stock photo libraries

metroshane

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Anyone a member of a stock photo library? What are your experiences?
 
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metroshane

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Well, nobody responded to this thread...so I guess no one here is familiar with stock photo libraries. I suggest you look into them because there is some real talent here and you could be making some serious cash with the photos I've seen.

Basically it's like you contract these companies to sell your photos on consignment. They do the negotiating and contracts, and get half....which is a pretty good deal. I mean the kind of pics that the libraries sell usually aren't the fine art kind you sell yourself.

While I've never contracted myself (I'm looking for a librarie now), I've read quite a bit about it so feel free to discuss.
 

Chase

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As you get more information on this, please keep us updated.

I'm sure there are quite a few people here that would be extremely interested in the idea of making some money off of some of their photos. Hey, if nothing else it gives you money to invest back in to more equipment!

Please keep us updated!
 

TwistMyArm

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well I know Magnum Photos is the largest stock photo coop in the world. It was started by a group of photographers and I think it's still run by a board of photographers who are also members. Other than that I don't know much about the organization. I don't think that just anyone can join though.
Supposudly this is the link to their main site, but it doesn't look like it's up:
www.magnumphotos.com

I know I had an article about selling stock photos somewhere. I'll have to try and dig it out this weekend and I'll try to give you some usefull information.
 

TwistMyArm

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If you get the chance you should check out a book called Shoot: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About 35mm Photography. It's an overall good book, but it has in it's Appendix a 10 page introduction to selling stock photography.
It might be worth the trip to the Library.
Once again it's called "Shoot". It's edited by Liz Harvey, but has many contributors. The ISB is 0-8174-5869-7.
 
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metroshane

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Thanks TMA. I've seen several books at the library like that...and have read extensively about it. I guess I'm looking for real world examples and testimonials.
 

piksells

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Hi metroshane and others...

I submit pictures to around eight different stock libraries. I'm an enthusiast, and have been submitting for the past few months.

There is no doubt about it that it is quite a thrill when your images are accepted, and an even bigger thrill when they start to sell!

Each library is a little different, both in the images they will accept, and in the way they sell.

There are a few rules that seem to apply across all the libraries:

1. Technical quality is a must - blurry pics, blown-out highlights etc are out.

2. The bigger the image the better...most want at least 2.5MP (2.5 Million Pixels) - multiply the width by the length to see if yours will qualify.

I started off with a Panasonic FZ5, but a number of images were being rejected due to fringing at edges, or image noise. I've gone on to a Nikon D200 and that problem has now gone away.

3. Subjects need to be bold, simple, well-composed...on the thirds, with no distractions at the edges of the frame.

..If you are interested I'd be more than happy to share my experiences in more depth. I can even post you links so you can have a go at making some money too!!
 

laxb0rder

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piksells please share experiances and web pages.
 

niccig

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If you look around, there seems to be a lot of controversy about stock companies, mainly centered around the idea that selling photos to stock companies drives down the commercial prices for all photographers. Why should someone pay $100 for a photo from Mr. (or Ms.) Pro Photographer when they can get a stock image for $5 taken by some yahoo with a DSLR? Mind you, I'm not saying this is necessarily the "right" mindset, it's just what a lot of people seem to think. I looked into stock photography for a while, but I don't think I'd ever do it. I think if I took some prints to a local art fair and somebody offered me $2 for something I put a lot of thought and work into, I'd feel pretty insulted. To me, it's pretty much the same thing. However, I've heard good things about www.photographersdirect.com - they have this whole spiel on their website about "fair trade" photography, and seem in general to pay a lot more for photos. They won't, however, accept images from people who have images on micro stock websites like istockphoto and dreamstime.
 

mentos_007

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well... I am a member of one stock lib. but earned about $8 ... I prefer to do a pront of my photo, frame it and sell on ebay for example where i can get even $70 for one pic and I know that it won't be scanned and used somewhere because it is illegal. With stock lib. someona can just download your picture for $1 and use it in leaflets or advertisements almost for free....
I've heard about photographersdirect as well but I wasn't able to get there because my photos where to small
 

piksells

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After posting to this thread (I’m new to this forum) I, too, happened across the controversy about microstock sites [http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30551].

