The #1 Source for Stock

- - Stock

Photographer websites.

If I want to find the best stock in the world I just go to my favorite photographer websites and look at their portfolio and there it is, the top 40-60 photos they’ve ever taken, edited and ready to be published again.

There Are 14 Comments On This Article.

  1. Glad to hear that from a Photo Editor! I have placed a lot of time and energy setting up my own stock library on my website, powered by Photoshelter. I have all the functionality of a big stock house website, but just my images, and I keep 90% of the sale. My direct-to-client stock income last year was more than double my royalties from the 4 stock houses I deal with combined.

    Check me out here (shameless plug): MyOnline Stock Photo Library

    Cheers, Josh

  2. Well …. not exactly.

    Not that I would be considered a favorite but most of the work I show on my site is under contract in one way or another. I’m sure I”m not alone on that score.

  3. I was recently hired for an editorial shoot based on an image on my site. The story was a hard one to illustrate, so the magazine decided to hire 3 photogs (one in canada, one in the us, and one in england), send them out with the concept, and wait and see what they came up with.

    After 2 days of shooting, the magazine didn’t go with any of the new images. They went with the original image on my site.

  4. #4

    I hope each of those three photographers got paid. “Custom stock” or working “on spec” is the lowest form of slavery in this industry.


  5. I’m curious how this works for you. As you mentioned earlier, some stock requests can be mighty obscure. You have your source list of stock agencies for such requests.

    So what kind of stock requests can you fulfill by visiting the web sites of select photographers? Is it not frustrating having to visit so many different sources to find images?

    Personally, I think photo aggregators like Getty have evolved into a rip-off for the photographer. I’ve been following Dan Heller’s thinking on this, and he suggests that the real way to make money in stock (assuming you have marketable work) is to utilize the power of the web, and create your own commerce site.

    This has worked for me (plus a really good agent), but it seems like it will be years before any of this shakes out as a true win for content creators because so much work is spread out over so many sites. So I am (pleasantly) surprised to hear that photographer web sites is your #1 stock source.

  6. Yes. We all got paid for the shoots as we normally would. I got lucky and got paid for the shoots in addition to usage of the original image.
    #5: ‘Slavery’ is a harsh word.

  7. I am glad to hear that a photo editor likes the idea of going to a photographers site. That is what I am banking on in the future as the business continues to change. This is why I, like Josh above (#1) have spent so much time and energy populating my own searchable archive of stock images (also powered by PhotoShelter) on my personal website. (

    I now have close to 18,000 sports images (mostly baseball) starting in 1986 to the current day in my online archive. Last year I had over 4,000 chromes scanned, captioned and uploaded to my archive. For the first time in my life I can sell my own images to any editorial stock buyer from anywhere in the world- thanks to an amazing web-based back end. This is a very empowering feeling.

  8. @6. Michael: The best photos I’ve published came from photographers websites. Many stock covers, TOC’s, openers, gallery shots and photo portfolios. I published a 5 page photo portfolio just before leaving MJ that I found on Camille Seaman’s website. Traditional stock houses provided the majority of the stuff we published but not the best.

  9. i have had ad agencies do screen captures of images on my web site and email and ask for a quote. most of my stuff is with a stock agency so i still need to go to the stock house to negociate the price.
    never heard back from them, which leads me to believe maybe they were fishing for a cheaper price.

  10. #3 is right. Sometimes I get calls for stock that is not even on my website as the client knows that there is the possibility that some of the work on my website is under contract. Still, it is always encouraging to see photo editors and art buyers going to photographers websites before the stock companies.

  11. Brenda Milis

    Don’t forget that there may not only be contractual holdups/embargos, but issues with model releases in re-publishing images shot for another publication or campaign…

  12. This wont work for me. Editors who come in to my homepage will take everything but pay nothing. Interesting: one was sent away cause of his really bad offer and after that he bought the photo for more money on my portfolio on getty.

  13. Yay! I love the idea of selling stock from my own website. I’m hiring an intern to help me manage the catalog (among other things).

    @Olaf: haha! I had a guy make a “generous offer” that’s about 1/10th what I would accept. I told him as much. A week later he contacted me again and made the same offer. I told him again that he needed to offer more. A week later he contacted me again and offered even less. I wonder what he’ll do next…