World of Stock Helps Photogs Sell Direct

Posted on 7/9/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

After 11 years as an independent stock photo agency, at one time hosting over 300,000 images from 130 photographers, is in the process of making a significant change in response to shifts in the stock photo marketplace. World of Stock founder, chief web developer and contributing photographer Steve Smith explains it this way;
“In 2003 I started as a way for myself and a few other photographers to promote their work online. In the months after startup we had a surprising amount of interest and evolved to become a small “agency” along with all the legalities and administration associated with that. In the years that followed the site grew organically, both in terms of images hosted and sales, with the peak around early 2008. We all know what happened after that…. While I have no regrets, and it was a great ride for a while, with the changes in the marketplace we were forced to look back at what we were all about in the beginning. “
Now, World of Stock is undergoing a major transition. It is no longer an “agency”, in fact there are no commissions charged on sales attained by photographers from the site. Photographers pay a reasonable subscription fee (minimum $6.25 per month for 10GB of space), but they keep 100% of any revenue generated from sales. They can decide the size of their retained images and which images they want contained within their portfolios. Each photographer receives their own customizable home page, but images are still included in general searches on the site as a whole. An ever-growing kit of tools (much of it based on user feedback) is available to all subscribed photographers regardless of which package they choose.

Steve went on to say. “After studying the current state of affairs, I really felt strongly that most stock photographers today are getting a raw deal. Commissions have dropped at the same time as prices and there seems to be more and more hands taking a piece of the ever shrinking pie.”

In the contributor recruiting information on the site Steve provides the following illustration of what many photographers are seeing on their current commission statements:

Imaqe Gross Agency Sub Transaction Exchange Customer Volume Photog
Number Sale Commission Agent % Fees Fees Discount Discount Net
ABC1234 $100.00 $46.00 $24.00 $3.40 $1.82 $10 $5 $9.78
ABC5678 $3.00 $1.80   $0.48       $0.72

For more on how the site works check this link (

Steve continues, “It seemed to me the only way to try to get around this was to go to the direct model. With no agencies or distributors taking a share photographers have more room to move on pricing. So we are shifting to this simple model – give those that create the content the tools and web presence in order to get their content out there and market it, sort of like the growing trend towards fair trade and locally sourced products.”

The new is not just a hosting site however. It is being rebuilt entirely with stock photographers in mind. There will be a submission process to ensure that the content meets specific minimum standards for image and metadata quality. “It may seem counter-intuitive for me to turn away business from those that do not meet the criteria, but it’s in the long-term best interests of those photographers on the site that we maintain a standard of content so that potential buyers are not frustrated with the search results,” he added.
World of Stock is now seeking additional content providers. You can view more info at

Copyright © 2014 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, 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:  


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