5 thoughts on “This photo is not free”

  1. do you think if you charged 50 you would sell more, or do you think that if someone wants an image they want the image?

    1. I don’t think I’d start selling significantly more unless I dropped down below 15, to be honest.

      The photo market is distinctly bimodal. The low end is populated by microstocks selling cheap images, largely interchangeable, for only a few dollars. Microstocks move in tremendous volume though, enough that some microstock photographers make a comfortable living.

      Then there’s the high end populated by people who are strongly specialized in their subject matter. Like glamour photogs. Or, um, ant photogs. Because of the technical nature of my subject matter, the few people who do buy my images are willing to pay more because I have photos of rare subjects and correctly identified species.

      I wrote about this a few years ago:


  2. A couple of comments about your article, ‘this photo is not free’.

    Firstly, it is not an insult to your professionalism if someone ask for a product you make for free. That is normal in many businesses. I work for an IT company that makes software for scientists. Our customers ask all the time for free upgrades, free support, free consultancy, free admission to a scientific conference we organise, etc. We are not insulted by that, it is just life in the commercial world that people ask such things.

    Secondly, in most lines of work, the price of a product is determined by what the market is willing to pay for it, not the cost of producing it. So any discussion about costs misses the main point. The costs of producing a great artistic high quality photo and a mediocre run-of-the-mill snapshot might be rather similar, but that does not mean that the price should be the same.

    All the best,

    1. That’s a fair point about the offensiveness of free requests, Andrew. But I think you should read my post more carefully:

      Of course, at a more fundamental level images are worth the same as everything else: the price a buyer is willing to pay and the creator is willing to accept. I merely offer this post as an explanation for why the price I am willing to accept might not be “free”.

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