MicrostockGroup Sponsors

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Pickerell

Pages: [1] 2
General Stock Discussion / Future Of Stock Photography
« on: February 19, 2021, 12:10 »
I launched Selling Stock in 1990 with the goal of publishing articles that would help professional photographer understand the stock photography business and the opportunities it offers. For a couple decades many photographers earned significant additional revenue from the licensing of stock images. A large number earned their entire living by producing photos on speculation and licensing them as stock.

However, in the last decade there has been a steady and increasing decline in the ability of even the most talented image creators to earn a reasonable return for the time and money they invest in producing stock images.

Recently, I identified about 70 stories Ive written on a wide range of topics related to the stock photography business and made them available for anyone to read FREE OF CHARGE at this link.

Hopefully, you will find them useful.

2 / How Oringer Could Improve Creator Compensation
« on: December 20, 2020, 11:50 »
If Jon Oringer of Shutterstock ( donated his annual salary of $4,598,580 to image creators who produce the products Shutterstock licenses, and divided it among creators based on the number of images licensed, how would that benefit image creators?

In the last 4 quarters Shutterstock has licensed 181,900,000 image uses at an average price of $3.55 each. If we divide 181,900,000 into the $4,598,580 that would give us $0.0252 (about two-and-one-half cents) per image licensed. Not very much, but pennies count. The average image creators only gets a royalty of about 26% of the $3.55 or $0.923 (less than $1.00) for each image licensed. An additional $0.0252 raises the royalty to $0.9482 (almost $0.95), almost a 27% royalty rather than 26%.

But, of course, Oringer is entitled to compensation to support himself and his family and for the work he has done over the years to build Shutterstock.

On the other hand, instead of receiving a salary could he sell some stock.

As of 1 December 2020 he owned at least 13,602,824 units of Shutterstock Inc ( ) stock. Todays price for that stock is about $68.40 per share so the value of his stock is $930,433,162 -- almost $1 billion. 

Oringer became the first photography billionaire in 2013, but over the last few year Shutterstocks share price has faltered from time to time. At one point the share value was down to paulry $600,000,000. How could anyone survive on so little money?

Nevertheless, thanks to the 2020 economic crisis, as of 1 December 2020, his Net Worth was estimated to be in the range $1.2 Billion dollars. Over the last 7 years he sold SSTK stock worth over $271,824,319. See here ( ) Does he really need an additional $4,598,580 compensation? Maybe he could even give up twice or 3 times as much!

Currently there are about 370,000,000 million images in the Shutterstock collection, Thus, with 181,900,000 images licensed annually the average image creator has about one image licensed for every two images in the collection. There are about 650,000 contributors, Thus, the average contributor has about 569 images in the collection, licenses right to about 278 images annually and earns about $256.59.

Oringers annual salary (not counting stock appreciation) is 17,922 times the average annual earnings of Shutterstock contributors (workers). According the U.S. government statistics, since 1978 the average CEOs compensation has grown 940% while typical worker compensation has only risen 12%, and not kept up with inflation. In 1965 the ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation was about 20-to-1. By 2018 that ratio had grown to 278-to-1.

Of course, there are a few contributors who have many more images-in-the-collection, a much higher ration of images-licensed to images-in-the-collection and earn a lot more annually.
For them an additional $0.0252 per image licensed might be significant.

It is also worth noting that during the last year ( ) Shutterstock has grown its collection by 18%, saw a decline of 5.5% in the number of images licensed and about an 8% decline in revenue paid image creators.

In fairness to Oringer, this is how capitalism in the United States works. It is not unique to the photography industry. The person who comes up with a marketable product, or marketing idea, can benefit hugely compared to what those who put in time, energy and money receive. This is particularly true if the product costs the seller nothing to produce, and the seller can simply compensate the producer with a small percentage of revenue generated if and when the product sells.

If you use Wirestock ( ) to aid you in the process of filling out descriptions, titles, keywords and other required fields, and submitting images to stock agencies you need to read this story ( ) by Robert Kneschke (first published in German) and consider taking action before December 19, 2020 if you hope to earn much from your images in the future.

Note: All readers now have FREE ACCESS to all the stories at including this one. 

General Stock Discussion / Photographer Income Survey
« on: November 08, 2018, 15:02 »
The results of the Selling Stock Photographer Income Survey I launched in late August are in. Anyone can go to this link ( ) and view the detailed analysis, and charts,  of the results for FREE.
There were 270 responses. Of those who responded 39% were from North America, 49% were from the EU and 12% from Asia and the rest of the world. Fifty-two percent of those from the EU were from the United Kingdom.

