Photoshelter Stops Selling Stock

- - Stock

Effective 10/10/2008, The PhotoShelter Collection will discontinue stock photo licensing.

We’ve made a strategic decision to focus our efforts on enhancing our original product, The Personal Archive.

Explanation (here).

There Are 45 Comments On This Article.

  1. Dam, I only signed up last month. That is too bad really, as while I was not really expecting to make a killing of stock, it was nice having a free critique service :)

    Having said that, I found the editors to be a lot more “Old School” during the image selection process then I expected after having reviewed the collection at the beginning.

    Just for fun, my link is my Photoshelter stuff, which will be gone soon.

  2. bad enough …
    how many photographers did they have at the end ? .. with how many images ?
    a tremendous amount of working hours of photographers blown by the wind … (besides all the hope…)

    This example shows clearly one of the dark sides of stockphotography. There are many (too many?) stock agencies out there, and many of them just ‘internet based’. Some really do rely on the traffic from search engines (= google) only, without a broad client base.

    Stock photography is pretty much a ‘numbers game’ (more images .. more sales) and most of the work has to be done by the contributing photographer . Title, caption/description and keywording, rejections, etc, etc …. From a photographer’s POV this work has to be seen as an investment in the future (future sales) …
    And after all … the agency goes broke and closes doors …

    There have been approx. 200 american car manufacturers in history. The demand for automobiles was there (and still is) … but nowadays there are the big 3 only.

    There is for sure a demand for stock photos (and increasing, imho) … but the questions is: who will survive in the long run ? … where to upload ? .. who will be next (closing doors) ?

    however … I guess, there will be a lot of drinking today ..

    best, Reini

  3. It’s unfortunate. I was excited about the PSC and it seems that many other people were, as well. It seems like 10 months isn’t long enough to really gauge how well they were going to do and the potential that they had.

    I had signed up with the PSC before they even opened their “doors” and had spent hours and hours shooting/uploading/keywording images, and I actually just set up 6 shoots in the next 2 weeks focused solely on stock for PSC.

    I didn’t expect to sell many images before a year on the PhotoShelter Collection and I guess I’m just shocked that they did.

    I’m hoping that they have grand plans for the Personal Archive and closing PSC was just a strategic move to make the PA stronger.

  4. I thought they had potential and invested some images/time accordingly, so this seemed to come a bit out of nowhere. But I’m sure sure the writing was on the wall, somewhere. So it goes…

  5. I am deeply saddened by this. I, like many, had high hopes for the Photoshelter Collection I guess I will, sadly, return to submitting to Alamy… I have always thought that Alamy was the “PC” to Photsehlter’s “Mac”!

  6. Got the email from them today (I have a PS account but hadn’t got around to shooting for PSC yet).

    It’s too bad because it seemed like they put a lot of effort/resources into building and promoting that part of their business. I thought the “School of Stock” resources were very educational.

    I do have to commend them for having the guts to “pull the plug” once they realized it wasn’t working. A lot of businesses burn through way to much money because they can’t swallow their pride, admit failure, and move on to the next idea.

  7. Hey Eric and all,

    Seems to me they were a bit ill prepared or short sited. I mean to pull the plug after only several months in business doesn’t seem like a very well thought out plan was in place. I could be completely wrong, but I really have to wonder about doing business with them in the future. I mean I see these agencies as a partnership (Am I alone in this?). We all know how it works, the photographer provides the imagery/content to sell and the agency provides the backbone and clients. Usually a good fair deal. Though now if I had just gotten the rug pulled out from under me from such a partner I’m not so sure I would be partnering up with them again all to soon.

    However, like you said they had the guts to do this. Though I still can’t shake the thought and wonder how the guts feel of those who spent the time and effort into investing with them with their imagery? I suppose one could say we should have seen it coming, but it still feels like the curtain go peeled back all of a sudden. Well time to click your heels together.

  8. @Allen

    Good points. Like I said, I had a PS account but wasn’t very active with it. I have no idea how transparent PS was with their photogs about the health/growth of this business.

    If I had invested a lot of time and money into creating stock for PSC, only to have them pull the plug with no warning, I’d probably be hesitant to work with them in the future.

    Also, they seem to put a lot of the blame on the complexities of licensing … I don’t totally buy that. I think that’s what the web/technology is about: making things like licensing easier.

