Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Evolve Images...A New Approach

A long road winds off into a sunrise in a concept stock photo about the way forward, the future, and change.
A new stock agency with a new approach, Evolve Images offers an innovative route to the business of stock photography.

A new stock agency with the intriguing name “Evolve Images” has opened its doors. The three founders of Evolve , Mark Ippolito, Robert Henson, and Jonothan Solomon certainly have a ton of experience between them having held numerous positions at such leading stock agencies as Getty Images, Corbis, Blend Images, Photodisc, and Comstock.  What they are offering is a highly curated collection, a new method of pricing that seems sort of a RF and RM hybrid, and the promise of “Sustaining A Creative Economy”.

 Their pricing model is simple. They claim that with three clicks you’ll have your price. You just choose editorial or commercial, choose digital, print, or both, choose one year, two years, or three years, and finally, choose an industry from their pull-down menu. There is also the option of “Requesting a quotation”. Those of us used to more criteria for Rights Managed pricing are at once pleased with the ease of use and left wondering if the pricing might be too general. I guess the only way to judge that is in the performance.  If Evolve Images licenses enough photos who is going to argue?  Evolve also emphasizes that they will pay the photographer (or copyright holder) at least 50% of the licensing fee. For images that Evolve represents exclusively the royalty paid to the creator is 65%. No argument there for sure! Another innovative approach includes price adjustments for more “valuable” images (though exactly how that value is determined is unclear to me).

On the submission side it is interesting to note that Evolve is willing to take on images captured on camera phones, stills edited from digital video capture, consumer-level digital cameras, etc. Evolve offers image exclusive distribution for one (1) year or non-exclusive image distribution for three (3) years, with auto-renewal at the end of the term unless notified 90 days prior to the contrary. Also of note, they are not planning on using any sub-agents. Another cool point is that they pay within two weeks of receiving fees.

After spending a fair amount of time on the Evolve Images site it certainly appears to me as if they are a photographer friendly outfit.  In addition to rapid payment and high royalty percentages, they are also stressing image protection with a proactive enforcement policy.  Evolve Images seems very transparent and are encouraging feedback through their blog. All-in-all, Evolve Images has a very interesting approach and I hope they succeed. I will be watching with interest!


R. Kneschke said...

Sounds nice, but: New agencies almost always start with 50% share, but the bigger they get, the more likely it is that they will cut royalties.

David Sanger said...

Interesting that the price changes depending on what industry you select, with non-profits the least and alcohol/tobacco the highest.

Also they always deliver a hi-res file even for digital use, which seems unnecessary.

So will they get customers?

Bryan Mullennix said...

Interesting concept. Without any sub-distribution it could take a long time for customers to find them and begin making direct sales. How do they plan to market? As we all know, "build it and they will come" doesn't work too well in the internet age.

Anonymous said...

@R.Kneschke You are right to be skeptical about royalty rates given the history of our industry. That said, Evolve is committed to doing things differently and our royalty rate is just one of the "ten truths" we believe are essential to sustaining a creative economy for photographers and image buyers alike. Please take a moment to read our position and I welcome your comments/feedback.

@David By introducing a simpler rights model we hope to expand the buyer pool of rights managed buyers. As an industry we've trained at least two generations of buyers to expect to license an image with one click. The current rights management engines require 10, 15 clicks or more-- just to get a price-- never mind actually finalize the license of an image. With EvoRights we've boiled down the value equation to three core attributes: Use Type (commercial or editorial), Media (Print/Digital or Both), and Industry (Geo and Term are defaults that buyers can opt to expand only if needed). So, in just three clicks a buyer can get a price and move to check out. And, with a simplified rights/pricing model, copyright holders get the opportunity to not only secure fair prices for their work, but also the opportunity to re-license images at the end of the term.

@Bryan Effective marketing and promotion are indeed critical to our success. Evolve's goal is to attract top-tier, professional image buyers who are not adverse to spending >$500 for a single image. The good news is that these buyers are not hard to find and leveraging an integrated campaign of digital marketing including social media, email, SEO, SEM, blogs, we are attracting new visitors to our site every day. What will make discerning buyers come back is seeing great new work every time they visit. For that to happen, we'll need to rely on image makers doing what you do best.

That said, we see the marketing effort as a marathon, not a sprint and we will build this business one great client at a time.

Thanks again for all the great comments and feedback.

Mark Ippolito
CEO & Co-Founder
Evolve Images

QT Luong said...

I am just wondering, are the number of clicks it get to price a RM image the main obstacle to the success of the RM model, or is it more the high prices and complexity of tracking rights ?

@Mark, I understand the quest for an elegant design, but with the choice of fonts and colors, I found the text almost illegible. Not what one would expect of a site that aims to make licensing simpler.

M said...

How can they market to high-end agencies without a substantial initial supply of images?

Anonymous said...

we all know that photographers who produce images for stock photography make most of their royalty revenue with images distributed by Getty and/or Corbis. They have the most market pull...will Evolve distribute through Getty or Corbis? If not, chances of making any decent revenue for photographers will be tough in my opinion....

John Lund said...


Evolve is distributing images hand-picked from other agencies such as seems like having a supply of images is only really limited to their "curation"....


gmazza said...

Have read the "ten truths" an I fairly agree with the principle, even with the possible pitfalls raised by blogmattes I still submitted my portfolio of images to them. Thanks for the info and the article.