frame 5D to be upgraded.  It will be interesting to see what the specs on that camera are.

Go to Photographybay for a more detailed spec list.


 Royalty Free Images

Friday, 1 August 2008

Microstock photography results for July 2008

Sales picked up which is great as they had been going down for the past few months (total earnings up 25% this month).  I still haven’t got round to upload which is very disappointing.  I have some ready to upload and have another batch ready for editing.  StockXpert had a great month and iStock picked up a bit after a couple of disappointing months.  Shutterstock put in another solid effort but is still way of its highs.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

22% shutterstock
15% dreamtime
7% Fotolia
22% istockphoto
3% bigstockphoto
7% 123RF
23% StockXpert
1% Featurepics

Since I have been doing this for about 2 1/2 years now, I thought it would be interesting to see annual trends.  Ignoring the fact that I was constantly upload until about August 2007 ( I have uploaded very few since then), you can see that we have just gone though a slow patch and things should increase now till about November.  Most of my photos are travel shots (not a Christmas one amongst them) so my trends may be different to those which different photo mixes.
Annual results - July









Previous results for 2008:

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images

Friday, 11 July 2008

Getty to sell images from Flickr

Earlier this week, it was announced that Getty was going to sell photos from Flickr.  From the reports, it seems that the Flickr photos will form part of a new portfolio which will be in the macrostock pricing area.  It has been ruled out that these will be sold through iStock or be sold at microstock prices.

Commission is to be standard commissions rates for Getty photographers which is apparently between 20 and 40% depending on the type of licence etc.

The scheme is to be by invitation and from what I understand, it is on a photo by photo basis, not a photographer by photographer basis.  Many have said that this is going to be an issue because of jealousy at Flickr and it may change the community feel there. 

I see it as a problem but for another reason.  This is based on my experience at iStock.  They want large photos of high quality and if required are model released.

At Flickr, people don’t always upload their largest size as most photos aren’t even viewed as full screen size let alone 100%.

Quality may be as high if not better than iStock but I don’t see an easy way form them to check unlike the the iStock approval process (I will leave them to figure out the technology to do this, but a photo with 100+ faves may actually have noise at 100% or have a sensor spots or a persons face in the background). 

This brings me to my last point which is this new portfolio wont have people shots.  Flickr is a community site so photographers will upload photos of people – however, they wont get model releases for them as they have no current need to.  And since this is an invite only scheme, you are not going to go to the hassle of getting model releases, removing noise etc if the chance of your photo being noticed and invited in is small.

The real benefit in this scheme is for Getty.  If they have buyers for a type of photo, but don't have that type of photo, they will search Flickr on the buyers behalf and then take a 60%-80% commission for selling it where as currently, the buyer doesn’t find it on Getty so goes to Flickr and buys it direct from the photographer.

For more commentary from difference perspectives see:

Lee Torens (microstock photographer) here

Thomas Hawk (Flickr power users) here and here

PDN Pulse (photography news) here

Techcrunch (Tech news) here

Royalty Free Images

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Plagiarised photos

I found an interesting post at PDNpulse about Blog readers catch Plagerizing Photographer.

It was quite interesting as the readers of the blog identified that a photographer was copying photos taken by other photographers.  there was an uproar (maybe an overstatement) and the photographer has taken the photos down.

Makes you wonder about microstock.  Do a search for jumping fish and you will find photos taken by Yuri, G Cohen, khz, velychko, K Brown, mikdam, lisagagne (I stopped looking but I am sure there were more and that was only searching shutterstock and istock).  Did anyone notice two of the biggest names in microstock in that list. 

None of microstock versions that I linked to above are exact copies like the ones listed in blog above, but they are very close.  So how far can you go with derivative works?

Royalty Free Images

Friday, 4 July 2008

Do professional photographers struggle with microstock?

Lee Torrens has posted a great blog on the 10 reasons why professional photographers often struggle with microstock.  Lee makes some great points so go have a read.  It is getting some good comments as well. 

I think the biggest one is #10 They want microstock to fail.  Of course they do.  They have gone from selling photos for $100s if not $1000s of dollars and are now getting 30c.  But in some cases the photos isn’t worth $100.  A picture of an apple is not worth that much and that has stopped small businesses using photography in their publications (see here)


Lees article was also picked up at PDNPulse with their blog “Do professionals want microstock to fail” which despite the title, focuses on reason #4 Do you know who I am? and discusses the point that all the reputation and respect they have built up in the industry disappears when they have to compete on an equal footing with amateurs with point and shoot cameras (my words not the articles).