There are also detailed breakdowns of the age and annual photography earnings of the respondents. 65% of respondents earned less than $20,000 per year and 14% earned over $60,000 per year.

General Stock Discussion / Preliminary Income Survey Results
« on: September 12, 2018, 15:31 »
On August 31st I published the Photog Income Survey ( in an effort to get a better idea of what photographers worldwide are able to earn annually from the images they produce. To see all eight questions and some background information before starting to respond to the survey click on this link. ( )

So far 65% of the respondents are over 50-year-old. Sixty-nine percent of the over 50s earn total photography income of less that $20,000 a year and 49% earn less than $10,000 a year. Another 15% of the over 50s earn between $20,000 and $40,000. Considering, that all these respondents, who make up 84% of the total, have some business expenses for photo equipment, computers, phone, transportation, etc. few, if any, earn enough to support much of a lifestyle.

About 4.5% of the over 50-year-olds earn more than $80,000 a year and half of this group earns over $100,000.

Of the over 50 respondents 12% were female and the rest male. Six percent of the over 50 respondents are staff photographers and the rest freelance. Of all the respondents so far, 9% of are staff photographers. Half of the staff photographers earn under $40,000-a-year. Some or the higher earners are under 50-years-old. In fact, one female in her 20s earns between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents earn at least 70% of their gross income from editorial still photography. One of the purposes of this survey is to determine how editorial shooters are doing compared to commercial shooters. When we do the final report in late October we will provide this analysis. All photographers trying to earn a portion of their living from the images they produce, are encouraged to respond to the survey by going here ( regardless of whether they are producing editorial or commercial work. The survey will remain open until the middle of October. It only takes a few minutes. Encourage your friends to respond as well.

To get an accurate understanding of what is happening in the business we are hopeful that more young people and staff photographers will respond. In addition, 73% of the responses so far are from North America and the UK. We need a lot more responses from the rest of the world. Clearly, U.S. and UK photographers no longer produce anywhere near 73% of the images that are being used.

General Stock Discussion / Photographer Income Survey
« on: September 01, 2018, 11:21 »
I have launched a survey on SurveyMonkey that is designed to gather general information about the incomes Still Photographers around the world are earning from the editorial (not advertising) uses of their work in newspapers, magazines or online editorial sites?

To see the 8 questions before filling out the survey go here.

To respond to the survey go here.
Individual responses are totally confidential. We and not tracking IP addresses or gathering any personal data of individual respondents.

Caution: when responding to the survey you will not be able to change your answers after you have clicked Done. In addition, after clicking Done you will not be able to access the survey again from the same computer. You will receive a message saying, You have already completed this survey. However, you may still access the survey from a different computer. You can always re-read the survey questions by going to:

Stock photographers may not receive an accurate breakdown of how their images are being used. If that is the case, on Question 5 please check Not Sure unless you are reasonably confident, given the subject matter of your images, that a certain percentage of the uses are editorial. All photographers who license uses of their images are encouraged to respond to this survey.

The data from this survey should be very helpful to photography students, working professional photographers and the organizations that license rights to use editorial photography as well as those who purchase editorial photographs. It should also help us have a better understanding of sales in various parts of the photographers working in various parts of the world.

The survey will remain open until mid-October. At that point I will do a comprehensive analysis of the data and make the results available at as well as publishing the detailed report here on MicrostockGroup.

General Stock Discussion / Protect Your Images
« on: January 29, 2018, 15:13 »
Protect Your Images From Unauthorized Use

One of the biggest problems in the stock image business is unauthorized use. Many of those making unauthorized uses would be happy to ask permission and compensate the creator, if they could just find them. When they find an image on a website other than the creators there is usually no information about who the creator is or how to locate him/her.

Consider what happens when a company legally licensed the use of an image for its website. That image normally appears without any image creator or source identification. Someone sees it, wants to use it for their own site or other purposes. How do they locate the creator?  

What is needed is an Image Creator Locator.

Organizations with experience in the stock photo business, and image search technology, are interested in building and promoting an ICL. They need some indication of creator community interest before moving ahead.

If you think you might be interested in participating in an ICL, provided there is a working prototype please send your name and email address with the message Yes to ICL to [email protected]. It would also be helpful if you would provide an approximate number of images that you might be prepared to upload. If there is enough interest a prototype can probably be launched in six months.

