We Still Need Stock Photography (for Memes?)

We Still Need Stock Photography (for Memes?)

There was a time when you could make a full-time living producing stock photography. That changed in the mid-90s with the introduction of royalty-free stock CDs. Digital photography and the rise of microstock created enormous downward pricing pressure on the industry.

Nevertheless, stock photography still satisfies a real need for generic photography at a (too) reasonable price when commissioned photography isn’t feasible. Sarah and Allen talk about stock as well as the co-opting of stock photos – like the “distracted boyfriend” – as fuel for memes in this episode of Vision Slightly Blurred.

We mention the following photographers, articles, and websites in this episode:

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Allen Murabayashi and Sarah Jacobs are your hosts for PhotoShelter’s Vision Slightly Blurred podcast.


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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Raymond at 5:40 pm

    You gave a good presentation on why consumers need stock. But why should photographers keep shooting stock? From what I have been able to find out, both from people who shoot stock, and posts about it, the ROI for time just does not seem worth it. I am not interested in putting in time and effort, and maybe money, for models/actors, stylists, etc., to make a few bucks and have my photo become a meme. If that photographer did not know it had become a meme, where his photo was reposted hundreds of times, it probably means that he made a little money off of a couple of sales and it was pirated for the memes. Otherwise, he would have knows he had a lot of sales.

    It is difficult finding information on how much money can be made from stock if you are not one of the top producers. I hopefully am wrong about the potential so it would be an interesting follow up on why photographers need to shoot stock.

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