Get On The Train - It's Leaving Soon!
YOU, THE INDIVIDUAL STOCK PHOTOGRAPHER
The editorial stock field has grown tremendously in the past decade--mostly because photobuyers have discovered that with today's technology it's much easier to find the photos they need. In the past, their only resource was to get lucky at research agencies, or to consult stock photo agencies for generic photos of the topics they wanted to illustrate. Nowadays the web, fax, phone, and email distribution systems we all enjoy, make it possible to locate and acquire specific images faster and easier.
The result is that photobuyers, having become sophisticated in their photo acquisition methods, and knowing they can find a photo in a reasonable time before deadline, are turning more and more to individual photographers. Buyers build up contacts with selected photo suppliers who photograph in the subject areas that they need.
The result is that photobuyers are able to satisfy their readers with appropriate images that reflect the quality of writing in their periodicals and books.
This shift to individual photographers has been a boon to not only full-time pros, but also part-time stock photographers, who may have what it takes to be a pro, but spend their working day in other professions. Editorial photographers, both part-time and full-timers, usually select one or more niche areas that they enjoy photographing in (gardening, antiques, auto racing, rodeos, skydiving, astronomy -you name it) and then match their services with special-interest magazines and book publishers who need those photos.
When editorial photographers travel, it's to venues where they can capture images in their interest areas, because they know their photobuyer contacts are interested in dealing directly with them, and have needs for that specific subject matter.
The shift to purchasing photos from individuals rather than large agencies is only in its infancy. Now is the time to prepare for the ride ahead for individual stock photographers. Equip yourself with a fax #, e-mail address, scanner (or establish contact with a local service bureau), and get yourself able to navigate with photobuyers in the electronic world. The train is leaving soon!
Comments on this column? Send them to the editor.
Rohn Engh, Photosource International.