    I also don’t think Getty has to be the only profitable/dominant player.

  9. @ Erik

    I think that’s actually what is the most shocking about this whole thing is that PhotoShelter did a REALLY good job of making it seem like everything was going amazingly well. They just announced their “Shoot The Day!” winners a couple days ago, and about a week ago rolled out their “What’s Selling” feature that highlighted images that were selling for close to $10,000.

    There were no signs from them and they were definitely not transparent about what was happening. As Allen said, the situation should have been treated as a partnership, but it turns out it was hardly treated as one at all. Their photographers/contributors/”partners” learned of the news at the same exact time that everyone else did, from an email sent after they had already posted blogs and a press release.

    But! This is the way the game works, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

  10. This was certainly an interesting bit of news. Last year around this time I was struggling to decide between joining PhotoShelter or Digital Railroad. Not an easy choice. I ended up going with DRR who also offers ‘marketplace’ which is similar to the photoshelter collection. I hope that DRR’s marketplace can survive! Though I haven’t actually used marketplace yet I’m curious to try it out.

    All the work photographers put into images for the PSC should be easily transferred over to other stock agencies or DRR’s marketplace I think.

  11. I agree with Allen and Sara.

    Further, in their parting words, Photoshelter essentially blames their failure on Getty Images.

    They’ve stated they are financially stable and just had their biggest sales month ever… does PS CEO Allen Murabayashi believe that Getty transformed into what is now overnight? It takes work. A year doesn’t cut it, you can’t take on a giant like Getty and only give it a year.

  12. Unfortunate for sure. i think what bothers myself as well as the others commenting is we wanted to believe in it. We as photographers wanted to see a reversal in the stock business where we were valued more and Getty might be forced to rethink. Truth is, it is a business. One that Getty nearly has a monopoly on. Can’t blame them, only despise their ethics and practices. I’ve dealt with them in the past. It does seem like PS jumped the gun and maybe didn’t have the most concrete business plan/model. Who knows. I do know it is hard to change peoples minds on their buying habits in such a short time. My friends who are art buyers and photo editors still name Getty as their go to agency for no other reason than ease, size and familiarity. They don’t care where they get the image; only that it fits, is priced appropriately, and can be found quickly. I am not sure how all this is going to change, I would merely have liked to have seen PS give it some more time, but if you are loosing money too quickly, the plug will always be pulled.

  13. It’s been said before but, I’ll say it again, there’s too damn many outlets offering stock out there and the race to the bottom of the river continues. That goes for photo website portals / portfolio sites etc. There is more money in selling services to photographers than there is in photography. Since digital became the standard, overhead costs and the ongoing costs of doing business as well as the barriers to entry (the costs associated with getting into the business) have soared while revenue from stock has plummeted. This won’t last forever and I think you’ll see the selection and quality of stock diminish further to the point where the real income will come from shooting custom stock for specific clients ( I do a lot of this for oil and gas and industrial companies). Generic lifestyle stock will most likely cease to be profitable on any scale and will become the domain of the part timers and hobbyists.

    Photographers are starting to wise up though, I believe uploading traffic to many of the microstocks has leveled off and photographers are discovering that the amount of work required to learn a portal’s system, upload, keyword, categorize and make a selection of images salable is just not worth the low return. I had about 10 images uploaded to PS when I decided it was never going to be viable because, frankly, the potential payoff was too low for the amount of work. It’s like buying scratch lotto tickets by the thousands. You’ll never get the time and money back in any rate that could be considered profitable. Look for more of the micros and mid level agencies to vanish, stock quality to diminish and top end shooters to drop all representation and establish direct relationships with heavy stock consumers who have a constant demand.

  14. Quickly building a company with massive overhead and a business plan where someone has to *give* you money to stay alive seems like a bad idea. Allen posted this on the PS blog:

    We raised a $4.2 million Series A round of venture funding about 2 years ago. This money was used to build the PhotoShelter Collection. Our growth plans included the need for a Series B round after about a year and a half of operation in order to take us into the next phase, but in order to raise a Series B, certain metrics needed to be hit – chief among them, sales figures.

  15. Another thing I should have mentioned, I talked to a client just last week who publishes a dozen different magazines and we were talking about stock and she said they never use PS, she called it too clumsy and she said that while they did use DRR sometimes, they found that overall, Alamy or custom stock were there biggest sources of imagery.

