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Articles from August 2009
New Hampshire-based iSyndica, an automation service that allows photo and video producers to batch-upload content to multiple stock-selling and photo-sharing Web sites, has launched two service enhancements: a separate iSyndica Illustrations platform and access to all of iSyndica from six popular social sites.
With new digital technologies, how old do you have to be to become a professional photographer? Not even 10, according to one experience.
As prices for stock photo uses drop, the joke has been that pretty soon, publishers will start asking photographers to pay for publication of pictures. That idea may not be as ludicrous as it sounds.
How much longer will we need photos for commercial projects?
U.K. national tourist board VisitBritain has announced the launch of the new Britain on View, a Web site developed and operated by the Photolibrary Group.
Getty Images has quietly relaunched newly acquired Jupiterimages.com. The company announced this on its blog, along with a 33% off promotion that lasts through the end of September.
The National Press Photographers Association has received $184,000 in foreign royalties managed by the Authors Coalition of America. The funds are earmarked for services and programs to benefit still photographers.
Stock images, creative stills in particular, have a steadily declining value in the eyes of the buyers. If stock is all an individual has to sell, it is beginning to look like that individual should expect to see steadily declining revenue going forward.
The Picture Archive Council of America will premiere its in-development search engine during its upcoming Miami annual gathering.
Founded by Mike Watson of Digital Vision fame, moodboard says it welcomes the surge in applications to contribute to its microstock collection. The London-based company offers an interesting example of an agency whose traditional roots and products have not adversely affected its relationship with a large pool of micro newcomers.
Jim Pickerell's piece on growth in demand focuses on why the current paradigm does not work for solo photographers but misses the fact that growing image uses also offer opportunities. For the stock photo industry, the issue is not lack of demand but rather the lack of Google, Gillette and Apple-like innovation when it comes to developing a business model that takes advantage of the rise in image uses.
A previous article in this "Business Planning for the Future" series noted that future growth in demand for images is a widely debated subject among stock industry professionals. In my view, traditional customers do not seem to have any growth potential, and there are also indications that growth in demand for low-priced imagery might have reached its natural level. Industry veteran Leslie Hughes has offered an alternate point of view.
Dirck Halstead's perceptive two-part analysis of the photojournalism business is a must-read for photojournalists or anyone considering this career. It should also be a wake up call for stock and advertising photographers hoping to sell their images for use in print publications.
U.K. travel library Robert Harding World Imagery says its recent Web site upgrade has led to a client-uptake increase of more than 70%. The upgrade included offering registered and preapproved buyers to download high-resolution files in two steps.
Graphic Design USA
has previewed the results of its 23rd Annual Stock Visual Survey. The full report, which will be published in the September edition of the magazine, shows prevalence of royalty-free and microstock imagery among professional designers, but the magazine does not think this means rights-managed licensing is on its way out.
For the third consecutive year, iStockphoto has let exclusive contributors keep 100% of the revenue generated by their images on August 7, for a total of more than $225,000. The company is also continuing its Punctum Day tradition, celebrating this year with $45,000 in contributor prizes.
Alamy plans to follow Getty Images' lead in offering affordable prices for Web and mobile products. The U.K. company will be creating new small file sizes and lower prices that are basically identical to those introduced by Getty last week.
In his blog Thoughts of a Bohemian
, Paul Melcher argues that "the future of photography is exclusive content," particularly for pros who used to specialize in shooting stock.
German entrepreneur Amos Struck has developed a WordPress plugin that allows users of the popular blogging platform to seamlessly search, purchase and insert microstock images into posts without leaving the WordPress interface. The Microstock WordPress Plugin currently works with Fotolia, but Struck told Selling Stock
that he is working on deals with other microstock providers.
The Selling Stock
subscriber email system was down Tuesday through Thursday this week. The Friday, August 21 email newsletter summarizes our coverage for the last four days.
Earlier this year PhotoEdit, Inc. surveyed Southern California high-school students to learn their views on the images in their textbooks. Based on the survey results, the company has created a new collection: Images That Teach.
While there has been plenty of buzz about the size of the blogger market and its purchasing power, most stock-image sellers have thus far concentrated on the product end of the business: offering the right image sizes at the right price. Naturally, microstock sellers have been winning the war for market share in this particular space, because they were the first to discover this market by offering low-priced imagery. Traditional agencies are just now starting to compete at the product level, but microstocks and other newcomers are still outpacing the core of the image industry in the most important area: delivery.
In addition to the broader economic and legal climate, factors such as decreasing photographer royalty percentages, competition from foreign workers and increasing preference toward video content can have substantial effects on a stock-production business.
In addition to the major industry trends, regular examination of smaller-scope developments related to common business issues---such as demand for images, cost of production, legal changes and technological advancements---is helpful in determining if and when to adjust stock production strategy in order to keep it profitable. But beware. As you track these developments, it is entirely possible you may decide to place less emphasis on stock production and more on something else.
