Future Of Stock Photography

Posted on 6/7/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography as a business has declined dramatically. There is little hope that the situation will improve.

If stock photo earnings are important to you then it is definitely time for you to carefully consider your options moving forward.

I have offered a few suggestions of things stock agencies might do to grow revenue and give photographers who approach stock photography as a business a better chance to earn a reasonable return for the time and money they invest. However, as you will see from these stories, there is very little likelihood that any of these ideas will be implemented.

Know Your Return Per Image     5/31/18

Stock Image Production Costs       6/4/2018

Competing With Amateurs      6/6/2018

How Many Unique Images Licensed Annually      6/11/18

Disrupting Stock Photography        6/14/18

Is $1.00 Per-Image, Per-Year Enough?      5/14/18

Can Getty Raise Prices?   5/24/2018

Why Creators Are Dissatisfied With Getty     12/13/2017

Growing Revenue In The Future    4/6/2018

Growing Revenue At Shutterstock       2/17/2018

ShutterStock financial Results      2/22/2018

Pursuing A Stock Photography Career     2/8/1018

Getty Promotion Offers 31% Discount    12/12/2017

Do We Need Floor Prices?      5/15/2018

Escalating Price Based On Demand    5/10/2018

Getty Reports 2006 Results    1/31/2007

Return Per Image At Getty     11/21/2006

Blockchain Fairy Tale       5/2/2018

Microstock.top Info
Stock Photo Production: Asia And Eastern Europe Dominate     1/5/2018

Shutterstock Stats    2/8/2017

iStock Top Contributors Adding Fewer Images     1/5/2016

iStock Photographer And Illustrator Comparisons    1/6/2016

Copyright © 2018 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 301-251-0720, 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.  


  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jun 8, 2018
    Comments from: Peter James

    Everything about the present state of Stock Photography can be traced back to the 2006 article. Key statements from that article include (1) We will sell images at all price points, (2) I don't expect Microstock to be even 10% of our business any time soon.

    Getty images selling images at all price points has caused the destruction of Stock Photography. RF was the first to undercut RM; then Microstock undercut RM and RF and finally subscription Microstock undercut RM, RF and Microstock. This is called self-destruction from somebody who has no interest in Stock Photography and its future. Its all about making money while destroying Stock Photography.

    Getty did not have to promote RF over RM it did not have to buy iStock and cannibalize itself. This is the road we are on, a road to the very bottom; self destruction by Getty images. The only hope is when Getty destroys itself; the industry might come back out of the ashes. But this is unlikely because all the Stock Agencies are on board the Titanic heading towards the Iceberg. They can see the Iceberg; they know they are going to hit it, but the Agencies prefer to stay on board with Getty steering the ship straight towards the iceberg.

  • Thomas Wear Posted Jun 15, 2018
    It's easy but inaccurate and misleading to blame Getty for everything. In fact, Getty has been much more reactive than proactive to trends in the industry. (I worked there for 15 years so I'm very familiar with them.) Getty invented neither RF nor Microstock -- they started out as an RM only agency. But, they were smart enough to read the trends early (even if they were not beneficial trends) and jump on them. True, they didn't do anything to buck those trends, but would it realistically have helped them at all, or just cost them customers and sales? Look at a list of agencies from 20 or 25 years ago and look at a list today. Of the big, non-niche players who has survived until today? An agency that does business in a way that puts them out of business is doing their contributors no real favors.

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