Anyone here uses/contributes to iStockphoto and could share their experiences?


Xerith

New Member
Mar 15, 2009
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#1
Hi, I'm a newbie to photography and I joined iStockphoto as a contributor a little while back but I'm not very successful (only a few downloads over a few months). Does anyone here use or contribute to this stock photography site and would like to share their experiences?

My blog that talks about my attempts so far can be found here:

Xerith's Microstock Photography | A beginner's record of his venture into microstock photography…

Look forward to your advice / comments.
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
19,105
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#2
We have extensive articles, tips, etc in The Photo Biz forum section. Go there, read the stickies first. Use the Search function when in doubt.
 

JacePhoto

Senior Member
Oct 1, 2007
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New York City
www.flickr.com
#4
Yeah, Istock is way too hard for me too. But I heard the rewards r better. Try some other pocket stocks like pocket stock, Fotolife, Dreamstime, pond5, depositphoto, 123rf first?
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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www.foto-u.com
#5
there are few stock photo shooters here, but most of them keep very low profile.

I start shooting RF stock photo fairly late, only mid 2009, with 6-7 agencies,
after a year, I decided to go exclusive with istockphoto, but I need to wait for six months to clear my images from dreamstime.
now I'm an exclusive artist of istockphoto for photo and video since 2011.

RF stock is a about quality with volume, and you need take some time to build your portfolio, at least two thousands files, so you won't see results within two to three years.

hope this help.
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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#6
yes, istockphoto is the most strictest, if your images being accepted here, you can go any other agencies without much problems.
and I very much happy with the earning here, I won't tell you how much I make, no stock shooters will tell you how much they make as well,
all I can tell you is half month earning is more the the sum of first year earning with 6-7 agencies.
 

kandinsky

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
3,014
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#7
Some pretty interesting discussions on the microstockgroup forum, search around:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/

2011 Microstock Industry Survey – First Look | Microstockgroup Blog - The meeting place for microstock photographers
Earnings vs Portfolio Size – Microstock Survey 2010 | Microstockgroup Blog - The meeting place for microstock photographers
Earnings Breakdown of Full Time Microstockers | Microstockgroup Blog - The meeting place for microstock photographers
October 2012 Earning Thread | Professional Microstock Forum
August 2012 Microstock Income | Professional Microstock Forum

I'm usually on the other end of IS, purchasing stock for client projects. That was about a year plus ago. At one point I did get curious about being a contributor, but didn't really do much after being accepted. The keywording aspect seemed tedious, and the market felt pretty saturated/mature, so it's a bit daunting to start from 0. Have fun with your journey, all the best.
 

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Xerith

New Member
Mar 15, 2009
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#8
Thanks for all the replies / info (and thanks for shifting the thread to PhotoBiz (sorry didn't realize there was this section)).

Hi JacePhoto: Well, I did think of trying other sites as well afterwards when I really started building up my portfolio, becuase I think I currently don't even have 10 photos that would be good enough to pass the Shutterstock application test. So far I only have 6 photos accepted in my iStockphoto portfolio... haha (talk about being a beginner!).

Hey Catchlights, I think you answered one of my threads in the iStockphoto forums before as well sometime in June. Cool... I didn't expect to find someone who I would remember the name of here. :) Thanks for your info and advice. BTW, how come stock photographer would keep very low profile? Is it because it is looked down upon to sell photos for mere dollars? I do of course know that crowdsourcing is more often than not, ripping off the photographer, but I guess I see it more as a challenge to get downloads rather than really expecting to earn money from this. Just curious. My goal is to be able to be exclusive eventually, but from my current rate of uploading and downloading, it looks like that will take years... haha... that's why I was starting to consider Shutterstock as well.

Kandinsky: Wow... I didn't realize that there was a group only focusing on microstock. That was very useful info. I just went to join the forum there as well. Thanks.
 

catchlights

Moderator
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Sep 27, 2004
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#9
because stock shooters are busying shooting, and uploading..... lol,
moreover, most photographers find stock shooters are boring people, they only shoot subjects or photos that sells,
when most photographers are busying shooting cosplay, fashion show in the malls, racequeens in car shows or xmm models in bikini or lingerie, stock shooters don't even want to wast shutter counts on these.

yeah, you need 250 downloads, and above 50% acceptance rate to qualify to be exclusive contributor with istockphoto.
it is not and easy task, so stay focus, keep shooting and uploading.
 

