Photographer Compares Microstock Sites To Pollution And Drug Dealing
from the yeah,-that's-convincing dept
However, the really amusing part is highlighted by an anonymous commenter on the site who mocks the photographer for whining about how microstock sites are undercutting his old business model at the same time that he's advertising his own books and services online, rather than advertising in newspapers and phone books. As the commenter notes:
If everyone is supposed to stop posting their photos and selling to istock, how about photographers stop using the Web and advertise in phone books and newspapers so those jobs aren't lost? And maybe you can go back to using film instead of digital so that film manufacturers aren't put out of business? Sounds like to me you're all for taking advantage of technology except when others doing it hurts your bottom line.And that's really a key point. Technology changes markets, and the more you look, the more you realize that it almost always enlarges the overall market for those who take advantage of it. Yes, there's more competition in the photographer market, and the model for stock photography has changed. But the nice thing about the microstock market is that it has opened new markets. A lot more people can and do buy stock photos than did in the past. If I can't find a decent Creative Commons/public domain photo for presentations, I'll go in search of one I can license from a microstock photo site in a second, because it'll just cost $1 or so. So I actually end up spending a fair amount on stock photos in the course of a regular year. Compare that to the situation seven years ago when we were working on a revamp of our corporate website. We went in search of a photo to use, and the licensing deals we saw wanted about $1,000 for just one year of usage. That meant we spent nothing, because that just doesn't make sense.
So, yes, the economics are changing, but if you're smart, you can take advantage of it. It may mean moving beyond just the stock photo market, or using such photographs (or even giving away works for free) to build up reputation for freelance or custom assignments. Most photographers I know never made much money from stock photos anyway, finding much more value in commissioned work. And recently, I've been hearing of success stories from some really good photographers who have used their existing work, given away for free, as strong advertising to get more (and more lucrative) commissions.
In the end, it really comes down to how you deal with it. Do you whine and stomp your feet and compare the new world to pollution? Or do you figure out how to adapt? Economic progress doesn't care in the slightest how much you liked how things used to be.