Update: PeopleImages.com

Posted on 12/5/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

It’s time to take another look at PeopleImages.com that Yuri Arcurs Productions launched 17 months ago. Yuri has long been the world’s most successful microstock photographer, and until June 2013 his work was represented on virtually all the world’s microstock distributors.

However, in the last few years Yuri had noticed that his average return-per-image was steadily declining. A big factor in this decline was that more and more customers seemed to be able to find the images they needed on subscription sites – primarily Shutterstock – rather than going to sites that charged higher fees. Even with the high volume of subscription downloads Yuri found that the revenue generated overall for a given images was not sufficient to support continued high quality production.

Yuri’s first step to solve this problem was to develop his own site – PeopleImages.com – so he could deal with customers directly, control the pricing and retain 100% of the revenue customers paid to use his images rather than receiving a small royalty for each use. Given the quality of his work, name recognition among buyers as well as his sites’ innovative design and customer service it drew a significant number of customers from the start. Initially, the only images on the site were ones that had been produced by Yuri.

But, Yuri also the vision to include the work of other images producers, carefully trained by him on PeopleImges.com. In January 2012 he invited 127 photographers to come to an intensive 2-week “boot camp” at his studio in Capetown, South Africa. (More than 1,600 photographers applied.)

At the boot camp he provided instruction on his philosophy for producing stock images. Photographers were given assignments that had to be handed in every day. Despite being asked to work long hours everyone completed the workshop.

Yuri said, “If people sense that you really know what you are doing, and are really teaching them what you know, they will stay and work harder than imaginable. I was VERY rough with the boot campers, but they loved it. Photography is probably the most polluted field of any of the "arts". It is filled with the most illusions and the most grandiose members. Rarely do you get actual insights from workshops and "master classes," primarily because the people that really know what works don't spend their time teaching classes. They shoot.”

Once the boot camp was finished, and photographers had returned to their home countries, about 70 were invited to produce images on a continuing basis for marketing through PeopleImages. The financial arrangements with the photographers are unclear, but Yuri says his Yuri Arcurs Productions wholly owns most of the work. Currently, PeopleImages has about 150,000 images from these photographers.

PeopleImages sends out briefs to the photographers as to the kind of images needed. The photographer is responsible for planning the shoot, hiring the models, arranging for sets and props and, of course, shooting the images.  Yuri says, “They shoot like maniacs. They are free to come and work with us in Cape Town and use our studio and equipment. They can use our models if they like, but most find them too expensive.”  The post-production work is done in Capetown by Yuri’s team.

PeopleImages solved part of Yuri’s problem concerning low return-per-image, but his images were still being sold through other distributors for much lower prices than he charged on his site. In June 2013 Yuri entered into an exclusive arrangement with Getty Images so that his images would be licensed both through Getty Images and iStock at higher prices. He also receives a higher royalty share than was previously available to him. Some of the images on PeopleImages that are marked “Signature+” and “Vetta” are also available in the Signature and Vetta collections on iStock. PeopleImages also has images marked “Exclusive” that are only available on PI.

He has pulled (or is in the process of pulling) all his images out of Shutterstock and other microstock sites. Yuri is projecting that 50% of his 2014 revenue will come from sales made through PeopleImages.com. He said, “Direct selling is by far the fastest way for us to make more money right now, and is growing at more than twice the speed of any distributor.”

To get a sense of why PeopleImages is so successful it is interesting to do some comparative searches for “youth” on different sites. Check out these links.





Another boot camp is planned for 2015.

Copyright © 2013 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 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.  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Dec 6, 2013
    I'd be very curious what low wage Yuri is paying these photographers to give up ALL rights so that HE owns the images outright? Seems a bad deal for sure to me. I'm sure he says they are "learning from him".


  • Jaak Nilson Posted Dec 7, 2013
    The world is filled with "happy" photographers or nonpros if they can sell some images for pennies or almost for free.

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