Photographers just want to make a living, ask Jim Pickerell

August 30, 2016

Leading stock photo expert Jim Pickerell recently published two very articulate blog posts about the current state of stock photography. Pickerell describes the changes the field of professional photography has undergone in the past few years and the increased difficulties photographers have simply making a decent living.

According to Pickerell, it’s much harder for photographers these days because of the following difficulties plaguing the industry:

  • Over supply of photos (at least 650 million images are available for easy licensing in various databases around the world!1“) causing a serious decline in the prices of image use.
  • A huge percentage of the images in today’s stock photo collections are never used by anyone.
  • The average cost of producing an image is much higher than the price paid for its use.
  • Photographers can no longer afford to shoot whatever they like and make a decent living selling just a small percentage of their work.
  • Lack of guidance from editors or agencies as to what to shoot, for a variety of reasons.

Considering all these difficulties it’s no wonder that in his post Understanding which stock images will sell, Pickerell points out that photographers need more than ever to get better information about the images they are selling so “they don’t waste time shooting things no one is interested in buying”.  And his other recent post – Is knowing which images get the most downloads enough? goes into specifics about the same issue.

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 So, where can photographers get “better information about the images” they are selling OR trying to sell?

Analytics can provide a photographer (or anyone else for that matter…) with many insights about the use of their images across the web. Using artificial intelligence, deep learning, and web crawling technology, these insights are independent of stock photo agency download numbers, subscriptions, or revenues.

How can analytics help photographers?

Insights derived from intelligent use of analytics can provide photographers with information such as where their images are used, who is using them and how, and which of their images are more popular than others. And these are just examples.

These types of insights help photographers make more informed decisions about their business – for example, about what their next shoot should be, so they don’t “waste time shooting things no one is interested in buying”.

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