What Is The Phone Number To Sell M A-Com Stock Stock Photography – A Look to the Future

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Stock Photography – A Look to the Future

One day there will be an “e-bay” of photography where consumers and businesses, designers and art directors, agencies and photo buyers will search and license images for their various needs. A student will search for images for homework … and an art director at a major advertising agency will find an image for a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal. A student might pay twenty-five cents, and an art director might pay $10,000.00. The popularity of the image, combined with those who are less creative, less diligent and less motivated, will fall further and further behind. I guess that’s one thing that won’t really change in the stock photography business! Those who “figure it out” will thrive…as they always have while those stuck in the past will slowly (or quickly) fade away.

As professional photographers selling our images to the advertising, design and editorial communities, many of us have lost sight of, or perhaps never seen, the enormous purchasing power of the “consumer”. This was an eye opener for me when I started selling my Animal Antics images… images of funny animals in anthropomorphic poses and situations as greeting cards. Sure, I only make a few cents per card…but when the population is buying over a hundred thousand cards a month, those pennies can really add up!

Even with sales like this, most people I talk to about my greeting cards have never seen them on sale! So I conclude that selling a hundred thousand cards a month is only a small fraction of the total possible sales. The potential profit from selling images to the public, the consumer, is staggering. Especially considering that pictures are, for the most part, a universal language.

So, how do we as photographers tap into this market? Obviously, greeting cards with funny animal pictures are one way to do this. But that’s really not a very efficient way to do it. The internet is the way to do it… but maybe not yet. That aforementioned “e-bay” for photos… or some similar mechanism to bring together the consumer, photo and transaction elements needs to fall into place. The need is there… I bet the technology is too… the rest is just a matter of time… and preparation.

For me, that means having a website that is functional enough to present my images to the public… and the content that the public wants. This content can be anything from images that consumers can download and print (and WANT to download and print), to images that they can use for their small business, or images that they can use to decorate their website social network. I’m trying to bring this content to the consumer by contacting Cafe Press for products like coffee mugs, calendars, tote bags, t-shirts and the like… with ImageKind for fine art prints, with various stock photo agencies that license my photos for more traditional advertising and promotional purposes. I currently use Blend Images for ethnic lifestyle and concept images, Getty Images for most of my concept and business images, Corbis also for concept images, and Kimball Stock for licensing my anthropomorphic animal photos. I also continue to sell greeting cards through the Portal brand, which is published and distributed by Marian Heath.

Any investment advisor will tell you that the first thing to do when investing is to diversify. This is especially important in times of uncertainty…and I think these times deserve that label. As photographers, we should follow the same advice. How are we diverse? To me, that means a multi-pronged approach. I diversify my content, target market and distribution.

I create images for traditional advertising, design, corporate and editorial markets. In these markets I create lifestyle images, business images and concept images. Here I have a variety of content in the category of traditional stock photography. Next, I create images for the consumer…that is, images that are or could be a product themselves. That means everything from photo coffee mugs to receipt photos, screen saver photos… you get the picture. I also go once a year specifically for travel photography. Again…further diversifying my content.

To diversify my distribution, I use both traditional “powerhouse” stock photo agencies like Getty and Corbis, as well as niche agencies like Blend Images (for ethnically diverse lifestyle and business images) and Kimball Stock (for funny animal photos). Further diversification of my distribution is achieved by selling greeting cards through Marian Heath Greeting Cards and employing a licensing agent to sell and distribute other “consumer” images for applications as wide as vet reminder cards, gift books and even figurines and picture frames!

Finally, I have my own website that I am setting up as a means to make my photos available to anyone who might be interested and to direct them to the right distributor for their needs. I believe that those of us who are building websites like this now and learning along the way will have a huge head start when this new paradigm lands on us…as it most certainly will! When that wave hits, I want to feel the thrill of riding it, not the pain of being crushed by it.

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