For editorial stock photography, in the end, it's the personal touch that
makes the difference.
IMAGE SOFTWARE CAN'T DO IT.
If you're in a hurry and ordering a bunch of roses, the Internet is a fine
place to order them. You don't need to see them, touch them or feel them.
You know what a rose is. In contrast, if you're a photo researcher ordering
an editorial photo that has to match the mood and description of your
editorial content, you need to talk to the photographer and often see more
Is the Internet crowding out conventional retailers? As one representative
example, much to the relief of car distributorships in the USA, the answer
is no. A potential car-buyer might go to the Internet to compare price, but
when it comes to a buying decision, car dealers have observed that the
future car owner wants to "touch and feel" his potential new baby.
According to current automotive trade magazines, the Internet has become an
Information Board, and only rarely a sales tool. The buyer still goes to a
local dealership to make the transition and touch and feel this investment
in transportation that will represent the equivalent of 20% of his annual
IT'S BUSINESS AS USUAL
If you consider yourself an editorial photographer and supply images to a
niche in the publishing market, you might keep this nature of on-line
marketing in mind. Yes, in the commercial stock photo field, buyers will go
on-line to "image mills" to select generic images, where it's cheaper and
faster. In the editorial field, however, it's business as usual:
Photobuyers are still going first to the source of the image, the
photographer, to find that on-target photo.
Here at PhotoSource International, we have seen no change in the basic
approach of editorial photo search activity during the last five years, in
spite of the invasion of on-line picture searching. Editorial photobuyers
do use the Internet now, in their photo search efforts, but they go
directly to photographers on-line, rather than to photo-based sites to
review numbers of generic images.
When they need an editorial image, photo researchers follow a two-stage
process: first they find a source of the image, a photographer who has c
overage of the specific subject area they need. Then they get in touch with
the photographer, either by phone, fax, email, or website, before they make
their final decision, to assure that they have screened all
possible/eligible images. (Our PhotoSourceBank is designed to fit into this
two-stage process, to allow the buyer to locate the source of a collection
of highly specific images.)
THEY'LL FINISH IN THE YEAR 2357
Image software alone is not doing the job, and it might be a long time
before it can. Keep in mind that relatively few images are actually on-line
on the Internet when you put that number up against the image inventory of
stock photo agencies and individual photographers. For example, Corbis can
digitize 500 images a day. With 65 million images on file, it will take
them 356 years to complete the process, using the most advanced technology
that Bill Gates can come up with. Presently, they have completed only 3
1/2% of the task.
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Rohn Engh, Photosource International.