Urs Bulman and stock photography.
Urs was one of the presenters at the 2012 Nikon AIPP Event. Urs currently specialises in stock photograpy, I have followed his career through a variety of commercial applications of photography, and primarily Urs is a technician. The stock photography business was one of the first to be decimated by digital photography and the internet. Not only did the price of stock photography fall, but many traditional buyers of stock began shooting their own. Stock photography was a great business.
Well at least this is what I thought.
It seems that stock photography is a now more of a niche business. Urs focuses on the automotive market. He shoots roads, so 3D rendering of cars can be placed on them. That is it. He shoots sweeping bends, bridges, coastal roads, car parks....etc.
Ur's point of difference is in what he supplies his clients. Each image is meticulously cleaned up, the road is sterilised of chewing gum, potholes, marks, scuffs, blood and wehatever else marrs tarmac.
In conjunction with the pristine nature of 'his' roads, he also provides a map of the lighting. Urs achieves this by making a multitiude of exposures with a camera placed in the center of the scene on special tripod that allows the camera to pivot, make the captures, then special software generates an interactive tool so 3D modellers can look "around" the scene to match the lighting.
All the client has to do is drop in the car and make it's wheels blur.
And Urs is flat out keeping up with the demand.
Stock is alive and well, aside from a great skim of poor quality super-cheap stock images that are lierally everywhere, Urs demonstrates there are deep niches still doing well.
Link to Urs' website: http://www.ursbuhlman.com