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Stock photos..
Old 03-03-2006, 04:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi guys! I'm starting to build my own stock library and I wanted to know...how is the stock photo industry? Lol. I really don't want to submit images to stock agencies but I'm not sure how well glamour stuff will do if I just market it myself. Any input would be greatly appreciated! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: Stock photos..
Old 03-03-2006, 11:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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you can sell all the glamour pics you want on stock...at $ 1.00 per image through Istock.

Honestly, glamour stock hardly sells at all, its all lifestyle/biz/emotion pics that sell.

Hate to burst your bubble, but pretty girl pics make very few photogs money. Very very few.
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what do you want to shoot?
Old 03-03-2006, 08:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You need to decide what kind of stock you want to shoot. Most mainstream stock agencies (and image buyers) are not looking for the kind of glamour you see here on GG or magazine format websites like Stare.com or Savvy.com. If you want to be a "real" stock shooter, you should be studying sites like http://www.corbis.com, http://www.gettyimages.com, http://www.comstock.com/, http://photographersindex.com/stockprice.htm, http://www.workbook.com, and especially these trade organization sites http://www.stockartistsalliance.org/ and http://www.pacaoffice.org/. These sites are the real world of stock photography. If this is what you have in mind, there are lots of opportunities but the business model is changing and in some cases the rates are dropping. The new ways of selling stock include Royalty Free and Custom Stock on Demand, which challenge the tradition method of shooting and placing with an agency. If you or anyone wants more info on pursuing this type of stock, let me know and I'll post more resources, but it does require investment and knowledge and research of the market as well as how the business works. As Glenn said, "lifestyle" is the big keyword these days. Study magazines and see what kinds of images are showing up in both editorial and advertising.

As Glenn also says, the kind of pinup glamour you see here on GG and on other "model sites" is very tough to sell as stock (unless you're doing tradional men's magazine nudes, but that industry is in turmoil as well). I have been doing this for a very long time (more or less as a self-contained stock agency), and I make most of my money from traditional print-oriented clients and relationships I've built up over the years. Glamour model sites like Stare.com or Savvy.com usually want to pay you a small fee and license a collection of images on one model from you, but I've found that the fees they want to pay barely cover your costs if you have to pay the model. The whole idea of stock is to re-license and re-license, so if you're going to make a profit, you have to find other places to license your images. To be brutally honest, it seems that a lot of glamour photographers we now see on the web are hobbiests who may charge something for their work, but they're more interested in seeing their images published (online or print) than making money. While some of them are portrait/wedding photographers who do glamour on the side, many have "day jobs" completely unrelated to photography, and so as a hobbiest aren't concerned about making money, but they're still competing with you. Just look at the situation with Maxim's Hometown Hotties (& Stuff et al), where the magazine will only publish your images if you're willing to forgo payment, photo credit, and give them unlimited usage - how can you pay the rent with that kind of client? (And BTW, some of the hobbiests are VERY good, just not pursuing the real business of being a photographer, which is good for the rest of us).

Remember that of all the kinds of stock to be shooting, images with people are the most expensive to produce, and glamour is the most expensive of all. You have model and makeup fees, perhaps location expenses (you can use your own living room for only so many shoots), maybe an assistant, and then you are constantly looking for new models. I have friends who shoot for soft-core adult websites, and even shooting implied nudes in digital costs them hundreds of dollars in the above-mentioned expenses, once they get past the handful of friends who will shoot for free. The key to success is consistency - you have to keep producing all the time because your clients burn through your stock quickly. With glamour, you have the added burden of trying to stay current in terms of styling. If you shot travel photos, or scenics, or abstracts, you wouldn't have the expense of paying people, and the shots could sell forever. Not so with fashionable glamour.

BTW, notice I use the word "license", not sell. You should be registering your images with the copyright office and then "licensing" them to clients for specific usage and specific lengths of time, and having a paper trail of Delivery Memos and Invoices to operate your business properly. A lot of photographers seem to think that once they find someone to "buy" their shots, they're done with that image or photo set. I'm still licensing shots I did 8-10 years ago, if I was clever enough to shoot a timeless-looking girl with wardrobe (usually a bikini) that doesn't go out of style.

Two warnings: Be wary of some of the new non-traditional web-based stock agencies that are offering very low fees, but very high volume. These sites are killing the business, and ripping off photographers by offering images to clients extremely low rates - almost by the pound. The other thing is to make SURE your model releases are rock solid, and that the models you shoot understand you are shooting them for stock, and that the images could be used for anything, especially pretty girls with any kind of wardrobe, and more especially if you plan on letting a third party (like an agency) license your images. You do NOT want a letter from a lawyer because one of your shots of Susie Model was used to advertise a brothel in Las Vegas, even though you told her it was only for your portfolio!

(and this started out as just a quick comment on stock! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img] )

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: what do you want to shoot?
Old 03-03-2006, 09:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Gee Andy, why don't you tell us what you really think. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]

Good info, I'll have to save those sites for later. Stock seems to be more of what I might be leaning towards myself.

Thanks

Joe [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
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Re: what do you want to shoot?
Old 03-04-2006, 01:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you so much Andy for such a great contribution! Ideally I would love to shoot photos such as lingerie/bikini and license them out to men's magazines, posters, etc. I'm not sure how great the market is for someone as new as me but I'm crossing my fingers [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Is there a program that you prefer to showcase your stock photos for clients to see? Thank you again! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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