Microstock: What We Learned in 2009

I just got back from UGCX and Photo Plus Expo in New York.  It was a great week with lots of shooting, lots of meeting new and old faces, and lots of interesting discussion.

My take-away from the conference:

Microstock has come a long way in the last few years and garnered a lot of acceptance, but there still a lot of confusion and general misunderstanding between the two camps (microstock / traditional stock) and very few photographers who have a successful business model taking advantage of both platforms.  Personally, I think the work flow, thought process, budget requirements and rewards are so different between micro and traditional stock that it is very challenging for shooters to succesfully do both.

There are those who feel the market is saturated both in terms of number of images already available and number of buyers.  I don’t believe either case is true.  I have found  subjects that are totally uncovered in microstock, in addition to constantly changing styles and buyer needs, which continually create new holes.  There was a lot of talk about natural looking images at the conference – something that a lot of microstock imagery is not.  As for buyers, I feel the public knowledge of microstock is still virtually non-existent and until the average person knows what microstock is, I don’t feel the buyer market will be saturated.

Here are a few of my favorite Quotes:

… That first page, that is super saturated, very colorful, very bright – people are tired of it, they want to use more authentic looking images, something that looks real, something that has real humans on them. – Yuri Arcurs

We have expanded massively both in terms of revenue and in terms of volume, I don’t see us getting anywhere near saturation actually, we think there’s massive opportunity still in this market. Catherine GlucksteiniStockPhoto

The trends again, naturalistic imagery is really big for us, as is the green and spiritual imagery.  It’s all about faster fresher more real imagery. – Catherine Gluckstein – iStockPhoto

More images do not equal more dollars for me.  My best images, that is what’s turning out more dollars. – Kelly Cline

All the things that are already out there, you can take a concept but make it your own, make it fresh, make it your own.  That is going to bring a buyer to our images.  – Kelly Cline

I think there is a big demand for creative content … there is a lot of people that just want a finished template, but it’s rejected fairly often.  – Yuri Arcurs

It’s about capturing people in their particular situation, as if you were not there.  You are just doing your thing and you just have to get the right angles, the right lighting to make it as natural as possible. – Andres Rodriguez

External Links

Andres Rodriguez
Catherine Gluckstein

Kelly Cline
Yuri Arcurs

[Discuss on Microstockgroup]

About The Author:

Tyler Olson works as a microstock photographer who also runs the MicrostockGroup forum and blog. Being so closely involved in the microstock community as a submitter, forum moderator and blogger, Tyler is able to keep updated in the constantly changing microstock marketplace.
Posted on October 28th, 2009 in GTG / Events | tags: , , , , , , ,