Future Planning

Will Terapixel Resolution Help Professional Photographers?

By Jim Pickerell | 179 Words | Posted 4/9/2019 | Comments
Will Quantum Dots make the next generation of camera technology so much better that it will dramatically separate the quality of the work of professional photographers from those using smartphones and give the professional a new leg up? A story on thephoblographer.com points out that the Quantum Dot technology is much more efficient than the CMOS technology used today.

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.

Finding The Right Image Gets Harder For Creatives

By Jim Pickerell | 707 Words | Posted 2/28/2019 | Comments
Did you know it takes Creatives twice as long to find an image that will work for their project as it did just 4 years ago? This is one of the facts that was uncovered in Visualsteam’s Annual Survey of Creative Pros. This 35-page report is packed with other information and insights that should help image licensors and image creators as they plan for the future. The report can be purchased for $69.95 by contacting fnyrf@ivfhnyfgrnz.pbz

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.

Shutterstock’s 2019 Creative Trends Report

By Jim Pickerell | 561 Words | Posted 1/16/2019 | Comments
Shutterstock has published its eighth annual 2019 Creative Trends Report. This year’s eleven design styles, many of which echo the past in a playful and in a decadent way, predict the top influences for design and visual production in 2019.

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.

Future Of Photography

By Jim Pickerell | 383 Words | Posted 12/20/2018 | Comments
A recent story by Petapixel got me thinking about where still photography, as a profession, is headed in this world of generosity and free. Nvidia Corporation, a technology company based in Santa Clara, California, designs graphics processing units for the gaming and professional markets. They have recently released software that can create images of people that look completely real -- except the people never existed.

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 Are The Stock Images That Sell?

By Jim Pickerell | 844 Words | Posted 12/7/2018 | Comments
A professional photographer asked recently “what kind of still images and video clips are being used?” It’s a great question with no good answer. Stock agencies know the answer, but they’re not sharing. Photographers seriously interested in earning money from their stock photo production need detailed and specific information about what customers are buying if they hope to create new images cost effectively. Such information would enable them to focus their efforts on producing more of the subject matter customers regularly want to buy.

Call To Action - (CtoA)

By Jim Pickerell | 667 Words | Posted 11/26/2018 | Comments
Recently I was told by a stock agency that my Photographer Income Survey Results were not relevant to Specialist Agencies because the results are “rather negative and don’t offer a possible positive call to action.” In the following series of stories I will outline a “Positive Call to Action” for stock agencies.

CtoA 2 -Power And Leverage Of Individual Agencies

By Jim Pickerell | 2680 Words | Posted 11/26/2018 | Comments
In July 2018 I did an analysis of the more than 200 Getty Creative collections to determine how many images had been added to each collection in the almost two years between August 2016 and June 2018. Overall there was a 37% increase in the number of images added, but there were wide variations in the sources of the growth.

Potential For Market Growth

By Jim Pickerell | 1719 Words | Posted 11/1/2018 | Comments
There is very little likelihood that the overall market will grow if the stock photo business continues on its current course. In order to have growth at least four major strategy changes are needed. I see no likelihood that any of these will occur.

Conceptual Realism: Is That What Customers Are Buying?

By Jim Pickerell | 614 Words | Posted 9/20/2018 | Comments
Getty Images has just sent out a promotion – probably mostly to photographers – to show Conceptual Realism. The implication is that customers want more of this type of imagery and photographers should be shooting more of it and supplying it to the agency. Is Such Imagery Really What Customers Want? I can’t believe that most of what is being shown in this gallery are images that customers are actually licensing for use.

Getty Debt

By Jim Pickerell | 1330 Words | Posted 9/18/2018 | Comments
Many in the industry are concerned about the level of Getty Images debt and what that might mean for the future of the company. The following is some general information about the financial status of the company. It is not clear how the debt might affect the future. Getty Images has about $2.367 billion in debt. About $1.8 billion of that is in Term Loans at 4.37%. Back in 2012 they had about $2 billion in Term Loans so in the past six years it appears they have paid down about $200 million of the principal in addition to the annual interest. The terms of these loans is unclear and may vary.

