Stock Photo Services

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Aushiker, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. I recently came across an image hosted at Shutterstock and it has got me curious about stock photos and services.

    I am interested in whether people have their photos listed (is that the right word) with stock photo services and if so what is your experience of them?

    Also for those playing in this sand-pit do you have any recommendations?

    From the few comments I have heard from Tony Northup it sounds like it is pretty hard to get photos listed with such services or is this just some?

    Anyway just curious about the whole "stock" image thing.
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  2. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    If you have unlimited time and patience, you could try it. The only way to make any real money is to treat it as self assignment work and research what is selling, and shoot to fill a need. Basically, you're shooting on speculation.

    Along the way, you get to spend hours retouching logos out of the images, getting model releases and property releases that meet the standard of the agency, editing, submitting, keywording (always loads of fun), getting requests for further retouch, rejections and finally, hopefully, sales. And you get to deal (electronically, of course) with inexperienced junior staff following a stringent set of rules set forth by corporate lawyers and in some cases overly stringent technical guidelines.

    Agencies differ on submission policies, some require a minimum submission to join, and overall, payouts are slim. Not trying to be discouraging, but I didn't find it to be anything worth doing.
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  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    As a consumer of stock images from time to time, my understanding is that Shutterstock has an initial review where you submit samples and they decided whether or not to approve you. Once approved, they allow you to upload images with some limits. I believe you make 25c/download or something like that. Most others work in a similar fashion. Overall, my understanding is that they are not very profitable for the photographer. As a small scale consumer, they are pricey and not very user-friendly.

    We have also been using Unsplash recently which is free and requests that the images be attributed. I don't think that they pay anything to anyone, and I know at least one pro photographer who lost it when I mentioned them to him. Maybe a good way to get exposure?
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  4. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    ShutterStock and Istock are the two I have placed and sold with. Of the two, Shutterstock was the easiest in regards to submission, and IStock was a genuine PIA. I've submitted to neither for several years, and don't know if they are accepting m43 format. Someone else might be able to jump in with that info.

    I just checked my earnings, $0 with Istock, and $196. with Shutterstock. Over about a 5 year period, on 8 images. Maybe now I'm retired, it might be worth submitting more work to Shutterstock. Glad I have Social Security and investment income!
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
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  5. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Some non-stock sites such as 500px will (optionally) sell your pictures also.
    I've been using 500px for over a year; one of my pictures just sold for $24... I believe I'll get 80%.

    Seems hard to get rich this way unless your pics are very popular.
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  6. I just turned on the market place at 500px for some photos. Given others comments I think I will just do this and not bother with the other services. If they sell they sell, if not no biggie. One of my Flickr photos got picked up by a mag only to get dropped later due to space limitations ... such is life :)
  7. aukirk

    aukirk Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2012
    I went through the approval process with ShutterStock (got in on the first try, which was exciting), and have uploaded a handful of images. Certainly not a money maker, but I think it provides some motivation and inspiration when looking for things to shoot. It also has made me very critical of my own images. However, I hate the submission process and really wish there was an option where the photographer could get a lower commission and have them take care of that... I just don't feel like doing the keyword research, etc. and really don't care about the $100 per year I may make off of this. This is a hobby, not a profession for me.
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