The original microstock agency and it shows in the polished site and large
userbase. Now part of the Getty family, iStockPhoto benefits from an
excellent keyword disambiguation tool which means images can be keyworded
in one language and searched in many others. iStock images are now
replacing Stockxpert images as the premium links on free site, Stockxchange,
and in the Jupiter sites JIUnlimited and Photos.com.
Update: Not sure what caused
the shift, possibly the extra promotion that iStock's getting (not least
through the demise of Stockxpert), but iStock had rocketed ahead on the
sales front. The original and, in virtually every way, the best - I'll
be applying for exclusive as soon as I've racked up enough sales!
A different sales model sees Shutterstock users offered near unlimited
downloads for a fairly high subscription fee. As a result, sales on
the site tend to be low value, but high quantity and many photographers
report their highest earnings from here. The approvals are quick and
sales start racking up fairly quickly so it's definitely worth signing
up. The subscription model also means that users will be fairly well
tied in to Shutterstock so even low value sales here are unlikely to
take sales which may otherwise have been made at higher value elsewhere.
This is quite a nice site to submit photos to with a clear, if quirky
at times, interface and a fairly swift approval turnaround. The image
QC is perhaps marginally more lenient than iStockPhoto which should
be regarded as the benchmark standard. Images seem to be selling fairly
well on the site and at a decent size too.
Part of the Jupiter/Getty group, Stockxpert seems be losing a lot of
ground now as it gets replaced by the group's golden child, iStockPhoto,
in the Stockxchange premium links and on JIUnlimited and Photos.com.
It's a shame because it was nice site to use, but the approvals
have been less than consistent recently and they tend to give "We are
not interested in this subject" rejections regardless of what the subject
may be. Probably not worth investing too much, if any, time in at the
moment - I get the impression that the site will be entirely merged
into iStock before long.
Update: As expected, Stockxpert is now closed, directing
traffic to iStock. The featured images on free-site Stockxchange are
now also taken from iStockPhoto.
Aimed more at the European market than most other microstock agencies,
PictureNation has a different, and perhaps questionable approach. The
QC requirements are noticeably lower than other sites, with some lower
quality images available for sale, but they offer a much higher sale
price and a high commission for photographers. The downside is that
you can only host five images without upgrading to a pro account for £10
per year. Admittedly, it would only take one decent sale to justify
this cost, but we haven't had one yet so we'll reserve judgement on
VFM until later. On the plus side, the interface is good and album
organisation is quick and effective. Approvals take over a week though.
Update: Still on zero.
I'd imagine that most of the money this company makes is from people
trying out Pro accounts, rather than expensive sales. My Pro account
expires in February 2011 and I can't see it being renewed!
Again, early days for me on this site, but as one of the first microstock
agencies, it's a popular site with a good-sized userbase. While it hasn't
particularly endeared itself so far, it's probably worth a punt. Rates
fairly high in user friendliness stakes but on early impressions, seems
harder to get images approved than iStockPhoto. Some people are getting
good sales, but many reviewers put it outside of their top 5.
Update: As of July 2010, I have removed images
from BigStock having had limited files accepted and minimal sales.
Sales on Fotolia are fairly slow, perhaps due to their massive collection,
but it's a nice, clear site to use. Images are labelled by colour to
show status - queued, approved, rejected etc, and deleted files can be
shown or hidden in the file list. QC takes a little longer than some
other sites, but rejections are generally well explained by email in
batches. Reasons for rejections do not appear on the website (would be
nice to have this on the site, perhaps as a rollover on the status bullet),
but on the upside, you can view files 100 to a page which is more than
you're allowed on other sites.
Too early to comment on this one. Approvals seem fairly swift and at around
the iStock standard, but early experience and most reviews suggest consitent,
but consistently slow sales. A nice site to use with clear interface.
If you're going for blanket coverage, I can see no reason not to include
this site so far, but don't expect immediate returns.
Update: As per initial impressions, this
is a nice site to use, but sales have been minimal, even with a decent
spread of approved images.
Not a bad site on initial impressions. QC is significantly tighter than
iStockPhoto so your image quality will need to be top notch to build
up a useful portfolio. Some rejections seem inconsistent with top-selling
images from other agencies being rejected on grounds of composition,
and a few of the images that made it in seemingly of a lower quality.
Maybe worth a try if you have a lot of very stock-focused images.
Update: As of July 2010, I have removed images from Crestock having had
limited files accepted and no sales.
Too early to judge - just signed up. Seems like a good site, clear and easy
to use with the only (very minor) criticism being that the FTP upload takes
a while to go live after registration. Some reviews suggest very slow sales,
but if that's due to it being a young site, why not get in early? The
site were originally offering $75 golden handshakes to photographers with
hundreds of images to add, but that deal seem to have passed.
Update: Fotomind.com has been closed since
15th April 2010
Still early days, but seems to be a good bet. QC is significantly more lenient
than the iStockPhoto benchmark so you can rapidly build a decent sized
portfolio which is a good incentive. Submission and portfolio management
is surprisingly user friendly given how bad the site looks on first viewing
- could definitely do with a facelift! More exposure and better sales would
net the site its fourth star!