Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Best Selling Stock Photos That Aren't

A man lies in traction in a bodycast in a hospital recovery room in a funny stock photo illustrating concepts such as disaster, calamity and medical issues.
This funny concept stock photo of a man in a bodycast and traction illustrating themes such as disaster, calamity and medical issues will eventually be a best seller...or not!

A Recovery Room, A Body Cast, And No Traction

I have a number of best sellers that aren't. That is, I have created a number of stock photos that I was sure would be best selling images that have either barely sold at all, or, indeed, have no sales at all. In the example here I went to quite a bit of trouble to gain access to the recovery room, have a body cast made (actually a plaster mock of one ), execute the shoot and spending the better part of a day using Photoshop to put the whole thing together (the visible patient parts-nose, eyes-fingers etc. are actually mine) and clean up the recovery room. But in this case there doesn't seem to be any traction (pun intended).

Hope Springs Eternal
So far, in the last six months, since the image went online with Getty as a Rights Managed stock photo, I have raked in a pretty disappointing $136.00. That is about one tenth what I anticipated the earnings would be in this time frame. Of course, tomorrow there could be a $10,000.00 sale (hope springs eternal) and it would indeed be a best seller. Particularly with RM images, you never know when your going to either get that one big sale, or some small shift will happen in the collective conscious and suddenly a non-seller will generate some serious revenue. I have experienced many occurrences of images that have a pathetic sales history for several years then suddenly bring in thousands of dollars. 

Hedging Your Bets
Of course, even though I was, and still am convinced, that this image is/will be a best seller, I hedged my bet by shooting various other images to go along with it. From an elephant in the recovery room to wheel chairs to a bare-assed patient wondering down the hall, this shoot is returning revenue at a sufficient rate that, even low by many stock standards, still outpaces the stock market by a considerable margin!

Make A Decision and Get On With It
I have also had my share of images that sell well from the beginning, even though I had doubts that they would be worth submitting. Stock photography is a great business for second-guessing yourself for everything from choosing the right model to making an image to begin with, to what business model to submit it to. I do know that the un-made images and the un-submitted images both tend to generate very little income (duh) and that therefore the most important thing to do is to make the decision and get on with it.  Now I am I'm off to make an image!

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