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DPChallenge Forums >> Stock Photography >> Which stock agency to suggest?
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10/31/2012 10:39:51 PM · #1
I spent the last couple of weeks in Bhutan. While I was there, I had a guide who is an aspiring photographer and has a good eye. He was asking me if there is any way for him to sell his images in the western world. His work is definately good enough to sell and he has a unique subject matter that not a lot of people have access to. I told him about stock agencies and said I would ask you guys if you know which agency might be best...which one or ones might specialize in supplying images of the Himalayan area and people. Any thoughts? Thanks!
10/31/2012 11:03:37 PM · #2
The best is shutterstock by far. He will want to sign up for an account and then post his photos to their critique forum first before submitting for approval. If he submits and then gets rejected he will have to wait a month before he can try again. The people in those forums are very helpful and very honest. If your photos are good enough they will let you know, if they need improvement they are very helpful in telling you what to work on.

Here is something to keep in mind for stock. He will only make on average .25 to $28 per photo. The $28 ones are rare, but if you have a large portfolio you can get several a month. The money will not be great at first but if he is willing to put in the time and build his portfolio to at least 1000 good quality images then he will start to see a good return.

Also most people don't submit to just one agency I submit to shutterstock, istock, fotolia, 123rf, deposit, and canstock. The others are easier to get into with the exception of istock, but I make far less with them. So I would try to get into shutterstock first. Istock can also be good money but they are really hard to work with and many photographers just choose not to hassle with them.

He could also choose to go the macro route and submit to alamy but I think sales are slow there. You get more per image when you do get a sale but I would rather have small consistent sales than one large one every few months.

Message edited by author 2012-10-31 23:03:52.
10/31/2012 11:09:30 PM · #3
Just to give you an idea of what kind of money can be made I know most people with ports larger than 500 images make at least $100 a month on shutterstock alone. My port is almost 1000 images now and I make several times that much a month and I just started less than a year ago. I know people who make a couple thousand a month, that is my goal, with a good port with photos that are stock oriented. I think I can make my goal in a year or two. (I am a bit of an exception though, I think I have done a little better than most do when they first start out) I can thank DPC for that, the challenges here keep my creativity up and the people here have helped me to be a better photographer than most on the stock sites.
11/01/2012 09:27:55 AM · #4
If his subject matter is unique yet has sale potential, I'd rather not apply at shutterstock (which is my biggest earner, too) first, but choose istock (not particularly fond of them, however), just because it's a Getty company, and Getty always looks for unique content; once his work is chosen for their main collection, the royalty per sale is waaaay above any other agency, including Alamy. Also, there is istocks editorial collection, that has much more editorial customers than shutter, fotolala etc.
If that doesn't work out for him, he can still apply at the other agencies.
11/02/2012 06:45:02 PM · #5
Excellent information, everyone! Thank you very much!
11/02/2012 07:52:11 PM · #6
Originally posted by sjhuls:

Just to give you an idea of what kind of money can be made I know most people with ports larger than 500 images make at least $100 a month on shutterstock alone. My port is almost 1000 images now and I make several times that much a month and I just started less than a year ago. I know people who make a couple thousand a month, that is my goal, with a good port with photos that are stock oriented. I think I can make my goal in a year or two. (I am a bit of an exception though, I think I have done a little better than most do when they first start out) I can thank DPC for that, the challenges here keep my creativity up and the people here have helped me to be a better photographer than most on the stock sites.


Why do you feel shutterstock is the best? I am exclusive to istock and I am just curious.
11/03/2012 12:05:01 AM · #7
Originally posted by toddhead:

Originally posted by sjhuls:

Just to give you an idea of what kind of money can be made I know most people with ports larger than 500 images make at least $100 a month on shutterstock alone. My port is almost 1000 images now and I make several times that much a month and I just started less than a year ago. I know people who make a couple thousand a month, that is my goal, with a good port with photos that are stock oriented. I think I can make my goal in a year or two. (I am a bit of an exception though, I think I have done a little better than most do when they first start out) I can thank DPC for that, the challenges here keep my creativity up and the people here have helped me to be a better photographer than most on the stock sites.


Why do you feel shutterstock is the best? I am exclusive to istock and I am just curious.


I think the money could be about equal at both if you could upload the same amount to both sites. But Istocks uploading process is a huge pain not to mention you have to have new release for every shot with a person in it. So that means every shoot I do of my kids I have to have to fill out a new release scan it in and upload it (such a pain).

