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Thread: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

  1. #1
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    Question Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    I've been doing some research about stock photography, and it seems that the image requirements preclude the use of small sensor cameras like the GRD, Canon G9, and so forth.

    Are these cameras just suitable for artsy photos and memory snaps, or are there potential pro applications, besides niche book publishing?

    Thanks.

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    How interesting is that !!
    Really the requirements are so Strici.....Boring
    the Rules must be Changed

    H

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    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    It isn't that long ago when they wouldn't take digital camera files of any sort. I'm sure things will progress.

    I get frustrated when journalists insist on huge file sizes being sent to them when they are only going to print the images about 5cm square! I do understand stock photography having to be a minimum size though insisting on which sensor size shouldn't matter so much.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    I confess to being unaware of the exact requirements as set forth by the stock houses. However, I regularly buy stock photos for publication in the documents I design for clients. I can say that from a purchaser's perspective, I assume that whichever photo I choose, regardless of the resolution I select (they typically offer the same image for a variety of uses at different price points), will just plain work.

    I don't know if the smaller sensor cameras have proven to be unsatisfactory in certain situations, but if eliminating them from the pool of options insures that I won't be stuck with a photo that can work in situation A but not in situation B (whatever that might be), then I am a happy buyer. I definitely don't want to end up in a situation where I have to explain to the client that the photo we selected will work in the booklet but not as a poster.

    Just a thought from the other side of the situation.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Stock is different form the journo side as to requirements. Remember in stock they may be going to turn it into a wallsize image. Editioral will take smaller than stock. In fact many papers to today just hand the writer a 10megpixel P/S set to JPEG and go on. The papers I shoot for want about a 10inch longest dimension 200ppi and JPEG compressions of 8. News is more concerned about fast than big. Fast as quick while it's still news.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


  6. #6
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    I can only speak from a brief experience with iStock Photo. They declined one of three photos I submitted for being too noisy. If I recall correctly, it was an ISO 400 image from the Canon 5D, which means that it was less noisy than an ISO 100 GRD image and also cleaner than an ISO 80 Canon G9 image. So yes, based on that experience, I think small sensor images are out for stock photography. The DP1 may be an exception. While that camera captures less overall detail than a G9, it yield a significantly cleaner image and can get as much detail as an 8-10MP DSLR.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Thanks for the replies!

    TR, you just plain make sense coming from a buyer's perspective. Thankyou.

    Newspapers don't seem as if they should be a problem using smaller sensors.

    Amin, thanks for relating your experience with iStock. The answer to my question seems clear. I'm grateful!

    What I know at this point is changing my attitude towards small sensor cameras. So many different types of images could be candidates for stock sales, and yet you lose that option if you happen to be using a GRD, or its ilk. It's something to think about the next time I go out taking pictures. What I may gain in convenience and stealth is not necessarily without its consequences.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Another thing to think about and I don't know the full rules but if you are doing street and then trying to sell it for stock I think you would need model releases. Someone else with more knowledge can chime in here.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Another thing to think about and I don't know the full rules but if you are doing street and then trying to sell it for stock I think you would need model releases. Someone else with more knowledge can chime in here.
    Yes yes yes! Absolutely! And property releases too, in some instances. It's okay to submit, for example, a daytime shot of the Eiffel Tower without a release, but at night, the lights are protected, and not public domain (if I'm saying this right). Thanks.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    I met a photo journalist recently who was heading to Myanmar with a GRDII. In his case it was for news reporting and as long as the shots are good I'm sure the papers and mags will be fine with it. In his case it's more about access which he felt the pocket camera might get him.

    But for higher end yes they want a certain amount of quality so it can be repurposed for anything. If it's obviously grainy for a stylistic approach that might be fine, but it has to be very obvious.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Charles, thanks for telling about that photojournalist. Just shows that there are always exceptions, and in some instances, only a pocket camera will do. And in a case as that, the pictures, if they're good enough, would probably transcend quality requirements. Thanks.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    this might answer some of your questions:
    http://www.amazon.com/Microstock-Pho...4086666&sr=8-1

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokysun View Post
    this might answer some of your questions:
    http://www.amazon.com/Microstock-Pho...4086666&sr=8-1
    Thankyou sir!

  14. #14
    David Paul Carr
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    You can, indeed, use small sensor cameras (at least the better ones) for (some) stock agencies.
    I have placed photographs taken with an Olympus C7070, Ricoh GRD and GX100 and Sigma DP1 with Alamy at least.
    All passed the quality control test.
    That said, I'm not sure if Alamy's criteria are the same as, or similar to, other stock houses. Getty's requirements may be more stringent. I think there is information available on their website.
    I shoot no stock and only think of it as a way of (perhaps) generating some revenue from otherwise dormant images.
    You need to know your camera, how to get the best from it and how to prepare your files for submission.
    If you think you have anything to propose, you could always start by sending some stuff to Alamy and see if it passes muster. Then you would have an answer to your question.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Thanks David, I just know that most stock agencies are sticklers for noise. It seems they enlarge the images 100% and judge from there, and noise is the snafu of smaller sensors. Also, noise reduction editing isn't always welcome, either.

