Category Archives: Industry News

News from the stock photography news.

Wednesday Tech Tip: Better Sports Photography

FIBA Trentino Cup: Portugal vs New Zealand

We’re a couple months away from March Madness, then baseball and the season for summer sports will be upon us. It’s a great time to capture and submit images for those spring and summer sports. ImprovePhotography.com has a great podcast with professional sports photographer Dave Black with lighting tips, composition tips and more.

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Wednesday Tech Tip: Recharge your love for photography

Photography love

We all get to a point where we are feeling uninspired, when we feel like our photography brain could use a jump start. This exhaustive list of 54 Reasons to Love Photography in 2013 from PetaPixel.com will recharge your creativity and love for the art that helps make Cutcaster run.

Check it out, take it in and Fall back in love with photography. Then get back out there and shoot (and, of course, submit to us!)!

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Wednesday Tech Tip: Photo tips from National Geographic

National Geographic has over 100 years of experience putting the best images by the best photographers on its pages. Their website has a section devoted to their present and past photography and photographers. Get inspired by their Photo of the Day archive, live vicariously through their photo blog, Proof, featuring the stories behind the international shoots, and pick up photo tips direct from National Geographic photographers.

Take the time to peruse this incredible collection of photography and think about what makes these images so amazing- so National Geographic worthy.

national-geographic-100-best-pictures-cover

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Top 10 things Image Buyers Like about their Agency – Understanding Image Buyers in the Stock Industry

Beautiful Portrait Of a Afro American Woman

Are you happy with your image agency?

What features or services do image buyers like and want from photographers or stock agencies? What gets them coming back to your portfolio or the agency that reps your images?

Today, Cutcaster is releasing the comments that some images buyers told us during last year’s survey. We took 10 of the most popular comments and arranged them below in a random order to show you what features or services they like an agency to offer. The question was actually a two-part question and was “What do you like most/least about the stock photo sites that you work with?” Later this week, we will share the things they didn’t like about their current stock image agency. The survey was completed by 344 image users who had used Cutcaster or were working on the stock image business and were mostly from the US or Canada.

Top 10 things image buyers said they liked which their stock agency provided.

1. Current and wide selection of images from international sources at reasonable prices.

2. Special picture collection pricing for royalty free or rights managed photos.

3. Stock agency websites that can show an entire photo purchase history with a simple click to avoid duplicate image purchases.

4. With current rates that image researchers get, we need to work FAST. The most important features for a stock site are direct downloading and embedded metadata. If you do not offer these two things, you are a 2nd tier vendor.

5. Picture pop-up windows to review images instead of having to use “back” button.

6. Advanced features like search filters when we need to give restrictions.

7. Love seeing Creative Inspiration.

8. Great sales help when a user encounters a problem. (From Cutcaster: Most image buyers didn’t say they needed a specific sales representative to help them use an agency)

9. High resolution comp images with metadata embedded.

10. Agencies with multicultural, disabilities, youth, and well executed food shots most cited image needs.

Overall, most image buyers stressed that they needed the highest quality images, fast / accurate search results and lower pricing which is understandable in the current economic environment.

If you are an image buyer, what features would you like to see a stock agency adopt to make your life easier?

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Cutcaster Launches Copyright and Licensing Resource – Stock Photo License

The legality of digital image use is often murky, and many resources that try to explain it are too full of jargon to make sense to people outside the photography or licensing industries.

Stock Photo License (SPL), a newly created resource from Cutcaster, explains legal photo usage for image researchers, photo buyers or anyone who wants to legally use images found online. Stock Photo License provides a framework for making informed licensing decisions and stock photo purchases, and highlights online resources that can help protect against legal pitfalls.

Check out Stock Photo License and comment below if you have a question about licensing images online.

See a copy of the Stock Photo License press release below.

Cutcaster Launches Educational Copyright Resource, Stock Photo License
September 16, 2010 – San Francisco, California

Stockphotolicense.com, an educational copyright resource for photo buyers and researchers, launches their new website today with the goal of explaining in simple terms how one can use an image online and the various legal complexities of digital image use. The site provides detailed information on image license types, photo copyright issues, legal protections and extensions, using free images, Creative Commons, personal vs. commercial use and provides a list of questions you can ask your image suppliers before you buy an image.

As image use among bloggers, website owners and graphic designers increases, many image users don’t understand specific licensing terms or how to legally use content they find online. This has increased the amount of illegally downloaded images and copyright infringement cases, most of which happen without the image user realizing the legal ramifications of his actions. Stock Photo License provides a checklist roadmap with questions you should  consider to ensure the legality of your online image use.