Just as a comparison it takes me about 5 min to upload categorize and attach model releases to 18 photos to shutterstock. The same 18 photos would take over an hour at Istock. Time is money especially with microstock. Istock also seems to be a bit pickier and so that hour I spent uploading sometimes only nets 9 images online because I failed to keyword correctly or for some other nit picky reason.

So in 10 months of uploading I have nearly 1000 images on shutterstock and on istock I only have 120 images. Like I said I think if I also had 1000 images on istock I think I would be making comparable money. Right now I make 10 times as much on shutterstock as Istock. Which roughly corrisponds to the number of images I have online. However if you take into account that because I am not exclusive to Istock, in addition to submitting to shutterstock I can also submit to 6 other sites, then my ratios go up even more.

If you would like a more exact break down of my numbers PM me. I just don't feel comfortable disclosing them in this thread.
11/03/2012 10:24:47 AM · #8
Originally posted by sjhuls:

Originally posted by toddhead:

Originally posted by sjhuls:

Just to give you an idea of what kind of money can be made I know most people with ports larger than 500 images make at least $100 a month on shutterstock alone. My port is almost 1000 images now and I make several times that much a month and I just started less than a year ago. I know people who make a couple thousand a month, that is my goal, with a good port with photos that are stock oriented. I think I can make my goal in a year or two. (I am a bit of an exception though, I think I have done a little better than most do when they first start out) I can thank DPC for that, the challenges here keep my creativity up and the people here have helped me to be a better photographer than most on the stock sites.


Why do you feel shutterstock is the best? I am exclusive to istock and I am just curious.


I think the money could be about equal at both if you could upload the same amount to both sites. But Istocks uploading process is a huge pain not to mention you have to have new release for every shot with a person in it. So that means every shoot I do of my kids I have to have to fill out a new release scan it in and upload it (such a pain).

Just as a comparison it takes me about 5 min to upload categorize and attach model releases to 18 photos to shutterstock. The same 18 photos would take over an hour at Istock. Time is money especially with microstock. Istock also seems to be a bit pickier and so that hour I spent uploading sometimes only nets 9 images online because I failed to keyword correctly or for some other nit picky reason.

So in 10 months of uploading I have nearly 1000 images on shutterstock and on istock I only have 120 images. Like I said I think if I also had 1000 images on istock I think I would be making comparable money. Right now I make 10 times as much on shutterstock as Istock. Which roughly corrisponds to the number of images I have online. However if you take into account that because I am not exclusive to Istock, in addition to submitting to shutterstock I can also submit to 6 other sites, then my ratios go up even more.

If you would like a more exact break down of my numbers PM me. I just don't feel comfortable disclosing them in this thread.


Thanks. I have been considering breaking my exclusivity with istock, but I do fairly well there so I think I will probably just stay if upload time seems to be the major issue.

Have you ever used DeepMeta? It is software that makes uploading to istock a thousand times easier. DeepMeta
11/03/2012 10:46:49 AM · #9
Please, please don't encourage him to go into microstock. If he has good, unique, interesting images then he should be going to a specialist library for travel imagery - Robert Harding, National Geographic, Lonely Planet Images.
11/03/2012 11:11:54 AM · #10
I think it really depends on what type of images he has and likes to take. If he has variety of different subject, then it maybe possible to do macro, microstock and POD. He has then to decide for himself what maybe the best fit for him. Microstock maybe the easiest way to start.
11/04/2012 01:31:36 PM · #11
Originally posted by toddhead:



Have you ever used DeepMeta? It is software that makes uploading to istock a thousand times easier. DeepMeta


I guess I just don't understand how this software will help. I will still have to keyword and submit model releases separately for my istock photos. I keyword for the other 5 I submit to all the same way it is only istock that is different, and I do not want to keyword my photos the same for the other 5 as I do for istock, because istock does not allow very many keywords. The others are much more lenient so I can include many more that may apply to my image.

So yes I do think this software would be good for people who are exclusive to istock. But not so much for the rest of us.

By the way I think I am dropping Istock all together. My last batch of 18 had more than half rejected(the same images get accepted easily on shutterstock and other sites) I know all stock agencies are different, but when you have 5 others that accept and image and then have it sale well on those sites you kind of start to wonder what is going on with istock. I just think it is such a waste of time and not worth the measly $100 I make from them every few months. When you combine the amount I make from my other six sites I submit to, I make 12 times that amount with much less effort.
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