Editorial Photographer Income Survey

By Jim Pickerell | 587 Words | Posted 8/31/2018 | Comments
I have created a SurveyMonkey survey in an effort to gather data on the general income ranges of Editorial Still Photographers around the world. Go to this link to respond to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PhotogIncomeSurvey Please encourage all editorial still photographers to respond to this survey. The resulting data could be very helpful to photography students, working photographers, the organizations that license rights to use editorial photography and those who purchase editorial photographs.

Shutterstock Download Trends

By Jim Pickerell | 697 Words | Posted 8/24/2018 | Comments
A multi-year review of Shutterstock download trends going back to Q3 2010 provides some interesting insights into how adding more images to the collection relates to sales growth. (See chart) Back in 2010 Shutterstock had 12.3 million images in its collection and 11.1 total downloads for that quarter. In theory the more choice you offer your customers the more sales you are likely to make. That pretty much held true through 2012 as Shutterstock almost doubled the size of its collection.

Part-time Photographers: Are They The Future?

By Jim Pickerell | 1253 Words | Posted 8/13/2018 | Comments
Will part-time photographers be able to supply all the future needs of professional photo users? This is one of the most interesting questions facing the stock photo industry today. There is no question that part-time photographers occasionally produce beautiful, creative, exciting images. Sometimes these images are better than anything produced by full-time professionals.

Getty: More Concentration On Exclusive RM

By Jim Pickerell | 1158 Words | Posted 7/31/2018 | Comments
Getty is contacting its RM photographers with non-exclusive or co-exclusive agreements and asking them to convert all their images in the Getty collection to exclusive so Getty will be the only organization that can license rights to use the images. This may be a particularly difficult decision for photographers with co-exclusive arrangements if they typically license a fair number of uses directly to clients annually. All those future sales will be lost.

Is Getty Really Analyzing Its Image Collection?

By Jim Pickerell | 1505 Words | Posted 6/20/2018 | Comments
One has to wonder if Getty does any analysis of their Creative Collection in terms of what sells and what doesn’t. Clearly, as we reported yesterday, the largest and fastest growing segment of the Getty collection is EyeEM with 4,558,201 RF images. Back in August 2016 EyeEm had only recently started contributing to Getty Images and had 256,152 images in the collection. They have 17.79 times as many images now as in 2016. At that time Getty had a total of 16,687,710 images in the Creative Collection. That collection has grown 43% in size in two years, but nothing like EyeEm’s 1779% growth.

How Many Unique Images Licensed Annually?

By Jim Pickerell | 767 Words | Posted 6/11/2018 | Comments
One of the big mysteries in the stock photo agency business is the percentage of “Unique images” licensed annually. Some agencies, like Shutterstock, report the total number of images licensed, but many of those licensed are used by multiple customers so the actual number of different, unique images used is much smaller.

Stock Image Production Costs

By Jim Pickerell | 1030 Words | Posted 6/4/2018 | Comments
One of the hardest things for stock photographers to calculate is their actual costs of stock image production. As in any business it is critical to understand your costs if you hope to eventually earn a profit from their production. This story will provide an outline of some of the things that need to be considered when determining costs. It will also provide some average costs figures that some leading professionals work toward.

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.

More on GDPR

By Jim Pickerell | 283 Words | Posted 5/23/2018 | Comments
The General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, that goes into effect on Friday, May 25, 2018 will require companies that do business in the EU to provide a form to the companies that they are dealing with. It is not clear if it is necessary to supply such a form to each and every individual that a company deals with. A survey by CompliancePoint shows that 76% of U.S. businesses are not prepared for the enforcement deadline. (Check out previous story.)

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.