Uploading Images To Multiple Agencies: Good Or Bad Strategy

Posted on 3/21/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

Recently, a photographer ask the following questions: Is stock photography a growing industry. I have read some analysis that say it is growing significantly, but others argue that free stock photography and microstock photography are leading photographers to leave the market. What is your opinion on that argument? Should a photographer upload the same pictures to as many other agencies as possible?

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Copyright © 2016 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.  


  • Tibor Bognar Posted Mar 26, 2016
    Of course everything Jim says about the state of the stock photo industry is true, but I believe that it's absolutely essential to work with multiple agencies. The old saying is that don't put all your eggs in one basket. I've heard of photographers who signed exclusively with one agency and when the agency's fortunes declined they were unable to get out and were ruined. All agencies are suffering, but if you get a bit of money from here, a bit from there, it adds up. Once you have your digital images prepared for submission, it's very little work and no expense to send them to multiple places. Most agencies have similar or identical submission criteria. If you were manufacturing widgets, you'd like them to be available in as many stores as possible, not just one! As most sales are for small uses and - unfortunately - very small fees, clients very rarely ask for exclusive rights.

  • Stan Rohrer Posted Mar 26, 2016
    I would like to see an analysis of agency Exclusivity vs non-exclusivity. In my case iStock (35% payout) for RF and Alamy for RM editorial vs. multiple agencies for RF and taking some of my RM and making it RF editorial. Per the MicroStockGroup.com monthly poll, it appears iStock Exclusive rank of 170 vs. non-Ex rank of 33 seems to indicate iS exclusivity (at least in the upper percentages) to be a good thing.

    Compared to contributing non-Ex to the top 4 sites (76 + 58 + 33 + 26 = 193), with the recent rise of Alamy in the poll, perhaps non-Ex across multiple sites is now the better choice. Of course, we don’t have any clue of the accuracy of these self reported MicroStockGroup.com numbers nor the income percentage level of the supposed iS reported income. Perhaps Jim has some numbers for support of the calculations.

    Yes, I’m trying to determine when to break Ex with iS or if it is better to stay with my 35% for now. Managing a portfolio across multiple sites is not appealing form a time consideration. I am also concerned that some of my better selling 2003-2010 images are not of acceptable quality for new submissions.

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