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istockphoto.com: "Bringing the price down to a level where everybody can afford to buy a stock photo"
Some quotes from a recent discussion at Stockphoto.net. All started with a message “istockphoto.com is scary for the industry“:
I tried to post this message on alamycontributors group a while back in response to one of Jeff Greenberg's post, but my posts rarely seem to actually get posted over there. Perhaps the moderator doesn'tReaders were reponding:
like me... ;)
To the topic at hand...
They sell RF images for as little as $0.50 each, and as high as $3.00 each (dependent on file size). The photographer's cut is anywhere from $0.10 to $0.30 per sale.
There are big companies purchasing these photos as well. One of the contributors posted an AOL advertisement with a photo of his. AOL probably paid a buck or two for it--the photographer's cut was likely less than a quarter! I was quite surprised to read that--I would've assumed that a large company like AOL would want something a bit more unique....
So here's the scary data:
According to alexa.com, traffic-wise, they are rated below Getty (not surprising) and above Corbis (scroll to the bottom right to see the top 5 websites in the business>photography>stock category). Also ranking between these two stock giants is Photos.com, which is a subsription based RF site.
I'd like to believe that istockphoto and photos.com offers images to an entirely different market than agencies dealing in rights-managed imagery, but if companies like AOL are shopping there, I'm not really sure what to believe.
This is what I call destructive pricing - an entirely different things from the RF model operated by Alamy etc.and...
What you can believe is that if there are usable photos there, at least some photo users, like AOL, will be all over the new penny photography, especially if there are search methods for cutting through the crap to the photos that will suffice for their jobs (at their now lower photographic standards). They have been primed for it by RF purveyors.furthermore...
Now I have visited the RF site with that low price and involved on Istockphoto there is a photographer,..., with some very good images and a high technical skill. Looks professional.and finally...
There are others who do highly marketable stock work. Check out the "most popular files" section, and browse the work of the contributors there. You'll find that some of the photographers do much production work for the bulk of their photos, involving different models, wardrobes, and settings. It seems there are a handful of contributors that specialize in business or lifestyle imagery. Though their work is pretty ordinary, it is high quality stuff that I would consider quite marketable. And many of the better contributors use 6MP dSLRs.Believe it or not, this is only the beginning routine. These words are only a cold comfort:
But those high quality lifestyle shots deserve much more, especially considering that they are all model released!
...how many of thesewannabees actually earn a living from photography (probably none), as opposed to how many of them get beer money from their "professional" pictures (at a buck a pop, or less, they better have an even greater output than JG), while in the day to day world they pay their bills by peeling potatoes at McDonald's.
[© Image: Barnes&Noble/Indiana.edu/The Unknown Artist]