Thursday, April 9, 2009

Big(ish) sales on micro stock photography sites

The usually heated debate about the merits vs inherent evilness of micro stock photography is really tired and, frankly, academic by now. Like it or not micro pricing is a reality and the only real question for stock photographers is if and how they want to be active in this section of the market. It's never been an easy decision for many photographers and I believe is becoming harder as the pricing differentials between the various business models of photo agencies are becoming increasingly blurred.

While the price points and returns to photographers from micros have been creeping up many photographers with traditional agencies are finding RPI (returns per image) being increasingly pressured downwards and sales generally dropping off. I have a foot in both camps and can say my own experience is reflecting this.

Increasigly with my 'traditional' agencies I'm finding many sales in the $20 - $50 range and fewer over $100. After commissions this puts the return to me in the same ball park as an extended licence type sale on a micro, or a few good sized regular downloads; which are a lot more reliable! I've mulled this point recently as one micro site, canstockphoto, has suddenly become a much more attractive place to market photos. The reason is a tie-in with, a long established portal for stock photos. This has obviously helped drive traffic to can stock photo, which I'd previously found too quiet, and increased downloads generally.

However, it has also suddenly opened up images with canstock to the possiblity of 'regular' downloads which attract more 'traditional' fees. In the past month I've had two of these netting me commissions better than some of my sales at Alamy, on top of an improvement in the steady flow of micro priced downloads. It has definitely put can stock photo back on my list of sites worth uploading new images for the micro market to.