Archives For Stock

Oh boy!  In the never ending race to the bottom, Getty owned iStockphoto went from $14 net sale to less than a buck per image in the world of microstock. (My thoughts on Getty can be found here). For those of you who are not in the stock biz this means for the average pro photo shoot with working models, assistants, lighting, makeup etc, the price went from taking 10 years to pay for a shoot to basically never paying for a shoot. (Meaning actually making a profit, which was of course impossible at the $14 level).

I know of no company on the planet that forces its prices downward so consistently as to economically wipe out the very people that provide them with the ability to sell their products. It’s like a snake that is so big it does not realize it is eating its own tale.


iStockphoto Lauches New Subscription Model, Pays Contributors as Little as 28 Cents Per Image Download.

The change has sparked a lively discussion in iStock’s forums. One user noted that he just netted over $14 for a single download, which would have netted him less than $1 if downloaded under the subscription model.

via iStockphoto Lauches New Subscription Model, Pays Contributors as Little as 28 Cents Per Image Download.


iStockphoto Lauches New Stock Subscription Model


Shutterstock and the End of Getty Images

By all accounts Getty Images who is owned not by folks with a passion for photography (but basically bunch of accountants) will see its market share erode daily from now on given the explosive growth of Shutterstock. Jon Oringer who is a kid who just happens to love photography (and happens to be very smart) started one of the first photography subscription services that essentially shook a decades old highly profitable photo stock industry to its knees. (Shutterstock is now valued at 2.5 billion and growing rapidly).  The old equation was that pro photographers could make a very good living selling images through Getty or Corbis web sites working in tandem with their editors to make sure the right images were being made for the market place. It takes a village to make a great stock image as its both a conceptual problem coupled with eye catching content.  (Yours truly made Getty Images around 4 million over the years I was working with them). Microstock destroyed this profitable Industry by driving prices down to absurdly low levels that were economically impossible to compete with for any pro photographer with an actual studio/business overhead. At this point the big players have only one choice:

Buy Shutterstock or face getting eventually run over.

What I have never understood about the business decisions in the current stock industry playbook is what industry constantly undercuts and devalues its products from $500 to a $1 sale per unit.  The diamond industry for example could flood the market and give us very cheap diamonds. They don’t for a very good reason…

“The emergence of microstock—the low-priced, generic images that customers don’t want to shoot themselves—knocked the photo industry on its heels. Shutterstock and a competitor, iStockphoto, were selling im­ages that once cost $500 for $1. Incumbent Getty Images ended up acquiring iStockpho­to for $50 million in 2006 and then took itself private in 2008 at a 65 percent discount to its pre-credit­crisis high. “All the trends line up with what Jon’s doing today, but he saw it when others didn’t—he saw it 10 years ago,” says Jeff Lieberman of Insight Venture Partners, which invested in Shutterstock in 2007”.


Having gone through this decision in 2012 I completely understand the thinking here at Remi Thornton’s blog regarding Getty now giving away images and setting up consignment deals.  Getty has never ever had their photographers in mind in their long-term plans. Its all about the stock sales. They don’t respect photographers and they don’t really care about someones livelihood or families. Getty is at the top of blame list for gutting our industry and forcing a downward price spiral that is truly mind boggling and unprecedented in modern business. ( Unless of course you count the Banking Industry bringing us to a world economy collapse – but I digress…)


In this case don’t shoot Le Corbusier furniture The problem with this case is there are so many knock-offs of this famous line that you could have photographed one and still get sued! It’s a weird world…

British Journal of Photography