  16. Grover and Allan tried. They did it straight, they did it fair. They made mistakes but they closed up shop with honor.

    They are good guys in my book.

  17. I’ve had some images in PSC, but no sales. I’m glad I didn’t spend more time with submissions, although I was just getting ready to add a bunch more. I’m considering canceling my PS account also. I was testing PS as a possible alternate portfolio site, and to increase visibility, but I’m probably going to revamp my website gallery and drop that expense since it hasn’t brought my any more visibility that I can tell.

    It’s a bummer.

  18. The buzz was really starting to build around PSC and it’s a shame to see them go away so soon. Like a lot of people in the industry, we were hoping for a real David and Goliath story. We signed up a few months ago and although we never sold any images, we expected to in time. Yes, they just announced their shoot the day contest winners yesterday and it seemed like everything was going just fine. This news is sudden, and it’s a shock. A lot of people sound angry, hurt and disappointed. These are normal reactions to loss. Because it is a loss to the photo community. They were out there in the trenches for us, in a sense.

  19. @Steven: I don’t think you’re listening.

    It’s easy and cheap to engage in name-calling, when you have apparently not read the statements of Alan and others, and evidently know even less about what it takes to run a business like PSC.

    I’m with @Number 16.

  20. It was a shock and a disappointment to read the email from Allen. I had high hopes and thought eventually they would pull it off. But it can’t be easy to get financing in this economic environment. I certainly would have taken a lower percentage to keep it alive, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

    They did keep the sales figures close to the vest and obviously there wasn’t enough to hit there marks. It is sad because the concept was cool and many wanted it to succeed.

  21. The investors should shoulder much of the blame here. They pulled the plug. I’m sure the founders believed in the concept as much as everyone else did. The 10 month metric was likely absurd and unreachable. 10 months is when the long climb should begin. It’s the time when you feel like failure is immanent but instead you give it all you got and make it work. That’s what a photographer would do. These VC’s should go build casinos. The photo industry is not for wussies.

  22. hmm, not a shock. we seem to already have our coke and pepsi…a third cola, might be jupiter but certainly not photoshelter. it did really seem that they were making a push with all the recent activity and events…but it was in my opinion all marketed to photographers, about how to produce stock…holy up hill freakin battle if they gotta teach us how to take pictures AND compete with Getty. You think getty waste their time trying to teach us photography?

    it seems like the business model could have been, we dont really care if you license images as long as you pay us to host them.

    all that said…i just signed up with them for the Personal Archive service, which i like and hope they continue.

  23. This is really a shame. It is not often that a company in this industry sets out to not only make money, but give photographers a leg up in an effort to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. I was a part of the PSC based on principle of what I thought was right and fair to photographers. I felt respected. I defiantly wish where was a little more transparency, especially in the way things ended. I think they really needed to give it more time to even get and idea of what it could have become, but it was good while it lasted.

  24. Some of the above comments expose part of the problem that Photoshelter and Digital Railroad have in trying to change the industry, namely photographers themselves who think it will happen without them putting the required effort in. Three commenters either aren’t very active or haven’t got around or are glad they hadn’t done more. Why are you there then?
    I’m with DRR and I see the same half hearted and neglected archives over and over again. People seem to think just uploading a few images is going to do business for them. I see images with NO keywords! If these archives are going to work we have to work twice as hard as the next guy in order to beat the big bad wolf that is Getty at their own game.
    I think its a great shame that PSC shut down but I applaud them for doing the honourable thing rather than taking the whole thing down with it.

  25. I’m with PE’s posts.

    I think the internet boom of 2001 is coming back in the business community like a bad case of acid reflux – what investor really thinks a small business entering a mature market (with many VERY large players) can turn a profit so quickly?

    I hate to say it, but when you’re dealing with a deadline-based industry such as photography/advertising/editorial, the content isn’t nearly as important as the company’s ability to supply X _____ service efficiently, whether it’s images or widgets or music or whatever. If the picture is great, then even better, but if you can’t get a picture that meets your basic needs by deadline, then nobody is going to slog through a slow kludgy process to get even exceptional images which come in after deadline.

    Perhaps a collective would be the way to go since the content generators would be the investors, so they would naturally have more tolerance and an immediate monetary return wouldn’t be their sole motivation.

