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Making Money in Stock Now

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Presentation given at PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2010 by Lee Torrens, Jonathan Ross, Ellen Boughn and Sarah Fix

Presentation given at PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2010 by Lee Torrens, Jonathan Ross, Ellen Boughn and Sarah Fix

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  • Industry guru
    Consultant, appraiser, expert witness
    New author...

  • Creative Director of Blend Images
    Career full of industry experience
    Photographer herself

  • Stock photographer (Andersen Ross)
    Participating at all levels
    New collection Spaces...

  • Microstock blogger
    Aspiring stock photographer


  • Currently producing: microstock, traditional, both?
    Interested in starting?
    Agencies? Service providers? Buyers? “Artists”?

  • Original microstock subscription
    Here in NY
    Daryl official tweeter
  • Division of Random House
    Publisher of Ellen’s Book
    Exhibiting - lots of books for photographers

  • Sarah: Are agencies making money? Is that the place to be in the stock photo industry?
    Jonathan: What do you see in terms of the growth/decline of agency revenue across the entire market?
    Ellen: Your consulting gives you a great insight. Without compromising confidentiality, are the agencies making money?
  • Sarah: How are royalty rates and sales volumes moving at Blend?
    Jonathan: Average royalty rates going up or down?
    Ellen: If royalty rates are low and/or going down, does that mean agencies are making money?
  • Everyone: What are people saying about the revenue of agencies and the market in general?

  • Jonathan: You’re an established and successful stock photographer. Among yourself and your peers, are stock producers making money in stock?
    Ellen: What are your consulting clients saying? Are established stock photographers asking for advice about investing their fortunes or about a career change?
  • Sarah: Blend was founded by established stock photographers, but what’s the mix today? Do you have a lot of new stock photographers joining or is the portfolio still dominated by established photographers?
  • Jonathan: You work in a team. How many people work on a shoot from pre to post? Do you ever work alone? What do you like about the different ways of working?
    Ellen: From your consulting clients do you get a sense for how many are working with teams? Large or small?
  • Jonathan: Which outsourcing service providers do you use?
    Ellen: Can you recommend any other outsourcing providers in the industry?
  • Sarah: How tight is the edit at Blend? Is there a clear preference among photographers for tighter or looser edits? Which do you see working best for the contributor?
    Ellen: What do you see working best in the market?
    Jonathan: What works best for you in the different markets?
  • Sarah: From what’s submitted to Blend, what would you say is the mix of studio versus location shot content?
    Jonathan: What’s your mix of studio versus location?
  • Jonathan: do you shoot locally or travel?
    Ellen: what do you see?
  • Jonathan: what’s selling best for you at the moment?
    Sarah: Blend is a niche agency, but within that context can you tell us what subjects, themes, and styles you’re seeing sell?
    Ellen: Can we trust the research reports published by the big agencies?
  • Ellen: You presented on selling direct here at PPE last year. Can you give us a quick intro to selling direct? What’s involved? What services does one need? Who are they? Does it work?
  • Sarah: How does one get a contract with Blend?
    Jonathan: Do you contribute directly to the big agencies or do you go through distributors?
    Ellen: What advice do you give your consulting clients who are interested in getting contracts with big agencies?
    Ellen: And your book tells people everything they need to know to get started in microstock, right?
  • Everyone: What’s best: shoot for the market, or find the market for your shots?
  • Jonathan: What are you seeing in your returns? What’s currently earning more, and which is growing fastest?
    Ellen: What advice are you giving consulting clients about which market to play in?
    Sarah: Are most of Blend’s contributing photographers sticking with traditional RF or are they playing with microstock too?
  • (explain that we’re talking “per image, per month”, not per year)
    RM: Jonathan: Can you share your experience and how you believe that compares to the market?
    RF: Sarah: You’ll have great insight into RF earnings. What’s typical at Blend and out in the wider market?
    Micro: Jonathan: What’s your experience with microstock?
    Micro: Ellen: What do you see as typical RPI in microstock?
    Ellen: Selling direct must surely produce a very wide range of returns, but what do you see as being typical for a stocky-stock photographer or average-to-high quality?
    Everyone: Who can tell us the story of Jim Erickson? What makes him such an example for stock photographers?
  • Everyone: Speaking generally, are stock photographers on welfare or taking their summers in the Hamptons?
  • Jonathan: Tell us a little about what equipment you use in a shoot. How much is there?
    Ellen: What range or shoot budgets are you seeing among your consulting clients?
  • Sarah: Are any of the Blend contributors part time, or have their career in another branch of photography other than stock?
  • Jonathan: Are you gifted or did you work your way up to where you are?
    Ellen: Can you spot talent in a portfolio review? Is there hope for those of us without natural talent?
  • Everyone: What’s the best way to improve as a stock photographer?
  • Ellen: Are any of your consulting clients newbies and successful?
    Jonathan: What are the challenges you see for people starting out today?
    What do people starting out need to focus on? Profit? Growth? More gear? Fun?
    Sarah: what do you see among the Blend photographers? What do the most successful photographers focus on?
  • Sarah: do you see a pathway? Do some contributors come to Blend (primarily RF) from RM and/or from microstock?
  • Ellen: what’s the advice for a photographer who has some capital to invest in their stock photo business upfront? Are they better off buying Apple stock?
    Jonathan: If an aspiring stock photographer doesn’t have any money to invest, how difficult is it going to be to reach the point where they can survive from their stock income?













  • Thanks to speakers. Thanks to PDN, thanks to our sponsors, thanks for coming.

