Picture Perfect: Hispanic Stock Imagery Faces Unprecedented Demand

The major news in the world of stock photography this week is the acquisition of stock photography behemoth Getty Images by private equity group Hellman and Friedman, for the price of $2.4 billion. Getty’s Director of Communications Bridget Russel told Portada that, “The move is not going to affect operations or strategy at all. It’s really just a change of ownership.” Last year, Getty made waves last year by organizing the “Creativisimo” conference in conjunction with the AHAA to examine the role of Latin stock imagery in the years ahead.

In a recent interview with Portada, Laritza Lopez, founder of stock imagery company Real Latino Images commented: “Demand continues to be extremely high for Latino images. We’re getting calls from book publishers that we aren't able to fulfill.” Demand is so high, Lopez says, that the company is only able to fulfill approximately 50% of the requests that come in.

Real Latino currently manages a universe of about 65,000 Latino images. It carries all of Getty’s and Jupiter’s Hispanic royalty-free images—which can be used freely as the purchaser sees fit—as well as those of Pozo Digital. Apart from its own collection, Real Latino Images also handles: Digital Vision, Photodish, Stockbyte, Bananastock, Brand X, Creatas, Goodshoot and Thinkstock. “There is a lot of demand for images of young Latinos—teenagers doing chores for instance—and also for photos of extended families,” says Lopez. “Those shoots, particularly the latter category with getting everyone together, can be a real production for the photographer to pull off.”

This atmosphere of pressing demand met with limited supply stands in stark contrast to that which is presiding over the general stock imagery market: “What we see in the general market is that there is an abundance of royalty-free photos now available online at places like istock.com. These photos can be gotten for as little as $1 each,” says Lopez. “Essentially, online availability is driving prices down in the royalty-free stock photo market. If you’re looking for an image of a bear, are you going to want to buy the photo from a major company for $400, or go online and get it for a fraction of that?”

It recently signed a deal with Hispanicshots.com, as well as Argentina-based LatinStock. The hope is that these moves will help to meet current and future levels of demand. In the Latin market, the wealth of demand and the scarcity of product is helping to keep prices relatively stable. On average, a royalty-free image from Real Latino Images commands a price of about $270. These royalty-free images can be used in any way the purchaser desires for the flat agreed-upon rate.

Rights-managed photos constitute the other main category of stock photography, where the use of the photos is more stringent. Depending on how they are used, these photos can command a price of anywhere between $300 and $1000. The majority of stock imagery is falls into the royalty-free category. To illustrate, close to 90% of Getty’s imagery is royalty-free. Real Latino Images currently has 21 photographers under contract, located primarily in California, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Related Article:
Where is the Hispanic Stock Imagery Market going to?(April, 2007)