Microstock Lessons

Posted on 10/16/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

There are some who have been in the stock photo business for a long time who would like me to say that nobody can make any money selling microstock, or something along the lines of, "If you'll just license your images as rights-managed like I've always done, you'll get rich like I am." Such assertions are patently false and irresponsible to the next generation of photographers.

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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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Tim Mcguire Posted Oct 16, 2009
    From your story on Ron Chappel a while back it sounded like he was not making a profit in microstock after a few years and a couple hundred thousand dollars invested. Is that still true?

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Oct 16, 2009
    The reason that Micro sellers are making less is that even more people are encouraged to sell with Micro, thereby causing more competition in the cheap image sector. You keep telling people to throw some images that way and see what happens, even if they will never be pros or do photography full time.

    Your story that very few people will make much money as beginners in ANY stock model is very true... this is not an easy business, but instead you need talent, vision and business skills. , But then you say to any new people to just "throw some into Micro if you don't think you will make this a career." Do you see, Jim, that you are telling people who will never be pros to think cheap and ruin it for those that are pros or really want to be pros??? Take some time to let that settle, Jim.

    And you say they can "cut their teeth" on RF or Microstock. PLEASE remind them that if they do that and like this business, THEY CAN NEVER USE THOSE IMAGES FOR BIG FEES!!!! ONCE AN IMAGE IS RF OR MICROSTOCK, YOU CAN NEVER WITHDRAW IT AND PUT IT WHERE IT CAN SELL RIGHTS MANAGED FOR A LOT MORE MONEY!

    Please do not do a disservice, Jim, and not give them all the information. You and I have talked many times and you always think people should make a buck anywhere... throw some in RF, some in RM, some in Micro. I say get very good and sell them ALL in RM for a fair price. By telling people to do Micro to start is just diluting the water.

    If you ever want to use me as an example or my books as sources, you are free to do so. My newest book gives examples of them all and how to really make money by doing it right. I wish that you would not teach for the ones that WON'T make it, but instead direct them to good places to really be successful.

    In other words, be a CHEERLEADER for the way that they can make more money per image and not the water-down way just to play around. I really feel that good shooters with good systems WILL be successful, and I teach that in seminars and books.

    I hope you will stop saying to just dilute, dilute, the market more...

    Bill Bachmann

  • D. jake Wyman Posted Oct 22, 2009
    I too would like Jim to answer Tim's question about Ron Chappel.


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