Interviewing Photographers, CEO's of stock agencies, industry pundits and others. My intention for this section is to have and report conversations with people of interest in the stock photo and photography industry. I will be seeking information that I want to know; after all, if I want to know it others will too! The men and women I will be talking with will range from professional photographers to CEO's of stock agencies, industry pundits and others. Basically, anybody I respect and who I think has something relevant to share with our community of photographers will be fair game for my interview/chats. If any of you have questions for me we can start an ongoing process for that. Jack HollingsworthOne of the most well known names in stock photography.
Marc Romanelli has been shooting stock photography for over twenty years. He has crafted an enviable life style of shooting what he wants when he wants and living where he wants (Santa Fe, New Mexico). Marc has also been successful at adding motion to his repertoire. In this interview he shares his experience with us and how he plans on dealing with this changing market.
The industry has made the mistake of creating too many of the same images over and over again. This is because instead of nurturing the photographers who have vision to combine both art and commerce to produce unique images within the standard salable subjects, they let creative decisions be driven by previous sales results and creative research based all on the same sources.
I can get ideas from anywhere. I might be walking through Target and see something that jump-starts a concept. Movies and TV are also a big source of ideas as are locations. Finding an unusual or cool prop can always open up a range of ideas and clothing is also a big source of inspiration.
Blend was really the birth of community stock photography. Similar to what Micro has become today, just on a much larger scale. Before that stock was a very private business.
We ended up selling Digital Stock to Corbis, and I joined Corbis as Co-Director for Commercial Content Worldwide. I truly enjoyed my time at Corbis and met some great photographers and created a lot of wonderful content.
What I strive to do with my work is to “vision the invisible” – to use the physical, material expressions of people, animals, plants, and places to reveal whatever mystery it is that animates them, that gives them life, vitality, and character. I’m not referring to an effort to see something that’s beyond appearances, but rather, to reveal what’s within appearances.
An art director is first and foremost a communicator. He or she requires not only a strong sense of visual design, but also the skill to communicate a vision to other artists and clients who often have their own agenda.
My generation was shaped by TV, but every major event in our lifetime is defined by a still image. When people think of the Vietnam War they think about the image of the man being shot in the head by the guy in the short sleeve shirt or the napalm-scarred girl running down the road. When we think of the student revolution on Tiananmen Square it’s the image of the guy with the plastic shopping bags in front of the tank.
Every shoot brings its own set of challenges and unique energy. I think that's what I love about a career in photography - the variety! I love being in the middle of a huge production with lots of locations, models, and crew! At the same time, it can be equally rewarding to be shooting food with my wife on our kitchen table. Plus there's always something around the corner that will test me in new ways, like photographing a surgery for a healthcare client or winter camping for a book publisher.
Probably the biggest change has been the advent of the digital age and Photoshop as a staple of the production process. Once the Web replaced the stock catalogues as the major source of visual content, search engines greatly streamlined the process. And after Photoshop, it became more about finding elements, rather than finding the perfect shot.
My main agencies are Getty and Blend Images. I’m also with Jupiter, Cultura, Danita Delimont, and Uppercut. I don’t do any direct sales. The whole direct sales thing intrigues me, but I can’t imagine trying to take that on without having some sort of staff. At this point, I’m a one-woman show, and work way too much as it is!
I never go to just one agency. I always visit at least three agencies to make sure I am getting the best image that fits my need. I hit the “standard” ones; the ones I like to call my “bread and butter” agencies…Jupiter (which is now Getty…they are all merging a bit sad), Corbis and Masterfile.
For micro to survive successfully it will have to raise prices substantially. Their further success will depend upon their ability to attract a higher quality of material. This means images with higher production value. The value cannot be put in by photographers if they don’t receive the financial returns from their efforts. It simply doesn’t make sense as a business model.
I see myself as a jack of all trades and a master of one – photography. I enjoy learning new things and I’m glad that they contribute to my growth as a photographer. For example, learning hairstyling and makeup helps in my work in fashion. Even learning dances like Tango and Salsa got me to be more sensitive to body language such that I was surprised I became better at directing models in posing.
Consumers look for anything and everything. It doesn’t matter. Once decision-making leaves “skilled designers and marketing directors” and is left in the hands of the consumer, all rules about “what sells” go out the window.Consumers (that is, people who “consume” images without having anything to do with traditional media commerce) often have extremely poor taste, poor design skills, and inconsistent purchasing patterns.
