With photographers receiving checks for peanuts for their imagery why do they continue these one sided relationships with stock agencies? This bullshit really has got to stop..

Simple question: What is the upside to your business relationship with your stock agency?

Why do we keep these stock photo companies in business? It is an asinine situation that I simply do not get. Look at the revenue numbers for stock houses, and then look at your own. Why do photographers continue to feed these monsters? Is it just laziness? On every level it makes zero sense.

Even more insipid, when the agency sells an image of yours they don’t even give you an opportunity to up-sell. No client information, no art buyer contact, no art director contact–no information at all. How can that be? It most cases you don’t even know the image that was sold. Why do you put up with that? This is so condescending it is beyond words.

The financial split is not within my comprehension nor a conversation I can have without the high possibility of a brain aneurism.

Why do various photography clubs and organizations continue to have relationships with these stock agencies giants? My understanding of a trade organization’s mission is to be an advocate for their members. What part of the stock agency / photographer relationship benefits the photographer?

Why does the trade media continue to team with companies whose sole focus is to diminish the value of their core audience? What am I missing here? Please, tell me why we as an industry of free spirited, passionate, creatively gifted folks allow this to continue unabated.

Now of course there are stock agencies that are great and fair to their photographers. Everyone should run to them. Of course–the problem is that there are so few.

The stock agencies created and facilitated this devaluing of the incredible craft that you’ve master without any consequence to their bottom line.  Their solution to diminished revenue of your images is pretty simple, they just increase their percentage. All off your back! Why not put a halt to it?

Over the years there’s been plenty of industries that simply went away and nobody noticed. Photographers hold and supply all the assets to these greedy giants. If stock photography went away who would really care?

My passion comes from the utmost respect for photographers. We’ve been attached at the hip for thirty+ years, and the photographers who know me know my respect runs deep and wide. As a photo rep I personally would have nothing without you folks. This situation with stock photography baffles and pains me to my core.

Frank-Meo, Stock-agencies, Business

About the Author:

Frank Meo is the founder of thephotocloser.com, an online global search engine that connects photographers to art buyers, editors and clients. Currently, thephotocloser.com represents 200+ photographers and video directors in 80 cities around the world. Meo has worked for Getty Images as Director of Photo Assignments, USA Sales.

For 25 years, Meo has represented photographers that include Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists in securing highly valued commercial assignments. He has worked on hundreds of company photo libraries and campaigns for clients such as American Express, Acura Motor Sports, Xerox, ESPN, Citi, Nike and others. His photographers have worked for every major newspaper, magazine and TV station around the globe.

Meo has been an active member of The Society of Photographers and Artists Representatives (SPAR) from 1984-present. He participates on various panels and workshops for the International Center of Photography (ICP), The Art Directors Club, The One Club for Art & Copy, American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and Advertising Photographers of America (APA), PDN Expo and Palm Springs Photo Festival. In 2010 he was a nominator for the prestigious Infinity Awards. He was a judge for the 2011 and 2012 Foto Week DC Awards as well as the 2012 PDN Photo Contest.