A Singular Creation Art Community
promoting and showcasing all types of art and photography

THE BUSINESS END OF PHOTOGRAPHY--PART II

We will post frequent tips for artists as well as tutorials that we've seen and like. Contributors are welcome. Post here if you need advice on anything art related.

Moderator: Moderators

THE BUSINESS END OF PHOTOGRAPHY--PART II

Postby pyewacket » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:34 pm

The rate of change that has occurred in the photography business is staggering, and to a newcomer to it all it can be confusing...It certainly is for me. I'm by no means a newbie to the photography world, as I've been involved with photography in one way or another just about my whole life. It wasn't until I got my first 35mm film camera, a Nikkormat EL-W back in 1977 that my world changed and I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the field of photography itself. Once I had a fairly adequate collection of images, I decided to approach magazines personally and began sending letters of inquiry for submission policies, and to inquire also, what specific images a particular company was looking for, and how far in advance...You see in the "old" days most magazine companies worked months and months in advance...many still do...but now that images can be downloaded from websites in a matter of minutes the old-time deadlines for magazines just doesn't hold as true anymore.

Well, I don't know if it was just plain dumb luck or what, but only after a month or so of sending out portfolios of my work, did I get the good news....my very first photo was to be published on the April 1980 cover of that inspirational/spiritual magazine, Unity, and naturally, of course, I was ecstatic. This really got me pumped and I just knew I was on the right track, besides, doesn't every artist yearn for some kind of recognition for their work. What could be better for a photographer than to see their photo on the cover of a magazine? For the next some odd years, I continued to send my portfolios to a variety of magazines, but I usually stuck to sending my work to those inspirational type publications. My main strong area in my photographic images were of the scenic/nature aspect--a genre most often used by such magazines. Well I continued to send my work out up until around 1996 when a variety of factors shut my career to a screeching halt. It has only been the past three or so years that I've ventured to get my life back on track and boy, was I ever in for a surprise, as things have changed quite a bit.

For one thing, when I started to send out my portfolios of my work again, I was in for a somewhat rude awakening that my "Type" of medium for photographic images are just not used any longer...that is 35mm color slides or prints. Oh, yes, there are a few relics out there who still use slides, but nowadays everything is digital. I only recently have had the means to transform my slide images into digitized images, and am now hunting around to prospective "clients" who could use my work...But that is where rude awakening number two came into view.

You see, it's not that publishing companies don't deal with photographers on a one to one level anymore...after all, your major big publishing houses and magazines often have their own staff photographers. But now a days, it's harder for an individual photographer like myself to get a leap over that barrier and get noticed. In a sense there are two main culprits for that...One is the invention in the first place, of the digital camera itself. Now just about anyone can snap away fairly decent photos, then tweak them a bit and create a spectacular photo...whether the original was that great or not. The second main culprit are the stock photography agencies. During those years I had been involved with my photography work, I steered clear of those agencies...why...well, first of all it just made sense. Dealing with the photo or art editor of a magazine one on one, I was paid the full fee for my photo. Had that very same photo been picked out and used via through a stock photo agency, who "represented" me, the photographer, I would have only gotten about half the fee. Just didn't make sense for me to go that route, now did it? Unfortunately, I was to quickly learn that for the most part hardly any publishing companies rely on individual photographers anymore and seek there photographic/illustrative needs simply by clicking on anyone of the hundreds and hundreds of stock photography websites, and lo and behold, an photography/art editor had before them thousands and thousands of images at their disposal and use, and can be download in a matter of minutes.

Now the next lingo I had to learn was that of "Rights" issues---Before, when I sold a photo to a magazine, my only concern was what kind of rights were offered. Was the magazine going to publish that photo of mine for a one-time rights basis...meaning that they could only use and publish that photo only once. If the company or magazine wanted to use that photo again, they had to pay me again..That type of rights issue was the best, since a photographer could in effect sell that photo over and over and over again, and get paid for it each time. Then there was the other extreme, that is, a photo used as exclusive world-wide rights, where the photographer could in a sense kiss that photo good-bye, since that company or magazine had exclusive rights over it and in a sense owned it flat-right.

Well the jargon and terminology has changed a bit...some of the rights issues a photographer faces is in some sense the same, only labeled differently. First there still are the more "traditional" stock photo agencies, who will still "represent" a photographer, and yes, still take their cut of the profits. Not only that, but some of these photo agencies actually require the photographer to pay a fee, such as $50.00 per image to be represented...Getty Images, probably one of the largest stock photography agencies in the world, has this as a "practice" if you want to be represented by them. There used to be many stock photo agencies that fell into this category, ironically almost all have now been gobbled up and taken over by none other than Getty Images itself. What Donald Trump is to the real estate mogul business, Getty Images is to the stock photography business.

