Archive for March 2011

30 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: st

Recurring Sales

One-time sales for big money...
when you sell photos will always get attention, $400, 1,400, $4,000 -but like getting a big jackpot at the casino- it doesn’t happen often.

Rather than aim for the occasional jackpot, put your sights on multiple streams of income from your specialized target markets who may not pay large fees but will provide you with steady income –because they consider you an important resource.

Single big sales are good, but...MULTIPLE SALES ARE BETTER.

Every now and then, a commercial stock photographer says to us here at PhotoSource International, "I never sell a photo for less than $500." He goes on, "I don't see how you can survive at stock photography, selling photos for less than $500!"

His position has merit--if you are selling commercial stock photos on a one-shot basis, to clients you probably won't deal with a second time. In fact, the overhead cost of contacting and following up on the initial sale to any commercial client could eat up most of your profits.
The secret is to develop your business so that you are working vertically, specializing--rather than across the board (horizontally) as a generalist with your buyers.


Editorial stock photography lends itself to developing long-term working relationships with photo editors, with potential for continuing sales. (There's far less turnover among editorial photobuyers, in the book, magazine, and periodical industry, than among commercial photobuyers in the advertising, PR and corporate areas.)
If a photo editor pays an average of $200 per picture and you make 4 sales a year to him/her, that one photo editor really represents an $800 annual annuity for you (4 x $200). If that specialized market remains a client for you for 10 years - which is the industry average -- that one photo editor (or his “theme” publishing, even if that particular editor leaves), represents $8,000 in revenue for you, minimum.
If in one year you make a match with ten specialized photo editors, who need photos in the subject areas you like to photograph, with yearly sales of about $800 to each, you're talking about a $8,000 annual annuity. Over a 10-year period this translates to a total an $80,000 asset for you.
Again, editorial photo needs of “theme“ publishing houses remain the same, and photographers maintain them as clients on average of at least ten years. And remember this is on the basis of only four $200 photo sales per year to each publisher.
You may realize 20 times that or more, with each publishing house.
Effort put to keeping your editorial photo editors satisfied is effort well spent!

Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell your Photos” and “” He has produced a new eBook, “How To Make the Marketable Photo,”
and an eCourse, “How To Market Your Photos.” For more information and to receive a free eReport: “8 Steps to Becoming Published Photographer,” visit 800 624-0266.


23 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes

Make It Easy

For Them

If you are attempting to sell photos via the Internet,
here’s something to keep in mind.
A curious phenomenon is happening on the Internet when it comes to the supply of digital photos. An estimated 50,000 digital images are added weekly to the various portals, microstock sites, major stock agencies and individual websites.

Here’s the dilemma. Each week, needed images that are on the Internet are becoming less able to be found. In other words, the supply is increasing, but the ability to locate specific photos for research or commerce is declining.

The problem lies in the inability of humans to look at (view) multiple numbers of pictures without experiencing fatigue.The answer is to develop a digital picture-finding method that will solve the problem.

At present, the only way this can be solved is by the photographers themselves who should accurately “tag” their pictures with highly descriptive captions.
Current-day search engines have the ability to find and locate these images, -IF the photographer will label them according to industry standard guidelines with multiple keywords.

The dilemma is this: most photographers are uninterested in captioning (extensive keywords) once the picture has been taken and entered into their database.


The answer to this dilemma is for photographers to begin to supply a long-tail keyword phrase for each photo they own, the images they put on their own website and/or those they submit to agencies or on-line portfolio galleries (portals).

It might take a complete new generation of photographers to lead the way out of this quandary.

This is especially true for editorial stock, because machine-based or disinterested keyword agents cannot do it.

The Internet is in the process of asking photographers to also be library scientists. No wonder old-school photographers resist the invitation to keyword (properly) their images.

Why, then, is it optimum for photographers to submit their own keyword phrases?

Because they are the people who know the details for each image, the nuances, the dimensional aspects that pinpoint the content of a photo. And because that’s what buyers are using to search for the source of photos they need. Photobuyers submit their search engine requests like this: boyhood home Jimmy Carter Plains GA
This is typical of the searches we receive here at Photosource International, when researchers are up against a stonewall trying to locate a particular image that they need. You won’t find the location of the above-described simple, unassuming request on any of the major search engines.

