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FTP uploads to any microstock and stock photography agency by replacing Shutterstock

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Did you know that if you do not work with Shutterstock microsotck agency you can use “Shutterstock FTP” credentials uploading to any FTP-enabled stock photography agency instead?

Just keep in mind that what is shown as “Shutterstock” in PSM microstock software is in fact your trusted “ABC” stock photos agency.

Doing that is simple: go to “Upload->Stock Agencies->Shutterstock” and replace Shutterstock FTP server name with the name of the FTP server for “ABC” stock photography site, adding your FTP credentials for that stock imagery agency or stock content distributor.

From now on, each time you upload to “Shutterstock” the file actually goes to “ABC-stock”.

Yuri Arcurs, the best-selling microstock photographer shows up his studio

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If you did not see it yet somewhere else, worth watching:
a virtual tour in Yuri Arcurs photography studio, guided by Yuri – the famous professional microstock photographer, who runs now a stock photography production company.
Impressive.

Expect some Crestock promotion inside :)

iStockphoto requires you to delete images in your portfolio. Otherwise…

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Here is the email I just have received from iStockphoto.com:

Dear David ([iStock-username]),

Standards at iStockphoto are always evolving. Our team of editors has been examining the collection and have decided that your image no longer meets our current standards. We understand that no one wants to lose an image from their portfolio, but we think that the rest of your work is much better.

You have two options. You may deactivate the image now. Or you may leave it in our Dollar Bin. The Dollar Bin is a collection of images with similar legacy quality issues. Every file in the Bin is available for one credit at any size. Images remain in the bin for four weeks after their last download, at which point they are automatically deactivated. It’s a way of giving the image a last chance before finally removing it.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please address them to [email protected]

Go here if you like to deactivate your image:

http://www.istockphoto.com//file_closeup.php?id=XXXXXX

http://www.istockphoto.com//file_closeup.php?id=YYYYYY

Best Regards,
iStockphoto.com

Let me read you what is written in this message.

David, we do not like your images anymore. We liked them sometime ago, but not any more, sorry.
iStockphoto is just too good for your images. You either remove them or you remove them. If you do not like this choice we will remove them on our own.

Now, please tell me who was the marketing genius behind this correspondence. I just want to shake his (her?) hand. I am sure that anyone who got such a message feels upset after reading it.

So, iStockphoto wants to keep their microstock collection ‘clean’, containing only brilliant images. I see. No doubt this is a good target iStock should aim to. I just wonder why this stock photography agency prefer to lose money instead of making it, sending messages like this one above to tens thousands microstock contributors. Any iStocker will be shocked reading this text exactly like I was.

How much did you guys cost to bring in a new contributor who generates some sales? Now take this cost and multiply it by the number of photographers that will leave you now – this is the cost of such a marketing communication. I will not be surprised if many microstock shooters will just stop submitting their stock photos to iStock, which appears to be too good for their artwork, preferring submitting stock images to other microstock agencies that treat their contributing stock photographers differently.
Bravo iStock! – good work, great marketing, refreshing approach to the customers relationship. Thumbs up!

I especially loved “You have two options.” quote. I see it this way:
One dark night you meet a robber. He points his gun on you and says:
You have two options. You either give me your money and then I kill you or I first kill you and then I take your money.”
Being a good iStockphoto marketing person, the robber continues: “Do not you worry, my friend. The choice is yours!”.
And being polite the robber adds what iStock completely missed: “Oh, and thank you for doing business with us!”.


UPDATE

In a short time after this post has been published I got a personal message from iStockphoto staff, saying that the email discussed in this post was sent out by a mistake and they apologize for the misunderstanding.

According to iStock, what should be sent out was this message:

Dear Name (username),

An image of yours has been moved to the iStockphoto Dollar Bin.

You have two options:
1. Deactivate the image
or
2. Leave it in the Dollar Bin

The Dollar Bin is a collection of images available to our clients from one to seven credits, depending on size. We feel the Dollar Bin provides another chance for the file to be downloaded… at a lower price.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please address them to [email protected]

Click here to deactivate your image: http://www.istockphoto.com//file_closeup.php?id=xxxxxxx
Best Regards,
iStockphoto.com

Well, first I appreciate iStockphoto ability to react extremely fast. They understood their mistake and tried to fix it.

Obviously, this is a very different message to a contributor. There is no single word about image removals!

Mark Dennis, iStock commented out what happened with their Dollar Bin initiative at last: So the gremlins got into the auto email system again, and some people got an email saying that the files will be deleted after 30 days if they’re not selling.

Well, it seems that these gremlins, goblins and trolls were quite human and very intelligent, and really enjoyed what they did to the company, these cute little pets of iStockphoto.

