Photo stock industry

Started Nov 14, 2005 | Discussions thread
jimcreative Senior Member • Posts: 2,584
Difference between regular stock and 'microstock'

Basically, microstock is ultra cheap royalty-free stock. Some microstock sites charge a monthly subscription (say, 150.00) and allow 100 - 200 images to be downloaded for that price, resulting in a per-image fee to the photographer of less than .50 per download. Some are even lower.

Photographers who deal with microstock 'agencies' are betting on selling dozens of each image per month. The problem with microstocks is that they totally devalue the photorapher's work, quickly saturate the market with mostly mediocre photography, and generally screw up the market for the legitimate stock agencies.

Regular stock sites may offer royalty-free images but they will charge anywhere from 75.00 - 400.00 per image, with the photographer netting anywhere from 50-75% of that. These photographers realize that their work is worth something and are willing to be patient to make more money in the long run and are not 'stroked' by the idea that any particular image has had hundreds of downloads (and made them 50.00). Regular agencies also offer Rights Managed stock that assigns a price to an image based upon the actual use and/or inserts. RM photos may run well into the thousands per use. These images tend to be those that are not easily produced or are of unique historic or commercial value.

If you are looking to get started you might look at Alamy. They take your work with the only stipulation being the technical quality. Also, a newcomer worth looking at is Acclaim Images. They are small but seem to be motivated to make a mark on the industry. They are also very nice to deal with.

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