Does Constantly Adding Images To A Stock Collection Make Sense?

Posted on 4/10/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (6)

If you’re goal is to earn a significant portion of your livelihood from the images you produce, and you already have a significant number of the best image you know how to produce with all the agencies and distributors who represent your work, does it make sense to regularly add even more images of the same general subjects to these collections?

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Copyright © 2015 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:  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Apr 10, 2015
    Jim. you are always about doom. We add a lot of new images & video clips every three-four months. And they often sell right away and seem to have a long shelf life.

    You seem to think Getty rules --- they don't! There are many other good agencies.

    I often think of stopping your newsletter because you are always so negative. I do not live my life that way. I am giving a Weekend Seminar on stock on April 24th and it is sold out. I have helped others be successful -- perhaps you need to take one of mine!

  • Tibor Bognar Posted Apr 11, 2015
    I'm working with several major agencies and I do find that if I reshoot a subject I've done a long time ago the new images have a better chance of being sold. Most agencies have search filters enabling the client to see recently uploaded images first. One also often sees clients requests like "not more than 2 years old image". Finally, the world does change very rapidly: I shoot worldwide travel destinations, and - for instance - if you go back to a major Asian city like Shanghai or Singapore after a 3 year absence you barely recognize the place so much it has changed.

    Having said that, we all know that stock photography is rapidly declining and I certainly wouldn't recommend a promising 20 year old to embark on a stock career. I'm sure Bill's seminar is excellent, but how many of his students will actually end up earning a living from photography? If I was 40, I would sell my cameras and start doing something else. I'm much more than that and at a certain point in your life it's too late to become a brain surgeon... So, I keep shooting and try to hang on as long as I can. It all depends on your individual situation.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Apr 11, 2015
    Good comment, Tibor. I do realize that almost all of my students will not reach the level of success that I have --- hey, I have a big head start!

    My goal for them as I start the seminars (and I tell them that) is to get 10 good agencies and have those 10 sell -- at minimum --- $2000 per year! That is not too difficult to start in the first 1-2 years. But that is an EXTRA income of $20,000 per year. They have other sources of income then also, but that $2000 may grow to $3000 per year per agency, etc.

    That continues and they have nice income, even if they are close to retirement. And they love photography, so they are doing what they love, seeing their work published and paying for all the new cameras and traveling, etc. Some will go way past that, but that is our starting goal.

    And it has worked for so many of my people over the years. It is not the "Golden Time" that is was, but I tell them not to go to Microstock EVER! Their work is worth more than that!

    Jim is my friend, but he speaks only of DOOM. Then he tells people to go send to Microstock and wonders why these photographers can't succeed! I think positively and have my entire career.

  • Richard Gardette Posted Apr 12, 2015
    I don't look for " positivity " or negativity in a newsletter, I look for reality.
    The business of image stock has been in a permanent crisis for a decade and one of the reasons is overproduction which has acted as a weapon of mass destruction.
    I think Jim is perfectly in his role to tell us the truth.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Apr 13, 2015

    I like Jim, please understand. Yes, we are not making what we used to --- but it is not as bad as Jim declares all the time. The worst part is that he constantly tells people to go to Microstock for sales because there are more sales. Yes, more sales, but t=for so little! Even the Microstoack guru Yrui Arcurs now says you can not make a living with Microstock.

    Yet Jim thinks that RM and RF is not the way to go. I have NEVER done one image in Microstock and do not do stills in RF (I do in Video Clips). I do fine with RM and think if you shoot the right stuff and get good reps, you can do well.

    So the truth is not to go into Microstock .... period!

  • Richard Gardette Posted Apr 14, 2015

    I have stopped producing stills in 2006, without external warning, just watching the evolution of content and market. Never been in micro.
    And I still get some income from 10 or 15 year old RM stills.
    I try now to produce video (animation) and it works not so bad, but I would never spend a penny in producing again stills, never !

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