Enhancement of Photography Section

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Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby melissan on Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:25 am

I have been scanning the photography section of CC at length. Obviously with only two sold photographs, something is lacking. Maybe the photography section is new and therefore virtually unknown so far and it will pick up. I have some suggestions for what they are worth:

Pictures of pets should not be on this site. Boring, standard pictures of dogs and cats that are just lying on the floor or are far away in the distance, abound on the site. Although some pictures may be worth publishing, they are overtaken by the mundane and any buyer would most likely get easily discouraged and pass through without ever seeing the good stuff.

I found several pictures with a usage fee of $175. Sites such as big stock photo sell pictures for usage fees for less than $5, most for a $1 or $2. Why in the world would a buyer purchase any picture for $175, let alone for useage only? Clearly one of the great benefits of CC is to establish our own prices, but can't we be a little more sensible?

I found pictures of house plants out of focus, coins tossed on the table, and just in general pictures that were clearly snapshots of items in the house with no planning, staging or lighting involved.

To be taken more seriously, I think our photography content needs to be much higher quality and competitively priced.

Just my two cents....
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Postby Ed on Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:43 am

I don't know what the status is of the photography section, but I don't think it's to the point of advertising it, yet, which is probably one reason it doesn't show many sales.

While I'm sure there are some professional photographers on the forums who might disagree with one or two of your points, I tend to agree on all of them. On the other hand, there are some absolutely stunning travel (and other) photos that are available for purchase which have actual composition, clear details, striking colors, and exemplary visual appeal.

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Postby melissan on Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:54 am

To be clear...there are a number of excellent, well taken photographs on this site and many are priced reasonably. My point is only that the poor photographs bring the quality of all that is offered down. Do I think photographs are worth much more than 2 or 3 dollars? Of course. I only suggest the lower pricing to be competitive with other sites that offer the same service.
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Postby Ed on Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:06 am

Some photographers feel that stock photo sites are responsible for bringing down the prices of professional photography:
http://www.constant-content.com/forum/v ... php?t=4574
http://www.constant-content.com/forum/v ... php?t=4285

However, digital images do not require the processing non-digital photos would require; digital cameras have made photography a more accessible art, even though those who have had professional training and use special equipment should, of course, ask more for their work.

Some of the high prices that you see are asked by people who are taking a shot in the dark. We get the same thing in the articles section. Others are asking what they would ask if they were shooting on commission. And others ask a price below what the photo is probably "worth."

At any rate, I have just run out of educated responses to your comments. I took two great non-digital photo classes in university, but that's all I have to go by. ;)

Ed
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Postby David Thiel on Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:08 pm

I have been wondering about the same thing myself.

Stock Photo sites are all over the Web. Clients can choose art round the clock, often for two or three dollars. In a way, photographers have been contributing to their own demise by selling their work for pennies on the dollar as they HOPE to get volume sales.

On the other hand, there are some market realities that we must simply accept. Personally, I choose NOT to sell my work to stock sites, but many hundreds of others will.

I think the comments made about poor photographic content, composition and quality on SOME of the pics for sale through CC are valid. There is a great deal of very poor work -- but there is excellent work also.

Perhaps the best way to market photos through CC is to use only the really good images? It's already going to be difficult enough to drag art directors away from their tried and true suppliers.

I am constantly on the lookout for a site that will provide a "step up" from the stock photography options. I can't be the only one.

David
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Postby Ed on Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:21 pm

I hear you . . . and I'm sure that the photography section will develop. Right now we only get about 50 submissions per week, so it's still in its infancy. It doesn't yet have a dedicated expert staff member.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby mukesh on Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:54 am

Unfortunately now you can't even see the pictures recently posted. The pictures you see are at least a month old.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby REason on Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:16 pm

Thank you Ed for giving out the links to the posts regarding pricing. The more people that see them the better! However, I feel the need to clarify. The reason that I posted information was an attempt to education other individuals who wish to submit photos. I was trying to actually get them to understand that there are different business models in the world of stock agencies. These business models actually set the prices of stock photos. I stated that this is like "comparing apples to oranges" because Constant Content's business model is different than the $1.00 micro stock agencies. Therefore, one may come to the conclusion that the prices on Constant Content should be higher.

