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Old October 30th, 2010, 07:00 AM   #16
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Nigel, as someone who makes part of my living selling underwater stock footage here's my suggestions;

1. iStock and most of the online services are ripoffs. Selling a 20 or 30 sec. clip for $30-$50 bucks a clip, of which you'll only see a small percentage, is not a workable business model. Selling stock footage creates some decent additional income for my business but it is sporadic and unpredictable.

2. Most decent stock houses take a 50/50 cut (some 60/40, others 40/60) and sell at rates from about $30 - $150 second depending upon the content.

3. Consider setting up your own stock site on your website. It gets easier every day.

4. Shoot at a minimum 1080i.

5. Most important. Find your niche. Everybody shoots video of everything so make sure that your images are of a unique activity, location, etc. and stand out because of their quality, composition, lighting, etc.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 11:02 AM   #17
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Hi Nigel,
Norman Pogson is a member of this forum and has some great info on using the 7D and on stock photography, here is his link:
Canon 7D | Norman Pogson Filmmaker

Best regards, I think you are on the right track.
Doug.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 02:21 PM   #18
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Interesting discussion, and a very useful link from Doug.

I starting submitting clips to stock agencies, but lack of time, and a new computer that doesn't like mpeg-streamclip, put the whole idea on hold for a while - er, that's getting to be a long while now! I feel inspired to get back to it now. Thanks
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Old October 31st, 2010, 08:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
Nigel, as someone who makes part of my living selling underwater stock footage here's my suggestions;

1. iStock and most of the online services are ripoffs. Selling a 20 or 30 sec. clip for $30-$50 bucks a clip, of which you'll only see a small percentage, is not a workable business model. Selling stock footage creates some decent additional income for my business but it is sporadic and unpredictable.

2. Most decent stock houses take a 50/50 cut (some 60/40, others 40/60) and sell at rates from about $30 - $150 second depending upon the content.

3. Consider setting up your own stock site on your website. It gets easier every day.

4. Shoot at a minimum 1080i.

5. Most important. Find your niche. Everybody shoots video of everything so make sure that your images are of a unique activity, location, etc. and stand out because of their quality, composition, lighting, etc.

Hi there,

Rick, thanks for this very interesting information. I am considering doing some stock video and photography. That said, I have NO experience on the matter.

A question to you about your point #2: Could you give some examples of decent stock houses? Are they willing to take someone who is just beginning? Or you have to be an experienced photographer/videographer such as yourself?


A question/thought to all:

Again, I have no experience on the matter but I just wonder what will be better in terms of revenue. A more 'decent' stock house or a widely known online house such as iStockphoto for example?

It seems that nowadays the 'iTunes / AppStore concept' is working pretty well. As an example, you can get an amazing video game for .99 cents!

Would you buy an old DS cartridge game for 15 bucks or an amazing new game for .99 cents?

What I mean is, maybe it is worth to sale your stock at a more widely known online stock house and get 1 dollar commission per sale and 100 downloads (100 bucks) than 15 bucks commission but only 2 sales (30 bucks) from a more decent house.

I do not know, just a thought...

Any comments on this everyone?

Thanks for any input. Fun discussion though...
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Old November 1st, 2010, 05:59 AM   #20
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A question to you about your point #2: Could you give some examples of decent stock houses?
I no longer use stock houses to help sell my work because their fees have become unreasonable and because the whole world has internet so you can easily set up your own "stock house" and keep the revenue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
Are they willing to take someone who is just beginning? Or you have to be an experienced photographer/videographer such as yourself?
It is common for the stock house to request a sample reel to see if your work meets their quality and technical standards.

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Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
What I mean is, maybe it is worth to sale your stock at a more widely known online stock house and get 1 dollar commission per sale and 100 downloads (100 bucks) than 15 bucks commission but only 2 sales (30 bucks) from a more decent house.
Your assumption is both common and incorrect. First, just because you put video your video out there for sale doesn't mean the money will come rolling in and people will buy it. You are competing against the whole world for your sale. Do a search for "lightning" on iStockphoto and see what you find. Second, your video has to be unique and compelling to be valuable but the more unique it is the fewer people that will actually need it for their project. Third, it is virtually impossible to recoup the cost of your camera, tripod, software, computer, storage and time shooting, ingesting and uploading video using the iStockphoto model (many sales at low cost).

Stock houses make money because they sell a great many clips on many, many different subjects - economies of scale. As an individual it is very difficult to have that sort of broad and productive library. You are only a very, very small slice of their footage inventory.

As I mentioned in my first post I've spent nearly 20 years selling stock footage and it should always be considered as ancillary income. My stock footage library exists because I've collected footage during paying projects and/or worked a deal with the client to keep the raw footage and because I have a couple of unique subjects. Otherwise it would not be cost effective to collect footage or maintain a library.
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Old November 1st, 2010, 08:48 PM   #21
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Understood

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
I no longer use stock houses to help sell my work because their fees have become unreasonable and because the whole world has internet so you can easily set up your own "stock house" and keep the revenue.



It is common for the stock house to request a sample reel to see if your work meets their quality and technical standards.



Your assumption is both common and incorrect. First, just because you put video your video out there for sale doesn't mean the money will come rolling in and people will buy it. You are competing against the whole world for your sale. Do a search for "lightning" on iStockphoto and see what you find. Second, your video has to be unique and compelling to be valuable but the more unique it is the fewer people that will actually need it for their project. Third, it is virtually impossible to recoup the cost of your camera, tripod, software, computer, storage and time shooting, ingesting and uploading video using the iStockphoto model (many sales at low cost).

Stock houses make money because they sell a great many clips on many, many different subjects - economies of scale. As an individual it is very difficult to have that sort of broad and productive library. You are only a very, very small slice of their footage inventory.

As I mentioned in my first post I've spent nearly 20 years selling stock footage and it should always be considered as ancillary income. My stock footage library exists because I've collected footage during paying projects and/or worked a deal with the client to keep the raw footage and because I have a couple of unique subjects. Otherwise it would not be cost effective to collect footage or maintain a library.

Hi Rick,

Well, it is not an assumption. I was just asking, that is why I used the word 'maybe'.

I appreciate your input. It is very helpful specially coming form someone with your experience and caliber.

But let me ask you (no assumptions, just a question to see what you think) about these big online stock places like iStock...

For someone with your experience, contacts and talent your suggestion might work very well. But for some 'Joe Mozzarella' like myself with no experience whatsoever as a professional photographer: Do you think selling (or attempting to sale) your stock on a place like iStock could work better? Maybe that could work as a beginning and then switch to your suggestion a few years down the road when you get some experience and build your sample reel. In the meantime you can build your name a bit.

What do you/you guys think?

Best Regards Rick and you all!!
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 07:00 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
For someone with your experience, contacts and talent your suggestion might work very well. But for some 'Joe Mozzarella' like myself with no experience whatsoever as a professional photographer: Do you think selling (or attempting to sale) your stock on a place like iStock could work better?
Try it and see what happens. But promise to report back in 3-12 months with your results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
Maybe that could work as a beginning and then switch to your suggestion a few years down the road when you get some experience and build your sample reel. In the meantime you can build your name a bit.
Only the guys at the very top of the pile "have a name." And I'm certainly not one of them. If you are an internationally recognized photographer or cinematographer then you will have name recognition. Can anyone name an iStock contributor that has name recognition?

None of this is meant to be harsh. Selling stock is a business and this is how the business works. Everyone on the globe shoots video and stills now and posts them on Facebook, iStock, etc. It is harder than ever to rise above the noise created by millions of people posting images and video. That's why as I said in my last post your work must really stand out based on quality and subject.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 10:45 PM   #23
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Try it and see what happens. But promise to report back in 3-12 months with your results.
Sure, I promise. But just FYI, I am going to be doing this not at a full time gig. I have my full time job I am happy with. This is more like a hobby for me. I love photography from the heart since I was a little boy. I do have my Flickr account and I really enjoy it. But I though, well I can make some extra money doing this. Even if it is 100 bucks a year. I am opening my LLC, sent the form on Monday. So I have to wait until that is done first (month or two?) then go through their 'acceptance' process (month or two more?). And then I will be happy to report. Not doing it as a full time job will give me very poor results if you compare them with somebody who makes a living out of it. But once again, I will be happy to share and report. I hope it is a benefit for this our community.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
Only the guys at the very top of the pile "have a name." And I'm certainly not one of them. If you are an internationally recognized photographer or cinematographer then you will have name recognition. Can anyone name an iStock contributor that has name recognition?

