Image Source has made about 6,500 of its images (approximately 5% of its total collection) available on several microstock sites. Prices have been discounted up to 80% below the fees charged for images from its core Imagesource.com collection.
On Fotolia, the images are included in the Infinite collection and on MediaBakery, photos can be found in the $5 to $49 price category. The Web size and low res image on Mediabakery falls into their $5 to $49 price range, but if a customer wants a larger 300dpi file, the prices go up to $120. Pricing on Fotolia is similar.
Images for Web use at 72dpi are $20, far below the $49 price for online use that Getty Images company introduced in September 2007. For eight months, Image Source refused to allow their images to be licensed for such low prices. Now, it is making a small percentage of their total collection available for even lower prices.
Christina Vaughn, CEO of Image Source, would not indicate the other sites where these images are currently found. "We continue to look for new sites as opportunities to market our current photographers' work and their vintage collections," she said.
Image Source's core collection currently comprises about 122,000 images; it adds approximately 2,000 to 2,500 new images a month.
When asked how the company decided which images to market in this manner, Vaughn said, "We based our editing strategy on a number of factors: non-sellers, out of date and out of fashion material, historical sales data and images that no longer fitted our house style or creative direction. We wanted to be sure we were providing the best service for our photographers and ensuring that we license their images - whatever their age or history - in the most appropriate channels."
Choosing The Right Image For the Right Channel
In trying to understand the process, I did a search for "Machu Picchu." Readers will enjoy going to the MediaBakery site and searching for this subject matter after clicking the $5 to $49 box, and also making the same search on ImageSource.com. The best image is the cheap one on the MediaBakery site. As Vaughn points out: "There are some pictures that we all love that never sell and that is why editing and the stock photography industry is not a precise science."
That's another reason why the industry needs a pricing system that makes all images available to all customers at all price points. Editing isn't a "precise science" and in the final analysis, the customer is the ultimate editor.