I would like to see the prices of the photos rise. Since the holder of the intellectual property actually sets this price it is out of my hands. I don't actually believe that all stock agencies are to blame for cheap prices, it is the holder of the intellectual property. Unfortunately there are not many people who are educated in business, intellectual property or even common sense to realize when they are breaking the law. An example is an American federal law that dictates and gives specifications on how to photograph American currency. I gasped when I saw the photographs of coins on the site. Photographers and graphic designers should know this. Oh, and before anyone can say "that is only in America" other governments have similar laws. While I'm on the topic of currency large stock agencies have implemented the "no more currency" policy.

Constant Content is all about licensing, there is no reason why they shouldn't expand into visual graphics. I'm all for it! I would like to see the uneducated become educated in photography. It's not always about shutter speeds it also about business, knowing what is legal and what is illegal. I would also like to see a policy regarding photography permits for national parks put in place. It is illegal to commercially sell photographs of American state parks without a permit. Constant Content should raise the bar and start adding on to its photography policy. Once the policy is in place, the chance for becoming a better agency takes place. A chance to bring in better photographs and increase sales.

To intellectual property right holders - step up to the challenge to be professional photographers. Educate yourself.
To all photographers and graphic artists of all skill levels I ask you this: Would you rent out your camera and computer for .05 cents a week? - think about that when you are stock setting prices.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby REason on Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:36 pm

I found several pictures with a usage fee of $175. Sites such as big stock photo sell pictures for usage fees for less than $5, most for a $1 or $2. Why in the world would a buyer purchase any picture for $175, let alone for useage only? Clearly one of the great benefits of CC is to establish our own prices, but can't we be a little more sensible?


Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm the $175 price. I suggest that you do a little more research into the business aspects of photography before pleading for more people to be more sensible. That price is market price used by large international stock agencies, which consider themselves non-micro stock agencies offering fair trade stock photography. The price takes into consideration the size of pixels and royalty free use (because that is what Constant Content is really doing even though they don't implicitly say it).

I'm more than willing to share information, but I encourage self exploration. Educate yourself and then decide your own prices.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby lerograph on Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:12 am

Im totally with you there, any customer bumping into prices and low qual like these arent likely to come back. Sadly, the photo section seems like a cemetery of Desperate Housewives´ garden flower shots, price 170 dollars.

The illustration section is covered with photos. Its not an illustration if someone accidently bumps into a photoshop filter!

Sorry for the harsh words, but thinking about what customers want is the key to success :D

- lerograph
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby REason on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:57 pm

Sadly, the photo section seems like a cemetery of Desperate Housewives´ garden flower shots, price 170 dollars.


I believe the point that is trying to be made in the quote is related to the business term "dumping". The term dumping is used when products are being sold on the open market for less than the cost to produce them. This in turn often leads to market saturation. First, let me state that there are no US laws regarding image dumping as there are with other industries (sugar as a past example). But without stock agency policies put in place it is possible that the agency could turn into nothing more than a dumping ground. It is within this area that imagery contributors need education, since it is the contributors who set prices. There are not many stock agencies that allow photographers to set their own prices. I am aware and sensitive to this fact and try to use fair trade practices even when under severe criticism. It is common thinking that all stock agencies are the same, but that isn't true.

To all who are new to the photography industry - please strive to do the research and gain the business knowledge. The first thing that everyone should educate themselves is on the business models of the stock agencies. Then compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. When this is done an understanding of the market prices will be gained. You simply should not compare Constant Content with micro-stock agencies. It is a completely different business model. This is key to understanding image market prices. To gain more understanding simply ask yourself "Where does the stock agencies revenue come from?". Do the research! You will be surprised, it's not always the obvious. Let me be absolutely clear, stock agencies who obtain revenue through other channels offer licenses of imagery less than market price. This is where the pricing confusion begins. There are other pricing factors but the agency business model is the primary one.

I have tried to pass along as much information to educate. I am willing to try to answer any questions that people have. So feel free to post questions! Strangely enough, no one really has. There are always questions, in any community. Sure, I can write an article but that wouldn't help anyone in this community. Sure, I can generate some trendy buzz word criticism, but that still doesn't help people or the industry. What will help is knowledge and information. Posting questions can get the ball rolling. Pricing images is a very hot topic as Constant-Content leaves it up to the contributor while providing more pricing guidelines on articles than on imagery. It's only natural to have questions in this area.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby lerograph on Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:37 pm

First, you need a concept. WHOM do you want to buy? Cosmopolitan as well as Sida Falls Chronicle? Advertising trenched websites in need of "filling" material?
Special Interest Magazines? It means we have to offer a good range of photos, but should NOT sink below a certain level.

Just take ONE glimpse into a stockphoto site like corbis.com and tell me how much better THIS sites photo offers are in quality and price ...
First, determine quality THEN you can tag a price, not before. To compete, you have to offer similar quality done by semiprofessionals and hobbyists at lower prices. Herb Ritts wont bother with such a site, because he doesnt have to.

Markets work by offer and demand which regulates prices. WHY should anybody buy something worse for more cash?
Not saying YOU put in those boring flowerhead shots, but they are neither professional looking nor well taken!

So, if people insist offering low qual to high prices, good luck & keep on dreaming and be happy on your planet wherever that might be. 8)

please strive to do the research and gain the business knowledge


yep. already 15 years of advertising and photoshoot quality control. If Ed wants to, I could help you out with picture quality control. I really think there could be lots of good potential in offering photos, if measured with the same tough quality checks like written articles!

if you like, check out my works, lots of them "handpainted" retouched photographs:

http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/mypic ... y/14267532
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/mypic ... y/14267472
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/mypic ... y/14267424
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/mypic ... y/14266852

lerograph
Last edited by lerograph on Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby REason on Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:24 pm

Sounds like we are both professionals trying to convey some expertise on the topic. All of the comments are related to quality, however, I'm trying to give out information that will assist contributors when conducting research on setting prices. Since you brought up Corbis, I will use them as an example. Comparing Corbis to Constant-Content is like comparing Apples to Oranges. Corbis runs their stock agency business model differently than Constant-Content. Corbis's model is such that photographers have to pay them, thus Corbis's prices for imagery has a potential to be less. Corbis is also considered a subscription based model. They obtain revenue in two different channels, thus the business allows for imagery to be priced at a discount rate. Constant-Content doesn't charge any photographer fees, nor are they running subscription based business model. This is what I believe is causing confusion when contributors are trying to price their images.

What kind of advice would other seasoned photography contributors give to assist others in pricing their images?

Quality is of course one element that Constant-Content can control and I'm glad to hear that someone has volunteered.
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby SuzanneBosworth on Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:25 pm

I've recently joined CC as a writer and a photographer, and without wishing to come across as a wild witch I'd like to add a point or too. I'm pleased to see that quality in the gallery will be much more closely monitored and I'm hoping that someone with good photographic quality assessment skills will be giving some good honest feedback on the current collection and do some judicious but sensitive weeding.

Here's my tuppenceworth. CC appears to be a great model for freelance writing as good fees are charged and there is excellent quality control. The same criteria for quality have to be applied to the photographic section otherwise yes, buyers are going to assume that anything goes in the gallery and will see that the standard is not consistent and that some images really shouldn't be there. It calls the quality control process into question.

There's potential here for a terrific niche market for which CC could become known and respected, but what that niche is I haven't yet quite thought through :wink: Trying to be all things to all buyers is difficult when the bank of images is tiny in comparison to other stock agencies - yes, why should they come here when there are plenty of other places to go and where there are viewer-friendly apps like lightboxes.

One suggestion is this - for writers who are also photographers to illustrate their own articles and to present the whole thing as a package. A price with photographic illustration, and one without. Access in a pop up viewer to the set of photographs at a very low res, with added notes on file sizes and formats, plus any other info people think might be useful. The buying point is that buyers don't have to go searching for illustrations - this is a one-stop place for illustrated articles if they so wish. That would encourage them to visit us for further illustrations for other articles they may have, given that they're building up a loyalty with CC.

Just a thought. Looking forward to photographic developments! ('scuse the awful pun :oops: )
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Re: Enhancement of Photography Section

Postby canywriter on Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:49 am

Excellent suggestion, Suzanne. I second that, and believe that it would really help customers pick up the whole package at CC rather than to go looking for pics to match. We know that article-pic packages work in print, might be a good idea to offer that here at CC.

Personally, as a writer and photographer, I think it would be a great niche position for CC - one that builds on the reputation that CC already has with articles.

Cany
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