Denver-based Thought Equity Motion has announced the promotions of Jackie Mountain and David Smith to vice presidents of sales for Western and Eastern regions of North America, respectively.
If you do not plan to retire before 2015, and the money you earn from stock photography is an important part of your gross income, it is not too early to begin devising a plan for modifying your photography business. In the last few years, there have been radical changes in the business of photography, and it seems likely that we have not seen the last of them. What worked in the past or is working now may not work as well in the near future or later. Given the rapid pace of change, it is inevitable that most people will make dramatic career adjustments in their lifetime.
A late July study from the International Intellectual Property Alliance shows that U.S. copyright industries continue to lead the economy in their contributions to job growth, gross domestic product and exports. Though the study does not take into consideration recent economic events, it does demonstrate an encouraging, consistently upward progression of revenues and other growth indicators over a five-year period, highlighting the need for stronger laws and their enforcement.
When Cutcaster announced its Betta Than Vetta image collection, its intent to ride on the coat tails of an earlier iStockphoto launch was patently obvious. The announcement was predictably followed by a cease-and-desist letter from iStock and a new, definitively Betta, product name for Cutcaster. Even those paying close attention to the micro segment quickly dismissed the entire thing as a weakly conceptualized publicity stunt, but Cutcaster founder John Griffin continues to fascinate onlookers with ramblings so devoid of professionalism as to cast doubt on the validity of his entire enterprise.
As first reported by The Washington Post
last week, a Getty Images-represented photo of Barack Obama by former schoolmate Lisa Jack has been used on a poster produced by The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws without obtaining a license for the image. On Tuesday, a Getty Images spokesperson told Selling Stock
that NORML has ceased selling the poster.
We recently profiled Backcast and the possibility of creating something with the look and feel of a print magazine online. Issuu and FlippingBook are two examples of Web sites that provide technologies to bring such concepts to life.
Dreamstime has introduced a Facebook application that allows members to connect their microstock-image portfolios to their accounts with the social network. According to Dreamstime, the app creates a new market for the Web site's contributors, because it makes their photography accessible to over 20 million Facebook users.
Much of the recent coverage of trends in the stock-photo business revolves around the shift away from traditional stock, in both subject matter and distribution model. Photo-historian Joseph Sohm's selection of ImageSpan's LicenseStream as a licensing solution exemplifies both.
Rohn Engh, one of the pioneers of the stock-photography industry, has announced the release of a 21-unit CD e-course, "How To Market Your Photos." The course is designed to help photographers take advantage of the Internet, with a primary focus on search engines.
Young adults lifestyles seem to be among the most affected by the recession. This month, Corbis highlights what the company has dubbed the "open nest" syndrome: college graduates returning back home.
Alamy sales for the second quarter of 2009 continued their downward trends in each sales territory but were flat when converted to dollars based on exchange rate fluctuations.
Getty Images' royalty-free brands, including Digital Vision, Photodisc, Stockbyte and Jupiterimages, are being removed from Alamy after the two companies were unable to agree on renewal terms of their distribution contract.
Fotolia-owned free stock site PhotoXpress has released a statement claiming to have "flourished into the online global leader of stock photography" by offering the largest free-image inventory: 400,000 files.
In response to customer demand for smaller file sizes for Web and mobile uses, Getty Images will begin to license 170-pixel and 280-pixel images. Priced starting at $5 for royalty-free and $15 for rights-managed content, the new sizes supplement Getty's existing $49 413-pixel product.
Launched in May 2009, microstock business Vivozoom is trying to attract customers by claiming that its image warranty is far superior to those of other microstock sites, specifically iStockphoto and Shutterstock. But is there a substantive difference in the way different microstocks deal with releases or claims from customers that receive something other than what they expect?
Mannie Garcia---who shot the photo of then-Senator Barack Obama used by Shepard Fairey as the basis of the "Hope" presidential election poster---has joined the ongoing lawsuit between Fairey and the Associated Press.
Alamy sales for the second quarter of 2009 continued their downward trends in each
sales territory, but were flat when converted to dollars based on
exchange rate fluctuations.
Jerry Tavin's IC Worldwide agency closed down operations on July 31. Most of the approximately 10,000 images it represented have been moved to Glasshouse Images.
Getty Images rejects the charges against freelance photographer Majid Saeedi by Iranian prosecutors. Saeedi was among a number of photographers arrested in July for alleged anti-establishment activities.
San Francisco-based Cutcaster has launched a "best of the best" collection under a name that takes on iStockphoto's recent launch of premium collection Vetta.
Annie Leibovitz's debt crisis has reached a crescendo. Multiple media outlets have reported that the celebrity photographer's last-hope lender, Art Capital Group, has sued Leibovitz for breach of contract. Art Capital also asked the courts to interfere in the photographer's relationship with Getty Images, asserting that Leibovitz has assigned sole representation rights to the art broker as part of the loan agreement.