Creating a stock photo marketplace
Side Project, 2016
In 2015 I was working for an agency and we would occasionally need to source local photos for websites, promotional products, and social media. I began asking other designers to see if there was a need at their agency for the same. To my suprise not only were they having a hard time sourcing photos but the photography on sites like istock, adobe stock, and stocksy were not providing the quality they were looking for. The idea of a local stock photo marketplace was born.
By 2016 I started a marketplace that everyone could source from. It started with 100% of my own photos so I could test out (prototype) whether the idea would work. I made the decision to price the photos for $5 for one time use and $50 for multiple use at 2500px wide. The start of the project was slow but when my SEO rankings started to improve that is when the marketplace began increasing sales significantly.
By the end of 2016 I contacted Nate Wyeth, another local photographer and asked if he wanted to contribute photos to the marketplace. Nate was excited to be apart and loved an easy place to recommend clients to visit. Having Nate join was the best decision as he contributed the most highly successful photos on there to date.
Success and failures
2017 and 2018 were some of our best years selling stock photos. I was consistently updating the store with new photos of Nate's and my own. We have since sold photos for billboards, magazine covers, and hundreds of social media campaigns. We currently have a collection of 150 photos and have sold 500+ downloads. I have updated our price to range from $10 to $500 depending on licensing. If you have visited Bend you have most likely seen our photos in one place or another (how cool is that).
By the end of 2018-2019 our sales began to slow down. 2019 and 2020 we have had a hard time scaling the product and struggle with our full time jobs to keep the photos updated. I have a lot of ideas for the future of Bend Oregon Stock and I hope to update to a new marketplace and have a way we can add many photographers in the future.
This has been a great learning experience and have enjoyed persueing my passion in sharing the outdoors with people through photography. Starting a product from scratch, listening to customers feedback, and responding to all the questions really has helped inform what our product is right now.
Prototypes and the future
This all started with a basic prototype and organically scaled. I am very proud of this product and how it ingrained us in parts of the community that were unexpected. We have worked with non-profits, small businesses, and other local photographers. I hope to one day make our own CMS where other photographers can upload and contribute. I have since moved out of the area but I am considering starting something local to Portland. Stay tuned!
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