Saturday, 8 February 2014

500px Prime and the unacceptable 30% commission rate

Welcome once again to another interesting post on A Click A Day, many photographer's out there who may be starting out in this competitive but fickle world of art and reproduction, are wondering where best to upload my photographic works, what are the benefits of the sites out there?

I know some of you use Photoshelter to publish your work some of you use the site because of the SEO tools and their Beam platform. SEO tools are important for search engine optimisation to market your works out there by using certain key phrases, so that people such as illustrators or graphic designers who don't have the time to produce a photograph can search through a plethora of photographs that cover certain subject matter, and if that work has a certain working license such as creative commons, can be used for those purposes by another.

The other aspect about Photoshelter is they offer a secure cloud storage, in context this is a great idea however, in practice it is not. The reason why is how secure is their storage, are the servers they use always going to run okay? Are they backed up on a disc elsewhere thousands of miles away in a secret shed in an Antarctica? Probably not but you get the idea, I always use a back-up drive for my works, to be sure.


I have used Redbubble myself for some time, I have sold works through the site, have I seen any commission? No not at all, the reason for this is the item purchased, were bought as a small item rather than the photographic work itself. Which quite frankly pissed me off a bit, someone likes the work, but they do not want to commit to purchasing a bigger piece. One that could fill say a 16"x20" frame would be nice. The commission is like Getty Images fairly low roughly 20-30 percent commission.  

The Pros

What I do like about Redbubble is the fact that you can turn your work into illustration which can be placed upon other media, such as a T-shirt, a Hoodie great for this time of year. They also make stickers, which to be honest I couldn't see my street works being sold as a sticker. I like things big, in fact the bigger the better. That is why when I print my stuff I use proper photographic paper, it is the only way to make a work that is great become much better. 

Presentation is key in this business, so if the work is presented in such a style that I make an investment of $50 - $250 to get the work printed I want a greater return on my investment. My investment is key to my success, which brings me to another point of view and another website community. 

The Cons

A great photo community should be a creative hub, one that defines itself by sharing ideas, intellect and passion for the art. One that offers great advice to up and coming artists and one that should stick together and fight for what they believe in. 

The site I am referring to is 500px don't get me wrong it is a large hub of creativity featuring some of the worlds best unknown photographers, though some do very well from it. 
Recently 500px decided to launch a new way of purchasing / selling photographic works on the site, they opted to give this new service a title Prime. Not too sure if this in relation to priming the user for another service they could be launching at a later date or if this is transformer based, if you pardon the pun. 

In reality though it does seem the latter, and like some gargantuan mechanical fist, laden with the very negative news of the hypocritical rate of commission for selling your photographs of offering the user 30% commission just smacks of disrespect to the very users, for which the site should be truly thankful to its success. Have decided to throw down a gauntlet, that gauntlet though has been met with some very strong opposition (myself included). 

I have decided to post a link to the site and the comments, if you are a member you can get involved and post your comment too. Comment on this

If you would like to go farther you can get in touch with Dustin on the site: 500px/Prime 

Photographers are not here to only receive 30% commission of their work, this is wrong on so many levels. Which does lead me to the point of how and why Magnum Photos was set up by those past master photographers, who put up a fight against the editors who were cropping their works for publication. So the message in their respective photographs would be misconstrued, or the interpretation was wrong. 

Magnum photos was set up for that very purpose, by photographers for photographers, it may be once again, that we now find the 'digital set' perhaps taking stock of what they want from the photography world, and how the media should be used. 

Until the next time,