Where are all the goddam photos?

- - The Future

It costs millions of dollars to distribute photography in the form of a magazine page. Now, it can all be done for free, so will somebody please tell me where all the goddam photos are? Honestly you’ve got the internet at your disposal and every last one of you is lined up trying to get in the door at 1271 6th Avenue to see the Photography Director and show them your book so they can send you out on assignment and 3 months later it will arrive in my mailbox.

You can send it to me today, for FREE.

One issue of a magazine with 200 pages in it that prints 1,000,000 copies (40% draw on newsstand so some go in the trash) and reaches around 2,500,000 people costs $1,000,000 to print and distribute with $800,000 in circulation expenses (subscription and newsstand) and $350,000 in contributer fees and expenses (photos and words) and a staff salary and general business expenses (rent and utilities) of $1,250,000. This will bring in $4,000,000 in advertiser revenue (minus advertising marketing) and $1,000,000 in sales through newsstand and subscription.

(The numbers are a fairly accurate estimate of a magazine I enjoy and are NOT based on a magazine I’ve worked at.)

The cost to deliver a magazine to one viewer is $1.36 and the revenue generated is $2.00. If a 200 page magazine is 110 pages of edit (half of which are photos) then the expense to deliver a single page picture to one viewer is $0.012 and the revenue generated is $0.018. So imagine for a second that photographers generate and distribute their own content (or in a partnership with an aggregator) so now the revenue generated is $0.015 (newsstand sales are gone) and 4 pages of photographs reaching the same audience that you always reached (if you shoot for top national magazines) with the same advertisers willing to tag along should give you $150,000. You’ll have to subtract your expenses for producing those photos but you can clearly see there’s going to be some serious money to be made once this thing starts working properly.

I blame the photographers and publishers equally for clinging to the old way of doing business and not innovating something new, but it’s the photographers that stand to gain the most from creating a new way of reaching consumers and bringing advertisers along for the ride. If we all just sit around with our thumbs up our ass because we can’t do anything with photography without getting paid I’ll guarantee you one thing. The publishers will figure it out for everyone and they’ll happily keep the 1.6 million dollar (from the example above) cut they already get every single month for every single magazine they produce.

Oh, you may have noticed the smallest part of creating a magazine every month is the fees and expenses paid to all the contributors. Are you ready to do something about it yet?

One thing that will never change in this equation is the amount of time in a day. The more time people spend consuming different types of media the less time the spend with other types. The amount of money spent to reach these people doesn’t change either so if it disappears from magazines and newspapers it will reappear online but the key to the whole equation here is that more efficient means of delivering content equals more money to be spent creating it and less to spend on effing red tape (shuffling photos around the layout, contracts, estimates and on and on).

I think we can look at all these other professions changing their game (journalists, musicians, software companies, filmmakers… ) and glean some ideas how photography will evolve but the reality is, some people really need to get off their asses and make a move to figure it out. I like looking to musicians when thinking about photography because like the public’s taste in music, taste in photography is subjective and attracting people to it is way more complicated than just creating the best image. Perception, marketing, recommendations and other environmental factors play a huge part and I’ll also agree with several of my contributors that there’s a long history of business practices that will effect what can happen next so modeling this business off any others has its limitations. It just seems like everyone is doing something with this new distribution system except for photographers.

Distribution of photography is now free. It’s time to decide if that means you get paid more or less.

There Are 87 Comments On This Article.

  1. Bill Johnson

    If you mean online, the question is: who’s going to pay? Apparently not the user, since we all know that everything on the internet is free. Witness the death of the paid NYTimes service; gone. Maybe a few are collecting, ala Slate, but they’re the exception, right?

    So you mean an online magazine, on the web, totally supported by advertisers? Similar to T Magazine from the Times? What a horrible interface THAT one is. But they get the ads big, and right in front of your face, no matter how ackward it is mixing with the content of the editorial.

    Can you explain a bit more how you might see it set up? Or would that unveil it to the publishers? And you got to know, photographers are a lonely breed; can’t imagine them coming together in any kind of entrepreneurial way. Witness the stories of Magnum bickering. Photographers just can’t wear suits, (unless it’s to run rental studios).

    There’s another one of those “unconventional business model” articles in today’s Times, about Jay-Z:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/arts/music/03jayz.html?hp

    What are the photography parallels?

    Like Debra Weiss asked recently, if we give away the meat, what else do we have to profit from? If a musician gives away the music, they’ve still got T-Shirts and other Merch to profit on. And concert gates. What do we do: charge for wannabee photographers to witness live photo sessions in action? Ala Nick Knight?

    The only business model that I’ve seen so far is based on Photographers Eating Their Young, which is Photo Workshops, Digital Workshops, and GeekGear. And I doubt that anyone’s really getting rich off that either.

  2. Oh boy Rob…get ready for the onslaught. You’ve once again suggested that we photographers may need to change our ways…

    Don’t you get it? If things don’t work the way it used to we just need to educate more, bitch more, and then blame it on you and others like you who make such foolish suggestions.

    Change is bad…

  3. Got to have a story to go with the pictures.

    The story has got to be in the photographer’s voice.

    The voice has got to be the real thing and not some copywriter.

    And the photographer has got to stop thinking they deliver a product TO BE framed. Rather, they need to deliver a product that is already framed.

    Build the story, build the frame and you can grow the revenue.

    Here’s the real kicker, though. You have to have to have something to say. And it’s a hell of lot more work to build that frame.

    I like Luc Delahaye’s response: It’s fine art.

    http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/sullivan/sullivan4-10-03.asp

    A lot of people can understand that.

  4. Bill Johnson

    @#5 Sean:

    quoting:

    I like Luc Delahaye’s response: It’s fine art.
    http://www.artnet.com/magazine/features/sullivan/sullivan4-10-03.asp

    Of course, Sean, strong work accompanied by strong story, but the underlying question is: “Would you PAY to read that? Would you actually get out your VISA card and enter it, just to read that content?”

    And if you would, wouldn’t Magnum In Motion already be charging for it? (They’re not).

    I find it very interesting to notice my own reaction: If I drive to Borders or Barnes & Noble, I’m perfectly fine with buying three or four magazines, even at rack rate. But if I would be viewing that exact same content from the exact same magazines, on the web, no way in hell am I getting out my wallet. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that it is. And I’m certainly not alone.

    Maybe one revenue stream is a Blurb/Asuka one-off book. Maybe if there’s something tangible to hold in your hand, the VISA card will more easily fly from the wallet. Maybe on photographer’s website, instead of a link to a free “PDF Download”, there should be a link to a (paid) method of ordering the printed portfolio/book.

    I’m just curious to hear Rob’s overall thoughts on this topic. (But maybe he’s keeping his cards close to his chest, and using us as a free Focus Group. Maybe he’s already on it).

