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Author Topic: Is iStock worth the effort?  (Read 40985 times)

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RaFaLe

  • Success level is directly proportional to effort
« on: March 16, 2009, 00:58 »
0
Hi all,

I'm new to the stock game.
I've registered and uploaded a few pics to quite a few agencies already.
I've been into this now for just over 2 weeks.
My portfolios are tiny, yet I've made just under 30 DLs in 2 weeks at SS (which I think is pretty good).
Fotolia have made one DL for me (that's  probably because they keep rejecting the photos that are top-sellers at SS)  ;D

Anyway, this is not a soap-box session.

I was just wondering - I have applied twice now at iStock and they have rejected both my applications.
I used my best (top sellers) photos to apply, both times.

I get the opinion that they don't like me or something because I pressured them into processing my application with a support ticket or two.
There was a whole thing about my ID not being suitable and my names not matching (which was nonsense).
So I uploaded the same file again and then my membership was approved.
Then after uploading photos they rejected it.
Then 3 days later I uploaded again and they rejected those too.

So now I'm wondering - do you guys have any tips for me?
I really would like to get into iStock - I've heard great things about them!

Thanks a ton in advance!


RacePhoto

« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2009, 01:10 »
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Others will have some more details but here's my "stock" answer. 3Ds.  ;D

1. Diversity - Have a variety of subjects, presentations and lighting.
2. Downsize - Reduce the photos to the minimum acceptable size to reduce imperfections.
3. Don't panic - almost everyone fails at least once if not twice or three times. It's not unusual.

« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2009, 01:44 »
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Hey Chris

Imo iStock is a total pain in the butt. Their image quality requirements are very high, their approval and review processes are intense, and their submission process is slow.

Having said that...

Yes it's worth it. I have only 50 images on iStock, and they make the same income as the 1000+ images I have on another agency. Sadly the 15 images a week limit and the very high rejection rate keep me from really taking advantage of it, but if your work is good, it's a must-do :)

« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2009, 02:08 »
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They have by far the best $/image and also by far the most painful upload process. 

Their image requirements are a fair bit different than the other sites.  Most of the sites accept and sell very well, images with heavy editing.  iStock want their buyers to be able to edit an image the way they want and thus generally accept less edited images.  It also seems that on iStock, image sales are either or.  Either an image sells really well, or it doesn't sell at all.

So is it worth it, I would say without a doubt yes, but they are a different ball game.

« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2009, 02:10 »
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My portfolios are tiny, yet I've made just under 30 DLs in 2 weeks at SS (which I think is pretty good).

Congratulations. Just don't allow someone to fool you. There are sites which give high preference to new images combined with customers paying a fixed amount to download lots of images. So customers tend to get all the images they are allowed to if they can use them immediately or not. The true test of your talent will be with the Pay-Per-Download sites.

So now I'm wondering - do you guys have any tips for me?

Yes, definitely. Go to iStock's Critique Request forum, read the "Read This First" entry on the top, figure out how to post samples of your images and get feedback from other contribtuors who made it. iStock is a bit tougher than the other microstock sites but you get as much as help as you need and can handle. And if you are open-minded and willing to learn, you will find out a lot about photography, lighting, post processing etc. that you didn't know. Enjoy the ride.

RaFaLe

  • Success level is directly proportional to effort
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2009, 02:25 »
0
Thanks everyone - that's some really good feedback.
I particularly like the 3Ds - so thanks for that.
Also great to see an Exclusive iStock member - thank you for your feedback too.
It gives me hope :D

I'll certainly downsize my pics.
And I'll definitely try and apply again when I can.

In terms of the responses I got above - I got 4 On-Demand downloads from SS.
I was impressed with myself and got really excited.

I really hope I can get the same kind of DLs from iStock.
Looking forward to it ;)


« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2009, 02:26 »
0
Yes, definitely. Go to iStock's Critique Request forum, read the "Read This First" entry on the top, figure out how to post samples of your images and get feedback from other contribtuors who made it. iStock is a bit tougher than the other microstock sites but you get as much as help as you need and can handle. And if you are open-minded and willing to learn, you will find out a lot about photography, lighting, post processing etc. that you didn't know. Enjoy the ride.

I remember that I could not post on the IS forum before my application was accepted. One can only read the forums. A friend of mine who was a fellow contributor there, posted my images there for me and I got feedback I needed.

Chris, don't' give up, IS is definitely worth it even with all the drawbacks that other people have mentioned. And it might be a good idea not to apply again until you got some good feedback on IS forum on 3 pictures. Good luck!

« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2009, 02:35 »
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I remember that I could not post on the IS forum before my application was accepted. One can only read the forums. A friend of mine who was a fellow contributor there, posted my images there for me and I got feedback I needed.

Nope. To post you have to take the application test first. But as soon as you are allowed to upload sample images, you can also post in the forums. If anyone has problems, please contact Contributor Support.

« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2009, 03:36 »
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I was not able to post even after failed applications. Actually, even after my application was approved I wanted to thank the members on the forum for critiques, I was not able to do it until I uploaded the first picture for sale. This was back in November, I am not sure if things have changed since then.