If the agency is known and uses what is known as "Managed Rights", it means that there is a limit on how many times a "client" wishing to use that photo can use/publish it...almost like the one-time rights deal. From what I'm gathering,and the route I plan to go on is to search for those stock agencies that make use of the "Managed Rights" form of licensing for a photo. At least there is the hope of getting paid fairly decently.

Then there are the other types of agencies -- the microstock agencies--and from what I'm sensing here, any photographer in their right mind should steer clear of. The microstock "industry" only began around the year 2000, and one of the first known one was iStockphoto which is still doing a booming business still...Ah, but at a cost. You see, these type of stock agencies can offer clients wishing to use photos for any publication use or need at virtually pennies a photo. Just click here, click there, and for a few cents in some cases you have your publishing needs fulfilled. Great huh? Sure, great for the client wanting the photo, not so great for the photographer. Lets face it, if the client is buying a photo for practically pennies, then the poor slob photographer isn't getting much for that photo either. For the beginner photographer pursuing a wish to see there work published, that person might be enticed to think, wow, for each "download" of that photo of mine, I'm going to get paid for it...uh, yes, you will...but just do the statistical mathematics...and if that photographer is getting paid a grand total of perhaps $50.00 for that one photo a year...yes, a year...then that is probably a lot.

Next to staying away from the microstock agencies, a photographer shouldn't be enticed to accept royalty free rights for the same reason -- that photographer is going to get paid pennies for their work. Royalty free means that a "client" wishing to use a particular photo can use it over and over and over again, to an almost unlimited usage without paying extra--in my mind...is that fair? I don't think so.

The bottom line, for a photographer hunting around for a stock agency to represent their work, one has to do their homework...of course some agencies go both routes...having a managed rights division of photographers AND royalty free ... To my mind, for a beginner photographer trying to make an honest and REAL living from their work...my advice..stay clear of the mircostock type of agency...unless of course you have thousands and thousands of images on hand and don't really care about earning a living from your work...and stay clear as being a royalty free photographer for precisely the same reason--you just won't make money that way.

Then of course there are the places a photographer can hook up with where one can get an individual "spot" to have one's own website, and be under their wing so to say, but like everything else it comes with a price tag. I'm talking about AGPix which charges $550 a year...nice, but hey, I'm working on a real shoe string budget and I don't know about you but for now that is a bit steep for me.

http://www.agpix.com

I'm just embarking on this new venture of mine...Yes, I will seek out agencies to represent my work for now...But my eventual dream and goal, and one I hope to accomplish say within the next twelve months or so, is to establish MY OWN professional website to sell my work on line directly to clients. And yes, someday I wouldn't mind having a gallery exhibition of my work, especially my black and white prints. Ah...but for now, I do have a freebie website over at the Tripod web hosting site...at least it shows off some of my work, and I'm in the process of self-promotion...that is getting in contact individually by e-mail to the numerous book publishers and magazines that might be able to use my work...hey...nothing ventured nothing gained, right?


Anyway, you can get a gander of some of my work here. It's only a small fraction of the over 21,000 slides I have (yes you read right) and an estimated 15,000 black and white images I have.

http://melneer.tripod.com


For some reading up on the stock photography business you can check here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microstock_photography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_photography


And to take a look at least some examples of stock photography websites themselves, click here:

1. {getty images}

http://contributors.gettyimages.com/workwithus/page2.asp

2. iStockphoto

http://www.istockphoto.com/index.php

3. Absolute Photo

http://www.absolutestockphotos.com

These are only a few---just do a search by typing in stock photography and you'll be deluged with a result!!!