Royalty Free Images

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Microstock Photography results for June 2008

Another slow month – slower than last month.  I uploaded about 10 photos at all sites which seemed to pick Shutterstock up but the rest are just falling into the mid year slow down.  Have got some more photos ready to upload so will see if I can get some more up in July.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

28% shutterstock
14% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
18% istockphoto
4% bigstockphoto
9% 123RF
16% StockXpert
2% Featurepics

Previous results for 2008:

May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Survey says stock photos to cheesy

Photoshelter has recently conducted a survey of 700 stock photo buyers. 

The result, “The majority are cheesy, too staged, too stocky and not authentic.”  When asked, "When it comes to the images I search for most often, I think I've seen all of the content available within the major stock houses” 74% agreed or strongly agreed.  Basically this means designers want new, fresh content.

Follow the link below to see the areas which areas need more attention (eg. “The friendly guy with the headset isn't cutting it anymore!”, “It's difficult to find images that don't paint obese subjects unfavorably.” and "People with flaws" was another repeated request.)

Link (via Photopreneur)

Royalty Free ImagesShutterstock

Monday, 23 June 2008

Find your photos online with Tineye

Want to know where you photos are online?  Well you could try searching the net yourself, or you could use TinEye

Tineye is still in private beta but you can apply for an invite (mine came through in a few days).  Once logged in, you can give TinEye your photo, and it will search the web for it.  A couple of points to note:

  • They have only indexed a small portion of the web so far (about 750 million images -  compare that to over 4 billion indexed by Google).  I did a few searches on my photos and found they didn’t pick up all instances where I knew it was online.
  • It doesn’t require an exact match.  This can be good in that it will find photos where they are slightly different (ie. with or without watermarks) or images manipulated (ie. Photoshopped, cropped, converted to B&W etc).

While it isn’t perfect at the moment, it is a great tool to have in the toolbox. 

It would also be very help for designers - Going to buy a photo but don’t know where else it has turned up? Do a search to avoid situations like this and this.  There is also a Firefox extension (and IE) so that you can right click on a photo on any website, select search and it will find all other indexed matches.

Check out their video:

Other commentary:



JMG galleries

Royalty Free ImagesShutterstock

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Microstock’s main market don’t use photos

iStock commissioned a survey of small and medium businesses in the UK to determine how they use images in their marketing.  The key finding are:

  • 27% of SMBs don’t use imagery in their business at all
  • Of organisations who use imagery, 51% use imagery on their website, 40% use imagery in presentations, 31% use imagery in marketing & advertising collateral and 14% use imagery in the office interior design
  • 71% of SMBs use photography more than other types of imagery
  • The majority of SMBs, still go in-house to source images, with 59% taking photos with their own camera, compared with 40% using online stock photography and 31% commissioning photography

See here for more detail

Royalty Free ImagesShutterstock

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

New Article on Getty and iStock

As part of filings made with the SEC, Getty has had to disclose some information which it would normally keep secret. 

One interesting quote is:

"The introduction of microstock has significantly increased the availability and usage of stock imagery. The advent of affordable high-end digital cameras and broadband Internet access has enabled semi-professional and hobbyist photographers to greatly expand the supply of digital stock imagery, and low microstock prices have put stock images within reach of far more potential customers. The primary consequence of the introduction of microstock has been to open the creative stock imagery market to new segments of users. Small and medium-sized businesses represent a large customer segment for which stock imagery was previously too expensive. For example, a dental practice might now include a microstock image of a boy brushing his teeth on its mailers to patients, whereas before it might have only shown a drawing of a tooth and toothbrush (or perhaps just a message in formatted text) on its appointment reminders because of the relatively high cost of stock imagery. Microstock also enables traditional stock image users to cost-effectively use stock images for interim uses such as storyboarding, customer pitches and internal presentations. Previously these applications would have contained lower quality, freely available images, or hand-drawn sketches. Customer research suggests that approximately 40-50% of microstock demand is comprised of entirely new end-uses, such as those described above. As a result of the combination of new customer segments and new end uses, volumes of microstock images are 15-20x greater than traditional stills.

