How to Use and Select Stock Photography Services

There are two main types of photography to sell, that is assignment photography and Stock Photography. Assignment photography is taking photographs of a predetermined event, and stock Photography is taking photographs in the hope that you will be able to find a future buyer. Most professional photographers take both types, the weddings and portraits take care of immediate bills, as they command a higher price, because they are generally only of interest to a limited number of people. There are exceptions like being hired for a specific assignment to photograph an Olympic Event, and then being able to sell that photograph Internationally. In general, stock photographs command a lower price, but they are more saleable to a wider base.Stock photographs’ are generally sold on the Internet through what is known as “Stock Libraries”. They generally all work on a very similar system, you take photographs and submit them to a stock library and they sell them to interested parties such as travel brochure companies, advertising agents, book publishers. This way of marketing photographs has distinct advantages, if you are a part time freelancer, or have just started your own business. Either way you are probably too busy making portfolios, and taking pictures to market them. Another factor, which makes this method of marketing advantageous, is that when you are starting you do not have the network of contacts to market your photographs. Added to that there are some people who won’t or can’t perfect their marketing skills.A downside of this marketing method is that there is a little more to it than taking photographs and waiting for the Royalty cheques to come in. Most stock libraries, will want to re-caption your pictures to fit in with their image, this can be a time consuming process and it can take months to get them online. Like many aspects of selling it is a “numbers game”, the more photographs you have available to sell the more you are likely to sell. This is a fairly general aspect of marketing, but it is more specific in this instance, as prospective buyers may look at other images, if they like one particular one. Because of the time factor of getting your work to the buyers or the public, many stock libraries, have insisted on a minimum contract, which means that they typically ask to retain your work for a minimum of two years.Some of the stock libraries are general and some are more specific. Marine Themes obviously specialise in underwater photography, and they scan and correct all their images before sale. They are then color corrected to ensure that any prints will be the best quality. All this takes time, to get the images actually for sale on the Internet. The benefit is that marine photography is highly specialised, and this process does increase your chances to merchandise your work.In the past the market was limited to buyers who were sent colour brochures and made their selection from them, now the market is expanding, as many libraries have widened their sales base by allowing customer’s to make their purchases directly on line. This factor alone has increased the numbers game the more people who have access, the more who are likely to buy. Some stock libraries are general and some are highly specific such as South African images. Some cover specialist areas such as marine photography, or nature.So how do you choose the stock library that will be the most beneficial to you? There are independent reports covering the various strengths and weaknesses. The annual Freelance Photographer’s Market Handbook in the UK features a section on stock libraries and is an excellent reference guide. Some of the stock libraries have been established for ten years. They have hundreds of photographer’s and hundreds of thousands of images. As a result of this they may be reluctant to take on new clients. However if you have a large portfolio available immediately it may be worth trying one of the older companies. However you will be competing with established photographers who have built up a client base. Many of the new companies have less than a hundred photographers and you will start by being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.At the end of the day, the choice has to be your personal decision, and there is nothing to stop you from registering with more than one library. Whilst the market is growing and will continue to grow to encompass on line sales, remember to consider that sales from a printed catalogue will be important for a while, and it may be advantageous for you to choose a library with a well referenced catalogue.Every stock library has different terms and conditions. In general most give you a straight 50% of the earnings. However some do let the images go into the hands of “sub agents”, and they will expect an additional cut from any sales. Read your contract well before you sign and beware of copyright issues. Normally when the photograph is sold the buyer is issued with a license number, which only allows them to use the image the once. You minimise your royalties if you allow a buyer to pay once and then get multiple uses out of it.All in all if you are prepared to look at your market strategy over a long period of time, stock libraries offer you an option. There are forums for professional photographers that do address the issue, and it may be worth you looking into othe peoples style and work. Here are some I recommend you look into and consider selling your stock through:- PhotoStockPlus and Photo.comThere are also available a huge number of royalty free sites. You may question why buyer’s would consider paying for an image whilst they can obtain other’s free? The answer here is that royalty free photographs don’t make them free, you do purchase them, but you have the rights to re-use the stock photos and CDs for as many different projects and clients as you wish without paying further licensing fees.

