In blustery winter storms in the last century, farmers out here in northern Wisconsin used to tie a long rope between the farmhouse and the barn. During a blizzard, without holding onto the rope, a person could get lost in the whiteness just trying to get over to the house or barn. The rope was a life saver.
Do stock photographers need a similar lifeline today, in the face of the storms within the stock industry?
The “storms,” of course, for stock photographers, are the introduction of Royalty-Free, subscription services, and micropayment sites on the Internet, along with digital cameras, which together with bandwidth on the Internet, have introduced a new way of supplying images to formerly 소액결제현금화 sleeping segments of the marketplace. Once the price of photos came down, the market expanded, thanks to technology and the innovative spirit of both buyers and sellers.
The only guideline we need for these storms of change (“Are we out of the storm yet?”) is history. The invention of the sewing machine did not put the seamstress out of business. Those who could not afford hand-tailored clothing in the past could now own three or four dresses. This technology phenomenon repeats itself as any industry adapts and progresses.
And how have they fared – the managed-rights photographers who had a monopoly on the industry in the 80’s and 90’s? Are they out in the cold or have they ridden along with the flow and adapted?
SAME OL’ SAME OL’
The equation hasn’t changed all that much. In the 80’s, the market for stock photos was small, and commercial stock photographers were selling RM photos for $1,000, while editorial photographers were selling and re-selling the same picture 20 times for $50 each time. Postal delivery of images was sufficient.
In the 90’s, commercial stock photographers were selling RM photos for $2,000 (inflation), while editorial photographers were selling and re-selling the same picture 20 times for $100. FedEx and other services were sufficient for photo delivery.
Today, a stock photographer can get $3,000 (inflation) for an exquisite picture through RM, or the photographer (either commercial or editorial) can get $3,000 for the same photo by selling it 3,000 times for a dollar through micro payment. It still stands: the photographers with business acumen, whether commercial or editorial, pro or semi-pro (with a professional delivery system), will end up at the top, in the end, riding out the predictable storms of increasing market size, cost of living increases, and the infusion of the micro payments phenomenon.