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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stock Options

An estimated 80,000 images are licensed for publication each day, with the stock-photo industry making sales of about $2 billion per year. Here‚’s a primer on how to market your images as stock.

Stock Options

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Pricing: Don't Sell Yourself Short

Pricing is one of the most difficult areas of your photo business. Prices are often dictated by the industry using your image. If it’s based on a guideline for submissions that you requested, the price usually will be stated in the packet that they send you.

If you’re contacted by a buyer, however, you should refer to some of the pricing guides and software available for pricing. I recommend getting the buyer to first state the price they’re willing to pay. Then you can inform them of the standard rate for their desired usage. They’ll usually go up on the offer or at least split the difference with you.

In a nutshell, negotiate one-time, non-exclusive rights so you can sell the same image over and over again. This is how you can rack up impressive earnings.

Using The Web

The Internet has been a growing part of my business. In the first few years, it produced less than five percent of my income. Today, it’s an important source of my revenue and undoubtedly an indispensable tool to building one's business. Don’t underestimate its potential.

If you don’t have a Website, build one! Make it simple to navigate and easy to view. Huge, slow-loading pages are a no-no. Keyword your web pages to make them easy for clients to navigate. Links from noncompeting businesses and careful use of search-engine submission forms will help your visibility. Remember, a store with no windows has few lookers!

Stock Agencies

As your library of images grows, you may consider using stock agencies to help broaden the scope of the markets that you can reach. There are some positives and negatives here. The number-one positive is the ability to make sales in markets you’d never reach by yourself. Also, of almost equal importance, is that agencies do the marketing work for you.

This comes at a price. They usually charge at least 50-percent commission. With commissions to foreign agents, it’s not unusual to receive as little as 22-percent net. Your pictures also will be tied up for at least four to eight years. Depending on the contract you sign, you may or may not be able to market the images yourself.

It can be profitable working with agencies, but consider this carefully. It probably won’t be the main source of your income.


What we’ve addressed in this article is enough to get you started in the stock-photo business. I firmly believe that if you’re willing to put enough effort into this venture, you can earn a living. Furthermore, if you have good images and you’re willing to be a great marketer, the sky is the limit!

For information on Byron Jorjorian’s Marketing Your Images CD and RAW Workflow course packages, visit www.naturephotocentral.com.




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