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Professional photographers coming into microstock - a threat?

The microstock world is continuing to change, almost daily. It wasn't long a go when images supplied where almost from amateurs or semi-professional photographers. Images were shooted with compact cameras and there were half a million images in a typical microstock agency.

Today, all that is changed dramatically. For the better. I means, now images are of excellent quality and shooted with SLR camera. Archives of images in microstock agencies are in the order of millions and contributors too are hundred of thousands.

The last evolution of our world is that professional photographers from the once 'snob' world of macro stock, are coming... and the effect of this is seen.

Many feel threatened, because professional studios can submit from 500 to 1000 images monthly (the entire portfolio of an average experienced microstocker) and this 'flood' of images is killing revenues per image of many photographers, because they cannot compete with such a quality/quantity production of pictures.

I don't think the professionals coming into microstock is a negative thing. They can bring knowledge (and you can learn from them), competition (and you are stimulated to produce better images) and quality (and you must upgrade your gear, maybe...)

© Kurhan
© Nmedia

Photo credits: Jose Antonio Sánchez Reyes, Kurhan, Maxexphoto, Nmedia.

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April 15, 2009


hello preckas

I am afraid they are already studying a way to make the costs of producing images effective enough to be worth the efforts... :-)

This doesn't means that we individuals and semi-pro or simple hobbyst cannot make good photos and collect good sales. On the contrary.

April 15, 2009


Hi Marko

good point. I wanted to underline the huge amount of images that Iofoto, Monkeybusiness and Yuri Arcus for say some example, are able to produce on a month base as opposed to us, common individuals with our limitations.

But I never implied (sorry if sounded so) that I or you or somebody other would never get success because of lesser portfolio. Not at all. I agree with you totally that good work will get success.

have a nice creative day

April 14, 2009


No fear! How many current users have time to submit 1000 photos monthly? It would be full time job. Ant then there are daily upload limits too.

It is good that in stock photography what sells is photos not your reputation as photographer. So if your photos are selling then just continue your good work and you will improve over time.



April 14, 2009


I think it will force us amateurs to do better so in that aspect its a good thing.

Now, for a professional photographer to get into microstock its a matter of effort vs money. I dont know if they can make more money entering this market for the same effortthey would put in their traditional market. Therefore, I dont think it will be that great of a threat.

April 14, 2009


hi Creativei and budgestockphoto,

very good comments and analysis indeed. I personally think that professionals should share more of their knowledge and get used to the microstock spirit of 'giving and share' with other.

I was doing in one my blog posts an analysis of improvements during last year and relationship with portfolio increase. I'd like to do more, but I am not considering myself one of those Professionals with big guns... I'm still in my infancy, as a stock photographer.

In general, my guess is that probably the pro have less time to blog being all absorbed in trying to figure out how to beat or join the microstock... :-))

Is a strong possibility, budgestockphoto, as you say, that in the future there will be different micro agencies targeted to different customers and photographers.

April 13, 2009


Creativei you have a point about the 'community feel' that microstock has, at the moment the professional stock world seems not to have much of an online community spirit - just lots of separate photographers keeping themselves to themselves, although they do network. But I don't think that professionals coming into microstock will necessary change that, I think that if they adopt microstock they will (and already do) change their outlook as they realise that they can benefit from sharing and taking part in the community - there are lots of full time microstock photographers with blogs sharing tips and sales results etc.

I think the future will hold more diversity in microstock, some sites with a very high standard and higher prices, difficult for beginners; and other sites with cheaper prices, still 'good' quality images and more accepting of amateurs.

pricing will find it's own level, it will be the level that enough people are will to work for to make the agencies feasible.

April 13, 2009


Well its good professionals are coming into this arena, but Saniphoto about your blog, They can bring knowledge (and you can learn from them), competition How many professionals here do share the knowledge, tell me how many users are active in blogs and forums, hardly few, I can recall the users who are active in blog and forums. My friend very few pass the knowledge, if they pass that knowledge its not free always there is a fee.

April 13, 2009


I agree, its a good thing as it will force us to take better and better images, if we really want to survive/thrive in this industry.

April 13, 2009


I think the best thing to do when you meet a professional in the field is pick their brains... Get as much knowledge from them and then apply all the best bits to your life and career.

When I got into the computer field in college, I learned more about computers by sitting down with the professor then I did taking the classes.

You can put a price on images, but the knowledge behind producing those images is priceless.

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