When you buy a stock photo, do you ever wonder where the your money ends up? Who gets a share and how much?

In the world of modern stock photography, it can be complicated keeping track of the money, but here’s a quick guide to show you just where your creative spend goes.

What happens when you buy stock images from large multi-national agencies?

When you buy a stock photo from one of the ‘big guys’, invariably the money you spend goes directly offshore (i.e. out of New Zealand) and almost none of that spend goes into the NZ economy.

These companies are also often owned by large private equity funds (some with dubious and cut-throat reputations). Like any large corporate, their mission is to drive profitability and wealth to maximise return to their shareholders. They’re not really concerned with providing a fair share of revenue to the creators they represent.

Contributing photographers to these businesses are often forced to accept ever decreasing royalty percentages – as low as 15% from recent news, and images are sold for incredibly low fees, sometimes under $1! Because professional photographers see little return on shooting stock, they simply stop shooting and submitting. Amateur photographers – who do not depend upon income from stock for their livelihoods – end up supplying these agencies with most of the images.

Large international agencies also transfer-price revenue to low-tax countries to avoid paying tax in NZ (which means less funding for healthcare, education, police and fire departments…). And often they move that money again to another tax jurisdiction and end up paying microscopic amounts of tax in comparison to their revenues. Not illegal, but hardly moral, is it?


What happens when you buy stock images from One Shot?

Let’s say you buy an image from us at $100 + GST, so that’s $115 all up…

When you buy an image from our New Zealand collections, we’re proud to say 100% of that money stays in New Zealand.

  • First of all, the GST goes to the taxman – which means more for roads, police, hospitals, education, etc.
  • Then our photographers receive 40% of the $100 – so that’s $40. And they spend money in NZ and pay tax in NZ on their profits. Which contributes to the NZ economy.
  • Then we pay our NZ-based staff and other overheads like office rent, power, internet, insurance etc.  So this is money also going back into the NZ economy.
  • New Zealand income tax is then paid on any remaining profits at 28% – again going back into what keeps our country running.
  • The resulting after-tax profits are re-invested in the company to help stimulate the production of more NZ stock images.

When you buy from one of our International and Specialty Collections, 47.82% of that fee stays here in NZ.

  • The 15% GST charged is still paid to the taxman.
  • We keep 40% of the fee and pay 60% to our supplier.
  • The 40% we keep still goes towards our staff and overheads and it contributes towards profits on which we pay tax. Again, these profits are re-invested in the company to help stimulate the production of more NZ stock images.
  • The companies we work with offshore are small businesses also, and they value their photographers by paying them a fair share of the fees that are earned from their images.

So now you can see how when you purchase from One Shot, your $100 is going a long way here in Aotearoa.

Why keeping your creative spend in New Zealand is important?

Living in a global economy has a lot of benefits but also some drawbacks.

In the stock industry, large global stock agencies -mainly American based – offer you images which all look the same. When your spending is all going to 2 or 3 ‘big guys’, all based in the US with only a token presence outside that market, then there is no incentive for them to produce local NZ content. These companies see you buying their non-NZ images at their prices and say “Hey!  they’re buying our ‘Americanised’ images, so why bother localising content, let’s just do more of the same”. This is why American media is so dominant worldwide – everyone ‘consumes’ it so they keep producing more of it.

These images are bought thousands of times over and you (or your client if you are an agency) will end up with images that have been seen many times, in a lot of different places. So not only will it be hard for you to differentiate yourself but also, these generic Americanised stock images simply do not look Kiwi. Your target audience will not be able to relate to the people /situations they see in these images.

We all know that New Zealand and New Zealanders have a very particular lifestyle, look and “flair”. Our houses look different, our surroundings & nature looks different,  our demographics are very specific and same goes with the way we live.

This is the gap that we at One Shot, with the help of our contributing photographers, are working very hard to fill every day. This “Kiwi Point Of Difference” is what drives us everyday and what many of you talk to us about when you purchase images from us.

Imagine if you brought your creative budget across to us …

First immediate result? Licensing more images from a NZ owned, operated and taxpaying stock image agency will stimulate the production of more, high quality and authentic New Zealand stock images. The income our photographers earn through stock is what helps them pay their bills but also reinvest in new gear, stock photo shoots, collaborations with professional talent. This is what will help produce more of the images you love.

Second? We will be able to invest more into our business to recruit and support more New Zealand photographers, to help them organise stock photo shoots and to diversify our offering. And the more images we license to you, the more flexible on our prices we can be.

#ShopLocal – Support us, we’ll support you too!

We know marketing and creative budgets are getting tighter. Which is why if you commit to purchase image regularly from us, we will be able to sharpen our pencils for you. In addition, you may get some extras which will save you precious time and budget, such as:

  • image research consultation free of charge,
  • free history checks,
  • hi-res download permissions,
  • hi-res comp images,
  • a dedicated Account Manager to help and answer all your questions
  • and more…!

And remember, One Shot is here to help you make your projects happen, so contact us today to talk about a bespoke subscription solution for your team or if you need help finding the image(s) you need.

Signing off,
The One Shot team.