Moving On : Winding Down Selling Stock

Posted on 11/30/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (25)

After 28 years of publishing Selling Stock, in 2019 I will begin to wind down my regular daily coverage of the stock photo industry. The site ( ) with all its archives will continue to be available to readers, indefinitely.

In 2019, I will continue to publish occasional stories on a random basis when I stumble on a topic of particular interest to me. But, I will no longer attempt to provide daily coverage of changing industry developments.

I will no longer ask readers to subscribe to the service, but instead ask them to pay on a story-by-story basis whenever they want to read one of my articles. Every current subscriber and recipient of the Weekly Digest will receive an email notification whenever I post a new story. Anyone interested in receiving these FREE notifications can sign up on the website.

In the last two years, revenue generated by the newsletter has declined 53%. For the professional photographer the industry has changed and declined dramatically in the last decade. Fewer and fewer people need, or are interested in reading what I have to say. The amateurs don’t need to be told how to maximize revenue from the images they create because they don’t expect to earn much from their images anyway. More and more former subscribers are getting out of the business and moving on to other activities. It’s time for me to so the same.

At one time, stock photography was an exciting way for many photographers to earn a comfortable and enjoyable living. Now, it is a bad-paying hobby. And it is on a path that seems likely to get even worse, and more depressing for most of those who hope to earn real money from the images they produce.

My goal in publishing Selling Stock has always been to help those still photographers trying to earn a portion of their living by licensing usage rights to the images they produce. Looking ahead images are likely to be created by robots and file sharing and piracy will continue to be on the upswing.

In the Internet environment most people think all information and photographs should be FREE. They’ve been raised in the Walmart and Amazon economy where everything can be shopped down to prices so low no one can make a living.

An ever increasing percentage of the images being created are produced by part timers who view their earnings as a “supplement” to another major source of income, not a serious income source. This trend will not be reversed, although there still may be a question as to whether amateurs will eventually produce everything professional image users want for the products they design.

There may still be some opportunities for video producers, but I have never produced video myself and have trouble understanding all that is involved in meeting the needs of video users. Given video production costs there is still a big question as to whether a significant number of videographers will be able to profit from their efforts.

I’m 82 and have been in the stock photo industry for more than 55 years ( ), first as a photographer and more recently as the editor of Selling Stock. I’ve seen the industry at its peaks and current lows. All in all, it has been a very satisfying career. But, I was born at the right time to have a career in photography. People in their 20s and 30s need to explore other career paths. The need for professionally produced images will never be the same. For me, now it is time to explore the next stage of my life.

Copyright © 2018 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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