Selling Out and the Stock Photography Dilemma!
Someone on a photography forum called Fred Miranda Forum, stated that a photographer sold their image for a cover of TIME Magazine for $30. It was sold through a stock photography agency called iStockPhoto. That is sadly unfortunate. It also represents the present state of affairs for many photographers attempting to make a living by their craft.
It is for this reason, that I am glad that I am a fashion photographer. It is impossible to sell stock of fashion shoots after more than three months as the next collections are already being prepared to be shot for the next season of fashion magazines.
Every editor knows which designers have come out with which collection and images must always be current. There are instances where fashion photography is sold as stock. If there is a fashion retrospective or a special article on a specific designer. Several of my older images from a magazine in France called Madame Figaro were used in a book about the Italian Designer Emanuel Ungaro, but that was a book and not a magazine.
Like in the music business, photographers outside of fashion are getting royally screwed in terms of fee’s. However, they are still in a good position to negotiate royalties. Most image bank agencies take between 40-60 percent and that IS the norm. In my venue the standard across the board fee taken by a photographer’s agent is 25%.
It is up to you to not sell your images at bargain based prices. It is up to you to set the precedent. Once the barometer goes too low, you will have to find a more creative means of generating an income from your images.
Unfortunately, there is a line of photographers prepared to take your place for that $30, if you decide to say no to the proposition. A new business model must eventually surface for photographer’s to be able to survive. Perhaps the new pro-photographers of the future will be all of you.