FROM TIME TO TIME I SHALL ADD MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE "BIZ" OF PHOTOGRAPHY....SO TO BE CONTINUED~~~~~~
~~All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us~~ Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
User avatar
pyewacket
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:37 pm
Location: New York

Postby ehoeveler » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:22 am

Melanie that was an in-depth look at the Photo biz and we thank you!
Painters are getting screwed in similar ways...(galleries take 50 per cent
and are rude to the artist alot of the time, or you have places that will show your work but you have to pay a fee, etc.)
I really enjoyed your comments; I get the feeling you know what you're
doing and that you'll be back on top again! E
User avatar
ehoeveler
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:06 pm
Location: Stockbridge, Ga.
Gallery: View Gallery

Postby DLKeur » Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:56 am

A this is the "there is more" section. Reading. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to write this.
User avatar
DLKeur
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:16 pm

Postby pyewacket » Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:53 pm

From what I understand, if in most cases an artist wants to exhibit their work at a gallery, doesn't the gallery usually suggest paying for the costs of framing artwork with one of thier framers, which of course charge an arm and a leg?
It's no wonder most of us are "starving" artists :lol: --but it's a shame that in this country--USA--the arts in general aren't patronized as they are in say Europe--I don't know if this is still true but I remember hearing a long, long time ago, since Ireland has such a regard for writers, that if you are a writer ( a ligit one) you can live tax free--wonder if anyone can verify this--


Oh and yes, I will add to this post from time to time--was ironically enough scanning some more of my work and uploading to Photograher's Direct--which yes, is a stock agency--but one of the better ones--it was recommended to me by a member of a stock photography forum I belong to--I must have exasperated them at times--most of these folk were all pros at this business--and here I come along with a zillion questions--My newbieness really must have shone through! But hey--if you don't ask the questions, you don't learn....right?
~~All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us~~ Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
User avatar
pyewacket
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:37 pm
Location: New York

Postby ehoeveler » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:04 am

Yeah, walking bent over with a sore a.s.s. is an occupational
hazard of being an artist in the U.S., to be sure. There are
groups in Atlanta who give courses on how not to get
screwed in the art world. We need to fight for ourselves
because no one else will!
My continued good wishes for your comeback. E
User avatar
ehoeveler
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:06 pm
Location: Stockbridge, Ga.
Gallery: View Gallery

Postby pyewacket » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:14 pm

I thought I just add this comment to my "tutorial" here....

I've been explaining the various concepts of what's out there as far as the stock photography "industry"---and yes, it could be considered an industry, and in many ways the only ones getiting rich, especially in the micro stock photography end of it are the owners of such agencies.

BUT then you have the other end of the spectra...the really unfair end of it---there are, believe it or not, stock agencies that do not license photos in either Managed Rights or Royalty Free....but FREE...yes FREE.....a client wishing for a photo for their needs just needs to click to a place like below:


http://www.picfindr.com/

Makes you wonder though...what does the photographer get out of this???
~~All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us~~ Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
User avatar
pyewacket
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:37 pm
Location: New York

Postby ehoeveler » Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:26 pm

Really! E
User avatar
ehoeveler
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:06 pm
Location: Stockbridge, Ga.
Gallery: View Gallery

THE BUSINESS END OF PHOTOGRAPHY--PART II

Postby lisatolliver » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:26 am

Thanks so much for your post. I've begun exhibiting and publishing my photography, too, and find many aspects of the industry to be daunting.

I find two related concerns to be daunting, as well, and would appreciate advise for addressing them:
(1) How to price my work, and
(2) How to prevent the unauthorized use of images, especially those posted online (which copyrighting is not sufficient to do).

Thank you!
lisatolliver
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:10 am

Postby pyewacket » Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:32 pm

Okay about pricing of photographs. It naturally depends how the photo is to be used in the publishing media...Most times the company will more or less dictate how much they will pay you...that is if you deal directly with a company.

There are supposedly stock photography price standards however...one place to get an idea what the going rate of photos is at this website


http://photographersindex.com/stockprice.htm


Another great source is to go to professional photographer, Seth Resnick's website as he too includes a listing of what he charges...

http://www.sethresnick.com

As far as preventing the unauthorized use of images that you may have placed on the internet or any website...including one you may have of your own...the best way perhaps is to watermark your photos. I've done an article all about this at Associated Content, which also gives links to various software programs to download, usually about $20, which will allow you to do this.
The article is here.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/articl ... hotos.html


Here's a sample of a watermarked photo

Image
~~All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us~~ Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
User avatar
pyewacket
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:37 pm
Location: New York

Postby Zenart » Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:27 am

Wow,
That is a lot of info, and Melanie you have a lot of pictures. Very nice work. I am not in the photography per say, but this realy opens my ayes. I always thought that the photographers' work was beter protected than this. And that site with free pictures for taking .... i don't get it. Sad.

Slav
Stop...think...imagine...create
User avatar
Zenart
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:15 am
Location: Caledon Ontario Canada
Gallery: View Gallery


  • Similar topics
    Replies
    Views
    Author

Return to Tips & Tutorials

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests