Who stole the show from Royalty Free?

In Part 2 we mentioned a “younger, more economical starlet” that arrived to challenge RF.  That starlet was microstock, and by charging less than a dollar per photo, she did indeed steal part of the show from RF. 

To meet the growing market demand for good, low-cost images, age fotostock developed easyFotostock, a Low Budget Royalty Free (LBRF) collection . Let’s see what clients think about LBRF…

Why clients ♥ LBRF…

LBRF images are primarily created for the advertising/design industry, so they generally communicate clear concepts and clean compositions/backgrounds that can be easily used by a designer. 

The price is right.  Starting at 10 Euros for a 500 KB image and peaking at 80 Euros for 50MB, it’s much cheaper than standard RF.

Low priced images allow designers/agencies to create more economical budgets for clients that they might otherwise lose, like non-profits, etc.

It’s a good option for clients who use a high quantity of images.

LBRF images are licensed images, which means that the agency assumes its due responsibility if they have sold a problematic image, so there is no need to give special guarantees on the images.

Clients only pay for what they buy, they don’t have to prepay for credits or a subscription plan.  This gives them freedom to shop where they want.


Why clients don’t ♥ LBRF…

A client can’t purchase exclusivity of an image and doesn’t know whether the same image has been or will be used by a competitor.

There is also a greater chance of a client seeing the same image used repeatedly for different uses.

There is an even cheaper option (although with limitations) which is microstock or subscription plans.

In some cases, images shot with “prosumer” cameras aren’t available for large format uses or have other quality limitations.

Often, LBRF has many generic takes on the same concept, and there is little variety of specialized subjects available.


What photographers should know about LBRF

  1. Photographers that hope to turn a good profit from LBRF images must especially focus on quantity.  The quantity of sales is usually proportional to the quantity of images available.

  2. Sales of 10 Euros (easyFoto) add up a lot faster than sales of 14 cents (microstock).

  3. Photographers that are accustomed to producing RM and RF imagery will have to lower their production costs for LBRF in order to recover the investment since the images sell at lower prices.

  4. Textures and white backgrounds, a designer’s playthings, have found full expression in microstock and LBRF.

  5. Extremely specialized images of nature, science, medicine, etc. will probably not reach their full sales potential in LBRF.

  6. Many amateurs, eager to participate in the latest crowd-sourcing movement, become involved in stock photography before they understand the legal implications involved in licensing images.
  7. Just like in RF, there is a normal expectation from clients that LBRF images are completely released and free of third party rights.  You should never send images of recognizable people to LBRF if you don’t have signed releases and you should also be extremely careful with other subjects that are not free of third party rights, such as artwork.

  8. Just like in RF, in the case of a legal dispute, it is much more difficult for your agency to withdraw LBRF images from the market, and be able to track exactly how they were used.  This puts you a greater risk if a legal problem develops. 

  9. Any legal complications which arise can be multiplied in LBRF where an image might easily be used multiple times.


Here are some examples of the “designer’s playthings” that can be found in our LBRF collection easyFotostock.  And if you are wondering about the difference between LBRF and microstock, don’t worry, that’s coming soon…

 


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If you don’t know the answer to the above question, you aren’t alone.  In today’s potpourri of “users,” amateurs, and professional photographers, many people shoot, submit, and upload photos, and then see an RF, RM, or LBRF appear on the photo. But what are they?  Rights Managed (RM), Royalty Free (RF), and Low Budget Royalty Free (LBRF) are license types. What’s the “best” license?  We will talk about the three license types during the next few weeks.  If you understand the licenses, you can direct your product, the photo, for greater success.

Let´s start with RM

Did you know Rights Managed (RM) photographs are licensed for a specific use in a concrete geographical area and for a set amount of time?  There is a control of the use of the image, and that’s why they are called rights managed.

Why Clients ♥ RM…

Clients choose RM for the great variety of subjects available, including specialized subjects such as medicine, technology, and science.  In RM, these specialized subjects are usually documented thoroughly. 

RM prices are negotiable and adjust for the scope of a project.  “Negotiable” in these days means that a client can ask for a lot… And sometimes get it.

RM allows a client to purchase exclusive rights for the use of an image, important for an advertiser who wants to stand out from the competition.


Why Clients don’t ♥ RM…

Images with a wide distribution, multiple uses, or exclusivity can be expensive.

Clients have to renew the image license to continue using the image after the initial term is up.  This entails a certain administrative effort.

Many RM images have no model or property release so they can’t be safely used for advertising uses.  What a pity!


What photographers should know about RM.

  1. Standout creative or original images can be valued accordingly in RM.  This is for photographers who create images rather than merely describe places.

  2. If you have nonexclusive images in multiple stock agencies, make sure that you can block an image fast when an agency mentions 10 grand for an exclusive possibility…  Also be sure that your agency can get in contact with you.  If you are off shooting in the Congo, an assistant or trusted other should be checking your business email.

  3. Photographs of specialized subjects will probably find more potential buyers and the chance of a well-paid exclusive sale in RM. Clients look for well described images, with complete, accurate captions so you should be knowledgeable about the material that you submit and provide all relevant information. 

  4. If you have unreleased images of people, artwork, protected buildings, or copyrighted/trademarked material, RM is the safest place to distribute those images because your agency will help screen out improper uses, can quickly remove the image from market, and can produce the sales history if needed.  However, please note, some images aren’t even safe in RM!  See more legal info.

  5. If it is at all possible, you should always get a model release signed.  Even you travel photographers!  Here you can find a simple pocket release for street photos and our standard model release.  Use the standard release when possible.


Here are some images which represent the spirit of RM.  Stay tuned to get up close and personal with the Lovely RF in the coming weeks…


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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