Author Archives: cutcaster

HELP!!!

Hey Guys,

I have been working around the clock on the database for the last week, cleaning out the keywords and titles of uploaded files and I am VERY concerned about how big an issue the spam keywording is. I am trying to build the best licensing marketplace out there, and when people input keywords that are totally irrelevant to the corresponding image, it threatens both the integrity and functionality of Cutcaster for anyone looking to purchase your images. If there are a lot of irrelevant search results returned to a buyer they are going to be put off and not want to license content from our marketplace. To re-keyword 100 images, it takes approximately 1.5 hours. Cutcaster is currently averaging 1000 image uploads per day so it is impossible for me to re-keyword everyone’s’ images on top of everything else. I want to be spending all my time getting buyers so this is a money maker for everyone. So I am asking (begging) for your advice and help. I welcome any and all suggestions:

What are ways I can incentivize users who upload content to Cutcaster to make their keywords only relevant to what is in the image? I appreciate all advice!!

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Digital Noise – What to look for?



(click on the image to see a larger preview version of the digital noise.)

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(click on the image to see a larger preview version of the digital noise.)

Digital noise mainly happens from lack of light. It will be apparent in the shadows of your images when viewed at 100%. Setting you ISO too high will also cause digital noise while your camera is trying to compensate for lack of light. In some instances, where the noise is not too bad, you can use certain software programs (Neat Image, Noise Ninja, etc.) to correct the problem – although over-correction can cause your image to become blurry. Photoshop has despeckle and Lightroom has noise reduction also.

Below is the same photo that I have reduced the noise on.



(click on the image to see a larger preview version of the digital noise.)

I personally find the best place to look for noise is:

In the shadows under objects

If your picture is has a blue sky – look in the blue of the sky at 100%. It should be a smooth blue without little dots or other visible imperfections.

If the photo is a mug shot type image, look under the models chin, where the chin casts a shadow on the neck.

Rejections are frustrating and have a tendency to make people lose motivation. I’m hoping this little guide here helps with less rejections for happy contributors and buyers.

Quality Content = Happy Buyers = Repeat Buyers = More Downloads = Greater Royalties.

It’s a win / win situation.

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Guest Blog Post- From hobbyist to professional artist

Whenever the microstock business receives a mention in the media, it is usually accompanied by the common description of microstock artists as amateurs, hobbyists, and stay-at-home moms or dads who have a consumer-level digital camera and some vacation photos they hope to make a quick buck off of. While those descriptions may accurately represent many artists working in the microstock field today, there are many others who consider microstock their profession. A number of things can factor into why the amateur title may be a fitting description for many microstock artists, but this does not mean that amateur status is permanent and are a few things that you can change today that will elevate your position in the stock imaging world. Changing your outlook on your microstock work and how you approach your craft can help to turn a hobby into a job.

There is a frequently used phrase in self-help and confidence-building circles: “Act as if.” You may have heard some slightly different versions of this saying, but in all of them the underlying principle is the same; How you conduct yourself has a direct effect on what you become and where you end up, in all aspects of life. In microstock, acting as if you are already a professional may spur you on to truly becoming one. Take a look at your typical microstock day and think about how an outside observer would regard your activities. Do you conduct yourself in your daily life like a hobbyist or a professional?

One of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your microstock hobby into a job (part-time or full-time) is to re-assess your work-flow and make changes that shift that work-flow into a more efficient, business-oriented process. If you are working in a cluttered area, with many distractions and very little organization, clean up your workspace and create an environment that is more like an office. Create a schedule for yourself, and stick to it. If you only have an hour a day to devote to microstock work, make sure that you put in that hour every day, and around the same time each day. Finally, make decisions based on good business choices, not personal preferences. Don’t limit your choice of agencies to work with based on your personal feelings about them. If you are only working with one or two agencies because they are your favorites, you are restricting your earnings potential and making an amateur decision. If you start to think and act like a pro microstocker, you will quickly transform your hobby into a job and your income will reflect this change.

Contributing writer Mike McDonald. Thank you so much, Mike. See Mike’s Cutcaster studio here and his website here. Come on Mike. We want some more of your awesome work here at Cutcaster.

