Despain: The mass production of high-quality, low-priced cameras has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of hobby shooters to enter and directly compete with the professionals. With news agencies happy to use cell phone cameras on international broadcasts, it has shown that subject is more important than quality. The stock-photo world has been significantly hurt due to the rapid growth of micro pricing. Some of the stock agencies have increased pricing to an extent, while other very successful ones have maintained the higher $100-plus pricing. I see no value in selling a photo or video for less than it cost to capture, process, distribute and market.
As professional stock shooters, we need to make the new hobbyist aware that pricing can and should be held at a higher price than many agencies sell them. When agencies sell full HD for $50 or even as little as $10, they're giving away a valuable product at less than the cost of our equipment, cameras, lens, travel, computer, Internet, software and other expenses. There are a few agencies that continue to offer a fair commission rate with their artists. pond5 is one of the top agencies that values their artists and treats them like partners.
HDVideoPro: When the company was founded, what did you feel it would bring to the market that wasn't already there?
Shutterstock: Shutterstock was founded in 2003 and made its name specializing in stock-image subscriptions, which, at the time, were uncommon but are now popular among creative professionals. Shutterstock Footage launched in 2006.
HDVideoPro: There are so many stock-footage firms out there. What sets Shutterstock apart from your competition?
Shutterstock: We feature a fast and intelligent search engine that allows customers to quickly and easily locate and download the clips they need. We also offer subscription plans that make sourcing footage clips for video projects very convenient.
HDVideoPro: What can you offer your content producers that other companies can't?
Shutterstock: We offer competitive payouts and a fast, reliable support team.