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Author Topic: Differences between the various microstock sites  (Read 5403 times)

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« on: September 16, 2008, 14:59 »
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Hello,

I am very new to Microstock and am an amateur photographer with no formal training.  I have uploaded images to 4 of the "Big Six" agencies, and found an intriguing pattern.

At the embarrassing end of the spectrum, SS flat out denied all 20 of my initial photos.  DT and FT accepted 1/8 or so, and IS has accepted about 1/3 or 1/4 of initial contributions.

Does each agency specialize, or concentrate on certain subject matter.  Are some more all-inclusive than others?

Thanks.

-Brett
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 11:33 by bvburnes »


« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2008, 15:06 »
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you will have a hard time getting landscapes or backgrounds into fotolia but in general the sites are not too diferent

To improve I would suggest uploading a photo in the critique forum, if you have thick enough skin;)

« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2008, 15:14 »
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If your life does not depend on income from microstock (I assume it does not) keep shooting, try to figure out what are specific agency likes/dislikes, keep uploading. Keep expectations low, don't get discouraged when one day some reviewer rejects everything you sent (they have bad days too). Some people try to re-upload after a while, others just move on.

« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 18:39 »
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Generally it doesn't matters what they accept/reject it matters what sells. You need to develop your style and you will have your best sellers, you will need to go in that way.

« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2008, 19:17 »
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Some sites require an application.  You submit your images, their team reviews them, and if they like your stuff, they approve you to submit at will.
Shutterstock typically takes a few tries to get in. At 30 days in between application submissions, it can be quite a long time.  iStock also requires an application to be submitted.  They also can take a few tries to get in.
StockXpert also can take a few tries to get in, before you can freely submit.

Other sites are just load and go.  There are very loose submission guidelines, and most all photos you submit will go up.  These sites are GREAT if you like to see your images online, however the sales at these sites tend to be quite slow compared to the sites that make you wait for approval.

Either way, I noticed our images started to move when I had about 250 up, but really started to get more regular sales when I hit 800 images online.

BigStock was real slow to get going, but now, as we approach 1000 images with them, the sales are now happening more and more regularly.

I can't say enough about the HUGE difference between iStock and Dreamstime.  Either ya love Elvis, or ya love the Beatles.  You can like em both, but you'll always favor one over the other.  Same with these two agencies.  Personally, Dreamstime is sharing the #1 spot with Shutterstock.  iStock places a dismal fifth.

You'll just have to load up your images, and see which sites prefer your style of photography.  Play with a couple, play with them all. It's your time, so you need to decide how you want to approach this.  Have a free weekend? All your images submitted to your main sites? Then go thru the forums, and choose a smaller site that you can speculate on.

But, for goodness sakes, do NOT expect your images to start selling like hotcakes immediately.  It takes a while to build a quality portfolio, and as much as you already know, there is always something new to learn.  Keep an open mind.

But these are our results. Your results will vary.

Oh, and remember, some sites lock in your images for a period of time, it's something YOU AGREE TO when you sign up.  Dreamstime and BigStock are two of them that make you do that.  Another is Albumo, but I would stay dead away from them. The lock in on your images there is FOUR HUNDRED days. And you do NOT see that until after you have registered and agreed to the site terms.

I'd also read a whole lot.  Check out the forum here and see what people think about the various sites.  You'll get a good feel for how the site is progressing, as well as get a feel for the admin, as some of the sites have specific people to monitor and answer questions from the forums.

Good luck, learn all you can, use your resources, and have fun :)

« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2008, 01:39 »
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Thank you all very much for your thoughtful insight and advice.  I know I am at the very beginning of my adventure and I value your input as ones who have traveled much farther down the road already!

Thank you,
Brett
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 11:34 by bvburnes »

« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 09:03 »
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Hi Brett :)

I am fairly new to microstock myself and also have never had any formal training in photography (but did take a lot of art classes in college). Have found that an eclectic approach works best. Check out my DT portfolio and you will see a variety of photos and graphics. Are there any other subjects besides landscapes that interest you?


« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 09:12 by epantha »

« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2008, 10:19 »
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Hi Brett :)

I am fairly new to microstock myself and also have never had any formal training in photography (but did take a lot of art classes in college). Have found that an eclectic approach works best. Check out my DT portfolio and you will see a variety of photos and graphics. Are there any other subjects besides landscapes that interest you?

