Microstock News

Quite a bit has happened since I last wrote, two conferences and a few changes to royalties and pricing at some agencies.

Probably the big event for me was the microstockexpo which took place last weekend in Berlin, I'd like to thank everyone I meet and all those who made it possible - you know who you are! A full report is comming soon!

Crestock have anounced a tiered commission structure, the previous offer was 20% then 30% after 100 downloads. The new pricing is 20-40% as per the table below:

crestock royalty structure

Since being asked to moderate a panel at microstockexpo on workflow, I've been looking at more detail into what workflow means to different photographers. Workflow is essentially just business process, you perhaps can describe workflow as everything you do from image idea to image being for sale.

As a photographer you probably operate on a series of interwoven processes - whether you think it or not. Some processes are simple for a small business and done without thinking (and often don't need a formal process to be conceptualized). Procurement of new equipment, learning new skills, even quality control are often done through 'experience' without too much thought to what is actually taking place.

Digest of Septembers Microstock News Stories:

Two big stories this month relating to the commission and sales structure under which images are sold. Veer announced they were to offer a subscription product, while subscription site shutterstock announced it would to start offering single images.


Two months news rolled into one easily managed doobie:

At the Agencies:

The Fotolia website had a makeover, launched a new monthly subscription option and search features including price, category and concept filters. 

Depositphotos (re?)launched a campaign looking to attract high volume pro stock photographers with upload incentives (i.e. money) for selected photographers.

Dreamstime announced a new feature to allow contributors to create DMCA takedown notices more easily with a form on their website. 

Decide for yourself from the facts and figures were have collected.
Each of the links below displays tabulated data selected and ordered from each of our microstock agency reviews:


Bigstock announced pay as you go licensing (read: credits not needed, just buy an image when you need it). This is comparable to the offering currently made by pixmac and cutcaster where buyers can pay and download an image without first purchasing credits.

The table below shows the contributor payout rates for the new system, payouts from credit purchases remain unchanged.

A fair amount of this months news comes from istockphoto, the most important being their lunch of photo+ for their non-exclusive members. The system allows contributors to 'promote' a portion of their portfolio (percentage depends on acceptance ratio)  to be offered at the same prices as exclusive photographers standard images. It seems at present there is no best match or search engine boost associated with opting photos into photo+ (regardless of discussion on weather this is in istocks best interest to farm high priced sales). Photos are locked into photos plus for 6 months (not sure why). I'm a little hazy on commission rates also with some sellers reporting images sold for 66% more revenue (you would expect 50 or less if the photo was being sold at the same commission rate).

Lots of news from Shutterstock this month. Being the first microstock to reach the 15 million image milestone is probably the most impressive news. They also launched a new contributor content editor to simplify image uploading and keywording. Shutterstock also launched a wordpress plugin which will help photographers with wordpress blogs increase their earnings through the shutterstock affiliate program. The plugin can display shutterstock images on your search results page or any page of the blog using a defined search string. More details on shutterbuzz

istockphoto have launched their editorial stock image collection to buyers (previously announced to contributors in December) . Editorial images are highlighted with red/orange image numbers and are subject to stricter license terms than commerical RF images. As stated previously these are not intended to cover recent news or celebrity content, but less timely stock images that feature restricted IP like recognizable designs (cars, logos, buildings, works of art etc) that cannot be made available as royalty free stock.


Fotolia reduced their commission rates. Related news story. Unusually for Fotolia they handled the announcement quite well, letting everyone know with an email. Much better than the recent istock "P.R. gaff" (to put it politely) when they reduced their commission rates. Fotolia also improved their search system adding negative keywords (removal of unwanted subjects) and a recency filter to allow buyers to filter by only the most recently uploaded images. Fotolia announced the launch of Fotolia Korea bringing the total of country specific sites they operate to 14.

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