Is any one here selling stock photos?

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bgorum
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Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by bgorum » July 26th, 2015, 8:28 am

Is any body here selling their photos through stock agencies? I have images placed with both Alamy and Getty Images, but I've become really disillusioned with Getty. They now pay photographers only 20% commission. They recently sold one of my photos of Albuquerque to Alaska Airlines for $300, for which I received a whopping $60. During the same month Alamy sold an image of a horned lizard to a book publisher for the same price, but paid me $150. However, $60 is a fortune compared to my most recent sale with Getty. Getty sold a picture of a rattlesnake to iheartmedia, (the people that bring you iheartradio, not exactly a poor company I'm sure), for $4.20 or which I received a whopping 84 cents. They've become as bad a the micro stock agencies. I work too hard at taking good photos to sell them for so little! Getty is the biggest, most prestigious name in stock photography, but the way they compensate their photographers is deplorable. I am seriously considering leaving Getty, but don't really know where else to go. I could move everything back over to Alamy, but they really don't have nearly the traffic Getty does. Thats my same worry with just about any other agency. Will higher commissions make up for reduced sales? I'm beginning to think they might. What agencies do other herp photographers use? Does anyone have any experience selling on 500px? Seems sort of like flickr, but with the ability to make stock sales.

Thanks for any help you all can provide.

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Antonsrkn » July 28th, 2015, 4:32 am

Unfortunately I can't help. But I do have to chime in that I have heard similar things about Getty and that has kept me from using them. I don't take photos to make money but nontheless its kind of insulting to receive mere cents for an image I worked hard on and put a lot of time and effort into, I guess its a pride thing and maybe I should just swallow it and settle for a smaller percentage.

I do sell my photos on Alamy, but I should say that i haven't made a single cent from that. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong.

Flickr has proved the most lucrative site for me, with people occasionally contacting me directly through Flickr asking to use my photos. However these requests are sporadic and seemingly come at random, and while its nice to get some income from photos it doesn't happen frequently enough that I would recommend trying to use it for those purposes.

Best of luck, and I for one would be interested in hearing what company you decide to go with and your reasons for doing so.

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Stohlgren
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Stohlgren » July 28th, 2015, 6:40 am

Yeah, I'm no help either. I have stayed away from stock agencies like Getty for the reasons mentioned. Having a photo sell for $300 and only receiving $60 would infuriate me. I'd rather not sell it. Sure, the money would be nice, but unless they are selling so often as to have a regular income that could cover gear or travel, I'd just rather not do it. Getty's business model seems to be to recruit as many photographers as possible so they can sell as many images as possible for relatively cheaply (though $300 is a pretty good price) so they can profit of the accumulation, while each individual photographer takes home mere pennies.

I have also sold some photos through flickr, and while most people who have contacted me expect them for free, I have been happy to receive 100% of the money from the few that I have sold.

That said, if there is a more photographer friendly stock agency, I'd be interested in looking into it. But if they'd only sell 1 photo of mine a year or so, it's probably not worth the effort (herp photos probably don't have the largest market).

-Kevin

bgorum
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by bgorum » July 29th, 2015, 9:17 am

Well I just did it! I sent Getty my 90 day notice that I wish to end our relationship. I also detailed my reasons for leaving, though I doubt they care. I'm setting up a 500px account, I'll continue to submit images to Alamy, and once my contract with Getty is officially void I'll begin searching for a smaller, wildlife specific stock agency. Right now I'm thinking my first submission might be to Animals. Animals. Thanks for the responses guys! You actually helped me think through some things. In the end I decided that what Getty is doing to photographers is wrong and if I stayed with them I was just part of the problem. I feel like the little ant, whose mound is being stomped on by a giant, going up and kicking the giant in the toe. No the giant doesn't even feel it, but I feel better that I kicked the SOB!

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Nshepard
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Nshepard » July 29th, 2015, 5:42 pm

I sell on both getty and shutterstock. I have made more money and sell more often on shutterstock than getty. I don't mind being ripped off at 20% because a) I need the money, and b) its passive income. I don't do anything after I take the image. On shutterstock my images sell for less, often. $0.25 ea. but over time some of my images have earned up to $20-40 - not all images, some. Which is money I would not have otherwise. I don't sell much on getty at all. I would be very happy to get $60 for a herp image. And I have not made a cent through flickr. My "view-able" traffic is decreased tremendously after the great flickr plunder. What I mean by "view-able" is not hits, but favs, comments, and messages. I have also done more contract stock photography on actual things a company wanted me to shoot. I earned a couple hundred dollars doing that when I was broke but it wasn't worth the time to continue after I got a job.

