Hey Models and Photographers: Stock Photography

So spikyme was talking about stock photos in his journal and it reminded me that this was something I had percolating in the back of my brain.

For those who are wondering, stock photography is where a photographer takes a bunch of images he or she has already taken and places them with essentially an agent. The centralized agent company then sells various rights to the images to various organizations and gives the photographer a small percentage. The advantage to the photog is that he or she can concentrate on making images instead of sales and will probably get a number of clients that he or she would not have landed with any sort of direct contact.

Basically, the stock agency pays the photographer a royalty at set intervals, but they don’t call you up and say hey we are thinking about using x and so pic of so and so for a cell phone advertisement; how do you feel about that? Most of them let you know where your work ran when you get the royalty statement.

I have a royalty clause built into my standard model release for full shoots, so that, if I got a huge check, there is a standard % I would pay to whoever was pictures minus any advances I had already paid them. I view all payments to models as advances because you never know when a picture is going to become more valuable down the line and I think the model should share in the success if it does become more valuable. It shocks me that more people on both sides of the camera do not insist on a royalty clause in the case of an unexpected windfall.

I’ve never done the stock thing because it always weirded me out that I wouldn’t know where the images would end up and I didn’t want to piss off any of my models. What do models reading this think about stock? What do photographers reading this think about stock? I’d really love to get some other people’s opinions.

Forrest and I have a HUGE back catalog of images which no one has ever seen and an even huger one of images which have appeared on a Blue Blood Site and nowhere else. Should I submit some of them to a stock house?