Got Leverage?



The Digital Age has “flattened out” the stock photo world.

The Internet has catapulted individual editorial stock photographers to a position where they have more leverage than ever.

Now that we photographers have Google et al on our side, it's very easy for a photobuyer to use their researching skills and come up with a picture that just a decade ago would have been nearly impossible to find -- let alone purchase -- in a workable amount of time.

If you review publications from the last century, you'll notice photobuyers leaned toward making-do with easy-to-locate pictures (generic) that they slapped in the layout, and then moved on to the next project. Today's sophisticated reader expects more. The search engines today, based on search of text descriptions of images, provide avenues for researchers to find more specific pictures; "best" pictures instead of second-best.


PHOTO: Mangin Photography

The result: happy researchers and happy photobuyers. Check out and you'll see how photographers are getting aboard this new 'text-centric' way of providing images to stock buyers. With digital image technology, the "editorial stock photography" needs haven't changed from the days of transparencies. What has changed for the editorial stock photographer, is the delivery of pictures (speedy!), the absence of worries about losing a transparency (legal issues!), and a work flow that allows a photographer to make production decisions (control!).

Most editorial buyers are now looking for highly specific pictures. These images make their productions, periodicals, magazine articles, textbooks, more unique, and more appealing to their readers. If a photo researcher can find an image that is not generic (i.e. general content that anyone could use), but rather, specifically matches the writing content of the production project, they are successful at their job. Researchers have recognized the value of text-centric searching.

Any photographer these days who has a deep selection of images in a specific category, is a very important resource to a target group of photobuyers out there whose "publishing theme" focuses on that category. These buyers' monthly budgets for photography can range from $20,000 per month to $90,000 per month.

You'll continue to find a home in today's editorial stock photography field if you use the leverage of the Internet and photograph subject areas that please you, and match your subject areas with the subject focus of specific publishing houses and magazines.

As an editorial stock photographer you are going to find much more enjoyment when you are photographing subject matter that you like to take. Learn more about how to sell those pictures at PhotoSource International and the PhotoSourceBANK, Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Rohn Engh is director of and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. E-mail: Fax: 1 715 248 3800;

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