One thing that has always bothered me is why the commercial stock companies always offer discounts on their images and never the editorial photo agencies. Hold it ! I am not saying they should.

If you go on Royalty free websites, there is always, always a promotion going on. Get 2 images for the price of 3, 40 % off, and so on. Makes you think that maybe, just maybe, the official price is a little bumped up to cover all these promotions.

Why not bring the price down once and for all ? Yes, I know, it is called “marketing”. But, if the market is so price sensitive than why not adjust the pricing. That is, for those still asleep, if more people buy your images because of a special promotion price, than why not make this promotion price permanent? And it is not just the Royaltee free distrubutor who play this price game. The big Corps and others do it on rights managed. Take Getty, for example. If you get pass the barage of offers from Istockphoto ($1), Valueline ( $19), Web ready ($49), you still end up getting 25% off any RM images you purchase before the 31 of December. A holiday special : Buy your kids a license from Getty this Christmas season.

But seriously, what makes the same image less expensive than a month ago? because it is cold outside ? ( for those of us in the norther hemisphere and close to the Atlantic Ocean), because Wal Mart is having sales too? Because your photography budget is depleted ? Because its the Holiday Season ?

And in this particular case, it applies to editorial images too.

Photographers must be happy to suddenly see their commissions  reduced to a quarter less.  Happy Holidays guys!!

It used to be that an image had a fixed price based on its value. Now its price changes depending on what time of the year it is. Insane.¬† Editorial agencies that only license to the editorial market do not have this seasonal promotion because they actually do believe that an image has a certain fixed value. That variable pricing brings too much confusion in an already very confused market. They do not believe that quantity replaces quality and furthermore, they don’t really like to mess around with their photographers revenue.

Although your magazine is going to make more money this month thanks to all these additional ads, you get do it cheaper. Makes no sense. It devalues your collection. It devalues the work of photographers. And finally, it just confirms what image buyers always thought : your pricing is arbitrary.

We all know that others will blindly follow in Getty’s big track believing that everything that the giants does is genius. But this giant is wounded and, like any wounded animal, it can be dangerous, even to himself.

While they are busy with Istockphoto creator web 2.0 buzz boy Bruce Livingstone new toy, the consumer oriented ( sorry, its password protected), and its imminent launch, they are probably not to conscious of the demolition job being done behind them.

So, attention shoppers. Do you research. Some images this month will be at an expectational low for a limited time only. If you are savvy enough, you could pay less than you did last month for the same campaign or article. And if you do like what you see, tell the other agencies that you can get an “equivalent” image ( you have to love that expression) for 25 % cheaper. If all of you do it for enough time, you will bring this industry down to its knees and even further. You will finally get great images for really cheap. Until they become rock bottom cheap. Like microstock.
Until there is no way a photographer can survive. And you start wondering where did all the great content disappeared.

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2 Thoughts on “Ti’s the season

  1. Sommerjazz on December 7, 2007 at 5:21 am said:

    But seriously, what makes the same image less expensive than a month ago?

    My guess:

    Financial Results for X Quarter and annual results. They all have sales budgets to meet, and hopes that discounts will help them get there in time.

  2. Understood. Make sense for the financial dept. still doesn’t make sense to the photographer, does it ?

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