“We receive a variety of questions relating to the differences between royalty free and free images as well as how an Internet user can utilize images they find online.” John Griffin, of Stock Photo License and Cutcaster said. “Stock Photo License specifically presents information and resources on image licensing and copyright matters for the image researcher, photo buyer or anyone that wants to legally use another person’s image they found online.” The website lists copyright and legal resources as well as asks typical questions with answers to help an image user.

Stockphotolicense.com
was created by Cutcaster, a photography marketplace that specializes in royalty free photos as well as free images, to serve as a resource for both photographers who upload their images online and those looking to download images. Stockphotolicense.com has an active user base and is seeking to add more resources to its list of specialists. If you own or know of a copyright or licensing resource that could work with Stock Photo License please reach out to the team at team@stockphotolicense.com or follow SPL on Twitter @stockphotousage.

For more information on Stock Photo License please email team@stockphotolicense.com or Cora Reed at cora@cutcaster.com.

About Stock Photo License

Stock Photo License (SPL) presents information and resources on image licensing and copyright matters for the image researcher, photo buyer or anyone that wants to legally use another person’s image they found online. The website’s goal is to provide those who are unsure about image licensing with the information, legal definitions and resources to make informed and legal stock photo purchases. Stock Photo License is for every photo researcher, photo buyer, photo user and photographer who is interested in learning more about the changing landscape of photo licensing and is a collaborative effort between all the parties involved with photo licensing.

About Cutcaster

Cutcaster has tapped into a new and unique source of royalty free photos and illustrations that can be used for any kind of web design, publishing, printing brochures, advertising, annual reports, or presentations. Cutcaster created the first model that adds structure to support licensing user-generated photography and vectors when you don’t have the budget to do it yourself. Sellers can set their prices or use the Cutcaster Algorithm to determine a fair market price. Photo buyers purchase content at a set price or by placing bids.

Visit www.cutcaster.com for more information.

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Photographers’ Frustration and a Path for Change

It feels like déjà vu all over again, doesn’t it?

Fall seems to be the season for falling commissions. We’ve seen it in the past with the big boys, and now even the smaller players are dropping photographers’ commissions without a second thought. Is it because companies are in dire financial straits?  Or are they simply indifferent to the contributors on which they rely?  Do they have so much supply that pissing off a few photographers won’t affect the behavior of the majority?  Are venture capitalists swooping in to squeeze money out of their investments at the contributors’ expense?  Or is it just good old-fashioned corporate greed?

I am frustrated and mad. I have many friends who sell photos, and who are negatively affected by declining commissions.  I also own a business that is trying to succeed in an industry where agencies seem to operate behind a cloak of secrecy, while photographers passively accept changes that suck for them. Commissions are falling, agencies are lowering prices to compete, and supply is inflated.  The industry has grown stagnant as a few companies monopolize it, leaving little room for smaller companies to compete. Most photographers are uncertain about what, if any, course of action to take.

But we must not cower in the face of uncertainty. We need change and we need to act now.  Here are some ways to get started:

1. Remove links to sites that reduce payouts without notice or to sites that keep details hidden in confusing press releases. Don’t market sites that don’t care about YOUR bottom line.

2. Do link to sites from your blog, website or portfolio site that pay higher commissions, even if they have less sales for you. These sites need your help getting links in order for them to affect positive change in the industry. Don’t stand idly by while the established players lock you into a worse future.

3. Stop referring buyers to your lower paying commission sites and start sending them to sites that pay you better commissions.

4. Start an upload embargo for 6 months to a year. Don’t upload new or exclusive content to sites that decrease payouts without notice or discussion.

5. Upload to sites with lower payout thresholds and commit to keeping those limits low.

6. Don’t go exclusive with one agency. Only go exclusive with certain new uploads that you know sell better at certain sites, and only with sites that pay you a high commission.

7. Delete your portfolio from sites that do not clearly explain their commission and pricing strategies.

8. Explain to buyers how royalty drops hurt your individual business, and let them know that they can get the same images for the same prices at sites that help you by paying higher commission. Most photo buyers do care about you and about the photography industry; they need to know that you are getting unfairly screwed and that they can help reverse this at no extra cost to them.

9. Commit to a new agency that you trust on a non-exclusive basis. Support them with your uploads and, if you choose, a small amount of exclusive content for them to market. Write a blog article or post in a forum about the agency and why you chose it.

