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Microstock Photography



Blog about microstock photography including news and reviews. Monthly updates will compare my earnings from the various microstock sites.



Updated: 2017-10-13T09:48:20.352+01:00

 



Microstock results for March 2009

2009-04-03T19:13:36.371+01:00

Sales jumped up significantly to levels not seen since March 2008.  Istock has changed their search algorithm again and it seems to have helped me.  A big jump at stockxpert as well as I think they now license through an additional site.  All the others keep providing which is nice considering it over 18 months since I last contributed (literally all I do is check my earnings once a month to request payouts and write this blog (and I dont do this half the time)).


Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:
14% shutterstock
12% dreamtime
19% Fotolia
14% istockphoto
3% bigstockphoto
6% 123RF
32% StockXpert
0% Featurepics


Previous 12 months results:

February 2009 Results
January 2009 Results
December 2008 Results
November 2008 Results
October 2008 Results
September 2008 Earnings
August 2008 Earnings
July 2008 Earnings
June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings

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Microstock results for January 2009

2009-04-03T19:05:04.956+01:00

It has been a busy three months for me so a bit of a catchup post. Results were about the same as December so not great but better than nothing. 

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:
19% shutterstock
11% dreamtime
24% Fotolia
19% istockphoto
5% bigstockphoto
5% 123RF
17% StockXpert
0% Featurepics


Previous results for 2008:

December 2008 Results

November 2008 Results
October 2008 Results
September 2008 Earnings
August 2008 Earnings
July 2008 Earnings
June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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Microstock results for December 2008

2009-01-17T22:57:31.624+00:00

Results were down for December which is expected due to the number of public holiday during the month.  Shutterstock slowed down majorly but istock was only down a little.  Fotolia actually increased.  I have started to here good things about Fotolia and it is definately one of the top earning sites now.  They do however seem to piss of their contributors regularly which changes, though iStock has a history of this as well.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:
16% shutterstock
12% dreamtime
18% Fotolia
23% istockphoto
2% bigstockphoto
7% 123RF
23% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

Dont forget to check out my other blog: http://cj-photography.blogspot.com/. I have been a bit quite there but hope to pick up the posts once I get into a routine for the new year.


Previous results for 2008:

November 2008 Results
October 2008 Results
September 2008 Earnings
August 2008 Earnings
July 2008 Earnings
June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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Microstock results for November 2008

2008-12-04T07:50:01.581+00:00

I had quite a good month this month with a couple of EL sales at Shutterstock and a BME at Bigstock.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:
37% shutterstock
5% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
18% istockphoto
10% bigstockphoto
5% 123RF
16% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

Dont forget to check out my other blog: http://cj-photography.blogspot.com/


Previous results for 2008:

October 2008 Results
September 2008 Earnings
August 2008 Earnings
July 2008 Earnings
June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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Microstock results for October 2008

2008-11-02T08:41:30.317+00:00

It was an interesting month – Getty (owner of istock) bought out Jupiter (owner of Stockxpert).  Fotolia changed its affilate program and didn’t tell anyone and StockXpert hasn’t being paying out on some sales (from affilate sites).

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

20% shutterstock
11% dreamtime

11% Fotolia
20% istockphoto
6% bigstockphoto
14% 123RF
18% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

Dont forget to check out my other blog: http://cj-photography.blogspot.com/


Previous results for 2008:

September 2008 Earnings

August 2008 Earnings

July 2008 Earnings

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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Microstock results for September 2008

2008-10-02T08:30:25.753+01:00

Another good result with constant results despite no uploads.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

28% shutterstock
7% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
14% istockphoto
5% bigstockphoto
17% 123RF
18% StockXpert
3% Featurepics

Dont forget to check out my other blog: http://cj-photography.blogspot.com/


Previous results for 2008:

August 2008 Earnings

July 2008 Earnings

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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Microstock Photography results for August 2008

2008-09-01T08:32:06.951+01:00

Not a bad month considering.  I was lucky with a couple of Extended licenses at Shutterstock and Fotolia , otherwise it could have been a disaster.  Shutterstock is trending down and I dont think this is just me.  My referrees are down about 50% this month on the average for 2008.  Other sites are ticking along nicely but slowly.  I really need to start editing photos and getting them online.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

26% shutterstock
10% dreamtime
14% Fotolia
17% istockphoto
5% bigstockphoto
9% 123RF
19% StockXpert
0% Featurepics

I have decided I am not doing this Blog proud.  I am not keeping up with market news.  If you want news about the microstock industry, the best source is on Lee Torrens Blog who is making a very good job of publicising what is happening in the Microstock world.  I will keep publishing my monthly results but my main focus will be on my personal blog and to get through the 10,000 photos I took on my last holiday (while keeping my day job).  So add my personal blog to your RSS feed - http://cj-photography.blogspot.com/- and have a look at Lee’s for Microstock news.


