WILD, Our Virtual Stock Agency
David Doubilet, and Thomas Mangelsen, and I have banded together to create a Virtual Agency on Photoshelter called WILD (www.wildphotography.com). A Virtual Agency is a search pool where art buyers simultaneously search the collections of all the photographers. When an image is selected for licensing, the screen moves to the photographer’s individual Photoshelter (http://pa.photoshelter.com/) site to complete the order.
I had been looking for an alternative to the big agencies. They took so few images that some of my best work languished, which kept it off the market and didn’t serve my goals at all while limited the buyers’ options. I haven’t sent a still to Getty for five years. When I heard about the virtual agency idea, I thought it had potential.
A Virtual Agency allows photographers to show a wider range of their work than a traditional agency affords. With our lower overheads, we can market the images for less while still making higher income since we keep 90% of the licensing fee instead of only 40 or even 30%. I asked three photographers to join me so we could assemble the best work of the best photographers in one place. David and Thomas said yes.
I know the article reads like an attack on the big agencies, but I always enjoyed working with the people there. They are smart and motivated. I’m sure they do a good job with their wholly-owned material where they can capture 100% of the revenue, but in my opinion the model is broken for independent photographers, and I am moving on.