Who Is Yuri Arcurs?

Posted on 3/17/2010 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (5)

Anyone who has heard the term microstock has probably heard of Yuri Arcurs. He is recognized as the worlds most successful microstock photographer but is much more than just a photographer: he is a brilliant businessman adept at marketing, self-promotion and managing a large staff.

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Copyright © 2010 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.  


  • Tim Mcguire Posted Mar 17, 2010
    Hey Jim,

    I'd like to know how Yuri got his business started. Was he always in Microstock? It seems like it would take a lot of up front investment to start from zero and get to where Yuri is today. How long has he been in the microstock business? His business is impressive for it's sheer volume and he seems to have big plans going forward but how did he build his business and get to where he is today? I'd find that very interesting and informative.

    Tim McGuire

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Mar 17, 2010
    Glad you wrote this about Yuri. I have not met him, but we are two of the top in the world and will have to get together for a beer sometime.

    You recently wrote about me in Selling Stock, Jim, (see archives) and you know that Yuri and I gross close to the same amount and I have for many years. But we are different in two very distinct things: First, Yuri believes (or did believe until now he realizes he can't make it work with falling price per image) he could support his big studio making $0.35 per download with a huge staff of 40 some people (ie, PAYROLL!) and I do not. He sells Microstock and I do not.

    Secondly, I get to KEEP most of my gross because I have a staff of only three! But we sell Rights Managed all over the world only... and we get many many sales of $1200 that he finally had one (plus many one image sales over $10,000 each year) in the RM mode.

    I like Yuri's work a lot and will tell him so when we meet. But he is finding that mass producing with a huge staff and selling only Microstock is not giving HIM much of an income after he pays for all his studio & staff. He even now realizes that he can not continue to produce imagery as Microstock prices per image cut away most of his profit. I get to keep most of my sales money and that is the nicest part!

    So again, Jim, even the top seller in the Microstock world is seeing that the model no longer works for him. How can you EVER suggest a new person (or an experienced person) rush into Microstock?? Once you put an image in Microstock, you can never pull it out and sell it RM.

    Why not encourage shooters to go RM where the prices are worthy and you don't need to "mass produce" with a staff to sell and make $0.35 per sale?

    Tell Yuri that I would like to meet, as two top shooters, and have a beer in Europe or Florida.

    I support what you do, Jim, but my books and lectures always tell people the truth about the hard choices to make in stock shooting. And one is that you CAN NOT make a living giving your work away! You can make "beer money" but not a living... People need to read my newest book or attend my ASMP lectures.


  • Yuri Arcurs Posted Mar 17, 2010
    Hi Tim.
    I did not have a cent when I started 5 years ago. I got my first earnings from micro sales and I have basically expanded my business re-investing every cent since then. My overhead might be big, but it is in place to server future plans and nurture production levels in two-three years from now. Training, streamlining, management....take time. If I want to scale, I need to be one step ahead, also internally and that is not cheap.

  • Tim Mcguire Posted Mar 17, 2010
    Hi Yuri and thanks. I find it hard to believe but if it's true you deserve all the business accolades you get. You obviously have many business building and entrepreneurial skills many wish they had.

    Why do you think so many others with much more than a cent to invest and with just as much drive and motivation have not been able to do what you have done?

    How much of what you've achieved as a businessman do you attribute to being in the right place at the right time?

  • Rahul Pathak Posted Mar 18, 2010

    This is impressive stuff. Congratulations on always looking to the future and having the capability to create the one you want for yourself.


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