2008 Survey of Self-Employed Photographers, Illustrators or Graphic Designers

Posted on 3/6/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

2007 Income Survey Articles

Survey Results

Photographer Income Source

Highest End of Stock-Photo Market

Stock Income per Licensing Model

Survey Explodes “No Money in Microstock” Myth

How was 2008 compared to 2007? What are industry trends in the production and sale of stock images? Selling Stock has launched a survey to gather information from photographers, designers and illustrators concerning their 2008 income and cost of doing business.

The 2008 survey asks the same questions as last year’s survey. This year’s results will provide comparative numbers, enabling creators to make informed decisions about trends.

In this rapidly changing and challenging business environment, many image creators are adjusting business strategies. Some freelance stock photographers are turning to assignments. For others a staff position, possibly even in a non-related field, is now a primary source of income, and the revenue earned from freelance work is only secondary. Conversely, amateurs with no expectations of ever earning a living from photography are finding that selling stock can be a lucrative and rewarding income supplement.


Many freelance photographers sell into multiple segments of the photography industry. To understand the importance of each, the survey asks photographers the percentage of their gross photography revenue that falls into different industry segments. This will help understand the changing relationships between freelance newspaper and magazine assignment work, advertising and corporate work, and pure stock sales.

Selling Stock encourages every photographer, graphic designer and illustrator who licensed rights to images in 2008—be it for a few hundred dollars or tens of thousands—to respond to the survey’s nine simple questions. The survey will remain open until April 15, and Selling Stock will publish an in-depth analysis of the results shortly thereafter. The survey is designed to gather data from individual creators, not agencies or other organizations that represent creators’ work. However, organizations engaged in licensing images are asked to encourage their image suppliers to participate. Production companies that create images specifically for stock licensing are also invited to respond. The larger the data pool, the greater the validity of the results.

All individual responses will be held in strictest confidence, and no attempt will be made to identify specific individuals.

Copyright © 2009 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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