What To Shoot: Learning From Microstock

Posted on 12/1/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

Stock photographers are constantly concerned with what to shoot. Everyone knows that people pictures tend to sell in greater volume than non-people pictures, but people doing what? Which concepts are in greatest demand? Information most helpful to answering such questions comes from microstock sites and is freely available to everyone.

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Copyright © 2008 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.  


  • Bill Brooks Posted Dec 1, 2008
    This sharing of information shows how Microstock is ahead of traditional stock. Microstock is using the web to use the collective conscience of the entire photographic community to come up with fresh new interesting work. Traditional stock is art directing using a small committee of underpaid editors, and it shows up in the boring lack of variety in traditional images offered for sale at traditional libraries. Traditional libraries are using microstock low prices as an excuse for getting beat up in the marketplace, but big budget clients are moving to microstock because of the superior content, not the price. Microstock is fast getting to the creative point that microstock libraries will be able to raise their prices for big budget uses. This price increase will not help traditional libraries with their formula content, because for big budget clients it is about the image, not the price. Written with great sadness by a traditional stock photographer.

  • Greg Pease Posted Dec 1, 2008
    To Everyone at Selling Stock,

    Thanks for this very helpful article on What to Shoot, and for all the other topics you've covered this past year. Kelly and I

    are grateful for your dedication to our profession.

    A belated Happy Thanksgiving,

    Greg and Kelly

  • Don Farrall Posted Dec 3, 2008
    Bill Brooks says "Traditional libraries are using microstock low prices as an excuse for getting beat up in the marketplace, but big budget clients are moving to microstock because of the superior content, not the price."

    Does anyone else here really think this is the case? Not me. I shoot stock and sell through Getty, but I also have assignment clients at agencies. These people hate using microstock. Their clients come to them with photos that they already found on the internet for cheap! They (the clients) don't know / respect the difference, but the creatives do, and they are having to put a lot of effort into convincing clients that shooting something specific, or buying high quality stock is in their best interest. These AD's hate placing ads that cost tens of thousands of dollars with photos that are not very unique just because they can save a few dollars. I have shot from many , many comps that still have the Istock logo over them. For comps these folks don't even bother to pay a buck for a file. Kind of funny, really.

    There is some quality content on the micros, to be sure. I don't think it belongs there, but then I have a direct line to placing my images with Getty, and many don't so I do understand how this is happening. There is plenty of "clip art - crap" on the micros as well.

    Don Farrall

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