  5. The music industry shifted away from the aura of the physical, and it’s still happening. You’d only need to look towards the recent explosion of Muxtape.

    The Radio Head, NIN, etc. is comin’ soon for image makers.

    But, maybe, our idea of success and whom we are making images for needs to change too.

  6. All of my photography is available online through http://www.photoshelter.com.

    Recently, I was contacted by Cambridge University Press about licensing one of my images for use on a new text book. I gave the editor from Cambridge University Press some very basin instructions on how to license the picture through http://www.photoshelter.com. When he realized the industry standard price was 800 dollars he balked at spending that much money and told me he could not throw away money on just a picture and he would be able to get a similar picture for much less else where on the internet.

  7. Alright, SERIOUSLY,
    What are you trying to say? Its a big mixed bag of emotional “woe is me” hootenanny.

    1st “but it’s the photographers that stand to gain the most from creating a new way of reaching consumers and bringing advertisers along for the ride”
    PROBLEM: Photographers already attack the public from so many media angles, its silly. Websites, blogs, mailers, whatever. What makes a difference? Perhaps just quality of work. A new way of bringing a visual image to people, thats not the internet or a printed image… wow I’m stumped, APE, have something in mind? Should we tattoo photos onto dogs and let them run wild? hey, thats not a bad idea…

    2nd “Now, it can all be done for free, so will somebody please tell me where all the goddam photos are?”
    SOLUTION: Try looking at my website, or Flickr page, DeviantArt page, &c &c. There are so many photos on the web its silly.
    PROBLEM: As hard as I try, there are 1000 guys making photos that look as good as mine, and another 300 making photos that look even better. PS well I guess thats my fault but there they are if you want them.

    3rd “and show them your book so they can send you out on assignment and 3 months later it will arrive in my mailbox. You can send it to me today, for FREE.”
    SOLUTION: So you want PDFs? Alright, InDesign and me are going to take over the photo world tomorrow, just you wait.

    I love you, but, if you can’t find a photo as a photo editor…

  8. This sounds interesting, and nothing completely new from other articles on this blog. I am open to change as a photographer. The bottom line is that change is coming weather we are open to it or not. There is no sense in holding on to tradition, unless you are ready to retire. The thing that confuses me and scares me a little is the idea of photography for free. I really don’t understand how a photographer would stay in business that way. I know Rob was talking about creating a fan base of just 1,000, but I don’t know if they could keep me in business. I agree with the quote by Debra Weiss, “if we give away the meat, what else do we have to profit from?”
    As far as going on line goes, I am fine with that, and I think it could be a very exciting new adventure, but I would just want to get paid, like everyone else. Maybe the payment system is different, I don’t know. I’m sure Rob has more on his mind grapes (30 Rock anyone?) about this whole issue. He is a smart guy and he is an advocate for photographers, so I know he is not suggesting we just work for free and get a second job. But I would love to figure out what the new model looks like.

  9. I’ve been a believer in putting it all on-line since the day I heard of the net, back before one could put images on the web. My web 1.0 site is, and always has been, a depository for everything I have to offer. It is presently the largest individual collection of theatre images on the web. What’s in it for me? Resales. Growing each year. The more images I put up, the better my resales.

  10. @#7 Bill I guess from my standpoint, Luc has generated an audience and those people appear to be quite willing to pay for his work.

    And that leads to this other point about revenue. Photographers don’t need to reach the numbers that Rob mentions.

    Instead, focus on a niche, build a frame for that niche and your audience grows. So, by the way, does the demand for your work.

    There are number of wonderful photographers zeroed in on a niche and that definitely pays them back.

    Distributing work for free? Absolutely, just make sure to focus on a particular audience. Get the audience and pretty soon the opportunities for revenue growth might seem a bit overwhelming.

    Given your example I’m never going to pay for the content in borders that I could get down the street for free.

    But if I’m passionate about a subject, and I’m following a particular photographer who distributes (for free) a work-in-progress on that subject, and once it’s finished she asks me to pony up for the book?

    It’s a no-brainer. Of course I’m going to, ’cause I’m a true fan.

    Thanks for your insightful post and thanks to Rob for providing a really smart place to begin thinking about this.

  11. Bill Johnson

    @ 14 Sean:

    Does your model point to the fine-art photographer then? Selling prints? Appears it does. I guess this model works for that approach — you allow the online versions of your images to be used around the web, (non-commercially), for free, and then “the meat” that you sell is the 40×60 print, editioned, in rising prices?

    And if I’m not wrong, I remember Rob’s advocating for free transmission of images around the internet to be limited to NON-COMMERCIAL uses? So it’s not really “giving it all away for free”; there still are limitations, and ways to profit in this model.

    But honestly, I’m still murky on exactly what Rob is advocating, at least in the fine details.

  12. Last night I was registering for a conference and decided to download the PDF brochure in order to help me decide which courses I would take. Much to my surprise right in the PDF was an image with the watermark still on it from a microstock company. So even those folks who are trying to embrace the new way of doing things are getting ripped off (twice).

    There is a way to make money from photography in the new era of digitization and the Internet, I am not sure what it is to be honest with you all, but I know that the transition is going to be painful for alot of folks.

  13. Photography is not a time based medium. Its not experiential like a film or an album. Peeps just aren’t gonna pay en masse to look at pictures. If they did we wouldnt be having this conversation at all – paying for photographs by the public would be de rigueur. Instead its the realm of fine art and wedding/family. I love photography, but I’m not gonna pay to just look at photographs. Maybe, MAYBE I might buy a few monographs in my life. I’m having a hard time imagining what this new model could look like. Maybe thats the point…

  14. If editorial photography is no longer going to be presented in print, I am no longer interested in being an editorial photographer. Glossy 4 color trumps computer screen. I wish I understood the editorial business model better though. Lets say hypothetically that I had a client who said they were massively over budget last year (by your numbers though APE the number they *might* have quoted doesn’t seem that extreme to me now) and asked everyone to lower their creative fees and expenses. It then turns out that they are currently rated #1 in ad revenue in a certain bracket. I can’t figure out if this means they are operating under an old budget and the new profit is irrelevant ($ channeling into web presence, etc.) or if they are just unwilling to part with the new profits. i’m not bitter, just confused (hypothetically of course)

    I am going to re-read this post a few times though, the math side of my brain was replaced by creative thoughts long ago.

  15. 1. I *think* the point is that with the internet/web 2.0/digital tools photographers have a means of connecting directly with potential clients.

    2. I’m guessing his experience has been that most photographers try to show physical portfolios, or take a passive approach that “maybe somebody important will see the magazine story I shot and beat the bushes on the interenets looking for me”.

