Fotolia Reveals 2009 Top Sellers

Posted on 1/12/2010 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

“Sales of $1 images continued to generate six-figure incomes for the world’s top photographers in 2009,” begins the Fotolia press release that highlights the company’s three top-selling images for last year. Combined, the three Fotolia top sellers gathered around 10,000 downloads, so the photographers’ earnings are nowhere near as impressive as Fotolia claims; however, the images themselves offer an interesting perspective into current buyer needs.

The three-dimensional illustration by Greek contributor Ioannis Kounadeas fits what many traditional photographers have defined as microstock’s niche: an instant, easily grasped visual concept that fits many situations. Kounadeas’ collection of faceless little munchkin-men—somewhat reminiscent of the Pillsbury doughboy—is broad in concept, masterful in simplistic rendering and extremely popular, with thousands of downloads of each image.

While the illustration does not necessarily infringe on the traditional still-image domain, the two other Fotolia top sellers clearly demonstrate why microstock has put such a dent into the stock photo business as it existed before 2000. The family photo comes to Fotolia by way of U.K. production company Monkey Business Images, the company started by Cathy Yeulet of BananaStock fame. The business meeting was shot by Russia-based shooter Dmitriy Shironosov.

Both are professionally produced photographs that took significant cost, time and overall effort, from casting to props. So are the rest of the images in the portfolios of these two microstock contributors, which contradicts the comfortable notion that this entire industry segment is composed of part-time amateurs armed with DSLRs.

Some will argue that both photos fall relatively close to “stock 101,” while others will point to the very Caucasian makeup of the groups. Be that as it may, the two images once more underscore that exactly the same images outsell others on both microstock and traditional sites: contemporary lifestyle and business shots featuring people. And plenty of these are available at micro-priced outlets. There is still a need for high-concept, exclusive, multicultural and other niche content, but traditionally priced generic royalty-free imagery is dead, even if not all of it has been buried just yet.

Copyright © 2010 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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