Death to the Stock Photo is a Columbus, Ohio based stock photo agency created by Allie Lehman and David Sherry that was founded in 2013. Every month they release high-quality, high-res, un-watermarked, and virtually un-restricted themed image packs — for free. Sound crazy? Here's their story.
I get inspired by people who are just complete naturals at what they do. My favorite photographer in fact is only about 17 years old, and the work he produces is just so natural. He's not trying for anyone but himself and the subject matter he shoots is so personal and real.
I heard a quote recently about that, ‘if you want to now what someone cares about look at what they photograph.' I love shooting the people I care about, getting candid moments.
Once a month, typically the first or second, we email our subscribers a link to download ten high quality, high resolution images that come in a themed pack. For use however you like. Free.
David and I worked together on a design project last year, somewhere along the line he and I talked about how frustrating it is to have [hundreds] of images on our hard drives that people would never see. Since he and I had worked in design for a while we knew there was a need for unique, high-quality images for bloggers and websites.
I think [we] decided to release our photos after I knew I had a bank of them in my dropbox just sitting there, when my friends could have been creating amazing things with them.
We’re not out to stop stock photos, far from it. We are looking to help out people looking for images as unique as they are.
I think what's special [about our images] is how unplanned some of it will be. Whereas with stock, it's at the opposite end of the spectrum and is 'too planned' with how it's created. No cheesy poses, just real life captured through the lens. So I'm not even sure what we'll get with some of it, but that's the fun of it.
Stock doesn't just relate to photography, stock is doing the average, the boring or inauthentic. We're out to make something special for creatives to be a part of. We're on a never ending quest for authenticity. We intend to lead by making products and stories that move you. Seek to create work that grabs you and make you pause. What has always excited us is building relationships and helping people grow and create.
FS: Why did you choose to give away your images for free?
We knew we wanted to have a free offering to reach out to people who couldn’t afford normal stock photos or places that just wanted to get something different. In addition to our free subscription we do offer a premium subscription which gives users an additional image pack every month. For the time being we’ve limited this group to 500 people [currently full]. For now we’re only taking free subscribers.
FS: What's lisensing images like — what can people do with them?
Anything they like. Print them, post them, share them. There are only a few minor restrictions [such as brand endorsement] please check out the full license for the nitty-gritty.
FS: Are there any exciting image packs coming up?
We’re currently raising money for a five-city-tour that will give subscribers five exclusive packs from Chicago, Big Sur, NYC, Seattle, and Nashville. We limited the number of subscribers for this set to 500 and have about 80 left. [The trip can be supported here]
FS: Where do you see DTS going in the next few years?
What's interesting about DTS is that although we've had a mission and goals with it I don't believe we have a very rigid direction. Early on we interacted with our subscribers for feedback on what they'd want next, and will likely continue to try and be the best resource we can for them. If tastes change and there's a new problem we can solve for them I think we adapt quickly. I'd love to empower more photographers and artists, as well as give them more exposure so that will hopefully come to fruition in some form or another. Otherwise we plan on staying authentic and open with our members.
If you want to be a part of the magic and receive your free monthly image packs be sure to sign up.