    I'm surprised that your small sensor photos passed muster at Alamy, but that probably says a lot about your shooting technique and image prep. Congrats! BTW.

    It's pretty much a moot point the more I think about it. I'm not going to use a GRD2 to shoot a tabletop product shot, and most of the other types of photography I might submit as stock, don't require stealth.

  16. #16
    David Paul Carr
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    I think that if you want the most versatile tool for deliberately shooting stock, you aren't going to chose a small format camera.
    On the other hand, it's reassuring to know that if you stumble across an unexpected great stock shot when you only have a little point and shoot (albeit the right one), you might well be ale to submit the image to some stock agencies.

  17. #17
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Paul Carr View Post
    I think that if you want the most versatile tool for deliberately shooting stock, you aren't going to chose a small format camera.
    On the other hand, it's reassuring to know that if you stumble across an unexpected great stock shot when you only have a little point and shoot (albeit the right one), you might well be ale to submit the image to some stock agencies.
    Exactly! (about the unexpected great shot). That exact thought spurred me to post. Maybe the future will bring some sort of miracle raw converter.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Just a heads up, I read where Getty has a list of cameras that need to be used before they will even look at your images, and it's all high-end pro/ semi-pro gear. I know that's not the norm, but it may become a trend.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Most microstock agencies are much stricter with regards to technical quality than traditional ones, and that's only natural. Just think about it: if you sell photos at a dollar a shot, you can't afford any complaints. The result is millions of technically perfect, but creatively boring images.

    Still, with enough light and a perfect exposure, almost any agency except the likes of Getty and Corbis will accept photos from whatever p&s. One of my top sellers is taken with a 5MP Canon A95, handheld in the middle of the night.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Most microstock agencies are much stricter with regards to technical quality than traditional ones, and that's only natural. Just think about it: if you sell photos at a dollar a shot, you can't afford any complaints. The result is millions of technically perfect, but creatively boring images.

    Still, with enough light and a perfect exposure, almost any agency except the likes of Getty and Corbis will accept photos from whatever p&s. One of my top sellers is taken with a 5MP Canon A95, handheld in the middle of the night.
    Thanks for the reply Jorgen.

    It is ironic about the microstock agencies, but perfectly understandable as you explained.

    I have learned more since I originally posted, and I've read of photographers, as yourself, selling images with small sensor cameras.

    BTW, congrats on that handheld A95 shot. I have an A95 that I've always liked except for nasty CA, plus you really need a RAW file to correct it.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    [QUOTE=Jorgen Udvang;37186]The result is millions of technically perfect, but creatively boring images.
    [QUOTE]

    so not fun!

    would far rather be creative

    many of my favorite shots are not 'perfect'
    Last edited by Lili; 27th June 2008 at 07:55.

  22. #22
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    PMFJI Lili, but commercial photography is exactly opposite, as I'm sure you know.

    Just to add, since I express myself better musically, and I feel that music is a much more expressive artform than photography, I might as well try to make some money with my photography. My creative/ expressive needs are satisfied.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    PMFJI Lili, but commercial photography is exactly opposite, as I'm sure you know.

    Just to add, since I express myself better musically, and I feel that music is a much more expressive artform than photography, I might as well try to make some money with my photography. My creative/ expressive needs are satisfied.
    LOL, oh yes. Sad but true.
    Thats where all the cliche's of starving artists come from
    Still you gotta do what you gotta do to stay housed, fed and living

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    LOL, oh yes. Sad but true.
    Thats where all the cliche's of starving artists come from
    Still you gotta do what you gotta do to stay housed, fed and living
    Generally speaking Lili, yes. In my case, and this is going to sound arrogant even though it's just the truth, it's more an embarrassment of riches. I was a creative type of photographer before I ever took up music, but I was always disillusioned with the one-dimensional aspect of photography. Even though I felt I was expressing myself with pictures, most people would just look at a picture for a couple seconds and put it aside. Even though photography has been accepted an an artform, it's incredibly rare that anyone is moved or touched by a picture in a powerful way. In fact, the pictures that have stopped me in my tracks are war photographs and disaster pictures. Edwin Weston's Pepper just doesn't do it. Plus the message, since photography is based in reality, is not always clear. When was the last time you were brought to tears by a photograph? How about a song?

    Bottom line is that I enjoy taking pictures, but I'd rather express myself through music. You can reach a wider audience with a greater impact. I don't exactly see people lining-up at the galleries and museums to view a photographic exhibition, mostly just other photographers. Photography always left me creatively unfulfilled and frustrated, but to be able to continue taking pictures and earn some money seems totally win-win, but only because music is so gratifiying and appreciated as an artform. An embarrassment of riches, the best of both worlds.

