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Newsletter March 2009

Canon EOS T1i 500D Rebel, Animoto, ​time ​lapse and ​high ​speed ​photography…

"Spring is in the air"!

Well, I don’t know what it is like in your "neck of the woods" but Dorset has seen some fantastic weather lately. I actually managed to take a full two days off, by myself, and went out shooting stock photography solidly​. Bliss! I used only the 5D as the 1D Mark III was off to Canon for their free service/check up.

However, that now means I have added to my total of images needing processing, keywording and uploading by a few hundred more​. I figure I now have well over 3,000 photos to go through!

I almost forgot what it was like to spend quality time with just me and my cameras and I loved it​. Yeah, yeah, should be the kids, I know​. ​Anyway, actually taking my time and really thinking about what I was doing​ is a luxury. Especially when shooting things like weddings believe me. It seems no matter how long I go on for, the love of photography just goes on with me​. It gets stronger every day…ahhh, my first true love!

Still frame grabs

Oddly, these are two shots (taken VERY early in the morning) that I was really happy with but they are actually still frames taken from my video camera as I was shooting footage at the time…

Newsletter March 2009
Newsletter March 2009

…such a shame as I didn't have my DSLR with me at the time and the frost has gone now but it just shows you don't need an all singing, all dancing DSLR to capture half decent (well, I think so anyway) images.

Anyway, I am feeling really excited about this year and am getting stuck into all sorts of projects, mainly to help my fellow photographers. Anyone that knows me, and a few of you have been in touch with specific problems this month, know that I really care about what I do and the growing, friendly readership at ATP.

That is why the membership section may be a little later launching than expected (hopefully by summer) which you can read more about below.

Ok, this month…

  • ​Canon EOS T1i 500D Rebel (Sort the name out Canon)
  • ​Animoto
  • ​Time Lapse Photography
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    ​High Speed Photography
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    ​Membership section of ATP
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    ​Kubota Vouchers - Grab 'em while you can!
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    ​Stock Photography Update - Alamy going subscription based?

Canon EOS T1i 500D Rebel

Canon released last week, the oddly named T1i, or Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i 500D to be more precise. Regardless of the name, this camera looks pretty good in my opinion and is very well priced in the market. If you have been dreaming of a 5D or 5D Mark II but the budget is out of your range, this should suit you down to the ground as its specs fit neatly in between both but the price is way lower than either.

With a good sized 15.1 megapixel sensor, HD video capture and all the latest gizmos that come with DSLR’s these days, the price tag of just $799 will please many people just getting into DLSR photography. The only downside with the HD Video though, in my opinion, is that at full HD (1080p), you can only record at 20 frames per second whereas at 720p you can record at 30fps.

Still, this looks like another winner for Canon and I would expect to see it fly off the shelves. A Nikon D90 beater?

Animoto

Ani-what? If you haven't yet checked out the Animoto slideshow maker you should really think about trying them out. I have used them for about a year and now have an "All Access" pass. This means I can create unlimited and amazing slideshows to "Wow" my clients with.

Whether you shoot weddings, portraits, properties, fashion or whatever, this easy to use software will blow you, and them, away. The guys behind this website are ex-MTV producers so they really know their stuff.

Time Lapse Photography - "It only takes a minute girl" (to demolish a house)

This is something I will cover in greater detail in the future but just thought I would throw this in for fun. If you have some spare time and need some excuse to get funky and creative​.

Membership Section

Things are going well for developing and creating the new membership section​. However, we may need a couple more months to get it finished. The reason being is that we want it to be as useful, educational and helpful as it can be and we keep adding new ideas to it as we go.

The main objective is to include something for everyone on the learning curve​. To build in some strong community aspects as well. There will be tons of advice and techniques via text, photos and videos as well as short quizzes and set practical tasks on each section.

We hope to have a private "social media" section which will be fully interactive. This is where members can share their own ideas, photos, videos and comments etc​. The business section will hopefully get everyone on the right track whether it is for:

  • ​A stock photography business
  • ​Wedding photography
  • ​Portraits
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    ​Commercial
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    ​Building and promoting your business
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    ​Resources
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    ​…and so on

Marketing

We also want to help those looking to start up or move ahead with their business by incorporating a search engine friendly, personal marketing page and advertising at ATP as part of the membership which will link back to your own blog or website.

We have already seen people from our courses start up successful photography businesses and it is amazing to see them grow and improve every year…that is the intention of the website, to get you exactly where you want to be whether it is a full blown, full time business or to simply improve your photography!

We will keep you informed with the progress over the coming weeks…

High Speed Photography

Just a quickie. My wife showed me this which is fascinating and the images are stunning​.

Kubota Action Vouchers

Ok, as mentioned in the previous newsletter, the Action Vouchers kindly donated (for my charity ride in South Africa) by Kevin Kubota from Kubota Image Tools are now available​. Remember, all proceeds from the sale of these goes to charity so everyone wins. If you have recently joined our newsletter and don't have a clue what I am on about, I have 8 discount vouchers to be used at Kubota Image Tools. Edit 2018: Now ended...obviously : )

Kubota Image Tools, produce and sell stunning action sets for Photoshop CS​5 and above. These actions are one of the most useful tools you can have in your processing workflow and add real punch and pizzazz to your images at the click of a mouse. If you don't have any yet, I would recommend starting with Artistic Tools Volume 2!

​Each action set (1, 2, 3 and 4) is priced at $179 and each voucher we are offering (ended) is valued the same amount ($179). However, you can get one of these vouchers for just $120, that is a saving of $59. So, if you already use and love some of these actions, why not get hold of another set by grabbing a voucher today. The vouchers can also be redeemed against any product at their website if you already have all 4 sets for instance.

In plain English, you get $179 worth of goods for just $120! Edit 2018: The vouchers are now a lot cheaper even though this promo has ended. Grab some today!

​Stock Photography Update

To be honest and quite blunt, I am so glad I "sold out" 4 years ago and went "micro" with my stock photography. I, along with many other photographers, had the foresight to see just what was happening in the stock industry. Especially with this powerful, trundling freight train called Microstock.

​I think it is here to stay and now Alamy is trying to convince its photographers to back their gradual move into this "niche".

First of all we had "Novel Use" where the images were sold at a greatly reduced level​. Now they are looking at moving into a subscription based model due to the decline of the traditional print press. 

Here is a generic email sent out recently to Alamy contributors:

Dear Alamy contributor,

We have seen some dramatic declines with some of our newspaper customers this quarter, ranging from 30% to 70% down year on year. I would like to share some thoughts with you on how we can reverse this trend. I have spent the past week visiting photo editors and managing editors at several of the major UK titles to get a better understanding of why this is happening and where they see their businesses going.


All of the people I met with made the following observations:

  • ​Advertising revenues have fallen dramatically this quarter in most cases
  • ​Print sales have been falling and will continue to do so
  • ​Online versions of newspapers have yet to deliver a revenue stream comparable with that of print
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    ​Most titles have been making redundancies in recent months
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    ​Editorial budgets have been cut
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    ​Further editorial cuts are anticipated

Newspapers

The papers are going through a painful transition period that is being exacerbated by the recession. Most of the main titles think they will survive, but it is not yet clear what the right commercial structure for them will be. The only thing that is certain is that difficult choices and further cost reductions lie ahead of them.


Alamy is the only large supplier of imagery not offering a subscription scheme to newspapers and we are being squeezed out of this market by offerings from our largest competitors. These deals are in addition to, and separate from, newswire subscriptions. In the past we have managed to keep away from these deals because we represent a lot of material that isn't available anywhere else. Unfortunately the recession is forcing a change in behaviour at the picture desks that leaves little opportunity for image providers who don’t offer unlimited downloads for a fixed fee. To put this in context, our largest UK newspaper customer has ordered their picture desk to only download images from agencies they have subscription deals with.


To keep our newspaper revenues alive this year we will have to move quickly to regain the ground lost to our rivals. The good news is that it’s not too late to act - most of our customers want us to succeed because they like the speed, simplicity, and choice on Alamy.


Subscription costs

Broadly speaking any subscription offering needs to be priced at or below the total expenditure for the previous year for an unlimited number of downloads. Wherever possible we will allocate revenue to contributors based on usage, but in some cases we may have to divide up the revenue based on downloads. It is hard to judge in advance what impact this will have on the average price per image for this market. At one end of the scale prices will remain at or slightly below 2008 prices, whereas at the other end prices might fall by up to 50% or perhaps even more. My expectation is that we will see a mixture of both.


We face a stark choice - either we adapt to match the competition, or we accept that UK newspaper revenue will continue to decline sharply over 2009.


Please feel free to email me at my personal email address - mailto: XXXXXX - if you have any concerns you would like to raise.

Best wishes,


James West

Alamy CEO


The way I see it, in any business, you simply keep your eyes and ears open, adapt to the ever-changing environment and move on…or fall by the wayside. Alamy are simply trying to do just that.

What are your thoughts on this?

Speculation on the future of stock photography by Michael, (San Diego, CA US) - It would seem that in the not-so-distant-future the major agencies will reduce pro (photography-is-their-lively-hood) photographers' royalty percentages to the point where it will no longer be worth-while for them to shoot and post-process for stock (save perhaps out-takes, as in the early days).

Along the way, the primary contributors will become (if they aren’t already) non-professionals. In effect, "Crowd-sourcing" becomes the rule. Will the Crowd actually supply the varied subject matter clients want from stock agencies?

Probably not all of it - but perhaps enough that agencies can make up the missing content by having in-house staff photographers shoot it for them, with the added advantage of the agencies owning the these exclusive images themselves (how much of that is being done today?). What about RM, RF, micro, macro, subscriptions, exclusivity, whatever?

These are questions for the photo buyers - text book publishers, magazine (what’s left of them) publishers, newspaper conglomerates, and (the future for stock?) website publishers. If there’s a survey of these buyers out there somewhere I’d love to see the results. http://NaturaLight.us 

Water's Edge by Milfred Jaywant Ghadge (Pune): I fell in love with my passion for photography after seeing this picture. It gives me peace of mind and also tells me the creation of God is eternal...

All that leaves me to say is I hope you all have a wonderful April (including Easter) and enjoy life to the max!

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