    3. The problem with digital communication is the same with print communication – signal to noise ratios. If 2 photographers send a whole bunch of ‘goddam photos’, lots of signal – but if a 1000 people send a whole bunch of ‘goddam photos’, even if all the photos are great, there is way too much noise (or not enough time) to make sense of it.

    {which leads me to this tangental commnet}

    4. Although photographers certainly have embraced digital imaging tools, and have been great adopters of web based portfolios, etc., photographers have not figured out a new business model to go along with all of this. We are still trying to limp along with our old business models ($500 a day? WTF?) in a new economy.

    5. Microstock, RF, Wholly Owned stock, amateurs with prosumer cameras and software, rampant ‘bad business practices’ by photographers: these are the current crop of new business models for photography.

    6. Hopefully everyone has read Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans post already – but if not, here’s a quote and a link.

    http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php
    quote: “The long tail is famously good news for two classes of people; a few lucky aggregators, such as Amazon and Netflix, and 6 billion consumers. Of those two, I think consumers earn the greater reward from the wealth hidden in infinite niches. But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist’s works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.”

    okay… I believe I’ve officially wandered off the path

    cheers

    andy batt

  16. Awright, here’s my crackpot theory for today. I think part of the experience people are after, when they buy and read a magazine or newspaper is not about the visual. It’s the sense of touch. Humans like to touch things. As effective as the internet is for distributing visual data, it’s a little cold as an interface. We are culturally used to paying for something we can hold in our hand. Not so with the glowing pixels that flick across the screen. Despite the obvious efficiencies we can all see from distributing online, we humans just like a holdable thing.

  17. What if an AD, a fashion photographer, food photographer, stylist, modeling agency, lifestyle shooter, product shooter, 3 freelance writers and a MUA got together and spent some evenings chatting and creating, then shooting and producing on own time, and then create a site with a downloadable PDF that they send all over the friggin wurl…? Laid out with stories and work that represents the artists vision… like a coop portfolio piece. Distribution is absolutely free, and with a couple of YouTube videos… could go viral.

    I dunno… just askin.

    Usually here is where I get the “I don’t work for free” email.

    ‘S OK. Just a thought.

  18. The old ways aren’t working. They’re not coming back. If you want to survive you’ll need to adapt.

    Rob has just given all of you (again) a very important wake-up call (for free). Instead of thanks, many of these posts are either complaints that he didn’t give you all of the answers, or reasons on why he’s wrong.

    There’s not a single person working in photography today that wants to hear anymore complaints. They’ve all heard it before from people that are more important to them than you.

    Concentrate on finding solutions, that’s what people want to hear.

    Photographers just need to become the end-users of their own work. Is that so hard?

  19. Of course, there is another way. What if we all collude to withold our services and bring Media to it’s knees? You start, I’m right behind you.

  20. Consumers don’t pay to look at photographs in a magazine they pay for the privilege to have it delivered to a bookstore, mailbox or airport. It costs a million to print and 1.8 million to deliver so publishers loose money on that part. Advertisers will still pay to ride along with photographs to reach consumers on the internet it’s just that nobody is giving them a good way to do it.

    I find it extremely hard to believe that we’ve been fooling consumers all these years and that somehow the reality is they don’t like professional photography and would rather consume pictures your uncle walt took.

    We’re in the weird period of this new medium but eventually it will get sorted out. I’d like to help it get sorted.

  21. The post may be a rant but it is justified. The business model HAS to change. As Rob mentioned, the recording industry business model is rapidly evolving to something that takes a lot of the control away from major labels that, traditionally, poured a large amount of money in to music for development, production, promotion, tours etc. With the variety of internet-based distribution models now available to us, the impact on photographers is already being felt. $1 RF stock images is a good example. Not so long ago, this was unheard of, would elicit more lengthy rants in the trade press about the callousness of it all, how photographers are going to be out of work. But those photogs who adjusted, who could turn the inevitable to their advantage, are those who are still earning a good income, while those who failed to evolve continue to struggle.

    I would love to see a more detailed definition of what the new business model would look like. Many of us are aware of the news photography business where the cost of running and printing a newspaper is not met by the cover price, but by the sales of advertising. Our photography is there to help boost circulation numbers so that more advertising can be sold. Print advertising is expensive. With the internet, advertising models are moving to a different level – low cost, and plenty of it.

    So how do we make money from photographs attached to news stories or other articles on the internet? Do we get a cut of any subscription fees that are paid to access those stories? Do we get a cut of the advertising revenue that comes from those who click on an ad link next to the article? I do not know. But it is going to happen and if photographers can be proactive in developing a revenue stream in this new environment, we will be far better off than trying to create a revenue stream from a model that has been presented to us as a foregone conclusion.

  22. I have concerns about how well the photography and photographers we love will hold up if they have to depend directly on the demand of the public.

    This post over at Conscientious is really brought this to my attention.
    http://www.jmcolberg.com/weblog/2008/03/the_quest_for_the_most_wanted.html

    I wonder how many people would seek out the work of someone like Delahaye, for example, if it was not presented and endorsed by publications and galleries. Those pictures push us, like all art should, but I fear that many people would rather look at rainbows and flowers.

    Certainly, the long tail will open up some photographers to niches that were unavailable to them before. But some photographers, including many great ones, may find their niche is much smaller than it was in the past.

    I suppose now we can start debating what defines great photography, if not the ability to speak to many people.

  23. This kind of thing does exist – You can buy photographs online from a lot of agencies. Fine Art and Commercial photographers and agencies prefer you hire the photographer for the job or buy a limited edition gallery print.

    Books can be ordered online and I occasionally get asked by people to print up some of my images for them to buy (and I will one day get round to putting a print sales section on my website!)

    So I think the internet is being used by photographers to generate revenue, but it a very scattershot affair. This however is the nature of the beast. I too like the music analogy. And look at that industry. People still buy the physical CD/LP but they may just as likely (more so?) pay to download it, or download it for free from a peer, or pirate the CD or mp3 from a friend. People will pay to see musicians perform live. Some music is impossible to find online. I have 12″ records that only got a limited pressing, I’ve seen musicians play who never recorded a note. Some musicians make no money, some make a lot and they all do it in different and combined ways. In photography, people buy photobooks and magazines, they download low res images to put on their desktop or blog, they buy prints and hire photographers to work for them. Some photographs never go online, I have prints made by photographer friends I don’t think will ever get reprinted or scanned. Some photographers make no money and some make a lot…

    The question is as always, how much do people pay and for what. Essentially, what is the value of things. And that is a larger discussion on where the economics of the internet fit into a capitalist system.

    This is how capitalism works – the money is there to be made (taken?). How you do it is up to you.

  24. Three VERY different photographers who are successfully building an audience and generating demand for their work, their knowledge or both and who are doing it all for ‘free’:

    David Alan Harvey
    http://davidalanharvey.typepad.com/road_trip/2008/03/no-place-to-liv.html

    Zoe Strauss
    http://zoestrauss.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-95-2008-may-4-flyer-for-print.html

    Perou
    http://perouinc.com/diary/?date=2008-03-27

    Each link is specific. All are ideas of how they are promoting themselves, framing their work and creating demand.

    Note: There is no need for an aggregator.

  25. I think the most important point Rob has mentioned, is that delivery is free, and nearly instantaneous. With the web, the most expensive part of publishing has become free! For a web based business to succeed, they now only have to pay for content creation, and salaries of employees – not a trivial amount, but still less than in the past. As long as the content is constantly targeting a specific audience, and gets viewers/readers, advertisers would be lining up to advertise on your site – especially if they have the ability to advertise directly to a niche group. Advertisers have been salivating at this for a while now – they are just waiting for someone to figure out how to do it!

    Basically, the question for photographers is: do you want to be part of the group who decides and controls the content(editors) or do you want to continue to only be a part of the production? It’s the same divide that’s happening among advertising photographers – There is one group of photographers who acts more like creative directors(while still doing the production), and another group who light the set, and then push the button while a CD sits at a monitor and screams directions at the model.

  26. Uncle Walt

    APE said:
    “I find it extremely hard to believe that we’ve been fooling consumers all these years and that somehow the reality is they don’t like professional photography and would rather consume pictures your uncle walt took.”

    My photography is getting better. Have you seen it? Man, these modern cameras are something else. The proliferation of amazingly high rez / high quality, fully-automatic pocket cameras, let alone DSLRs have put tools in the hands of us regular joes that we never could have had access to in the past. And with the easy to master digital darkroom, well, everybody with imagination and creativity to come up with the ideas can be Jerry Uelsman or Storm Thorgerson or (add your favorite old-school darkroom whiz here) now.

    The playing field in all media has leveled in the digital age, from music to graphic design to photography. It’s old news.

    Art used to be the realm of the cultural elite. You used to have to be highly educated and well connected. It was a very closed, inbred little gravy-train world. The digital age has changed all that. The old guard is deathly afraid of losing their stranglehold on the art world as upstarts like me horn in on it from my digital platform with low expenses, professional-quality work and can-do attitude.

    There will always be a place for the highest-end shooters, the ones that can do things no one else can do, that can wrangle difficult sitters or suffer untold physical and spiritual privation to get the shot (Delahaye), but all that mid-level, joe-shmoe work-work? Uncle Walt is here. Get used to it.

  27. “Advertisers will still pay to ride along with photographs to reach consumers on the internet it’s just that nobody is giving them a good way to do it.”

    I think a major source of erosion for photographers is the devaluization of licensing for the web. Major blogs, blogs that earn real money and have offices and staffs, use nothing but free images. They pull stuff off of google image searches and crowd source like crazy from flickr. Point and shoot amateurs start to have a fantasy that they are photojournalists, but if they quit thier day job and tried to make a living, they would be screwed.

    Photographers need to negotiate more value from online useage, at least getting links and other promotional value for their work. Anything given away for ‘free’ needs to have some value to the photographer: exposure, promotion, access, quid pro quo.

    We need to demand and advocate for better technology to generate income from online usage- possibly a google-model pay per click or per load for images on commercial sites.

    There does need to be some collective effort from organizations like APA, ASMP and EP. Look at what happened with the recent writer’s strike, it was all about securing income from new technology.

    And regarding the music industry, it is splitting 2 ways: free content in the digital world but also more tangible things to buy, like vinyl records.

    The problem lies in 3 places: 1) the glut of photographers making poor pictures and amateurs dumping free images into the system by the millions, 2) The media outlets exploiting the frenzy and lessening the quality and value of visual media 3) the good photographers not securing more power and knowledge of the new media.

    And speaking of ‘Where Are All the Goddam Photos?’ – we sent you 3000 of them, how’s that slide show coming?

  28. Probably the only photoblogpost in the history of the known cosmos to have said anything remotely useful about the current state of the biz…

    You are good, Rob, I might start reading…

    re #29 I notice mr Perou complains Mickawberishly of expenses running at 4x income…

    I know whereof he speaks

  29. Bill Johnson

    Quoting:

    “Advertisers will still pay to ride along with photographs to reach consumers on the internet it’s just that nobody is giving them a good way to do it.”

    The problem seems to be that: the photographers that are good enough to have an advertising following are commanding such high fees that this “free internet thing” would be of little interest to them.

    And then that leaves the gearhead photographers who attract B&H or Canon advertising, by attracting amateur photographers:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

    When I start seeing Calvin Klein ads, or Saks ads, or any type of major fashion consumers ads, on the leading fashion photographers’ sites, (Klein, Meisel, McDean, etc), then we’ll know that this New Day has come.

  30. Hey folks-I have been trying to get people like APE and John Harrington to look at what’s going on at http://www.gumgum.com. These lovable geeks seem to have a way of tracking and BILLING for content usage (like pics) on the internet. I don’t know if they are the answer but a good direction for a new business model online images would be a pay-per-view and pay-per-click plus a base rate for the photog. The cashflow would come from the advertisers through the online publishers. There HAS to be a way for views and clicks to get tracked accurately, because if not someone in the ad sales department is LYING BIGTIME to the advertising clients about their banner ads.
    Think and comment.

  31. Wake up dumb asses. You are not photographers. You are business people and not very good ones. Rob is tucked away in his little factory tinkering on the solution he is about to sell you on. See, Rob is smart. He’s an outside-the-box thinker and he’s about to make a whole lot of money and he deserves it. This is what you call product management. He is bringing attention to a need, creating a demand for his soon to be launched problem solver.

    True to form, most of you post complaints and continue with the sky is falling mentality. Instead of thinking “woe is me” why don’t you do something to help yourselves? Stop screwing yourselves and each other by slashing your rates just to “survive”. You’re each guilty of your own demise.

    First off, half off you suck. Give it up and stop the destruction of the industry. All you wannabe photogs in the editorial industry – get out. You are the reason this industry is on its way to extinction. I can’t imagine this means anything to you since you don’t have much of an investment in this industry or culture.

    All the photogs with talent – stop your bitching. Talent is never enough. Educate yourself. Learn a few things about business, negotiating, building relationships, persuasion. I suspect once you learn a thing or two about supply and demand most of you will realize your ROI is not worth it.

    For the 20% of you that should stay in the business…be a problem solver.

  32. I agree with Tony,

    I haven’t looked at gumgum but that’s what I’m thinking.

    What about a new standard image format for the web –
    – one with un-strippable metadata including ownership info
    – some kind of registered tag or ID number associating each image with a photographer
    – tracking and reporting services and an incremental payment system for use.
    – as a registered business, blogs and other new media websites would be required to incorporate a licensing system (the same way any bar playing music needs an ASCAP and BMI license)
    – payment to the photographer would essentially be proportional to the
    ad revenue being paid to the site

    If the technology was in place, this system would encourage good photographers to get as much work out there with minimal upfront cost to the media outlet. It would place us in the same boat as online magazines and blogs: may the best content win.

