Stock Photography’s Fatal Flaw

Posted on 12/8/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (4)

Image creators need to recognize that the fatal flaw in the stock photography business model is that there is no way to control supply relative to demand. This was not a big problem in the 1990s when demand exceed supply, but that state of affairs will never happen again. As a result Stock Photography is and will continue to be a very risky business.

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 © 2011 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:  


  • Jonathan Ross Posted Dec 8, 2011
    If that is the case Jim then you and I are both out of a job : )


  • John Lund Posted Dec 8, 2011
    Kinda makes me feel like a Salmon...swimming against the current until...a...never mind.

    John Lund

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Dec 8, 2011
    Jim, there is more competition, etc today than before, yes ..... but the SKY IS NOT FALLING! You always seem to say it is...

    Think more positive, shoot better images, don't sell them for a dollar on Microstock, think like a buyer when shooting, shoot things that sell universally, keep busy shooting,, and all photographers will do better.

  • Paul Melcher Posted Dec 9, 2011
    Comparative shopping was easier under the plastic sleeve era as an editor would send a similar request to several photo agencies at the same time and receive then all at once. They could then, on the light box, display and compare images next to each other.
    You can't do that with websites.
    I think it's great time we stop thinking of the stock industry as a traditional supply/demand model because clearly it is not and never has been.

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