None of this is meant to be harsh. Selling stock is a business and this is how the business works. Everyone on the globe shoots video and stills now and posts them on Facebook, iStock, etc. It is harder than ever to rise above the noise created by millions of people posting images and video. That's why as I said in my last post your work must really stand out based on quality and subject.


Sure, I can name Yuri Arcurs:

Yuri Arcurs - Home of the world's top selling microstock photographer


YouTube - A Guided Tour in Yuri Arcurs' Photo Studio



He has a name and it is internationally well recognized.

I agree, your work MUST stand out to make a living out of it. We have probably billions of cameras around the globe. It is great to read from people like you with all the experience you have. Even though you might not be a big name (not yet, you never know really), you have a ton more experience than I do and it is very valuable to me to have a healthy discussion here at these forums.

Best Regards Rick and thanks again for your wisdom...
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Old November 6th, 2010, 07:55 PM   #24
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slight clarification on talent releases as I understand it (I'm not a lawyer).

News organizations have been exempt from all release rules as long as they are using the pictures in a current news environment and they cannot be defamatory. One exception is with minors. When have you seen children's faces in a school news story? You'll see backs of heads or feet and hands only. Another is hospitals with the stringent HIPA privacy rules.

The rest of us cannot single out individuals or private property without permission. You can shoot crowds of people or cityscapes, but singling out a person in a crowd requires their permission.

This leads to the area that is often neglected in stock photography, having people doing things. Most stock photography is of subjects that don't need releases. There are tons of that sort of generic stuff selling for peanuts. Getting talent to act in real scenes gets you a step above the crowd into shots that can make more than chump change. But it takes a lot more work to arrange the talent & the locations. And of course it needs to be high quality directing & photography shot on broadcast quality HD. Low budget HDV gets little respect any more.

I was talking to a producer who needed a shot of a hearse. Could not find an acceptable one anywhere. But every hearse will likely have a funeral home logo on it. Doubtful any funeral home would give blanket permission to see their logo on who knows what video. They're a pretty conservative bunch. So you'd need a hearse without logos...
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #25
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The Problem with iStockphoto and the like

Here's a great article about iStockphoto and how it treats it's contributors;

iStockphotos ?Unsustainable? Business Model: From Crowd-Sourcing To Crowd-Shafting? The Russian Photos Blog

Perfect timing for this thread.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #26
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... and I'm not all that surprised.

Interesting, though, that people thought they had hit the big time when iStockphoto was acquired by Getty. And this turns in to another illustration of why artists have traditionally starved over the ages.

You don't purchase a business unless you feel that you can improve it by scaling it up to a greater level or being able to cut costs to achieve a greater profitability. Getty will have found out that the prospects for growth within the sector are limited, and thus the only way of increasing profit is to decrease their costs.

Can't blame the professional photogs at all if they do a little gloating. Still, there's enough disaffected photographers to start their own microstock agency.

Andrew
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Old November 17th, 2010, 07:07 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
Here's a great article about iStockphoto and how it treats it's contributors;

iStockphotos ?Unsustainable? Business Model: From Crowd-Sourcing To Crowd-Shafting? The Russian Photos Blog

Perfect timing for this thread.
Incidentally the website proper of the blog author (Jeremy Nicholl who used to post on this forum) is fabulous with some stunning photography & is a great example of selling your own work at its true worth rather than for peanuts on istockphoto Corporate And Editorial Photography In Moscow, Russia And The Former Soviet Union
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