Linda Johannessen, CEO of microstock website YAY Micro, realizes something that most microstock photographers don’t. That the photographers are getting a very unfair deal.
YAY Micro, located in Oslo, Norway, is doing something really right. They split royalties 50/50 with contributors, something traditional stock agencies do. Most microstock agencies offer contributors as little as 15 cents on the dollar that they make. And when they license an image for $3, the photographer gets 45 cents. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a lot. If you factor in your costs of producing images, from buying cameras and lenses, plus the time you spend honing your skills, working in Photoshop, archiving, paying for computers, software and upgrades, not even touching on insurance or other expenses or trying to make a living from it… You have to sell a lot of images, tens of thousands, to just break even. I don’t know of too many that are making that, as a matter of fact, I think I can count them on zero fingers.
She thinks that photographers should band together to work to get a better deal.
“The marketing channel in microstock leaves the photographers powerless, except for the largest contributors. It’s an unfortunate situation, and I think the only way to combat this is for microstock photographers to join together in a global union.”
Johannessen and company are at least trying to make it more fair and realistic with a 50/50 split on royalties. They are also offering packages that make it attractive and fair to buyers of the images.
That’s a really good step in the right direction in my book.