Landscapes have always been my primary interest, but I have seen it said often enough that this niche is not a hot seller in the Microstock world.  I've identified a place in my garage in which I could build a small studio to do some isolation work--that seems to be very much in demand.  As Melastmohican surmised, I am doing this very very part time, so my portfolio is destined see slow growth, but the bright side is I'm not starving in a cardboard box waiting for the big sale.   :D

I think mostly I'm excited by the prospect of learning from this experience and seeing my skills behind the lens grow.  And if it ever generates some money, then so much the better!  And if not, I still enjoy photography as a hobby.

epantha, I enjoyed seeing your portfolio on Dreamstime; I see what you mean by having an eclectic collection!   :)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 11:34 by bvburnes »

« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2008, 10:34 »
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Quote
I think mostly I'm excited by the prospect of learning from this experience and seeing my skills behind the lens grow.  And if it ever generates some money, then so much the better!  And if not, I still enjoy photography as a hobby.

I have learned SO MUCH since I started uploading. I also work full time so don't rely on the microstock income. It's more like getting a raise for me right now and the growth in downloads and microstock income has exceeded my expectations. You get back what you put into it :) I wish you much success.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 11:06 by epantha »

« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2008, 03:04 »
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In my experience, you certainly learn as you go along.

You persevere - loads of knocks and rejections, but if you believe in yourself and your work you will establish yourself.

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2008, 14:33 »
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you will have a hard time getting landscapes or backgrounds into fotolia but in general the sites are not too diferent

To improve I would suggest uploading a photo in the critique forum, if you have thick enough skin;)


landscapes are a tough sell anywhere, buteven with their massive rejection rate, FT does take landscapes - here are 2 i've had accepted in the last week or so:

http://us.fotolia.com/Member/Content/9697601

http://us.fotolia.com/Member/Content/9630253

of course, whether they'll sell is another question.

there's also so much variatin in taste BETWEEN reviewers at any MS site, that it's hard to determine f there are any site preferences for types of images - often the "not a stock photo" rejection is just a catchall for overworked reviewers

steve
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 14:35 by cascoly »

« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2008, 11:48 »
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Hi Steve,

your link doesnt work

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 19:08 »
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i just tested all of them & they worked fine -- which didnt work for you?

« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2008, 10:59 »
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I've found that sites do accept landscape images providing they are of places that they have few or no images of already. I have sold several landscapes of places I thought would be too obscure. With regard to specialising in a particular area; I think as you go along you will realise what you are most comfortable with, and it can surprise you.....just keep submitting and don't get disheartened. I started about a year ago, just uploading to Fotolia and have now decided to try a few more sites now that I have a more-organised portfolio. Good luck for the future.

« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2008, 11:23 »
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Cascoly,
It looks like your links are redirected by Fotolia to MyContents area.
I suppose you need to go to "See my portfolio online" and copy links from there or provide links in this form:

http://us.fotolia.com/id/9697601
http://us.fotolia.com/id/9630253

It's working for me now.

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2008, 14:47 »
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thanks -- that's probably the reason -- also why i could see the images when i tested the post!

steve

« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2008, 04:51 »
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Thanks Marek,

now it looks fine to me. Great Images Steve!


shank_ali

« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2008, 02:07 »
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I am pretty bias as i only contribute to istockphoto.if you take a good clean image with no imperfections when viewing it at 100% you will have it accepted on any stock site.
The problem you should be concentrating on is taking a photo that a designer/buyer would wish to buy and place in his design.
Too many photographers wrongly presume that any good photo is suitable as stock !

lagereek

« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2008, 05:27 »
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I get suspicious when agencies are accepting images on just technical merits, that means any old rubbish gets in just because it meets with the Tech aspects.
Some sites and even RF just keeps piling up millions of images and maybe only a handful will ever sell.
It also opens the door for the spammers.

CCK

« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2008, 08:16 »
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Don't forget that the different reviewers at the same site may also differ drasticly when it comes to accepting or rejecting a photo. With my first attempt at Shutterstock I had 10 out of 10 rejected, second attempt 30 days later 10 out of 10 accepted. Could I have learned that much in 30 days? I don't think so. My acceptance rate at Dreamstime is 91% after hundreds of submissions and I think I know what it good enough, and what sells and what not. Today I found two thirds of my last submission to Dreamstime rejected with the "this is not quite what we're looking for" reason. My explanation for that: Not the reviewer's personal taste, the next one would have approved it all. I don't get angry or fustrated, its all part of the game.

What I do at this stage: just make sure everything is in focus, make sure there is no noise, and chances are good every agency will accept the photo.

lagereek

« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2008, 13:04 »
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Yes sure but only because a photo is sharp, noiseless and free from artifacts, it doesnt at all mean its a good shot, doesnt mean its good composition or creativness or anything. All it means is the shot meets the Tech-specs! minimal for acceptance.
IMO, a technically perfect shot that doesnt really say anything is a worthless shot and should get rejected.


 

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