    And also, what about lobbying entities like flickr to change their TOS to limit or prohibit commercial (and a blog with advertising IS commerical) use of photos. Or at least educating its users that someone is making money off of them by sourcing them for online content.

    -Jacob
    http://www.33-13.com

  33. Avid Reader

    In related news, those crazy RadioHead boys are at it again. Now, they’re releasing five “stems” of one song, that can be imported into Apple’s GarageBand software, and the consumer can “remix” the song to his own taste.

    http://tinyurl.com/2rj6qf

    Not to be outdone, Gregory Crewdson today announced that he’s unveiling a similar scenario, where an end user could download the final five Photoshop Adjustment Layers of his most recent image, and can change the Saturation and Opacity of each one, to create a new “original”.

    Film at eleven.

  34. Photographers will start earning more income when the following problems finally have solutions:

    Problem 1: There is no way to restrict online usage of images.
    Example: images are ripped from sites; images are used outside of the license agreements.

    Solution: Heck, if I knew that, I wouldn’t by typing this post!
    Clearly it will be a technology solution. The result? A lot more revenue being paid to photographers (just read the White Paper over at Stock Artists Alliance to get a feel for how big this problem is).

    Problem 2: Microstock returns such a low rate of return and it wouldn’t even exist if photographers didn’t contribute so willingly to it.

    Solution: Photographers need to create a coop based model and the largest micro-stock photo library in the world, returning at least 60% of revenues to the coop (the other 40% is to run it). Once this becomes THE microstock site globally, start slowly lifting the prices.

    There is so much money in microstock for photographers, it is silly. Just look at what iStockphoto paid out to contributors for the last fiscal year.

    Problem 3: Consumers are swamped with choices when it comes to photography online from way too many individual sources.

    Solution: Create the Amazon of online photography. The one-stop shop for everything. Publishers photo books; self published books through Blurb; Lulu etc.. Fine art prints; postcards, calendars etc…

    Some of these ideas might tank, but surely there is some merit in there when you start thinking of what problems prevent photogs from receiving all the income their images are generating, but not being paid for.

  35. A posteriori

    Not to bicker with what was said, and probably agree with a lot of it, but this did catch my attention:

    “First off, half off you suck. Give it up and stop the destruction of the industry. All you wannabe photogs in the editorial industry – get out. You are the reason this industry is on its way to extinction.”

    How much of a part do the editors and clients who hire those people play in the destruction of the industry? If they are that bad, who is hiring them… when as you state half of them suck?

    Really doesn’t say much for the editors, AD’s, and creative body as a whole if they cannot recognize, as you have, that half of what they are hiring are crap shooters, does it?

    Just seems odd to say that the market is being ruined because those that get hired are not worthy? If they weren’t worthy, then the market would shift to those that are, and presumably, lift the stations of those who are worthy. But those unworthyites are getting hired by who?

    Seems to me that your statement is really directed more toward those too stupid to see the difference between those who suck and those who don’t, therefor HIRING the ‘clods’ and depressing wages and standards. I understand your choice for anonymity.

    I’ve always believed in the market. It has generally been correct. It is in a state of chaos because there are so many paths to go down and very few maps.

  36. Hello Lovely

    If it was so easy, why don’t we see more new magazines online with million plus subscribers? Or, why haven’t you started one yet featuring great photography and cashing those six digit advertiser checks?

    In my opinion it is indeed photography that drives magazine sales, but it takes more than good pictures to create a desireble product. Creating that successful mix in print has never been easy (just take a look at all the failed glossies). Doing it online, in a medium that allows much less exclusivity and is essentially free, seems even harder.

    If you take a look at the music industry: yes, the internet made distribution free. Does it look like musicians are making more money?

    S.

  37. …you’ll tuck a little electronic book under your arm. Inside that little book, which will be very expensive at first but soon will cost $150, there’ll be a series of mylar “pages,” and there will be small buttons off to the side, and once you hit one of them, whoooosh, words and photos from Vanity Fair will suddenly appear. “You’ll subscribe to five magazines and six newspapers,…
    http://www.observer.com/2008/mag-hell

    This little electronic book (reader) should be FREE. Just like Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. It should be free because at $150.00 it has value which means what if it gets stolen or lost, then what?? Then you’re out $150.00 and, more important, you can’t read any of your subscriptions. It should also be easily attainable. Stacks of them free at every newsstand, coffee shop, bookstore, or just order a new one from Adobe. All your subscriptions are encrypted and need your thumb print for access. Magazine/s saves 2.8 mil. Will some of that money makes its way into to Rob’s budget? I hope so. Though its just as likely to line the shareholders pocket. If its electronic then its … GREEN. No more trees to cut down, etc. Wow, green and free!! (Though I doubt in 10 years green will still be the same trend it is today.) Since its electronic it could know a bit about you and target ads that are of interest just to you. If its true that 50% of ad dollars spent are wasted, then here is chance to reduce that 50% of wasted money. This could translate to even more money for Rob’s budget. All we have to do is hold on for another 10 years.

  38. I just wanted to thank all those photographers out there that helped me construct my infinity pool. Because you are so willing to slash your day rates and licensing fees my employer gives me a fat quarterly bonus for hiring photographers at such low rates. We get great images from wonderfully talented photographers for bargain rates!

    Moving forward, I just ask that you not make my job so easy for me.

    BTW, was Rob not an anonymous blogger while holding down the fort at Men’s Journal?

  39. It seems like in most of the comments people have not been thinking about the big picture. As an editorial content creator, your goal is to sell ads. Why couldn’t a photographer, a writer, and a designer team up to create a site and essentially become the publisher along with content creators? You know, push out the middle man! I don’t know any advertiser who wouldn’t love a site / online magazine that is good, and has a strong following – especially a following that is a specific segment of the population. Advertisers would then be able to tailor their ads to all sorts of different people – it’s like an advertising wet dream…

    In regards to stealing pictures – let people do it, because to see the entire piece of content, which includes design, writing, photography, and even video, they would have to link back to this site. It’s only when your images are used out of context that there is a problem.

  40. Yeh high end magazines are willing to pay a lot for Well photographs; for the rest they are willing to run almost anything. The other magazines are willing to publish garbage if its cheap enough.

    And as for photographers; most suck. And have no doubt digital cameras have hurt photography. People with cell phones get images published.

    I don’t blame the internet as much as designers, editors, publishers and photo editors. When blogs with no reporting and research = the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal articles why are we surprised that JoeDigitalCamera with his Canon D5 taking a picture of Britney getting out of a car without underpants is photography?

    It is not photographers as much MBAs and designers, editors, publishers and photo editors that are causing the confusion.

  41. One thing I’ll add in response to #47 and the idea of DIY magazines with a little help from friends etc. is that to be a really great photographer you have to work at being a really great photographer. Running around selling ads, designing layout, coding, writing, editing, promoting will not make you a better photographer.

    Photographers already need to be technicians, business people, marketers, accountants and artists, that’s enough, let the ‘frame-makers’ make the damn frames.

    Those jobs are for editors, writers, programmers, ad men, etc. and we should ALL be able to make a living doing what we love to do.

  42. Interesting post, in a line of similar, tantalizing, posts.

    I’ve long dreamt of the magazine format, completely electronic, that is delivered over the network. I was sort of working in that area before the advent of the web.

    There are both technical and cultural challenges and I think the cultural one is the bigger.

    I don’t fear the mass production of easy imagery because digital technology makes it easy for me to up my level as well as it helps people who before it arrived struggled to get their pictures to ‘come out’

    I’d love to find a nexus of fellow artists, writers and designers to construct an online publication to rival the off-line ones. It just needs people with a like mind and interest in related projects to do this.

    One example, though perhaps a tad too tied into ‘bling’ is this

    http://www.thecoolhunter.net

    I have no problem with the business model. Its going to be via paid online advertising. The creatives get to share in the ad revenue. Whats wrong with that? Look at the revenues of Google. I experimentally set up a blog yesterday with adsense and made $2 in the first day from 250 page views. There is money to be made by delivering eyeballs. And provided that the viewer of my content on the web knows I made it, I bet there will be print sales to follow as well.

    GumGum seems an interesting idea. I wish they had matured their idea a little bit more before going live though, its in danger of being stillborn otherwise. I uploaded a test picture but its remained invisible. Is it being moderated… they havent told me. Perhaps it was just sent to the giant Microstock library in the sky?

    My GumGum profile is here http://gumgum.com/users/382-paulfreeman, but oddly that picture I uploaded can’t be seen here either. Is this for real or an April fool?

    By the way, paper won’t die for a hundred years at least. When movable type was invented, the old fashioned copy-books-by-hand-model lasted for a hundred years along side it. Until electronic books can be dog eared, shared with a friend on a couch and carry a scent that can trigger a memory as one searches through a bookshelf, paper will be safe. But it just won’t be the only, or possibly main, way to make money from images. Another thing. My friend bought a digital camera four months ago. She still hasn’t worked out how to get the pictures off the memory cards into her new MacBook Pro. Believe it or not, there are many people like her out there. This is why it will take a couple of generations before the electronic media will replace the traditional ones.

  43. In response to #49, you do not have a “right” to do what you want to do and make money doing it. This is a discussion about the possibilities of the internet, and specifically how photographers can evolve to get a slice of the pie. Anyone not interested in evolving, that’s fine – there will always be a need for photographers who are willing to work for $400 day rates! But you give up your right to complain about how little you make!(Jacob, I’m not directing this at you)

    As Rob says, “but it’s the photographers that stand to gain the most from creating a new way of reaching consumers and bringing advertisers along for the ride.” But to do this, we need to be proactive, and willing to embrace a new business model.

    Paul,
    In regards to culture, I agree to a certain point. Most people under 30 get their news from an online source, not a printed newspaper. Also, a couple of weeks ago I did see a woman on a plane with that sony digital book – and she was in her 50’s!

  44. I’m hearing some pretty good ideas here and no I don’t have the solution yet, just plans to try and do something. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that publishers would underwrite the perfect delivery device. They already underwrite the cost of printing and shipping a magazine.

    I think too many people get caught up in the idea that photographers charge people to look at pictures. You charge people to create pictures but you don’t charge them to look. Maybe you charge for the number of copies that were made of an image but you never charged for the number of people looking at those copies.

  45. Hey Chris, I agree with most of your points.

    I do believe I have the right to produce quality work that serves a need and get paid fairly for it.

    We’re responsible for the solution but that particular one I don’t see working.

    Great writing takes time.

    Great photography takes time.

    Great editing and content development takes time.

    I really start to get kinda afraid when I see the ringtone-ization of the arts and economy happening, and I’m a technoliterate-underthirty-something.

  46. Maybe I should start looking for advertisers for my very popular newsletter which started as a marketing piece but now goes out to over 3,000+ subscribers and photo editors worldwide. Here is a link if people want to check out what I am talking about:

    http://www.michaelclarkphoto.com/backissues.htm

    I send it out for free – so that side is in line with Rob’s post. And I don’t need advertisers to pay $100,000 for a one page advertisement – if they’d go for $800 an issue and I can get four advertisers on board then that is $12,800 a year to help me market myself. And since the newsletter is target specific to photography geeks I have a very good starting point to talk with potential advertisers.

    Thanks for the idea Rob – I’ll start to look into this!

  47. Avid Reader

    If you added some ads to these, would this at all be like what you’re talking about?

    Online magazines run primarily by photographers:

    (Platon)

    http://www.nutopiaforum.com/magazine.html

    (John Huet)

    http://www.johnhuet.com/

    (click “launch the magazine”).

    Wow, if they’d be anything like those buzzkill ads in T Magazine, it would sure be a shame. You take nice clean content, and then mess it up with ads? Shirley there’s got to be a better way.

  48. #45 I want one.

    I don’t blame designers, etc.. it’s the bean counters, my wife is a designer she is always battling clients who can’t understand why hiring someone costs thousands when they get emails everyday from microstock sites selling photo’s for $3.

  49. @#25 APE Consumers don’t pay to look at photographs in a magazine they pay for the privilege to have it delivered to a bookstore, mailbox or airport.

    @#52 APE I think too many people get caught up in the idea that photographers charge people to look at pictures.

    Rob, I beg to disagree. This is exactly what photographers should be thinking about. This is at the heart of the matter. It’s our IP and it should be managed as such.

    While I think ‘free’ is a good idea all around, it’s a model that centers around building a sense of anticipation. And it’s a lot like (I’m afraid) pornography. If there’s anyone that’s realized the value of free distribution, it’s porn producers.

    While you can get your willies off for a while (for free), to see the whole show you have to pay. And there are plenty of people who WILL pay.

    This is not a new model in this genre, old time peep shows come to mind. You could see a little but no the whole thing unless you paid.

    And it’s certainly not relegated to just this particular business.

    The reality is, if you show someone just enough and get them to ‘buy’ into whatever it is you’re doing, you’ve got them.

    Am I going to attend David Alan Harvey and Jim Nacthwey’s next workshop? Maybe not. But if it comes around again and I’m watching his blog, then again maybe I will.

    Am I going to buy Zoe Strauss’ fine art print? No. But I might attend her show and in that way get even more attached to her work.

