Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Guy Who Makes Millions Every Year From Selling Stock Photos

By Steven Kutz

Imagine turning on your TV and seeing Donald Trump talking to the ladies of “The View,” and as you go to change the channel you realize the huge image of the New York City skyline behind the hosts is a picture you took.

Or imagine sitting down on a plane and seeing that on the cover of the John Grisham book the passenger next to you is reading is another picture you took.

Now you have an idea of what it’s like to be stock image photographer Joe Sohm.

We see images that were purchased from stock agencies every day. Probably more often than most people realize. The images in political ads that show people representing nearly every ethnic group imaginable. The picture in an online news article depicting a flood in the Midwest. The image atop a story about motherhood that features an improbably attractive baby and mother.

Sohm, who has been a photographer for over 30 years and has seen both the advent and the modernization of the industry, is one of the thousands of photographers who provide stock agencies with images. And he’s one of the more successful ones. He licenses his photographs through several stock agencies, including Getty, Corbis, and Shutterstock. And he says he often finds his pictures in odd places.

“Last Halloween I was in the greeting card section of a store, and I saw a card with two pumpkins illustrating a guy’s butt. That was one of mine,” he told me.

Sohm, who is 67, has been a photographer since his late 20s. Back then, he was both an American history teacher and a musician, and he wanted to do something to illustrate his love for both. So during his band’s shows, he started using a projector to show images he had taken.

He had an epiphany when an art director paid him $750 for a picture he took a year earlier. “I went, ‘wow, this is great!’ I never bought into the idea of hourly wages,” he said.

Read the rest here.

No comments:

Post a Comment