Have you noticed that when someone isn’t doing so well in his business he or she begins to search for the reason as to why. Here are the most commonly made comments. Please note none include it being the fault of the photographer.

For stock:

  • The commissions are unfair. Agencies are taking everything leaving me nothing.
  • People are stealing images left and right.
  • The economy is not getting better
  • Other, bad photographers are gaining market share

    And for assignment:

    • Other, bad photographers are adding my clients only because they are cheaper
    • There are no more lucrative jobs out there
    • The economy is bad


    People let’s face it. This is the same stuff I heard last year, 5 years ago, 10 years ago and 20 years ago. I’ll probably hear it next year and in 5 years, too. So why is it that my clients are doubling their income, launching new stock agencies and are adding new photographers to their rosters, and are pitching for gigantic global ad campaigns?

    Let’s get real for a moment. The technical requirements and costs associated with managing digital assets from the stock side are absolutely staggering. A 50%-50% split hasn’t been fair for the agency for years. I ran a stock syndication and trust me it’s expensive to run it.

    What can you do? Make your point why your stuff adds value and negotiate the best agreement that you can. Then either do or don’t. Learn how your partner works and give them EXACTLY what they need and want. Milk it for what it is and stop fighting them. They are not the enemy. In fact, they have the same issues you do and they are investing manpower and money to create value for their clients which are also your clients.

    If another photographer takes market share from you and he is not as good as you – tough love coming now – what the heck are you doing wrong? If you can’t explain to your customers why you should do this job and what your value proposition is than you need to get back to the drawing board. If you can’t explain why you are the best fit than the other guy deserves the job because apparently they can explain it. The jobs are out there, why are you not shooting?

    This is survival of the fittest and the best and the smartest. Get clear on what you want, make a plan, break it down, execute it and stop complaining. Disfunctional and hostile relationships with your professional partners lead you nowhere.

    Did you think that someone will do a Google search and find you while you have an Alexa ranking of 4 Million, be impressed and hire you off your (Flash) website that has no USP (unique selling proposition) doesn’t give me a reason why I should contact you? Taking pictures hasn’t been enough for a very, very long time. Pictures are for the most part a commodity . Either you accept that or you make sure that your work is different and marketed accordingly so that it is perceived as something much more valuable.


    Shake of the attitude and for crying out loud stop complaining in public. Take that to your local pub or support group. Clients are fighting for their survival they want to work with people who understand that. They need support from you so that they can make their case and get their budgets back and they are coming back. Be easy to work with and do what it takes. Know when to stand your ground and when to be flexible. Our industry is changing it is not anyone individuals fault.





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