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Jill Morgan

The Reality Of Supply And Demand

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There are many posts on this forum about the low "almost microstock" fees being charged by Alamy now, compared to a few years ago when three figure sales were quite common.

 

As a late comer to the stock scene, (about a year and a half) I only have a couple of three figure sales compared to the $10 - $50 norm (with a few even lower) that seems to be the going rate these days.

 

Do we all not have to face the fact that lower two figure sales are going to be the standard now? The whole world of commerce is based on supply and demand, and the internet has made supply (in everything, not just images) huge compared to the non-internet days.

 

A company such as Alamy, with a monstrous library of its own, can't charge $400 for images a customer can find elsewhere for $1 - $50. They can try, but their sales will plummet. Competition is fierce, and as long as there are people willing to offer the images for low fees, we all are impacted. I"m sure Alamy wants to get those higher fees as well. They are't low balling for the fun of it. 

 

I started selling my horse equipment on eBay way back in 2000. The money was great and I could hardly keep up with the demand for my product. By the time I left eBay in 2010, products I was getting $25 for I was selling for $10. Too many sellers and not enough buyers. Such is the reality of selling anything online, whether it be IP or tangible goods. When the market gets flooded, prices drop.

 

No point in blaming Alamy for lower prices. They have to compete in a saturated market. I don't think they like that $8 sale any more than we photographers do. But that's life selling stuff online.

 

Jill

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It only applies if you are selling the same, commodity, products as everyone else. Otherwise how do Annie Liebovitz and others command the prices they do?

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It only applies if you are selling the same, commodity, products as everyone else. Otherwise how do Annie Liebovitz and others command the prices they do?

 

I don't see Annie Liebovitz with anything on sale on Alamy or the micros.   :)   Yes, I am applying this to the standard stock photographer and prices on Alamy, as that is what the complaints are about. 

 

A whole different market than the like of Annie Liebovitz or Mario Testino. 

 

99.9% of us who contribute to Alamy are unlikely to reach those levels. And if we do, I think it unlikely we will be worrying about the fees on stock photography sites.

 

Jill

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It only applies if you are selling the same, commodity, products as everyone else. Otherwise how do Annie Liebovitz and others command the prices they do?

Yes, that's right. Stock, here and elsewhere only accounts for about 0.5% of my photographic income. My original prints, from new work and my archive, sell through the galleries and dealers that handle my work for substantial and ever rising sums. A large multiple sale a few years ago to a major public art collection allowed me to buy a (smallish) cottage in North Wales outright. There's no great logic to it, one day you, or your work are in demand, the next it's over. The fickle world of the art buying public and the changing fashions and tastes of the dealers and galleries who promote the work. I have sold prints steadily for over forty years so have been lucky. A  modest size B&W print from me back then might have cost £50. Now, through a gallery, you might have to double it and add a '0'. Kept up with inflation at least!

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I don't think my point is getting across here. I am not talking about the fees people get outside the stock photography game. I am directly referring to the prices on Alamy.

 

There are many complaints on this forum about the lower fees they are receiving and seem to blame Alamy for it. I am stating that if you are an online stock photographer selling on Alamy and others, supply and demand dictates the price.

 

Outside the stock game is a whole different market and not what I am addressing here.

 

Jill

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It only applies if you are selling the same, commodity, products as everyone else. Otherwise how do Annie Liebovitz and others command the prices they do?

 

I don't see Annie Liebovitz with anything on sale on Alamy or the micros.   :)   Yes, I am applying this to the standard stock photographer and prices on Alamy, as that is what the complaints are about. 

 

A whole different market than the like of Annie Liebovitz or Mario Testino. 

 

99.9% of us who contribute to Alamy are unlikely to reach those levels. And if we do, I think it unlikely we will be worrying about the fees on stock photography sites.

 

Jill

 

 

But the point I was trying to get over is are many of us here, myself included, setting our sights too low? A good few of the contributors to Alamy have the talent and skills to do better, do they have the desire and determination?

 

I fully agree with your comments,  Alamy is not a get rich (quick or slow ;) ) scheme.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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I don't think my point is getting across here. I am not talking about the fees people get outside the stock photography game. I am directly referring to the prices on Alamy.

 

There are many complaints on this forum about the lower fees they are receiving and seem to blame Alamy for it. I am stating that if you are an online stock photographer selling on Alamy and others, supply and demand dictates the price.

 

Outside the stock game is a whole different market and not what I am addressing here.

 

Jill

I appreciated that you were referring to stock and Alamy but there are other markets and photographic directions that everyone can explore. You also said that "99.9% of us who contribute to Alamy are unlikely to reach those levels". How many try? I think there are many talented and dedicated photographers here who may well have the potential but have become bogged down by churning out large quantities of stock, grumbling (rightly) about ridiculously low fees but possibly ignored or are under-achieving in other areas. In the 1980's stock earned me more than print sales (even though I was selling more than most).  In the late 1990's I saw the writing on the wall for stock. In the 2000's, because I have worked hard at it and working on self-initiated personal, book or gallery-based projects is what I enjoy most, it is paying dividends. Or even cottages! 

 

Some may ask, "why bother with stock then as it accounts for such a tiny proportion of your income"? Because I have always enjoyed the variety in photography and I do things sometimes for a change of pace and direction, or as a way of clearing my head for a while before starting a new project. 

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"Do we all not have to face the fact that lower two figure sales are going to be the standard now?"

 

Yes, by the looks of it. They have been the standard for some time now for most usages.

Edited by John Mitchell

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I see what you're meaning. 

 

I see it the same as those photography portals on FB where you can sell your gear. If three people are selling the same item as you,  you know you aren't going to get what you want for it, as everyone starts dropping the price to get the sale. 

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