In 1993 I applied to an ad in the LA Times for a sales position at Westlight, a stock photography agency on the West Coast that was acquired by Corbis in 1998. I was an account executive for 3 years before moving into the editing department. This was a great introduction into stock photography. It gave me the ability to visit clients in the major U.S. markets and gain an understanding of what sells and to whom.
Most of my stock sales are through Getty, Masterfile and Blend Images of which I am an owner along with 22 other photographers. I do work directly with a couple of magazine editors but often it is more hassle that it’s worth.
I am a partner in Blend, so most of my efforts go there. I contribute a particular style of imagery to Getty which I feel needs their worldwide distribution. I had a large quantity of legacy Stock Market and Zefa material which until recently had been at Corbis.
I started as a photo researcher in New York in the late 1970’s – although I should probably start lying about the dates….I worked in magazines and books until Premiere magazine came along and I did five years there then moved on to Universal Studios as a marketing director. After another stint in magazines, I took the job as the DOP of the Los Angeles creative office of Tony Stone, replacing Sarah Stone which of course made me a persona non grata right off the bat with the staff and with the key photographers.
I have been involved professionally with stock photography for over 7 years now, entering the field shortly after graduating from collage at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, IN, where I studied fine art photography & psychology
An Interview with: Luxury Spa and Resort Photographer - Trinette Reed & Chris Gramly Luxury Spa, Resort, and Hotel Photographer specializing in Fashion, Lifestyle, and Architectural Photography in California.
When I was fifteen, my father gave me a hand-me-down Mamiya-Sekor 500 DTL, and I was hooked. From there, it was on to Brooks Institute, followed by a four-year stint at Hallmark Cards, in Kansas City MO, followed by a four-year stint in Dallas, TX as a “Retail Product” photographer, where my main client was Neiman-Marcus. In 1988, I returned to Nebraska, my home state; opening a studio in Lincoln.
My experience has shown me that having someone you can turn to, and count on, when it comes to camera equipment, is truly an asset. Karen, for example, saves me time and stress in purchasing, and can prove invaluable when I have an emergency need.
concentrated in photography during a college degree filled with academics and art/photography courses at the University of Memphis. I had key mentors such as art photographer Larry McPherson, sculptor Greely Myatt, and painter Richard Knowles. Prior to that, my high school senior year included explorations of creative independent thinking speared on by a Fulbright exchange educator Luc Weegels from Amsterdam. Collectively, these persons taught me everything that I needed to know about process, about being prolific, and about being a professional.
My first photo gigs were in the early 90’s shooting publicity stills on film sets (mostly horror films) in Los Angeles. This was one of the most interesting photography experiences of my career. I learned a lot about filmmaking and the camaraderie on-set is wonderful …but I couldn’t see myself growing old in Los Angeles eating junk food and smoking cigarettes in-between takes.
Jim Pickerell has done it all in Photography, from war correspondent, to stock agency owner to industry analyst and publisher of the highly regarded stock industry newsletter Selling Stock. Jim gives us a thorough rundown on his view of the future of stock and suggestions on how to adapt to the changing industry.
I have this impression of you as a very laid back, low-key guy…someone who doesn’t take up a whole lot of space. Yet you are one of the elite of the photography world. Your client list would make anyone enviable, your promotion efforts insure that you are a household name in the advertising world and you shoot both stills and motion in exotic locations around the world. You are also a founding member of Blend Images stock agency.
In today's stock photo environment if you want to be a travel photographer, you absolutely must measure that determination against how much you are willing to challenge yourself in overcoming the obstacles. Most people’s lives are structured very differently from mine but one certainly doesn't have to go on the road for such extreme trips. If you live in Denver, for example, then one day someone will want a travel photo of Denver and that destination is right in your back yard. You can snap a great photo any time you catch magic light throughout the year.
I came into the industry from the business side and not as a photographer, first working in a client services capacity at PhotoDisc (on the eve of Getty’s acquisition), then moving into content production and operations; from there I built the image partner team and ran operations during Getty’s expansion of the program. This allowed me to meet many other agency owners, including Blend’s. Blend is a unique business, very “DIY” – I liked the people, where the business was at and the change for me was like exercising a different set of muscles.