Try it – you won’t find this selection, boyhood home Jimmy Carter Plains GA, on Alamy, Getty, Corbis, or Shutterstock. Try it before one or all of those companies read this post and dispatch a photographer to Plains, GA !
Yet we all know this image(s) exists, especially in Google Images. But researchers are gun-shy of the administrative hassles they’d encounter if they dealt with the non-pros at Google Images.

So the task is back to photographers. “Ugh! Keywording! I’m a photographer, not a librarian! I don’t like keywording.”
- - - - - - - - - - = =
It might take a complete new generation
of photographers to lead the way out of
this quandary.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
However, once a photographer bites the bullet and keywords with a long tail search each important image, – when that photographer retires, he or she will be able to pass on their photo files as a valuable monetary annuity to their spouse, grandchildren or a museum – with all the images keyworded and “locatable” in 21st century style.

Now that’s a nice gift to pass on to your heirs! The payoff is worth it. An editorial photo collection that is not keyworded by the person who made the photos, results in a collection that will be almost worthless, in terms of whether those photos will remain salable and/or accessible for interest or research.

Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes.
Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. If you ask “"How can I sell my photos?,” check out his website. E-mail: info[at]photosource[dot]com . Fax: 1 715 248 3800. Web site: or


16 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: photosource

Should You Own

The Copyright To

Your Photo?

Avoiding Stock Photo Servitude…

You own the actual copyright to your photos. However, if you sell your images outright to an agency, or if you are a contract photographer, you may be relinquishing your rights to your images, in which case an agency or corporate entity can modify your photo in any way it wishes.
Can large corporate market-driven stock photo houses treat photographers and their photos as commodities?
History tells us the answer could very well be yes. Take the example of the newspaper cartoon syndicates established in the 1920’s under the guidance of newspaper king, William Randolph Hearst. He first introduced the concept of cartoon syndicates.
It works like this. The cartoonist signs a contract that says that the syndicate will promote the cartoon if the artist will follow a certain cartoon theme and style, and keep to it. The contract also stated that the syndicate will own the copyright of the cartoon. Not the cartoonist.
How’s that? The syndicate owns the copyright? ? ?
If the artist decides to leave the syndicate, he or she cannot continue the cartoon. The syndicate will appoint a new cartoonist to continue it.


Believe it or not, the late Charles Schultz, of Minneapolis, did not own the copyright to his cartoon, Peanuts. The syndicate owned the copyright. Schultz received royalties, yes, and also promotion and endorsement monies, but he did not own the copyright on his own creation!
Can the corporate stock photo agencies of the future institute a system something like this? They certainly could. Vulnerable young photographers in the future, trying to make a living, could conceivably be open to signing over their copyright privilege in return for a paycheck, royalties, or other monetary return.
LESSON : Read the fine print. Stock agencies in some cases are already treating stock photos as commodities, that are "popular today, and gone tomorrow.” Check whether an agency might be trying to secure the copyright of your short-lived generic stock photo. Perhaps their enticement will be to pay you a higher percent royalty (70% instead of 40%) if you sign over your copyright.
And don’t forget, if they own the copyright, they would be free to digitally “enhance” your photo in any way they wish—such as changing the color of a flag or removing an object.
If you are new to the stock photography field and you submit your images to a major stock photo agency, be careful not to sign over your copyright to the agency.


Here’s an all-inclusive copyright statement concerning reproduction of your personal website photos. Note that this statement also prohibits “use of any image as part of another photographic concept.”

“All photographs, text and code appearing on the (your site) are the exclusive property of the photographer and are protected under United States and international Copyright Laws.
Photographs, text and code may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated in any form without the written permission of the photographer. This includes use of any image as part of another photographic concept or illustration. No image or any part of this site is within public domain.”

Rohn Engh, veteran stock photographer and publisher of PhotoStockNOTES has provided
on-line targeted information for photobuyers and photographers for three decades. No other newsletter brings stock photographers such up-to-the minute, practical information from a professional intimately familiar with both sides of the stock photo desk. If you have said, "How do I sell my photos?" check out his site at :