  26. I too agree with Number 16. These guys built a pretty cool system with a back end that their contributors love and I think they should be applauded for the efforts, and the way they’re closing it down. Who doesn’t want someone else to succeed other than Getty? Who doesn’t know that other archives will undercut whomever they have to to get a pic on a page? Who doesn’t know that editors go to their pre-existing subscription agreements rather than pay a per-picture fee for something better/different? I can’t say I would encourage anyone to start a new archive these days for the reasons these guys say they’re closing but I still support anyone with the balls to do so. DRR is lauding it but I don’t see why they’re so special.

  27. Honestly, I hate sounding negative, but these “free,” “we’ll take anything you shoot” sites will never survive. Much like the “we’ll accept any photographer” web portals. Each are full of “non-professional” images and “advanced amateur” photographers. Photo Editors, Art Directors and other creatives simply do not have the time to search through countless pages of “less than great images” or “less than great photographers.” Over the past 7 months, I have spoken with over 100 PE’s, AD’s and CD’s at magazines, ad agencies and many small companies…none of them had ever hired a photographer off Photoshelter, Flickr, Google or any “free” web portal., yes,, yes, photo blogs, surprisingly, yes! Each one stated that “free sites” are 90% amateur! What happened to the “portfolio review?” Sometimes a “photographer?” needs to be told…”NO.”

  28. #24 – exactly.


    Before you cast stones on the PS team and react in anger to the suddenness of this news I encourage you to pause and recognize the real effort and equity they have invested to do something great for all of us. Acknowledge what they attempted to do to help drive badly needed change in an industry desperately in need of change. The existing models are choking the life out of our creative community and there are precious few not only standing up for the community but also working hard to create new technology and new solutions to really evolve it. While it is easy to be critical of their execution and resulting progress in hindsight, from the perspective of someone very much inside this industry, they did a lot. This is a loss to our industry and my sympathies are with those at PS who have lost their jobs and those in the PSC who have lost their faith. The battle to reinvent the business and technology of photography is far from over.

    Unfortunately for all of us the venture capital market in general has very little understanding of our industry and even less patience. Many VC’s are a lot like those PSC contributors posting comments three months into the PS Collection’s life complaining that they had not made any sales and were ready to drop out. Little understanding of the dynamics of building a stock photo sales channel combined with ingrained risk-adverse conditioning common to VC’s put a gun to the head of a business only in its infancy. The PSC’s demise was truly premature – and clearly not wholly in the hands of the PS team. That said, now having made the hard choices, there is every reason to believe that PS will succeed – refocused and driving hard – with your support.

  29. Ask anyone in the Stock Agency Business… Only a very small number of contributers actually contribute to the profit of the company. PhotoShelter had the difficulty of attempting to take those profitable contributers away from Getty/Corbis. Lets face it…how many photogs were really counting on making $70,000 – $80,000 a year from PhotoShelter sales – everyone considered it more of an easy way to make a little side money…Getty/Corbis however, have dozens of shooters that count on their stock sales to pay their mortgages. The serious players in the stock industry are not going to easily leave their agency that they have relied on for years. It would take another 10 years of market presence for PhotoShelter to put a dent in that industry. It is a good idea, but has mostly been popular among mid-level stock shooters that don’t want to go down the micro-stock world.

  30. “10 months is when the long climb should begin.”
    Not really.
    Business is like horseracing.
    Winners hit the ground running much more often than not.
    Early speed is the best predictor of winning or being in the money.
    Exceptions, yes. Now go look up “exceptions” in Wikipedia.

    I belong to a bunch of nonG nonC nonexclusive agencies.
    I didn’t join this one because it was a workflow cobweb.

  31. agree w ape/24 – give any new vc funded biz 4-7 yrs to see what it is made of… 10 months, that’s for a corner chicken place. (Think of Mac or for that matter Getty after 10 months)

    Further, I would guess that w enough smart people doing the legwork, and w careful spending, photoshelter had a great chance after a few years. Probably will come back in some form (guessing w/out knowing)…

  32. No good news anyway.

    I think there are too many general stock agencies out there. Unless an agency has a very specific niche it will be very difficult for them to compete with Getty & Corbis.

  33. Most “overnight successes” come after years of back breaking work – just ask any musician who made it to the big time. Jerry Seinfeld did one nighters on the road for twenty years before his “sudden” success. I agree with Rob – blame the VC people who thought that this business was a commodity that could be sold like soap and cereal.

