For those old enough to remember the early days of the internet, it’s odd to think about just how few companies there were offering different stock media services. In our lifetimes we’ve seen the rise (and fall) of dozens of brands which provide all types of stock photo, video and music options—each with their own unique selling points and business models.

These days there seems to be an endless supply of stock media companies both new and old saturating the market, and for many it might seem like too much to handle. Yet, the need for different stock and royalty free assets is seemingly at an all time high, and with so many great options the choice for many comes down to brand familiarity and loyalty.

So it’s interesting to see that FM, the parent company behind Musicbed and FilmSupply (as well as their perhaps lesser known Trust and Label brands) has launched its own photo licensing platform as well to go along with their video and audio offerings.

Let’s take a look at Stills, a new invite-only stock image platform that offers its own on-brand blend of curated photos from an exclusive list of hand-picked and renowned photographers.

What is Stills?

Designed to be spiritually linked to their popular Musicbed and FilmSupply brands, FM’s Stills is a new photo licensing platform which should operate similar to other high-end stock imaging services. Launched with an invite-only wall, Stills looks to be building a refined user base which one would expect to target their main demos of industry professionals and seasoned content creators.

“Designers are tired of spending their valuable time sifting through lackluster photos. Stills is the answer. Great, authentic photography is central to great design. But typical stock imagery often doesn’t hit the mark when your work needs to represent you as a creative, and compromising your vision is not an option. As a society, we’re inundated with imagery, but there’s still a huge gap in the market. Stills is here to close that gap— now, designers don’t have to settle for inauthentic and generic photos for their projects.”

With a focus on authentic and premium photography, Stills looks to be wise in limiting both its library and user base to really focus on developing a community, rather than just a wholesale service. A strategy which should set it apart in the industry.

Key Features and Pricing

While there aren’t too many details about the library size or pricing ranges for Stills just yet due to its recent launch and exclusive nature, the brand has released the names of some of their photographers as part of the lead up to their launch.

“With a collective reach of over 19 million, the photographers signed to the Stills roster are some of the most in-demand names in the industry. These photographers have a keen understanding of the medium’s crucial role in storytelling. As a result, the quality of images available is unparalleled; unique, emotionally-driven, and artfully shot; directly challenging what’s available through competitors. Photographers that Stills has partnered with include Nirav Patel, Jake Wangner, Lindsey Swedick, Omar Salah, Samuel Elkins, and Charly Savely.” — FM CEO Daniel McCarthy

They have shared info about a feature they call “The Vault,” which provides exclusive images that will have limited licensing available. And members will also be able to reserve photos for specific projects if they deem it valuable enough to ask for exclusivity for their brands.

For content creators and creative designers who might be wearing many hats, it’s always good news to see more brands coming into this space simply because it provides more options and greater competition. If you’re familiar with (and a fan of) FM’s other companies like Musicbed and FilmSupply you might want to check Stills out since it will most probably fit in well with your own aesthetics.

For everyone else, it might be a good wait-and-see either on an invite list or just in the ether until you might need some stock images for your own projects.

Stills stock image news

A first look at the web interface for Stills