PetaPixel

The Next Big Thing in the Photo World is Individual Licensing

In an interview we published this past weekend, popular photo blogger Thomas Hawk predicted that one of the major trends over the next five years will be “monetization for non-professional photographers.” Paul Melcher of Thoughts of a Bohemian made the exact same prediction today:

The next major disruption in the photo world will be individual licensing. The ability for any individual to license images directly […] Getty has been fighting these trends by cutting deals with photo sharing platforms like Flickr, but for how long? Those who license via Getty do not appreciate the very low commission rate they receive and since they are already contacted by image buyers directly, can easily jump ship if offered other solution.

So what will be the effect? While, like today everyone is a publisher, tomorrow, everyone will be a photo agency capable of licensing their images with one click from anywhere. They might license only one image a year each, but multiplied by millions worlwide, they will seriously impact the photo licensing world.

So which entrepreneur or photo-hosting service will be the “first mover” in this yet-to-emerge market? Whoever it turns out to be, that person or company will both make a killing and turn a photography-related industry on its head.

The Next Big Thing [Thoughts of a Bohemian]


Image credit: Photo illustration based on hand full of polaroids by and Money Hand Holding Bankroll Girls February 08, 20117 by stevendepolo


 
  • http://twitter.com/pixzen pixzen

    The money is bound to dry up…. sure you can license an image, but expect change not dollars….

  • JohnJohn

    i will make millions then…… i get asked alot on flicker and co. already for rights to use my images.

  • Stock photographer

    Licensing images is complicated. It takes time (the last image I licensed by myself took weeks to be accomplished), and you really need to know what you’re doing (or you’ll probably lose money). I think that individual licensing is far from being a trend in the next years. Big dogs are lurking and aware of all the moves of the stock photos market.

  • harumph

    What do you make on average off selling those rights now?

  • http://www.korwelphotography.com Iza

    I don’t agree with your prediction. I am speaking from my experience. Larger companies go straight to microstock sites. Smaller companies don’t want to spent money but don’t value time all that much- they ask around until they find somebody willing to give image for free, or so called “credit” in the footnote. I think getting good images from random people for nothing is what we see more in the future.

  • http://www.korwelphotography.com Iza

    I don’t agree with your prediction. I am speaking from my experience. Larger companies go straight to microstock sites. Smaller companies don’t want to spent money but don’t value time all that much- they ask around until they find somebody willing to give image for free, or so called “credit” in the footnote. I think getting good images from random people for nothing is what we see more in the future.

  • chris faust

    As If there wasn’t enough chaos in the photo world.

  • http://www.phoozl.com/ AdminHarald

    It could happen. But only with photographers who are very prolific (or super-niched), I’m thinking. I buy a lot of microstock. As a buyer, the main reasons are: (1) aggregation and searchability for my keywords across lots of image choices, (2) supporting functions like: light boxes, easy credit purchases, FPO downloads, multiples res versions, uniformity of sizes and credits/costs, clear licensing, raster and vector options, et al., and (3) low cost.

    If somebody created a robust “Sell Your Images Direct” package for individual photographers, it might just work. Maybe.

    Harald Johnson

  • Mark Turner

    I’ve been licensing images direct to (mostly editorial) customers longer
    than I’ve had photos with Getty. I expect that to continue, based on
    relationships with photo buyers to whom I have reached out. It’s not
    random, and it takes a lot of work. But so does getting images into the
    Getty or other agency image streams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/russell.kord.5 Russell Kord

    I liked the setup photo, with a wad of 20 dollar bills. The reality is more like a few quarters thrown into a cup on the sidewalk.

  • Old Timer

    What is so new? Isn’t direct monetization the way things always USED to work? It put my kids through college and still keeps me going. Word of mouth is far-reaching and better than any agency.

  • http://www.phoozl.com/ AdminHarald

    The difference is instead of building up your contacts over years, this would be for Everyone and Instantly. No hard work required. At least, that’s what I think they’re talking about.

  • http://www.visualwatermark.com/ Ivan Nikitin

    I believe it’s true for very small companies only. We hired photographers for studio shooting for my wife’s company several times. We’re limited on a budget and always wanted it to be as cheap as possible (preferably, free). Still nothing good for “no money”.

  • http://www.korwelphotography.com Iza

    I think unless you are looking for something very specific, you can just check around Flickr, 500px or even Google Images and find many great options. Being aware of copyright issues, you just contact a person by person until somebody gives you image for free. It can be a small company, but many not that small also realized that it simply works. They can save money on something else… Cynical? Maybe. But true, nevertheless.

  • http://www.visualwatermark.com/ Ivan Nikitin

    Agreed