Previous results for 2008:

July 2008 Earnings

June 2008 Earnings
May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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NIkon’s new D 90

2008-08-30T22:53:00.229+01:00

Just days after Canon announced it’s new 50D with a huge 15MP sensor (thats big for a cropped sensor), Nikon has announced its new D90.  The big news here is that is shots HD video -  a first on a SLR camera.  Otehr spec’s are:

  • Newly designed Nikon DX-format CMOS image sensor with 12.3 effective megapixels and Integrated Dust Reduction System
  • Incredibly low-noise performance throughout a wide sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 3200; can be set to ISO 6400 equivalent
  • Incorporates Nikon's comprehensive digital image-processing EXPEED concept
  • The world's first D-SLR movie function: D-Movie, selectable from 320 x 216 pixels, 640 x 424 pixels or 1,280 x 720 pixels in AVI format
  • Scene Recognition System, utilizing 420-pixel RGB sensor, improves autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance performance and is also integrated with the new Face Detection System
  • Live View enables face priority AF with the 3-in., approx. 920k-dot, high-density color LCD featuring 170° ultra-wide viewing angle
  • Picture Control System offers new Portrait and Landscape options for more vibrant customized colors
  • Active D-Lighting for smooth tone reproduction in high-contrast lighting
  • Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module featuring 11 AF points offers fast and precise autofocus coverage across the frame
  • Viewfinder with approx. 96% frame coverage and an easy-to-view 19.5 mm eyepoint (at -1.0 m-1)
  • Advanced Scene Modes that automatically adjust exposure, image processing, Active D-Lighting and Picture Control settings for superior image quality
  • Extensive palette of in-camera Retouch Menus including several new retouch options such as Distortion Control, Straighten and Fisheye
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting and quick response of 0.15-second start-up and 65-ms shutter release time lag (CIPA standard)
  • Built-in flash with 18mm lens coverage and Nikon's original i-TTL flash control that commands Advanced Wireless Lighting
  • Highly efficient energy-saving design that allows approx. 850 images on a single charge of the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e (CIPA standard, with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, with 50% of pictures taken with flash)
  • Versatile Pictmotion menu that creates slideshows combining five choices of both background music and image effects
  • Compatible with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output
  • Optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D80 extends shooting capability and enables use of six R6/AA-size batteries
  • Included Nikon ViewNX software makes browsing and organizing your images easy
  • Optional photo-editing software, Capture NX 2 allows users quick and easy photo editing
  • Lightweight compact body

SLR purists must be turning over in there grave (unless they are still alive of course).  First DSLR get live view (thats what the view finder is for), now it gets video!

If I was to be choosing a new camera out of the Canon 50D or the Nikon D90, I am not sure which one I would choose (larger sensor v video).  However, since I already have Canon Lens, I will stick with this system.  By the time I upgrade, Canon will probably offer video as well.

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Canon to release new 50D?

2008-08-23T00:37:26.934+01:00

News broke on the Internet that Canon China put the specs of the new 50D up on their website for a brief period. Some one spotted it and the specs have been leaked.

When the story first broke, people though it had in body IS which would have been a giveaway that it was fake (Canon makes great IS lens and have said they wont do in body).  Apparently people just misread the Chinese – it actually said it works well with in lens IS.

The specs are as follows:

  • 15.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4
  • 1.6x crop
  • Dust Reduction
  • Auto Brightness Processing
  • 95% viewfinder .97 magnification
  • 9 point af (All Cross Type)
  • 35 meter area equipped with high-precision sensors AF Fine Tuning
  • ISO 100-12800
  • 6.3 fps (high speed) 3fps (low speed)
  • Buffer: 16 RAW - 60 JPG - 10 RAW+JPG
  • 920,000 points VGA 3.0-inch LCD monitor
  • 100,000 cycle shutter
  • Rugged magnesium alloy body

I don’t think it justifies a body upgrade for me (I am using a 20D) – I can justify the money at the moment.  For me 8mp is more than enough and the rest is incremental improvements.  A better autofocus and less noise at higher ISO would be the main reason for me to upgrade.

People are also expect the full frame 5D to be upgraded.  It will be interesting to see what the specs on that camera are.

Go to Photographybay for a more detailed spec list.