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Link to Cutcaster from your other sites

On everyone’s studio page there is a message that says this,

“Get more views. Post this to your Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, personal site or any webpage: http://www.cutcaster.com/studio/pub/582007626″

That is from my studio page for example. Please don’t laugh at my photos as I was a former stock trader and some belong to my brother in law ;-)

This is very important for a few reasons and I highly recommend people trying this and linking back to their studios. One is it helps you get more traffic back to a site where you can sell your images. Two, it showcases your work and a site I hope you guys are proud of. Another reason is it helps Cutcaster get more incoming links which helps us in terms of getting higher rankings in the search engines so we show up higher in queries by buyers.

I’d like to ask you guys to try to link to us on the sites you are apart of so we can build Cutcaster together. I can’t do this all alone and your help will really help make this a team effort and success.

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Cutcaster survey help

Click Here to take survey

3 minutes is all I ask. If you have a few moments and would like to help us get a better understanding for what you guys want and need, I would love it if you took 3 minutes and filled out this simple survey. It is completely anonymous and is for the good of the whole community. I will publish the results when we are done so you can see what was requested if you guys would like.

Speak now and get your voices heard as we build Cutcaster according to your wants and needs.

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Cutcaster August Newsletter

Dear Cutcaster Family,

There are a number of episodes that have shocked me lately; The opening ceremonies of the Olympics, the fact that it is the middle of August (where has the summer gone?!), and the way that Cutcaster has quadrupled since the last time I sent out a newsletter just a month and a half ago.

What a crazy and exciting time! A number of our users are now getting sales on the site and also receiving bids from interested buyers. If you haven’t had a sale yet, don’t worry; we are planning a big marketing push for the months of September and October so it is a good time to get more content into the marketplace or organize your old content.

We just passed 44,000 image files uploaded and have had over 21,000 files uploaded since the start of August. That doesn’t even include all the video files we are going to release when we bring back video footage. We announced that our goal was to have 100,000 quality uploads by the end of the year. You can bet on the year-end total amount by submitting what you think will be the year-end tally on our blog (ww.cutcaster.com/blog) to win a cool prize. 100,000 files is a very doable goal and we are well on our way to accomplishing it!

Since the number of files is growing and we are still a small group of people running Cutcaster from behind the scenes, we need everyone’s help titling, describing and keywording their content. Take a quick moment to check out your keywords and make sure that your keywords accurately describe each image. If you need help let us know so we can target your content and organize it better.

Our move over to Amazon’s web services platform is complete and I am happy to say that we have increased the speed of the site so things are running much faster at Cutcaster. You will notice a difference when you check out the homepage, and it will only get faster as we continue to work on more ways to speed it up.

Here are a number of new features that we have rolled out over the last month:

1. We added the ability to “friend” contacts on Cutcaster; send site messages to other people who are members of Cutcaster and post comments to each other’s pages.

2. The Cutcaster Forum is here and ramping up. Go there and say hello and join in the conversation.

3. We added similar image results to the media details pages so you can find similar content without having to go back to the search areas. This should help buyers find a variety of similar images without having to do multiple searches.

4. Public clipfolders are now available on the site and are our version of lightboxes, which you may have seen on other sites. We added a featured clipfolder to the homepage to help get contributors more exposure and sales.

5. We have added free images to the homepage to attract more buyers to the site and get your work more exposure. Free images at Cutcaster

6. Exclusive spotlight on the homepage. We need exclusive content and will pay out more for it. Ask us about it. If you have images that you want to test out on our site make them exclusive, you will earn more for them.

We are always listening, so please keep the feedback coming!

In addition, if you want your images and illustrations to be seen by more people, you should read this little post we wrote about getting more interested traffic .

Also submit/add your studio link to search engines like Google and Yahoo, which is a great idea for getting traffic, or you can link to them from your MySpace, Flickr or personal webpage. Remember to use your referral links as well so you get paid more.

Here are some write-ups on content we want:

Top 14 Best selling categories at Cutcaster

Smaller and Popular categories we need

We have been asked for these types of images.

Desired Content we need

If you need specific content please let us know and we will put out a request for you.

Hope the rest of August goes as slow as possible and you all enjoy the last bits of summer.

Best,

The Cutcaster Team

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Extra keywords- Do you use them and are they effective?

