Being represented exclusively by a single agency, or distributor, used to be important if you wanted a chance to license your images for high dollars for advertising or product identity uses. These customers wanted assurance that no one else would be using the same image while their campaign was in progress and they were willing to pay a lot of money for such rights.
More and more photographers have started to produce stock footage as a way to grow their business. Clearly, there is increasing demand for video clips as well as a greater need for video than still images. One of the questions I’m frequently asked is “What are the best companies to represent my work?”
Getty has supplied Corbis contributors with the information below. For many the most important information is that after May 2nd Corbis contributors who have not signed a separate agreement with Getty Images will be released from their contributor contracts and all survival periods will be waived.
has filed a competition law complaint with the European Commission against Google Inc. The complaint follows Getty Images’ submission in June 2015, when it joined as an interested third party in support of the European Commission’s existing investigation into Google’s anti-competitive business practices.
The take over of the stock photography business by amateurs and part-timers is not new, but the long range implications are worth considering.
In 2014 500px introduced (500pxprime.com
), a licensing arm of its global online photography community that was launched in 2009 for the purpose of sharing and discovering images. Initially, prices were $50 for web use and $250 for print uses. The royalty share started out at 70%, but now it has been cut to 30%. Photographers are not happy with the pay cut.
Shutterstock has signed a 3-year exclusive worldwide distribution agreement with Starpix
, a boutique celebrity, red carpet and event photo company that provides photo coverage on the East coast for leading film studio clients and publishers.
has announced a partnership with PR Newswire
that will provide its customers with access to the Shutterstock 83 million+ image library of licensable photos.
Some Corbis photographers whose images have been integrated into the Getty Images collection tell me that their images are appearing high in the search-return-order for searches of their particular subject matter.
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Getty Images collection. Getty’s collection was marketed in China by VCG before the sale. The new enlarged collection with the addition of some Corbis images will continue to be marketed in China by VCG.
The Shutterstock Contributor App that contributors may obtain from the Apple App store has been upgraded to allow contributors to directly attach, upload and manage model and property releases to their images from their phones.
How low can prices go? Is the volume of images used more important than earning money when an image is used? Must we accept whatever the customer is willing to pay, or is it possible, at some point to say NO? If there is such a point where is it? Most photographer will agree there is some point where the people representing our images should say NO, but there is big disagreement on where that point should be.
I was recently asked for my views on where the stock photo industry is headed over the next few years, the value of the industry at present, and how I think the major players will adapt to the growing availability of user-generated content. Here’s my answer.
In recent seminars and webinars Getty provided contributors with information about buyer activity and tried to help them understand what customers need. One of the most important bits of information was that Getty is currently licensing rights to 10 RF images for every 1 RM. For years the average licensing fee for an RM image has been about 2.5 times that of an RF image. While the royalty share of an RM sale tends to be higher than an RF sale (about 35% to 20%) at a 10 to 1 ratio creators are likely to earn significantly more licensing their images as RF than as RM.
, has launched Megapixl.com
, a new website that utilizes machine learning to offer more refined stock image choices based on past user behaviors. This artificial intelligence (AI) utilizes past behavioral data garnered from millions of designers in order to determine which content is the most relevant and suitable for the individual user.
Veer has closed its doors and photographers have been released from any contractual obligations they had with Veer. Images belong to Veer photographers have not been automatically migrated to iStock, but photographers can request a transfer and sign a new iStock contract if they wish. Effective May 2, 2016, the Corbis Images and Corbis Motion businesses and websites will no longer be accessible.
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides links to a number of previous stories that deal with this issue.
Time is becoming an increasing important factor for art directors and image buyers. Bosses and customers are demanding more output and giving the art director less time to produce results. The time it takes to find the right (well maybe, just usable) image is an increasingly important factor to be considered.
A photographer recently called to my attention a keywording anomaly that those who want their images found might want to consider. The photographer said that when he prepares for a trip to another country he searches some of the popular photo sites for the country and the keyword “released.”
Charles Taylor is still trying to put together a company that will consolidate many smaller independent picture agencies into a single publicly traded company that will be traded on the AIM stock exchange in the UK. Back in 2014 Taylor’s organization was called GDI Media Limited
. The new version is called Avalon. More about it can be found here
Last fall, BVPA, the German association of picture agencies, asked me a series of questions about the U.S. market for stock photography and where I think it is headed. The following is what I told them along with links to a few relevant stories.
The Mega Agency
, a new global media business, focused on delivering editorial images, is pleased to announce that David Ellis has been recruited as UK Sales Director.
Agencies need to think hard about supplying contributors with more detailed information about exactly what is being requested and what is really selling. It used to be enough to provide general information about the broad categories of subject matter in demand. At that point they would leave it up to the individual creator to guess at what buyers -- with whom they have no contact whatsoever -- might want. That is no longer enough. Shooting based on gut feelings no longer works.
After reading my previous story
investors in stock photo companies as well as image buyers may ask, “Why should we care if professional photographers stop producing stock images?”
A Korean subscriber recently asked the following questions. “I notice you say that many photographers are unable to earn enough money and end up leaving the market. Is there any specific number that you can prove? How many photographers/contributors were there in the past and now?