There are several issues here:

a) Supplying material to such sites does devalue all photographer’s work.
b) However such sites are now very mature and are not going to disappear – they are a fact of life. Like it or not people are buying pictures from this sites in their tens of thousand.
c) Photographersdirect (PD) have a sensible take on the situation. However on a few searches that I’ve done on subjects I’ve done well with on the microsites I see that PD have tons of images already. I’m wondering if the competition on this site might mean having far less sales…OK I know that one sale here can give the same income of many hundreds on a microsite, but no sales here will be beaten hands-down by the regular trickle of sales I currently get!
d) I feel that if you are starting out and want to ‘dip your toe’ into this field then microsites are a good way to hone your stock skills. They’ve changed my photography in only a few weeks!
e) Unless you have a camera with a very high MP count your images may not sell on PD at all, whereas microsites can be a little more forgiving.

Admittedly I was unaware of photographersdirect when I started, but now I’ve proven to my own satisfaction that some of my work is of interest I’m giving serious consideration to removing my work from the microsites and going over to photographersdirect instead.

For those interested in my experiences/thoughts:

I joined a number of libraries simultaneously, so it is easy to compare initial experiences after around three months:

Keywording is the key to success – you need as many strictly relevant keywords/phrases as you can. These must be truly relevant as libraries understandably get upset if you are ‘spamdexing’ – putting in irrelevant keywords to get more people to look at your images. Tip: I will often go to one or two libraries and enter the keywords for an image I’m about to upload. Clicking on a picture of the same subject will bring up the list of keywords that photographer considered relevant. I’ll paste two or three keyword lists into notepad, then pick out those that best represent my image.

...to continue in next post...
 

piksells

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Some thoughts as promised on libraries (I declare a minor “commercial interest” here – should you sign up via my link, I stand to gain a couple of cents if you sell an image on certain of these sites!)

Most of these don’t payout until you have commission of $50 - $100, so you’ll need a lot of images being downloaded before you start to see any income. Most have a user forum attached which makes pretty interesting reading, with plenty of tips.

http://www.imagevortex.com
You set individual prices for your photos in the range of $20 to $300 – you get 70% of the original sale price. Payment is by PayPal, cheque or a wire transfer to your bank account. They accepted very few of the images taken with my Panasonic FZ5, so a higher pixel count is really needed.
You upload a single image at a time – tedious!
I’ve yet to sell any images here!

http://www.bigstockphoto.com/?refid=0clinXUuz1
When users download them, you earn fifty cents each time (or up to $50 for some downloads if you have elected to also sell photos under their Special Licensing agreements).
They do have FTP upload which I would recommend as the only way to get your images to stock libraries. They pay when your commissions reach $30 (PayPal or MoneyBrookers) and $50 (US check).

http://www.istockphoto.com
I’ve a handful of images here and there is a slow but steady downloading going on. You tediously upload a single image at a time here too! They have got some software you can download and run on your computer to keep track of images, keyword, upload and so on – but I did not have a lot a lot joy getting the software to function for me! Keywording here is via their preset keywords…takes getting used to and I found it very time-consuming. Some neat programming on the site so you can see how many people have earmarked your images and placed them in their own ‘light boxes’
iStockphoto pay 20% of the selling price, and if you're eligible for exclusivity, you can make up to 40%.

http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=63054
Shutterstock is my success story – up to 14/day downloads, and by last month, my second month on their site, I had 136 downloads. A colleague I recommended has a very small portfolio, a couple of dozen well composed images, and he is getting around 6 downloads a day too! Minimum required resolution is 2.5 MP. They do have FTP upload, and key wording is relatively straightforward.

http://www.crestock.com
A relatively new library, and slightly mysterious as to how they select images! They say:
“We are basically interested in all outstanding photographs. However, we have a preference for photos with people in them. People of all shapes, sizes and colours, active, at work, at home, playing, relaxing – the list is endless.
On the other hand we are inundated by photos of sunsets, seascapes, flowers, birds, insects, cats and dogs. Ask yourself before uploading; is this photo eye-catching and/or exceptional? If you think the answer is yes, then go ahead!”

