Posts Tagged ‘Prices’

I really can’t get my head around microstock websites. The bit I can’t understand is why the participating photographers think so little of their work that they’re prepared to value it so cheaply.

Someone recently asked on a Canon forum “Has anybody had experience of using Fotolibra to sell pictures?” Having just helped send out over 100 sales notifications so far this week I thought I could answer that, but my application to sign up to the forum has not yet been verified.

Someone wrongly assumed fotoLibra was a microstock site and posted an answer linking to three blogs recounting experiences with these kinds of agencies. They weren’t universally positive. Out of interest, here they are:

Microstock Tips | Pixels Away | Erik Kolstad’s Blog

They are not right up-to-the-minute (the market has almost stiffened and died since these figures) but none the less I am astounded at how little these supplying photographers are prepared to accept. Have they no pride in their work?

One wrote:

I’m a climate scientist in Bergen, Norway. Starting in 2008, I have been contributing to a number of stock photography sites. I started out with iStockphoto, and after a while I joined Shutterstock and Dreamstime as well. Now I have quit Shutterstock, largely because of their ridiculous royalty scheme (they pay you $0.25 for each customer download). I’m currently trying out SnapVillage, Fotolia, 123rf.com and the German agency PantherMedia.

I couldn’t help but respond, although unfortunately I do sound a bit sniffy from time to time:

May I correct you? You are not actually trying out stock photography sites, you are trying out MICROstock photography sites.

Proper picture libraries such as fotoLibra.com sell fewer images than the microstock sites because we value the work of photographers more highly, and therefore charge accordingly.

You would probably only sell a fiftieth of what you could sell on a microstock site through fotoLibra.

But you would probably earn a hundred times as much.

Our average picture sale for a rights managed image is €56 / $77 / £51. Standard fotoLibra photographers get 50% of that.

So one fotoLibra sale would normally net you $38.50 / £25.50. That’s the equivalent of 154 sales through Shutterstock.

I think that’s a very compelling argument. I have no doubt the microstock apologists will disagree.

Here’s an index to the fotoLibra Pro Blog for the whole of 2009.

As I complained 6 months ago, it takes a surprising amount of time to compile, so if there are any WordPress experts out there who know how to automate this process, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re new to fotoLibra, welcome, and may we suggest you read through the HINTS & TIPS section, and if nothing else read Great Expectations. If you enjoy a bit of controversy, read BAPLA Shock Horror.

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Pricing conundrum

January 21st, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Setting prices, billing and collecting the cash is one of the most important services fotoLibra provides to its members.

Apparently for rather more than the cost of fotoLibra’s Pro Membership you can buy a software program that suggests prices if you’re selling photographs in the United States. That’s about all it does.

Unlike fotoLibra, it doesn’t store your images, promote them, sell them, deliver them, invoice, collect or pay you money. It leaves all that to you. I am lost in admiration for its business model.

We have 1,447 set prices for rights managed images, derived from a complex algorithm that takes into account Size, Circulation and Repetition. Embedded in this are other licences such as territory and duration. We cover most bases, but occasionally we find we’ve missed something out.

Like today, when we were asked for a price for an image that covered the following rights: editorial use; book; 5 year licence; single territory; 5,000 print run; half page; eight languages.

Straightforward — till you get to those eight languages!

What’s the answer? I’ll post our price here as soon as somebody makes an educated guess.

I wonder how that software program would have coped?