Data Management

Melcher/Pickerell Colloquy

By Jim Pickerell | 2236 Words | Posted 5/3/2016 | Comments
Paul Melcher disagrees with much of my pessimism about the future of the stock photo industry. I have the greatest respect for Paul and his opinions. He is founding director of Melcher Systems and has been working in the stock photo space for more than 20 years. He has a thorough understanding of our industry. He has done much more in depth research of the tech side of the industry than I have, and has much better contacts and networking in that space. For these reasons, it is important for my readers to carefully consider what he has to say.

What Getty Customers Need

By Jim Pickerell | 1427 Words | Posted 4/12/2016 | Comments
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.

Improving Search For Buyers

By Jim Pickerell | 1164 Words | Posted 3/30/2016 | Comments
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.

Tracking Image Usage

By Jim Pickerell | 937 Words | Posted 6/15/2015 | Comments
LMKtag (also Lamark) has developed a relatively inexpensive system to embed tags, invisible to the naked eye, in digital images files. These tags link back to a LMKtag database that contains the image creator’s name and contact information as well as whether the image is available for licensing. The database can also include caption information and other metadata about the image and the creator can adjust this information at any time.

Finding The “Right” Image

By Jim Pickerell | 607 Words | Posted 6/2/2015 | Comments
Last week I wrote a story about “Microsoft’s Research On Captioning Photos Automatically." I argued that this technology is a long way from being of much use to stock photo customers who trying to find useful photos for their projects. However, helping users find photos may not be what Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are really trying to accomplish.

Can Powerpoint Presentations Be An Important Market For Stock Photography?

By Jim Pickerell | 1443 Words | Posted 5/27/2015 | Comments
Microsoft say that worldwide there are about 400 new powerpoint presentations being prepared each second. That works out to about 12.6 billion presentations a year. A significant percentage of them use multiple images. Some are the creator’s personal images. But the vast majority are grabbed from the Internet via Google, Bing, Flickr or somewhere else. If users paid even $1.00 for each image used in such presentations the annual gross revenue might be more than 5 times the revenue generated worldwide by the stock photo industry.

Ideal Image Sizes For Social Networks

By Jim Pickerell | 66 Words | Posted 5/27/2015 | Comments
SumAll provides social media tools that may help users make more effective use of social media. Among the information offered is data from 300,000+ business users compiled in an infographic that shows the ideal image size for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Each of these sites has specific dimensions that you need to adhere to if you want your images to look their best.

ImageBrief’s Photographer Search

By Jim Pickerell | 823 Words | Posted 12/30/2014 | Comments
Early in December ImageBrief introduced a Photographer Search feature. It’s a great idea and something photographers need, but it still needs a little work. This story identifies some of the problem areas and offers suggestions that make "Photographer Search" more user friendly.

Lattice: New PhotoShelter Initiative

By Jim Pickerell | 1150 Words | Posted 11/25/2014 | Comments
Recently, Photoshelter launched Lattice, a Pinterest like curation and discovery experience designed to show off the best of more than 200,000,000 images from the 80,000 pro photographers that use PhotoShelter. Currently “boards” are created by in-house staff and “invited curators.”  The vision is that eventually anyone will be available to create boards. Photographers can recommend certain of their best images for addition to boards, but for right now they cannot add images to boards directly.

Can Technology Replace Human Curators?

By Jim Pickerell | 2077 Words | Posted 6/20/2014 | Comments
Everyone agrees there is an oversupply of images. In spite of this fact many professional image buyers claim they can’t find good images or at least the images they need. As I look at what is available online today I think there are more good and great images than there ever have been, but often they are buried under piles of mundane images and images that are irrelevant to buyers needs. The problem is curation.

“Likes” vs “Buys”

By Jim Pickerell | 998 Words | Posted 6/16/2014 | Comments
A lot of attention is being given to finding a better way to search for photos. Those who believe technology can solve all the world’s problems are trying to build algorithms that will instantly find exactly the right image to meet the needs of each paying customer. With 1.8 billion photos being uploaded to the web each day and even professional sites like Shutterstock uploading more than 260,000 new photos each week there are more good pictures on any given subject than any professional user has time to look at.

How Well Do Old Images Sell?

By Jim Pickerell | 1148 Words | Posted 5/14/2014 | Comments
Recently a subscriber asked, “how much newly produced professional content is licensed each year compared to content that is licensed more than a year after it was first made available for purchase?” Great question! As far as I know no agency collects such data, but it could be of tremendous value in helping agencies better understand what their customer's needs and in directing photographers as to what to shoot.

