Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I am not cut out for producing large quantities of images. My love is for producing highly Photoshop-manipulated concept stock photos. I am guessing that eliminates me from Micro stock…so if anyone reading this has experience that would suggest otherwise, I’d love to hear from you!
I am in stock photography for the money, for the freedom and for the fulfillment of creating images that I want to create. Most of the stock photos that I make require a lot of work to think up, hours of Photoshop work to complete, and a fair amount of capital investment to produce. I know from experience that some of these images can earn just as much in RF as in RM.
I also know from research that some of the best selling Micro images can earn enough to justify putting images into that category. However, in RM I have often had the experience of having an image languish for up to three or four years before suddenly earning thousands of dollars. An image that is not a best seller can still bring in thousands of dollars. I also know that there is no way to predict whether a given image will be a best seller. It seems to me a much bigger risk to place the few images I create into a Micro market.
The image accompanying this blog, an image of the earth as a globe covered in freeways, has been up on the Corbis site for six months without a sale yet. I thought it would be a runaway best seller, or at least sell a couple of times a month. Oh well.... But I trust its time will come. The photo is an example of the kind of picture I love to create most. It’s not like a lot of other images out there. Given the right headline it can have a clear and strong message. It makes a striking visual (if I say so myself). Whether it ever sells or not, it is an image I am proud of.
A disadvantage of Rights Managed photography is that many buyers feel they cannot afford RM and limit themselves to RF or Micro. I think that is unfortunate as I can attest from my sales reports with Getty and Corbis that RM images can be had at VERY affordable prices. I have long said that with RM images you can always undercut RF! I have to admit that I also have an ego bias towards Rights Managed. I even have a hard time contributing to RF for that reason. It is about valuing my work. Of course, I have far more images in RF than RM and those images have done very well for me, particularly with Blend Images. For business reasons I think it prudent to be involved in both models.
When I hear from some of my friends about how well they are doing in Micro, it makes me anxious. With all of the buzz about micro, I keep feeling like I should be participating. And yet, every time I come close to submitting images to Micro I just can’t pull the trigger. I certainly don’t begrudge those who do choose to shoot Micro, and someday I may yet end up with images in Micro. But for now I am limiting my submissions to primarily RM with RF as a continuing hedge.