Another interesting part is a comparison of sales volume between Getty and iStock, the market leader of macrostock and microstock respectively:

Getty sales graph

More details at this article from pdn.

The filings at the SEC are found here.

Shutterstock Royalty Free Images

The average American/Kiwi/Australian family

NZ budget photo The NZ government put out a brochure today setting out the benefits of its latest budget.

It was discovered however that the picture used (left) was bought from from iStock. To me that isn’t a problem.  If the government decides to spend $20 for a photo rather than over $1,000 for a custom photoshoot that is a good idea.

The problem is that the photo is of an American family, not a New Zealand family.

Australian Affordable house photo

To make matters worse for the NZ government, the photo has already been used by the Australian government to advertise their affordable homes program (right).

To things to take out of this:

  1. the perfect stock photo is one that can be used in a variety of circumstances and by a variety of buyers.  This photo has been sold over 2,000 times and can be used in any western country.
  2. microstock photography can create problems from a buyers perspective when the photo is recognisable in other peoples campaigns.

Link to article

[EDIT - it has even been used as an irish family]

Shutterstock Royalty Free Images

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Another site dies

Following on from Luckyolivers demise, Geckostock have announced that they are closing down:

It is with great regret that i shall have to close Geckostock.
All images will be deleted from disk this week.
Any payments due will be paid over the next few weeks.

The site went down yesterday and i decided not to try and get things running due to low sales.
I can't see any future in the site.

I never joined this site as I never saw a good reason. It always pays to monitor new sites but this one never had the sales to warrant uploading to.

In other news, Snapvillage has been down since Friday as they upgrade their site. It is taking longer than expected (why do all websites underestimate the time to migrate servers??). This is one I have trialed. Haven't got all my photos onto it yet and it isn't showing the sales for we to warrant uploading the rest. Hopefully this upgrade will attract the buyers to make it another leading site (without stealing sales from other sites).

Royalty Free Images

New subscriptions at Fotolia

Fotolia has just announced a new subscription plan where you got as low as 23c for each download. After outrage on the forums, both on Fotolia and on independent ones, the price was increased to ... wait for it:

The new commission structure will be as follows.

Ranking Payment / Download
White 0.25 Credit
Bronze 0.26 Credit
Silver 0.27 Credit
Gold 0.28 Credit
Emerald 0.29 Credit
Ruby 0.30 Credit
Sapphire 0.31 Credit
Diamond 0.32 Credit

Thats right 25c to 32c. Compare this to Shutterstock's latest pay rise (33c to 38c except for the smallest users) and you see this isn't a great offer to the photographer.

I am not happy about this, but will see how the sales go.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Microstock photography results for May 2008

Another slow month. Earnings down again but still tracking ahead of last year. Interestingly, last year, sales dropped in the period from March to May and then rose month on month all the way through to October. It will be interesting to see if this happens again though it does look line the trend in 2007 was caused by no uploads during the March to May period followed by a couple of big upload sessions.

I could replicate this as I have a few shots ready for upload so it is just a matter of prioritising microstock which I haven't been doing since my big trip (Basically I have too many photos that I am just overwhelmed of where to start). Winter is here now so hopefully I will get some time to do it.

The other thing that is interesting is how different sites do better for no apparent reason. I have done nothing in the past year yet StockXpert had a great month last month and dreamtime had a great month this month. As long as each month a few sites do well, I dont complain if it isn't the same ones.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

15% shutterstock
21% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
27% istockphoto
6% bigstockphoto
8% 123RF
14% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

Previous results for 2008:
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A problem with Royalty free - buyers perspective

Anyone see the problem with the two photographs?

That's right, two competing computer companies bought the same photo from Getty, doctored out the original computer and inserted their own low cost PC.

Even the photoshopping isn't that good. The arm of the kid on the left is blurry where they had to make up pixels, the computer int he photo on the right seems to hover in mid air. This is because the original photo featured a apple computer.

Note: this is not a "microstock" issue but an issue with royalty free photos in general as apparently the photo came from Getty, not its low cost son, iStock.

This is very similar to when Dell and Gateway sent the same girl back to school (different photo but from the same series with a model). More detail on royalty free vs rights managed here (with more examples of duplicates)

Original story

Royalty Free Images

Sunday, 18 May 2008

iStock - now waiting for my third flame.

