|File Size - Prices Terms Photo Submissions|
|What is Stock Photography?:|
On this page I have posted some general info for photographers and publishers
of images. After 20 years in the business I have concluded a few things,
here they are:
Stock Photography is...
Years ago photos needed for publication were assigned to photographers to capture. Along the way there were outtakes from the assignments and other sources would be sold the rights to publish them. Slowly, libraries of images accumulated and buyers were found to purchase the use of these generic images.
As the industry developed, photographers created self-assignments to shoot what they anticipated would sell. This speculative photography grew because buyers could find less expensive imagery from a stock library than pay for an assignment. Today the industry has matured and any popular place, generic item, or typical lifestyle shot of people can be found.
How does it work?
The basic principle behind Stock Photos is, depending on the marketing model, you are paying for the right to use the image. Though you have a copy of the image file you actually do not own it. It’s like renting it. You can not re-sell the file purchased. Actually buying the ownership of the file would be very expensive. The photographer would have to factor the possible loss of sales a photo may bring for 10- 20 years.
Right Managed - this was the original model to sell images rights. It is based on what size, where it’s used, how many copies are made, and sometimes duration.
Royalty Free - grants the rights to the end user of the image for use unlimited use only by them. The pricing is based on size.
That is an elusive question. Stock photography is subject to trends, marketplace demands, world events and Graphic Designers styles.
In general, unique, one of a kind images sell. With the flood of free and cheap photos on the internet the only way to compete is to have photos no one else has shot.
Images of people, kids in lifestyle situations, hard to access situations like medical or industrial environments, views that are difficult to reach, the top of mountains, under the seas. Landscapes in remote locations, unusual weather, lighting, or animals in the wild.
Only the most stunning of landscapes and flower photos could sell. And sunsets don't even bother. Sorry, there is just too much out there for free.
Much can be said here, but you get the idea, unique well taken images. You need both good lighting and good subjects to create a good shot. You need both, one with out the other falls short. More on this if you join...
Who Buys Stock Photos?
Look around and start noticing the many areas photos are used as illustration with words to sell products, sell services, illustrate ideas, teach concepts and beautify our surroundings. Check out bank and insurance firms, government services, travel brochures, food manufacturers, utilities, the list is endless and so is the use of imagery.
A Typical buyer could be:
Ad Agency to promote a product
Another elusive question. How much can I make selling
my photos? It depends...
The Cost of Shooting Stock
Ever wonder what it takes to create good photos like the ones that make you look twice, ponder and think beautiful, amazing, magical, delightful, awesome, or shocking? It takes time and money. Ok no surprise here but actually more of each than we might think.
Let's work through this. First a photographer has to buy gear. Start with a camera, lens, flash, a bag to put the stuff in, then add memory cards and batteries. Pretty basic, now you are off to school or to be self taught for the next few years. Let us not forget you also need a computer...and software, and time to learn that techie stuff too.
Along the way you buy more gear to expand and improve your craft. More lens, filters, a tripod, another camera body, studio lights... you're upgrading forever...
So now you're a sharp shooter. Your interests take you across the country or just out of town. You will need a car, and need to feed it gas, keep it insured and maintained. Sometimes you might fly or take a train which is even more expense.
On your trips you will need to eat and sleep. That will be a low budget motel or tenting. You eat road food or make your own at the camp site. No living off the fat corporate expense account here. Then there will be admission to sites and parking costs to tack on.
Good work, you're back from your trip. Now sit down and expect to take as long editing and retouching your stock photos for submission. So that might have been one week on the road and another at your desk. That's two weeks — at what rate of pay will you need to pay yourself?
Yes it is a challenge to work smart to reduce expenses and create marketable images. That can be an enjoyable challenge in this world of stock photography.