Once an ICL is launched creators will need to set up individual accounts by supplying the ICL with:
1 Your name and contact information.
2 If you do not want to handle licensing yourself, or have an agency or representative that would act as a secondary source for licensing, supply contact information for that organization. (Such sources could also be named as primary sources for licensing.)
3 Pay an initial fee $20 which allows you to upload up to 1,000 images (about 500px longest side). Each image should have a unique filename. This is a one-time fee and guarantees that the images will be available for searching for 3 years. (More on costs later)
4 You will then be supplied with a creators account number that will be used with each image submission. At that point you may begin uploading images in as small quantities as you wish, and as often as you wish, until you reach your maximum allowable number.

No caption or keyword information will be required as the only way to search this database will be by visual search or someone using the image number or creators name.

These images will be fingerprinted and placed in the ICL database. Anyone who has found an image they would like to use will be able to conduct a visual search of the ICL database similar to a Google Image search. If the image is in the ICL collection the searcher will be supplied with your contact information.
In some cases, this might lead to assignments as well as stock image licensing. There is no guarantee that having your images in this collection will lead to anyone searching for your images or actually lead to any licensing.

This does not eliminate the need for copyright registration in the United States if you want to pursue a legal action, but the hope is that many of the people who might have infringed before the ICL was available will use the site and properly license images they want to use.

Some photographers will point to the fact that images with watermarks often appear on websites. Clearly, these website developers have no compunction about appropriating the work of others without compensation, but it is hoped they are in the minority.

The very fact that an ICL exists, and that a user could have easily determined where to go to properly license use of an image places the creator whose images can be found on the ICL in a much better legal and negotiating position in the event they discover an unauthorized use of their image.

Anticipated Prices for collections of 1,000 images and larger.
Up to 1,000 images         $20
Up to 5,000 images          additional $30
Up to 10,000 images        additional $50
Up to 30,000 images        additional $100

Obviously, there will be a small continued costs to keep the site operating beyond 3 years. It may be necessary to charge each participant an additional fee to keep their images searchable after the first three years. This will depend on a number of factors:

1 How much traffic the site gets from image uses.
2 Whether, at some point, it will be possible to charge images user a small fee to view the contact information after it has been confirmed that the image being searched is in the collection. (It will always be free for potential users to do a search in order to determine if the image is one that needs to be licensed.)
3 The number of new contributors who continue to add more images to the collection. (New contributor fees may cover all the costs.)

Whenever an image is uploaded the ICL will determine if the image had been uploaded previously by another creator. A protocol will be set up to determine the real copyright holder of the image. Any information provided by a non-copyright holder of that image will be removed.

Initially ICL will be focused on receiving images directly from image creators. In a second stage the ICL will evolve to allow agencies to upload images from creators they represent. If an agency uploads images that have been previously uploaded by an individual creator, the creator will be given the option to choose whether he/she or the agency should be the prime contact in the event that someone wants to license use of the image.

8 / Shutterstock Royalty Rates
« on: February 27, 2017, 09:46 »
During the Shutterstock conference call today one questioner asked, Any quick thoughts on your royalty rate vs your competitors. Any changes there?

Steven Bern, the CFO and newly appointed Chief Operating Officer responded, What were trying to do is drive both the best contributors, to keep them on out platform and sustain their contribution of great quality imagery, to drive our customers to continue to use Shutterstock and that has been a successful model. We see the royalty rate as fair, and our contributors deem it the same, so we look at it from the outcome of the interests of both our customers and contributors. We see what our competitors are doing but we dont think cutting a single side of the marketplace is an effective mechanism for long term profitable, sustainable growth.

They paid out 28% of the $494.3 million in 2016 revenue in royalties. That comes to approximately $138.4 million in total royalties paid to contributors in 2016.

And as of December 31, 2016 they had $224,190,000 in cash and cash equivalents that they feel it is necessary to hold onto for future possible needs.

Which contributors are they talking to who deem the royalty rate fair?

General - Top Sites / Search Algorithms: How Do They Work?
« on: October 19, 2016, 10:15 »
Microstock sites used to surface new images for weeks or months after they were uploaded. Now, photographers are saying that this no longer seems to be happening. It would be nice if photographers had more information a better understanding about how the search algorithms work.

I have no secret information and have not been let into the confidence of any of the stock agencies. The agencies argue that information about how their algorithms work is proprietary. If they were to reveal their secret sauce it would give their competitors an advantage.

