Pricing For Today’s Stock Photo Market

Posted on 2/21/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

An agent who has operated a small, specialist agency specializing in RM licensing for years contacted me recently and asked the following question. “I’m reworking (or trying to figure out) image pricing in bundle form (similar to OFFSET STOCK PHOTOS). I’m wondering if you’ve talked to them about whether their program might/might not be working?" Here’s my response.  

The last I heard Offset contributors were seeing about 1 download annually for every 10 images they had in the collection. The average gross price per download was about $337 since Offset sells about the same number of images at the “Small” price as the “Large” price.

They have added more images since I got these figures. As best I can tell the number of sales hasn’t been going up so that might mean that currently they are licensing 1 image annually for every 12 to 15 images in the collection.

You have to remember that thanks to their advertising and promotion Shutterstock has a huge number of customers from all over the world looking at these images. There just aren’t that many customers willing to pay high prices anymore. The problem you face is getting enough customers to even look at and consider your images when there are so many good, much cheaper images easily available.

My bet is that AdobeStock is doing somewhat better with their Premium collection than Offset. Their prices are $250 for a large file and $120 for a small one. From what I hear Adobe’s sales in general are going up while Shutterstock’s sales overall are flat. On the other hand, I have no idea how well the Premium collection is doing compared to Adobe’s regular collection.

To attract customers today, I think you must offer a price for “Web Use” only. Otherwise, I don’t think you will get enough people coming to your site to make any kind of volume sales at the higher prices.

The pricing strategy I like is that of Stocksy’s. Their prices start at $15 for web use and go to $125 with additional charges for Extended Licenses.

Check out this story for another strategy. Included is a pricing schedule that one photographer is using on his own personal site.  I don’t know how much traffic he is getting, but I think this strategy is the right approach to the existing market.

You might also want to check out this story to get an idea of Getty’s current pricing and just how much that is destroying the market. When customers can get both RM and RF images from Getty for these prices it is hard to get them to pay more. Eleven percent of Getty’s sales are still above $100, but 73% are for gross prices less than $20 and the percentage in this lower price range keeps rising.

Another story you might want to take a look at is this 2017 story about Todd Klassy’s business. He has a personal site and has structured it so virtually all his customers find him through Google searches. He doesn’t have any automatic prices and negotiates everything directly.  His average price per image licensed in 2017 was $601.42. In 2018 his revenue was up 15% compared to 2017. There is additional information about his operation in this story.

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:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
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 ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff