1998 Survey

Posted on 3/6/1998 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



March 6, 1998

One of the surprising results from the January Stock Survey is the number of

photographers earning a good income from stock. Thirty-five percent of

the 206 respondents earned over $70,000 in 1997 from the stock side of their business.

About 5,000 surveys were mailed.

The following are the number of responses and the percentage of the total at each level

of income.


  over $400,000   



  $250,000 to $400,000   



  $150,000 to $250,000   



  $100,000 to $150,000   



  $70,000 to $100,000   



  $40,000 to $70,000   



  $20,000 to $40,000   



  $10,000 to $20,000   



  less than $10,000   



Fourteen percent of the photographers were not represented by a stock agency, 27% had a

single agency and 59% are represented by more than one agency. The good news for stock

agencies is that photographers earn much more when they are represented by an agency.

Of those not represented, about 17% earned over $40,000, but none earned over $70,000

and 50% earned less than $10,000.

Interestingly, at the higher earning levels those represented by several stock agencies

tended to earn more than those who were exclusive with a single agency. This was

surprising considering that the major agencies require exclusive contracts.


Respondents Exclusive Several Agencies
  over $400,000   




  $250,000 to $400,000   




  $150,000 to $250,000   




  $100,000 to $150,000   




Eighty-five percent of those responding have images in a print or digital catalog.

Having images in a catalog was a very important predictor of income. Of the 30 with

no images in catalogs one earned over $150,000, but had several agencies handling his

work. After this aberration, 10% of those without catalog images earned between

$40,000 and $70,000 and 80% earned less than $20,000 in 1997.

A major photographer complaint has been that they are not getting as many images in

recent catalogs as they did in the past. We asked, "Did you get as many images in

catalogs in 1997 as you did in 1996, or in previous years?" The response to this

question split about equally with 61 saying more, 58 saying less and 56 about the

same (31 didn't answer).

However, when it comes to production of new images 50 said they produced more in 1997

than in previous years, 63 said less and 87 said about the same.

When asked about their gross earnings from stock 97 said they earned more in 1997, 39

earned less and 67 said about the same.

Royalty Free Discs

Only 9 had actually allowed their images to be used on Royalty Free discs while 195 said

they had not and two were unsure. However, 41 said that given the opportunity they

would be willing to put images on RF discs and 32 more said they might, but were unsure.

That's over 35% of the respondents who are prepared to consider participating in the

royalty free environment. This would indicate that RF producers will have little

trouble getting as much high quality content as they can absorb.

The other 65% said they would not participate and some gave strong opinions as to why

they would

not participate. Keep in

mind, also, that at the PACA

seminar last November, thirteen of the stock agencies attending said, "their company was

likely to market some form

of Royalty Free product in

the next three years" and 35 said maybe. That's 24% of the 195 agencies attending.

We asked photographers if they wanted their stock agency to produce, or market some type

of RF or

Low Royalty product.

Thirty-one said yes, 138 said

no and 24 were unsure.

A word of caution for stock agencies. We asked if photographers were satisfied with

their current

agency relationship and

103 said Yes, but 50 said No

and 24 were either not sure, or in cases where they were with more than one agency said

it depended

on the agency. That

means that 74 or about 40% are

not satisfied with some of their agency relationships.

Surprisingly, those earning more than $100,000 in 1997 were even more dissatisfied than

those at

the lower levels. Thirty

said they were satisfied

with their agency, but 15 said they were not and 12 said they were happy with some of the


they deal with, but not

all of them. Thus, 47% of

high earners are somewhat dissatisfied.


The above copyrighted article(s) are for the sole use of Selling Stock subscribers and may

not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner to non-subscribers without

the written permission of Jim Pickerell, the editor. For subscription information contact:

Selling Stock 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720,

fax 301-309-0941, e-mail: jim@chd.com.

Copyright © 1998 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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