Nevertheless, heres what I think is happening.

We know that the search return order (SRO) includes some combination of new images, and images that have been previously downloaded by customers. Exactly what percentage we dont know, but for the sake of this discussion lets assume 50/50.

We believe that most customers will not look at more than 500 thumbnails resulting from any search before changing the search parameters.

Shutterstock is uploading more than 100,000 new images a week. Some agencies are uploading a lot less, but still some pretty huge numbers.

It seems reasonable to assume that of that at least 500 (1/200th) of any 100,000 images would have the same or very similar keywords. There may be some with very unusual keywords, but they tend to be of subjects that are seldom requested by customers.

In any given day there are 1,440 minutes. If a new image is uploaded every 10 seconds, then 8,640 images could be uploaded in 24 hours.


Assume that one of your images is uploaded at 8:00am EST on a Monday morning. A new image with the same keywords is uploaded at 8:00:10; another at 8:00:20; another at 8:00:30 and so on throughout the day. By 8:01 your image is sixth in line of the newest images. By 9:00am your image is 360th in line of the newest images added to the collection.

But, remember, the average customer is looking at less than 500 images in a search return and half of those are images that have been downloaded previously. So whenever a customer does a search the last 250 newest images uploaded have a chance of being seen. By 9:00am on that Monday morning the image uploaded at 8:00am has little chance of ever being seen again.

If during that hour a customer, saw the image, liked it and downloaded it then the image moves into the downloaded category and has the potential of a longer useful life. But, if that customer happened to sleep in that morning, and not get started searching until 9:00am; tough luck for the photographer.

Now, of course, not every image uploaded in that hour will have the same keywords. Different images will have lots of different keyword. So it may be several hours, even a day or so, before there have been 250 newer images with most of the same keywords as the image uploaded at 8:00am Monday. But, think about the most popular subject matter and how many images with similar keywords must be uploaded on a regular basis.

Suppose, also, that you submit 10 images from the same shoot, all with the same keywords. Those images will be uploaded every 10 seconds one after another. All will have the same very short useful life. If a customer sees one of them and downloads it that image moves into the used category. But within a very short period of time the other 9 get buried so deeply in the search return order that it is unlikely they will ever be seen again.

If you do have 10 similar images, it probably makes more sense to upload one every day, or every week rather than uploading them all at once. It that way you have a better chance that 10 different people will see them than if they are uploaded all at once. However, I dont think the agencies approve of submissions in that manner.

What happens to images uploaded on Saturday and Sunday when very few customers are actually searching the site. If the same volume of images is being uploaded on a Saturday as a Monday, there is much less chance that a customer will be reviewing images on Saturday than on Monday. Thus, there is much less chance that any Saturday image will move into the used category. By Monday, none of the Saturday images will still be new and there is a big likelihood that almost all of them will now be so deep in the SRO that they will never be seen.

There may be no solution to this problem, but we can be sure that as more and more images are added it will get worse.

Selling-Stock ( is conducting a worldwide, blind Stock Photo Revenue Trends survey and is asking all photographers who earn money through licensing rights to some of their images to respond. Individuals can respond to the short, 8 question survey by going to this link. ( ) A full report of the results will be available to each respondent.

With this survey Im trying to determine how individual stock photographers and videographers have been doing over the last 6 years from an income growth perspective.

If you are a stock agent, or a service provider, but do not directly produce images or video yourself, please do not respond to this survey.

If you are a production company and license the work of multiple staff employees, please do not respond to this survey. (Given present market conditions, this survey is designed to learn what individuals can earn through producing images themselves.)

If all your work is graphic design or illustration and you do not produce any photographs, please do not respond to this survey. If you produce some photographs, and can separate that portion of your income from your total stock income, then please supply answers that relate to the photography part of your income.

Click here to begin the survey

The survey is designed so that individual responses cannot be tracked to the specific individual. However, we have provided a method for individuals to separately notify Selling Stock that they have responded. When the survey is complete we will make available a full, detailed analysis of the results to all who notify us that they have responded.

11 / Uploading to iStock Is About To Get Easier
« on: January 25, 2016, 16:52 »
The tedious process of uploading images for consideration by iStock is about to get much easier. On February 7th  Kasper Ravlo will be launching a new tool called Q-hero ( The average time to submit a file for review will drop from over one minute per image to less than 1-2 seconds. Instead of being the slowest site for image submissions, iStock will become the fastest.