 

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Microstock photography results for July 2008

2008-08-01T22:20:12.991+01:00

Sales picked up which is great as they had been going down for the past few months (total earnings up 25% this month).  I still haven’t got round to upload which is very disappointing.  I have some ready to upload and have another batch ready for editing.  StockXpert had a great month and iStock picked up a bit after a couple of disappointing months.  Shutterstock put in another solid effort but is still way of its highs. Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going: 22% shutterstock 15% dreamtime 7% Fotolia 22% istockphoto 3% bigstockphoto 7% 123RF 23% StockXpert 1% Featurepics Since I have been doing this for about 2 1/2 years now, I thought it would be interesting to see annual trends.  Ignoring the fact that I was constantly upload until about August 2007 ( I have uploaded very few since then), you can see that we have just gone though a slow patch and things should increase now till about November.  Most of my photos are travel shots (not a Christmas one amongst them) so my trends may be different to those which different photo mixes.                 Previous results for 2008: June 2008 Earnings May 2008 Earnings April 2008 Earnings March 2008 Earnings Feb 2008 Earnings Jan 2008 Earnings [...]



Getty to sell images from Flickr

2008-07-11T23:13:50.105+01:00

Earlier this week, it was announced that Getty was going to sell photos from Flickr.  From the reports, it seems that the Flickr photos will form part of a new portfolio which will be in the macrostock pricing area.  It has been ruled out that these will be sold through iStock or be sold at microstock prices.

Commission is to be standard commissions rates for Getty photographers which is apparently between 20 and 40% depending on the type of licence etc.

The scheme is to be by invitation and from what I understand, it is on a photo by photo basis, not a photographer by photographer basis.  Many have said that this is going to be an issue because of jealousy at Flickr and it may change the community feel there. 

I see it as a problem but for another reason.  This is based on my experience at iStock.  They want large photos of high quality and if required are model released.

At Flickr, people don’t always upload their largest size as most photos aren’t even viewed as full screen size let alone 100%.

Quality may be as high if not better than iStock but I don’t see an easy way form them to check unlike the the iStock approval process (I will leave them to figure out the technology to do this, but a photo with 100+ faves may actually have noise at 100% or have a sensor spots or a persons face in the background). 

This brings me to my last point which is this new portfolio wont have people shots.  Flickr is a community site so photographers will upload photos of people – however, they wont get model releases for them as they have no current need to.  And since this is an invite only scheme, you are not going to go to the hassle of getting model releases, removing noise etc if the chance of your photo being noticed and invited in is small.

The real benefit in this scheme is for Getty.  If they have buyers for a type of photo, but don't have that type of photo, they will search Flickr on the buyers behalf and then take a 60%-80% commission for selling it where as currently, the buyer doesn’t find it on Getty so goes to Flickr and buys it direct from the photographer.

For more commentary from difference perspectives see:

Lee Torens (microstock photographer) here

Thomas Hawk (Flickr power users) here and here

PDN Pulse (photography news) here

Techcrunch (Tech news) here

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Plagiarised photos

2008-07-05T04:46:03.185+01:00

I found an interesting post at PDNpulse about Blog readers catch Plagerizing Photographer.

It was quite interesting as the readers of the blog identified that a photographer was copying photos taken by other photographers.  there was an uproar (maybe an overstatement) and the photographer has taken the photos down.

Makes you wonder about microstock.  Do a search for jumping fish and you will find photos taken by Yuri, G Cohen, khz, velychko, K Brown, mikdam, lisagagne (I stopped looking but I am sure there were more and that was only searching shutterstock and istock).  Did anyone notice two of the biggest names in microstock in that list. 

None of microstock versions that I linked to above are exact copies like the ones listed in blog above, but they are very close.  So how far can you go with derivative works?

    
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Do professional photographers struggle with microstock?

2008-07-05T07:28:27.687+01:00

Lee Torrens has posted a great blog on the 10 reasons why professional photographers often struggle with microstock.  Lee makes some great points so go have a read.  It is getting some good comments as well. 

I think the biggest one is #10 They want microstock to fail.  Of course they do.  They have gone from selling photos for $100s if not $1000s of dollars and are now getting 30c.  But in some cases the photos isn’t worth $100.  A picture of an apple is not worth that much and that has stopped small businesses using photography in their publications (see here)

 

Lees article was also picked up at PDNPulse with their blog “Do professionals want microstock to fail” which despite the title, focuses on reason #4 Do you know who I am? and discusses the point that all the reputation and respect they have built up in the industry disappears when they have to compete on an equal footing with amateurs with point and shoot cameras (my words not the articles).