    Am I going to purchase Perou’s pictures of REM for a new magazine spread? No. But if I’m a photo editor, I’m going to keep tabs on him to see what craziness he comes up with next and to also see what’s going on at his farm and with his kids.

    The point is that photographers should build something that allows people to ‘buy in’ to whatever it is they’re doing.

    In my business of weddings, people ALWAYS pay to look because the proofs come down 90 days after the wedding and then no more lookee.

    The paper that the images are printed on or how it’s shipped is definitely not what determines the value of those pictures.

  50. re: porn, it’s interesting to see that the Internet is causing huge problems for porn producers as well– the rampant spread of free porn on the Web is doing to them what microstock did to mainstream photography:
    http://prettygirlshooter.blogspot.com/2007/12/coolio.html
    “As many of you might know, many of my clients are adult entertainment producers. The state of the adult industry is not a rosy one: There’s simply too much free porn/adult entertainment out there, predominantly on the internet, and revenues are way off. This, of course, has had a negative impact on new production which translates into less and less work. I don’t see this trend changing.”

  51. @59 – Yes, read the book ‘Reefer Madness’ for a good chapter on how new distribution channels has totally changed the porn industry. Like music, there are parallels to photography too.

  52. Anonymouse

    @58 — Maybe it’ll work for event photographers who shoot lots with a frequently updated website that’s ad-supported (and monthly fee to have no ads, bigger pictures), but I can’t see other photographers doing that; you wouldn’t want (unrelated) ads near your LiveBook portfolio now would you (especially ads like “DOWNLOAD NEW ONEREPUBLIC RINGTONES !!!!!111) ?

  53. @a whole bunch of people: You aren’t quite getting it. The point is to do great work and make it available for free in order to build an audience; you then monetize this audience by selling ads (their eyeballs) to advertisers willing to spend lots of $$$ to advertise to an audience of dedicated [interest] nuts who have enough taste to keep coming back to see your high-end amazing work. Just like a magazine — the newsstand price ONLY covers the cost to _get you the magazine_, not print it or shoot photos for it or whatever. The real money comes from the ads.

    I think Rob’s point is that right now Internet advertising is like the newspaper classifieds: cheap, ubiquitous, and open to all. But there are a whole bunch of advertisers willing to for the equivalent of pricey magazine spreads. Whoever first figures out how to get that kind of impact on the web is going to be very rich.

  54. @57 – you raise some good points and I would have to agree, it isn’t just the photos that people are after, it is the whole ‘buy in’ to what you have on offer collectively. This includes yourself as a person, what you do, how you brand it, how you package it…the whole shooting match.

    There is inherent value in offering something slick (assuming you can shoot), that people want.

    @62 – good point.

  55. scott Rex Ely

    Publishers should be viewed like radio stations. They introduced people to artists and then the internet made the distribution easier. The problem lies in the structure of recognition. Searches for songs are by title,artists albums. Not so much by lyrics or notes or arrangements. The infinite gelatinous nature of image’s subjective qualities and the pollution produced by unrefined or expansive categorization of those images leads to an unrealistic review profile for viewers. Publishers should create special e-mail accounts for their viewers and then give them e-mail blasts and announcements designed for that vehicle’s recognized particular demographic audience based on it’s existing readership. Traffic would go to one off websites with options to review alternative and classical media. Sharing would be based on membership. Contributions would need to be edited and reviewed as part of the service. So I guess what we need is more image editors who would review images like they do music at XM. How’s that?

  56. What is interesting is all of the different streams of income that photographers need these days, in addition to modifying how those streams are generated. A good example is the deal I just inked with Banana Republic. They will be using my images worldwide as backdrops for their summer 2008 catalog shoot. This was one budget. Then another department wanted to use my images as in-store art on the walls. So that hit another budget. Since stock licensing isn’t what it used to be, I was able to get my agent to negotiate for them to design, print and place ‘about the photographer’s work’ cards on the checkout counter in all 450 stores. This will hopefully drive print sales.

    5 years ago I would have felt like a fat cat with just the licensing revenue, but have taught myself to think differently about how and where income comes from.

    /begin plug

    These are the images that will be used:

    http://www.andybiggs.com/bananarepublicnames/

    /end plug

  57. The power in providing your photos for free comes from the mindset associated with using these photos not as a profit producing product, simply as marketing for other NON microstockable/infonet-able skills.

    When you release a photo for free does your entrepreanureal thinking really end there? If it does then I’m glad, less competition.

    Photos are free, provide them for free as a lure and proof of otherwise marketable, particular abilities.. hmm like shooting a SPECIFIC marketing image for a SPECIFIC product or company. This demand still exists.

    ..or

    You use these photos to get hired as a art director or consultant.

    There are plenty of shoddy photographers out there making bank because of their ability to sell skills MILDLY related to the crappy photos the produce. Photos provide a vehicle for marketing and an avenue to clients though.

    Never let the client leave the lot. If free photos allow me to charge $75.00 an hour to do something art related because I had enough business sense to see the balance in value between the cost of producing these photos and my return then sign me up.

    Classically trained photographers need to get over their pride of making a living ONLY through photo sales.

  58. @67: That’s some breathtaking work! I can see why Banana Republic wants it…

    Seth Godin has a tangentially related piece over on his blog right now about marketing yourself:
    “John Moore has a great series about known brands and their importance to our lives. If Pizza Hut disappeared tomorrow, who would miss them? Could you find a replacement pizza? A replacement place to work?

    What about your personal marketing, though? If you disappeared tomorrow, would the customers you call on miss you? […]

    The problem with fitting in and being a cog in the machine is that cogs are intentionally designed to be easily replaceable. When one breaks, you just get another. No one particularly misses the old one.”
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/04/would-we-miss-y.html

  59. This is a brilliant discussion! I am so glad to see so many of you (photographers) thinking about these issues. There are no “for sure” answers, but having an open mind to the possibilities and understanding that things have/are changing and to be a profitable business, you have to look at how you can use these changes to your business advantage.

    I wish I could give my clients, and the community in general, easy answers (“do this and the money will come”) but the reality is that we need to look at new methods of monetization and combine those with traditional and new methods of marketing to service our clients.

    I think that this is an exciting time to be a creative professional. We are seeing a revolution that is putting more and more power into the hands of the creative–removing middlemen (like labels and stock houses) as they become unnecessary. We just need to capitalize on it and not play the victim because things aren’t like they used to be.

  60. It will come.

    It’s just not there yet, because there is not a central network or common design theme.

    The day that I-tunes adds magazines and you can either subscribe or download single issues with a one click system is when you will see print become even more marginalized.

    Also the cost of producing a magazine will change. You still need writers, photographers, designers and production artists, but you won’t need presses, distributors (in the traditional sense) trucks, warehouses and newstands.

