Beer Stock

Posted on 7/30/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Evidently, Anheuser-Busch has discovered that most of the current beer photos on the major stock photo sites – Getty Images, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, iStock and Alamy -- are not well lit or carefully composed. Often the beer glasses are dirty or the bartender is pouring the beer improperly. In addition, there definitely won’t be any logos or brand identification in any of the pictures because all that has to be wiped out to make all images totally generic in order to be accepted on the major sites.

This is not surprising for a couple reasons. First, most of the photos accepted into the major stock agencies today are produced by amateurs. The amateurs shoot photos when they are out drinking. They are not going to take the time to carefully compose and light their shots. They are simply recording a “night of the town.” Professionals who used to take the time and care to shoot such images with the understanding that they needed to present the product in the base possible, positive light have all given up shooting such pictures as a result of today’s low prices for image licenses. The return photographers now receive for time invested is not worth the trouble.

No professional is going to pay models, or take the time to carefully arrange and light the shot environment, as well as remove distracting elements in the shot, when the average price paid per photo used is $10 or less and the volume of sales isn’t enough to make up the difference. There may still be some good pictures in the stock photo files that were taken 5 or 10 years ago when usage fees were much higher, but most of those photos have been buried under mountains of amateur photos that are taking over the traditional collections.

Second, companies like Anheuser-Busch probably can’t get any of the major stock agencies to accept photos with logos on glasses, cans, T-shirts. The agencies worry that they will get sued if the manufacturer doesn’t like the way their product is being displayed so they won’t accept anything with logos.

On the other hand, Anheuser-Busch’s goal is to encourage customers to use their product. They also know that more and more consumers are getting their information from the Internet blogs. ?Therefore, they must find a way to make images of their products available to the bloggers and use all possible outlets to do that.  

If the professional stock agencies want to continue to compete with free, they may need to find ways to accept images with logos as long as the corporation supplying the images signs a release agreeing to accept all liability, in the event of any complaint about the image or its use.

Possible Good News For Photographers

In all this, there may be some good news and silver lining for professional photographers. More and more businesses and corporations may discover that the best way to get their message in front of customers is to get pictures of their products and services published by bloggers. It may be necessary to make these images available for free, although it is hard to imagine why bloggers wouldn’t be willing to pay a few dollars, if they can easily find the images they need and save time.

The advantage for the professional photographer is that now instead of shooting on spec and relying on royalties based on usage, the photographer may be able to go out and look for corporations that need to get pictures of their products in front of bloggers. Then the photographer contracts with the corporation to shoot one, or a series of projects and is paid an upfront fee to produce the images. The photographer might also provide the service of seeing to it that the images are properly keyworded and uploaded to various outlets that bloggers use.

Photographer could also track usages and report back to their clients on the number of times images from each shoot are downloaded. In this way the photographer might encourage the client to do more shoots.

Maybe professional photographers need to start thinking about doing business in different way

Copyright © 2018 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 301-461-7627, 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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