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Microstock Photography results for June 2008

2008-07-01T20:21:17.757+01:00

Another slow month – slower than last month.  I uploaded about 10 photos at all sites which seemed to pick Shutterstock up but the rest are just falling into the mid year slow down.  Have got some more photos ready to upload so will see if I can get some more up in July.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

28% shutterstock
14% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
18% istockphoto
4% bigstockphoto
9% 123RF
16% StockXpert
2% Featurepics


Previous results for 2008:

May 2008 Earnings
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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Survey says stock photos to cheesy

2008-06-24T09:19:00.557+01:00

Photoshelter has recently conducted a survey of 700 stock photo buyers. 

The result, “The majority are cheesy, too staged, too stocky and not authentic.”  When asked, "When it comes to the images I search for most often, I think I've seen all of the content available within the major stock houses” 74% agreed or strongly agreed.  Basically this means designers want new, fresh content.

Follow the link below to see the areas which areas need more attention (eg. “The friendly guy with the headset isn't cutting it anymore!”, “It's difficult to find images that don't paint obese subjects unfavorably.” and "People with flaws" was another repeated request.)

Link (via Photopreneur)

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Find your photos online with Tineye

2008-06-23T07:11:24.026+01:00

Want to know where you photos are online?  Well you could try searching the net yourself, or you could use TinEye.  Tineye is still in private beta but you can apply for an invite (mine came through in a few days).  Once logged in, you can give TinEye your photo, and it will search the web for it.  A couple of points to note: They have only indexed a small portion of the web so far (about 750 million images -  compare that to over 4 billion indexed by Google).  I did a few searches on my photos and found they didn’t pick up all instances where I knew it was online. It doesn’t require an exact match.  This can be good in that it will find photos where they are slightly different (ie. with or without watermarks) or images manipulated (ie. Photoshopped, cropped, converted to B&W etc). While it isn’t perfect at the moment, it is a great tool to have in the toolbox.  It would also be very help for designers - Going to buy a photo but don’t know where else it has turned up? Do a search to avoid situations like this and this.  There is also a Firefox extension (and IE) so that you can right click on a photo on any website, select search and it will find all other indexed matches. Check out their video: Other commentary: Techcrunch Microstockdiaries JMG galleries [...]



Microstock’s main market don’t use photos

2008-06-22T06:23:04.698+01:00

iStock commissioned a survey of small and medium businesses in the UK to determine how they use images in their marketing.  The key finding are:

  • 27% of SMBs don’t use imagery in their business at all
  • Of organisations who use imagery, 51% use imagery on their website, 40% use imagery in presentations, 31% use imagery in marketing & advertising collateral and 14% use imagery in the office interior design
  • 71% of SMBs use photography more than other types of imagery
  • The majority of SMBs, still go in-house to source images, with 59% taking photos with their own camera, compared with 40% using online stock photography and 31% commissioning photography

See here for more detail

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New Article on Getty and iStock

2008-06-11T20:36:40.406+01:00

As part of filings made with the SEC, Getty has had to disclose some information which it would normally keep secret. 

One interesting quote is:

"The introduction of microstock has significantly increased the availability and usage of stock imagery. The advent of affordable high-end digital cameras and broadband Internet access has enabled semi-professional and hobbyist photographers to greatly expand the supply of digital stock imagery, and low microstock prices have put stock images within reach of far more potential customers. The primary consequence of the introduction of microstock has been to open the creative stock imagery market to new segments of users. Small and medium-sized businesses represent a large customer segment for which stock imagery was previously too expensive. For example, a dental practice might now include a microstock image of a boy brushing his teeth on its mailers to patients, whereas before it might have only shown a drawing of a tooth and toothbrush (or perhaps just a message in formatted text) on its appointment reminders because of the relatively high cost of stock imagery. Microstock also enables traditional stock image users to cost-effectively use stock images for interim uses such as storyboarding, customer pitches and internal presentations. Previously these applications would have contained lower quality, freely available images, or hand-drawn sketches. Customer research suggests that approximately 40-50% of microstock demand is comprised of entirely new end-uses, such as those described above. As a result of the combination of new customer segments and new end uses, volumes of microstock images are 15-20x greater than traditional stills.

Another interesting part is a comparison of sales volume between Getty and iStock, the market leader of macrostock and microstock respectively:

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More details at this article from pdn.

The filings at the SEC are found here.

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The average American/Kiwi/Australian family

2008-06-17T06:48:42.482+01:00

(image) The NZ government put out a brochure today setting out the benefits of its latest budget.

