Anyone who’s been battling to sell photos online for any period of time will know that photographers have been getting a pretty poor deal recently. High competition has meant that most photographers are getting significantly less sales than in years gone by and those sales they do pick up are typically at much lower prices.
To add insult to injury, with digital submissions the photographers are frequently doing more of the work the photo libraries used to do. Where before they used to just post off a submission a few times every year and leave it to the library to do everything else, now they finish up formatting & cleaning images, adding captions and keywords, and all of the management chores …
And no surprise the major stock libraries are still taking their 50% commissions out of any stock photo sales, even though web catalogues and eCommerce checkouts mean their workload is almost hands-free.
It’s no great surprise that plenty of independent photographers are asking what they are really splitting their sales for?
Well a new kind of stock photo library has emerged that addresses these issues and attempts to put the photographers back in the control. They are the direct contact libraries and a lot of photographers and photo-buyers see them as the way of the future.
Most operate as photography marketing co-ops, where their photographers work in cooperation to promote their work and generate sales while sharing their costs and overheads. The library provides the sales platform and the photographers take responsibility for their own sales. The photographer is liberated from restrictive contracts, agency fees and they’re free to set their own photo prices and license conditions.
An added bonus for the photographers is that, for the first time ever, stock photographers can build their own buyer list — buyers known to use the subjects they shoot — and they can sell stock photos to them on their terms and their schedule. Instead of waiting around for new photo clients to find them or hoping their existing clients might come back for more, they can take new stock photography and concepts directly to the photo buyers, effectively creating online photo sales on demand.
In the current day’s super-competitive stock photography industry many believe this is the only possible way for photographers to grab control and build a viable and sustainable business camera(s).
Matt Brading is a freelance photographer and writer who chooses to camera(s) with the OzImages camera(s).
categories: sell stock photos,stock photography,selling photos online