I currently have a large batch of images that have sat for many days in their ‘pending’ file awaiting their assessment.

You get $2 each time an image is downloaded. (20% of the selling price), rising to 30%. after 100 downloads. When your account balance reaches $100 you can request a payout via PayPal.
No sales here for me yet.

http://www.fotolia.co.uk/partner/84052
They have quite a fair method of pricing where you get to specify what you want your image to sell for and you receive somewhere between 50% - 80% of the royalties depending on how much you are selling for, whether or not they are exclusive etc etc.
They do allow FTP upload but have, to my mind, a clumsy procedure you have to go through to categorize images, and their key-wording facility is also awkward.
I’ve not been with them long and so far just one sale!

http://www.dreamstime.com
Too early to say much here…they have FTP upload, but unlike bigstockphoto or shutterstock, uploaded images don’t immediately appear in your pending file ready for key wording. My initial batch have sat for days in their FTP upload area without me being able to key word or submit for their approval. Reading their user forum indicates that I am far from alone in having this issue! Photographers earn 50 cents per download. Minimum required resolution is 3MP

This one I discovered but have no personal experience:
https://www.stocklib.com/
 

juno444444

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piksells said:
Hi metroshane and others...

I submit pictures to around eight different stock libraries. I'm an enthusiast, and have been submitting for the past few months.

There is no doubt about it that it is quite a thrill when your images are accepted, and an even bigger thrill when they start to sell!

Each library is a little different, both in the images they will accept, and in the way they sell.

There are a few rules that seem to apply across all the libraries:

1. Technical quality is a must - blurry pics, blown-out highlights etc are out.

2. The bigger the image the better...most want at least 2.5MP (2.5 Million Pixels) - multiply the width by the length to see if yours will qualify.

I started off with a Panasonic FZ5, but a number of images were being rejected due to fringing at edges, or image noise. I've gone on to a Nikon D200 and that problem has now gone away.

3. Subjects need to be bold, simple, well-composed...on the thirds, with no distractions at the edges of the frame.

..If you are interested I'd be more than happy to share my experiences in more depth. I can even post you links so you can have a go at making some money too!!

Hello - I came across your post when I was searching for data on stock photography. If you can help me I would be happy to click on one of your links, the only drawback is that I have already clicked links from a couple of other places. But I don't think I've clicked all of them!

I would like to start in stock photography but I'm not sure which agency to start with. Can you advise? I will tell you a bit about what I have and what I am looking for:

1. Most of my images are 8 megapixel, some are 5 megapixel. My current camera is Canon Digital Rebel XT.

2. I have: Oregon Coast (and sunsets), wild animals at the zoo (doesn't always look like a zoo), Copenhagen city photos (tons, night, day, snow, summer), flowers, Oslo, castles, boats and sea, small towns in Denmark. I also have some old photos of Mongolia, China, Pakistan, South America, which I would have to scan and retouch.

3. I don't want to pay a monthly or yearly fee for membership in a stock company.

4. If possible, I want to avoid long complicated upload procedures. I probably only have a few hours per week to work on this project and I don't want it to take a year.

5. If possible, I would want a company that pays even when a small amount of money is accumulated. The one I saw doesn't pay till you have earned $100. Maybe they are all like that, but I don't know.

6. But most important is I want to earn as much as I can with this, so I would want one which has enough traffic and interest. I have some good photos but I'm not a "superpro oh my god professional 20 year vet contest-winner." So I don't want to submit to a company that has too much competition from better photographers. :confused:

I don't really care about how much my photos sell, but I care about how much I earn vrs how much time I spend uploading photos. Ie, I would rather that the same photos sold for 20 cents over and over and I earn $200, than one photo selling once for $50!

7. I want to start with one company. Maybe after I have uploaded all my photos there, I could start with another. But I don't know which one to start with!

If you can advice I will definitely click on one of your links!
 

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