PhotoShelter Helps Photographers Learn What Buyers Want

Posted on 5/22/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

PhotoShelter has released the results of its 2012 survey of “What Buyers Want From Photographers.” ( ) This guide, compiled in conjunction with AgencyAccess, will be useful to photographers seeking assignments as well as those marketing stock. The survey was sent to 90,000 buyers of photography and more than 1,000 responded.

Seventy-seven percent of the respondents indicated that they hire photographers for assignments and commission shoots and an equal number license rights to stock images. Thirty-eight percent hire photographers to shoot video in addition to stills on shoots and 13% hire photographers for video shoots. Sixteen percent of the group license video clips. Forty percent of the respondents work at advertising agencies, 15% with design agencies and 15% with editorial publications.

When they are looking for stock images to license 93% said they go to large stock agencies. Forty percent to use Google and other major search engines like Flickr.

When asked, “Have you every discovered a new photographer using social media?”  24.8% said “Yes.” Of this group 56% said they found them on Facebook. In the 2011 survey 54% said they found photographers on LinkedIn, but that number has dropped to 29% this year. It would seem that customers might be spending less time on LinkedIn and more on Facebook in the never ending search to find the next big thing in social media. In addition 31% of respondents said they have found a photographer on Pinterest. This is surprising since many photographers avoid Pinterest for fear that their images will be stolen.

PhotoShelter’s free report offers comments from art directors on the kind of promotions they like to see and things they would like to see photographers avoid. One creative director of an editorial publication said, “A good website is simple and makes the work accessible. It doesn’t play music or sound effects at me; it doesn’t make the work too small to appreciate; it doesn’t put watermarks on everything; it doesn’t make me agree not to steal images before letting me look; and it doesn’t take forever to load.”

Twenty percent of photo buyers said it is important for the still photographers they hire to also be able to shoot video. They are looking for photographers who can direct talent and draw good performances out of them and the photographer also needs to know how to capture excellent audio. In future professional photographers will be required to have a much wider range of skills than was necessary in the past, but there is no indication that the level of compensation will be any higher.

This guide is packed with information that will be useful to photographers who are trying to market their work.

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:  


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