Career

Seminar On Improving Video Content Discoverability

By Jim Pickerell | 210 Words | Posted 5/6/2019 | Comments
On May 9, 2019 Mark Milstein will be offering a seminar in New York on Time-based Metadata: The Key to Video Discoverability and Content Immortality. The presentation will be at B&H Photo.  Click here to register. You can also watch online.

Brianna Wettlaufer Joins Adobe

By Jim Pickerell | 194 Words | Posted 4/15/2019 | Comments
Brianna Wettlaufer, former Co-Founder and CEO of Stocksy, has joined Adobe Stock as Head of Content. A longtime creative industry veteran and innovative entrepreneur Brianna has held numerous leadership roles in the stock photo industry including Vice President of Development at iStock among others. Brianna resigned her position at Stocksy last August for personal reasons.

In Defense Of Getty

By Jim Pickerell | 919 Words | Posted 4/11/2019 | Comments
More and more photographers are expressing frustration with Getty Images and saying they are pulling their images. Many are looking for another distributor that will charge higher prices and offer a better royalty share. I hate to defend Getty, but to be fair today’s low prices are not all their fault. If we go back to the early 2000s Getty tried to keep prices at reasonable levels, but once iStock and Shutterstock came on the scene, and got some traction, there was no way for Getty to hold out forever.

Intel Grabs Copyright?

By Jim Pickerell | 332 Words | Posted 4/4/2019 | Comments
Some photographers attending the Intel press and analyst event on April 2, 2019 interpreted the following notice to all entrants as a move to grab the copyright of any photos the photographer might take.

Will CGI Reduce The Need For Photography?

By Jim Pickerell | 83 Words | Posted 4/4/2019 | Comments
Fstoppers has an interesting story on the impact CGI may have on commercial photography and photographers in the not too distant future. Earlier this week I wrote about the declining need for professional photographers in the future. Rather than buying camera equipment and spending time and effort learning how to take pictures anyone interested in the visual arts as a profession might be better advised to find a comfortable chair, sit down at their computer and learn CGI rather than being a photographer.

Will There Be A Future Need For Professional Photographers?

By Jim Pickerell | 790 Words | Posted 4/2/2019 | Comments
Young people (those in their 20s and 30s) interested in a career as a photographer should think hard about that decision. Yes, there will always be a demand for photographs, but will those who want photographs be willing to pay enough to make it a business for image creators?

Travel Photographer Closes Website

By Jim Pickerell | 264 Words | Posted 3/20/2019 | Comments
Rick Strange, a very successful UK travel photographer with over 45 years experience is closing his www.worldtravelphotographs.com website after over 4 years of very disappointing sales. Considering the excellent quality of his work, this may be a cautionary tale for any photographer considering trying to market work from a personal website rather than using a stock agency.

Image Creators Need Better Sales Information

By Jim Pickerell | 865 Words | Posted 2/27/2019 | Comments
Image creators need better information about the kind of content that is selling. Are customers looking at higher priced content? Can creators earn more money if their images are in a collection like Offset where images are licensed for much higher prices? Should creators produce more stills? Should they buy new equipment and start shooting video that sells for higher prices? Shutterstock’s quarterly reports to investors aren’t very helpful in this regard.

Successful Stock Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 724 Words | Posted 2/8/2019 | Comments
If you want to know what it takes to be successful in stock photography you may want to listen to what Steve Heap and Todd Klassy have to say. Both approach the stock business in non-traditional ways. Both have seen continued annual growth in revenue in the last few years despite the fact that many other photographers are seeing a plateau or decline in revenue.

Decline Of Images Requiring Production Planning And Costs

By Jim Pickerell | 719 Words | Posted 1/29/2019 | Comments
In the not too distant future there will be few, if any, new professional images created that require pre-planning, paying for models, renting locations, building sets, acquiring props, or anything that adds to the cost of producing such images. Currently the costs of producing a large segment of images in demand far exceeds the revenue generated from licensing such images. Producers trying to earn their living from such production will find it necessary to drop out of the market.

Direct Selling Of Stock Images

By Jim Pickerell | 2110 Words | Posted 1/25/2019 | Comments
The stock agency sales model no longer works for most photographers trying to earn a portion of their living from the images they produce. Prices for the use of photos have declined so dramatically that it no longer makes much sense for professional photographers to spend much time or effort producing stock images on speculation.

Copyright Thief

By Jim Pickerell | 279 Words | Posted 1/14/2019 | Comments
A reader called my attention to an article I wrote in 2010 where the “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that online rights infringements costs the U.S. economy roughly $58 billion in total output every year.” The reader wanted to know how much that might be today.

Stock Photo Agencies: Outlived Their Usefulness

By Jim Pickerell | 4385 Words | Posted 12/27/2018 | Comments
This long read outlines the step-by-step changes in the marketing of stock images over the the last 30 to 40 years. It makes clear why the production of stock images is no longer a viable business for most photographers and other image creators. At the end of the article, I have outlined some of the changes I believe need to be made in the relationships between image creators and customers in order to return the business to a profitable occupation for those who produce images.

Is The Customer Always Right?

By Jim Pickerell | 535 Words | Posted 12/20/2018 | Comments
Many in business believe “The Customer Is Always Right.” The only problem with this is that most customers always want “more” for “less money.” In the Internet environment, particularly, everything is expected to be FREE – literally. When it comes to satisfying the customer the problem arises in finding a way to cover the cost of producing the product or service. Part of the answer is to find ways to produce more efficiently. Over the years it has been possible to cut costs by providing workers with better tools, expecting more from the workers for less pay or replacing workers entirely by turning production jobs over to machines.

Cutting Out The Middleman

By Jim Pickerell | 1897 Words | Posted 12/18/2018 | Comments
As fewer and fewer stock photographers earn enough from the licensing of their photos to justify continued production, some suggest that instead of letting stock agencies pay them 20% to 30% of the small gross fees collected to use their images, they should sell their images directly to customers. In this way they would get higher prices and keep 100% of what the customer pays.

What Is Stock Photography?

By Jim Pickerell | 725 Words | Posted 12/7/2018 | Comments
When I first started actively producing stock photography, I did so because I wanted to make money. I had discovered that I could earn additional revenue from images I had previously produced on either an assignment or on speculation. At the time I wasn’t earning enough from assignments alone to fully support the needs of my family. The stock revenue was an important supplement. Assignments weren’t as frequent, or as well paying, as I would have liked. I realized I could use the “in between” time to produce images for my stock collection that one day might be licensed.

Moving On : Winding Down Selling Stock

By Jim Pickerell | 599 Words | Posted 11/30/2018 | Comments
After 28 years of publishing Selling Stock, in 2019 I will begin to wind down my regular daily coverage of the stock photo industry. The site (www.selling-stock.com ) with all its archives will continue to be available to readers, indefinitely.

Future Of Stock Photography

By Jim Pickerell | 234 Words | Posted 6/7/2018 | Comments
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography as a business has declined dramatically. There is little hope that the situation will improve.

Know Your Return-Per-Image

By Jim Pickerell | 726 Words | Posted 5/31/2018 | Comments
I would like to encourage every stock photographer to begin to calculate, on an annual basis, their Return-Per-Image (RPI) for each agency they work with. This is particularly important for those photographers who hope to realize a profit for the time and expense they invest in producing stock images.

What’s Selling?

By Jim Pickerell | 771 Words | Posted 5/21/2018 | Comments
What kind of images are generating the most revenue? Is it the amateur produce imagery that is quickly loading up most of the databases, or the more costly to produce model released people, lifestyle, and business imagery requiring complex and costly set ups and arrangement?

Future Of Photography: Taking Or Creating Images

By Jim Pickerell | 441 Words | Posted 5/3/2018 | Comments
If you enjoy taking pictures and are considering photography as a career, maybe it is time to think again. If you’re in your 20s or 30s it is definitely time to think again. If you’re thinking about majoring in photography at a University, please don’t waste your money.

Editorial Photography Future

By Jim Pickerell | 702 Words | Posted 4/25/2018 | Comments
A few months ago in an interview promoting his new book The Good Fight: America’s Ongoing Struggle for Justice, Rick Smolan was asked “How has technology disrupted photography.” Rick has been an editorial photographer since the 1980s, shot for Time, Life and National Geographic and may be best known for his “Day in the Life Of” series of books. The first six minutes of the interview is worth a listen.

Looking To Maximize Revenue: RM or RF?

By Jim Pickerell | 700 Words | Posted 3/26/2018 | Comments
I was talking to a photographer recently who has both RM and RF collections with Getty Images. The question he faces is whether to put new images into the RM or RF collections. Getty is pushing many of its photographers to move many of their images from RM to RF. Certainly, there is a much better chance that an image will get used if it is available for licensing as RF rather than RM. But, if the photographer’s goal is to maximize revenue, will images offered as RF earn as much revenue overall as those offered as RM?

iStock Exclusive or Multi-Agency Non-Exclusive?

By Jim Pickerell | 734 Words | Posted 3/21/2018 | Comments
I’ve been asked by an iStock exclusive contributor with more than 10,000 images in the collection if he should go non-exclusive and put his images with multiple agencies. This contributor has been regularly adding new images, but his gross revenue has been steadily declining month by month.

Photography: The More Things Change...

By Jose Azel | 1488 Words | Posted 3/19/2018 | Comments
In Aurora Photos latest newsletter to contributors President and Founder José Azel offered insights on the current state of the stock photo industry that are worth every stock photographer considering