Depositphotos Raises Prices and Cuts Photographers Commissions


In another step towards racing to the bottom, photographers will be paying the price for it and not consumers. In a saturated world where photos can already had for free, Depositphotos think that you deserve a rate cut. 

old royalties

read'em & weep new royalties

So where is the logic? Apparently Depositphotos has had enough of going through your photos and want to pay you what you deserve, according to the reasoning, it is to bring it more in line with market demands. This could mean that they are raising the rate as the demand has fallen off a cliff so they have to sell less but charge more, while at the same time trying to accommodate more and more photographers who wish to sell at their marketplace. 

This cannot be good news for the photographer. The 10 percent royalty cut may not prevent you from earning your beer money but it does towards drinking lesser pints. 

Why you should rethink your plans about Quitting your Day Job

Everyone at some stage of their miserable lives would want to embark on a life changing career and some may even want to dabble in photography. 

There is no sin in this but you need to understand that each step you take forward is like traversing a minefield. 

Having had the experience of working within a advertising agency, I know how they manage client expectations and this can be difficult. First, every dream the client has about an advert has to be skillfully rationalized in terms of budget. If a client refuses to opt for a staged photo shoot to meet the imaging expectations, then they resort to using royalty free photos. 

Royalty free photos can be purchase for either print or web campaigns, and this is where they start to fire up their photoshop skills to composite photos to create the illusion of an actual piece of canvas. This is a no brainer. 

Royalty free microstock photos pander to such needs and are ideal when very little is involved in terms of cost. Instead, the Advertising agency will then charge their Digital Imaging Enhancement fees on top of the purchase photos, making the bulk of the money in place of what they have purchased from you...the photographer. 

There is always some work to be done, for photographers to shoot for agencies, but the value proposition is always very poor. 

Special assignments do not come in a bear market but a bull market, where lots of special projects to shoot models and products can be had in a booming consumer market. 

The reverse is true when in a bear market where consumer sentiment is poor, budgets will have to be cut and this is where they turn to buying stock photos. 

Stock imaging works best in countries where a copyright is valued. This unfortunately does not happen in Asia or the USA, where countless large corporations have ripped photographers off. 

The last market for microstock lies in websites, but not personal blogs. Corporate or business websites have a need to fill those blank spaces in their content and this is where an image will come in handy. But look at the above rates for web use and you will know that you're not going to get rich from it anytime soon. An image that is between large and medium cost lower than 3 bucks. A buck might buy you a beer at some places while anything less than 3 might qualify you for a Starbucks latte in some parts of the world. 

In a day or week, you have to work out your expenses on how much you want to devote to this career and how much you can earn in the process. 

Lastly, demand for photos always come from developed countries as oppose to semi or least developed ones. This is due to copyright laws and of course demand for unique content as a corporate differentiator. 

In Malaysia, a third world country, several banks were caught off guard using the SAME stock image to run their ads. That's how poor budgets are and even the big guns don't bother licensing managed photos. 

So proceed with caution, don't raise your expectations that you will be a earning a decent income when shooting royalty free stock photos. If you have a comfy financial basket to rely on, and want to take up photography as a past time, then go ahead, live your dreams. However if you think it is going to pay for your overheads, expenses while affording a comfortable life, well you had it coming.