    * What’s the deal with stock photography and sharing of information? Everyone gives away their methods and processes, which in any other business are competitive secrets. Why is stock different?
    * What’s the one stock shot you wish you had shot?
    * What’s the best criteria to use when choosing an agency, traditional or microstock?
    * Where in the world are people traveling to shoot stock? Why those places?
    * Mac or PC?
    * What industry websites are in your feed reader?
    * Who is your favorite stock photographer of all time, and why?

Transcript

  • 1. MAKING MONEY IN STOCK NOW
  • 2. WHO ARE WE?
  • 3. ELLEN BOUGHN ellenboughn.com
  • 4. SARAH FIX blendimages.com
  • 5. JONATHAN ROSS andersenross.com
  • 6. LEE TORRENS microstockdiaries.com
  • 7. WHO ARE YOU?
  • 8. THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
  • 9. SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • 10. WWW.RANDOMHOUSE.COM/CROWN/AMPHOTO-BOOKS/
  • 11. WHAT WE’LL COVER • Who’s making the money? • What are they doing? • What’s the best way to sell stock? • How much are stock photographers making? • What does it take? • Is it really possible to start today?
  • 12. Who’s Making the Money? AGENCIES? ARE AGENCIES MAKING MONEY? STILL?
  • 13. Who’s Making the Money? AGENCIES? WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE MARKET
  • 14. Who’s Making the Money? WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT THE REVENUE OF AGENCIES AND THE MARKET IN GENERAL?
  • 15. Who’s Making the Money? STOCK CONTRIBUTORS: ESTABLISHED STOCK PHOTOGRAPHERS? WHAT’S HAPPENING?
  • 16. Who’s Making the Money? STOCK CONTRIBUTORS: NEW STOCK PHOTOGRAPHERS?
  • 17. What are they doing? WORKING ALONE OR IN TEAMS?
  • 18. What are they doing? OUTSOURCING CERTAIN TASKS? WHO CAN PEOPLE OUTSOURCE TO?
  • 19. What are they doing? SHOOTING HIGH VOLUME, HIGH QUANTITY, OR BOTH?
  • 20. What are they doing? WHERE ARE THEY SHOOTING? IN STUDIO OR LOCATION?
  • 21. What are they doing? WHERE ARE THEY SHOOTING? IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY OR TRAVELING?
  • 22. What are they doing? WHAT ARE THEY SHOOTING? WHAT SUBJECTS ARE CURRENTLY SELLING WELL IN THE MARKET?
  • 23. What’s the best way to sell stock? • Traditional Rights Managed (RM) • Traditional Royalty Free (RF) • Microstock • Direct
  • 24. What’s the best way to sell stock? HOW TO GET INTO EACH ONE? HOW TO GET CONTRACTS WITH BIG AGENCIES?
  • 25. What’s the best way to sell stock? WHAT’S BEST: SHOOT FOR THE MARKET, OR FIND THE MARKET FOR YOUR SHOTS?
  • 26. What’s the best way to sell stock? WHICH MARKET HAS THE BEST CURRENT EARNING CAPABILITY, AND WHICH HAS THE BEST FUTURE POTENTIAL?
  • 27. How much are stock photographers making? RETURN PER IMAGE Revenue per image, per month • Traditional Rights Managed (RM) • Traditional Royalty Free (RF) • Microstock • Direct
  • 28. How much are stock photographers making? ABSOLUTE RETURNS: HOW MUCH (PER YEAR) ARE PEOPLE REALLY MAKING PRODUCING STOCK?
  • 29. What does it take? INVESTMENT? Equipment, working capital
  • 30. What does it take? CAN IT BE DONE PART TIME / AS A HOBBYIST?
  • 31. What does it take? TALENT OR PRACTICE?
  • 32. What does it take? BEST WAY TO LEARN AND IMPROVE?
  • 33. Is it really possible to start today? WHO ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE STARTED RECENTLY AND ARE SUCCESSFUL?
  • 34. Is it really possible to start today? IS THERE A LOGICAL PATHWAY? MICRO TO RF TO RM?
  • 35. Is it really possible to start today? IS IT BETTER TO SCALE UP ORGANICALLY OR INVEST UP FRONT?
  • 36. ANATOMY OF A BEST SELLER Elements of Ron Chapple’s best seller: Family Beach Day
  • 37. RESEARCH • Photos of family situations are consistently in the top three or four categories of best sellers. • They are important for editorial and promotion uses related to travel, banking, religion and all lifestyle uses • Key issues are casting, location and wardrobe
  • 38. LOCATION Backyard? Beach? Pool?
  • 39. GENERIC PLACE / GENERIC SEASON
  • 40. WARDROBE: SEASONAL NEUTRAL
  • 41. SIMPLE BUT VERY VERY SUCCESSFUL
  • 42. NON SPECIFIC LOCATION
  • 43. COULD BE SUMMER, FALL OR SPRING IN U.S.
  • 44. WARDROBE IS THE SAME PALETTE AS BACKGROUND
  • 45. COMPOSITION ALLOWS ROOM FOR TYPE OR PRODUCT INSERTS
  • 46. LOOKS LIKE AN AUTHENTIC AMERICAN FAMILY
  • 47. THANKS TO DREAMSTIME FOR USE OF PHOTOS
  • 48. CONCLUSIONS • Buy Ellen’s book • Buy AMPhoto Books • Contribute to Shutterstock • Contribute to Blend Images • Contribute to Spaces Images • Read Microstock Diaries • Do what works for you!
  • 49. QUESTIONS? • shutterstock.com • www.randomhouse.com/ crown/amphoto-books/ • ellenboughn.com • blendimages.com • spacesimages.com • microstockdiaries.com