I would suggest iStock to take the entire gremlins family out of the iStock email system once and forever. And please deduct the damages costs from the gremlins salary, just as a “lessons learned” action. Typically, it works at its best avoiding further similar communication with the customers. ;)

iStockphoto.com Security And The Latest Physhing Attack

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I guess most of you already saw this message when logged in to iStockphoto:

kkthompson
March 3, 2009 20:10
This afternoon a phishing attack was conducted in the forums and through sitemail. This attack created a fake istockphoto.com login screen, prompted the user for a username & password, saved them to a malicious server, then redirected the user back to the iStockphoto main page

The iStock forums post by the same author says:

It’s an interesting statement, where the first part is correct, while the second part is very confusing. No financial information to breach, oh yeah, really?

Just a week ago Dreamstime complained in this thread that “we had cases when contributors had their accounts accessed, password changed, payment requested”. Now the iStockphoto guys are brave enough to say us they have “no financial information to breach”?

We all know that iStockphoto, like any other stock photo agency has on file your PayPal / MoneyBookers accounts. They also collect funds that have to be transferred to contributors monthly. Should not this stuff be considered as a valuable financial information stored by iStock? And if it is not enough, add here you personal profile details like your home address, phones and your picture ID. And even your images portfolio is in danger since it can be first completely downloaded and stolen and then, just for fun, completely removed from the agency by a hacker who looks for an entertainment on the hacked site.

What happened to iStock on March 3 is not funny at all. And it is a much more serious issue than just a few hours of iStock down time, even if iStockphoto prefers to present it this way. The site stores financial information and digital goods that can be stolen, so their “no financial info stored” statement is very far from the reality.

Canon 5D MK II , Nikon D700, Nikon D3, Nikon D3X, Canon 1Ds MK III, Sony Alpha 900 full-framers and the majority of APS-C sized DSLRs – incorrect ISO!

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Do you remember Mason Resnick from Popular Photography? I do. I enjoyed his articles in PopPhoto for years.

Mason is now an Editor for Adorama Learning Center and he has conducted a full-frame DSLRs research taking in the lab all 6 modern DSLRs: Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D3X, Nikon D3, Nikon D700 and Sony Alpha 900. According to his findings, all full framers have inaccurate ISO settings!

In a nutshell, the actual ISO measurements results vs. “official” ISO setting for the full-framers look as follow:

Model Actual ISO ISO values ‘Manufacturer’->’Measured’
Canon 1Ds MK III consistently at around half a stop lower than the indicated speed 100->73, 200->144, 400->285, 800->578, 1600->1171, 3200-2166
Canon 5D MK II 1/4-1/3 less than reported by Canon 100->73, 200->143, 400->285, 800->564 and the highest 25,600->15,110 only!
Nikon D3X I was amazed to learn that ISO 50 in D3X is not a real thing! It seems to be an in camera post processing for ISO 100 (both 50 & 100 were measured as ISO 78)! ISO 200 to 1600: 1/4 less than reported by Nikon; ISO 3200-6400 – 1/3 underexposure 50->78, 100->78, 200-170, 400->337, 800->674, 1600->1369
Nikon D3 consistent 1/3 underexposure 200->161, 400->326, 800->635, 25,600->15,134
Nikon D700 consistent 1/3 underexposure, not including high ISO 200->162, 400->327, 800->651, 1600->1277, 25,000->14,085 only
Sony Alpha 900 consistent 1/3 underexposure, excluding ISO 100->119 – a 1/5 stop overexposure! 200->151, 400->303, etc with 30% less

Want to review ISO measurement results for APS-C sized DSLRs like EOS 50D/40D/30D/20D, Nikon D90/D300/D200 and others?
Read this article by Mason Resnick

Pinhole photography: The Time Machine

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This time I will not talk about making more money selling your stock photography, neither I will talk about software bugs or new features. I’d like to dedicate this post to the ‘art’ part in the artworks we create.

There are so many great images and excellent photographers! There are probably thousands of millions of creative pictures online with Flickr, Multiply, Fotki and others, not counting in the stock photography industry. Nevertheless, or, probably, exactly because of this nearly infinitive quantity and endless variety of good images, I am very excited each time I discover some new and unusual things.

The photograph below was taken by Justin Quinnell, a UK based photographer with his home-made pinhole camera. The “frame” was exposed for 6 months! (no kidding. A single non-stop six months exposure)

And this image becomes the best illustration for the power of pinhole photography. Some of us will say that they capture a moment. Others will say they capture a mood, a unique view or a personal vision. No doubt, all this is great.

But look – with a pinhole camera you really can capture the time.

Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol, UK

Image is reproduced with the permission of the author

In this photo of Clifton Suspension Bridge located in Bristol, UK you can see the suspension system deformations depending on the season. Is not it amazing? It’s pure Physics, drawn with light and captured by a pinhole camera.

And just in case if you want to take 6-months exposures like this one by yourself, Justin has the instructions page on his web, guiding you step by step how to build a pinhole camera for the long time exposures. Try it out and probably you will discover a new way to express your creativity.

Alamy changes the commissions

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An email sent today by Alamy Member Services reminds us Alamy contributors that Alamy has changed their contributors contract on November 26, 2008. And guess what? – starting at January 10, 2009 there is a 5% increase in all Alamy’ part for all stock photo contributions plans. Additionally, stock photo agency Alamy reduces the Contributor’s Agreement termination period from 6 month to 45 days.

All these changes look like a sign for a very difficult time for Alamy, which is facing strong competition from the successful microstock brands. In one of my previous posts I reviewed the Alamy’s initiative to go microstock. At that time many Alamy contributors disliked that idea, mostly because they saw Alamy as a traditional royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency, and not yet another microstock.

Microstock photography for Linux

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I am happy to say that we keep pioneering the stock photography software market by introducing ProStockMaster for Linux. Since the latest v1.5.1, the first in the world desktop software for a contributing stock photographer is available for the Linux photographers too!
Linux is now just another part in our standard delivery packages and the Linux binaries can be downloaded at our download page – along with Windows and Mac installation packages.

Linux user can easily keyword their stock photos using built-in keywords suggestion tools, upload all stock images at once to the top microstock sites and track their sell statistics per a stock photography agency.

Alamy’ “Novel Use” licensing: go microstock?

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With the fantastic success of microstock agencies in the last few years Novel Use is a native attempt for a traditional stock photography agency like Alamy to follow up this microstock photography wave, and open an additional revenue stream from selling microstock. Just look around – virtually everyone sells microstock credits and subscriptions, why Alamy should not?

Particularly knowing that the competition is tight and a major microstock site made $70 mln revenues last year, followed by others tens-of-mlns-dollars microstocks, does not it make a perfect sense for Alamy trying to follow their success?

Well, I am not sure. At least not with NU idea.

Let me state: it is not about stock photography content. This is exactly my point: stock content does not matter. Content is similar. I can hear your strong “NO!”, but, – come on, forget for a sec all these technical “TIFF+scale-up+keywording” content preparation tricks for the “really high quality stock photos” and just look what the micros sell. Would you agree now? – from the buyers point of view they all sell the same photos and stock illustrations. I know that stock photography content people will never agree to this statement, but the stock imagery buyers just made their votes with their bucks, so it is better to hear the market. You can find content at microstock prices for at least 90% of needs for an industrial buyer. Buyers can choose buying content through Alamy or through a microstock. And surprise :) – stock imaging buyers are already subscribed to 2-4 microstock agencies (InfoTrends marketing research).

So where is the Alamy’s difference on this saturated microstock market? Well, it’s not about the content, it’s about the community. It’s Alamy’s Pros vs microstock Amateurs. Can you sell your community to a buyer? Not sure. Can you sell quite similar content for non-micro prices? Sure you can not, Alamy already knows this answer and therefore NU came out.

However, NU does not takes in account the most important – psychological – factor: for many pros Alamy was an alternative to microstock. NU completely destroys this vision. The last shelter for a stock photographer who keeps screaming “I am not going to sell my images for a buck or two! Never ever!”, this last shelter fails with the NU introduction. Well, probably it should not be so dramatic, but the feeling of many stock photography professionals as they express themselves in Alamy blog and in other places on the Internet is quite similar to that.

That’s why Alamy community strongly disagree to license their images under NU. Their vision is an opposite to microstock amateurs who say “I can get 30 cents per download or nothing if my images will keep sitting on my hard disk. I prefer to be paid”.

In my understanding, NU, which attempts to sell existing “non-micro” content to “microstock-like” buyers is an unnecessarily hard try. Not because Alamy has to educate the market that Alamy sells microstock too, but mostly because Alamy has to educate its own community that Alamy went microstock. And such community education could be a long and not necessarily successful process.

A reasonable alternative to this community education process could be… getting another community, which is willing to contribute stock photos and sell them as microstock. Alamy should expand the contributors base making it easier for amateur photographers to sell stock photos. For the microstock market a stock photography agency needs a microstock community. If Alamy can do that instead of forcing their existing contributors to license stock photos under NU, Alamy definitely gets a good chance to penetrate into the microstock world. Alamy’ brand, the team and the vast agency’s market knowledge supported by the microstock selling community or a resale partner can make the difference.

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