I asked Kasper to explain how Q-hero will work and published the information on You can access the story for free at this link:

12 / iStock/Shutterstock Download Comparisons
« on: January 07, 2016, 16:53 »
Investors keep asking if and when Getty will turnaround its Midstock division. Getty Images keeps promising that they can turn the fortunes of iStock around. iStock contributors may be interested in the comparison between iStock and Shutterstock that Ive published today. You can access the story for FREE at this link ( However, if you want to review the full text of any of the links in the story, there is a small charge.

13 / Free Downloads From Shutterstock
« on: December 03, 2015, 10:58 »
Shutterstock has provided investors with some very interesting information about their Enterprise pricing strategy and how it differs from their normal E-commerce pricing. You can find the E-commerce vs. Enterprise Case Study by going go to: Then open the pdf under Investor Presentation that was uploaded on 11/18/15. The chart explaining the Case Study is on page 25 of this 37 page pdf.

The chart raises a number of questions for contributors. It seems to indicate that only 1 in every 12 Enterprise downloads are Paid while 11 out of every 12 are Free, Unpaid for comp use only. It is unclear whether contributors of the comp images are compensated in any way for this use.

The chart also seems to indicate that the average price of an Enterprise paid download is $100. If this is true, then a significant percent of the paid images must come from the Offset and Premier collections for the average price to be so high. (Premier is a collection of images that can only be seen by customers that have negotiated an Enterprise deal. The images included in this collection are believed to come primarily from traditional RF stock suppliers.)

So the Questions:

1 Do contributors receive any type of compensation when their image is only used for comp purposed?

(If they dont, could that partially explain why many contributors are seeing a significant decline in sales? More and more of Shutterstocks customers are getting the images they need through Enterprise deals. They may be downloading the same number of images they have always downloaded, they just arent paying anything for most of the downloads.)

2 Do the downloads Shutterstock reports at the end of each quarter include the Unpaid ones as well as the Paid, or are they just reporting Paid downloads?

3 How are the prices calculated for each paid image from the regular Shutterstock collection?

4 - Is a customers total number of paid downloads each month divided into that customers gross negotiated fee for the month and that price assigned to every image downloaded regardless of whether the image came from the main collection, Premier or Offset?

(One would think this would be unfair to the Offset and Premier contributors whose images are supposed to be licensed at higher prices. From what I hear from Offset contributors, most of their sales are at the listed $500 for a 300 dpi image and $250 for a 72 dpi image. The prices are seldom discounted.)

5 Is an Enterprise customer simply billed at the end of each month for the number of images actually used from each collection at a stipulated price for each collection?

(If this is the case then the customers monthly charges might vary widely month to month.)

6 If 5 is the case, what is the price charged for a download from Shutterstocks standard collection? Is it IOD prices of $10 to $15, or what?

(If there is a base collection price, an Offset price and a Premier price then a huge percentage of the Paid Downloads must be from the higher priced collections in order for the average Revenue per Download to be $100.)

7 Since the customer gets unlimited impressions from every image downloaded, is every image from the main collection licensed at an Enhanced License price of between $68 and $100?

(If that is the case it might explain the $100 average download for all Enterprise sales, but I would think many Enterprise customers might need a lot of images at lesser prices than that.
Do the royalties contributors receive for Enterprise sales consistently reflect prices this high?)

8 Is a customers monthly subscription fee based on a fixed number of images downloaded regardless of collection?

(This seems unlikely because Shutterstocks profit per image could vary widely depending on how many images the customer happened to choose from each collection. If all the images downloaded by a given customer were from the Offset and Premier collections, and Shutterstock paid the regular royalties for each of these uses, Shutterstock might have a significant profit loss for this customer. If, on the other hand, the customer only used images from the base collection, and Shutterstock had negotiated a high enough overall price, the companys  profits could be huge. But, to give the customer unlimited choice at the widely varying price points would seem to be risky.)

What do you think?

14 / Shutterstock Tab For Chrome Users
« on: December 02, 2015, 12:48 »
If you love Shutterstock, are a Google Chrome user and want Shutterstock to know everywhere you go and everything you do on the Internet, you may want to install the new Shutterstock Tab just launched today.  You can get the tab free of charge by going to the Chrome webstore

When you start to install the tab you are warned that Shutterstock will be able to:
  • Read and change your data on all sites
  • Read the icons of the websites you visit
  • Read a list of your most frequently visited websites
Once the tab is installed, every time you launch Chrome you are presented with a beautiful full-screen image from the Shutterstock collection, the Shutterstock logo in the top left corner, and the time date and weather. The photographers credit can also be found in the bottom left corner of the screen. If you click on the photographers name you are taken to the photographers portfolio on Shutterstock.