    I blame Allen and Grover too, although they made a valiant effort which deserves kudos. They were so wrapped up in the world of Flickr and Web 2.0 that they forgot that these are social models, not business ones. However, they treated photographers fairly and well and should be commended for that. I knew something was up months ago when my checks were (still) being signed by hand, by Allen. At that point they should have been so busy that he didn’t have time to write contributor’s checks.

    I had rejects from PSC that were model released Lifestyle, which is a high demand category for most Agencies, because – get this, they were “too commercial”. Shoot! The Blog was mainly about art and not commerce. I can be as artsy fartsy as the next guy, but this was supposed to be a business for Pete’s sake. Commerce seemed to be too crass for PSC and they paid for it. They should have taken Deep Throat’s advice to Bob Woodward – “follow the money”

    Like everyone else though, the sudden end came as a surprise to me, I thought that they would adapt rather than die. Too bad. Time for a few stiff drinks and ponder the future of Stock.

  34. What bothers me as well as many others is that there has not been one e-mail sent out to the Archive members stating what will happen in the future, … if anything!

  35. It’s always easy to be ‘wise’ when things are gone already …
    There was a lot of talking about PSC in the streets and it was brought to my attention too, so I decided to give it a try.

    – When I launched their website for the very first time I thought it’s just a community or another photo related portal, a video blog … or whatever and closed the site again. I did retry some days later, looking around a bit more and was finally able to find the entry for the agency…
    A new client (image buyer) could have seen it in a similar way … and very often there is only ONE chance and in the world of www decisions are often done in seconds (to stay or surf away …
    Why is Google (unfortunately) the ‘one and only’ nowadays ? Launch their site, it’s a big white blanket with just a search box. Launch one of the sites of it’s competitors (are there any?) and you get a portal with 1000 links and useless stuff, you’ll have to look around for a minute to locate the search box,etc …

    – Next step I did was the initial submission of 5 images. After a week or so all 5 get the ‘approved’ stamp (wow) and I brought 4 of the images to life (for sale). Image number 5 did need a model release and I don’t like to upload and manage model/property releases – that’s micro stock behaviour. All other (macro)agencies I’m with (and have been with in history) do trust their contributors in that way. Even ‘big’ Alamy does.
    However, I did study PSC’s rules about title, caption and read about their ‘tagonomy keyword thingo’.
    When my images did say ‘hello world’ I tried to find them. But what a big surprise ! The PSC’s search engine was the worst one I’ve ever seen (sorry for that, but’s a fact)
    – it mainly relied on the single keyword(s) only)…. ‘car woman’ did bring up my images. But ‘woman in car’ or ‘woman and car’ or ‘woman with car’ … no way.
    Why ? .. because the terms ‘in, and, with, etc ‘ haven’t been keyworded (of course). Sorry, but even the most stupid search engine on the web doesn’t take such stop words into account. The way out would have been to include these words at least in the description field.
    In addition, the tagonomy system did have it’s own mind and did make it’s own decision. Images with a woman driving a car I keyworded woman, car, driver, driving, etc.. Tagonomy decided to keep the word driver only … and a search ‘woman driving car’ didn’t bring up my image. Just some examples, there have been others ..

    With a stock photo agency it’s ALL about the search engine. Buyer like to find images very quickly. To rely on single keywords (not phrases) is a bad way. An image buyer likes to narrow down the search and wouldn’t type in ‘woman car’. S/he would use:
    ‘stylish single white mature caucasian woman 40 + blonde hair wearing a headscarf and driving in a bright red british convertible on vacation red lips with a big smile on her face and a pet dog in the backseat [RM, model release, dog release]’ (kidding *smile)
    Alamy (e.g) does show their contributors the phrases buyers do use. A good way to study. They are similar to the example above (a bit shorter *smile).
    – And I’m not quite sure if it’s a good way to start a new agency and use the (high) prices of ‘foto quote’ AND let the contributors decide if they like to sell their images to the standard quotes, or higher or lower.
    This way an image buyer is faced with different quotes for similar images … maybe a bit confusing ??? Maybe this doesn’t look very ‘serious’ ?

    – PSC did put a lot of work in the community. That’s ok, and for sure a reason why most contributors did love it and are very sad it’s gone now. But an agency isn’t a community and maybe it would have been better to invest in other thingos first (e.g. a workable search engine ?)

