Impressive Income Growth for Stone Photographers

Posted on 6/14/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



June 14, 2000

Between 280 and 300 Stone photographers earned in excess of $10,000 in 1st quarter

2000. Of these between 196 and 210 (70%) had 1st quarter 2000 earnings that were

20% higher that 1st quarter 1999.

Approximately 150 (50% of the 300) Stone photographers saw their earnings increase by

more than 50% in the quarter compared with 1st quarter 1999.

This type of earnings growth would indicate that Stone has a large group of happy


Based on information Selling Stock has received in the past from a small sample of

photographers we were very surprised when Getty Images reported that Stone's sales

growth for 1st quarter 2000 was 45% higher on a currency neutral basis than 1st

quarter 1999. Getty Images agreed to provide Selling Stock with additional detail in

order to further explain how this gross sales number is spread among the


On the basis of this information it is clear that, in contrast with much of the rest

of the industry, a significant number of Stone photographers are doing extremely

well, both in absolute dollar terms and in the percentage increases. It also seems

evident that wholly owned shoots are not a significant factor in the growth. Another

point worth noting is that the availability of RF through Getty Images is apparently

not killing licensed stock sales. Both RF and RP seem to be able to co-exist and

prosper together.

Getty Images told Selling Stock that, "20 percent of Stone photographers earned

$10,000 or more in the quarter," and that the total number of photographers who

earned in excess of $100 during the quarter was between 1400 and 1500. (It is

understandable that there may be a number of photographers who have images with

Stone, but have not submitted new images in a long time, and whose images still

generate an occasional sale. It is reasonable to exclude these people from the

"active" photographers list for the purpose of this type of calculation.)

It should also be noted that many of these 280-300 photographers are earning much

more than $10,000 per quarter, or much more than $40,000 annually. We did not ask

for, or expect to receive a breakdown of the higher numbers.

Another important factor to consider is what is happening to the 80% of photographers

(1120 to 1200) who earned less than $10,000 in the 1st quarter. About one-third of

this group (370 to 400) saw their earnings rise by more than 20 percent over the

first quarter of 1999. Another (370 to 400) had an earnings rise, but it was less

than 20%. Two thirds of the photographer who earned less than $10,000 in the quarter

saw an increase in their earnings. (In asking Stone to do these calculations we

picked the arbitrary 20% number believing that most photographers would be happy with

a 20% annual growth in sales.)

There were between 566 and 610 photographers (196 to 210 with royalties over $10,000

and 370 to 400 with royalties under $10,000) who had personal income growth from

Stone in excess of 20% on a year to year basis. Keep in mind that this is not all

Getty Images photographers, this is just Stone.

Getty Images stressed that they will not be providing this detail on a regular basis,

but they felt that it was appropriate for a one-time release.

Copyright © 2000 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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