Dec 2, 2011
471
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#10
I use iStockphoto as a buyer, since I'm a designer.
For us designers, it's the best thing since sliced bread. Before services like iStockphoto came about, our only sources for images were very expensive rights managed photos like Getty Images or Royalty free images/CDs.
Just a single image could cost hundreds and once we even paid $4k just for 1 rights-managed image. So you can imagine iStock and all the others like Dreamstime are a real Godsend.

If you want to sell your photos, try to think like a designer (and their clients). For me, I'm always looking for images that depict Asians doing specific things for my promo websites/flyers/posters etc.
If you can churn out such stuff in good quality, I'm pretty sure the money will start rolling in.
 

hazmee

Senior Member
May 9, 2004
2,937
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noorhazmee.com
#11
I use iStockphoto as a buyer, since I'm a designer.
For us designers, it's the best thing since sliced bread. Before services like iStockphoto came about, our only sources for images were very expensive rights managed photos like Getty Images or Royalty free images/CDs.
Just a single image could cost hundreds and once we even paid $4k just for 1 rights-managed image. So you can imagine iStock and all the others like Dreamstime are a real Godsend.

If you want to sell your photos, try to think like a designer (and their clients). For me, I'm always looking for images that depict Asians doing specific things for my promo websites/flyers/posters etc.
If you can churn out such stuff in good quality, I'm pretty sure the money will start rolling in.
Agreed. More Asian faces doing professional work please. It can be quite tough looking for those that doesnt look cheesy or too posed. Just fyi, I spend more than 6 hours a day ploughing through istock. Its a daunting task. Sometimes fruitful, sometimes painful but most of the time just clicking here and there finding all sorts of things.
 

Dec 2, 2011
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#12
Agreed. More Asian faces doing professional work please. It can be quite tough looking for those that doesnt look cheesy or too posed. Just fyi, I spend more than 6 hours a day ploughing through istock. Its a daunting task. Sometimes fruitful, sometimes painful but most of the time just clicking here and there finding all sorts of things.
Haha, bro I share your pain. ;)
We spend hours upon hours looking at stock images all the time. Good Asian pix are very hard to find.
 

Xerith

New Member
Mar 15, 2009
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#13
Catchlights:
Well... I must admit, I am pretty boring... haha... work work work and only when I have free time then I take some photos... haha. Actually I guess photos of pretty models would probably sell well as stock too... just that I don't know that many pretty / handsome people who have free time for me to try to take their photos... haha :)

Yeah... 250 seems so far away.... haha. Will keep trying. :)

Silencer13 & Hazmee
Hmmm, do you have in mind what you are looking for in particular (e.g. what task or activity is the person doing)? I don't have any now, but I'm sure if you request, people should be quite fast to respond from the site (and depending on what you have in mind, I can try to take something for you as well).
 

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ellery

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Jan 29, 2002
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#14
For asian stock - we have a couple of local based stock libraries focused on this area. Try AsiaPix - asia images.
Haha, bro I share your pain. ;)
We spend hours upon hours looking at stock images all the time. Good Asian pix are very hard to find.
 

hazmee

Senior Member
May 9, 2004
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#15
Silencer13 & Hazmee
Hmmm, do you have in mind what you are looking for in particular (e.g. what task or activity is the person doing)? I don't have any now, but I'm sure if you request, people should be quite fast to respond from the site (and depending on what you have in mind, I can try to take something for you as well).
If you search for business in istock, you will find a whole list of caucasian collection and notice the quality. Try searching for asian business, you will find a mix bag of images. Some good but mostly a lot to be desired. I hope photographers can contribute similiar level of quality for asian stock imageries. Cheers!
 

