What Image Creators Need

Posted on 1/5/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

As I pointed out in my iStock article on Monday more and more of the top image creators are cutting back on production and turning to other ways to earn a living. It’s not only microstock photographers who are pulling back, those selling RM and traditional RF are in even greater retreat. See this article.

Image creators must find ways to use their time more efficiently. To a great extent that means not wasting time shooting and uploading pictures no one wants to use. The major agencies have data that could help, but so far they have not been willing to share it. Here are a few things they could do.

1 – Image creators need to know specifically what words and phrases are being used to search for images – and how frequently each is used. It is not enough to provide broad categories of subject matter in demand. They don’t tell the creators much of anything. Creators need specifics when planning photo shoots. This list should be organized in a searchable database along with the number of times each word or phrase has been used in the past year.

Then, if someone is thinking about shooting pictures of a “black widow spider” or “air conditioner repairman” or “woman with computer in office” they can go to the database and see how many times that subject matter has  been requested, if at all.

They can also do an image search to determine what is already available on each subject and determine if they can produce something that is better or more likely to be what customers need.

2 – It would also be very helpful if the database could indicate how many times an image or the subject has been downloaded when the specific search term was used. Many searches may result in no downloads. There may not be that many “black widow spider” images in the database, but there may not be that many customers purchasing such images either. Some customers may have searched just for spider and used something other than a black widow. It is important to have as much specific information as possible about requests that resulted in a sale.

If 100 people search for a particular subject and only two of them download a picture that may indicate that there is a need for something better, or at least different, that illustrates the same point. This is information a photographer can use.

There may also be a lot of subject matter that has never been requested. In such cases it may be a waste of time to produce more images of the subject matter.

3 – Another useful report for sub agents and individual contributors would be a list of all the images that have not been viewed by a customer in the last year or two. The general subject matter of the image may have been requested by customers, but appeared so far down in the search-return-order that no customer ever opened the page with the photographer’s image.

If that was the case then the image creator might consider several options: (A) Produce some new images of the subject matter that might get higher in the search-return-order, at last for a little while, (B) Pull the image and place it somewhere else where it might have a better chance of selling, or (C) Offer it through some type of subscription program with the hope of at least earning something.

The distributor could easily offer option “C” to its suppliers by creating a separate subscription brand. It should be very easy for the distributor to transfer a specific image from its primary brand to a subscription brand. By doing so they might earn some additional revenue as well as providing revenue for the image creator.

Maybe the distributors feel that they have so many new amateurs producing and supplying images that they don’t need the experienced old timers anymore. I hope that is not the case, but it often looks to be their attitude.

Copyright © 2017 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 301-461-7627, 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.  


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