Are you building a business or chasing random photo sales?
Stock photography isn’t what it used to be.
I’m not sure what your experience has been, but the industry has been flooded in recent years by opportunistic photo-sellers which has changed things forever. Competition has gone through the roof, prices are in the toilet and sales are totally unpredictable at even the biggest libraries.
The good news is, it’s not all doom and gloom, and I do believe there’s a way for any talented & determined photographer to succeed in this industry today… but more on that shortly.
For now I want you to consider a few harsh truths about where we’re at as photographers and the state of our industry. I don’t expect you’ll agree with all of it, but if you read it through to the end, it will give you a few ideas about how you can build a successful photography business despite all the current problems.
Now I know a lot of professional photographers want to blame the ‘amateurs’ for all our woes, but I don’t think it’s a matter of professional status that determines the difference here … but rather the attitude and approach. (Just one example… there’s no shortage of professionals giving their work away for peanuts on the Microstock sites!)
That’s why I prefer to refer to the problem photographers as ‘opportunist photo-sellers‘.
Basically they’re the photographers – amateur AND professional – who’ve entered the market with no clear strategy, hell-bent on selling photos of anything to anyone who wants them, for whatever price and terms they can get for them.
It’s like firing a shotgun in the dark… you might hit something but you won’t know what until it happens. In business, it’s an approach doomed to failure.
These photographers soon realise competition is already ridiculously high, and since they haven’t identified a niche or developed any kind of unique identity or brand, the only growth strategy they’ve got is to submit more images try and compete on price…
In a market that’s already at rock bottom.
So these photographic opportunists keep pumping more and more random images into the marketplace, they keep accepting lower and lower prices (if that’s possible) and they keep giving up more and more rights… and the downward spiral continues.
And at that end of the industry, it’s hard to see anything changing… ever.
And professional or amateur, once a photographer slips into this cycle, it’s a tough habit to break.
If you’re getting paltry returns from the work you’ve done getting a big collection online with a stock library, are you really going to start over and shoot a whole new collection because maybe you got it wrong?
Personally I often wish more photographers would consider it…
We regularly get experienced and talented photographers coming through GlobalEye who’ll happily tell me they’re looking for another library, because the other library (or libraries!) they’re listed with aren’t making them sales.
It never occurs to them that perhaps part of the problem might be their images?
So instead of reassessing the images they’re trying to sell, they simply keep putting more and more of the same non-performing images into more and more outlets.
Again, it’s an approach destined to fail.
Those photographers are adding to their workload by chasing photo sales with no real plan or strategy. And unfortunately some of them invest massive amounts of time submitting huge numbers of images that are simply never going to sell.
Well I’m here to tell you there is a better way.
It does require a major mind-shift from the traditional submit-and-wait approach to stock photography though. Most importantly, it requires you to stop thinking about the hands-free sales we like to think of as stock photography, as a business in it’s own right.
The only way a photographer can truly succeed in this market is to build a complete photography business…
A business targeting the high-end of the market,
A business with a targeted and responsive Client List,
A business with multiple, independent revenue streams,
A business that focuses on your own unique style and content.
A business build around your strengths, experience and interests.
The funny thing is, that’s exactly how it used to be!
Back before the Internet, stock photography was mostly a sideline revenue stream for a relatively small percentage of photographers.
Then photography went digital and photo libraries moved online, and everyone wanted to be a full-time stock photographer. A lot of stock libraries helped perpetuate the myth… shoot whatever you want, put the images in our library and make a living doing what you love…
Well it’s clear that the reality didn’t live up to the dream and the vast majority of photographers who went online chasing it have come up short. Massive competition, throw-away prices, ever increasing workloads, ever decreasing returns… why would you bother?
But now we’ve gone the full cycle, and the savvy photographers are accepting that ‘stock’ is just one part of a complete photography business… and they’re planning more carefully and building their businesses accordingly… and they’re getting some amazing returns for their efforts.
It gets even better though…
When you take this whole-business approach and build it around your core strengths and interests, you can achieve everything the opportunist photosellers have been chasing!
When you mind-shift from selling photos to building a photography business, everything changes…
Instead of forever chasing new sales, you’re acquiring lifetime Clients… people who need the subjects you shoot and will continue to buy your photos for many years to come.
Instead of shooting anything and everything in the hope of snaring a hot-seller, you’re identifying possible markets for your preferred subjects, then creating images that those markets can use.
Instead of posting photos online and hoping someone finds them, you’re developing a strategic web presence designed to attract and engage Clients 24/7 on your behalf.
Instead of leaving it to the stock library to handle the sales (and take 50% commission), you’re building real-person relationships with your buyers, so you can go back to them over and over, and generate new business any time you like.
And all this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
When you stop chasing photo sales and start building a photography business, you suddenly have the real opportunity to grow and improve every single aspect of your operation.
When you treat your photography as a real and complete business, that persistent dream of making a good living doing what you love, actually becomes possible.
That’s what we want to help you achieve at GlobalEye.
When you login and look around the private Photographer’s area, you’ll find a LOT of information. I’ve done my best to make the Photographer’s Information section as complete as possible, but that also means it can be a bit overwhelming at first glance.
I assure you it’s not.The trick is, don’t get too caught up on the specifics just yet.
Just try to focus on the big picture of the kind of photography business you can build with the tools we’re providing.
Basically what you get with GlobalEye is a plug-and-play photography business platform, but it’s not hands-free. You add your photos, you do a few (simple) tasks, and the system takes care of most of the rest, but you do need to be engaged to get maximum value from it.
It’s a package that addresses photographer needs for each step of the online business process … marketing, sales, fulfillment and operations… and it automates many of the processes, but you do need to be present and involved.
So that is the big proviso here.
I know for a fact, a lot of people looking at stock expect it to be hands-free… submit photos and wait for a cheque in the mail. As I said, that model stopped working quite a few years back, but no one bothered to tell the photographers.
If that’s what you’re looking for, then GlobalEye isn’t going to be for you.
On the other hand, if you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into it, then together we can achieve something very special.
OK, I’m going to leave it there as that’s plenty for today. I do hope you’ve read it all carefully though, as it is that important. What you have now is a choice between chasing random photo sales, or building a complete, sustainable and profitable photography business.
If you’re thinking the second option makes more sense, then login now and finally get that Membership Application to us…