Tagged: stock photography

The weird science of stock photography

This Slate article
ended up in my feeds as it mentions my favourite stock photography girl
(well lady now!): the Everywhere Girl. As most of you know (if you
didn’t, now you do): I am fascinated by her travels in the online and
print world. This reminds me that I need to use TinEye on a few of her
images and see what I spot this time around. A couple of things caught
my eye in

“We had a bad day when Dolly was cloned,” says Denise
Waggoner, vice president of creative research at Getty. “We hadn’t been
studying biotechnology, and suddenly everyone wanted a shot of 25 sheep
on a seamless white background. So now we try to keep our toes dipped
in the water in lots of different fields, so we can be ready.”

And the fact that the list of most popular search terms for 2006, 2007 and the first half of 2008 all include: business, people, and woman. (Woman climbed from eighth to fifth to first).

As a rule of thumb, the lifespan of an image depicting contemporary
fashions and technology is roughly four years. “That’s the maximum
shelf life for, say, a woman walking down the street talking on a cell
phone,” says Waggoner. “After that, she’s retro.”  unless of course she
is the Everywhere Girl!

Getty Images and Flickr Honeymoon

SEATTLE
& SAN FRANCISCO, Jul 08, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Getty Images, the
world’s leading creator and distributor of visual content and other
digital media, and Flickr(TM), a division of Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO)
and one of the world’s largest photo sharing communities, today
announce a collaboration that unites the authenticity of images from
the Flickr community with Getty Images’ imagery collections,
photographic expertise and unrivalled experience in licensing digital
media.

The exclusive partnership allows Getty Images to invite Flickr members to participate in a Flickr branded collection on Getty Images that will be available for licensing to Getty Images’ creative, commercial and editorial customers in the coming months.

The rest of the press release is available here,
but it is however short on details on how photographers will be
selected for participation. I believe this is an awesome development
for interested Flickr photographers and the industry as a whole. What
customers have been licensing has changed over the years, Flickr offers
a creative, edgy and very broad photo offering which in my view will
only broaden the Getty creative offering.

Flickr and the microstock industry were the talk of the town two years ago when I attended my last PACA
conference (that story is for another blog post!) ; I still remember
conversations with industry veterans about the blurring lines between
amateur and pro photography and how today’s clients needs and budgets
changed the world of photo licensing. Ah the heated conversations!

The Seattlepi
reports that, “Flickr users will be able to declare whether they want
their images considered for commercial use.” and adds: “Flickr users,
many of whom are amateurs, will be paid in the same manner as
professionals if their images are used commercially. Getty customers
usually pay between $29 and $200,000 for an image, depending on how
freely they may use it. Photographers receive 30 percent to 40 percent
of the licensing fee if the customer’s rights to use the image are
limited in scope or time, or 20 percent if the image may be used with
fewer restrictions.”

There aren’t too many details in the Flickr FAQ but a PDN interview
with Getty’s Jonathan Klein and Flickr Chief Kakul Srivastava reveals a
few more details as to the Klein’s vision with this strategic
relationship:

Klein: From our perspective, as we’ve
talked to you in the past, our approach is to be able to either come up
with anything new or innovative in the industry, or if we’re not smart
enough to come up with it, to acquire it early enough or to partner
with it. We’ve come up with a lot ourselves. We acquired into
microstock very, very early on. And now we’re partnering with something
everyone in the industry knows is absolutely fundamental, and that is
the Flickr community. I don’t know where it will go, but what I can
tell you is we need to be very clear what it is and what it is not.
This is not another microstock play. This, I think, shows our
confidence and Flickr’s confidence in the longevity and the validity of
traditional licensing models, in quality imagery no matter who shot it,
and that imagery delivered in a way which meets customer needs. ‘Cause
at the end of the day, as you said, what stops somebody going to Flickr
today to get that picture? The same thing that stops somebody from
going to the Library of Congress to get a picture. The Library of
Congress has more photos than we do. But you try licensing one on a
tight timetable from them. So the key is to twin the right imagery with
all of those factors which are not cool and sexy, but which business
customers really care about. And that is, am I going to get sued? Can I
get it quickly? Will it download? Will it reproduce the way I think it
will? And at the end of the day, can I make sure it’s within my budget?
And that’s really what we’re doing here. We have over a hundred image
partners and I’m just so glad to add one of the great brands in
photography to that list, and it’s Flickr.

How strategic is Flickr? Well, let the numbers speak for themselves: from the SeattlePI
“Flickr said it gets 54 million worldwide visitors each month and
stores more than 2 billion photos for 27 million members.” and I am
sure that in this haystack there will be images that can be licensed by
creatives looking for authenticity. Oh do I hear better search?
Simplified licensing models? Oh do I hear innovation? Time will tell.

Don’t buy stock photography from a stranger

Didn’t your mama tell you not to talk to strangers or take candy from them. Today she would probably add another warning: "don’t buy stock photography from a stranger you meet in a sauna of a health club"! She would also probably tell you not to lie about it. Lest you end up on Slashdot and lose a lawsuit!