Alaska Stock Royalty Goes to 40%

Posted on 12/18/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



December 18, 2000

Alaska Stock has asked their photographers to consider a change in the royalty percentage

from 50% to 40%. In exchange the agency will make ALL of the photographer' images available

on-line as well as not charge for catalog and dupe fees. Jeff Schultz, owner of Alaska

Stock, provided the following explanation of their plans.

Schultz -- We represent a little over 100 photographers. I have personally corresponded

with 95% of our photographers on this change and all but two realize how important it is

and costly it is to have a very good web presence. Those 95% have voted yes to this

change. We have one photographer who wasn't willing to wait for us to make this change

and actually wanted to pay us to get his general file images up on the web. We have

another who feels that we should go to the 60/40 split AND continue to charge for premium

set/catalog fees.

JP -- What was the co-op fee charged for the last catalog?

Schultz -- Our catalog #4 which was mailed in June of 2000 cost a

photographer $100 per image if a photographer paid up front and $130 per image if they

chose to take the fee out of their sales. If they don't pay up-front, we take up to 25%

out of a photographers' portion of their monthly checks until all their catalog fees are


JP -- What is the current dupe fee?

Schultz -- We call it a "premium set fee". Images in our premium set are exclusive to

Alaska Stock and are duped, keyworded, scanned, and slated for the next print catalog.

This fee is currently $28 per image.

JP -- On average after all the catalog and dupe charges are removed will the

photographers be getting smaller royalty checks, or checks the same size?

Schultz -- We expect more sales overall and therefore larger checks because of the change

to aggressively market MORE of their images and therefore a client is apt to find the

image instead of moving on somewhere else.

JP -- Is there any charge for scanning and keywording images that are put on-line or on


Schultz -- We have never charged photographers a fee for producing a CD or the website or

for general file images being scanned and key worded and put on-line.

JP -- Would the 40% apply on revenue received from sub-agents?

Schultz -- No, subagent sales remain at 50%.

JP -- How are sales from old catalogs handled?

Schultz -- If a sale is made because a client saw the image in a previous catalog the

split remains 50/50. Likewise, reuse of images that were originally sold at 50/50 are

still at the 50/50 split.

JP -- Can you explain why you felt this move was necessary?

Schultz -- We are adding more value to our photographers' images than we ever have before

by making them available on the web, as well as through our traditional marketing.

I don't know of anyone in the stock business that does not see the web as THE way the

majority of the stock photography business will be transacted in the future. I

absolutely agree 100%. We feel that not too long from now, images that are just filed in

a general file will simply just sit there. Of course there are also those clients who

indeed do call us and have us search for images and send transparencies. Therefore, we

now need to operate efficiently in both a digital and analog world.

Alaska Stock is faced with a much larger increased cost in doing business in order to

stay up with technology and client demands for immediate access to our images.

Many clients want to see images today. In order to make our photographer's images

readily available it must be digital. If it's scanned, our in-house sales people can get

the image to a client right away by e-mailing them a light box.

With all this said, we now not only need to do things as we have

before: edit images, enter into a database, label, file, market, send out images,

re-file, invoice etc. We now need to get all our images in a digital environment where

they can be seen instantly. This goes way beyond just scanning and keywording. It

involves digital storage, RAID systems, constant enhanced software upgrades for the web,

web maintenance, higher cost employees on the tech side, enhancing our product, etc. And

we must now do a better job of marketing our images in both digital and traditional ways.

Copyright © 2000 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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