Royalties

Competing With Amateurs

By Jim Pickerell | 1325 Words | Posted 6/6/2018 | Comments
In two recent stories Know Your Return-Per-Image and Stock Photo Production Costs I discussed two very important issues for anyone trying to earn a portion of their living from stock image production. The issues boil down to (1) clearly understanding the cost of producing your images and (2) the return you’re receiving from sales of those images. No business can survive if it spends more to produce its products than it earns from sales.

Stock Image Production Costs

By Jim Pickerell | 1030 Words | Posted 6/4/2018 | Comments
One of the hardest things for stock photographers to calculate is their actual costs of stock image production. As in any business it is critical to understand your costs if you hope to eventually earn a profit from their production. This story will provide an outline of some of the things that need to be considered when determining costs. It will also provide some average costs figures that some leading professionals work toward.

Stocksy United Removes Membership Cap

By Jim Pickerell | 633 Words | Posted 6/1/2018 | Comments
Stocksy United, the artist-owned photography + cinematography co-op that has tightly limited its membership since its founding in 2012, has made a decision to open its doors to new contributors. Stocksy has seen continued strong growth since its founding due to careful selection of new contributors, tight editing and licensing fees considered reasonable by customers, but still fair to contributors. In 2015 revenue was $7,928,745, up 126% from $3.5 million in 2014. By the end of 2017 revenue had grown another 26% in two-years to roughly $10.7 million.

Know Your Return-Per-Image

By Jim Pickerell | 726 Words | Posted 5/31/2018 | Comments
I would like to encourage every stock photographer to begin to calculate, on an annual basis, their Return-Per-Image (RPI) for each agency they work with. This is particularly important for those photographers who hope to realize a profit for the time and expense they invest in producing stock images.

Are Photogs Being Credited And Paid Properly?

By Jim Pickerell | 879 Words | Posted 5/16/2018 | Comments
In 1968 Andy Sacks, a 20-year-old University of Michigan photographer covered Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign stop in Detroit for the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. This is a story about how the photos he captured that day ended up getting used hundreds of times 40 to 50 year later and he received no credit or a reasonable share of compensation for their use.

Is $1.00 Per-Image, Per-Year Enough?

By Jim Pickerell | 1169 Words | Posted 5/14/2018 | Comments
Recently Alfonso Gutiérrez, CEO of AGE FotoStock told one of my readers that a "professional" stock photo collection in an agency should be returning to its contributors a minimum of $1.00 per-image per-year. The photographer noted that his returns from AGE were way below that number and he wondered whether many photographers are seeing that kind of return.

Photochain: Rewriting Rules For Monetizing Images

By Jim Pickerell | 685 Words | Posted 5/9/2018 | Comments
Photochain is raising funds to build a blockchain based stock image platform that is excepted to go live by the end of 2018. Artists will be able to define the price for their work and receive “up to” 95% of the price they set (depending on the business model). The platform takes a commission to maintain the platform, and to offer support, marketing and other services.

The Blockchain Fairy Tale

By Jim Pickerell | 1094 Words | Posted 5/2/2018 | Comments
Blockchains are being touted as offering great future economic benefit for stock photographers. Photographers will be able to set the price for their work. No waiting weeks of months to be paid the photographers share of the sale. Once the image is licensed virtually 100% of the revenue will be transferred immediately to the photographer’s account. “Technology” has removed the need for middlemen and their costs. Blockchains will keep such great records on every transaction that consumers will be unable to steal without getting caught. Any unauthorized used will be immediately identified and the infringer will be pursued. Is it all really that good? Check out this story.

Editorial Photography Future

By Jim Pickerell | 702 Words | Posted 4/25/2018 | Comments
A few months ago in an interview promoting his new book The Good Fight: America’s Ongoing Struggle for Justice, Rick Smolan was asked “How has technology disrupted photography.” Rick has been an editorial photographer since the 1980s, shot for Time, Life and National Geographic and may be best known for his “Day in the Life Of” series of books. The first six minutes of the interview is worth a listen.

Images On Getty They Can’t License

By Jim Pickerell | 366 Words | Posted 4/24/2018 | Comments
Does anyone know. who owns the copyright to image 607387712 of Marilyn Monroe on Gettyimages.com. Evidently Getty doesn’t. It seems that Getty has the rights to license the image for “Standard Editorial Rights,” but that does not include commercial use rights or print cover rights. Evidently it also doesn’t include the right to license a use for wall décor because Getty will not license the image for that purpose.

Declining Distributor Sales

By Jim Pickerell | 1299 Words | Posted 4/18/2018 | Comments
Back in the 1990s and early 2000s stock photo agencies began placing more and more copies of the images they represented with distributors around the world. Initially, this resulted in significant increases in revenue for the image creators and the primary agencies. The Internet and agency consolidation has changed all that, particularly for the image creator. Now, in many cases the distributor system has simply become a way to siphon off a bigger portion of the gross fee paid by the customer to middlemen before the image creator gets his share.

