Archive for July, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

July 5, 2010

I hope everyone had a safe and sane Fourth of July. I enjoy taking photos of fireworks displays, and the City of Temecula put on an outstanding show at the Ronald Regan Sports Park this year. The fireworks and the music were a very good fit, and especially well timed.

Here are a few shots from my secret location at the sports park:

Note: This is a post that I’ve been tinkering with for some time and have finally decided to just post it 🙂

Micro stock is an unusual animal. For those who aren’t familiar with it, there are sites where you can license images royalty free for not a whole lot of money. This is great if you need an image for a presentation, a report, or a website. In the past, if you needed an image, you either had to:

a) take the picture yourself. This would work out well if you had the equipment necessary for such an endeavor. If not, it made the image a bit on the expensive and time consuming side.
b) hire a photographer to take the photos you needed. You would get your image fairly quickly, and you wouldn’t have to buy a bunch of stuff, but it could still be expensive.
c) contact a stock photograph agency and license the image from them. This can range from not a whole lot of money to quite a bit, depending on what you were planning on on doing with the image.

But I digress…

I started in my micro stock journey a few years ago, submitting photos to a couple of agencies. Sales were slow on most agencies, and rather brisk at one popular subscription site. After my portfolio reached a certain size, or perhaps a certain age, sales began to accelerate on some agencies, and drop off on others.

Maintaining portfolios on about a dozen agencies is a lot of work–each one has a different procedure for uploading images, assigning keywords and submitting images. Each agency also has differing tastes as to what they wanted to sell. One agency would reject most everything I submitted as being not what their customers were looking for while others would take everything. These inconsistencies between differing business models was just part and parcel of being an “independent.”

And this is how it went for a couple of years. Monitoring sales, keeping track of statistics, figuring out keywords, uploading, assigning categories, oh, and occasionally taking the odd photograph or two in between.

Towards the end of 2009, a number of major changes in the stock industry had occurred. A couple of the agencies to which I contributed closed down. Another agency had it’s portfolio moved completely to a subscription site, and then shut down. Another agency made some changes in their commission structure so that I was nearly giving my work away.

I finally had had enough of playing with all these different agencies, and decided to hang my hat on the one that had consistently outperformed all the other agencies I submitted to: iStockPhoto.

So it was with a bit of trepidation that I started pulling out of the different agencies. It wasn’t too hard on the agencies where sales were very rate. It was a bit harder on some of the others. I wound up being in a situation where I had to wait about three months before I could withdraw my images from one final agency. It was a very slow three months.

Finally, in March, I was able to click the “Exclusive” button on iStock, and I really haven’t given it another thought. It’s much nicer with only having to deal with one agency. While I may not make as many sales quantity wise as when I was independent, it’s definitely been worth it financially.

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