Stock Photography, Up Close

Talk to any professional photographer today and they’ll invariably seethe at the mention of istockphoto or other websites that are lowering the costs of stock photos (and videos), and becoming the first choice of many cost-squeezed agencies or clients.
BusinessWeek takes a closer look:

But what should photographers and graphic designers do? They need to target that part of the market that isn’t looking for the lowest price, experts say, because budget Web sites have already won those customers. “Designers as a profession should be moving up the value chain,” says the design association’s GrefĂ©. “What designers need to do is to explain that inherent in most design is the branding and the essence of the company.”
As the burden shifts to professionals to explain the value of their work, that may put some creative types out of their comfort zones (, 2/06/08), GrefĂ© says. “They have to reposition themselves in their promotional material. They have to get out and talk to small and medium size businesses. They’ve got to be in front of the Rotary Club and the Kiwanis,” he says.

Using low-cost, royalty-free stock photography means you could be using The Everywhere Girl, or HighJive’s favorite, The Hardest Working Man in Black Advertising.
What’s your agency’s attitude toward stock photography? Are your clients increasingly reluctant to pony up for a good photographer’s day rate?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.