09 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes

selling your photos…

Anywhere in the World

The Internet has become the primary image-delivery system. It is important for photographers everywhere to understand that their own influence, as photographers, and their capabilities to compete in the marketplace, will grow worldwide, as the Internet grows, whether they live in a high mountaintop cabin or a high-rise in Hong Kong.
As for photobuyers, I have found that more and more of them are realizing the benefits the Internet affords them for photo research. Here at PhotoSource International, we talk with ten to 20 photobuyers each day. As more and more computer-literate photo editors come on board who know how to utilize the Web, photographers will flourish.
The automobile, airplane, and the telephone launched huge leaps in communication among peoples of the world, and so do the capabilities of the Internet delivery system.
But the Internet goes even farther. It affords independent photographers the delivery power that was once the domain only of the large stock photo agencies.
As a photographer, now that your images can be both pre-viewed and transmitted electronically, you can open the curtain on a brand new horizon of opportunity for yourself.
The top dog major stock agencies are no longer, well, top dogs. In the past, creative persons, whether songwriters, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, etc., had no way of competing against the middleman agents. It was near impossible to break into the ranks and get the attention of the buyers directly.

The Web has changed all of this. For example, if a major publisher is producing a book, CD, magazine article, Web review, TV special, on the agri-business of growing cucumbers in Venezuela, there would be no reason to turn to a large digital stock agency to seek the needed images. Using web search engine efficiency, a buyer can, in minutes, locate photos from independent freelancers, and save money by eliminating the middleman.
Also important, images from a corporate stock agency would usually be 'generic' in commercial style (smiling, contented farm workers [usually models], shiny new equipment, clean landscapes, etc.) This type of photo isn’t the primary choice of most editorial buyers, who want real-life, on-the-scene images.

Furthermore, many agency images would be at least 6 to 12 months old. (It takes that long for the corporate bureaucracy at most major stock photo agencies to acquire, edit, keyword, catalog, and process a single image.)
The individual stock photographer not only has more recent photos, but can in fact, within hours, produce the needed photo and deliver it to the buyer, in high resolution, from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world.
Independent photographers are able to use key words, plus the power of search engines such as Google, to offer delivery speed to buyers that puts the photographers on an equal footing with any large corporate agency. Photobuyers are realizing it's to their advantage to deal directly with independent stock photographers.

Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes.
Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. If you ask, "Where
can I sell my photos?", check out his

E-mail: info[at]photosource[dot]com . Fax: 1 715 248 3800. Web site:


02 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes

Starting Point –

Where Is It?

Photos from the crowd. Why not?

I’ve have always admired the amateur, the “newbie” in stock photography. With little knowledge and even less equipment, they jump into the field with not much more than the gut feeling, “I can do this.”
Entry-level photographers have to start somewhere, and low-budget publications help them out. They soon graduate to middle and top markets.

We know that photographers just breaking into the marketplace don't have the kind of track record, either in technical expertise or in dealing professionally with photobuyers, that allows them to jump right in with the rest of the pros.
At trade shows, seminars, and speaking engagements these days, I frequently have photographers come up to me and say, "It was your help, with your basic marketletter, that got me started in this business. That was twenty years ago."

For years (about thirty) I have been preaching that selling photos below the fees suggested by ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) is O.K.
Why? Because there exist many publications around this country that simply cannot afford big-time stock photo fees. Their budgets won't allow the $200-$375 fees suggested by ASMP or APA (Advertising Photographers of America) or software programs that coach about pricing. Photobuyers tell me these prices are unrealistic for non-commercial stock photography.
Through the years, I've gotten flack from photo organizations for my position.
But now, in the 2000’s, it's o.k. with these organizations to sell photos for sensible fees. More about that in a minute.

Yet I continue to hear this complaint from some old-timer pros: "Rohn, you shouldn't be listing publishers who pay only $25 per picture. Or those editors who don't pay anything at all except a credit line."
I have to ask how many top pros would be where they are today unless they had gotten experience out there in the farm leagues in the beginning of their career, with these low-end markets?
The majority of photographers who are top pros today didn't start out at the top. Like most creative people—-actors, writers, musicians, songwriters--they started out by taking what they could get in order to get experience and achieve a showcase for their work. They sailed on from there.


You can bet that "first published picture" is hanging in a special location—either prominent or private—in the person's studio.
If you know a pro stock photographer, ask him or her what they received as payment for that first sale. A surprising number will say they received nothing. Others will say they received a payment they could not accept today. It's ironic that many stock photographers got their start in this manner, but would work to prevent others from getting their start in the same way.
It's somewhat like Hollywood actors who get their start in "B" movies, but when they reach stardom, try to repress how they started out.
Or guitar pickers in Nashville. If a CD producer shouted out a studio window that he wanted someone to fill in, for free, -- two dozen guitarists would run down the street -- and they'd probably include talent that could compete with the best in the world.

Want to read more ?