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Author Topic: Review of iStockphoto.com  (Read 3106 times)

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« on: October 30, 2006, 06:31 »
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I have been signed up for about 3 months and received a fair number of downloads. I thought that I would share my though, tips and tricks with you.

Over all I have found the experience a positive one though there are some points that I found less than positive. I am leaving the site for the reasons below

First off what I found to be good
1. Being on a stock photography website has improved my photography loads. By making sure that my shots that were used for stock were of a sufficient quality has improved the quality of my photos in general.
2. The feeling you get from selling your first image is amazing.
3. The approval process whilst being slow (it takes about a week) is always fair, and provide links to good on-line tutorials that can help you with the area that the photo was lacking in.
4. The articles and tutorials on the site are great
5. The forum on the site is very helpful and full of great people who are happy to help
6. There are 3rd party applications that make uploading images a lot simpler than using the site itself
7. The site layout and design is good and makes managing your photos simple and easy

Now what is less than good
1. You do not know where your images are being used and are completely reliant on iStockphoto making sure that images are used appropriately. However there is this example where the image of an elderly man was used in a flyer showing him looking at a topless dancer with sextoys lying around. See here

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=38581&page=1
http://www.istockphoto.com/design_spotlight_fileview.php?size=3&id=6588

iStockphoto seemed to be OK with this use. If you were using images of your friends and family in ways that you would not approve. What makes this worrying is that you do not know where the images are being used. This is like the episode of Friends where Joey's picture was used in an advert for Herpes
2. You only make 20% of the images that are sold unless you are exclusive. There are many other microstock sites that offer a better percentage. You need to make sure that you are happy with a photo that took you time and effort to make, to make you 20c a time. Are you happy for a huge company with a massive markets budget to use your image for a $1 and make loads of money off the back of it?
3. With an upload limit of 20 images per week it takes a long time before you have enough images to get enough downloads to become exclusive, in the mean time you have to put up with limited upload limits, longer approval time, receiving only 20% of sale price
4. As there are many other microstock websites it would appear that you could make more money per photo if it was uploaded to many sites instead of being exclusive
5. Whilst the number of downloads may be great there are so many images on the site both good and bad it makes it hard for your photos to be found by buyers.
6. Without using one the 3rd party tools uploading images is a very time consuming process

So what tips and tricks can I offer people
1. iStockphoto don't like noise. Very important that your photos have as little noise as possible, shoot at the lowest ISO as possible and use noise reduction
2. Think about how your images are going to be used, so if you are shooting an image take a few different options like portrait and landscape; also leaving space around the subject for people to add other design elements.
3. Don't over sharpen your images
4. Always save at the highest quality jpeg you can

Conclusion
After finding out about the inappropriate use of the image I am withdrawing from the site. However if you are happy with the terms and conditions and receiving very low commission for you photos feel free.
Remember that there are many other microstock websites out there please also check these out. From some research it appears that people are making as much money from other sites as iStockphoto, if not more. Some images may be better off on specialist stock sites.


« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 06:36 »
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thanks for the in depth review.

« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 09:48 »
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You need to make sure that you are happy with a photo that took you time and effort to make, to make you 20c a time.

After finding out about the inappropriate use of the image I am withdrawing from the site. However if you are happy with the terms and conditions and receiving very low commission for you photos feel free.

I just wanted to point out some things:
1) My average royality at iStock is .65, so it ends up being a better royalty than most sites.
2) The inappropriate usage problem happens at ALL microstocks. It doesn't make economic sense to do anything about the "inappropriate" use, and sense the photographers are the ones paying the legal bills (indemnity clause) I agree. The model releases are to be taken seriously!
3) If you don't like iStock's reaction I'd challange you to find a RF site that would react differently.
4) You could just remove all model shots from your portfolio instead completely leaving the site.

« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2006, 10:12 »
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3) If you don't like iStock's reaction I'd challenge you to find a RF site that would react differently.
Thats what I'm doing, and if other sites show that same bad attitude I won't use them either. At the end of the day why support a company that treats you like that - and it kind of shows you how they view the people that submit photos to their site

Have some respect for yourself and stand up for your rights and the rights of photographers

« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2006, 10:54 »
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I dont do photos with models and wont as I would only do with Pro models (ie. not with family members and friends) so this wont happen as I am not that good.


 

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