10. Convince fellow photographers to act with you, taking concrete steps TODAY towards improving your situation.

Photographers and photo buyers have strength in numbers. It takes a cooperative community of people to affect lasting change. If you feel commission drops are unfair and non-transparent, ACT. Your actions will speak for themselves.

Please comment below with any suggestions or ideas that we can add to the list. Your ideas can help change the industry!

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Get Great Photos for e-Learning Courses, Software and Presentations

Do you ever need eLearning backgrounds, blank promotional signs or people photos for your courses?

Lately, our creative director and review team have been creating Cutcaster lightboxes full of unique photos and clipart specifically for the e-learning community. Think of e-learning as internet-enabled learning that encompasses training, education, just-in-time information, and communications. Cutcaster photos are perfect for creating eLearning simulations, PowerPoint course templates or building other engaging instructional design courses where you need great backgrounds or real looking people.

The elearning images provide simple, clean designs at an affordable price and are fully customizable. Use the images and clipart over and over in multiple courses. Even use them on other websites and presentations as well.

Purchase graphics, clipart and photos for e-learning at Cutcaster today.

Collection of lightboxes with hundreds of images to choose from.

Business Teams

Objects Signs

Health Hospitals and Doctors’ Offices

Elearning Concepts Promotional

Elearning Home Exteriors

Office Interiors

Retail Stores

World Landmarks for Elearning courses

Back to School Photos for Elearning

Architecture Interiors

Architecture Office Buildings

Illustrations Web Buttons & Icons

Objects Blank signs

Architecture Urban Decay

We have additional elearning photos which inslcude call center employee pictures, Phone Person Pictures, People Phone Photos, Business Women Using Headset.

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Expected Trends in Conceptual Stock Images

We all wonder what to shoot next. Some have it down to a science and do a ton of research. Some just shoot and hope to get lucky and grab that perfect shot. Determining what the next trend will be is never easy but Soren Breiting at www.stockphotonews.com did a great writeup on the expected trends in conceptual images that we wanted to share with our Cutcaster community.

The below is a snippet of his findings:

As the financial crisis continues with negative implications for many consumers around the world, photographers can speculate over what that will mean for the demand and use of pictures.

Here are some possible trends to watch and shoot:

The growing complexity of the world and daily life of people might impose a trend to concentrate on the not so complicated sides of life. We know that the quest for amusement is often increased under times of depression. Visits to cinemas, restaurants, entertainment and other easy going activities might become more popular. So be prepared with fresh picture material of such situations.

Happy family life might also be a focus point, despite the effects of unemployment and the economic downturn that try to counteract it.

The ‘myself in focus’ trend might be further strengthened with focus on media success and the like as some of the concrete outcomes. The increased use of social media is an obvious indication.

Soren mentioned the potential to take portraits especially effective for the ‘face in social media’. – This is about how to stand out, and how to look with credibility.

With the flood of books on personal development and the self-help industry we have another important trend worth while to be aware of. The ever growing industry of alternative treatment – a rather depressing sign from the point of view of rationality and scientific justification – but a trend that you can profit from with pictures.  And herbs of all kinds seem to possess an over-natural potential to cure and help people.

The growing number and ratio of senior citizens has been in focus for a long time but as some countries have had to reduce their public spending on health-care, pensions and social services we might expect further demand on the positive as well as the negative sides of becoming older.

Finally Soren mentions the growing acceptance of the shift in psychology and therapy to the mantra of positive emotions and positive psychology. Surely this will be a field that will grow in demand for illustration and publications in the future.

The more you can combine some of these trends the more successful you might be on the marketplace as an image
provider or publisher.

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Google Image Swirl- New way to cluster photos and illustrations

Google just released and is testing out a different way of accessing image searches by placing image results together using a cluster. This new tool is called “Image-Swirl”
http://image-swirl.googlelabs.com/

Try a search at the site and  you will see stacks of images served up to you. When you select one of the image thumbnails, a cluster of similar images will pop up.  What do you think of the new tool? Will it help photo buyers find the right image faster? Is it a better way to display image search results?
Obviously after a few test you can see there are only a few search queries updated to the testing tool. I tried to do a search for “stock photos” and it wouldn’t let me. I also did a few other ones and got some funky results but some impressive ones as well. You can decide for yourself what you think.

There is a write up with more details at:

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscent er/article/182384/new_result_clusters_ swirl_into_ googles_image_search.html

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