Why would a photo buyer call an individual photographer when they can find just about anything they want from a larger Stock Photography Library?
While it may sound as though photo-buyers are better off dealing with larger established agencies, they do continue to rely on individual photographers for many of their stock photography needs. This has been true for several reasons.
- Specialties: Most stock photographers need to specialise in shooting specific subjects to be successful. Specialist photographers have a higher degree of understanding about the subjects they photograph than the large general photographic libraries would have, resulting in a variety of imagery that illustrates a reflection of this knowledge. For many very specific or technical needs, individual specialist photographers have been found to be a better source than the larger more generalised universal coverage libraries (Pickerell, 1991).
- Hard to find subjects: As the demand has grown for more and more stock imagery, requests have become more and more specific, and therefore, harder to find. Photo-buyers have often called individual photographers as a last resort once they have tried the larger agencies unsuccessfully.
- A different look: Some photo-buyers have grown tired of the generic look found in stock photography catalogs and have started to call individual photographers in hopes of finding something different (Klehr and Churchill, 1993).
- Cheaper Prices? There are those photography-buyers who call individual photographers expecting to find cheaper prices. Many think that individual photographers will be more lenient in negotiating lower prices and giving up exclusive usage rights, or feel they will be less likely to get caught abusing the specific reproduction rights they purchase (Pickerell, 1992a).