More PACA Conference


posted on 8th of may, 2007

The PACA Annual Meeting continued this past weekend. The seminars on Saturday and Sunday were well attended, especially the ones given by image users and members of the printed and online press.

PACA president delivered the keynote address early Saturday morning. He took as his theme changes in the business of stock photography and the resulting effects of those on the industry. He urged everyone to embrace them and to banish fear of change.

Some might feel our model poses a threat but for the most part during the course of many conversations over the weekend, people agreed with me that Dreamstime occupies an increasingly important position in the industry, serving both a segment of the traditional buyers as well as enabling many more to use stock photography for smaller budgets or projects. It was often repeated that Dreamstime is perfectly positioned to take advantage of innovations in technology and the Internet.

After a break from the welcoming address, the group assembled again in the Grand Ballroom to listen to a panel of art buyers/photo editors discuss how they searched for images and what they liked and disliked about the stock industry. The panel consisted of John Nuhn/National Wildlife Federation; Carol Enquist/National Geographic Traveler; Roy Hsu/Ogilvy One NY; Joanna Sanders/SQN Communications Design; and Annette Scarpita/K12 Inc. Pictured below are Cathy Aron, PACA Executive Director and Daryl Lang, PDN.

The panelists agreed that the most important aspect of working with a stock agency is a flexible search. When asked what causes the most frustration while searching for images, the most common response was bad search results due to keyword spamming and poor or incorrect image titles. Dreamstime can feel secure that our search is one of the best in the industry, offering more flexibility than others. We depend on our keymasters and you, the users, to ensure that we raise the standards of keywording and image titles. We have already gone a long way in that direction and will keep hammering at the importance of these issues to deliver the best user experience.

Representing Dreamstime I felt it was important that I supply some better information about our kind of licensing model. Roy Hse mentioned that his company used microstock but worried about model releases. We were pleased to explain to the panel and the 150 attendees that Dreamstime obtains model releases on all images with recognizable people. It's obvious that our broad geographical base gives Dreamstime users a deep range of location images that the editorial members of the panel feel is lacking in many traditional agencies. One of the panel members wasn't aware of Dreamstime and after I spoke, asked me to please repeat the name and URL of the company that I was representing. You can bet that I was first in line after the Q&A to give her my Dreamstime business card!

Roy Hse also explained that he was frustrated with images cropped too tightly. As a designer, he wants to make the crop. He finds images where faces are sliced in half by the crop or body parts cut out to be frustrating. (We call these 'painful crops' as they chop off arms etc!)

Several members of the fourth estate were involved in a seminar called, "Turning the Tables: Where Does the Press Think We're Headed". Above left, Patrick Donehue moderates a lively discussion between panel members, Chris Ferrone/About the Image, Daryl Lang/PDN; Jim Pickerell/Selling Stock; and Ron Rovator/Stock Asylum. Rather than itemize all their predictions, let me simply say that they were all different. Crystal ball gazing is not an exact science. The oldest member of the panel, who started a newsletter about stock twelve years ago, stated that there were 150,000 contributors to the microstock sites, causing gasps from the audience. He had added up the membership in all the sites. I corrected him, explaining that many people are non-exclusive.

The US Copyright Office gave a presentation entitled, "The Copyright Office Has Entered the Electronic Age" only to find that their electronic presentation didn't work. The gist of the presentation was that copyright registration will be electronically enabled by fall of 2007.

I attended several other breakout sessions and had meetings with various technology companies while in the area. I took a lot of teasing about the "New Member" ribbon on my nametag since I have been a member of PACA for decades but, of course, Dreamstime was welcomed as the new member. Now I'm home preparing for the move this week from one coast of the US to the other so that's it from PACA.

Comments (9)

Posted by Cathysbelleimage on May 09, 2007
Very interesting post... Good luck in your move, Ellen!
Posted by Denisebeverly on May 09, 2007
ellen hope your move goes very very smoothly and you are settled in quickly. thanks for the paca news and photos to help us know what is going on.
Posted by Pinfoldphotos on May 09, 2007
I hadn't realised that those numbers were available on DT.

Looking at it further, at the time of writing, of the 14346 photographers stated on the statistics page,

1578 have no uploads,
2407 have 1 upload,
1249 have 2 uploads
1845 have 3-5 uploads

meaning that 49% of the contributors have a portfolio of 5 or less images!

I guess that goes some way to answering your question Ellen!

Ian.
Posted by Jsnover on May 09, 2007
Deleted duplicate
Posted by Jsnover on May 09, 2007
I don't have concrete numbers, but a while back I had been looking at small portfolios on a couple of sites and was staggered to see many hundreds (I think about 1,000) with only 1 or 2 images.

As noted by Pinfoldphotos, if you look at DT, only 149 contributors have a portfolio of 1,000 or greater and only 395 contributors have more than 1,000 downloads. I think it's similar across the sites, but not all sites make numbers available
Posted by Pinfoldphotos on May 09, 2007
Jsnover...how many do you estimate make up the small number of total contributors? That is an interesting view that I hadn't thought of. Thanks, Ellen

You might be able to make an educated guess from DT's own stats. What percentage of the contributors here have a portfolio of less than 20 images? Apply that to the total contributors to microstock and you have an answer thats probably not too far off the mark.

Ian.
Posted by Ellenboughn on May 08, 2007
Jsnover...how many do you estimate make up the small number of total contributors? That is an interesting view that I hadn't thought of. Thanks, Ellen
Posted by Jsnover on May 08, 2007
Re: contributors to microstock sites

Just a note that in addition to the correction you provided - many of us contribute to multiple sites - there are a small number of the total contributors who represent the bulk of the images for sale.

Many of the sites have a huge pool of folks who test the waters with a few (less than 20) images and never go further.
Posted by Photojay on May 08, 2007
Good to see the interaction amongst the members, that PACA is providing a medium to get the DT name out there, and that the Copyright Office's electronic presentation on their leap into the electronic medium may be a sign to how painful the transition will be in fall 2007. Happy travels as you make your move. I pray all your belongings make it one piece. ~Jay



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