Use Pricing: What The Industry Needs

Posted on 8/4/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (5)

It’s time to institute a new pricing model. In the ‘80s the only pricing model was Rights Managed (RM), but the term itself wasn’t even invented until the ‘90s. Back then every price was based on usage and there was no other option. In the early ‘90s Royalty Free (RF) was introduced. In the early 2000s microstock came into existence. Now, it is time to introduce a fourth model which I will call Use Pricing (UP). The following would be some of the characteristics of Use Pricing.

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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:  


  • Paul Melcher Posted Aug 4, 2011
    The intention is beautiful. However, it is not very customer friendly and would require website development cost that most agencies would not take on.
    I remain convince that RM pricing's future is online and tied to traffic data.

  • Roger Ressmeyer Posted Aug 4, 2011
    Good work Jim. It certainly is a quagmire the way it is. I urge you to keep pushing your ideas.

  • Bryan Alexander Posted Aug 5, 2011
    There are some sound ideas in here but the thought of 90% of our collection being included in a Premium deal, doesn't make it tempting to sign up to, as we don't have images that sell by volume. Something is needed to make spending money on taking pictures a worthwhile investment again.

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Aug 5, 2011
    Consider that of all the images in you collection probably no more than 10% (I suspect a lot less) ever sell. With careful editing, and particularly when you have long experience of knowing what sells, you ought to be able to put most of your best sellers into the UP collection. It is not a perfect solution, but it should work for most photographers. The downside of not going with a company like Getty, Corbis or Alamy is that a lot of potential customers will never find your images.

  • Bryan Alexander Posted Aug 6, 2011
    Because buyers use our collection for the images they can't find elsewhere, the ones they choose are often surprising. I can tell you the strongest images that will sell for magazine stories but not with any certainty the ones that book publishers will chose, and that is after 40 years in the business. Hence my hesitation. Although there is the consideration that "..a lot of potential customers will never find your images" if enough find it and pay a little more, we could be earning enough to continue!

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