    That is when you will see video becoming as much, if not more of a requirement than just still photography spreads.

    Personally I see convergence and a time where every still session will have some kind of moving imagery component, even if it’s just stills cut to music.

    http://www.russellrutherford.com/paris_production/

    There will come a point where a lot of us have to get past the thought of being only a photographer and realize we are really image makers and story tellers.

    James Russell

  61. Oh lordy, so much to say.

    Yes, distribution is free. But all that has done is dilute photography to homeopathic weakness. You have to have someone to distribute to, and they have to have a reason to want you to do so.

    Even Getty’s attempt to build a monopolistic distribution channel has foundered because he failed to foresee that the ‘oil of the 21st century’ would become a copious renewable source given away by amateurs.

    If Getty can’t do it having put in solid effort to own the world and drive everybody else out of business, individual photographers cannot.

    The future of photography is allegedly web video, because you can stick pre-show ads on the front and grab a whole lot more ad money while the punters sit through the sponsors’ messages. It’s not stills but it might earn and stills don’t. Ask the newspaper industry why they want it.

    You want a new business model? It’s not going to come from selling photos, that’s for sure.

    What you could do is tuck sponsor’s bugs in the corners, cram in as many product placement props as possible and give ’em away by encouraging leeching so you can count the views and bill the advertisers.

    So next time you do a shot, make sure the subject is surrounded by designer nick-nacks and wearing designer clothes, style ’em up with brand cosmetics then hit up all the labels for ad deals.

    With enough imagination this will work for any photo. Even PJ has a future. Starving African kids? Glaxo, Nestle, Monsanto are your friends. Iraq? Halliburton, RayBan, Exxon, Elastoplast.

    Forget fees for shooting editorial, pay the publisher, cut them in on your ad deals. It’ll put a smile on their accountant’s face.

    Yeah, it does rather utterly ruin and pervert photography, but it’s better than whingeing, right?

    Pro photography is dying, the revenue streams for photography are drying up because always always, some cheaper pic will do. And cheaper is better by the metric of shareholder interest.

    Paying for photos only made sense whilst people paid for magazines, and soon they won’t. Just accept it, forget integrity and art, this entropy is a business opportunity, right?

    Where we’re headed, any publisher will have to compete with the world’s 800lb aggregator who is already in the room, who pay nothing for content, who works around traditional ideas of IPR, whose reach is global, who hoovers up ad revenue like there’s no tomorrow and whose brand is a household name. There’s really only one web 2.0 magazine and Google is its name.

  62. Eric mentioned that porn producers were having a hard time with the internet, however porn actors seem to be doing quite well.

    It looks like the artist/talent can easily benefit from the fan-based income model, but the management doesn’t do so well.

    Personally, I’m not shedding tears for the management.

  63. Johann Gutenberg

    What I wonder is, why do magazines not offer an exact version of the printed magazine in PDF form, for download, for sale?

    I’d much rather sit here and pay $4.95 for a PDF if I’m looking for an article, than getting in my car, driving across town, paying for parking, and then buying the printed magazine?

    I’m not saying that everyone would do that, but for some customers, I think they’d just as soon spend their money electronically.

    I want to see the magazine EXACTLY as it’s published in printed form — with ads, with adjacent photo credits, (shocking omitted in many online pubs), and just like the magazine looks on the rack. I’ll keep a printed magazine here beside my laptop, and hold it up and smell the ink, while I’m viewing the one I just downloaded.

    The other major benefit — there won’t be any of those pesky subscription ads to fall on my dining room floor — the ones that are scattered on the floor of Barnes/Noble — if I download the magazine.

  64. Just thinking ….

    If the magazine could be delivered to me electronically, and I had a gizmo that would print it and bind it for me at a quality level as good or better than that magazine is currently produced, that would be cool.

    Imagine that crappy thin paper replaced with a nice glossy stock – images would sing off the page. And I agree with Rob that consumers appreciate good photography – when they see it.

    Waste of paper? Sure. But I wonder…. given that Rob mentioned that many mags are tossed without even shipping. And what about the mags on shelves that don’t sell? How about the elimination of carbon produced by the trucks delivering the magazines.

    Cost to print an issue may be a problem initially, but I bet the publishers would consider subsidizing this gizmo.

    Now along with my subscription, the publisher could target ads for me (and my family).

    Like stated in previous posts, this could be delivered via iTunes, and Apple could make this magazine printer/binder gizmo. iMag anyone?

  65. @ 72 Tony: advertising next to photography. that’s all magazines do. they package it with advertising and ship it off.

    Everyone is forced to consume crappy photography because that’s all that’s available. All the good stuff is locked up.

    Google is a shit magazine. I’m looking for something better to do with my time.

    @ 74 Johann: Publishers are stupid. They sell magazines on newsstands and to subscribers at a loss but don’t use the free distribution method that could net them more readers for advertising.

  66. Johann Gutenberg

    @76 Rob:

    It can’t be. It’s just too easy. Right in front of you. Take the Quark/InDesign document, hit “Make MultiPage PDF”, upload it to your server, and start charging for it.

    How could they miss that?

    And if you want add in some online video, embedded into the page, or even better, make the products dance inside the advertising. What agency wouldn’t cream over that opportunity?

    If I paid a fee per year to subscribe to the printed version, why wouldn’t I pay a fee for the PDF version?

  67. There’s still a lot of room for more online advertising. Google Adwords was the place to be, but it’s already becoming too expensive for so many. For my own personal Adwords campaign, in four years it went from needing a daily maximum of just over $2, to over $40! Instead of the $60 a month I used to pay, I’d have to be willing to pay $1200 a month. I can’t even afford to have my pathetic, hardly desirable, key worded ad show up anymore.

    Publications, photographers, musicians, illustrators, who ever, really need to figure out how to tap into this market. The daily newspapers who complain about the market, are to a large degree missing the boat. Some have figured it out, but there are still a lot who just don’t get it.

    Compelling content, whether it’s words, pictures, or video is what it’s about. Putting out garbage isn’t going to get viewers, and without viewers your advertising revenue’s going to suck.

    A lot of photographers don’t like this idea, but that’s what it’s always been about. Unless you’re a wedding/portrait photographer, or a strictly fine art for the wall photographer, it’s about selling advertising.

  68. @77 It’s just not that easy. What works in print doesn’t translate directly to the web. Newspapers are finding that out. Cut and paste journalism doesn’t cut it on the web.

    I spend enough time in front of my computer screen there’s no way I’m spending more of it looking at what is meant to be a print product on a computer screen.

    The online environment is a completely different realm that requires far more than a traditional way of thinking.

  69. Hi guys. There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.
    I am from Monaco and bad know English, give please true I wrote the following sentence: “Airline tickets, check airfare, and airline flights digit ticket number”

    Thank :-D Orla.

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