Will Opportunities for Professional Stock Photographers Decline?

Posted on 6/18/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (6)

Last week, I made the statement on my Facebook page that opportunities for professional stock photographers would decline in next few years. Several of my friends and colleagues responded.

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Copyright © 2009 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.  


  • Mark Turner Posted Jun 18, 2009
    I'm clearly a niche photographer, earning much of my living from flowers, both in the garden and in the wild. Most of my license fees are editorial and generated client direct through my office, although I have work with Botanica/Getty, age fotostock, and Garden Picture Library. There are a limited number of customers who keep coming to me because I have very strong content knowledge in my niche and provide good service. They're not just pretty pictures, and my detailed captions add significant value. Probably very few of my images would be described as "killer" and I have trouble defining just what that is. A photo has to tell a story of some sort for the intended audience and just because a photo is stunning doesn't necessarily mean it tells the right story. So far I've avoided both RF and microstock.

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jun 18, 2009
    It should be noted that the "Pro" in the headline of this article in no way refers to the company ProStock, but is a common shorthand for the work "Professional" as is made clear in the first sentence of the article. In no way was I implying that the opportunities for photographers or agencies who use the ProStock software would decline in the next few year because they are using that software.

  • Gerard Fritz Posted Jun 18, 2009
    Through consistent content creation and uploading I have managed to maintain the quantity of sales. But, instead of sales averaging $150. they average $15. Quite a change.

  • Ellen Boughn Posted Jun 18, 2009
    Correction: I am still certainly friends with Dreamstime and recommend them highly but am now no longer under contract with them. I continue as an independent consultant and writer (book to be published next year on Stock Photography).

  • Sheron Resnick Posted Jun 19, 2009
    Dear Jim,

    Thank you for your clarifying comment that the headline was not about ProStock users, but professional stock shooters. Our libraries, in fact, are doing quite well--even in this economy.

    Sheron Resnick
    20/20 Software

  • Bob Prior Posted Jun 28, 2009
    Dear Jim - I have read and re-read your comments but do not seem to find any definition of what a 'killer' image is. Perhaps you would like to qualify this for us

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