With the prevalence of decent quality cameras on mobile phones and affordable, easy to manage point and click digital cameras, we decided to take a closer look at how Brits treat photos. It was great to learn, for example, that while two-thirds (68 per cent) of young people share their photos on social networks such as Flickr and Facebook, some 29 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men still enjoy printing out photos and keeping ‘traditional’ physical photo albums.
We commissioned research group YouGov to quiz more than 2,200 people from across Great Britain about the way they treat digital photography, and the findings make interesting reading. Women (35 per cent) and slightly more likely to share photos over social networks than men (32 per cent), while men (17 per cent) are twice as likely as women (nine per cent) to spend more than £400 on a camera.
Phones no substitute for cameras
When it comes to taking pictures, it is clear that the rise and rise of ever more intuitive camera phones does not pose a threat to traditional photography. While only seven per cent of Britons say that using their camera phone has heightened their interest in photography, just over a fifth (21 per cent) believe that their camera phone is sufficient for their photographic needs. Nearly one in three interviewed in the survey (28 per cent) owns an SLR (single-lens reflex camera).
Interesting, we also found that almost one in ten (nine per cent) have considered converting their passion for photography into a career at some point in their life and a similar number (ten per cent) say they would consider submitting their images on microstock sites, such as Polylooks.
When it comes to sharing images, Londoners are more ‘social’ than those in other regions of the UK. Londoners (12 per cent) believe that sharing photos is a critical part of the way they interact with their friends and family, putting more emphasis on images than those in the rest of the south (six per cent) and Wales (five per cent).
What is clear is that the British passion for photography remains as strong as ever. Our survey demonstrates that while many of us now have a decent camera as part of our mobile phone, most British consumers prefer to use a high-quality camera for personal photography.
Also – great news for microstock – a comparatively large amount would like the option to make money from their images. Find out more on how to buy and sell images online with our online microstock guides.
Great news! We’ve just launched the Polylooks Slideshare site so we can better share information with you over all aspects of microstock photography. We will be adding informative content as we go along, but fittingly our first two presentations address our two audiences: stock photo buyers and stock image suppliers.
For buyers there’s a guide on all you need to know about selecting microstock images and what important terms such as ‘rights managed’ and ‘royalty free’ mean, as we know it can get confusing at times. There are also hints and tips on image search and the types of different licence structures you will encounter. You can also learn more about these by reading our boss Norbert Weber’s recent article on the Utalkmarketing website.
For microstock image creators – photographers and illustrators – we’ve got a useful presentation there on the types of images which sell well and how to add your images to Polylooks. Also, there’s plenty of advice on image rights ‘releases’ required on shots of people and property.
By clicking ‘follow’ you can get updates of our presentations as and when they become available, and we’d love your suggestions on what types of presentations and articles you’d like us to upload.
Andres Rodriguez is one of the top microstock photography earners worldwide. In the space of just four years the Greenwich-based Colombian has built his portfolio up to exceed 21,000 images offered across ten major stock photography sites. He has just signed up to contribute his work to Polylooks, Deutsche Telekom’s online photo agency. Here he talks to us about his work, the microstock industry in general and why he’s come on board with Polylooks.
You’ve been involved in microstock since May 2006, what attracted you to it?
I started as a graphic designer and I needed images that were of high quality and affordable. I was freelancing at the time and I came across one of the major websites, and started buying pictures. After a while, I realised that the download numbers by the side of the photo were changing rapidly from one week to the next. So, as I’d loved photography for ages, I decided to try it out. I uploaded 100 photos – they all got rejected, but the agency told me why and also Googled [how to microstock]. I started learning step-by-step and that’s how I got into it.
What’s your portfolio size now and across how many microstock sites?
My portfolio size is 21,000 images at the moment. I produce around 100 images a day, or 2,000 a month. I’m on ten microstock sites.
Does microstock contribute a lot to your income; do you mainly view it as a ‘shop window’ to showcase your work, or both?
It’s my main and almost only source of income. Microstock provides 88 per cent of my income. I don’t do weddings or assignments.
What images do you find are the most popular? Do you major on any particular style (travel, business etc)?
What’s most popular are groups of people in locations, that’s what I find sells well. It doesn’t matter if it’s a group of doctors, a group of business people or people at the gym. Whenever you’re in a real-life situation it sells a lot. However, there is too much competition in that field, so everyone shoots groups of business people and medical staff. It’s good to find other avenues – families, for example, sell well.
