Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Future prospects in microstock

Following on from my previous post on the current opportunities to make money selling photos through microstock agencies here are a couple of observations that I think are worth both new and exisitng contributors pondering.

A few years ago early adopters of the microstock model could pretty much throw their shovel in the air, dig where it landed and make some money. You could shoot anything and everything, upload and see some downloads. That approach will not work now with photography, the market is saturated with enough general imagery that anything new that isn't different and/or exceptional in some way will have, at best, only modest success. A more targeted approach is required, to use an internet business buzz word, you need a niche.

A niche may be subject matter, a particular style of photography, a unique take you have on your subject, or a combination of these things. For many photographers this is not necessarily an easy thing to find or develop; I know I haven't developed one and I probably need to if I'm going to improve my microstock returns. The first step I have at least taken; realisation that it would be a good idea to think about this and work a bit smarter! If you're thinking along these lines too take a look at picniche and see if any areas you might be able to shoot jump out!

Of course there are always exceptions and new opportunities. Many of the microstock agencies now accept video footage in addition to photos and vectors. Where any given subject or category will have many many thousands of images there will be far fewer footage clips currently available. Video could well be the new frontier and there is still time to get in early! With the release of the D90 Nikon opened up the possibility of creating high quality footage without needing too much extra gear so many microstockers already have the tools to shoot video. There is no doubt extra work, time, bandwith etc etc when working with video but to balance this licence fees are significantly higher and the competition is currently much less formidable!

1 comment:

Laurent said...

I agree totally on all your points:)