Solving The Problem Of Too Many Images

Posted on 1/24/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

Yesterday, I wrote about the problem of the growing size of image databases and how this is making it difficult for customers to easily find the right image for their projects. Many good images are never seen by anyone because they get buried in the search returns delivered.

Get the Full Article (2 Credits)

Have an Account?

Access to this site is an exclusive benefit for you. Enter your username and password in the form above. If you don't remember your password you can reset it at any time.

Forgot your password?

New to Selling Stock?

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 © 2014 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:  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Jan 25, 2014

    You always are telling (especially beginners) everyone to send to Microstock and give them away basically. Now you write complaining and now say let's raise the prices of the "good" ones.

    Why don't you tell everyone --- "Don't give you images away hoping to sell many times for $1 each time. " Encourage new photographers--- and also the experienced ones --- to only send their images to RM or RF sellers! Then if that message gets out, then the amount of REALLY CHEAP images that are GOOD will drop and customers will then be forced to pay your "minimum " you talk about.

    But if you keep writing -- as you often do -- that everyone should try to sell Microstock cheap and make up with it on volume ..... that will defeat your whole NEW premise of raising prices to some minimum. It does not happen period!

    When I lecture new people in stock, and in my books, I totally tell them NOT to sell to Microstock for cheap. That is what you are saying now with the minimum, but you can't also say send everything to Microstock. Even your hero Yuri has stated clearly that the Microstock model "does not work!"

    What do you think, Jim? Don't try to do it both ways....

  • Charles Cecil Posted Jan 25, 2014
    Jim: This is a very thoughtful proposal which seems to have a lot of merit and I hope it gets some serious discussion in the marketplace. However, popularity alone cannot be the sole factor used in arriving at price. You just barely touch on the cost, difficulty, and time required to make an image. I can't use a tripod at a national monument in Washington, D.C. without first getting a permit from the National Park Service (unless I'm very quick and very lucky and the park rangers are busy doing something else). Some monuments, like the Korean War and the FDR, require additional permissions from other organizations or from the individual sculptors. This is onerous and time-consuming. Sometimes getting permission to enter work sites or factories or private grounds requires permission in advance. Similarly, if I go to Senegal to get images it costs me more than if I go to Baltimore. Yet today all of these images will be treated equally by most agencies, priced by the same calculator. A photo of offloading a container ship in a busy harbor, which maybe required an hour of discussion and even a background check before being allowed entry, will be priced no differently than a still-life of a bowl of apples taken on my kitchen table. You note the problem that "all images are of equal value." Clearly we also need to find a way to factor into your proposal some way of recognizing the costs and time required to produce uncommon images.

    I think you've made a great start toward a new pricing paradigm. I hope it gets a lot of discussion.

    Chuck Cecil

  • Charles Cecil Posted Jan 30, 2014
    Jim: On reflection, I have this additional comment about the problem of pricing "unique" images, or images that incur significant costs to produce, and how to treat them differently from the "all images have equal value" rule that governs so many agency collections today. In fact, PhotoShelter's model already offers the photographer a way of dealing with this. PhotoShelter is not a stock agency of course, but its website offers participating photographers a price calculator (FotoQuote) so that it is possible for a customer to license an image directly from the photographer's website hosted by PhotoShelter. The PS solution to the "high-value image" problem is that every photographer can adjust the FotoQuote calculated price for any single image by any percentage the photographer wants. You can both discount from 100% or add to the 100% price if you think the image deserves to be licensed only for a higher price. If PS can offer this option to its 70,000+ photographers, why can any of the other agencies also make such a pricing mechanism available? Best wishes, Chuck

Post Comment

You must log in to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive our FREE weekly email listing new stories posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff