Microstock: past, present and future
STOCKinRUSSIA Conference: stock photography in Russia – 2011
Finally! The annual International Conference STOCKinRUSSIA “Stock photography in Russia” took place, becoming the third one from the very beginning. “SUCCESS PRACTICE. LOOK AHEAD!” – is the slogan under which STOCKinRUSSIA 2011 was carried out, as usual pleasing all the attendees with a large amount of different info – starting with a detailed analysis of the situation at stock photo market, finishing with a quantity of applied recommendations and advices.
As a year before, STOCKinRUSSIA took place in Moscow, in the congress-center of Holiday Inn Moscow Sokolniki hotel, and opened its doors for everyone during two full days – from September 30th till October 1st. From year to year the Conference, which is being traditionally organized by Microstock Photography bank PressFoto, provides an unprecedented ground in its scale for education, experience exchange and communication between professional photographers and beginners, videographers, illustrators, designers and representatives of microstock agencies.
The Conference is intended primarily for microstockers from Russian Federation and Common Wealth of Independent States, but traditionally attracts attention of the top contributors and people associated with the industry from around the world, thus getting an international status. This year attendees and speakers had come not only from every part of Russian Federation, but also from the Ukraine, Belorussia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Australia, Colombia, Great Britain, Italy, Germany and Slovenia.
Partners of the Conference
Nikon had become the general photopartner of the Conference this year. As a good tradition, the active support was given from the leading Russian photo magazines: “Digital Photo” magazine became the general media-partner of the Conference, and their colleagues from “PhotoMasterskaya” magazine took part as the official media-partner; informational support was provided by Foto&Video magazine and Photo News. This year partnership support to the Conference was also given by NBZ group of companies (authorized Apple reseller), Corel and Wacom Russian representative offices, AVRAS (distributor of the leading companies producing accessories for photo and video cameras), HP, Photo Club37, who helped with carrying out workshops and provided prizes for the lottery among participants of the Conference.
Legal details of the photo art
Natalia Gulyaeva, partner and head of the practice of intellectual property, media and technology, Hogan Lovells (CIS), was the first to speak and to give answers to numerous legal questions regarding the copyright. Particularly, during her presentation “The copyright for the use of illustrations, photos and video” Natalia Gulyaeva tried to portray the main trends, concerning assertion of the copyright for intellectual property in Russia, and had given several advices how people of art could protect to the maximum their works from various infringements. For a long time after the presentation attendees didn’t want to let Natalia Gulyaeva go, as everyone wanted to get a consultation from a specialist of such level.
Nikon is general photopartner
Further followed the presentation from the general photopartner of the Conference – Nikon. Manager of Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Valery Alekseev, provided a very interesting background on how the Nikon legend was born, gave an insight into newest Nikon technologies used in cameras, talked of the support programme and how it works in Russia, about the benefits of registering your Nikon equipment online.
Two in one: beginners and professionals
It was for the first time this year that STOCKinRUSSIA was partially divided into parallel sections, focused on professionals and beginners accordingly. In such a way, Natalia Macheda – photographer, author of mailing “Microstocks for Dummies” (informational channel SUBSCRIBE.ru), who had arrived from Italy with her family – started her presentation “All you wanted to know to start contributing to microstock” intended for non-professional photographers. At the same time, in the context of the section intended for professional photographers, Dittmar Frohmann, iStockphoto Senior Director Europe, had shared his view of microstock industry, presenting on the “Past, Present and Future of Microstock”, skillfully dodging in his friendly manner some burning questions from the microstock community.
The following speaker put everyone into the deepest thoughts in good sense – it was Robert Davies of picNiche/ picWorkflow who presented a detailed analysis of constantly changing microstock industry in his report “Identifying microstock trends and maximising earning potential in a mature marketplace”, full of insightful charts and advice on how contributors could earn more money in microstock. In particular, Robert Davies explained in detail downward and upward trends, demonstrated how the long tail pattern and 80/20 rule applied everywhere in microstock, shared his pragmatic view about the future of the industry, told about what topics to shoot and what your workflow should be to stay ahead of the curve, suggesting that earning is more and more about “selling” than producing more photos, through analysis, targeted production and marketing yourself.
Microstock agency Lori and specifics of Russian market
It was also during the first day of the Conference when the founder and the head of microstock agency Lori Irina Terentieva had given an actual presentation “Sales of microstock imagery in Russia, what has changed by 2011?”, trying to give as much details as possible about the specifics of Russian microstock market from the agency perspective. Particularly, a lot was said about Russian consumers, their requests, the way of thinking, and style of behavior; about what’s being in demand the whole year round and what imagery has seasonal and regional influence, etc.