Masterfile Still Has Trouble Paying Current Royalties

By Jim Pickerell | 964 Words | Posted 4/12/2018 | Comments
Some Masterfile contributors report that the BIA restructuring of the company last year hasn’t solved Masterfile’s financial problems. Once again the company is falling behind on paying current royalties on new sales. I asked Steve Pigeon, CEO of Masterfile, for clarification and an explanation of the problems. The following are his answers.

Getty Retiring Thinkstock

By Jim Pickerell | 808 Words | Posted 4/9/2018 | Comments
Getty Images has announced that it will be retiring Thinkstock.com in mid-2019 and taking steps to transition Thinkstock customers over to Getty Images and iStock. Getty says this move will make way for a newer and overall improved experience for Thinkstock customers on Getty Images and iStock.

Looking To Maximize Revenue: RM or RF?

By Jim Pickerell | 700 Words | Posted 3/26/2018 | Comments
I was talking to a photographer recently who has both RM and RF collections with Getty Images. The question he faces is whether to put new images into the RM or RF collections. Getty is pushing many of its photographers to move many of their images from RM to RF. Certainly, there is a much better chance that an image will get used if it is available for licensing as RF rather than RM. But, if the photographer’s goal is to maximize revenue, will images offered as RF earn as much revenue overall as those offered as RM?

Depositphotos Launches The Focused Collection

By Jim Pickerell | 312 Words | Posted 2/23/2018 | Comments
Depositphotos, a global stock photography, stock footage and editing tools provider, has launched the Focused Collection, a marketplace of more than 400,000 premium images by selected artists which have previously never been available on stock photography platforms. The company partnered with 500px, Image Source Premium, Westend61, StockFood, MintImages and other major agencies to bring to life this collection of rare and authentic images, aiming to serve the needs of editors, websites, advertising agencies and corporate clients.

Blockchain Payment: How They Work

By Jim Pickerell | 791 Words | Posted 1/30/2018 | Comments
After publishing several stories on blockchain technology as it relates to image licensing, it has been unclear to me how customers with dollars in their pocket would conduct a transaction to license use of a photo and how the image creator would actually gets dollars they can use to buy groceries.

Two Categories Of Image Suppliers

By Jim Pickerell | 1019 Words | Posted 1/8/2018 | Comments
Broadly, there are two different categories of photographer who produce stock images. I believe way less than 7% of Shutterstock contributors are earning enough annually to view stock photography as a career. A contributor probably needs a collection of at least 20,000 images to earn a reasonable amount of money by U.S. standards. At least 93% of Shutterstock contributors have fewer than 1,000 images in the collection and their average income is less than $200 annually. See the breakdowns.

Top Suppliers To Getty Images

By Jim Pickerell | 1545 Words | Posted 11/10/2017 | Comments
It was recently called to my attention that EyeEm has 3,494,298 images in the Getty Images collection. Add to that the 2,755,731 in the Moment collection (from Flickr photographers) and these two collections represent 29% of the combined RM and RF collections currently on Gettyimages.com, and 41% of the RF collection alone. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the current number of images each brand has at Getty.

Are Getty’s Top Suppliers Providing What Customers Need?

By Jim Pickerell | 1972 Words | Posted 11/10/2017 | Comments
One of the interesting questions raised by the chart in the previous story and the chart below is the annual revenue each collection might possibly generate. Certain specialized collections may have provided very few images and thus generate much less than the larger collections. However, by using the attached chart brand owners may be able to get a senses of whether their images are selling as well as those of their competitors.

Does Adding To An Image Collection Automatically Grow Revenue?

By Jim Pickerell | 664 Words | Posted 10/17/2017 | Comments
The question for today is: “Does adding to an image collection automatically grow revenue?” and the companion question “Must an image be NEW to be useful to a customer?” Shutterstock supplies some detail that is instructive and worth reviewing.

Future Of Aggregation Agents

By Jim Pickerell | 677 Words | Posted 10/4/2017 | Comments
Photographers placing images with agents that seek to license uses at higher prices ($100 or more), and generate a lot of their sales via distributors, need to think hard about whether such an approach is in their best economic interest.

Getty Cuts Royalties Again

By Jim Pickerell | 228 Words | Posted 9/19/2017 | Comments
According to sources Getty Images has reduced the royalty share of sales for all commercial RF collections supplied by agencies and distributors to 15% of the gross sale price.

Getty Custom Content

By Jim Pickerell | 975 Words | Posted 9/15/2017 | Comments
Getty has sent its photographers a new Custom Content assignment for T-Mobile. “T-Mobile is looking for photography shot on mobile phones* that is the total opposite of stock images.” (*The images don’t actually have to shot with a mobile phone, and most of those submitted probably won’t be.)

Important Stock Photo Industry Issues

By Jim Pickerell | 153 Words | Posted 6/2/2017 | Comments
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.

What Sells: Part Two

By Jim Pickerell | 895 Words | Posted 5/29/2017 | Comments
In a comment to my previous story, Sarah Fix of Blend Images pointed out that technology solutions alone may not provide photographers with the information they need to make the most productive use of their time and resources.