Each image displayed is handpicked from Shutterstocks vast collection of 65 million+ images, vectors, and illustrations.

Shutterstock Hackathon

Shutterstock Tab is the latest search innovation to come out of Shutterstocks regular company hackathons. Once a year, usually in July, Shutterstock hosts a company wide 24-hour hackathon known as Hack to the Future. This event is open to everyone in the company and designed to promote collaboration and communication among colleagues who might not typically work with each other on a daily basis. Three times a year the company also hosts smaller 24-hour hackathons called CodeRage that are specifically for the engineering, design and product teams.
The three guiding principles for these hacks are to build something with contributor impact, customer impact or employee value in mind. Other than that they are largely open events where people come together to bring their ideas to life. For more information about the hackathons see this article.

The goal of this hackathon was to create something practical as well as beautiful - bringing calm and inspiration to a users daily browse activities.

Scott Braut, Head of Content at Adobe, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) (formerly PACA) annual meeting in New York on Monday October 26, 2015 at 9:00am.

Attendance at the full two-day conference is somewhat expensive, but single session passes for the just the keynote address are available for $65. For more information, see (

Braut will probably provide some important insights into where Adobe Stock is headed. Here are some of the issues I hope he addresses.

1 - How many of Adobes 4 million customers are picture users? Many of Adobes customers are image creators that use Photoshop and Lightroom, but never purchase images. It would be helpful to understand the percentage of Adobe customers who actually use images and a rough estimate of the percentage of Adobes $4.35 billion in revenue they represent.

2 - What percentage of Adobe Stock image suppliers are also buyers? (Graphic Designers, Illustrators) I estimate that people who buy images have created about one-third of the images in the Adobe Stock collection. Is that in the ball park?

3 - How much has the Fotolia collection grown since Adobe took over?

4 - What percentage of Adobe Stock image creators are part-timers as opposed to people who are trying to earn their living from the work they create?

5 What are your estimates of the number of images downloaded through most subscription offerings that never appear in an actual deliverable product brochure, book, news article, website, etc? We know that many subscription downloads are only used during the planning or design stages of projects, or simply stored for easy availability in case they might be needed in future projects. Given Adobes strategy of only charging for images actually uses, not those  downloads that are only used in project planning, Adobes subscription download figures will certainly be far less than Shutterstocks roughly 100 million subscription downloads annually.

6 Fotolias revenue is in the range of $100 million or roughly 2.3% of Adobes gross annual revenue. A good business strategy for Adobe would be to manage the photo supply side of the business in a way that would help grow the other 98% of their business encouraging customers to become more dependent on Adobe Stock but not necessarily maximizing the revenue generated from the use of those images. Given the Adobe Stock pricing strategy it would seem that maximizing stock revenue might not be part of Adobes strategy. Is that correct?

7 Recently, Adobe gave free annual subscriptions to the 7,000 attendees at the Adobe MAX2015 conference in Los Angeles. How many customers have used at least one Adobe Stock image so far?

The company has also announced that they will add video content to the Adobe Stock collection in the near future. Attendees may learn more about when the launch will occur and the initial size of the collection. Braut may also provide more information about Adobe Stocks Enterprise business where they provide additional support for license management, reporting tools, and unlimited usage of stock content in large print runs.

The answers to some of these questions may be considered proprietary, but it is information that would certainly be helpful to image creators in terms of future planning. Often, at these conferences, time is allotted for questions after the keynote speakers presentation. If there are any additional questions that should be asked let me know.

Is the search experience on Shutterstock so much better than Adobe/Fotolia that customers will not want to try Adobe?

I would like to hear from image creators who are also buyers of stock.

General Stock Discussion / Scott Braut Moves To Adobe
« on: July 23, 2015, 13:47 »
Adobe has hired Scott Braut, formerly VP of Content at Shutterstock. He has been named Head of Content and will drive the companys overall content strategy and operations for Creative Cloud. Adobe says content is a strategic area of growth and focus as it builds a growing, strategic creative marketplace. Scott has over 20 years of experience in content licensing, product development, eCommerce, and digital media.

What kind of impact is this likely have on Adobe's ability to take market share from Shutterstock?

General Stock Discussion / Stock Image Revenue Will Decline
« on: June 17, 2015, 11:59 »
Thanks to Adobe Stock gross microstock revenue will start to decline. Let me explain why. 

