Microstock is Fulfilling an Unmet Need – and Assignment Photographers Should Participate

Recently I heard of a customer who was looking for a picture of an air conditioning repairman working on a home system to use in a small yellow pages ad. I thought it would be interesting to see what was available. I started with the Big Three and found this:

  • Getty had one picture of someone working on a large industrial system.
  • Corbis had three pictures, two on industrial systems and one very nice one on a homeowners system.
  • Jupiterimages had nothing.Then I went to iStockphoto. They had 20 images, all taken on the same shoot of two guys working on a home system. While I think they are good images of the subject matter it seems likely to me that if the iStock photographer had shown her images to the Big Three she would have been blown off with the comment, “The subject is not something our customers need.”The Big Three focus on all the classic “high demand” subjects that have been selling since the print catalog era. They keep adding more and more redundancy of basically the same picture.
  • Dealing with the Unexpected on Assignments

    Photographer John Loomis wrote an interesting
    blog post
    about an assignment he once did for ESPN the Magazine.

    The Image Comes First, But Words Are Also Important in Photography

    Without a doubt, the photographs themselves — whether they’re about an enthralling subject, an enticing color, an unusual shape, or amazing lighting or composition — are what draw us in. But a photograph’s accompanying header, title and caption can be equally important, at least in getting someone to take that first or more detailed look.

    Portrait Studio Sues Playboy for Copyright Violation

    In a court case that highlights the mounting difficulties photographers face in protecting their work, a California portrait studio has sued Playboy for publishing an image without the studio’s permission.

    Stop or I’ll Shoot … Your Picture

    Tamarkin Photographica will hold an auction of rare cameras on January 28, and the item that has gotten the most attention is an original Leica Gun with 400mm Telyt lens.

    Photographer Plays Visual Tricks the Old-Fashioned Way — Without Photoshop

    Perhaps you’ve received them in your e-mail inbox: dramatic photographs of a photographer making a dangerous leap from rock to rock in the Grand Canyon, along with a description of the 900 meter plunge he narrowly avoided.

    New York City, One Step at a Time

    I admit I’ve got a thing for New York City. Something about the energy, the vibrancy, the diversity, the ability to be as visible or invisible as you want, keeps me coming back. And I’d jump at the chance to live there again, after having moved away years ago. One of the things I’ve always loved about New York is that I could usually get anywhere I needed on foot or by subway, and so I developed an intimate connection to the city that I wouldn’t have been able to if I’d just driven around in a car.

    The Art of Science (and Vice Versa)

    Last spring, Princeton University solicited images generated in the course of its scientific community’s research efforts. The result is Princeton’s 2006 Art of Science exhibition. The organizers state:

    Two New Photography Books Examine the Human Face

    A newborn’s vision extends only eight to 12 inches during the first months of life, enough to see her caretakers up close and help cement those early, all-important emotional bonds. It’s no surprise then that the human face has always held a particular fascination for us.

    Will Adding More Photos Bring Getty More Sales?

    Getty Images recently opened the door to its site to every photographer who can meet a certain quality standard. iStock has over 25,000 photographers; consider what will happen if a lot of iStockphoto photographers decide they want to put some of their images on the Getty site.

    2006 EPUK Golden Sureshot Awards Announced

    EPUK, the organization for editorial photographers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, posted its 2006 Golden Sureshot Awards today — which take humorous shots at numerous industry targets.

    Grarup Wins UNICEF Photo of the Year

    Danish photographer Jan Grarup has won UNICEF’s international photo competition with an image of a Pakistani child receiving treatment after an October 2005 earthquake.

    The New Breed of Virtual Photographer

    It’s nearing 2007, and that means retrospectives and year-end reviews. American Photo, for example, published the Photography Innovators of 2006 list, covering everything from top photography blogs (to which I would add Digital Photography School) to galleries and photojournalism, among other areas. Definitely worth a look.

    A Photojournalist Follows His Passion — to an Austrian Village

    After working for Magnum Photos in New York City for a year and a half, Martin Fuchs, photographer and author of Journal of a Photographer: A Photojournalism Blog, recently decided to return to his native Austria to document the village of his father and the people still living there. His reasons for returning were personal, too.

    PikiPimp Your Pals for the Holidays

    Hmmm, what’s the perfect fun gift for photographers to give their pals — or at least the more annoying ones?

    A PikiPimp-ing, of course.

    As Photojojo explains:

    The 99 Strangest Photos of 2006

    Check out this fun slide show, courtesy of I Am Bored.

    [tags]strange photos, scott baradell[/tags]

    Photoshop CS3 Beta: So Far, So Good

    Since the beta for Adobe Photoshop CS3 was made available last week, the early reviews have been positive. Here’s a sampling of what people are saying.

    Wired:

    The Year’s Best Sports Photography

    This year-end gallery from Sports Illustrated includes some fabulous images.

    [tags]sports photographer, sports photography, scott baradell[/tags]

    The World’s First Gigapixel Digital Picture

    From Gizmowatch:

    Do you think that having a 10 Megapixel digital camera is great…? Think again and think big. This is a 2.5 Gigapixel digital picture that is the world’s first Gigapixel Digital Picture. The picture has been taken from the top of a 100 feet tall University in Deft Netherlands. The original image was created by merging 600 individual pictures from taken by 4 Gigapixel cameras. The result was a 7.5 GB image and the whole merging process took 75 minutes to complete.

    Time Magazine’s “You” Includes Photographers

    In its December 25th issue, Time magazine chose “You” as Person of the Year. The article notes that in 2006, what is called Web 2.0 by many has witnessed “community and collaboration on a scale never seen before,” and predicts that “this is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person.”

    A Tribute to Bruce Fraser, Color Geek

    Macworld, the Imaging Resource, John Nack and others are paying tribute this week to Bruce Fraser, who died Saturday at 52 after a brief battle with lung cancer.

    New Tool May Revolutionize Web Photo Search

    A Swedish startup, Polar Rose, plans to revolutionize image searches on the Web with new facial recognition technology. As Graham Charlton reports:

    The Demise of Photojournalism Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

    It’s been an incessant drumbeat in recent months: Professional photographers are going the way of the camera obscura. Crowdsourcing is the future.

    In its June 2006 issue, Wired magazine defined “crowdsourcing” as “the new pool of cheap labor provided by everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems and even do corporate R & D.” Wired editor Jeff Howe, who coined the term “crowdsourcing,” singled out stock photographers among those who will be hurt most by the trend.

    Amateur Photographers Out to Prove that Phoenix Is About “More than Cacti”

    Refocus Phoenix is a group of Arizona amateur photographers that likes to “shoot pictures and hang out.” They welcome photographers of all experience levels and seem to have a lot of fun. I talked to group members Andy, James, Brian and Josh about the goals of their organization.

    Steve Goodman’s Excellent Photography Adventure — Five Years and Counting

    Five years ago, Steve Goodman decided to chuck his corporate career and go on “sabbatical” — venturing to Southeast Asia. During this time, he has compiled a photoblog that sheds a remarkable light on his experiences. I talked with him recently about his adventures.