Career

Next Transition For Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 369 Words | Posted 11/16/2020 | Comments
Photographers who want to earn a portion of their living in the future creating images need to quickly learn and start using Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) skills. (See this story)

New Stock Photo Marketing Strategy

By Jim Pickerell | 4539 Words | Posted 11/9/2020 | Comments
Those setting prices for photography are focused entirely on profits for agency managers and compensation for capital investment. They give very little consideration to the well being of creators. Compensation for stock photos is widely out of balance with production costs. Changes are needed. Photographer need more control over how their work is priced and a larger share of the fees customers pay.  With new technology such changes are becoming increasingly possible.

Stock Photography As A Career

By Jim Pickerell | 3135 Words | Posted 10/26/2020 | Comments
Hopefully this story about my photo career will help young photographers understand how difficult it will be to make long-range plans for their future. Many businesses are changing at an increasingly rapid and unpredictable pace. Whatever you think you want to do in your 20s may turn out to be impractical, or unfeasible, sooner than you expect. What seem like an exciting opportunity today may soon disappear.

Stock Photography’s Historic Earnings Decline For Creators

By Jim Pickerell | 2900 Words | Posted 10/19/2020 | Comments
Many photographers who have entered the stock photo business in the last 5 to 10 years have trouble understanding why photographers who have been producing stock photos since the 1980s and 1990s are so unhappy with how the business had declined. I’d like to provide a little historical perspective.

Stock Photography Future

By Jim Pickerell | 1060 Words | Posted 9/8/2020 | Comments
A young man studying photography wrote recently and asked if I could supply him with some accurate stock photography analysis. I told him I could, but he wasn’t going to like what I had to say.  (This article is free to all readers, but there is a number of links within the story that require payment if readers want more detailed information.)

Self-Employed Photographer Dilemma

By Jim Pickerell | 1449 Words | Posted 8/28/2020 | Comments
If you are a U.S. photographer hoping to earn at least a portion of your future living expenses from selling or licensing rights to the images you produce, it is time to seriously reassess your business plan. If photography is a hobby. If the pictures you produce are for personal enjoyment and their earning potential is unimportant. If you have no need to earn revenue from your efforts, by all means continue to take pictures. But recognize that no matter how great your images might be, in all likelihood any future financial compensation you receive will be miniscule compared to the time and effort expended.

Reinvent Yourself Using Your Photo Skills

By Jim Pickerell | 514 Words | Posted 8/14/2020 | Comments
If you’re a freelance photographer trying to earn a living taking pictures, and finding photo jobs few and far between during this Covid 19 pandemic, you should read this story. Adam Pratt is one of many freelancers who has seen the demand for his services as a photographer decline. As a result he has re-invented his business. He has been able to use his photography skills and training to turn from taking pictures to organizing personal photos for families.

Death Of Photography As A Profession

By Jim Pickerell | 1236 Words | Posted 8/4/2020 | Comments
I define Professional Photographers as individuals who are earning a significant portion of the money they need to support themselves and live comfortably from licensing use to the images they produce. The number of such individuals is disappearing rapidly. All indications are that the number will continue to decline.

Government Aid For The Self-Employed

By Jim Pickerell | 432 Words | Posted 6/4/2020 | Comments
Self-employed, freelance photographers are being hit especially hard by the covid 19 pandemic. Most normally work from one short-term job to the next. They tend to be paid by the job, or the project, not a salary. Often these jobs last only a day, or less in terms of hours spent. When everyone is sheltering in place and much of the country closed down it is impossible for many photographers to find any work at all. The CARES and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs have focused on helping salaried employees, not those who are self-employed.

Future Income For Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 1216 Words | Posted 6/1/2020 | Comments
Photographers hoping to earn enough producing images to support themselves need to look for another line of work; one that has a better guarantee of income for time invested. The business of photographing meetings and events is unlikely to ever come back to where it was before Covid 19. As the world works its way out of this crisis, there will be fewer small or large group events and more Zoom meetings that are not conducive to photography. But stock photography isn't the answer either.

Making Money When You Can’t Produce New Images

By Jim Pickerell | 659 Words | Posted 3/26/2020 | Comments
“Sheltering in Place” will certainly hurt many photographers. Photographers won’t be able to get out to shoot new images. Customers won’t be coming to your studio. You might be able to shoot still lifes in your home, but getting props may be difficult. So what can you do to pay your bills? One possibility, particularly if you have a large stock photo collection, is to check out Canva and see if they will pay a one-time fee to purchase rights to a significant number of your images for inclusion in their Free collection that they make available to their Graphic Design customers.

Lean In or Step Back

By Jim Pickerell | 1241 Words | Posted 1/17/2020 | Comments
The “Lean In” concept in business generally suggests the idea of moving forward on an idealized path. Chest out. Chin up. Figuring it out along the way. Watch out, world — here I come. “Step Back” is more about taking the time to assess the overall business landscape and consider long term risks and potential, and the likelihood of achieving long term goals. After carefully assessing one makes a decision as to whether to aggressively Lean In on the path they have been headed, or make radical adjustment in direction for their long term good. It is time for everyone in the stock photography business to “Step Back.”