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Noah M
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Noah M » July 30th, 2015, 6:07 am

I have to ask, do you take pictures or make photographs? Some of the photographs I have produced took several hours, if not days, to create. If you factor in drive time, hiking time, camera equipment, locating the animal, getting lighting right, etc. I start looking at my creations as works of art, not just pictures. Anybody these days with a cell phone can take a picture, but not just anybody can make a photograph.

That being said, I'm not a great photographer or artist. I do however value my work and would be happy to sell any of my pieces for $300. I'd even probably settle for $100 a piece. Ask yourself this, how much would you pay for a print or file, especially for soemthing from another part of the country or world where you couldn't easily go out and take the picture yourself?

I've thought about trying to set something up here http://fineartamerica.com/ but I am waiting until I have a bigger portfolio. Living in Florida, I think my landscape, alligator and beach photos will probably be the most lucrative, but I don't take too many pictures of those things :lol:

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Paul Freed
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Paul Freed » July 30th, 2015, 8:13 am

Hi bgorum,

Paul Freed here. I have been a client of Animals Animals since 1991 and although they are a fair company when it comes to selling images they are extremely strict and very picky when it comes to accepting images. For the initial submission they require 500 photos that are, as they put it, "technically perfect". That is to say, they only accept flawless images that are correctly composed (e.g. sharpness, lighting, etc.). Following that, they request a submission of several hundred images each year. However, the biggest problem with Animals Animals is the competition. In addition to many superb wildlife photographers (myself NOT included), they have on staff Zig Leszczynski. You may have heard of him and no doubt seen his work as his photos appear in countless books, journals, and magazines. Although he's not a herper, he takes portraitures of animals which seem to appeal to photo agencies. He also has tens of thousands of herp images on file with Animals Animals which makes competing with him extremely difficult. Given that he is a staff member of the organization, when a specific herp image is needed it isn't a mystery whose photo he is going to choose for a given project.

Another factor in Animal Animal's image selection is whether the subject is doing something. I have submitted hundreds of images of rare, beautiful, perfectly composed shots of reptiles and amphibians and all were rejected because they were not "doing something". They want images that tell a story by showing various behaviors such as: eating, mating, giving birth, combat, etc.

As you no doubt are aware the stock photo industry has taken a huge hit over the years with the advent of the internet. Nowadays, when someone want a specific image to use, whether it's for a presentation, class project, magazine article, or what have you, all they need to do is go to the internet and download it for free. As a result, I have seen my sales drop dramatically over the years and now I sometimes go several years without a single image sale!

Please understand that I am NOT trying to dissuade you from submitting images to Animals Animals, I am merely giving you a heads-up on what you can expect from them. Good luck in your pursuit!

-Paul

bgorum
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by bgorum » July 30th, 2015, 9:36 am

Nathan- I have to say I disagree with you completely. I'm a teacher and don't make a ton of money, but if you were to figure out my hourly salary it comes out to something in the 30 some odd dollars/hour range. So, if I take this number as the monetary value of my time, then what Getty is often selling images for doesn't even pay me for the few minutes it takes me to upload and keyword an image. Additionally, I would also be happy to receive $60 for an image if it weren't for the fact that Getty received $240 for that same image. Why should photographers accept crumbs thrown at them by Getty?

Jack- I agree.

Paul- thanks for the advise on Animals, Animals. What I read on their website said they wanted an initial submission of 200 images, which I can easily swing once Getty no longer has my pictures locked up. I don't have any concerns about the technical quality of my images and I do strive to take behavioral pictures, but I must admit a couple hundred per year additional would be beyond my current ability, unless I quit my job and shot full time, which doesn't seem like a really good financial decision :). I'll do some more research.

