Published on Wed Apr 14, 2010 by David Colbran

Rather than commissioning new photographs, many businesses go down the route of sourcing images from various stock libraries online. In the past these agencies provided a way to let photographers make some extra income from previous shoots, while allowing businesses a more affordable way of getting high-quality photography. Then along came micro-stock.

Microstock works on the ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ model and opened up the playing field to all sorts of different photographers around the world from amateurs to full-time pros. On average their fees to buyers were 20 times less than traditional agencies like Alamy and the returns to the photographers similarly small - many pay just 20 cents for a photo!. This means a lot of people are drastically underselling themselves and in turn many photographers who rely on taking and selling images for a living are going out of business.

Boo-hoo for the poor photographers, I hear you cry.

However the royalty-free (buy them once, use them many times) model of microstock can drastically effect the businesses that go for the cheap option, when it comes to using images on websites and marketing materials. New technology enables people to identify photographs and where they appear very easily – this blog show how TinEye works and easily demonstrates where using microstock could be bad for you.

Microstock - why would a reputable company do this to themselves

Obviously if you don't want to damage your business, need a professional photographer or some exclusive Liverpool stock photography please get in touch.

UPDATE - September 2010 - Microstock: how to avoid Poisonous Pictures

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Tags: stock, business, commercial, microstock

Author: David Colbran

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