End Of Stock Photography As A Profession

By Jim Pickerell | 2025 Words | Posted 12/11/2019 | Comments
One of many reasons for the decline of stock photography as a profession is that it has become almost impossible for photographers to get a clear understanding of the various types of imagery, and the relative degree of demand, that users want and need. Once that was not the case, but now there is a total disconnect between image creators and image users.

Seminar On Improving Video Content Discoverability

By Jim Pickerell | 210 Words | Posted 5/6/2019 | Comments
On May 9, 2019 Mark Milstein will be offering a seminar in New York on Time-based Metadata: The Key to Video Discoverability and Content Immortality. The presentation will be at B&H Photo.  Click here to register. You can also watch online.

Brianna Wettlaufer Joins Adobe

By Jim Pickerell | 194 Words | Posted 4/15/2019 | Comments
Brianna Wettlaufer, former Co-Founder and CEO of Stocksy, has joined Adobe Stock as Head of Content. A longtime creative industry veteran and innovative entrepreneur Brianna has held numerous leadership roles in the stock photo industry including Vice President of Development at iStock among others. Brianna resigned her position at Stocksy last August for personal reasons.

In Defense Of Getty

By Jim Pickerell | 919 Words | Posted 4/11/2019 | Comments
More and more photographers are expressing frustration with Getty Images and saying they are pulling their images. Many are looking for another distributor that will charge higher prices and offer a better royalty share. I hate to defend Getty, but to be fair today’s low prices are not all their fault. If we go back to the early 2000s Getty tried to keep prices at reasonable levels, but once iStock and Shutterstock came on the scene, and got some traction, there was no way for Getty to hold out forever.

Intel Grabs Copyright?

By Jim Pickerell | 332 Words | Posted 4/4/2019 | Comments
Some photographers attending the Intel press and analyst event on April 2, 2019 interpreted the following notice to all entrants as a move to grab the copyright of any photos the photographer might take.

Will CGI Reduce The Need For Photography?

By Jim Pickerell | 83 Words | Posted 4/4/2019 | Comments
Fstoppers has an interesting story on the impact CGI may have on commercial photography and photographers in the not too distant future. Earlier this week I wrote about the declining need for professional photographers in the future. Rather than buying camera equipment and spending time and effort learning how to take pictures anyone interested in the visual arts as a profession might be better advised to find a comfortable chair, sit down at their computer and learn CGI rather than being a photographer.

Will There Be A Future Need For Professional Photographers?

By Jim Pickerell | 790 Words | Posted 4/2/2019 | Comments
Young people (those in their 20s and 30s) interested in a career as a photographer should think hard about that decision. Yes, there will always be a demand for photographs, but will those who want photographs be willing to pay enough to make it a business for image creators?

Travel Photographer Closes Website

By Jim Pickerell | 264 Words | Posted 3/20/2019 | Comments
Rick Strange, a very successful UK travel photographer with over 45 years experience is closing his www.worldtravelphotographs.com website after over 4 years of very disappointing sales. Considering the excellent quality of his work, this may be a cautionary tale for any photographer considering trying to market work from a personal website rather than using a stock agency.

Image Creators Need Better Sales Information

By Jim Pickerell | 865 Words | Posted 2/27/2019 | Comments
Image creators need better information about the kind of content that is selling. Are customers looking at higher priced content? Can creators earn more money if their images are in a collection like Offset where images are licensed for much higher prices? Should creators produce more stills? Should they buy new equipment and start shooting video that sells for higher prices? Shutterstock’s quarterly reports to investors aren’t very helpful in this regard.

Successful Stock Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 724 Words | Posted 2/8/2019 | Comments
If you want to know what it takes to be successful in stock photography you may want to listen to what Steve Heap and Todd Klassy have to say. Both approach the stock business in non-traditional ways. Both have seen continued annual growth in revenue in the last few years despite the fact that many other photographers are seeing a plateau or decline in revenue.

Decline Of Images Requiring Production Planning And Costs

By Jim Pickerell | 719 Words | Posted 1/29/2019 | Comments
In the not too distant future there will be few, if any, new professional images created that require pre-planning, paying for models, renting locations, building sets, acquiring props, or anything that adds to the cost of producing such images. Currently the costs of producing a large segment of images in demand far exceeds the revenue generated from licensing such images. Producers trying to earn their living from such production will find it necessary to drop out of the market.

Direct Selling Of Stock Images

By Jim Pickerell | 2110 Words | Posted 1/25/2019 | Comments
The stock agency sales model no longer works for most photographers trying to earn a portion of their living from the images they produce. Prices for the use of photos have declined so dramatically that it no longer makes much sense for professional photographers to spend much time or effort producing stock images on speculation.

Copyright Thief

By Jim Pickerell | 279 Words | Posted 1/14/2019 | Comments
A reader called my attention to an article I wrote in 2010 where the “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that online rights infringements costs the U.S. economy roughly $58 billion in total output every year.” The reader wanted to know how much that might be today.