    Sorry, I never intended to travel this road, but you got me started. See Lili, it's your fault.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    this question of making money with photography is interesting. i've known university and school photographers who have to turn it out. it's a job. they look run ragged! wedding photographers the same.

    i went to a richard misrach show at a gallery in san francisco. older b&w prints maybe 2 feet by 2 feet of desert cactus at night, shot with either car headlights or a flash. these were printed by misrach with a technique he could no longer use cause the paper discontinued. they sold for $20,000 each. i asked the gallery person if they were selling and she said yes.

    there's no substitute for establishing yourself as a name!

    as for stock, take a look at www.jimzuckerman.com (his book on making money in photography worth browsing thru. lots of good ideas. but it's his sole work.) i admire stock photography but the pictures need to be without the imprint of the photographer's personality so meaning can be added by others in many different ways. rather like song lyrics. they can't be complete as poetry or there's no room for the music.

    wayne
    www.pbase.com/wwp
    Last edited by smokysun; 27th June 2008 at 12:59.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Wayne, speaking for me only, my photography would be more gratifying if I earned some money doing it. I've done the creative/ art photography thing long enough to know that it leaves me wanting. For the first time in years, I'm motivated about photography again. And it's not that I have to earn money with photography, but if that's what it takes to keep me motivated and active instead of giving it up, then I think that's a great thing, and the avenue I should pursue. And it's not to say that you can't earn money from art photography, but I need to keep my artistic/ expressive pursuits innocent of money to feel good about what I'm doing. To me, money corrupts absolutely.

    BTW, thanks for the link!

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Player,
    Music is indeed a powerful medium
    I listen and Dance to it, it moves through me when i do
    Cannot sing, sadly

    My photography too is important to me at least
    to quote Roy Batty from Blade Runner
    "If only you could see what I've seen with Your Eyes"
    Much of my work will not go on the web
    as it is too personal

    sorry to sound so pretentious, just the long week and some Jack talking
    Last edited by Lili; 27th June 2008 at 16:27.

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    i don't object to commercial photography at all. it's interesting that the fashion work of david bailey and guy bourdin much better (in my opinion) than the work they call 'personal.' various jobs can call up all kinds of creativity. i look at a lot of fashion work, especially from the 80's and 90's. another book to browse:

    http://www.amazon.com/Moment-Clicks-...4618793&sr=8-1

    i've gone thru it several times. (i spend a lot of time in the barnes and noble coffee shop, browsing thru all kinds of photo books, magazines, etc.) lots of good tips. great professional photographer.

    wayne
    www.pbase.com/wwp

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    SMOKYSUN- One should also mention
    My two FAVORITE Fashion photographers aside from David Bailey
    are
    PETER LINDBERGH and
    NORMAN PARKINSON
    who I met on two different occasions just by chance
    the Beauty of Life in Gotham City......

    Best-H

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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    helen,
    this has gotten outrageously expensive, but maybe you can find it in the library:

    http://www.amazon.com/Helmut-Newton-...4632517&sr=8-1

    player,
    i've been savoring this leonard cohen video the last several evenings:

    http://www.amazon.com/Leonard-Cohen-...4632679&sr=1-1

    enjoy,
    wayne

  31. #31
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    Player,
    Music is indeed a powerful medium
    I listen and Dance to it, it moves through me when i do
    Cannot sing, sadly

    My photography too is important to me at least
    to quote Roy Batty from Blade Runner
    "If only you could see what I've seen with Your Eyes"
    Much of my work will not go on the web
    as it is too personal

    sorry to sound so pretentious, just the long week and some Jack talking
    Nothing "pretentious" about that Lili.

    I hope I was clear enough that I was just speaking for myself.

    One thing you said reminded me of a guitar teacher I had. He said that he wrote songs just for himself, and he didn't care if no one heard them. I disagree with that so strongly: to me, music, and photography, is about communication, and if no one hears or sees an artist's work, what's the point really. Then I was a wiseguy and blurted-out, "What, you're just going to communicate with yourself? I'm not schizophrenic, I am."

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    Member pjphoto59's Avatar
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    Re: Are small sensor cameras useless for stock sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    I've been doing some research about stock photography, and it seems that the image requirements preclude the use of small sensor cameras like the GRD, Canon G9, and so forth.

    Are these cameras just suitable for artsy photos and memory snaps, or are there potential pro applications, besides niche book publishing?

    Thanks.
    I submit a lot of pictures to Alamy and to two other stock agencies.

    Alamy requirements are 48MB (open) images, (say 4800 x 3600 px) they must be sharp, (but unsharpened) free of chroma noise and interpolation artefacts.

    I use Olympus 8MP and 10MP dslr's and also a GX100. I have had a lot of GX100 pictures accepted by Alamy.

    I know that many people have had Canon G9 pix accepted also.

    Peter

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