Jan 3, 2008
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SG
#17
I have ever seen some high quality Taiwanese contributors before.
Hmm, I am a buyer more than contributor.
 

btrenkel

New Member
May 5, 2007
328
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Singapore
#18
Xerith - it's more than shooting just pretty people... but you'll find out with time. Success is hard to predict. Often it's not the image you like or find best. Some which you think are great - won't sell. Others will.
Only solutions - shot, edit, upload, and see what sells. And you need a big portfolio. I know the 250 downloads initially feels hard and far away. Also the process for acceptance looks difficult. But once you got it figured out - getting 80-90% acceptance is no problem. Then the downloads will. Don't get emotionally attached to your images if they are not accepted or not downloaded. The though part these days. 1) the library is huge - lots of competition, 2) the quality bar has gone up immensely, 3) without exceptional retouching - don't even try.
Equipement quality isn't what matters - as most images are downloaded in small/medium sizes. So even 12 Mpix would be enough. But of course it's easier if you have better equipment - and it's also fun to shoot with good lenses etc.
So keep trying; work hard. And the reward will come ;-)

Catchlights:
Well... I must admit, I am pretty boring... haha... work work work and only when I have free time then I take some photos... haha. Actually I guess photos of pretty models would probably sell well as stock too... just that I don't know that many pretty / handsome people who have free time for me to try to take their photos... haha :)

Yeah... 250 seems so far away.... haha. Will keep trying. :)

Silencer13 & Hazmee
Hmmm, do you have in mind what you are looking for in particular (e.g. what task or activity is the person doing)? I don't have any now, but I'm sure if you request, people should be quite fast to respond from the site (and depending on what you have in mind, I can try to take something for you as well).
 

kandinsky

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
3,014
24
38
#19
I'm sure istock contributors have been keeping an eye on the google/getty/istock thing.
It's quite a surprise, even Vetta images. "Image Deactivation Day" planned for 2 Feb.

On February 2, 2013 a protest will be held by many iStockphoto contributors. The day has been coined D-Day (Deactivation Day) in this thread on the microstock group. Contributors participating in the protest are set to deactivate many of their images which are currently on iStockphoto. In fact many contributors are already in the process of removing their images.
Background:

On December 6th the Google Drive Blog announced that “5,000 new photos of nature, weather, animals, sports, food, education, technology, music and 8 other categories are now available for your use in Docs, Sheets, and Slides” with no mention to how they were acquired or what type of license they come with. If you have a google drive account (comes with gmail and google apps for business) you can create a document and when you go to insert an image you can search google, life or stock. There’s a notice that the “results shown are labeled for commercial reuse with modification” but other than that you can insert the image results in your document and away you go.

It all seems quite mysterious, but luckily some istockers uncovered what’s really going on. In a forum post on January 10th an istock contributor is alarmed to find one of their images in the search results and once they place “it into my document at 1,066 x 1,600. No attribution. No meta-data. No license. No link.” This post is followed by 537 comments then the thread is locked.

On January 11th a forum post titled “Google Drive + Update” is made by mr_erin who appears to work for istockphoto with the following information:

“This is a license deal arranged with Google through Getty Images”

“There may eventually be additional content added to this pool/agreement”

“Google licensed these images for use by Google users through the Google Drive platform; Users of this platform are granted rights to place this imagery in content created using Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Presentations, which end uses can be for commercial purposes.”

I haven’t really dug into the forum posts to see what else is being said or located other sources for the story. The photographer who emailed me about it (Don) says that Getty/Flickr photographers are being paid a one time fee of $12 for the deal.

I’m positive that Getty and Google will figure out a way to lower the bar even further at some point, but this is the lowest I’ve seen it. Gmail has 425 million active users worldwide according to Wikipedia. That’s some serious fractions of a penny for a license.

Getty Hands Google Users Free Commercial Images, Photographers Get $12
 

wolfton

New Member
Jun 21, 2010
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#20
I'm sure istock contributors have been keeping an eye on the google/getty/istock thing.
It's quite a surprise, even Vetta images. "Image Deactivation Day" planned for 2 Feb.

Background:
Quite frankly it's one of the most disgusting things I have seen in a long time, the way G/G/IS go about the deals. I am waiting to see if there is any "hero" lawyer that is willing to take up the case. It's going to make that particular person quite famous I believe.

Apparently, many contributors are still kept in the dark about this. That collection just grew by about 3k in the past weekend......:thumbsd:

I feel for those whose livelihood depends solely on this......
 

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