    – Hiring Getty people sounds very good at a first glance. But Getty was always number 1 and they never had to ‘fight’ the market very much.
    Maybe it would have been better idea to hire (at least as a consultant) a ‘hard core pro stocker’ like e.g. Dan Heller who did learn the biz the ‘hard way’.

    Imho, one of the BIGGEST mistakes many agencies do: they like to be ‘wiser’ than their clients and try to ‘edit’ on their own.
    That’s ok for a ’boutique style’ agency, but maybe not the best advice for a ‘general agency’.
    Alamy (just for example) checks for the required file size, noise and sharpness. And that’s it !!! They (usually) even don’t care about blown highlights, dark shadows, if the image is well litted, or if the image is ‘marketable’. They let their clients decide.
    Some agencies do show (to their contributors only) what sells each day (showing the image and the prices they got for it).
    You would be surprised – really surprised – what sells !!! (most surprised are the photographers who did the images *smile).
    90% of this imagery would never ever have made it on a microstock site (that’s very good!) nor on a ‘edited collection’. All these agencies have really, really great photos in their collection as well (and great photographers) … But I’ve never ever seen one of these great images selling – Never !

    Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Maybe pro-image (and educated) buyers like APE & co. do use the the boutiques. But I assume many buyers (one-man and small companies) just fire up their PCs and do surf the agencies. They don’t have the money for advertising agencies. Maybe they give an order to their secretary ‘Hey girlie, look out for an image for our new flyer’. And ‘girlie’ surfs around, finds an image that looks very nice to her. She isn’t an educated art buyer, no photographer by herself, she never have heard about image composition or blown highlight, or whatever … she just likes the image and hits the buy button …

    – And who are the agency-people who do edit the images? Looking at 100’s or even 1000’s of images day by day?Pixelpeeping at 100% and have to decide (within a second or two) if is this image is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, marketable, and giving it an internal rank … maybe looking at a thumbnail only ?

    – Like Andrew above I had the funniest rejections. ‘Editors’ who didn’t know the difference between noise and lens-bokeh … ‘sorry, no editorial value’ rejections (for covershots) … rejections for ‘brand logos’ (statement: when increased to 600 % a logo ‘could’ be seen on the knob of a model’s jeans (I’m not kidding !) … lack of composition (for awarded images) and so on , and so on … sometimes very weird …

    Microstock agencies are the worst of all ,they see things in images that aren’t even there … but that’s good, that allows tremendous sale potential for others

    anyway ….

    At least PSC tried to fight the market and that was good !!!

    I just liked to use PSC as a ‘case study’ to indicate some points when looking for a new agencies.

    But it’s just ONE opinion .. and as always your mileage may vary.
    And I wouldn’t die for this ‘point of view’ – I could be wrong …

    sorry .. a long one …
    sorry for bad english too .. I’m not a native speaker

    Best, Reini

  36. Reinfried – the point that I was trying to make is that I didn’t consider the rejections “funny” – although the editing lacked consistancy – my point was that for a business to reject something as “too commercial” shows a distaste for commerce, the backbone of any business.

    I think that PSC was so wrapped up and in love with the social aspects of Web 2.0 that they thought it was a business model. As a teenager in the 1960’s I can relate to “people power” and “we will change the world”, but that’s not good business and the money men pulled the plug on a group of latter day hippies.

    The fact that they had 25,000 plus contributors demonstrates that they had a lot of weekend shooters, just like the Microstock sites, yet they weren’t charging Microstock prices. That’s the crux of the issue right there, PSC were trying to build a community and not a business.

  37. Reinfried – hit the nail on the head:

    “Alamy (just for example) checks for the required file size, noise and sharpness. And that’s it !!! They (usually) even don’t care about blown highlights, dark shadows, if the image is well litted, or if the image is ‘marketable’. They let their clients decide.”

    Alamy also use their site technology and the customers to track the views of images so that they can filter out the non sellers so that people don’t see the less attractive images unless that’s what they are looking for. they do to a small extent filter images that are ‘similar’ but they know that editors will want to choose subtly different images for their publication. I for one am sick of images being rejected for having blown highlights and too shallow DOF, and it’s not because I don’t know how to meter or set an appropriate aperture, i see identical style food photography used every day.

    I was surprised that photoshelter did not make a viable business, but i don’t think they will be the last challenge to the royalty free collections of getty and corbis.