Shopping Cart Loss and Theft – Prevent Loss at Your Store

Shopping carts are provided by a store for customer use. Customers use shopping carts as a convenient way to collect merchandise as they shop around the store. The customers collect the desired merchandise in their cart and continue to the check-out stand to pay for their goods. Once they have gone through the check out line, customers transport the paid merchandise from their shopping cart to their cars. Often times they do not bring their carts back to the appropriate destination, leaving them scattered throughout the parking lot, or even worse they are stolen! Lost shopping carts can add up to an eight to ten thousand dollar drain in your revenue each year. Lost or stolen shopping carts have become such a nuisance that over 200 cities around the United States have implemented ordinances requiring retailers to find ways to keep their carts from leaving their property. Fortunately there are a number of solutions to prevent shopping cart theft. Electronic systems such as locking wheels, the boot or brake shell, and alarm systems are effective in preventing shopping cart theft. Physical limitations such as security guards, vertical pole attachments, and magnetic strips can be effective in preventing shopping cart theft as well.

The most effective way to prevent people from stealing shopping carts is an electronic wheel locking system. This system works with a thin wire embedded below the surface of the perimeter of the stores parking lot. If the wheel is pushed beyond the perimeter it will automatically lock disabling the cart. The wheels can be unlocked by the touch of a button on a remote control.

Alternatively, the boot or braking shell is not inside the wheel but rather a covering. When the shopping cart is taken beyond the stores designated perimeter, the braking shell covers the wheel disabling it from rolling. One drawback to this method is that if any part of the boot breaks, the entire mechanism must be replaced. It is easy for dirt, snow, and other materials to get jammed in the boot and disabling it. Another downside to this method is rather than using a remote control to unlock the wheel like the electronic wheel locking system, one must bend down and unlock the boot manually in order for the cart to be of use again.

Motorized shopping carts are popular among the elderly or shoppers with disabilities. These carts tend to be extremely expensive and therefore highly desired by thieves! Losing just one motorized shopping cart can hit retailers hard financially. To prevent the loss of these assets, a wireless device attached to the back of the motorized cart preventing the cart from working when it reaches the designated invisible barrier. The cart can be reactivated with the touch of a button on the store’s remote control, or by pushing it back into the unlock field.

Another effective way to prevent shopping cart loss and theft is an alarm system. The alarm system has two components: an alarm, and a transmitter perimeter circuit that is installed at the entrances and exits of the store. The shopping cart has a warning signal and an alarm signal. Once the shopping cart crosses the warning line, the warning sound will go off. The alarm is deactivated once the cart is returned to the designated area. If the shopper chooses to ignore the warning signal and continues to cross the line, the shopping cart will sound a higher pitch and louder alarm. While this system may embarrass the customer it does not stop the cart from leaving the premises.

Security guards are people hired to protect property, assets, and people. Shoppers are less likely inclined to steal shopping carts if they know they are being watched. Security guards reduce shopping cart theft tremendously, however hiring additional personnel can become costly. In order for security guards to have a significant impact, one must be placed at each exit way of the parking lot to ensure no one leaves with a shopping cart.

A physical limitation that reduces shopping cart theft is the implementation of the vertical pole. This pole is attached to the shopping carts preventing the carts from leaving the store. The only downside to this method is the inconvenience it may have on customers who have large amounts of groceries or merchandise that they need to transport from the store to their car.

The last method to prevent shopping cart theft is the implementation of a magnetic strip embedded in the concrete of the perimeter of the shopping center. Each shopping cart has a locking device fitted to two wheels and as the cart approaches the magnetic strip, the wheels lock rendering it immovable.

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