A Huge Micro Stock Meteor

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Years ago I heard Tony Stone give a speech in which he said that “Someday a huge meteor will hit the earth and stock photography as we know it will cease to exist”. Is that meteor getting close? Could it be Micro?

via Ellen Boughn and the Future of Stock Photography. via, Bohemian.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. Saying that Micro will destroy stock photography is like saying that iTunes will destroy music. It only increases the long tail.

    Its almost like the photo industry is finally getting a dose of that same fear the music industry felt when mp3 use reached a critical mass.

  2. I couldn’t have said it better than Mason. Micro-Stock is definitely changing the way people are buying stock photo’s. It is tapping into a huge resource of small business owners that can’t necessarily justify the expense of buying from Getty or Corbis.

    The quality found on the Micros is now as good as anything you can find anywhere else out there including the big dogs. It is definitely here to stay.

  3. quality on Micros is as good as anything? Thats news to me! If you ask me even the quality of a lot of rights managed stuff is questionable compared what you find in other fields (magazines who dont use stock, art photobooks, commissioned campaignes and editorials etc)

    I think we need a better definition of quality, maybe even another name.

  4. The refrain I have heard from editors and art directors, who are having to look for stock via the micro sites, is that, while there is some good stuff out there, the time it takes to wade through the crap to find it ends up making the whole process not really all that much more cost effective.
    There are people who will find the sites valuable, but they are not for people to whom time is a pricey commodity.

  5. My opinion is that the resistance to Micro Stock during the massive rise in popularity is comparable to the photographers that were far too good and disciplined to switch to digital cameras with the firm belief they weren’t as good and would never be as good.

    Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion. I would encourage you to take a peek at Fotolia.com and browse through the database a while to check out the quality of images.


  6. OK, Mat, I looked at Fotolia. I used a common search phrase using two common keywords relative to my business. I came up with three shy of 1500 results, sorted by downloads. The top return had 137 downloads, and may have earned the shooter somewhere near $3o0.00. The 25th most popular had a dozen downloads, and made the photographer a few dollars. The 50th most popular had 7 downloads. So that mean 1450 images all had less than seven downloads, mere pennies to the photographer.

    Quality, you say?

    For 90% it all looked like your average camera club fare. Mind you this opinion given from someone who ran a niche agency for a world famous photographer, and continues to do freelance gigs as a photo researcher / editor as well as my own photography. Not only that, but I judge at camera clubs too, so I consider my assessment fairly accurate.


  7. Fair enough Gary. At least y0u were open minded enough to check it out to get a first hand opinion. I’m definitely biased as I do make money as a Micro Stock photographer and know of many highly talented photographers that make a substantial amount of money.

    I don’t see Micro’s going anywhere any time soon. Don’t discount the “photo club” guys either. Getty is trolling Flickr as we speak recruiting amateur’s to sell their work for them.

  8. ROI!

    Sure many can get by. Can earn enough for a modest living as long as they don’t get sick, old, or have a family with responsibilities. But most can not earn a good living, and many others can not even get a sustainable ROI.

    What happens when ADs DL 16 images @ $1.00 a pop, comp them all together to create a final image? None of the image components have to be great images as a whole. Most of the contributors will not make any sort of ROI.

    Welcome to crowdsourcing. Where large companies harvest your energy and talent for their own *exclusive* benefit.