thoughts on stock


There’s been a lot of concern lately regarding stock. It seems agencies and clients are using stock more and more. I’ve received emails and have had a few conversations about it.

Here are my thoughts-
Everything evolves; everything changes constantly. So should your work, your business plan and your marketing ideas. If you aren’t flexible you’ll be left behind. It’s a simple as that.

Who will be affected? All of the low-end photographers and mid range photographers. Why? Because these types of photographers are a commodity. They typically lack vision and style. For the most part, they are hired strictly to do what they’re told and to push the shutter. In essence, they’re custom stock photographers for hire (send the hate mail to ed at edshoots dot com).

High-end photographers, for the most part, will be safe. Sure, some will take hits here and there but overall there is and will continue to be regular high-end work. Why? Because these photographers are not just button pushers. They have a strong sense of vision and style. In addition they are hired for their ideas and creativity. They are an extremely valuable part of the project.

Ideas and creativity. These two words will set you apart from everyone else in the world. If your photography is truly based on your own ideas and creativity, no one else in the world will be doing what you’re doing. Sure there will be variations with post process and subject matter. But in the end your work will look like you and because of that there’s only one person in the world clients will call (assuming you’ve marketed yourself well).

In order to make it in the future you need to be doing your own thing. You need to be hired for your ideas and your creativity.

— Your work and your brand have to scream it. —


3 Responses to “thoughts on stock”

  1. myrmecos Says:

    Raw creativity is kind of a two-edged sword, though. Potential clients have to like your work, otherwise you’ll be just another one of those eccentric starving artists who no one understands.

  2. Ed McCulloch Says:


    I believe there is a market for everything. Literally everything. You just have to find and search out the people who will like it.

    Don’t believe me? Check out tay on youtube:

    and then

    Yeah it seemed Dr. Pepper loved his original song good enough to turn it into a campaign for their new drink-

    Find a market… it’s there waiting for you-

  3. Ed

    I agree with the idea that being creative and having a vision is key to continued success – but I remember 2003 wiped out several prominent high end photographers in my town (Portland) when ad budgets dried up. I was really surprised at how quickly it happened too.

    I also remember that my stock sales really took off that year. Correlation? My business model is very different than most of the commercial shooters that read your blog (I see universal truths in both worlds). For me, stock is now a primary source of income.

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