I had a weird experience the last couple days and it got weirder today.
I wrote a small company on a very small island and told them I liked one of their photos they use on their site. I also told them I was writing an article about the island and would mention their small business favorably and put a link in the article linking to their site AND another link on the photo with credit to them and a link back to their site if they would allow me to feature the photo in the article.
This was not for ThaiPulse incidentally, but no matter – could have been for any site.
The girl co-owner, a Brit, writes back that she couldn’t let the photo be used without charging for it.
I thought she didn’t understand so I wrote again to clarify everything. It’s in the best interests of her business to be mentioned – didn’t she “get it”?
She got it, at least she thought she did – but, in the next email back she wrote again – that the article is worth more with a photo and she’d need to charge for it.
Let me explain further. The shot has nice color. That’s about it. It is only about 400pixels by 250 and not high resolution by any means. Anyone or a monkey could have taken the photo – it’s just that the perspective seen is from high above the ground.
I have access to Getty images for free. I have credits at Dreamstime.com enough for hundreds of photos – basically free. Or, if you equate credit to dollars – I have the $3 it would take to get a photo of the island from the same or much better perspective.
I like to help small Thai businesses that I like, that I believe in. For free. I don’t make any extra money writing this article, I’m paid a salary at the place I was writing for. It’s not freelance… anyway…
Your digital photos (and mine) are not worth squat in today’s market. Everyone and their kids has a digital camera and are capable of turning out remarkable photos. Gone are the days when I worked in New York City as a photographer and spent hours prepping a scene or a model to take photos that were worth something more than $3 at Dreamstime. Those days are WAY gone.
Apparently someone is still telling the world they can make money with their digital photos. It’s a novice way to enter into online sales of some sort. Something everyone can do to have a business online. Everyone wants the easy money online.
There isn’t any easy money in digital photos. Not even if you put together 100 photos that make people fall down semi-comatose and suck wind for 10 minutes because they can’t wrap their minds around what they just saw.
I have 700+ photos online at stock photo agencies. I know how to shoot a photo. I have some good photos. I was a professional at one time. I make about a dollar a sale on my photos – high resolution shot with amazing care and precision.
The best photographers in the entire world are putting billions of photos online at stock agencies because that’s where the buyers are. Not NYC, not Chicago and L.A. They are online and they want a photo for about 3 dollars.
The best chance anyone has for making money on digital photography these days is to make all of your photos “Creative Commons” licensed (see flickr’s CC info) and put your credit in the form of a URL directly on your photos so that some people will come back to your site.
That’s about it. There’s too many calendars. There’s too many coffee mugs with photos. You’re aren’t anything special unless they’re naked people doing weird stuff. Even then, there is such a glut of por—-n online that those photos too are dropping down to the couple dollars a shot rate.
Digital video is another story. Creating something unique digitally is another story. Writing stories – is another story.
Digital image money making is dead.
If someone writes you to say they are writing an article about your town and they are mentioning your business in the article – favorably, and with a link back to your site from the article, and the writer would like to use one of YOUR photos in the article WITH a link back to your site. Count them – that’s 2 links.
You should: (multiple choice)
A.) Tell the writer your photos are not free and you will charge him for them.
B.) Understand that you are getting free advertising and offer the writer 25 more photos you have that you haven’t posted online yet.
C.) Tell the writer you have enough people coming to your small business, but thanks for the thought.
D.) Write back as fast as you can, “YES, USE MY PHOTOS, THANK YOU FOR THE LINK AND MENTION!” and quickly invite the writer to use your service gratis for a 2-day stay if he’ll write 2 more articles about your business over the next couple weeks.
E.) Go back to watching Thai soap operas and thinking about how to make your skin whiter.