Career

Changing Photography Business

By Jim Pickerell | 1766 Words | Posted 3/7/2018 | Comments
Over 60 years ago I decided that because I enjoyed taking pictures I wanted to pursue photography as a way of earning my living. I’ve had a great career, but as a profession things have changed dramatically. For anyone starting out today it is much more difficult to get a foothold – and much less likely that you will ever earn reasonable money – taking pictures for a living.

Teaching Journalists Where To Find Photos

By Jim Pickerell | 520 Words | Posted 2/15/2018 | Comments
The Poynter Institute, headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, is considered by many to be a global leader in journalism education. Poynter claims to be “the world’s leading instructor, innovator, convener and resource for anyone who aspires to engage and inform citizens in 21st Century democracies.” In a recent article formatted as a conversation between two Poynter employees -- Kristen Hare and Ren LaForme -- the two took the position that it’s hard to get anyone to read an online article if it is not accompanied with an image.

Joe Sohm: Stock Photo Success Story

By Jim Pickerell | 1336 Words | Posted 2/12/2018 | Comments
Joe Sohm, the creator of Visions of America has been crisscrossing the U.S. for more that 30 years documenting the country as he sees it in all its beauty and uniqueness. From Presidential Campaigns of both parties to Landscapes & Cityscapes, Sohm is one of the most prolific Americana photographers. He has approximately 33,000 images in his collection. The collection is represented by the three major agencies – Getty Images, AdobeStock and Shutterstock – as well as a host of other agencies around the world.

Pursuing A Stock Photography Career

By Jim Pickerell | 1036 Words | Posted 2/8/2018 | Comments
I’ve been hearing more and more complaints from experienced photographers about the low royalties they are receiving for the use of their images – often less than $1.00. In many cases these low figures result because the primary agent with whom they placed their images is using a secondary distributor to actually handle the licensing to the customer.

Dealing With Free Image Use Requests

By Jim Pickerell | 612 Words | Posted 1/9/2018 | Comments
Recently, Owen Franken asked how I would deal with a request for personal blog use of an image. He receives such requests rarely. He received the following from Andrew Skladowski in Australia. See my comments on things to consider regarding such a request.

Photographer Productivity

By Jim Pickerell | 1299 Words | Posted 1/3/2018 | Comments
One of the things I said in my 2018 Predictions is: “Image creator may be given more useful information about what is in demand.” In recent years we’ve seen a huge growth in the number of creators entering the stock photo business as well as images added to the collections. But we’re no longer seeing a corresponding growth in revenue.

Photos Shot In 2017

By Jim Pickerell | 621 Words | Posted 12/7/2017 | Comments
According to Statista 1,200 billion photos will be taken worldwide in 2017. Not surprisingly,  85% of them will be taken with Smartphones, 4.7% taken with Tablets and only 10.3% were taken with digital cameras. That works out to about 123,600,000,000 photos taken with digital cameras. A very small percentage of these will be made available available for licensing.

New Career Paths For Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 531 Words | Posted 12/5/2017 | Comments
Many stock photographers are earning less and less from the new stock images they produce. They are finding that they can no longer expect to earn a significant portion of their annual income from licensing right to the use of their stock images. Consequently, they are looking for other ways to supplement their income.

Tired Of Low Prices? Here’s A Possible Solution

By Jim Pickerell | 1068 Words | Posted 11/29/2017 | Comments
Tired of low stock photo prices? Maybe you ought to license your images to customers direct. More and more customers are finding the images they need by searching Google. Sometimes the image may be one of yours that is represented by an agency. You may be able to get these searchers to come directly to you.

What To Charge For Photo Assignments

By Jim Pickerell | 1400 Words | Posted 8/7/2017 | Comments
A woman who earned some decent money as a photographer back in the 1990’s called me recently asking for pricing advice. She was trying to help a young neighbor (just out of high school) understand what he should charge for his photography. This boy loves photography and wants to make it a career. His parents have bought him a lot of good equipment, but his mother is tired of spending money with no prospects of a return on that investment. She wants him to start earning some money from some of the pictures he takes. Here's my advice.

Where Are Shutterstocks Most Productive Contributors Located?

By Jim Pickerell | 733 Words | Posted 5/24/2017 | Comments
Shutterstock, Inc. has released its 2017 Contributor Earnings report, which features it’s milestone of having paid out over $500 million in the 13 years since 2004 to the Company's global community of over 225,000 photographers, illustrators, digital artists, and videographers.

Virtual Reality In Real Estate

By Jim Pickerell | 321 Words | Posted 5/23/2017 | Comments
According to MediaPost’s IoT Daily, the Real Estate industry is moving into Virtual Reality. It may be an opportunity for stock photographers looking for a way to diversify their businesses.

Mike Watson: Where Is Stock Headed

By Jim Pickerell | 63 Words | Posted 4/19/2017 | Comments
What can photographers and stock agencies do about pricing and the shift of revenues from photographers to a few huge platforms? Mike Watson says, “It’s unlikely that the major platforms will change their practices and the all-you-can-eat deals will continue. It’s time for photographers and independent agencies to unite and talk directly to their customers.” Read his whole blog post on the robertharding blog.

Does The Stock Industry Need Western Creators?

By Jim Pickerell | 925 Words | Posted 3/17/2017 | Comments
I’ve been doing a little more thinking about some of the implication of the story I wrote on Monday. As an American I had assumed that image creators who only earn a few thousand a year from their creative work couldn’t possibly be supporting themselves from the images or illustration they produce. Therefore, I had concluded that they must be amateurs. That may not be the case.

Employment Opportunity: Frans Lanting Studio

By Jim Pickerell | 127 Words | Posted 3/2/2017 | Comments
Frans Lanting, one of the world's foremost nature photographers, is looking to hire a DIGITAL ASSET MANAGER. See this article for core responsibilities and contact information

Switching From Stills To Video

By Jim Pickerell | 1475 Words | Posted 1/18/2017 | Comments
Many still photographers have watched their revenue decline and are considering transitioning to video. In a recent article I asked Jesse Hughes, Jim Erickson’s director of sales to outline some of the specific challenges a videographer faces, and ways that a video shoot differs from a still shoot. I’ve also contacted two other photographers – Gail Mooney-Kelly of New York and David Scott Smith of Montana – for their thoughts. Both or these photographers were very successful still shooters at one point in their careers, but for a number of years now have focused almost exclusively on producing video.

What Image Creators Need

By Jim Pickerell | 662 Words | Posted 1/5/2017 | Comments
As I pointed out in my iStock article on Monday more and more of the top image creators are cutting back on production and turning to other ways to earn a living. It’s not only microstock photographers who are pulling back, those selling RM and traditional RF are in even greater retreat. See this article

Big Data: Is Anyone In The Stock Industry Paying Attention?

By Jim Pickerell | 1511 Words | Posted 11/18/2016 | Comments
The buzz word in the world today is “Big Data” and how it is going to improve everything. But in the stock photo business are the major agencies are really examining the data they have collected? If they were I think they would be more worried about their future and doing a lot of things differently. I don’t see that happening.

Making Up For Declining Stock Photo Sales

By Jim Pickerell | 1142 Words | Posted 11/16/2016 | Comments
As I pointed out in a previous article I recently contacted a number of very successful photographers who, in the 90s, earned most, if not all, of their income from stock photography. After 2000, and despite a lot of continuing hard work and cost cutting, many saw significant earning declines and eventually had to look for something other ways to support themselves and their families.

Photography Education: What’s Needed

By Jim Pickerell | 269 Words | Posted 10/7/2016 | Comments
Fstoppers has reported on a new survey being conducted in the UK to try gather information about the future potential of photography as a career.

Selling Stock: Purpose And Goals

By Jim Pickerell | 741 Words | Posted 9/28/2016 | Comments
A month or so ago a reader wrote, “When you write articles you must be impartial. The problem is you are very close to the Picture agencies that are destroying Photographer’s jobs. So its very difficult for you to be impartial.” Since then I have been doing a lot of thinking about “impartial,” It may be time for me to provide a clear explanation of how I see my role as editor of Selling Stock.

Stock Photo Revenue Trends Survey Results

By Jim Pickerell | 1492 Words | Posted 9/21/2016 | Comments
One-hundred thirty-seven photographers from 27 countries responded to our Stock Photo Revenue Trends  survey. Forty-seven percent of the respondents were from North America and 14% from the UK. The rest were spread rather evenly among other countries.

Trend Survey Deadline Approaching

By Jim Pickerell | 361 Words | Posted 9/8/2016 | Comments
The last day to respond to the Stock Photo Revenue Trends Survey that we launched last month will be September 17, 2016. For more information about the survey see here. The good news, so far, is that 13% of the respondents earn over $80,000 a year from stock sales alone.

Alamy Provides Huge Benefits To Photography Students

By Jim Pickerell | 351 Words | Posted 9/6/2016 | Comments
Students who have decided to study photography at the post secondary level (college or university) should sign up for the Alamy Student Scheme and begin to get a realistic idea of the value of their work in the marketplace. Alamy can help the student learn what customer’s want.

Agencies – Buyer and Supplier Relationships

By Jim Pickerell | 1321 Words | Posted 9/2/2016 | Comments
Yesterday, I talked about why the business of licensing rights to stock photos - as currently structured - is Designed To Fail unless some major changes are made. Two of the changes needed are: (1) make finding the right image for a project much easier for the buyer, and (2) improving supplier efficiency.