Stock Images Made to Order

pico1Like vegetarians tempted by the aroma of a cheeseburger, a new stock-image site will have many designers wanting to use it, and hating themselves for it.

Pico Images is the latest in the nascent “stock image to order” industry. Like ImageBrief and others, it allows you to post your photo needs online, along with the price you want to pay. Photographers then follow your instructions and post one resulting image on the request’s webpage.

Photo requesters must also post how they will use their desired image; Pico then drafts the license with those parameters, the copyright remaining with the photographer.

pico3On the back end, Pico’s pricing structure seems crafted to benefit Pico far more than buyer or seller. Those seeking photos pay a $10 fee to post their request, along with 9% of the licensing price. Photographers receive the licensing price, minus 9% of the licensing price, meaning Pico gets $10 + 18% of the fee.

The first problem, of course, is that this has the feel of that same “job to the lowest bidder” culture most of us face – and loathe – in the design world today. To date, photo fees range from $10 to $200.

And any number of people can submit photos for a job; only the number desired will be chosen. Six people have already posted images for a 1-photo request for barns, for example, meaning five just wasted their time. The budget for this photo? $10!

pico2

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