It was discovered however that the picture used (left) was bought from from iStock. To me that isn’t a problem.  If the government decides to spend $20 for a photo rather than over $1,000 for a custom photoshoot that is a good idea.

The problem is that the photo is of an American family, not a New Zealand family.

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To make matters worse for the NZ government, the photo has already been used by the Australian government to advertise their affordable homes program (right).

To things to take out of this:

  1. the perfect stock photo is one that can be used in a variety of circumstances and by a variety of buyers.  This photo has been sold over 2,000 times and can be used in any western country.
  2. microstock photography can create problems from a buyers perspective when the photo is recognisable in other peoples campaigns.

Link to article



[EDIT - it has even been used as an irish family]

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Another site dies

2008-06-03T20:20:00.695+01:00

Following on from Luckyolivers demise, Geckostock have announced that they are closing down:

It is with great regret that i shall have to close Geckostock.
All images will be deleted from disk this week.
Any payments due will be paid over the next few weeks.

The site went down yesterday and i decided not to try and get things running due to low sales.
I can't see any future in the site.
.......

I never joined this site as I never saw a good reason. It always pays to monitor new sites but this one never had the sales to warrant uploading to.

In other news, Snapvillage has been down since Friday as they upgrade their site. It is taking longer than expected (why do all websites underestimate the time to migrate servers??). This is one I have trialed. Haven't got all my photos onto it yet and it isn't showing the sales for we to warrant uploading the rest. Hopefully this upgrade will attract the buyers to make it another leading site (without stealing sales from other sites).

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New subscriptions at Fotolia

2008-06-03T08:03:02.802+01:00

Fotolia has just announced a new subscription plan where you got as low as 23c for each download. After outrage on the forums, both on Fotolia and on independent ones, the price was increased to ... wait for it:

The new commission structure will be as follows.

Ranking Payment / Download
White 0.25 Credit
Bronze 0.26 Credit
Silver 0.27 Credit
Gold 0.28 Credit
Emerald 0.29 Credit
Ruby 0.30 Credit
Sapphire 0.31 Credit
Diamond 0.32 Credit

Thats right 25c to 32c. Compare this to Shutterstock's latest pay rise (33c to 38c except for the smallest users) and you see this isn't a great offer to the photographer.

I am not happy about this, but will see how the sales go.
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Microstock photography results for May 2008

2008-06-02T07:35:48.257+01:00

Another slow month. Earnings down again but still tracking ahead of last year. Interestingly, last year, sales dropped in the period from March to May and then rose month on month all the way through to October. It will be interesting to see if this happens again though it does look line the trend in 2007 was caused by no uploads during the March to May period followed by a couple of big upload sessions.

I could replicate this as I have a few shots ready for upload so it is just a matter of prioritising microstock which I haven't been doing since my big trip (Basically I have too many photos that I am just overwhelmed of where to start). Winter is here now so hopefully I will get some time to do it.

The other thing that is interesting is how different sites do better for no apparent reason. I have done nothing in the past year yet StockXpert had a great month last month and dreamtime had a great month this month. As long as each month a few sites do well, I dont complain if it isn't the same ones.

Below are percentages for the month to show how I have been going:

15% shutterstock
21% dreamtime
9% Fotolia
27% istockphoto
6% bigstockphoto
8% 123RF
14% StockXpert
0% Featurepics


Previous results for 2008:
April 2008 Earnings
March 2008 Earnings
Feb 2008 Earnings
Jan 2008 Earnings

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A problem with Royalty free - buyers perspective

2008-05-25T01:32:31.323+01:00

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Anyone see the problem with the two photographs?

That's right, two competing computer companies bought the same photo from Getty, doctored out the original computer and inserted their own low cost PC.

Even the photoshopping isn't that good. The arm of the kid on the left is blurry where they had to make up pixels, the computer int he photo on the right seems to hover in mid air. This is because the original photo featured a apple computer.

Note: this is not a "microstock" issue but an issue with royalty free photos in general as apparently the photo came from Getty, not its low cost son, iStock.

This is very similar to when Dell and Gateway sent the same girl back to school (different photo but from the same series with a model). More detail on royalty free vs rights managed here (with more examples of duplicates)

Original story

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iStock - now waiting for my third flame.

2008-05-24T22:04:22.179+01:00

(image) The race may be over, but now the vine yard shot is a flame, so next in line is this shot of Rangitoto - a volcanic Island in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland.

This shot was taken as I was going for a walk on the beach. It is the cloud formation that really took my fancy, how it was just hovering above Rangitoto, but the rest of the sky was bright blue.
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