The following is an interview with stock photographer Sam Diephuis. Sam shoots travel and lifestyle, and though you may not have heard of him he is talented, prolific and successful. His work has been featured by both Getty and Blend Images (Blend has frequently used his work as an example of what "works"). Sam assisted me early in his career and we have frequently shot together on "gang" shoots. I consider Sam both a friend and an inspiration.
From Polar Bears and Killer Whales, to the Northern Lights, to Cathedrals in Spain, Rolf Hicker has earned his position as one of the top travel and nature photographers in the world. But he is more than that. Rolf is truly a photographer of the Internet age.
We still give the majority share (60%) of the sale back to the creator or owner of the work, this has remained a core driver from the very outset. We recognize that customers want variety and depth, but that’s worthless without a fast and cunning search interface so we combine the largest hi-res stock collection on the web with a super fast site all built using our own in-house technical expertise. We’ve grown our collection organically without acquisition and as a result we have no debt.
Quang-Tuan Luong, Phd., is much more than a world-class photographer. From a technical climber to a mountain guide to a University professor and contributor to the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, Quang-Tuan has found his own way to professional photography.
Ron Chapple Industry Leading, Innovative and Super Successful Stock and Assignment Photographer Ron Chapple Interviewed: Ron, you got an early start in photography even opening your own studio right out of college. You jumped into stock at a good time back in 1992, and embraced Royalty Free at the right time as well. In fact, you built up a significant collection, Thinkstock, which was acquired by Jupiter images. Now you have iofoto, which I hear is a very strong micro collection.
I often turn to your site to keep abreast of what is happening in the world of Micro Stock, and I am aware that you are instrumental in putting together New Media conferences on Micro Stock, crowd sourcing and so forth. I appreciate your taking the time to share your knowledge with us. Can you catch us up on how you came to be where you are now…and the scope of what you are undertaking?
Yuri Arcurs is the world's best selling microstock photographer...and shares his thoughts and experience on stock photography in the following interview.
You have a long history in the photography business. Can you share with us some highlights of your photography career? I founded a company called nonstock with Janou Pakter, who was also my co-partner in Janou Pakter, Inc., a prestigious, worldwide recruitment agency based in New York. Our involvement with worldwide design and advertising agencies, as well as with photographers, was the catalyst for the creation of nonstock.
Siri, I first came to know you as my editor at Getty Images. I went through a number of editors at Getty, so I don’t really remember the circumstances of losing you…but here you are all these years later with almost 5,000 images on Getty, a slew of awards including the Communication Arts Photography Annual, and what looks like a pretty enviable career as a freelance photographer.
Artists look to Cafepress.com to help them earn from their art. In the following interview Angela Low, Marketing Program Manager for Cafepress.com, helps artists learn the business of Cafepress.com.
Jonathan Ross and his Wife Amy Anderson have risen to the top of the photography world as leaders in the stock photo industry. Prolific producers of stock stills and motion, they are also founding members of Blend Images. They freely share a wealth of information about their experience in the industry. Now they have embarked on yet another new venture, a new stock agency: Spaces Images.
Family run business, than a large corporation. It is the same feeling I got while working at Richard Steedman’s Stock Market Photo Agency. Blend is a very tight knit group that tries to put a human touch on the experience our photographers have in an industry that has become very automated and impersonal. We still have photographer meetings every year…I don’t know many places that still put that time, expense and effort in to their shooters.
Friend and fellow photographer Shannon Fagan recently relocated from New York to China. Shannon is one of those people that are referred to as "thought leaders" and has been very active in the photography world. He is a past president of the Stock Artists Alliance, and has had leadership roles in the American Photographic Artists, the American Society of Media Photographers and the Young Photographers Alliance. I could go on...but I won't.
Ten And Two Magazine is a project I came up with alongside a terrific graphic designer named Greg Smith from the Portland, Oregon area. It’s a digital magazine with a basic editorial foundation of fly fishing, which is a passion of both Greg and I. We both had a lot of experience shooting, or writing, or designing projects for a paper based fly fishing magazine and when that magazine folded, we decided to keep something going online.
Joining Image Source has given me the opportunity to work with very nice and smart people on a whole new range of innovations that we would like to bring into the stock industry. If anything holds this all together, it is that I see myself exploring and enjoying the communication arts, making a living and having fun doing something that I think is on the plus-side of our civilization.