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Conversation on MSG - Morale of long(er) term contributors


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just had a read of many comments Steve and then stopped as is so negative...the general malaise is across the board. Farbled comment said it all for me. Wanted to trade in my Canon kit for a DSLR but no camera exchanges interested anymore. The only images I take are on my iPhone 5s if I happen to see something worth taking which is usually editorial. So will get on and finish a long time book project and edit a huge back catalogue of photos from the last 25 years. Had no luck with book cover agencies although tried twice and don't feel motivated to try again at this stage. Someone  mentioned the 'reset' coming well it is world wide me thinks in practically the whole system of living. Bit like a metamorphosis of even the human race. Although that is just my personal perception. Motivation and tiredness are common factors too of this extended lockdown apparently. Maybe I need to re-evaluate if the time I spend trying to earn 10 cents is better spent in finding beauty in other aspects of life as the days roll by. My thoughts though go out to creatives who are now struggling to earn enough to look after themselves and their dependants. But hope springs eternal so once January's reset is here new plans can be made in 2021.

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I've noticed on Pond5 forum that when things are going well meaning contributors are getting decent sales, the forum is quiet.  When it's bad, the forum is active.  I don't post when things are going well either.  Forum is a place to complain about how bad things are.  When it's going well, I don't post how wonderful it is selling stock videos/photos.because I don't want more people doing this increasing competition.  I don't tell everybody in TV/video industry that I'm doing stock video because I don't want to increase the competition.  I tell a handful of friends in the industry about stock video/photo, but don't promise $250/hr (excluding hours when you are actually out there shooting, lol) income because they may end up below minimum wage if they are not good doing this.  I just tell them you may make some extra money on the side.  I hear about contributors on Pond5 with thousands of video clips complaining about very sporadic sales there.  I doubt they are making much more than the minimum wage when you add all the hours you worked for including hours shooting, traveling and also the cost of equipment.  It's not an easy business like some are trying to mislead.  You may end up making less than minimum wage and I think many are making less than minimum wage and quit.

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I don’t buy this whole talk of talking = increasing competition. To me it sounds grossly like illusions of grandeur. Market is just too large and chaotic.

I speak openly about book covers but know full well that most people won’t be accepted into arcangel and those that do (wish them luck) may not have sales and shortly give up after 

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21 minutes ago, Alexandre Rotenberg said:

I don’t buy this whole talk of talking = increasing competition. To me it sounds grossly like illusions of grandeur. Market is just too large and chaotic.

I speak openly about book covers but know full well that most people won’t be accepted into arcangel and those that do (wish them luck) may not have sales and shortly give up after 

Alexandre FWIW I don't think that was directed at you. I think your blog and advice is open and honest, and certainly doesn't present a disingenuous or misleading  picture of the industry like others blvdone is referring to. 

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27 minutes ago, Foodio said:

Alexandre FWIW I don't think that was directed at you. I think your blog and advice is open and honest, and certainly doesn't present a disingenuous or misleading  picture of the industry like others blvdone is referring to. 

Correct.  Thanks.

I like Alex's blog.  It's very helpful to know what's happening in the industry.  And he's not screaming "it's easy money over here!!  Come join!!".  His blog shows how not easy this business is and you may end up not making decent money.  That's the reality.

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3 hours ago, balajisrinivasan said:

Right now, I think there's more money to be made exchanging leftover bottles for a few cents than selling images on MS markets.

You may want to try walking around restaurants with drive through service, looking for dropped change and also parking lots of grocery stores. Better yet, find a night club that's only open in the evening and has a big parking lot. Go in the morning and pick up what drinkers have dropped on the way back to the car. I see old people (I mean yes I am one, but...) who go through the parks in the morning, pulling out aluminum cans for recycling.

True to the thread, less people on the forums, because there's less to share and less interest with the cuts in commissions, not to ignore lower sales for some as well.

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A lot of the recycling centers near us (almost all of them in Oakland) are no longer accepting bottles and cans due to the risk of covid. Not sure how they validate that as it's not like it's going to jump off cans and bottles and infect the workers, but there are almost no places left to actually turn in cans. I don't collect them from the streets, but we do consume a fair amt of canned beverages with teenagers still in the house, so I do recycle what I buy. If I have to pay the CRV, then I'd like to be able to retrieve it back too.

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So long as agencies are racing to the bottom, trying to attract customers with low prices, professional contributors will be demotivated. 

Selling stock used to require a honed craft, now all it requires is naïveté and a camera of some sort.

When such contributors can crowd out individuals who are willing to work hard to produce good content, and care about earnings... well, we'll just go elsewhere.  The wal-mart model agencies will thrive on small portfolios from people who are happy enough to see a sale, and not actual profit.

I don't see that changing any time soon.

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19 hours ago, Rudy Umans said:

Full time contributors saw this coming a long time ago and it should not have been a surprise.

The professional stock photography industry was doomed the moment the subscription model was introduced about 16 years ago. Most realized that and always had a back-up plan (ay least the ones I know)

To add a little to your observations, that's why I never went full time or serious about Microstock. Some people did very well and worked hard, very smart, styles, trends and uploads. How much does anyone want to invest in time and equipment, just to name two factors, to get paid 10 cents? Hobby, getting paid for doing what I love.

Even when I started and it was 25c there was no motivation to make a serious effort. That was my view. Everyone else is welcome to their own.

Every agency has cut our portion of the earnings from what we got paid in 2012, by various means.

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2 hours ago, HodagMedia said:

To add a little to your observations, that's why I never went full time or serious about Microstock. Some people did very well and worked hard, very smart, styles, trends and uploads. How much does anyone want to invest in time and equipment, just to name two factors, to get paid 10 cents? Hobby, getting paid for doing what I love.

Even when I started and it was 25c there was no motivation to make a serious effort. That was my view. Everyone else is welcome to their own.

Every agency has cut our portion of the earnings from what we got paid in 2012, by various means.

We are at the same page here

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8 hours ago, Alexandre Rotenberg said:

I once liked the “your pics are just gathering digital dust on your hard-drive” pitch.

Now they are gathering digital dimes.

Wasn't it Make money from old photos, sitting on your hard drives, gathering dust, on your computer?

old-photo-on-hard-drives-on-computer.jpg

Perfect graphic example of those words, as an image? 😉

Never sold once!

(probably couldn't get it accepted anywhere either?)
 

The agencies didn't make most of the claims and promises, the artists looking for referral income did.

 

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