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Interesting Stock Article from the BBC


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#1 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:05 PM

What do YOU think?

http://news.bbc.co.u...ine/7107866.stm
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#2 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:46 PM

What the amateur has shown is you don't need all the expensive hangers on to take decent photographs. They manage it without the make up artists, assistants or often exotic locations to take a shot that can be taken in anybodies back yard. OK, in the old days companies did not think they were getting a professional job if they did not pay through the nose for it and were knee deep in superfluous Kodachromes supposedly giving them choice of shots. However, companies are now waking up to the fact that in today's world stock photo's will often fulfill their needs without commissioning photographers specially. As to the auto camera making photography simple for those who do not understand the mechanics. It is ideas that count, not their actual reproduction. In the past mostly the Advertising Department had the idea but could not use a camera so employed a photographer to take it for them. Rather akin to an executive who cannot drive hiring a chauffeur to take him where he wants in his company car. Now the simplification of the process has meant that the man with the ideas can also take the picture. Nobody owes anybody a living, because times change. We did not protect the blacksmith's (farrier's) job when the automobile replaced the horse, so why should professional photographers be a special case? I am a joiner and used to work full time making and repairing wooden windows and doors, now most of that work has gone with the introduction and general use of UPVC windows and doors in the UK. I had to switch to general jobbing building work because nobody complained our jobs should be protected by banning UPVC! If something new comes up you either have to adapt to it or go under in a capitalist society, or even pack up and change industry, no good moaning about it. I suppose Kodak's workers equally could complain about all the professional photographers switching to digital from film and putting them out of a job. Special pleading is something we all can do. The world moves on and you have to do so too or get left behind. Dave Whiteley
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#3 Rebel

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 06:25 PM

I pretty much agree with Dave; adapt or die, change with the times or get left behind. Same goes for all the other whining industries like the phonograph industry and the movie industry.
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#4 James_Karney

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 09:05 PM

Microstock is coming, and it will eat into the pro’s paycheck. Just as desktop publishing did to the typesetters and layout industry. That said, layout and design folks still make living, but not for small jobs and nobody pays typesetters. There is still a place for assistants and make-up, stylists and the like on a shoot. The quality of even a wedding assignment goes up with the additional help and attention to detail. Stock has always been a less-expensive alternative, and now it is easier to shop and buy. Stock is not the way major clients do the big jobs, no more than they would go out and just look for someone with a cell phone camera to a major shoot-unless that person was a pro that and the gear to do the job.

#5 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 08:22 AM

The professional photographer with foresight would have seen amateur stock agencies coming and started one himself, plus still doing one-off's when needed. I do one-off joinery when needed, but I cannot make them for the same price as standard joinery which has ecconomies of scale. So sensibly I use standard joinery whenever possible, getting my trade discount, and only manufacture special items when needed and charge accordingly. No reason a pro photographer could not have provided stock images from himself and amateurs for his clients if needed, plus undertaken one-off's at a higher rate when something unavailable was required. Maybe they could have negotiated a trade discount with a stock agency for every client they refer to them needing a stock image. I worked for a lady a few years ago who used to make her living compiling brochures and got paid for simply selecting slides from stock agencies for the client. No reason a pro photographer could not offer an additional service as a middleman for a client, procuring suitable images from stock agencies, as well as taking one-off's and get paid for it. I am sure many firms would be grateful for a professional offering to procure the images they need, plus taking them specially if none suitable were available. I certainly would sooner sit on my backside and take a cut as a middleman than do the work myself! If the most important thing to you is taking the pictures yourself, then it is a hobby not a business! The most successful businessmen are not those who are "hands on", but the ones who can delegate the routine tasks to others and take the big executives salary. I wonder how much actual programming Bill Gates does now? Dave Whiteley
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#6 Dennis

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 11:25 AM

I think the article speaks for itself. The market place for cheap images is growing fast and quality is no longer a priority. And... I have seen very little evidence, if any, that anyone can thrive on a micro stock income," says Betsy Reid from the Stock Artists Alliance.

I guess you get what you pay for. I don't think one can make the assumption that "quality is no longer a priority" just because a properly exposed image is possible in auto mode. I just think there are folks that say, close enough for me and cheap too. The question is... can you make a living totally on micro stock alone? Support a family, your house, you medical just on micro stock? Adapt or die... so adapt to what, more work for less pay. I think I heard this before... offshore, best shore.

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#7 Rebel

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 01:53 PM

Adapt to the fact that you might have to get a different job! B) If there's no longer a living to be made in a certain field then you have to look elsewhere, that's just the plain hard facts. If people aren't buying your product then you can't sell it. Typesetting was mentioned as a dying art - how many typesetters are left now? Well I worked for years in photo lithography and then in page layout in the days before DTP. Those jobs are no longer required but I'm not whining about it. I had to learn new skills and move on. I can't say now that I really miss the days of using lith film and standing over a repro camera, or microfilming or doing paper layouts with a scalpel and wax. I also don't miss sending out stuff to the typesetter to get very expensive typesetting jobs done. If photography isn't paying the bills for some of these pros then they will have to take different jobs that do. When people talk about "quality" in photography it's not obvious what that might be. There are very few publications that deal in "quality" photography. Most people buying stock want a picture that is good enough for their humble publication. It won't be printed on expensive machine coated paper using the best in colour separation technology. It won't be looked at and admired for years to come or have pretensions at art. Small publishers now have the ability to get pictures in their publications at a price they can afford. I'm sure the big boys don't appreciate the fact that smaller publishers are now able to make professional looking stuff that rival their expensive publications at home on a desktop computer and with a DSLR. Same as pro-photographers are resenting the fact that "amateurs" can quickly learn the basics of the trade and get "good enough" shots for sale around the world at prices people are willing to pay. There'll always be a niche market for "quality" photography whatever whining pros say. It's not a market I'll be in and I don't aspire to it. If a photographer is finding that these magazines, etc that want quality are not willing to pay enough for it then they really will have to reconsider their costs and their options.
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#8 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 02:52 PM

Don't worry Dennis, things go around in circles. Production moved to Japan because it was a cheap wage economy, but now the Japanese companies like Nikon have moved production to Thailand and China because they cannot compete on labour costs anymore. So no doubt their workers will now be complaining about work going abroad.

As production keeps moving around the world it raises labour costs in the countries it moves to. Eventually they will all be getting stuff made in the USA and UK where labour costs have become very low because we will have then become third world ecconomies! :unsure:

The superpower that will replace the USA, just as the USA replaced the UK, is predicted to be India, not China, as it is developing faster. Just look where many of your software firms are now getting much of their code written cheaply - India, which will make them a world leader in this field eventually. In the UK if you ring up your local bank you often get an Indian voice as the call centre is in India not the UK!

Whether we like it or not history tells us nobody stays on top for long. The Persians, Romans, Chinese, Arabs, UK and now the USA have been top dog, but history indicates that none of us remain there for more than a few hundred years or so. The British Empire was in it's time far larger and more powerful in then world terms than the USA will ever be, but it all went down the tubes eventually as all world powers do:-

http://en.wikipedia..../British_Empire

The world owes nobody a living, or the right to job protection if somebody else can do it cheaper. It is up to you to use your wits to stay ahead of the heard. If you do not there is nothing long term any government can do to protect you.

Dave Whiteley
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