After receiving yet another month of appalling sales figures from my small stock collection with Getty Creative Moment, a mere US$1!!! I have decided to terminate my contract of representation with Getty due to their very poor sales performance. It is very rare that I actually get any money from the behemoth agency and their policy towards their contributors is that we don't matter and can be paid any old sum.
Hence, I have been left with little choice other than to request the cancellation of my contract with them and removal of any images they currently hold. What huge fail Getty Images has become, mainly due to greed and stupidity.
This is symptomatic of the mess that the stock photo industry has developed into with the advent of Microstock and the race to the bottom over prices. The bottom line is that most photographers now simply can't afford to supply agencies with stock material - which is a time-consuming business and quite hard work (when you are submitting a few hundred images per month).
In the end, though partly due to the greed and idiocy of their corporate accounts departments, it is the publishers who will suffer, as they find professional stock images hard to come by. What many corporate execs in publishing firms fail to understand is that paying peanuts for stock has ruined the career of many a photographer and that it will cost them a lot of money to get illustrations for their publications in the future as one by one, pro photographers quit the stock game.
Sure, there are a multitude of people who upload to Shutterstock and Dreamstime, but again the bottom line is that US$0.25/0.35 (respectively) per download does not usually mean any kind of profit margin for the photographer, who has now been relegated by the industry as a photo-walla, slave labour in other words.
While there is some very good images on these microstock sites, the problem is that the selection is likely to diminish in certain subject areas.
Sadly, agencies across the board have failed their most important component - the photographers who actually take and produce the pictures, all the while, the workload has increased, tagging, uploading, storing, backing-up with the digital era. In the pre-digital era, I would mark up my select 35mm slide with a very fine tipped marker pen and put them in a slide folder and post them to the agency. It was much more efficient than digital submissions, which take up quite a lot of time.
Producing stock images involves quite a lot of time and money and it is very skilled work. A day's stock shooting expenses near one's residence can still easily cost £50 in petrol and more when camera equipment, car depreciation and the time spent shooting and editing, not to mention the uploading and tagging to a myriad of stock image sites.
Hence, the business of supplying stock now mainly falls to the odd hobbyist and certain others who normally don't rely on photography as their main income.
I do have small portfolios on Shutterstock and Dreamstime, though the revenue is not sufficient to realistically bother to upload much in the future. At the moment I am putting some new submissions in - though the poverty from my photography business is now so severe, that I have had to start a completely different business to simply pay basic living expenses.
It is likely that I may put my archive back onto Photoshelter, though the problem with that is the cost, which is $50 a month for the pro service and sales off Photoshelter can also be few and far between. Should I return to this option, then I will let you know with a post on this blog.
Until then, I hope to put more of my work on this blog, though it depends on time, as I get no sales at all through this web site.