The race may be over, but now the vine yard shot is a flame, so next in line is this shot of Rangitoto - a volcanic Island in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland.

This shot was taken as I was going for a walk on the beach. It is the cloud formation that really took my fancy, how it was just hovering above Rangitoto, but the rest of the sky was bright blue.

View My Portfolio

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Reaction to Shutterstocks raise

There has been a big reaction to Shutterstocks latest raise, the majority of it not good. The common view is that Shutterstock doubled their price to buyers so the payout to photographers should have gone up more than it did. Add that to the fact the photographers with less than $500 don't get a pay rise seems to have upset a lot of other people, judging on the discussions that when on at the Yahoo microstock group.

My view is that it is a 10% pay rise for all but the news contributors, and 20%+ for some. This is an annual pay rise in that they have given at least a 10% pay rise for the last 3 years. I look forward to another 20% increase next year as well.

See the reaction for some of the other microstock bloggers:

Lee Torrens
NiltoMil 1 NiltoMil 2


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Shutterstock announces payrise

Shutterstock has just announced their annual payrise. Shutterstock started off at a flat rate for everyone. Last year, only those above $500 got a payrise (from 25c to 30c)and now this year, they have gone to a multiple levels which rewards their bigger earners more. The new scale is as follows:

Your pay per download is determined by your total lifetime earnings:
Earnings per Download Lifetime Earnings
$0.25 Less than $500
$0.33 $500 to $3,000
$0.36 $3,000 to $10,000
$0.38 Over $10,000

I am in the 3rd band ($3,000 - $10,000)so this is a 20% payrise for me.

It is hard to complain at a 20% payrise but I still think they should change their charging structure more. Currently buyers can download any any size image for the same cost. I think that different sizes should cost different amounts of credits. For example, from their 30 credits per day, if they decide to buy a small photo, it costs them 1 credit but if they download a large file, it should cost them (say) 3-5 credits.


Monday, 5 May 2008

US Dept of Statistics report on Photographers

The link below is a report by the US Depratment of Labour who did a survey of over 120,000 photographers. the results:

- Photographers held about 122,000 jobs in 2006. More than half were self-employed, a much higher proportion than for most occupations. Some self-employed photographers have contracts with advertising agencies, magazine publishers, or other businesses to do individual projects for a set fee, while others operate portrait studios or provide photographs to stock-photo agencies.

- Median annual earnings of salaried photographers were $26,170 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,680 and $38,730. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $15,540, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,640. Median annual earnings in the industry employing the largest numbers of salaried photographers were $22,860 in the photographic services industry.

- Salaried photographers—more of whom work full time—tend to earn more than those who are self-employed. Because most freelance and portrait photographers purchase their own equipment, they incur considerable expense acquiring and maintaining cameras and accessories. Unlike news and commercial photographers, few fine arts photographers are successful enough to support themselves solely through their art.

These low numbers surprise me. I would have thought that by the time any photography student finished there education, they could have a portfolio of over 1000 photos earning good money on microstock. I would have through that lower quartile number of $18,680 could be very do- able for anyone doing this full time.

Remember this microstocker who earns over $300 per day. Having said that, the average microstock earnings are only $3,900 but that is because most microstockers only do it part time like me.



Sunday, 4 May 2008

Microstock photography results for April 2008

A bit down on last month as I didn't get any extended licenses sales but still averaging up after the slower Christmas period. It is coming into our winter know so I may be spending a bit more time in doors to get through my backlog of photos. This should pick up the earnings at shutterstock which always happens when I upload more.

Finally had my first flame at istockphoto which you can read about here.

Disappointing news is that Luckyoliver is closing its doors, and I am just shore of a payout. I cant use any of the credits I have, as they have locked all credits which they gave away for free. Not happy but as they say, nothing in life is free.

Good news is that StockXpert seems to be picking up. Hopefully this trend continues.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

17% shutterstock
11% dreamtime
6% Fotolia
19% istockphoto
9% bigstockphoto
5% 123RF
28% StockXpert
4% Featurepics

Previous results for 2008:

March 2008 Earnings

Feb 2008 Earnings

Jan 2008 Earnings

Royalty Free Images