On another forum, people are discussing the usefulness of certain types of keywords. I was just wondering as to how useful these keywords actually are. What do you think? Here’s the list:

# Insignificant People – For those blurry folks in the background.
# Nobody – To tag a shot with no humans in it.
# Selective Focus – When the foreground is in focus and the background is not, or vice-versa.
# Blurred Background – Specific type of selective focus (above).
# Blurred Foreground – Same as Blurred Background (above).
# Blurred Motion – Long exposure maps to this.
# Full Frame – When composition encompasses entire viewing area.
# Horizontal – Wide format.
# Vertical – Tall format.
# Waist Up – Top half of human subject only.
# Waist Down – Bottom half of human subject only.
# Isolated – Separated object or person done by color or background.
# Isolated objects – Separated object or person done by color or background.
# Clipping path – Isolation includes a path embedded in the file data.
# Isolated on white – Isolated on a white background.
# isolated on black – Isolated on a black background.
# Square – Square format as the name implies.
# Copy Space (Copyspace) – has designated location for copy text.
# Still Life – For example, a vase of flowers is a still life.
# Single Object – When a single subject is the only thing in the frame.
# Concepts – A photo that tells a specific story. Think metaphor.
# Backgrounds – Photo’s primary use is a background, incl. patterns, etc.
# Studio shot – Photo taken in a studio or similar controlled environment.
# Portrait – Head and shoulders shot is typical.
# Head On – Straight on (no angles) from lens to subject.
# From Side – Shot taken from a side angle.
# Profile – Same as From Side (above).
# Low/Down Angle – Taken from beneath the subject or there abouts.
# High/Up Angle – Taken from above the subject or there abouts.
# Full Body – Capture entire human form, from head to toe.
# Perspective – Any unusual angle to include Low and High (above).
# Sepia – Photo given a sepia tone process to make it look old.
# B/W (Black and White) – A black and white image.
# Monochromatic – A single color tint, usually black (with white).
# Grayscale – See B/W and Monochromatic above.
# Color Image – Shot in full color.
# Full Frame – Subject comprises entire exposure area.
# Color Image – Shot in full color.
# Single Object – I guess the name says it all.
# Group of Objects – Ditto, but multiplied.

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Add Cutcaster to your contact list and address book

Here’s how:

Gmail
1. Click Contacts along the left side of any Gmail page.
2. Click Add Contact.
3. In the primary email address box, type newsletter@cutcaster.com and john@cutcaster.com
4. Click Save.

Yahoo!
1. Click the “addresses” button
2. Select “Add Contact”
3. Save the newsletter@cutcaster.com and john@cutcaster.com to your contacts list.

Hotmail
1. Click Options.
2. On the left side of the page, click Mail, and then click Junk E-Mail
Protection.
3. Click Safe List.
4. Type newsletter@cutcaster.com and john@cutcaster.com, and then click Add.

Outlook
1. Right-click on a message from newsletter@cutcaster.com and john@cutcaster.com.
2. Point to Junk E-mail, and click Add Sender to Safe Senders List.

AOL (version 9.0 or higher)
1. Click the Mail menu and select Address Book.
2. In the pop up box, click the Add button.
3. In the “Other E-Mail” field, type newsletter@cutcaster.com and john@cutcaster.com.
4. Make our From address the “Primary E-Mail” address by checking the associated check box.
5. Click the Save button.

AOL 8.0
1. Open this confirmation email.
2. Click Add Address.
3. Verify the sender’s contact information (newsletter@cutcaster.com and john@cutcaster.com).
4. Click Save.

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Update to Cutcaster Algorithm

Just wanted to let you guys know that we updated a bunch of the variables to the Cutcaster Algorithm and tweaked it a bit on what we have learned and seen over the last 6 months. The biggest change you will see is the start price that we will determine if you do not select the starting default price for the algorithm. The new prices will start between 8 and 15 dollars, which is based on a number of variables and will take into account how well your files are keyworded, described and titled as well.

You are still able to set the start default price for using the algorithm. The starting price will move up or down from the number that you choose. So if you wanted to choose $40, the algorithm will start to go to work for you from there. If you let us choose it for you, we will look at a number of different variables to determine the starting price and set it for you. You will start to notice the difference today going forward.

In addition, you can still set your own price and it will stay put.

Let us know if you have any questions.

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