Choosing a Marketing Strategy in 2009

Posted on 1/5/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

This year, should photographers market new images as rights-managed, traditional royalty-free or microstock? It likely will not make a whole lot of difference.

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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, 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:  


  • Gerard Fritz Posted Jan 5, 2009
    You rarely include Rights-Ready in these sorts of commparisons, probably because it is a very small percentage. Are you getting any feedback on RR viability or relative sales data?

  • Leslie Hughes Posted Jan 19, 2009
    I just got around to reading this and had to comment. It always matters what strategy one employs to sell product and to determine what product to sell. The issue is marketing - to whom will we sell and how are we going to increase customers? How do we get the current ones to buy more and get more new customers?

    Each photographer needs to consider what they are shooting and determine the best strategy for THEIR work. This could be a broad distribution approach and getting lots of work into lots of agencies. This approach takes a lot of time and effort not only in shooting but in working with those agencies to stay top of mind, being in front of the editors to make sure they know the work, prepping the images, pre-editing, and following up to ensure the images can be found in the search tools, are loaded with the correct data, etc... One must manage these relationships to make them valuable. Or take a more targeted approach and select a few boutique or market-oriented partners. Ask them to commit. This is harder today but still possible depending on the type of content being shot. It still takes work, a plan and focus. The licensing model (RM, RF, RR, Micro..) is part of the strategy and frankly, depends on where one is able to grow their customers more than where Getty or Corbis or anyone else is going to grow. Some photographers will choose to focus on one type of licensing and grow extremely well because they will target their work specifically and well against the needs of the market that is most served by that model. Others will focus on creating content that is driven by the subject matter - the latter approach can often be sold under many licensing models and do extremely well, as we all know. If prolific, they may want to sell into micro and go for volume - if they have high costs, they may want to build a strategy that offers something unique and hard to replace to customers who are willing to pay... But - the point is that strategy always matters if you are to grow your business.

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