Sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing and stock photography is a prime example.
For years many of the household-name stock photo libraries would promote themselves as being the biggest and having the largest collections. If you've been paying attention though, you might have noticed that's not such a unique selling proposition any more and many of the larger libraries are now desperately looking for other ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
The truth is, many photo buyers find massive stock photography collections time-consuming and tedious to search, despite the improvements in search engine technology. The problem is, the size of these collections has increased at a greater rate than the search technology has improved ... so in a lot of cases, searching has actually gotten slower and harder.
It's no surprise then that more and more photo-buyers are opting for smaller 'niche' stock libraries, when they need to buy stock photos online.
These boutique stock libraries don't even try to compete on volume and most of the time they can't compete on price either ... but more and more buyers are flocking to these photo stock sites anyway, for a whole new set of reasons-to-buy.
Personal customer service, direct contact with the photographers, fresh original images, unique styles and content. OK, maybe these aren't new reasons after all, but they are reasons-to-buy that have been pushed aside for far to long.
A lot of it comes back to how the photo buyer values their time, and what sort of value they put on finding the right photo fast. The good news is, more and more are prepared to pay a little bit more to avoid the tedium of a mass-distribution library and hone in on quality new images sooner.
So next time you need to buy stock photos, take a pass on the stock photo superstores, and check out a few of the boutique collections instead ... you might be pleasantly surprised.