Hello photographers!  Are you lounging seaside with your favourite model, sipping a deliciously cold and beaded glass of the local brew?  Or is it more like watermelon clean-up and sprinkler duty with the shrieking pack of neighbourhood kids?  (Your Johnny dearest might be among them, but they seem straight out of the Lord of the Flies!)

Well, wake up from your fantasy or nightmare, and get back to work!  A stock photographer should take advantage of the summer months to prepare images for the upcoming season.  And after the slow sale summer months, it’s a good idea to provide a fresh supply of relevant images right as the season kicks off.  One such topic which can be easily produced by almost any photographer is The Return to School.

Come August, September and October, children and youth of all ages will be returning to their nurseries, day-cares, schools, and universities… and we need photos for this moment.  The images can run the gamut from quite realistic to utterly creative and artistic.  No matter your level of originality, the images should reflect your style, and you should keep in mind the following 6 tips.

  1. Styling - As we mentioned in an earlier post (styling) it´s important to use a wardrobe which is not just specific to summertime.  You can make the images less season-specific by incorporating clothing like jeans, jackets, sweatshirts, etc into some of the images.

  2. More Styling - Alternating styles to include both classic and trendy/extreme clothing will open your possibilities of creating images that will meet both an immediate vs. long-term and trendsetting vs. conservative demand.

  3. Coming and Going – Show children going to school, walking, biking, in a bus or a car, hand in hand with big bro/sis.  Try to capture details like the hands being held, the backpack being carried and different perspectives like a frontal shot of the child arriving and a shot from behind or the side.

  4. Study Time – Show children and youth studying in different environments such as: the classroom, the library and at home.  The children should use schoolbooks and notebooks, as well as tools such as laptops, calculators, etc.

  5. Social Time – For many, this is the best part of school (for others, the only part!) so be sure to take photos of kids interacting with each other at school, in outdoor areas, and at home.  Show them talking, laughing, smiling, walking and studying together.  Add textbooks or a laptop to some of the shots, and change nicer, more formal clothing for a more relaxed, casual look.

  6. School Stuff – When you´re tired of keeping the kiddies under control, take a break and photograph common school materials such as books, computers, backpacks, notebooks, pens & pencils.  Warning! There are many boring studio shots of these materials!!  Please have mercy on your photo-editors and send in creative and evocative images of school materials by using lighting, composition, selective focus and more to create an original image.

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Who stole the show from Royalty Free?

In Part 2 we mentioned a “younger, more economical starlet” that arrived to challenge RF.  That starlet was microstock, and by charging less than a dollar per photo, she did indeed steal part of the show from RF. 

To meet the growing market demand for good, low-cost images, age fotostock developed easyFotostock, a Low Budget Royalty Free (LBRF) collection . Let’s see what clients think about LBRF…

Why clients ♥ LBRF…

LBRF images are primarily created for the advertising/design industry, so they generally communicate clear concepts and clean compositions/backgrounds that can be easily used by a designer. 

The price is right.  Starting at 10 Euros for a 500 KB image and peaking at 80 Euros for 50MB, it’s much cheaper than standard RF.

Low priced images allow designers/agencies to create more economical budgets for clients that they might otherwise lose, like non-profits, etc.

It’s a good option for clients who use a high quantity of images.

LBRF images are licensed images, which means that the agency assumes its due responsibility if they have sold a problematic image, so there is no need to give special guarantees on the images.

Clients only pay for what they buy, they don’t have to prepay for credits or a subscription plan.  This gives them freedom to shop where they want.


Why clients don’t ♥ LBRF…

A client can’t purchase exclusivity of an image and doesn’t know whether the same image has been or will be used by a competitor.

There is also a greater chance of a client seeing the same image used repeatedly for different uses.

There is an even cheaper option (although with limitations) which is microstock or subscription plans.

In some cases, images shot with “prosumer” cameras aren’t available for large format uses or have other quality limitations.

Often, LBRF has many generic takes on the same concept, and there is little variety of specialized subjects available.


What photographers should know about LBRF

  1. Photographers that hope to turn a good profit from LBRF images must especially focus on quantity.  The quantity of sales is usually proportional to the quantity of images available.

  2. Sales of 10 Euros (easyFoto) add up a lot faster than sales of 14 cents (microstock).

  3. Photographers that are accustomed to producing RM and RF imagery will have to lower their production costs for LBRF in order to recover the investment since the images sell at lower prices.

  4. Textures and white backgrounds, a designer’s playthings, have found full expression in microstock and LBRF.

  5. Extremely specialized images of nature, science, medicine, etc. will probably not reach their full sales potential in LBRF.

  6. Many amateurs, eager to participate in the latest crowd-sourcing movement, become involved in stock photography before they understand the legal implications involved in licensing images.
  7. Just like in RF, there is a normal expectation from clients that LBRF images are completely released and free of third party rights.  You should never send images of recognizable people to LBRF if you don’t have signed releases and you should also be extremely careful with other subjects that are not free of third party rights, such as artwork.

  8. Just like in RF, in the case of a legal dispute, it is much more difficult for your agency to withdraw LBRF images from the market, and be able to track exactly how they were used.  This puts you a greater risk if a legal problem develops. 