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Paul Freed
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Paul Freed » July 30th, 2015, 10:47 am

One more point, bgorum, I noticed that you said you would continue to submit images to Alamy; one of Animal Animal stipulations of being their client is that you have no other stock photo agency representing your work. However, just like the initial submission of 200 images has changed since I started with them in 1991 perhaps this aspect has also changed. You might want to look into that.
-Paul

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Nshepard
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Nshepard » July 30th, 2015, 10:56 pm

bgorum wrote:Nathan- I have to say I disagree with you completely. I'm a teacher and don't make a ton of money, but if you were to figure out my hourly salary it comes out to something in the 30 some odd dollars/hour range. So, if I take this number as the monetary value of my time, then what Getty is often selling images for doesn't even pay me for the few minutes it takes me to upload and keyword an image. Additionally, I would also be happy to receive $60 for an image if it weren't for the fact that Getty received $240 for that same image. Why should photographers accept crumbs thrown at them by Getty?
Fine by me. I'm not saying its perfect, without flaws, or fair. Not at all. But I do not make a great living and I am a in a recurring temporary position (11-month contract) with a masters and zero chance of becoming a permanent employee at 32 years of age. If I can go on a weekend trip and take a 25-50 keeper images and make a few hundred dollars over a year or two, why would I not do that?! I know they make more off of "my" work than I, but my time invested is not much and once they are uploaded I do nothing...for years. I do not pro-rate my time as equal to that of my hourly wage, that is ridiculous. Also, after I upload an images, I just kick back drink some beer and over time (time I am doing my job, hanging out, sleeping, etc.) those images are selling. Overtime, those little amounts for each sale become a bigger amount. And what did I have to do? Live my life. I call this, passive income. Furthermore, is stock images truly "my" work? All I do is take an image and upload it. They have the severs, attract clients, and do all the overhead (i.e., billing, w-2, etc.). It is a partnership in which I bring content that does not sell that well as stock and the content I bring is over abundant in the current digital marketplace.

And, because it is all about supply and demand. Stock images are high in supply, thus their demand is watered down - esp. herp photography.

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Stohlgren
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Stohlgren » August 2nd, 2015, 9:53 am

Nshepard wrote:Stock images are high in supply, thus their demand is watered down - esp. herp photography.
This is exactly why I wouldn't go the stock photography route, unless it was with a much more photographer friendly company (either in percentage or in effort to make sure a photographer's photos sell). I have sold a few photos over the the last few years for a couple hundred dollars total. I have also "given" some photos to be used in books in return for a copy of that book (and have several more that will be coming out in the near future). These books cost anywhere from $20-$50 and I would likely have bought them anyways so I look at that as adequate compensation. If I were to have put all of my images on Getty, I feel I would be lucky if the total I received from those sales was $50. And because Getty would control the rights to those images for the length of the contract, I wouldn't have been able to sell a really crappy photo of an Amphiuma for $100, nor would I have been able to allow my photos to be used in those books (someone correct me if I am wrong). So for me, the tradeoff doesn't make sense.

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Nshepard
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by Nshepard » August 4th, 2015, 1:25 pm

Stohlgren wrote:These books cost anywhere from $20-$50 and I would likely have bought them anyways so I look at that as adequate compensation. If I were to have put all of my images on Getty, I feel I would be lucky if the total I received from those sales was $50. And because Getty would control the rights to those images for the length of the contract, I wouldn't have been able to sell a really crappy photo of an Amphiuma for $100, nor would I have been able to allow my photos to be used in those books (someone correct me if I am wrong). So for me, the tradeoff doesn't make sense.
You are only barred from selling those images on other royalty free stock sites. You still own the images and their copyright. And if you put ALL of your images on getty, you'd do better than $50. Plus it would continue to make money as long as you had them up. I have 80 B grade images on shutterstock and I make a couple hundred a year off them. Most of those sales are only on about 20 images. Plus if you took a little time to shoot some actual stock photos, you'd make more. I actually make more off my herp shots than my actual stock images. My herp shots are generally better though.

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chrish
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Re: Is any one here selling stock photos?

Post by chrish » August 10th, 2015, 4:48 pm

I don't use stock agencies, but thought I would add something I read in a british photo magazine while on a long airplane flight last night. They suggested using a new site called picfair because it allows you to set the price for your photos and you get a much larger percent of the sale.

Don't know anything about them, just that the magazine recommended them - https://www.picfair.com/

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