February, 2011 was my Best Month Ever (BME) on microstock. I started to put more efforts in that business a couple of months ago and it started to pay back. Very nice indeed.
What is very surprising is that it was my BME on iStock despite lower commissions and my non-exclusive status.
Also Alamy was performing nice in February. The sales there are irregular, but I see them more and more often as my portfolio grows.
One very important thing with microstock for me is that I do see the result every time I am starting to put more efforts. Every time I start shooting and uploading more actively I start see increase is sales very quickly. That is indeed a good motivator :) Click here to see the full post and comments
Many microstock photographers treat their photography as a hobby not as a business. That is very natural when you make just a little supplement out of it rather than a full-time income. Some photographers who have grown their microstock activity to a full time job still a kind of a hobby attitude. That is also natural taking into account the background and the speed of the growth from a pure hobby to a job.
Recent changes in microstock, particularly commission cut at istock and fotolia caused a lot of negative reaction from the photographers. Of course it's extremely unpleasant when the agencies reduce the share paid to photographers. Although legal it is perceived by many as a very unfair step.
How to react besides expressing your thoughts in various forums is the question for many. Is it worth to boycott such agencies, is it worth to unite the forces? Are there any other options?
I tried to summarize my thoughts on these 3 questions:
Boycott it or not?
I think it mainly depends on whether you have significant revenue from these agencies or neglectful. If it's neglectful you can easily stop working with the agency. You should realize that you would only please yourself doing that but the agency wouldn't notice your leave.
If your revenue is significant I would take a step away and try to look at it as one of your income streams, emotions aside. If the stream is significant, and if it will remain significant after the commission cut I would rather keep it. However I would explore other possibilities to extend other streams and/or add more streams.
Can photographers influence the behavior of the agencies? There are suggestions to unite forces which is supposed to increase the negotiation power. The fact is that about 80% of the agencies' income is generated by approximately 20% of top photographers. That means that even uniting 80% of average contributors that isn't too much value for the agencies. It would only make sense if the very top photographers would unite to negotiate the policy of the agencies. If you aren't one of them any attempt to unite with your peers is pretty much useless.
One other part of the picture is ever increasing competition. The growth of supply is higher than the growth of demand. I suppose that will cause further saturation of microstock contributor with the middle layer being affected the most. I mean top contributors making a full time income for several people in their "picture production factories" will certainly be able to survive. They will have to optimize costs but I have no doubts they will stay successful. The low layer of hobbyist contributors will not be affected much. The main difference will be increased threshold for the acceptance of their pictures as the agencies can afford to become more selective. Other than that the hobbyist making a hundred or a couple per month will just continue at similar level... I suppose еhe most affected by competition will be the middle layer, i.e. the people just making the living from microstock but being around the threshold of their survival level. If they will not be able to grow significantly they will probably be pushed towards the low tier.
It's again about the same story about 20% of people making 80% of income. Most of increasing competition are eating from the 20% piece of the pie. Even the pie is growing too, number of eaters is growing faster. If you manage to get to the top tier you'll compete for a portion of 80% piece of the pie - the piece is much larger and the number of competitors is much lower.
Is it still possible to get to the top tier, or did it become a close club? It's very difficult but is certainly possible. Daniel Laflor is one of the recent examples, Cathy Yeulet is one before; and there are some other too. Click here to see the full post and comments
I can confirm that MAC OS X Snow Leopard works just fine on a PC based on ASUS P5Q-VM motherboard.
ASUS P5Q-VM motherboard
7 GB RAM (historically: 3 original plus 4 upgrade)
ATI Radeon 4730 video card
dedicated full hard drive for MAC OSX
temporary USB keyboard (normally use PS2 one which can be enabled after setup)
Installation of MAC OSx
Installed new empty HDD in the system (SATA)
Switched BIOS to AHCI mode (which requires changes in Windows running from another HDD)
replaced IDE DVD drive with SATA one (IDE wont work)
Installed MAC OSX using NAWCOM boot CD and MAC OS Snow Leopard installation DVD
Installed hack pack from NAWCOM Boot CD (including PS2 keyboard driver)
Changed video resolution in the system settings (no need to manually install drivers, only adjust /Extra/com.apple.Boot.plist)
Installed sound driver (ALC1200_1063 worked, but not other ALC1200)
Remark: I select which OS to boot via BIOS by pressing F8 during initial computer startup. No need to bother with various settings in boot loaders.
Many thanks to all the people who made it possiblle and who shared their experience in various forums and blogs. So if you have similar setup and want to build a Hackintosh yourself, you'll need the following: - NAWCOM boot CD : http://prasys.info/2010/10/nawcoms-bootcd-the-sucessor-to-empireefi/ - MAC OS X Snow Leopard installation DVD (you are expected to buy it, e.g. at Amazon) - Sound driver: http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=161430 - Compatible computer - PC keyboard works with MAC but the keys work differently. Most annoying one is that Alt is used on MAC pretty much as Ctrl is used on PC, i.e. copy/paste is Alt+C/Alt+V on MAC with PC keyboard. You can change that by using DoubleCommand utility - By default you'll get read-only access to Windows NTFS drives (FAT32 works with read/write). You can use freeware NTFS 3G driver (note there is a commercial version available from the same vendor) - There are MAC versions of Skype, FireFox, Filezilla available - they work just fine. And OpenOffice too. Click here to see the full post and comments