Giving Creators Control Of Pricing

Posted on 1/11/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

After reading my story on “Who Controls The Price” Terri Petrie of asked, “How could a stock agency allow for more creator control of prices?”

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Copyright © 2012 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:  


  • Charles Cecil Posted Jan 11, 2012
    Jim: One small wrinkle on your proposals would be simply to allow the photographer to set a minimum price below which no sale of any image from that photographer would be permitted. One agency that has my material has made a number of sales at prices so low I considered them practically an insult, and I would rather have forgone the sale than have it proceed at that price. The agency reminded me, of course, that our agreement gives it the right to set prices. Chuck Cecil/Cecil Images

  • Leslie Hughes Posted Jan 11, 2012
    Jim -Pricing is so tough. We launched a sales services organization last year and are providing direct sales support to a number of agencies. We see first hand how the market has changed.

    Sellers want to get as high a price and as many sales as possible. However many licensing companies are not negotiating and just drop prices so they don't lose the job. In focusing on volume, they have to keep costs low, service is reduced and the cycle goes. Partly, co.s don't have the manpower or really know how to determine when and how to keep the prices high. Others list higher prices online but are known for dropping significantly offline.

    But a core issue is training so that sales people know how to handle jobs that go offline. The consumption of images is actually probably at an all time high but the fast paced change means that what the client is willing to accept has broadened. Often what is "good enough" is what they will accept even if they like another image better. This is different from the days when the image itself was foremost. We still find that the more unique content is, the more we can hold to high prices. We also find the end user and the use itself is key. Certain segments have the budgets and use them. Recently we have seen quite a few sales with very high price per image points (5K and up). But these are worked out with the client, with the understanding of the use, and the specific needs.

    Finally - one last issue. I was surprised that some companies are allowing distribution partners to work through other distribution partners or networks. This means there could be 4 or more parties splitting the license fee. That will make even a decent number look pretty small.

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