New Career Paths For Photographers

Posted on 12/5/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Many stock photographers are earning less and less from the new stock images they produce. They are finding that they can no longer expect to earn a significant portion of their annual income from licensing right to the use of their stock images. Consequently, they are looking for other ways to supplement their income.

Personal Digital Productions

A recent report from J. Walter Thompson  points out that “the rising culture of self-promotion and the expectation of personal service makes a slew of new careers possible.”

Social media is creating new potential careers paths for microinfluencers who have anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. These bloggers typically carry clout among a committed audience. Brands are willing to pay them to mention their products.

Some of these bloggers need occasional – or regular – support from an on-demand personal videographer. Individuals are turning their lives into miniature reality TV shows and paying videographers to create and upload content of their activities in their specialized area. While often they create their own visual content with their cell photos, in order to build their list of followers they sometimes need to offer a more professional level of content. According to JWT sometimes a whole team of producers, editors and strategists are hired for these personal digital productions.

Personal Photo Organizers

Another growing opportunity is for Personal Photo Organizers. There is even a trade association, APPO, for this relatively young career path. Countless potential customers, in virtually every neighborhood, have digital photos that multiply like rabbits. These photos tend to be stored all over the place on computer hard drives, memory cards, smartphones and DVDs as well as prints in shoe boxes, old albums and maybe videotapes and digital videos. While they want to keep these memories, most have a great deal of difficulty finding anything when they want it. Many are willing to pay a reasonable hourly rate for someone to help them get everything in an organized digital format.
Most stock photographers spend at least as much time organizing and attaching metadata to their collections of images as they spend actually taking pictures. They  have the knowledge and experience necessry to be a good photo organizers. They understand, and regularly use, such technologies as Adobe Lightroom, Apple Photos, Google Photos, weGather,  PhotoMechanic, PhotoShelter, SmugMug and Cloud Storage.

In addition to organizing digital and printed photos, Photo Organizers create video and still digital presentations, scan prints and slides, convert outdated media into viewable formats, create one of a kind photo gifts, install back up systems and provide technology instruction/education. The degree to which they are involved in any project is completely up to the client. The organizer can provide clients with systems and solutions for them to do it themselves, or work alongside their clients during the task. They can also take over completely and do it all for their clients.

The APPO National Conference features dozens of small group and interactive learning workshops, that cover all aspects of the business of photo organizing. These workshops are led by an impressive collection of passionate experts and certified photo organizers.

For a look at how one Professional Photo Organizer markets her services check out Cheryl DiFrank’s My Memory File. (Full disclosure, Cheryl is my daughter.)

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, 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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