The photography industry appears to be divided on microstocking. Some feel it has undervalued their work, but I imagine you don’t see it that way. What would you say to those people?
Well, it’s a very new industry and people don’t understand it that well. I agree to a certain extent that the base price for microstock is a bit low. I think they [microstock agencies] need to extend it a little bit, for example with high resolution images. If you’re going to print a billboard, [photographers] can charge $80-100 for that and they’re only charging $10 or $8. So there is a gap there and they could adjust prices for different sizes and uses.
It’s the mass downloads that make the money, really. Every single photo you upload – if it’s good quality – it is going to sell, even if it’s only once or twice.
You’ve photographed a lot of places around the world. What are your favourite, ‘most photographable’ places?
Well, I love travel photography but I don’t take my camera on holiday. If I’m going to a place, it’s because I’m going with the models, make-up artists and equipment. Obviously, I love shooting beaches – it’s like you’re on holiday and you’re at work at the same time. I love that.
I find that travel photography is more about capturing a particular situation that you happen to be in. I prefer to do a lot of pre-production, get the location, get the models and go to see a place beforehand. I’m more of a people-shooter than a place-shooter, so I make people look beautiful in a certain place rather than make the place look good.
Since you first started out in microstock photography have you had to change and adapt your style?
I have, because when I started shooting I had a more artistic view. I thought that beautiful trees and landscapes would sell, but obviously we all know that’s very difficult. So I had to look at what sells in the stock photography business and adapt to that. I started to shoot people and that’s what I mostly enjoy at the moment.
What are your top tips for would-be microstock photographers?
Get your quality up there, that’s the perfect way to gain buyers. Originality and quality, that’s the key to success. If you concentrate on your photos and get good ideas and make sure every shoot is right you’re going to get the buyers as volumes go up and up.
What equipment do you use and what camera would you recommend for a Microstock beginner?
I’m a Canon shooter. I have the 1Ds Mark III, the 5D Mark II and the 7D because I prefer to have three cameras with different lenses rather than changing lenses all the time. I have a second shooter as well, so I personally use the 1Ds and she uses the 5D.
I believe it is not the camera that makes the photo, it’s the light. Also, invest in lenses. You’ll change the bodies a number of times but you’re going to keep your lenses.
Polylooks is delighted to have you on board as a contributor. Why did you decide to place your work on Polylooks?
I don’t normally contribute to new agencies. I get invitations week in and week out, but Polylooks is different because of the presence they have already due to the company that owns them. The business plan and the passion they seem to have for the business will make them succeed in the industry.
We’ve teamed up with image agency Zoonar and we’re rewarding photographers for the first 200,000 images added to our system! For every image which passes our quality control contributors will receive €0.15, which doesn’t affect future earnings.
Accepted images will be marketed on both Zoonar and Polylooks without contributors needing to do any work, including being added to the Picturemaxx sales channel. Images are also non-exclusive, so they can be sold on other microstock platforms, and we’ll also provide cost-free German language keywording for your images, if required.
For more information, follow the link to contribute images for sale online.
Today we can announce that Polylooks has added a number of services to enhance your experience on the site. These include:
• Email search alerts – for whenever new, relevant images become available (a first among microstock agencies)
• Enhanced payment options with the addition of ClickandBuy
• £5-worth of free images for new accounts opened before 7 May 2010
If you’re frequently searching for specific images you can now set up email alerts, so when new stock images matching your criteria become available on Polylooks you will be notified immediately. With the introduction of this service, you’re guaranteed you won’t miss any new images matching your requirements. You can also nominate your favourite photographers and receive notification of their latest additions to the site.
All you have to do is use the ‘Save search’ function after entering a search criteria, then pick the opions that best suit you.
We’re also offering increased payment choice, as Polylooks now enables the purchase of credits with the addition of ClickandBuy to its existing payment options, supporting an expanded range of credit cards, direct debit and payzone.
Until 7 May 2010, all new registered users on Polylooks can benefit from £5-worth of free credits. For more, visit http://uk.polylooks.com/microstock-user-show_registration.php
Five credits will get you five small images which are perfect for Web publishing, so why not join Polylooks today and start benefiting straight away from your free £5 starter gift.
With more than half a million great stock images on sale at Polylooks.co.uk you can find the right microstock images to suit your needs. We look forward to meeting you at Polylooks!