The morality of microstock

Discussion in 'Photography' started by chieftiff, Dec 30, 2010.

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  1. I know that there is at least one professional photographer here and I suspect several amateurs may share my method of saving up for new kit namely microstock. Now I've been doing this for a while now and have noticed that recently the agencies have got much much fussier, fine I thought, I'd better start submitting my better stuff rather than the crap I've been getting away with but recently I had an image rejected because "the focus is not where we think it works best" and I've noticed that they accept fewer and fewer landscapes as their libraries have started to stretch at the seams with what are essentially people's holiday snaps. Now that sort of made me think about how tedious it must be to be a professional photographer because the focus is exactly where I want it to be and I couldn't honestly give a flying f*ck where some 12 year old image editor thinks it should be. On average the agency licenses one of my images for about a fiver (very occasionally more and it can be up to about £30), I get about £1 depending on the agency sometimes even less (recently 18p but I have received as much as £7) but I can occasionally sell an image hundreds of times which keeps me happy(ish) more often though I'll make only say a fiver from an image in any one year. So I thought how can a professional photographer make good money nowadays between commissions/ assignments or freelance opportunities?

    I just came across this article and I've got to say it initially made me angry, when I read the comments of one Taabitha in the responses beneath it made me absolutely outraged. Allegedly a stock editor she seems unable to realise that the very thing she is advocating is impossible if a photographer is so busy photographing crap for peanuts he/she can't possibly afford to travel/ think/ reflect/ create/ eat and buy kit to create better imagery. It seems that a whole arm of this industry has been destroyed, creativity stifled and people are undoubtedly being taken advantage for the sake of profit. Further reflection made me realise that profit is actually an aside the real crime is the one committed against my eyes and my imagination; all that drab clinically clean imagery in magazine ads that all just seems so similar. Like everyone else who tries to make a few quid at this game I spend hours cleaning the images I submit - de-noising to the nth degree, ensuring histograms are evenly spread, sharpening, masking, filtering etc and not because I think it benefits the image but because I know the agency will reject it if it's not done ie if it's not the same as all the other images they stock in their libraries. I can't remember the last time I saw a truly creative or gritty image in a magazine that wasn't expressly aimed at people who appreciate imagery (art/ photography/ fashion mags seem to be the only one's interested in stimulating creativity)

    Anyway, here's the link, have a read and see what you think, I'm just glad I do this for a laugh and have a well paid job and pension that pay for me to be creative however I want, whenever I want and not have to bow to this kind of crap to make a living. The Time Magazine Cover Photo “Ripoff” « Mark Stout Photography – Photoshoot News & Models