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Articles from October 2009
Traditional photographers contemplating trying microstock may benefit from a new tool: a free online income calculator released by German stock photographer Robert Kneschke. Available via Kneschke's blog, the title of which translates as "Daily Life of a Picture Producer," the calculator projects future income based on user-submitted information.
The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies has issued a formal response to what it calls "potentially destructive and libelous accusations" by member company fotoLibra. According to a statement posted on the BAPLA Web site, fotoLibra is completely wrong in its perception of BAPLA's future plans.
One of the things that is a mystery to most photographers, microstock and traditional, is the inspecting (or editing) process. Every microstock agency has slightly different standards that it rigidly enforces. Microstocksolutions founder and managing director Mark Milstein shares the workings of his micro-inspection company, which operates in central and southeastern Europe and services a growing number of microstock agencies.
At this week's annual meeting, the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies elected several new members to its board. It also announced a new business endeavor, which is not meeting with the approval of at least one BAPLA member company: Wales paid-membership stock Web site fotoLibra says the forthcoming BAPLA Academy is a rip-off of the fotoLibra business model and will be its direct competitor. BAPLA executive director denies the charge.
U.K.'s Axiom Photographic Agency has announced an exclusive image partnership with British publisher Rough Guides, which has been publishing travel and reference books for over 25 years.
Fotolia has created an add-in ribbon for market-leading word processing and presentation applications Microsoft Word and PowerPoint 2007. The ribbon (Microstoft's new term for what used to be called a toolbar) allows customers to log in, search and purchase images at fotolia.com.
"Klein Interviewed By Timesonline.co.uk
" incorrectly stated that Hellman & Friedman is ready to sell Getty Images. Hellman & Friedman will own Getty Images for longer than the investment company's typical period of three-and-a-half years.
At the time we shut down the PhotoShelter Collection (and probably still), many photographers felt duped, and hurt that we did not give it more time to mature. But now that we are many months away from that traumatic event, I can restate the following: Stock photography sucks. I am not talking about the people who shoot it. I am talking about the state of the industry.
Fotolia has launched Operation Level Ground, a program designed to attract seasoned microstock contributors to the New York-based Web site by allowing them to keep hard-earned download rankings and the search-return placement these drive.
In a letter signed by Jonathan Klein, iStockphoto's exclusive contributors have been invited to contribute to Getty Images' rights-managed collections Stone and The Image Bank. Klein said, "We've been dreaming about this one for years and today we are proud to call it a reality."
U.K.-based Capture Ltd. has released version 2.1 of its flagship photo-library management software by the same name. This month, the company demonstrated Capture at U.S. events including the Miami conference of the Picture Archive Council of America and pictureHouse New York.
Circle Stock Images is a new Web-based collaboration that unites individual contributor archives into a searchable image collection.
U.S. Senators Al Franken, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whithouse have introduced legislation to disallow the federal tax deduction for all advertising and marketing expenses for prescription drugs. If enacted, this bill will hasten the final demise of independent assignment photographers, illustrators and those whose livelihoods are directly dependent on such creatives.
During this week's PhotoPlus Expo, Sausalito-based ImageSpan announced that its flagship product LicenseStream is now available in a business edition. This allows content owners to license and track their content through branded online stores.
As attendees were gathering in Miami for last week's conference of the Picture Archive Council of America, representatives of six trade organizations that unite more than 50,000 photographers and 800 American and European agencies met to discuss common goals.
The image-protection space gets another player with the launch of ImageRights, a new Web-based service designed to track image uses and recover fees for unauthorized reproductions.
Getty contributor Greg Ceo disclosed this bit of Getty Images news on his blog: the Seattle company will no longer produce wholly owned imagery. A Getty spokesperson clarified that the program is only shuttered for 2010.
This month, microstock segment leaders iStockphoto and Shutterstock announced legal guarantees for the user-generated content sold through their Web sites. Such moves answer customer demand and make doing business more difficult for traditional agencies and micro newcomers that have focused marketing efforts on the legal hygiene of their collections.
Jonathan Klein was recently interviewed by Dan Sabbagh of London-based TimesOnline, where Klein revealed that Hellman & Friedman will own Getty Images for longer than the investment company's typical period of three-and-a-half years. Another revelation: On a non-remarkable October Thursday, Getty-owned iStockphoto did $850K worth of business.
Shepard Fairey has, apparently, lied about which photograph he used as a reference for the HOPE poster.
A survey of attendees at last weekend's Picture Agency Council of America's 14th Annual International Conference in Miami, Fla., found that, on average, stock agencies and production companies have had a 21% decline in 2009 revenues compared to 2008.
Reflex Stock has relaunched its Web site with a collection number over 15 million images, some of which are now available for as little as $0.14. The company bills the offering as recession-busting.
There are some who have been in the stock photo business for a long time who would like me to say that nobody can make any money selling microstock, or something along the lines of, "If you'll just license your images as rights-managed like I've always done, you'll get rich like I am." Such assertions are patently false and irresponsible to the next generation of photographers.
The American Society of Media Photographers has awarded $150,000 to the Picture Licensing Universal System Coalition.
As planned, the Stock Artists Alliance has merged with the Alliance of Visual Artists, which now unites six photo industry groups and their 45,000 members. SAA's own membership now stands at over 400.
Toronto-based Masterfile has announced the launch of an "Ambassador Program"--a North American referral program that pays fees.
The microstock submission process is an issue that frustrates many photographers. Lookstat simplifies this process for those more interested in spending their time taking pictures than sitting in front of a computer.
Kelly Thompson recently said: "Today, some artists are finding they can make a good living exclusively selling microstock. iStockphoto has many contributors making anywhere from $40,000 to $500,000 a year." Let's examine the earning potential based on the figures of some of iStock's top earners.
Following last week's announcement of a new services platform, PicScout released a statement full of enthusiastic testimonials by managers of professional associations and agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Latest Nielsen Company figures estimate that online advertising spending on the top social network and blogging sites has increased 119% to $108 million since August 2008. Such sites' share of overall online ad spending has more than doubled during the same time period, rising from 7% to 15%.
To most, "one-time rights" licensing means the customer gets the right to use the image only once, not multiple times, for the purpose specifically outlined in the invoice. Any use beyond that is viewed as copyright infringement. However, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is currently trying to argue in court that "one time" means the publisher can print any number of copies of one edition of a book, so long as they do not use the image in other unauthorized editions.
In "Adding Microstock as a Revenue Stream," Kelly Thompson argued that "technology and innovation perpetuate our ability to lead better, longer and healthier lives." Unfortunately, this is a false premise. Technology and innovation MAY do these things, but not always, not automatically and not necessarily for all stakeholders.
The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies has announced a change of venue and a new program for the May 2010 Picture Buyers' Fair.
The story provides a rough estimate of iStockphoto sales and revenue growth since the company was acquired by Getty Images in early 2006. The figures for the years 2006 and 2007 are reasonably accurate because Getty Images was a public company during this period and reporting a great deal of detail about their operations. After the company went private in early 2008 it became more difficult to accurately estimate downloads and revenue.
Toronto-based ad-supported image site Fotoglif expands into licensing creative stock photography.
Young Photographers Alliance gains new sponsors, momentum.
Jim Erickson breaks all the stock photography rules and yet is one of the world's most successful sellers of stock images. Pick any strategy that everyone agrees is the key to success in stock, and Erickson is probably doing the opposite.
Growing European stock-footage business Framepool now represents content by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation Österreichischer Rundfunk and Agence France-Presse.
PicScout has announced a strategic shift from a single source product company focused on finding unauthorized image uses to a services company based upon the PicScout Image Index Registry Connection. One of its initial services will be a product called ImageExchange, which provides a connection between image users and licensors. ImageExchange makes it possible for potential users to easily identify the creator of an image and instantly connect with someone who is authorized to license rights to use it.
According to the latest information from Corbis, eco-consciousness has become so mainstream as to flavor every decision.
For most of this year I have been tracking the number of downloads for 117 of the 150 most productive contributors on iStock. (I have been unable to identify the other 33 in the top 150.) Total downloads of the 117 during the last seven months represent about 17% of all iStock contributor downloads. Sixty-five of the 117 contributors have seen a slight decline in average downloads-per-month since March.
An Atlantic City billboard that uses an image shot by Jon Feingersh illustrates a discouraging trend in stock-photo pricing. Feingersh produced the image two years ago, as part of a $35,000 Venezuela shoot. A decade ago, The Stock Market probably would have licensed one of Feingersh's images for billboard use at between $4,000 and $5,000; the photographer would have received 50% of the sale. Today, however...
PicApp just went a step beyond releasing a plugin for the world's most popular blogging platform. The company has announced that Automattic, the company behind WordPress, is integrating PicApp's embed code on WordPress.com.
The Picture Archive Council of America has released a statement claiming that many book publishers use images in ways that exceed the scope of licensing agreements. The organization says that a number of its members have reported instances of print runs exceeding the initial license terms by the millions, largely due to poor record-keeping on behalf of book publishers.
We all can agree with Kelly Thompson's sentiment that technology and new business models have a huge impact on this industry. Microstock, however, is not really a new technology but a new way to sell royalty-free images cheaper--a repackaging of sorts.
With the ever-increasing supply of travel images, declining prices and a fixed amount of attention in the consumer universe, what are the best options for travel photographers to create uncommon value?