Thursday, October 1, 2009

Value Added Stock Photos And The Way Forward

The Way Forward,Success,African American Businessman

Value Added Stock Photography
After a couple of unexpected and rather invasive abdominal surgeries in the last year-and-a-half, four months ago I had a plastic surgeon perform an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) on me, to clean-up the scars and give me a new navel. Fun stuff! Anyway, the surgeon asked me to shoot a picture of one of his new laser tools in action. I did the shoot this afternoon.

A Beautiful Woman And Credibility
As I was packing up the old ProFoto 7bs, he mentioned to me that he needed to redo the picture on the cover of his brochure. The shot was of a beautiful woman in a nature setting. He said it cost him a fortune, but now another surgeon was also using it, so he needed a new one. I was a bit confused. I asked him where he got the picture from and he told me iStock. “But you said it cost you a fortune”, I said. “No,” he replied, “Not the picture, the printing for the brochures, the flyers and the advertising”. Ah ha! In a lot of cases, maybe in most cases, it doesn’t really matter if someone else is using the same picture…but if you are a plastic surgeon you sure don’t want the same picture being used by anyone else. That damages the credibility of your whole operation!

Stock Photography And Trust
As someone who has actually gone through the process of finding a plastic surgeon, I can attest that if more than one surgeon in the same geographical region is using the same stock photo, your going to see it. As you peruse the before and after pictures you can’t help but wonder if they are real. If you see the same face on more than one site…well, how are you going to trust anything else about the surgeon? In this case Rights Managed stock photography is definitely a value added proposition!

Power Point Presentations And Getty Images
Also of interest in regards to Rights Managed stock imagery, a couple of days ago I was contacted by a doctor who found one of my images through Google Image search and wanted to use it in a power point presentation to a group of his peers. The image in question is a Getty picture and I had neglected to link Getty from the photo on my web site. I sent the doctor the link and told him he needed to license the image from Getty. I wasn’t going to hold my breath. I figured that the process would be too daunting and the price too high. Oh well….

Licensing Stock Isn’t Brain Surgery
Surprise! He emailed me, said he licensed it, and thanked me for making the image available. I emailed him back asking how the process was and if he had ever licensed stock before. He told me that no, he had never licensed stock before and that it was no harder than ordering anything else on line. It wasn’t exactly brain surgery (turns out he is a vascular surgeon). He also told me it only cost him $15.00. Take that micro stock! Rights Managed is value added and economical as well!

Stock Photos And The Way Forward

As iStock and other micro agencies add higher priced collections, and mid-stock evolves, it becomes ever more apparent that micro is really simply an ultra low-priced RF product. There is a place for all price ranges of RF (micro included), and yes there is a place for RM, and yes, the road to success in the future, the way forward for stock shooters, will be paved with creative, dynamic, market-relevant photography no matter what the category.


Rahul said...

John, your posts are always terrific and I think you're spot on about stock blending into a continuous spectrum with opportunities at every level in the chain.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and journey.

John Lund said...


Thanks! It is also encouraging to see that the public is capable of licensing an RM image!