How Much Has The Value Of A Great Photo Declined?

Posted on 1/23/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Want to know how much the value of a great photos that is used in advertising has declined?

In 2001 Microsoft paid $135,000 for Chuck O'Rear's his image of a green rolling hillside with pale blue sky with puffy clouds that they used as the default opening screen of the Windows XP software. The image was also used on the product package, billboards everywhere and in a massive promotional advertising campaign.

Apple is running a global photography contest to find 10 great photos that have been shot with an iPhone. The winning photos will appear on billboards, in Apple stores, and on Apple's Instagram.

What do you think Apple, worth roughly $800 billion, will pay to use such images for advertising purposes?

In its rules Apple says there are, "No substitutions or cash redemptions. Prize has no cash value." They will pay ZERO, ZIP, NOTHING for the value they receive from using any of these photos.

"Ten winning photos will be featured on Apple Newsroom, Apple's Instagram channels,, in Apple retail stores, Apple WeChat, Apple Twitter accounts, Apple Weibo accounts and billboards around the world. Winners will be notified on or about February 26, 2019."

“Anyone who submits a photo is giving Apple a royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use the picture in conjunction with the contest, and for winners, it gives Apple an exclusive licenses to use, modify, publish and display the photo.”

That’s right. In just 18 years the value of a photo that will be use in a major advertising campaign by a major technology company has gone from $135,000 to Zero.

Copyright © 2019 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:  


  • Michael J Clark Posted Jan 27, 2019
    Apple no says they will be paying the photographers for the use of their images - though how much will probably never be known.

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