Entertainment Shooters Find They Don’t Need Stock Agencies

Posted on 11/30/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Given the low prices, royalty cuts and delayed payments, experienced entertainment shooter are finding they no longer need stock agencies – particularly microstock agencies.

When a photographer shoots red carpet or other entertainment events all sales pretty much come the next morning, or not at all. Red carpet event photos have a VERY SHORT shelf life. The trick is getting your photos on the editor’s desk the next morning.

Rather than hoping that their photos will be in-front of thousands of editors around the world, most of whom are not interested in the subject matter, experienced shooters are identifying a few major publications that regularly use the kind of material they have to offer. Then they deal with them directly.

One UK photographer who had worked for Rex for many years before Shutterstock took over says, “I email or ftp a selection of full size captioned pictures direct to Daily newspapers and their web desks. This involves sending to about 5 papers and 6 websites. I then email the picture desks to tell them what I have sent. If I have a great set of pix I phone the desks to tell them. If I have an exclusive set of pix I will phone and gauge interest. I have self billing accounts with all these publications. Dealing direct with publications also makes it easier to monitor usage because I know which publications are actually reviewing my images.

“I then uses WeTransfer.com to send pix to magazines picture editors that I think will use my pix. I specialize in tv and film and focus on organizations that use that type of images. Quite often editors will have seen my work on the web pages and ask for images to be sent over.”

Only after all these efforts at direct sales have been completed does he send images to Rex.

He says that in his neck of the woods it seems that the experienced press photographers supplying publications direct, younger agency photographers moving out of the industry and part timers/amateurs now supplying the agencies.

Publications often pay higher fees to individual photographers that they deal with directly than they pay stock agencies that offer discount prices in the hope of achieving a high volume of sales. Photographers dealing direct may end up making significantly fewer sales, but given the much higher price per-image-used they end up making a lot more money.

Publications often pay $150 and more, depending on how the image is used, when dealing directly with the photographer. If the same publication has a subscription with Shutterstock, the image creator receives between $0.80 and $1.80 per usage. It takes a lot of $0.80 payments to equal a single direct payment of $150. The likelihood that the image will sell that many more times is slim because there aren’t that many publications out there that need red carpet and entertainment images.

Getting Access To An Event

One of the reasons for working with a stock agency is to get credentials to get into an event. The more experienced photographers are finding that they can get the credentials they need from PR Agencies that want to insure that photographs of the celebrities they represent are spread around the world.
One photographer in LA charges PR agencies $300 just to show up at an event. Anything earned from actually licensing the images to a publication goes directly to the photographer, on top of that $300 fee. In order to make the PR agencies happy the photographer will post the images on Shutterstock, or one of the other major agency websites. However, sales made by agencies tend to generate very little additional revenue for the photographer. Rumors have it that some PR Agencies will pay Getty Images $1,500 to insure that the celebrities they represent are adequately covered at an event. None of this fee is shared with the photographer.

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 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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