All of you should read the following post in the CEPIC Blog which debates the recent Dreamstime Microstock offer of over a million images for free use, based on the pedestrian thinking that people that get images for free will eventually pay for them sometime in the future...

CLICK to read the article in the Cepic Blog 

Our photographers' chatroom has been humming with backlash. Here's just a few of the photographers' reactions:

"I'm not allowed to talk about the "old" days but back then the bosses of the agencies cared passionately about the business and often were artists as well, now it's all about money for them and lack of it for us.It won't be too long before photographers have to pay to sell their photos that are being given away free."

"I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that shooting stock in this type of environment is rather pointless and perhaps not worth the effort for the 99%. Luckily I have other more marketable skills."

"I might be the eternal optimist, but I think there is still a decent paying place for high quality niche images. One that a micro shooter could not produce and one any jackass can't take with their iPhone. I try and produce them all the time."

"There is certainly no NEED for FREE content in today's ADVERTISING market. If you want to advertise, PAY the creator of the content you'd like to use! When one person (or business) WANTS to use free content - that doesn't mean another person has to deliver it at his own expenses."

It is clear that digital technology and the Internet has opened the door for new business models that favor the distribution process that balances the lowering of selling prices with the generation of volume. While this may initially sound logical, the ugly side is that photographers in general and the stock photography industry in particular will fall into decline because photographers cannot generate enough revenue to continue producing great images.

Cheap prices have devaluated photography to unimaginable levels in just a few years and have demoralized professional photographers. I believe that the only way to maintain the value of photography is to produce high quality content that attract clients attention because it is unique, innovative, creative and experimental and which maintains a more than decent price. age fotostock maintains the same principles, shooting the best images we can and trying to sell them for the best possible price.

We have entered into a vicious circle that we can only break out of if photographers and stock agencies demolish the fence that separates them and openly discuss certain pricing logic - otherwise the future will be uncertain for both of us.


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To quote a photographer in age fotostock's photographers' chatroom:

"To produce great images, money isn’t the main necessity. It´s imagination, conceptualization and being able to use available resources that are the most important things"

Words from the wise - it’s true! We’re finding that photographers don’t need to break open their piggy banks for a photo shoot with top models in the Caribbean in order to make images that sell. They needn’t even leave their neighborhood. With a general shift in image trends, the world of design and publicity is tending towards images that mix creative flair with real life moments, images that give us a unique way of seeing the most ordinary things.

Photographers, look around you - there’s a high chance that your best photos can be taken in exact spot in which you’re standing. Attention to detail, a creative angle, willing friends that will sign a model release (hey, this is one of the only times it’s suitable to say “shoot your children”), people going about their daily lives, in natural locations – with a little imagination all of these make excellent ingredients for images that can quite simply knock your socks off. Remember, gold is not the only thing that glitters…!


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From a keywording point of view this is not an image

If someone asks you what can you see in the image above, what would you answer? Is that a landscape, a single tree, farmlands, the horizon, blue, green, yellow…? What would you say?

Perhaps you have something more conceptual in mind - like nature, isolation, solitude or tranquillity. If that's the case, we are on the right track. However, how many photographers do you think would add obvious, but not needed words like photo, photograph, photography, image or shot to their keywords (unless, of course, your photo shows indeed a photo)? Let me give you the answer: many!!

From a keywording point of view not everything is “holidays”

Keywords like holidays, vacation, relaxation, tourist destination, tourism or leisure should be used with moderation. Not every photo we take on our holidays falls in the holidays category. We can take a pleasant walk across the field in the above image during a holiday trip, but that doesn’t make it's a holiday pic.

Images of an indigenous community in Africa or a garbage can on a street corner are not holiday pictures either, even if you were comfortably seated on a safari jeep, or in a tour-bus, or walking around with your backpack when you took the picture.

From a keywording point of view this image is not a calendar

Keywords like calendar, postcard, greeting card, etc. shouldn’t be used unless that’s exactly what the photos are showing. Surely this image would fit perfectly in a wall calendar; it could make for a nice postcard as well, but the image is neither a calendar nor a postcard. Therefore, why are many photographers adding keywords which have possible end-uses of their images in mind?

Deciding how the photo is going to be used is up to the customer, not to you; your responsibility is locating the tree precisely and giving the date it was taken, although now we extract the date from the Exif data automatically. When analyzing searches logs that the www.agefotostock.com site creates, we don´t see clients searching using keywords like calendar, greeting card, postcard, etc., but we do see many searches for trees, fields, nature, isolation, solitude, colors, dates and precise places on earth. Why waste time loading up your images with plenty of unnecessary words? They won´t sell more, I tell you!

From a keywording point of view this image is not abroad (not for Czechs, at least)

This photo was taken in Southern Bohemia, in the Czech Republic. There’s little doubt that this place is abroad for the most of us, but someone who lives in Prague could feel quite at home there.

And that’s the point: foreign, abroad, overseas, faraway… all those relative concepts are dependent on the observer’s location, because if you are in Texas, the Czech Republic may sound like the end of the world, however in this global community, just when we all are trying to be world citizens, it’s not a good idea to use distance keywords to separate places, because nowadays distances are relative. Therefore foreign, abroad, overseas, faraway, alien, foreigner, etc. should be avoided unless the photo actually depicts these concepts.

Well, in fact this image is not a lot of things

It doesn’t help us to find keywords which don’t belong to the photo in question, even if they were quite appropriate for other images you sent us along with this one. It may sound obvious, but we must be careful when we assign keywords to a batch of images using Lightroom, Capture One or any other similar program because you should make sure that all keywords are valid for all images before synchronizing metadata. Otherwise search results will be inaccurate, and worst of all really frustrating from the client’s perspective.

From a keywording point of view this image only needs common sense when describing it

When thinking of keywording, keep in mind that common sense is the basic rule and minimalism is the required approach. Using less keywords but the appropriate ones, is often better than maximalism, using every single word that you think will make your images appear. In other words: less is more and common sense is required. Are you using some common sense when keywording your images? I bet most of you’re not!


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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