Do All Google Searchers Expect FREE Images?

Posted on 12/4/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Jim Domke, creator of the Domke Camera Bag, recently commented about my Can Customers Find You article. He said, “Those searching for photos on Google or Bing are searching for FREE photos.”

I responsed, “If you think the only people searching for photos on Google and Bing are looking for free photos check out this story ( ). Todd Klassy is making some good money from customers who find his images by searching Google.”

Jim went on to ask a few questions about photographing seniors.

Seeing Getty say there is a growing need for photos of Seniors doing things, I have an idea. I also have contacts with the local community college which has a Senior Sequence. They teach quilting, square dancing, how to use your iPhone, Bridge, Smartphone photography, Office, etc.  Seems like an opportunity to get a variety of photos and make connections. My question, is what do I do able model releases? I wonder if I can have a pdf on my smartphone and have them sign it and then do a screen saver?  Am I making this more trouble than it is worth? Or, do I need them to sign paper releases?

Here’s my response to that. When it comes to Getty, check out this story. Here are a few of the points I made in the story.
    In 2016 gross Creative revenue had dropped about 56% to roughly $280 million. Based on an analysis of sales of some of Getty’s top producers the average license fee for RM was in the neighborhood of $90 and the average for RF in the neighborhood of $45.

    At the end of 2006 Getty had 1,767,214 images in its collection, with RM representing 55% of the collection. During 2006 they licensed rights to 1,660,208 uses of creative images.

    Today, Getty has 20,313,712 images in its collection and 32% of the images are RM. It is unclear how many image uses they licensed in 2006, but if we estimate the average gross license fee at around $65 it would have been about 4.3 million images licensed, a significantly smaller percentage of their collection than in 2006.
Also check out Raising Prices. Based on my analysis of sales made by major Getty contributors as much as 70% of their sales are for prices under $20 and 50% are for prices below $10. You may be able to produce pictures of seniors, but can you earn enough to make it worth your trouble selling them at these prices?

When it comes to model releases there is a lot of information, not only about the model, but about the photographer and the witness that needs to appear on the release. See this Shutterstock Adult Release as an example.

Trying to supply this much information on a smartphone, particularly when dealing with seniors, may end up not saving all that much time. Signatures need to be readable and that’s tough on a smartphone. If all the release information is not readable, and compatible with the agency’s requirements, the image will probably be rejected, no matter how good it is.

For more about these releases see here and here.

In the long run it is probably easier to use paper and pen. When you get back to the studio create a pdf and attach it to the image file. But then you’ve got to consider that if the agency is going to sell the image for $5 and you get 20% of that; is it really worth the trouble.

Copyright © 2017 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:  


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