Changing Stock Photography World

Posted on 11/19/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (10)

As happens every fall there is a whirlwind of photo conferences – PACA Annual Conference, Visual Connection and PhotoPlusExpo (all in New York), and this year Microstock Expo in Berlin. In light of everything I’ve seen and heard between October 20 and November 17, 2013 I’ve provided a few observations as to where I think the stock photo industry is headed.

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Copyright © 2013 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, 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:  


  • Ellen Boughn Posted Nov 19, 2013
    You have unfairly characterized the recent PACA meeting by failing to mention the great presentations by Shutterstock, Foag, EyeEM and others that have nothing to do with somebody's Mother's bridge being a party of old friends. There's that and it too is valuable but to this old girl...there were many more young faces than old.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Nov 19, 2013

    You know I love you, but you still have the opinion the "sky is falling". My sales this year & last have been up from the few before. It is not all negative, believe me!

    The thing is simple: Some people want good salable imagery and are willing to pay for it. That is who I want to sell to.... I do not want to sell my images for $1 and make $0.20 each. I would rather drive a truck.

    I also KNOW the business well and work hard at it, getting images out, shooting all the time and have a staff that prepares the images. I also am deep into stock footage clips. That is in contrast to many beginners with a new camera and they just want beer money. I have never worried about them because they do not take the business seriously, do not get model releases, do not shoot what sells, etc.

    In my seminars and books, I teach the RIGHT way to sell stock.... and it has helped many get started and become successful. You say no one wants to hear about selling stock -- I disagree. If anyone wants to have me speak on the subject -- and break all the negative myths -- I am available often around the country. In last two years I have spoked in ten states at camera clubs and at ASMP meetings .... topic"Stock Is NOT Dead!"

    It is still a good business -- yes, tougher than it used to be. But if you know the way to do it successfully, it can be so rewarding ---- both financially & personally. What could be better than shooting what you love and having it sell around the world??

    So people who want to think positively, here is my website:

  • Christina Vaughan Posted Nov 20, 2013
    I couldn't agree more with Bill. Yes, the market is tougher than it used to be - but in many more ways, much more professional as it needs to be approached as a business. Image Source pulled out of working with Microstock agencies this year because we believe premium is not only about the product and price but the placement. We are seeing unprecedented post-recession growth in revenues, in average transaction values and ROI to our Photographers - all in the premium sector - and I appreciate Bill's positivity - we are fortunate to work in an industry we are all passionate about - global visual communication - and what could be a better way to earn a living than Shooting great Photography and selling it around the world. I might have to sign up to one of his seminars or get him to cost-host with our workshops that have been so popular across the globe! :-)

  • Ellen Boughn Posted Nov 20, 2013
    I respect both Lee and Amos for their efforts to create a new and vibrant conference to address a different group of photographers and know that both of them respect PACA and CEPIC.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Nov 20, 2013
    Thanks, Christina for your comments. If we approach this business professionally and shoot what the industry NEEDS in stock, we can be successful.

    Too much talk is about Microstock and beginners being forced to use Microstock cause as Jim too often states "There is no better way". There is a better way and you CAN still be successful in this business.... to all the "doom & gloom" people!

    And yes, Christina, I would be willing to co-host a workshop with you some places if our schedules can match. Contact me. Anything to spread POSITIVE thoughts about our terrific careers!

  • Jaak Nilson Posted Nov 21, 2013
    Stock industry is flooded with informaton about microstock. Traditional stock is still closed area. Agencies are pretty closed. It is almost impossible to get Corbis or Getty direct contract. Via aggregators only. There is no good dicussion about macrostock in forums.

    I add an one comment of head of one aggregator agency.
    "In fact we now see RM prices below the premium micro RF prices."

  • Sarah Fix Posted Nov 21, 2013
    I must have attended a different PACA event. I thought it was the best conference in years and heard similar sentiments from others. PACA created a dialogue with many new technology innovators. It was incredibly productive for Blend.

    I would also say that along with the changes you've pointed out in the industry, that it is also true that Blend has shown growth in Rights Managed for the past couple of years and continues to find success licensing high production content at premium prices. There is still a market for premium RF and RM but the images have to justify the price and be competitive.

  • Ellen Boughn Posted Nov 21, 2013
    Agreed, Sarah. And very well stated.

  • Jaak Nilson Posted Nov 22, 2013
    Blend is of course a very good agency. Blend is successful thanks for its owners who are the best photographers and started business at right time. 15-25 years ago. All these photographers have a good placement at Getty. And direct contract with Getty too. All big agencies loves their moneymakers so it is one of the reasons why they still earn pretty well. Placement.
    So it works for some handful contributors only.

    It is truth that some buyers are still ready to pay very high price for right images. We can see it at Australian Imagebrief. They sending out everyday information about buyers requests. It is interesting that all these image requests are not exclusive.

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Nov 23, 2013
    Everyone here has good points! I would just suggest that we all stay the course, continue to produce great images and sell them for a FAIR price. If GOOD photographers would NOT agree to sell their images at ridiculous low prices in Microstock, we could go great lengths in turning the industry around a lot. What pro wants to sell his/her images for $1??

    Sure, there are people who bought a camera recently who will post images for a dollar for beer money and to say they are "published"! But don't let those beginners pull the industry's prices down!

    I still feel positive about our images Jim & everyone, so I hope that can help others. I am speaking whenever I can around the world, so maybe I can come near you guys to give a lecture to photographers sometimes. My title usually is "Stock Is Not Dead!!"

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