I never for one minute considered the possibility that a missed delivery note left by my postman one day could sell for $145. However that is exactly what happened and has led me to gain an interesting insight into what sells best through stock agencies such as Alamy.
I have thousands of images with Alamy and this collection grows year on year. Slowly the income I draw from this gets gradually better. Let me warn you though that this isn’t my main income and may never be but recently, I am starting to re-consider this rather negative attitude.
If I can sell mundane images of things such as Delivery notes, HTML on computer screens, boring signs in Slough and Croydon for fairly decent sums of money, what if I were to go all out and shoot lots of old crap? Would I be raking it in? Would I be laughing all the way to the bank?
I have two kinds of image in my burgeoning library, really nice ones (that you may so choose to hang on your wall) and mundane ones that are purely illustrative, such as road signs. The lovely travel shots that I particularly enjoy seeking out and shooting are set to sell as “Rights Managed” and the latter as “Royalty Free”. I have no idea if this is the right thing to do but after discussion with many a fellow photographer over the years, appears to be the “best way of going about it”. We all know what the differences are between RM and RF sales models but seldom understand them, to the point where we harness their potential fully to increase sales. It is all about balance and taking a chance, “You’ll never know until you have tried”.
2010 is going to be about experimenting with this concept, shooting a good mix of RM travel shots as I hope to do some of that this year versus any old stuff such as the pedestrian crossing sign below that I took in Italy purely because I want to see if I can make something out of road signs!!! Yes you may think I am barking mad and indeed in many ways I am. However I hope some of you are in agreement with me. I will be charting the progress of this idea through the blog in coming months.
On a final note, I think that the image market is changing to the point that Royalty Free and microstock sales models are gathering momentum. Many photographers are naturally concerned that this will ultimately be the death of Rights Managed sales and diminished earnings as a result. I am not so sure as I feel it will create a bigger gap between the markets and their purpose will be far more defined which will in turn actually do Rights Managed a favour? Only time will tell but I am willing to try selling images through both methods because I have a gut feeling, I will sell more in the long run. You can never work against the market, as if you do, you only end up losing out. Buyers dictate to the world in which we live nowadays and we have to adjust to meet those demands. This is most certainly the case of the Photography business and many others besides, consequently it all boils down to being competitive.