Monday, January 26, 2015

In Appreciation Of Blend Images Stock Agency


A life ring of social media portaits sales out through stormy skies in a stock photo about social networking as a resource and online communities as support groups.
This photo created for Blend Images could well be a metaphor for the support and community offered by a new breed of stock agency.

­­In Appreciation Of Blend Images
Blend has just announced their spring creative meeting that will take place in Miami this April. It will be a multi-day affair with an emphasis on motion stock, but still plenty of information on stills and the industry in general. The details are still being worked out. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to these events. It is truly wonderful to get together with my “Blend” family, catch up on everyone, and be informed and inspired about our industry.

A Photographer-Centric Stock Agency
Blend is the brainchild of Rick Leckrone (Blend’s CEO) who pulled together twenty-four top stock shooters to create a photographer-centric stock agency (disclaimer here…as one of the founding members I am biased in favor of Blend Images!). The agency began with a specialization in ethnically-diverse content, but has evolved to offer an ever increasingly wide range of material. While originally a content aggregator offering RF sales through a wide group of distributors (including Getty and Corbis), Blend went on to pioneer RM images available through numerous distributors and has also added a direct sales component.

Maximum Image Visibility
While there is no denying the dominant (if slipping) position in traditional stock of such agencies as Getty and Corbis, there is, more than ever, a strong case to be made for the importance of gaining maximum visibility for one’s images as well as the revenue potential of the countless “non-traditional” (read microstock) stock photography audience. With Blend I get far more eyeballs on my imagery than I would with just Getty or Corbis and I get market penetration into the microstock audience as well. With Blend I can upload my images once and have them seen virtually everywhere. If one of my images gets buried on a Getty search, it still has a chance to be seen on other sites and visa versa.

A Bigger Pie
Yes, the slice of the pie is smaller with a Blend/Getty, Blend/Fotolia or Blend/Whomever sale, but the pie is much larger! In the case of a Blend direct sale a Blend photographer stands to earn five times as much as a sale through most other distributors. Plus, having images at Blend provides the safety of diversity and the ability to benefit from a nimble agency that is well positioned to take advantage of changes within the industry.

Photographer Support
Photographer support is much better as well. You can actually have a relationship with your art director (I communicate with mine on almost a daily basis), you can pick up the phone and talk to a human being, you get educational webinars, creative meetings, and access to more research than I have ever experienced with any of the traditional agencies. With Blend you become part of that afore mentioned community.

The Blend Staff
I would be remiss if I did not point out that every member of the Blend staff has always been responsive, friendly and helpful to me. Hey, to be able to call Blend and have a human being on the other end alone is great...but to have a human being who is attentive and can get things done...well, that is just plain awesome!

Success In Stock Photography
After all that, do I still contribute images to Getty? Of course I do. That is a door I am not anxious to close. But the vast majority of my images go to Blend. My own personal recipe for success in stock photography includes consistent production of high-value photos with Blend Images being the cornerstone of my distribution. Whether you shoot traditional or microstock it may well be worth your while to give Blend a closer look.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dont waste your time with Blend--they just act as a broker and take a $ piece of each sale. Their direct sales are tiny compared to Getty or Corbis. Photographers, try to get a direct contact with Getty and Corbis. You'll make much more $ and be better off. John mentions that your images can be seen "everywhere" with Blend. Well, I strongly believe you wont make much money with microstock or even agencies like Masterfile or Superstock. I reitereate, get yourself a direct contract with Getty and Corbis and you'll do much better.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

Sure, a contract with Getty and Corbis are not a bad idea...but I still stand by my recommendation of Blend for the reasons I posted.

Anyone considering their position in stock should throughly research their options and choose what is right for them.

Thanks,

John

Anonymous said...

Don't know how you can say this John. All these broker agencies are just snatching a piece of the action from the main pie. In the end the photographer gets just less and less.
This one sounds more like Blend touting photographers.
sorry.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

I understand where you are coming from. But there are two sides to the issue. Yes, with Blend, other than direct sales, you are getting a smaller percentage. You have to counter balance that with a larger audience, increasing direct sales, and far more help, guidance and responsiveness than with Getty, Corbis or others.

I personally think that trying both makes a lot of sense. Then you are not guessing but can see which outlet is doing better for you.

Thanks,

John

Anonymous said...

I agree with that! just seems its mushrooming agencies everywhere. Remember the old days at TIB? fantastic years in the beginning but as soon as Stan and Larry started to accept third-party agencies it didn't take many years before it all derailed, well, and then cam Getty of course.
Apart form that I can see your point.

Anonymous said...

John owns a piece of Blend so that is why he is pro-Blend....plain and simple. He gets a piece of the pie. No, Blend is not good for the photographer. Its only good for the owners (there are like 20 of them), which John is one of. Sorry.

John Lund said...

Anonymous,

Yes, I am an owner and biased towards Blend...as I clearly state in the post! But I also stand by my belief that Blend offers clear advantages to even non-owners...as pointed out in my blog. Blend isn't for everybody...but certainly we have some very happy contributors who are former Getty photographers but found Blend to offer a better return and more support. I also believe that as time marches on Blend will become ever more advantageous...time will tell.

As always, thanks for sharing your opinion!

John

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