New art trends
Dmitriy Karpov, director of “Design in interactive environment” course, lecturer of “Graphic Design & Illustration” specialty (British Higher School of Art & Design) made an emotional presentation “Trends in design – marketing and current industry philosophy”. Dmitriy Karpov had told attendees about all those new solutions and trends arising in design, photo and video art; and had shown vivid examples. He explored and demonstrated the current trend of intentionally incorporating glitches, distortions and artifacts into professional works, thus stylizing them for the imagery made with cheap cameras or mobiles and placed in social media, that is being so usual to the wide internet-audience.
Small but pleasant things
The first day of the Conference was ended with lottery and pleasant prizes provided by the partners of STOCKinRUSSIA.
Andres and Adriana Rodriguez
Especially to present at STOCKinRUSSIA, one of the world leading microstock photographers - Andres Rodriguez – had come to Moscow. During the first day of the Conference he took the stage to present the story of his 7 year journey in microstock, describing his background, how he got started in microstock, providing a detailed look of the current industry and giving an insight into his future plans. Particularly, Andres Rodriguez stated that models don’t need to be expensive: people enjoy being photographed and seeing their photos in use, so they’re happy to work for copies of the photos if you approach them in the right way; besides they’re also more natural. Similarly, he hardly ever pays for locations because a few hundred dollars rarely makes a difference to a business, but getting free images of their business is usually very appealing. Advising beginners, Andres explained that if he was starting again he would focus on just the top agencies at present moment. He also sees future opportunities in video and plans to give a more serious try with shooting microstock footage.
During the second day of STOCKinRUSSIA together with his sister Adriana – being at the same time a second shooter, a model, a stylist etc. – he presented the 4-hour workshop and tried to demonstrate his whole production process: starting with the shoot planning, cooperation with models, make-up, shooting in studio environment and with natural light, and ending with retouching, explaining constantly various helpful things.
He started creating groups of shots based on combining models with props, all the time explaining why he was choosing certain shots – based on how they sell in microstock – and helpful things to keep in mind when planning. During the shooting portion of the workshop Andres explained how he worked with the models, why he used the camera settings he used, and how placement of props and styling impact how a stock photo will sell.
His workshop “Making the most with limited resources” was carried out without any hurry, but everyone could see with their own eyes how bright and cheerful images (peculiar to Andres Rodriguez) were born. Shooting in studio environment and with natural light (from a large window) Andres Rodriguez used no more than 4 flash heads, demonstrating his popular lighting schemes, sharing with attendees a number of nice technical secrets and giving detailed answers to all the questions.
Stock footage from Simon Krzic
Andres Rodriguez was followed by two speakers, whose workshops were carried out at the same time. Especially from Slovenia had arrived one of the world leading microstock videographers Simon Krzic, who presented on producing video for stock footage portfolio: specifics of preproduction, shooting and post production, which are in many ways unique to this business.
As it was planned earlier, Simon did not demonstrate live any of his usual shooting process, as it would have required a colossal amount of time (or separate workshop), discussions and tons of various equipment. Instead, Simon Krzic tried to speak with all possible details about all his production and business process in general, guiding the audience through each step including pre-production, shooting and post-production and trying to answer as many questions as possible. Taking into consideration that most of the attendees were enthusiasts, just starting their portfolios, such general information about all parts of his stock video production business was even more helpful for them. To be more visual, Simon Krzic was demonstrating different backstage photos made during his own shoots commenting on various equipment he’s used to work with, lighting schemes and other technical details. Besides, he had taken to Moscow some of his raw video files and had demonstrated live post production process.
Retouching with Igor Alekseev
Simultaneously with Simon Krzic was presenting Igor Alekseev, professional photographer, popular blogger, master of photo courses and author of photography teaching methods, specializing in portrait and fashion photography. During his workshop “Practical implementation of Digital Workflow on the example of Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop”, Igor Alekseev was talking about and demonstrating all the stages of image retouching. Maximum attention was paid to the methodology of retouching not to the basics of graphic programs: “what to do”, not “how to do it”.
See you at STOCKinRUSSIA!
It could be said without any doubt, that no one was left indifferent to the things said and shown during two days of the Conference. In particular, everybody was glad to have an opportunity of informal live communication with guests, speakers, colleagues, old acquaintances etc. Important thing is that all communication could be done face to face, in informal environment and in most cases individually. For those who do not speak English good enough, translation was organized during the panels, workshops and informal meetings.
Photo from the Conference here.
Once again we’d like to thank kindly all participants and partners of the III International Conference!