The Rise of Stock Photography

There’s an article in the NY Times today, “For Photographers, the Image of A Shrinking Path,” that explains the rise of stock photography in the magazine and advertising industries and how traditional photographers are being edged out.

When I was working on the AR100 Annual Report Competition and Publication at The Black Book, in New York, I remember hearing the photographers and illustrators complain about the huge stock companies like Getty and iStockPhoto infringing on their business.

But the creatives we worked with were shooting HUGE accounts, like the annual report for Coca-Cola. I would think they’d still have their niche corporate photography jobs carved out and that the companies would still have the budget to hire.

It’s been a while since I have been close to that industry, but I wonder how everyone’s doing business these days. Is there an industry anymore? Or now with the web and digital photography, is it everyman for himself ?

Some choice quotes from the NY Times article:

THEN: “When we began, stock photography or licensed images, preshot images being licensed, was perceived as the armpit of the photo industry,” said Jonathan Klein, the chief executive of Getty Images who helped found the agency in 1995.

NOW: “The quality of licensed imagery is virtually indistinguishable now from the quality of images they might commission,” Mr. Klein said. Yet “the price point that the client, or customer, is charged is a fraction of the price point which they would pay for a professional image.”

Check out my related articles about photography and stock imagery:

Do-It-Yourself Photography

Choose Stock Images Like A Pro

6 Tips for Stock Image Success

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