The War On Photographers – Part 2 Of 5 – And Time Marches On

More and more websites started offering news and articles and became very topic-specific. Advertising money started shifting from print publications and television to online markets. Magazines and newspapers had to tighten their belts, or would just close down. Photographers were being paid less and had fewer outlets for their images. All of this resulted in:

  • Ad agencies, magazines and other businesses that use photos paid less or used stock/microstock as the source of their photographs, videos and artwork. This further reduced the outlets for photographers to sell their work at a decent price.
  • Stock sites, especially microstock sites, charge only pennies to use a photograph in any way the purchaser wants, as often as they want, for as long as they want. This destroyed the old high-paying stock photography market. Photographers, who relied on money from high-paying stock sales, saw a huge drop in their income. They also had to create new revenue streams.
    • I just started putting photos on stock and microstock sites. One microstock site pays me $0.35 per image and I can’t take any money out until I have $100 in my account. In order to make money in microstock you need to have a lot of images on the site. The top contributor on one site has uploaded 500,000 images. On another site, the top contributor has 1,200,000 uploaded images. I can’t imagine how much time they spent uploading, titling and key wording each of these photos. By having so many images on a site though, some of their photos will show in almost every image search.
    • In 2009, Time Magazine used a microstock photo on its cover for the first time. Time Magazine usually paid in the neighborhood of $3,000 for an original cover image or $1,500 for a stock photo. They licensed this image from iStock photo for only $30.00. Somewhere, a photographer lost a lot of income.

One of the biggest changes to hit, and hurt, photography is digitization. But then, digitization has hurt every industry that it has taken over. While digitizing an industry makes using it easier on the consumer, the creators and providers lose a huge amount of money. This is because they can no longer control the use and distribution of their products.

Check the next part of this series where I go into detail about digitization, and how it has impacted various industries.

Have Fun,