I know this isn’t news but Photoshelter is exiting the stock photography market. You can read their blog post about it here.
For those who don’t know, Photoshelter started a stock photo service in 2007 call Photoshelter Collection. Photographers could submit some images and, if they liked your work, your images would be part of PSC. Their goal was to provide a viable alternative to the 800 pound gorilla, Getty Images. They would also open the stock photography door to lots of new photographers.
The Photoshelter post explains why they think they didn’t make it. I just want to highlight a couple of thoughts as they relate to me.
First, I don’t know if you have read The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen. If you haven’t, you should. While I don’t agree with him completely, he does make a reasonable case that the Internet is lowering the overall quality of what we read, see, and hear. Anyone can create a blog or a web site and publish their particular bent on life with no "oversight" or "editors" to get past. While that may be a good thing (you’re reading my thoughts), it can also be a bad thing (there is a whole lot of crap out there).
Which leads me to my second point: with so much stuff, how do you get people to look at your stuff?
For photographers, this is a problem. You make you money shooting images and selling them. The only way you sell them is if people are looking at them – and the right people at that! While sites like flickr let people share their images with friends and family, they also provide a ready source of shall we say… free… images? What’s the probability someone is going to notice that their photo of Aunt Zelda is being used for Mo’s Plumbing? Rather low I’d say. When everything’s free, everything’s free. Even when it isn’t.
I have a day job (and damn glad I do!) so I don’t have to make money from my photography. Not yet anyway. So how do I get people to see my images and maybe even pay for them? I’m not shooting enough to have a big portfolio and, even if I did, I have to have a way to get people to notice my images.
Enter Photoshelter Collection.
I had hoped to be able to place some with them. At least a few, just to get started. Alas it’s not going to happen.
All isn’t lost. Photoshelter isn’t shutting down their Personal Archive. It’s their core business and I’m a happy customer in that respect. I’ll keep shooting and keep looking for that golden opportunity.