I estimate that about $143 million of Shutterstocks 2014 revenue came from subscriptions. Based on the $0.25 to $0.38 they are paying in royalties for subscription downloads and the fact that they say they are paying out 28% of the revenue they receive in royalties, it seems that they are earning about $1.25 for each image downloaded through a subscription. Thus, total subscription downloads were in the range of 114 million images for 2014.

We know that many of subscription customers dont actually use all the images they download in projects. They download extra images that they use in the design stage of their projects, or maybe just to have on hand in case they might be used in a project in the future. Because it is all part of the subscription price that allows them 750 downloads per month there is no additional charge for downloading these extra images.

The big question, and the critical issue as we look ahead at the Adobe Stock offering, is how many of these 114 million images were actually used in projects. Nobody, not even Shutterstock, knows.

With the new Adobe system customers can store extra images they select in the Adobe Creative Cloud, use them during the design stage of a project, keep them there for reference just in case, and not have to pay for any they downloaded until an image is actually used in a project.

It costs Shutterstock subscribers $2,388 for a years subscription. If we assume that everyone subscribes for a year that means that Shutterstock has about 59,882 subscribers. (Obviously, some subscribe for less than a year so this number will vary.)

Lets assume that these subscriber really only use an average 10 images a month (120 per year). It they switched to Adobe Creative Cloud they would pay $360 a year instead of $2,388. Gross revenue if all 59,882 were to make the switch would be $21,557,520 instead of $143 million. Suppose they use, on average 240 images a year, gross revenue paid out to Adobe would be about $43 million instead of the $143 million to Shutterstock. Thats $100 million in savings for the customers.

Another way to look at it is that the average Shutterstock subscription subscriber downloads about 1,900 images a year. Suppose these customers only use 1 out of every 3 of the images they download, or 633 per year. They can save money with Adobe and still have access to all the same images. At $2.99 per image they would pay Adobe $1,894 instead of $2,388 and they save additional money for every image less than 633 that they use.

A significant percentage of the Shutterstock images are also available on Adobe Stock. If the customer cant find what they want on Adobe they can always go to Shutterstock and purchase what they need as a single image for about $10.

Of course, all of Shutterstocks subscribers are unlikely to switch, and the switching will occur over time (a year or two), unless Shutterstock can do something to counter Adobes advantage.

But it is hard to see how Shutterstock can offer a cloud option that so perfectly integrates with Adobes other products, and even if they could one would think they would need to match Adobes pricing. Consequently, it is hard to see why a significant number of Shutterstock customers wont eventually switch to Adobe.

Anyone want to make a guess as to how many of that 114 million downloads were actually used in projects?

A Russian stock photo agent told me recently that a Russian photographer could live and support a family very comfortably on 50,000 roubles a month. At todays currency exchange that works out to about $886 per month or $10,632 per year.

An equivalent in the U.S. would be about $30,932. In both cases these figures are basically net profit after business expenses are paid so a stock shooter would need gross royalties of maybe twice as much as either of these figures for a comfortable standard of living.

The questions are: (1) Do these figures seem accurate? (2) Are figures for other Eastern European and former Soviet nations about the same or higher/lower? (3) What would be the average for your country?

This information is important because more and more of the best selling stock images are being produced by photographers from countries with a low cost of living. Photographers in Western Europe and the U.S have difficulty competing because the revenue needed to cover costs and show a profit is so much higher.

This is not to say that photographers in low standard of living countries should not be producing, or that some type of restrictions should be placed on them. But photographers in the West who hope to one day support themselves from their stock photography earnings should make a realistic assessment of their chances to compete.

What do you think?

20 / Royalty Declines At Shutterstock
« on: May 14, 2015, 14:24 »
Shutterstock contributors may be interested in a long analysis Ive posted on why individual contributor royalties have been declining on average over the last couple of years. Based on the numbers it seems likely that the decline will continue. You can find the story here ( and Ive made it FREE for anyone to read. If you disagree with my analysis I would be interested in hearing your arguments.

My analysis is based on averages. It may be interesting for individual contributors to compare their results with the averages to see how much better or worse their personal experience has been.

21 / Shutterstock Payout $83,605,000 In 2014
« on: March 10, 2015, 10:43 »
Shutterstocks report yesterday of paying out $83,605,000 in royalties in 2014 raises a few interesting questions. While it is a lot of money it is only 25% of $328 million.  Shutterstock has said they paid out about 28% of revenue collected in three of the four quarters in 2014 and about 30% in the Q3 2014.

