Selling Stock 2003 Survey

Posted on 12/18/2002 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



December 18, 2002

Stock Industry In Crisis

Selling Stock is launching a new survey to assess stock income trends from the
photographer's point of view, and to hopefully draw some conclusions for the future from
this data.

I urge all stock photographers to respond to this simple survey.

I have a theory that many photographers are turning away from the production of Rights
Managed stock images because stock image sales no longer generate the kind of revenue that
will sustain their businesses. These photographers are now focusing their efforts toward
other lines of business in order to make a sustainable living. If this is true, there are
a lot of implications for the future of the stock photo industry and for every
photographer considering stock production.

Having some baseline data that either proves or disproves this theory can benefit every
photographer who plans to produce stock images in the future. This survey is designed to
develop such data.

If, on average, a photographer's stock income is rising or staying about the same then the
industry is healthy. If stock income relative to total income is falling for a significant
number of photographers then there might be a big problem. Or it may simply mean that we
are in a "survival of the fittest" mode as a lot of the excess supply is being removed
from the market.

If the photographer's overall income is staying about the same, but the percentage of
income from RM stock is dropping that could be an indication that photographers are
already focusing their energies on other lines of business and moving away from stock
production as a source of income. This could have many implications for how the industry
is likely to develop in the future. Long range the industry may become more dependent on
companies who will fund the cost of production (as is the case with most RF images today).

If income is dropping for everyone across the board it could simply be a function of the
poor economy and a turn around might be expected in the near future.

If the risks in stock production are greatly increasing then producers need as much data
as possible in order to assess their risks.

How Data Is Collected

This survey is being done entirely online. You can respond by going to [the 2003 survey is offline] or by
going to SSO website and clicking on the 2003 Survey button. You
can easily print out the survey in order to be able to refer to the questions as you
gather your data.

Responses are totally anonymous. No data is being captured that would enable the
researchers to identify individual respondents. The data will be collated with the
assistance of Integrated Statistics of Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


There are only four simple questions. The deadline is January 31, 2003 . The more
photographers who take the time to answer the more useful the data will be.

1 - What was your total income for the following calendar years? (These numbers should
include stock and all other sources of income so we can measure the relative importance of
stock to your overall business. Please provide U.S. dollar figures.)







(We will use this data to calculate a total percent of increase or decrease.)

2 - What was your total stock income in these years? (Please provide U.S. dollar figures
from both RM and RF sales separately.)


Rights Managed Images   

Royalty Free Images   










3 - Country of residence ___________

4 - SAA Member Yes __________ No _____________

Thank you in advance for participating.

Copyright © 2002 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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