Using Images To Mine Data

By Jim Pickerell | 1219 Words | Posted 5/1/2014 | Comments
It’s No Longer About The Image. It’s About The Data That Can Be Mined Using Images. The value of images is declining. The value of data that can be mined by tracking image use is increasing.

Shutterstock To Acquire WebDAM

By Jim Pickerell | 330 Words | Posted 3/5/2014 | Comments
Shutterstock has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WebDAM, a leading provider of web-based digital asset management software.

Getting Images Seen: Update

By Jim Pickerell | 4023 Words | Posted 2/4/2014 | Comments
The biggest challenge for a photographer hoping to license rights to stock images is how to get the images seen by potential buyers. It would seem that the first step might be to get the images accepted by a good agency. But given the number of images on all subject matter in most agency collections that doesn’t necessarily mean customers will ever see them.

Universal Images Group Continues Global Expansion

By Jim Pickerell | 252 Words | Posted 12/2/2013 | Comments
As of December 1, 2013 Universal Images Group Limited (UIG) has opened a new Content Management facility for Asia based in Tokyo, Japan.

Have Your Stock Images Disappeared Into The Abyss?

By Jim Pickerell | 964 Words | Posted 11/13/2013 | Comments
Hundreds of thousands of images in major stock distributor collections are never viewed by any customer. If customers can’t see them they certainly can’t buy them. Tens of thousands of images are being added to stock photo databases every day. A very high percentage of them will quickly fall into an abyss never to be seen again. Is there a solution to this problem?

Exclusive or Non-Exclusive Representation

By Jim Pickerell | 1462 Words | Posted 11/12/2013 | Comments
Does exclusive representation make sense in today’s stock photography world, or is it better to place your images with multiple distributors? Here are a few things to consider.  

Compensation For Passive Image Use

By Jim Pickerell | 2962 Words | Posted 5/10/2013 | Comments
At the CEPIC Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday June 12th there will be a discussion on a new initiative that could generate significant new revenue for image creators whose images are “crowd sourced” and posted without authorization to various domains on the Internet.   This story examines the “Winston Project,” a system for collecting revenue for “Passive Image Use.” when a user uploads an image created by someone else to a “crowd sourced” domain, or when a user clicks on an image or shares it within the domain.

Googlegate 2

By Jim Pickerell | 1093 Words | Posted 1/22/2013 | Comments
In the growing clamor and uproar about the free images available through Google Drive Rick Becker-Leckrone, CEO of Blend Images, made some points on the Stockphoto blog that are worth examining. See the previous article for more background.


By Jim Pickerell | 1250 Words | Posted 1/16/2013 | Comments
This is the third in a series of articles on the image collection that is available to Google Drive users. (It looks like there may be many more articles as more details unfold.) To see the first two articles go here and here. This is not just a microstock issue. Hundreds of traditionally priced RF images are involved.

Patent Shakedown

By Jim Pickerell | 678 Words | Posted 12/20/2012 | Comments
Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxenburg has sued DepositPhotos, Dreamstime and other stock photo licensors alleging that their business models infringe Uniloc’s U.S. patent number 7,099,848 filed by Russell P. Reeder and Raymond M. Haynes on December 28, 2001 and granted on August 29, 2006.

Instagram Claims Right To Sell Photos: Backs Down Later

By Jim Pickerell | 1178 Words | Posted 12/19/2012 | Comments
On December 17th Instagram proposed dramatic changes in its "terms of service" that would give the company the right to sell users' photos without payment or notification, effective January 16, 2013. This sparked immediate outrage and revolt among Instagram contributors. Many started removing images from the site. The next day Instagram reversed itself and pledged to “remove” the language that sparked the revolt.

Broken Business Model

By Jim Pickerell | 1239 Words | Posted 11/13/2012 | Comments
One of the programs at the recent PACA International Conference asked five industry visionaries to explore emerging trends and predict what the stock photo business will be like in 2022. There was general agreement that the current business model of licensing based on usage is broken and that in a few years (probably a lot less than 10) it will be necessary to develop a completely different approach to licensing.

Procedures To Improve Chances Of Licensing Images

By Jim Pickerell | 829 Words | Posted 10/29/2012 | Comments
The buyer’s panel at the recent Picture Agency Council of America (PACA) conference in Chicago offered a number of ideas for ways individual sellers and stock photo distributors might adjust their search, delivery and pricing procedures to improve the chances of their images being chosen and used.