Billboards: A Place For RM

Posted on 10/6/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (12)

An Atlantic City billboard that uses an image shot by Jon Feingersh illustrates a discouraging trend in stock-photo pricing. Feingersh produced the image two years ago, as part of a $35,000 Venezuela shoot. A decade ago, The Stock Market probably would have licensed one of Feingersh's images for billboard use at between $4,000 and $5,000; the photographer would have received 50% of the sale. Today, however...

Get the Full Article (2 Credits)

Have an Account?

Access to this site is an exclusive benefit for you. Enter your username and password in the form above. If you don't remember your password you can reset it at any time.

Forgot your password?

New to Selling Stock?

Selling Stock is an on-line newsletter that reports on developing trends in the stock photo industry. It is updated at least twice a month. On-line subscribers receive e-mail notification whenever new stories are posted. Archives containing stories going back to late 1995 are fully available to subscribers.

Copyright © 2009 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:  


  • Leland Bobbe Posted Oct 6, 2009
    no . . . pricing seems to have nothing to do with the price of production and value received which is ridiculous. i can't think of another industry where this holds true. for john to make $89.44 on this shot/media placement is absurd.

    welcome to the current world of stock photography.

    leland bobbé
    president of SAA 2003 & 2004

  • Mark Turner Posted Oct 6, 2009
    Farming is the other industry in which the cost of production has little connection to the price paid by the end user. At least in stock photography we're not quite so dependent upon the weather for our crop.

    Mark Turner

  • Gerard Fritz Posted Oct 6, 2009
    Unlike factory-farming, photographers do not get government subsidies.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Oct 6, 2009
    Lesson is... send your GOOD images to RM and you won't feel raped like this. Why don't people take this seriously IF THEY WANT A CAREER in photography. Now I know Jon and I am not blaming him. But too many people (I won't use the word "photographers"think they HAVE to send images to RF or Micro. You DON'T!!!

    I have no images with Rf or Micro.... and I make many hundreds of thousands per year from stock. Think you are worth it and just maybe YOU WILL BE. I lecture always on this around the world, but most photo people think they need to go to RF right away! My advise... go for RM and you will be surprised. I wrote lots of this in my newest stock book "Remember The Joy". Yet it is hard to convince people who don't have confidence enough in their work...

    Bill Bachmann


  • Jon Feingersh Posted Oct 6, 2009
    I realize there was a market anomaly--severe editing-- occurring when I put this into RF. I hated to do it, as I'm an old-time RM guy who has always questioned the RF model. But at the same time I wanted to support Blend in its' efforts to build a large quality file. And the shoot has been selling pretty well, even at RF pricing.

    What disturbs me most is that the large distributors--Getty and Corbis-- are leading a fight to the bottom on pricing. It's a strange kind of ritual suicide in an industry they control. I firmly believe that they could exert positive pricing pressure which could eventually change for the better.

    Jon Feingersh

  • Gildo nicolo Spadoni Posted Oct 6, 2009
    I'm gonna get a cabbie license.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Oct 6, 2009
    Why don't all Getty & Corbis photographers just DEMAND that they QUIT dropping prices out the bottom?? Getty is the largest.... the photographers should get together and make Getty quit selling out their work!

    I agree with Jon... this is one of the major problems--- the big boys, who should make the rules, instead sell out at any price, thereby dropping the market price constantly to commit suicide in the industry!

    Bill Bachmann
    Orlando, Florida

  • Jagdish Agarwal Posted Oct 7, 2009
    Even in Bombay now Mumbai, cab drivers make more money, than photographers. But seriously, last year in India, 1,000,000 digital cameras were sold. On an average, one photographer comes to me everyday, to show his porfolio. We say no, and he goes and uploads his pictures on some site! What can you and I do?
    jagdish / dinodia / india

  • Maggie Hunt Posted Oct 7, 2009
    Getty and Corbis are leading a fight to the bottom and dragging the rest of us with them. However, we still believe (despite evidence to the contrary) that there is a place for a boutique stock agency that gives its photographers 50% of the license fee (gross for RM and net for RF).

  • Leland Bobbe Posted Oct 7, 2009
    as current SAA getty ombudsman i am in frequent contact with artist relations at getty. they are claiming to be the victims of this car wreck, not the ones behind the wheel. they also clim to be as concerned about about this state of affairs as the contributors. considering they are making a fortune with istock i find this hard to believe.

    leland bobbé

  • Julia Dudnik Stern Posted Oct 7, 2009
    Getty might be making a fortune with iStock, but it's also losing a fortune on all other creative imagery. Last we saw their numbers, its losses were greater than its gains--and I'd bet that in the past two years this trend has been exacerbated by continuing drop in pricing and macro-economic conditions. iStock was also a purchase, not a new product Getty developed--so it hasn't been all profit.

  • David Sanger Posted Oct 7, 2009
    It doesn't seem to me that Getty and Corbis are in the driver's seat at all. They are trying to maintain market share and facing hideous competition from micro, during a recession, with a massive oversupply of images.

    The classic economic response to oversupply is lower prices, much as we might rail against it.

    As for RM vs RF it is RPI over the long term for a photographer that is the important number, so looking at one single image or sale is misleading. I'd be interested to see Jon's long-term RPI for his two collections. My own experience is that until recently RF RPI at Getty was higher than RM but much depends on subject matter and brand.

Post Comment

You must log in to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive our FREE weekly email listing new stories posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff