recommending a stock agency

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by joshschutz, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. im looking to get into stock photography. i would like to steer clear of the big corbis and getty. i have heard a number of bad things about them. i'm looking to start a smaller company hosted by someone else. the ones i have seen so far are and does anyone else know of some stock agencies they would recommend
  2. Josh:
    Without seeing your images, it's impossible to offer an informed reccomendation. EVERY stock agency is great for those with the right images for it and awful for those who's images are wrong.
    BTW..neither photoshelter or licensestream are stock vendors.
    search microstock on google. I am sure you will find many more.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Your work is good (not sure why Brian can't see them, maybe a website incompatibility?) and you probably have enough images around rafting and similar sports to specialize in that. Microstock would be a waste, you're not going to make enough money to justify the time. Also, you might consider looking for assignment work for rafting, extreme sports, etc. You are certainly good enough at it.
  5. Jeff
    Why would microstock be a waste of time for Josh? Do you think that his photos wouldn't sell or do you think that everyone's photos wouldn't sell? You obviously think he's pretty good so are you saying microstock is not looking for that kind of work?
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Josh's photographs are good enough and specific enough that if he can build his own stock business, or find an agency that will market specifically to the buyers for what he does, then he will make far better money than in microstock. I assume he has enough images to create a reasonable library and market his own niche, which gives much higher returns if successful.

    I have what may be the world's largest collection of high quality US muay thai kickboxing photos. I get sought out because of that. I get much better payments than what a microstock agency will pay per usage. I don't need to sell that many photos to get a decent return. Shutterstock pays 25 cents per download, I average about $50 for magazine usage and $100 for book usage. I get a lot more for advertising usage, although demand isn't that high for advertising usage. On the other hand, one $1500 advertising deal is equal to 6000 Shutterstock downloads, and I have done that.
    This only works if the images are significantly different than what the stock libraries usually have. Lifestyle photos, sunsets, zoo shots, etc. are a dime a dozen, or maybe 25 cents each. Shots that require unique access or capabilities are worth a whole lot more. In my case, there are only a few quality credentialed photographers at each fight, and some aren't freelance and don't have the rights to market their images. I end up with unique stuff. In Josh's case, there aren't that many people who go out on whitewater rafts and take photos of the quality he has. Check out how much Shutterstock has compared to the more common subjects. Given that he can expand that into a variety of other sports, he is in a position to take control of his own business rather than let photos go for 25 cents.

    Don't get me wrong, if you have a lot of shots like what Shutterstock sells for 25 cents, then microstock is a good idea. If you have a high quality library in a less common subject area, then you can command much better prices assuming there is a market for it.
  7. it sounds like i need to specify my market. i thought that the point of a stock portfolio was to have as many shots in as many different situations possible. but i never even thought about specifying my market. i have tens of thousands of rafting and kayaking photos. and after searching some of the shots on the stock sites, i realize that i have do have something far more marketable. thank you for your comments and the insight to help me along my way.
  8. "im looking to get into stock photography. i would like to steer clear of the big corbis and getty.". That's probably good, since if have no experience in stock yet, it is unlikely they would want you.
    Without model releases, your existing shots aren't worth anything commercially, so you would need to find an editorial outlet. Of course, I'm sure you're able to google for information on editorial and commercial to fill in your knowledge.
  9. Jeff:
    Well, I'm at my big monitor now and can see that Josh has some first class sports action shots.
    I'm saddened to see that the agency advice he got was directly contradictory to his own request; istock is part of Getty and he specified "no Getty or Corbis." It's also a micro agency and he could well have a chance to get serious prices. It seems to me though that hurling images at micro sites is what passes for business advice these days for too many people. Josh needs much more to get the most out of his work.
    I recommend you get yourself the book "Sell and Resell Your Photos" by Rohn Engh for a simple reason; many of the best markets for the images you have are specialized publications that don't buy through agencies at all.
    At this point, nothing stands between you and the top of the market besides yourself and your own efforts. You can build up your business, grow your collection, and thrive...or you can hurl images at micros. It's your choice.
    I just want to remind whomever is reading that I've had good experiences with both Corbis and Getty and that each of us is different in this respect.
  10. If you're still at all interested in microstock, I've gained a lot of insight from Microstock Diaries. The site includes articles on how to get started, what types of images agencies look for, how to maximize your earnings, reviews of all the different agencies, and a realistic accounting of how much the author actually earns each month from microstock. I agree with the other posters that if you have a library of high quality, one-of-a-kind images then microstock isn't the answer, but you take other types of photos from time to time, right? Having a variety of income streams has never hurt anyone.
  11. Laya, thanks for the link. That is a wonderful resource!

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