Microstock News

Shutterstock have announced reaching 1 billion dollars paid out to contrubutors. The figure is calculated across all sites in the shutterstock network, bigstock and offset, and includes both royalties and referral commissions.

The graph shown in their blog post immediately caught my interest - not sure why but graphs with dodgy axis always scream out at me... (this was indeed quite inconvenient when watching Al Gore on his scissor lift)

The numbers plotted out on a linear scale are shown below, a distinct slow down in payouts since 2015 is revealed.

If you're an istock contributor you will already be aware of the new Getty images "ESP" submission platform coming soon and the closure of the existing submission system at istockphoto (aka "xnet"). Somewhat annoyingly the powers that be have decided not to migrate data from the old platform; said platform has been somewhat hobbled for the past couple of months anyway, but now is an excellent time to take a look at the stats over the years before they're gone for good!

I started uploading to iStockphoto in 2003. A lot has changed - I’m not even 100% certain I wasn't still on dial up in the UK, if not I was certainly on my first cable modem with 600Kbits/s symmetric (and wow did I think that was the dogs dangalies back then...)


Uploads over the years - growing portfolio

portfolio size

At the end of last week Shutterstock announced it was about to change its royalty rates for Extended Licenses. You can read the details of the changes on microstockdiaries. Announcing the change would take place and then letting us wait a few days for the change to appear on the payouts page was uncharacteristically limp-wristed for Shutterstock.


It's been a good while since I shared any detailed analysis of my microstock earnings, there has been plenty going on over the past couple of years in changing royalties. Putting all the change, discussion, boycotts, rates and price structures to one side then probably the most important consideration for any photographer is what's happening to my revenue?


Agency Earnings Compared

Last time I shared a look at comparative revenue was back at the start of 2012, for the 12 months of Jan to Dec 2011, as an update I've looked at the 12 months to July 2015. A gap of 2.5 years, and a long time in microstock!

A somewhat brief article as unfortunately I have not left myself enough time to write a proper commentary on the subject: Microstock contributors are probably already aware of the thread at microstock group and 'movement' organized by

The issue stems from photographer sentiment that devaluing of their work by Fotolias launch of 'dollar photo club' is something of a 'last straw' considering the license terms, image resolution etc provided. I can't really say I blame them considering Fotolias track record on transparency (or lack thereof).

Time flies! It's been ages since the microstockexpo (videos here) definitely time for a round-up of recent microstock news:


August and September may have been quiet months on the microstock news front, but there was certainly no shortage of 'excitement' in the months before. It now seems a long time ago but to understand the "Yuri has spoken" post fully (if you have not already read it!) it's good to know the related events leading up to it, and so a...


Timeline of Events:

18th May - Yuri Goes Exclusive with Getty

After some speculation Yuri Arcurs posted a message on microstockgroup announcing he was to start working exclusively with getty images (what he actually says is Getty are a good distribution partner and he's removing his images from other agencies).


A couple of months between posts always leaves time for a few big stories - no exception here!

There's usually a common thread in these news posts, and in trying to make sense of the last few of months there are a couple of (somewhat vague) common elements to most of the things that have happened:

microstockexpoRegistrations have opened for MicrostockExpo 2013 to be held on November 16-17th in Berlin.

Bruce Livingstone has been announced as the Keynote speaker at the conference. Bruce was founder of istockphoto and is CEO of the new photographers co-op stocksy. This year's event will feature separate tracks for photographers, illustration and video masterclasses, all tailored for "serious contributors".

Tickets are available now for 249 Euros + VAT (Early bird price before June 1st. ). You can register, subscribe for updates as they are announced and find full details on the official website at

Use promotion code MSI2013 to get an extra 20% off your ticket price

It's certainly been an interesting start to the year. The period from Jan to March has often been the time when agencies announce changes to commission structures and pricing, often choosing a nice time in amongst some other controversy to quietly slip a press release out. Note: even if you only skim over the threads and blog posts linked to here, this post will take a long time to get through!


D-Day a.k.a. Deactivation Day

Unless you've been a long way away from civilization (and yes it does happen... life often gets in the way of the blogosphere!) you will probably already be aware of the events surrounding iStockphoto and Google docs, here's a recap:

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