Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

A Dirty Word: Wrap Up

Please feel free to check out Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this series.

After starting this experiment with micro-stock, here are some of my 'wrap up' thoughts.


I don't think there is anyone that would say that the fees that photographers earn are adequate. Nonetheless, the micro-stock industry is surely not going away. Even the 'big boys' like Corbis and Alamy have figured this out, with Corbis recently starting their own micro-stock portal called Snap Village and Alamy now offering royalty free images on their site as well. Gone are the days when micro-stock sites offered dull, technically poor images taken with a point and shoot camera (if there ever were such days). The images accepted at this point in time are technically excellent (if not art...but then again, they are usually not meant to be art) and often contributed by 'professional' photographers. No longer can one really feel that they are contributing to the 'downfall' of photography by joining, as the mass effect, at this point, with so many images and photographers involved is really self will go on no matter how many more people choose not to participate. In essence, the industry is an outgrowth of the 'digital revolution'. As I have seen in my own profession, once a 'critical mass' is reached, trying to control a phenomena by not participating becomes an exercise in the issue is assessing how one might glean benefits (and determine if there are enough benefits) if they were to participate.

Time. It does take time to prepare images and then to keyword and upload them.

You don't find out exactly if and how your images are used.....there is a loss of control.

It isn't necessarily art. The buyer isn't purchasing your images as 'art'.

PROs (as they apply to me):

You force yourself to process images that have just been laying around for a while. These are mainly images that I was interested in taking, but was not planning to make fine art prints from....and therefore they just lay on the hard drive in RAW format. Now there is a reason to 'develop' them. There are actually one or two that I have decided to print since processing and seeing them in the finished state. Some of the shots will end up on my website.

I hate to admit it, but it is 'fun' when your image is downloaded.

There is some revenue being generated from images that otherwise would have just sat on the hard drive. Exactly how much revenue remains to be seen from this ongoing experiment. Time will tell wether it is 'worth it' or not.

If you aren't a big winter fan, it does make photographing objects around the house and indoors a bit more interesting.

The experiment is unfinished. I am curious as to the thoughts of others who may have given micro-stock consideration. If you tried it, what do you think.......if not, why not?