RaFaLe

  • Success level is directly proportional to effort
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2009, 04:16 »
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I was not able to post even after failed applications. Actually, even after my application was approved I wanted to thank the members on the forum for critiques, I was not able to do it until I uploaded the first picture for sale. This was back in November, I am not sure if things have changed since then.

Yup - same for me.
I can't post either :(

« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2009, 05:00 »
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I was not able to post even after failed applications. Actually, even after my application was approved I wanted to thank the members on the forum for critiques, I was not able to do it until I uploaded the first picture for sale. This was back in November, I am not sure if things have changed since then.
Yup - same for me.
I can't post either :(

Woops... that's new... we have talked through many new applicants in the past. I'll have to check later...

I'd propose you send a support ticket to Contributor Relations at iStock and get an explanation yourself. Usually people at HQ are pretty helpful if you ask nicely. ;)

RaFaLe

  • Success level is directly proportional to effort
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2009, 06:28 »
0

Woops... that's new... we have talked through many new applicants in the past. I'll have to check later...

I'd propose you send a support ticket to Contributor Relations at iStock and get an explanation yourself. Usually people at HQ are pretty helpful if you ask nicely. ;)

Ok, cool - thanks Michael.
I'll contact support and ask nicely :)

« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2009, 07:34 »
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You can also just link to your images here for critique.

When you get accepted, read this:
http://seanlockedigitalimagery.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/youve-been-accepted/

RaFaLe

  • Success level is directly proportional to effort
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2009, 07:55 »
0
You can also just link to your images here for critique.

When you get accepted, read this:
http://seanlockedigitalimagery.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/youve-been-accepted/


I've put a nice support ticket forward to the guys at iStockPhoto.
Let's see what they come back with.

I couldn't help but read the article link you posted above.
LOL!
It's hilarious - I love the tongue-in-cheek attitude! :D

Some good points though, that I'll most certainly take into consideration!

Thanks again.

« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2009, 14:30 »
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Woops... that's new... we have talked through many new applicants in the past. I'll have to check later...

I'd propose you send a support ticket to Contributor Relations at iStock and get an explanation yourself. Usually people at HQ are pretty helpful if you ask nicely. ;)

It is not new. Please check the forums for new applications. The only way one can post without having photos online is if they buy credits so they are considered buyers.

« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2009, 16:11 »
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"Is iStock worth the effort?"

I guess that all depends on how patient you are. If sales were not so good It would be the first on my list to drop.

If you dont plan on going exclusive get used to feeling like your "second class."

cmcderm1

  • Chad McDermott - Elite Image Photography
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2009, 17:54 »
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Yeah I agree.  Patience there WILL pay off.

IS is now my number one monthly site, and my number one overall site.  Been at this 2 1/2 years now with a portfolio there of nearly 1200 images.  It will payoff.

- Chad

jim_h

« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2009, 18:20 »
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I managed to get a few accepted, none have sold.     You have to keyword everything in their unique scheme, and it's tedious.  Some of the rejections made at least some sense, others were just off the wall.    Reviews and appeals take weeks.  There's more, but why go on. ..

Way too many hoops here for me.  If they ever sell one I might submit some more.

They should change their name to PITAphoto.


« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2009, 20:17 »
0
I managed to get a few accepted, none have sold.     You have to keyword everything in their unique scheme, and it's tedious.  Some of the rejections made at least some sense, others were just off the wall.    Reviews and appeals take weeks.  There's more, but why go on. ..

Way too many hoops here for me.  If they ever sell one I might submit some more.

They should change their name to PITAphoto.

Why don't you link to your portfolio, so we can see what you are not selling?

« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2009, 20:32 »
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Why don't you link to your portfolio, so we can see what you are not selling?

Here he is on iStock, Dreamstime, and Shutterstock.
Sales would increase with better keywording.

jim_h

« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2009, 20:56 »
0
sharply_done, thanks for saving me the trouble of deciding for myself whether I actually wanted to do that. 
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 20:59 by jim_h »

« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2009, 21:13 »
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sharply_done, thanks for saving me the trouble of deciding for myself whether I actually wanted to do that. 

You were kind of asking for it, jim_h.
If you insist on being so opinionated you might consider having a completely novel forum identity if you want to be anonymous.

That being said, you really need to get on top of your keywording if you're at all serious about licensing imagery. Keywords are your primary sales tool, and you are severely handicapping yourself by neglecting them.

jim_h

« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2009, 21:25 »
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Yeah I don't know why I fell compelled to post all these crazy opinions. Maybe it has something to do with the word "forum" being defined as "a medium (as a newspaper or online service) of open discussion or expression of idea."   Just me I guess.

« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2009, 22:43 »
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... a discussion that needs to be backed by something if you are going to be taken seriously.  Like, when you are complaining about your portfolio not selling, you are taken more seriously, if we see ... you guessed it ... your portfolio.

Xalanx

« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2009, 02:34 »
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I'm not selling on IS. And yes, it's my portfolio. Because while I'm having 2000+ photos almost everywhere else, I only have 38 images on IS. I just can't stand that uploading process. I know I should have done yoga and cultivate my patience...  :D :D


 

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