  9. Any legal complications which arise can be multiplied in LBRF where an image might easily be used multiple times.


Here are some examples of the “designer’s playthings” that can be found in our LBRF collection easyFotostock.  And if you are wondering about the difference between LBRF and microstock, don’t worry, that’s coming soon…

 


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If you don’t know the answer to the above question, you aren’t alone.  In today’s potpourri of “users,” amateurs, and professional photographers, many people shoot, submit, and upload photos, and then see an RF, RM, or LBRF appear on the photo. But what are they?  Rights Managed (RM), Royalty Free (RF), and Low Budget Royalty Free (LBRF) are license types. What’s the “best” license?  We will talk about the three license types during the next few weeks.  If you understand the licenses, you can direct your product, the photo, for greater success.

Let´s start with RM

Did you know Rights Managed (RM) photographs are licensed for a specific use in a concrete geographical area and for a set amount of time?  There is a control of the use of the image, and that’s why they are called rights managed.

Why Clients ♥ RM…

Clients choose RM for the great variety of subjects available, including specialized subjects such as medicine, technology, and science.  In RM, these specialized subjects are usually documented thoroughly. 

RM prices are negotiable and adjust for the scope of a project.  “Negotiable” in these days means that a client can ask for a lot… And sometimes get it.

RM allows a client to purchase exclusive rights for the use of an image, important for an advertiser who wants to stand out from the competition.


Why Clients don’t ♥ RM…

Images with a wide distribution, multiple uses, or exclusivity can be expensive.

Clients have to renew the image license to continue using the image after the initial term is up.  This entails a certain administrative effort.

Many RM images have no model or property release so they can’t be safely used for advertising uses.  What a pity!


What photographers should know about RM.

  1. Standout creative or original images can be valued accordingly in RM.  This is for photographers who create images rather than merely describe places.

  2. If you have nonexclusive images in multiple stock agencies, make sure that you can block an image fast when an agency mentions 10 grand for an exclusive possibility…  Also be sure that your agency can get in contact with you.  If you are off shooting in the Congo, an assistant or trusted other should be checking your business email.

  3. Photographs of specialized subjects will probably find more potential buyers and the chance of a well-paid exclusive sale in RM. Clients look for well described images, with complete, accurate captions so you should be knowledgeable about the material that you submit and provide all relevant information. 

  4. If you have unreleased images of people, artwork, protected buildings, or copyrighted/trademarked material, RM is the safest place to distribute those images because your agency will help screen out improper uses, can quickly remove the image from market, and can produce the sales history if needed.  However, please note, some images aren’t even safe in RM!  See more legal info.

  5. If it is at all possible, you should always get a model release signed.  Even you travel photographers!  Here you can find a simple pocket release for street photos and our standard model release.  Use the standard release when possible.


Here are some images which represent the spirit of RM.  Stay tuned to get up close and personal with the Lovely RF in the coming weeks…


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The current stock photo market is based on many people shooting images and generating more photos than ever before in photography history. That´s why age fotostock has been adapting our internal processes to receive and upload the images as effectively and quickly as possible. We are proud to announce the latest upgrade for age fotostock photographers, added to the Photographer's Area.

“my submissions” is a new option on the menu which allows you to track your submissions until the images appear in the web. Within this area, you will also have the opportunity to correct problems in the keywording of your images, review any technical problems, and verify when releases are missing. Please note, you will have a limited amount of time (60 days) to correct any problems that we have detected.

If you haven´t received your guide by email, you can find it here, but you should confirm that we have your latest contact information and that our emails aren’t going to your junkmail.

If you are interested in becoming an age fotostock photographer, see section 1 of our Road Atlas for Photographers.


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Here´s a post for all of the fifty-something stock photographers out there.  Hold on! I´m not talking about anyone´s age.  “Fifty-somethings” are the photographers who manage to get 50 images on sale in any stock photography collection and then suddenly they stop sending more...

What´s wrong with 50?

If we take the age fotostock collection as an example, and assume that you have 50 rights managed (RM) photos in stock, the following occurs:

  1. There are 16,865 age fotostock RM images for every 1 image of yours.

  2. There are 196,039 RM, Royalty Free (RF) and Low Budget Royalty Free (LBRF) images on our website for every 1 image of yours.

So the chance that your image will be seen, first in our collection, and secondly, on our website, is comparable to:

  1. The odds that you are an albino of some kind: 1 in 17,000.

  2. The odds that the asteroid "2002NT7" will strike the Earth on Feb. 1, 2019: 1 in 200,000.

If you are albino and you already have an asteroid shelter built, than those odds might sound good.  If you are a photographer who would like to earn a living from your photography, you’d be better off playing the lottery.

As we tell new photographers and have told many of the old ones, you need to have an image presence of at least 1000 images to expect regular sales, since they are competing to be seen among close to 11 million images on our website.  If you only have 50 photos now, you might make an occasional sale, but please don´t wonder why your images don´t sell. Whether your 50 are in our collection, or anywhere else, just start shooting and make that 50 grow!


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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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