have launched their subscription service, you can visit their site for all the latest details. The big question is how will this affect sales and photographer incomes - hopefully, in some part, I've answered that here.

istockphoto subscription stock photo service

 (monthly costs)

I feel this is istock trying to move themselves up the ladder a little. They were, and still are 'microstock' (or as they call it 'pay-as-you-go'), but are now offering discounted Subscriptions for smaller companies in addition to their Corporate Accounts (tracking of larger design groups with users logging and using images at different times).


I was surprised by the cost of the new istock subscriptions, they make shutterstock subscriptions seem like great value (remember 10 credits a day at istockphoto does not get you much!). They are significantly more expensive than players like (juptierimages) who I would have considered to be at the lower end of the traditional 'full price' stock photo market. I admit, you can only make a fair price comparison for a buyer if you know exactly how many images you use per day and the highest resolutions you will need.

Other microstock agencies have chosen to include subscriptions on their site main site, while others allow you to opt into selling images via their 'network' which often just means they are made available as a subscription elsewhere and you earn commission on a download from that). 

The new service has made a few changes to the terms at istock that photographers agree to. These appear to be simply putting a stop photographers 'patting each others backs' by using a subscription service to spend unused credits on buying each others' images.


Will Income Rise or Fall?

I'd estimate a rise in income. For the photographer the income from a download of their images via a subscription is the same as the basic amount they would earn from a pay as you go service download. More over, if a subscriber does not use all their credits for that day and with the credits they did use they downloaded one of your images then your earn more than you would if they had spent all their credits on that day. I can only see this as being a good thing. Istockphoto would have done a lot of analysis, and if they thought that buyers would be spending less overall with the new subscription model then they would not have implemented it. It remains the be seen if the subscription service will bring in significant amounts of new buyers for whom it was not cost effective to use istock on a pay as you go basis.

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