As Leigh has been pointing out, there have been quite a few visible changes in the stock photography world as of late. Things don’t work (or even look) like they used to. And this is good for the photographers who see in this new path a direction that inspires them to break away from the same old same old.
As a photographer who also works as a graphic designer, I am thrilled and excited to see this revolution. Never before have I had access to so much talent to cull through as I create for clients. Concepts are both more down-to-earth, and even more lofty (I’m thinking of clever, illustrative studio compositions and sill lives that put past work to shame). Add to this, the knowledge that finally, it seems, distributors of stock photography arewizening up to the value of their photographers and are offering a much better compensation split. Alternatively, many of the old, establishedlicensors are still working to cut prices for customers (and compensation for their photographers) even more. positive change doesn’t work for everyone it seems.
Explore on Your Own
Offset – An off-shoot of Shutterstock, offset launched a little while after Stocksy opened it’s doors. Working with a select group of photographers, they offer a variety of unique, and individual imagery from all of the world.
500PX – In the past, as a graphic designer, if I found an image on this site that I wished to use for a client’s project, I’d have to negotiate licensing directly with the photographer. They are now culling through the thousands of images uploaded world-wide daily and cherry picking content they feel is most compelling and offering it for licensing at a flat rate fee ($250) with more than 50% of that fee going to the photographers.
Creative Market – this virtual newborn is just starting out, but shows promise. This is a set-your-own-price marketplace. Photographers, illustrators and the like are invited to place their work onto the site for licensing and are welcome to set their own prices… from a few dollars, to hundreds. The decision is entirely the artist’s. They also do not require exclusive content, so the same work may be found on other licensing sites for more, or less. The adventure is yours to have. ;)
Image Brief – they’ve been around for a while now and many of us photographers have dipped our toes into this unique market place at least once. They source creative briefs from clients (in my opinion, often rather nondescript client requests are offered up to start which can be frustrating) and send that brief out to their members asking, “Do you have an image that matches this brief?” There’s a chance that if you do have an image that fits, your work could be licensed by the client. Compensation appears to range by project (some of which are impressive and quite motivating) and not all briefs are completed. It’s a bit of a gamble to shoot just for their briefs as they do often evolve over the life of the brief. I image this is a result of the client maybe being a “I’ll know it when I see it” type. ;) If you have a large backlog of work, this could be a great fit for you. And heck, why not give it a try?
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