It turns out that the $83,605,000 only includes Shutterstock sales. It does not include Bigstock, Offset or Weddam. If the $83 million is really 28% of revenue total Shutterstock sales would be about $298 million, not $328 million, or a $30 million difference. About can mean a lot, but I think it is safe to say that the combined revenue of Bigstock, Offset and Webdam was in the range of $30 million. It might even be more if the average payout was above 28% (remember that 30% quarter).

Based on everything they have been saying, I think they are earning very little from Webdam so about $30 million is split between BigStock and Offset. Any guesses as to which generates the most?

I also understand from Shutterstock PR that royalty rates for Offset are higher than our norm, due to the unique content somewhat above 40% on average. Also, they say they havent broken out the royalty rates for Bigstock which indicates they might be lower than 28%.

Any thoughts?

22 / How Are Your iStock Sales?
« on: February 25, 2015, 10:52 »
I understand that Getty Images has told bond investors that Q4 2014 revenue for its Midstock division (iStock, Thinkstock and was 15% lower than Q4 2013 revenue, despite its September efforts to simplify and lower iStock prices in order to attract more customers. Previously they had reported that Q3 2014 was down 10% compared to Q3 2013.

Are your iStock sales down more or less than the figures Getty is reporting? Or are you one of fortunate few whose revenue is steadily rising?

When Adobe takes over Fotolia will Shutterstock and iStock be forced to lower their Image-On-Demand (IOD) prices?

Since Getty lowered iStock prices last September non-exclusives images on iStock and Shutterstock images are priced about the same at roughly $10 per image for any file size. (Exclusive images on iStock require 3 credits so they are much more expensive.) However, Fotolia single images are priced 25% to 60% lower than Shutterstock on a yearly basis, and 60% to 75% lower if the customer purchases image packs on a monthly basis.

Adobe wants to integrate Fotolia into its subscription service, but it is hard to see how Adobe will be able to offer a single subscription price that will be a compelling reason for users to switch from Shutterstock, iStock and others to the Adobe offering.

Adobe will make it easy for its Creative Cloud customers to toggle back and forth between Fotolia and Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and its other programs. Then their selling point could be, Looking for images? Check out Fotolia. They have most of the same images youll find on other sites. And, Fotolias prices for single images are a fraction of what you pay on those other sites.

Customers will still buy the images through Fotolia, and then easily import their purchases to the Adobe software.

Will Shutterstock and iStock have to lower their prices to hang onto customers?

Will creators need to withdraw their work from Fotolia so Shutterstock and iStock can argue that the same images arent available on Fotolia?

What do you think?

Shutterstock's stock price has dropped 13.3% to $62.85, almost a new 52 week low after the Adobe-Fotolia announcement. Do any image creators think Shutterstock is in that much danger, or is this just another example of the Stock Market being totally out of touch with the market for stock photography?

Enterprise sales at Shutterstock are growing dramatically. About 500% in the last two years. I would like to get an idea of the average price per Enterprise download and how many total downloads they represent.

Based on the 3rd Quarter released on Thursday I estimate that total Enterprise revenue for 2014 will be around $60 million. A few Shutterstock contributors have told me that the average price-per-Enterprise-download come out to around $20.

On the other hand CFO Tim Bixby said Enterprise customers are enthusiastic about Shutterstocks Offset product and most of those images are selling at the $500 price point. I also know that the several photographers images are being licensed in the $200 to $350 range.

If the average is $20 that would mean that about 3 million of the 125 million 2014 downloads are Enterprise sales. That would also mean that there are not many of those $500 and $350 sales and there are a lot of sales for less than Image On Demand prices. On the other hand if the average price is $40 or higher then there may be Offset and higher priced sales, but the total Enterprise sales annually would be 1.5 million or less.

For purposes of comparison it may be worth looking at Gettys RM and traditional RF numbers for 2013. Earlier this years I analyzed the sales of several of Gettys major contributors and came to the conclusion that overall Getty licensed about 502,159 RM images and 1,126,126 RF for a total of 1,632,285 in 2013. They will probably license less in 2014. One wonders how many of the customers of Getty and other traditional sellers have turned to Shutterstock and how many New Users at the Enterprise price points there are left to find.

What do you think? What are the average prices of your Enterprise sales?

Pages: [1] 2


Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results


3100 Posing Cards Bundle