What are the disadvantages of being represented by stock agencies?
- Must Share Profits: Stock photography agencies have traditionally taken at least a fifty percent commission for all of their domestic sales. This commission usually increases up to ninety percent or more for many overseas sales, depending on the number of sub-agents who oversee the photographer's image. Each agency has generally taken a forty to fifty percent commission of each sale
that has passed through their hands (Aurness and others, 1990). Stock photography libraries have also charged other fees, such as research fees, that they have rarely split with photographers (Pickerell, 1992a).
- Exclusive contracts common: It has also become a common practice for more stock libraries to insist on having their photographers sign an exclusive contract which prohibits them from seeking representation from a wider variety of agencies that would cross a larger sector of the marketplace
(Pickerell, 1992a). Some contracts have actually required photographers to split any sales they've made directly to their clients with their representative agencies.
- Must be willing to fully trust your agency: Photographers who completely delegate the responsibility of selling their images to stock agencies never really know whether their images are getting out the door often enough. This has especially been a problem with agencies with employees or owners who regularly contribute to the library's files. Such owner/employee photographers are usually more interested in selling their own images when the opportunities arise
(Aurness and others, 1990).