As I still was a digibetic or analphabetic in the digital world, I was often amazed by the images and videos that are used in YouTube videos. Where do they get them and how can they find them? Now my question is: how much work is it to offer my images there?
There are many different websites where you can download your images, videos, and music for free for simple use as websites. For example, I use sometimes pexels (www.pexels.com). It didn´t take long for me to recognize that pictures are downloadable for free, but regularly for the nicer ones you have to pay a price. The free pictures make it attractive to get to the website of the stock and like that reach the wider offers.
Depending on the type of use for the download a customer pays a higher or lower price. For professional entities that regularly use images or videos in their digital communications, there is the option of membership. You may wonder, but who would be interested in that? Well, a member in Shutterstock can download 25 images for free per day, which means it already pays off if you´d regularly buy or use ten high quality pictures in a month. With the 25 pictures per day, the flow of good pictures to use for general purposes is higher.
Let me share the illustrative example of a friend who informed me the other day because I asked about the option to use the system for offering pictures.
My father is an amateur photographer with professional quality pictures. If you know me, you will not be surprised his key topics are nature and landscape. About twenty years ago, I told him that if he wanted to keep taking pictures, he´d better go digital and leave his slides.
It took a while, but the other day he mentioned that he is so happy he did listen to me (at least for ones he did…:)). For about two decades he is digital photographer now with 100.000´s quality pictures. However, he still uses them mainly for his presentations and books and has not commercialized them. Always I have been amazed at how he can pay for his expensive hobby because of the few lines he has for sales, presentations, and books. He offered that I can use them, so we discussed why not to put them available to a wider audience.
Basically there are two digital paths to choose from:
Focus on becoming a well-known photographer, and for that dedicate to building and maintaining a website, use social media, communications with clients and so on, or
Use existing stocking programs where you will not be very famous maybe, but your images and videos reach a wider audience and the automated system organizes the flow.
The first thought we had was on calculating a picture price to see if it makes sense to put in the effort. The single sales a photographer makes to specific orders from clients can give several tens of euros. However if you look at the prices offered to the clients per image via the stock-systems, you will have fun, because that is over ten times less per image. And most of that money goes to the stock-bureau. Logically our first thought was that it doesn´t work for him, because he wants good prices for his work. But, you will be surprised what my friend shared on this.
Not being a digital analphabetic anymore, I explored further. Because 1000 pictures sold in an automated system for a low price, may result in much more efficient sales. Selling 10 pictures with a lot of effort for a good price, or 1.000 in an automated system for a lower price? And, be realistic, the old-fashioned system would not allow him to scale to 10.000. He simply can not dedicate the time that is involved in attending to the clients.
I dived into www.shutterstock.com and yes, the picture price for customers with membership is low. Going over example pictures there from birds, I opened one and …it was from a friend. No idea if the algorithmics has linked us and for that reason, he was on the first page, but I want to believe the systems have not linked on that level. We met 20 years ago when we both already worked as nature consultants. As I asked him about the system, he said: “oh, yes, my main income comes from there now“. Even he has left his old career (as an employee) and became a freelancer choosing his activities by combining his picture sales with consultant work.
We had a zoom-call and he explained that he started ten years ago and has improved with adjusting his photography a bit to make more sales via the automated systems. Here comes the share with you. and what made my father okay to jump on this digital track too. The friend has uploaded about 9000 different pictures and the automated systems are selling for him HUNDREDS OF IMAGES A DAY. The prices per image have gone down a lot, but simultaneously the number of sales has increased.
Exploring for a few days, it gave me huge insights in this digital line. Not only can we increase sales and use of the pictures, but also more valuable images become available. I just love this part of the digital world. Everybody wins. The clever stock bureaus make pictures available from the photographers and organise the clients to the photographer.
Because of the low price offers, the flow of images is huge. It is the numbers that make it work and the automated system makes scaling possible. For the clients, they can improve their presentations and illustrations with high-quality pictures for a ridiculous low price (at least that´s what the photographer would say). However, the automated systems sell multiple times the pictures he can directly sale and in addition, they sell and pay a better price for images that are used for wider commercial purposes.
How about you? Do you have high quality pictures to put available online? You want cheap access to a wide offer of images and videos? Have a look and get started: www.shutterstock.com