Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

Started Feb 27, 2019 | Discussions
Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

Hi guys,

Would like to get some advice on from those who are experienced in Stock Photography websites that are currently available. I have done quite a bit of reading on the web that does comparisons but they often skew towards micro stock and less information is available on websites such as EyeEm, Offset, Adobe Stock and Stocksy.

A little background, I started to take a more enthusiastic approach to photography recently where I acquired my first non-kit lens slightly more than half a year ago. I had a camera since 2015, but it was mostly to take pictures of my travels with my then girlfriend. Didn't cared much about the technical aspects of photography then, all I cared about was whether my subjects in the pictures were sharp.

Back to the topic, I have signed up for a Shutterstock and EyeEm account, posted some pictures and that's when I started to dig deep into the Stock Photography world to decide on which websites should I dedicate my time to it. Time is limited, so am trying to get views on which will be worth my time.

Based on my research so far, the general concensus that I have been able to distilled are the following:

1. Shutterstock seems to be the most popular choice, and there are many who vouch for it as the main income earner for them within the stock photography world. However, I cannot shake off the pathetic (pardon the choice of words) payout per photo in Shutterstock but everyone out there who makes money kept mentioning the mantra 'it's a number's game'.

2. EyeEm seems to be 500px morphing into a selling platform which partners up with Getty and other stock photo selling platform. The difference is that the photos are hand-picked to be sold on partner websites, allowing me to grow as a photographer to know which photos are good enough to be considered in other platforms. A few mentioned it is a good way to sell photos here, but not many have said they are able to make much from there.

3. Adobe Stock seems to be new kid in the block. Not much info I have.

4. Offset is the premium Shutterstock and Stocksy is like a co-operative. The prices per photos here seems to be a lot higher than the other websites, so am kind of leaning towards this.

Anyone has more info and suggestions as to which will be best worth my time? I am open to others, but many others are micro stocks which does not seem to offer much over Shutterstock.

 Doom Scythe's gear list:Doom Scythe's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 +5 more
Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

Doom Scythe wrote:

Hi guys,

Would like to get some advice on from those who are experienced in Stock Photography websites that are currently available. I have done quite a bit of reading on the web that does comparisons but they often skew towards micro stock and less information is available on websites such as EyeEm, Offset, Adobe Stock and Stocksy.

A little background, I started to take a more enthusiastic approach to photography recently where I acquired my first non-kit lens slightly more than half a year ago. I had a camera since 2015, but it was mostly to take pictures of my travels with my then girlfriend. Didn't cared much about the technical aspects of photography then, all I cared about was whether my subjects in the pictures were sharp.

Back to the topic, I have signed up for a Shutterstock and EyeEm account, posted some pictures and that's when I started to dig deep into the Stock Photography world to decide on which websites should I dedicate my time to it. Time is limited, so am trying to get views on which will be worth my time.

Based on my research so far, the general concensus that I have been able to distilled are the following:

1. Shutterstock seems to be the most popular choice, and there are many who vouch for it as the main income earner for them within the stock photography world. However, I cannot shake off the pathetic (pardon the choice of words) payout per photo in Shutterstock but everyone out there who makes money kept mentioning the mantra 'it's a number's game'.

I have been licensing stock photographs since the mid to late 1980s. Stock photography has always been a numbers game and Royalty Free stock has amplified that aspect exponentially. But royalty free licensing is not something I do. My impression is that what works best for royalty free sales are the most generic images.
Unique images have more value but will sell fewer times.

2. EyeEm seems to be 500px morphing into a selling platform which partners up with Getty and other stock photo selling platform.

No idea about EyeEm or 500px. Getty contracts are onerous and before you sign one, if you know an attorney who specializes in contracts, please get them to read and interpret it for you. In stock photography Getty is the elephant in an elephant shaped room. I have friends who do very well with Getty, but they are very experienced photographers and savvy business people.

The difference is that the photos are hand-picked to be sold on partner websites, allowing me to grow as a photographer to know which photos are good enough to be considered in other platforms.

If you go with royalty free sales What you'll find out is what the lowest common denominators are. A high level of high technical quality is one of those lcds. That is the nature of any mass marketing business. And that is a very different proposition from "growing as a photographer."

A few mentioned it is a good way to sell photos here, but not many have said they are able to make much from there.

3. Adobe Stock seems to be new kid in the block. Not much info I have.

Of those you list, I like Adobe Stock best as they seem to be the fairest to the photographer, videographer, and illustrator.

4. Offset is the premium Shutterstock and Stocksy is like a co-operative. The prices per photos here seems to be a lot higher than the other websites, so am kind of leaning towards this.

The standards are higher here

Anyone has more info and suggestions as to which will be best worth my time? I am open to others, but many others are micro stocks which does not seem to offer much over Shutterstock.

Did you notice that I used the words "unique" and "Uniqueness" a few times. What makes a photograph unique? Sometimes it is timing, sometimes it is subject matter, sometimes it is point of view, and sometimes it is access.

A couple of other guidelines:

if there are identifiable people in the photograph  the agencies will require you to have model releases.

In some situations your agency will require you to  have a property release. This includes objects as well as works of art and buildings. 
Look out for  branding  and logos  as those are often trademarked and/or copyrighted.
Listen carefully  to what your stock agency representative tells you.

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

 Ellis Vener's gear list:Ellis Vener's gear list
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BrianYarvin
BrianYarvin Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

Very interesting comments Ellis. I would like to add a small bit to the "numbers game" comment. While stock photography is always a numbers game, it's wise to remember that different games offer different odds. Fresh, original images of oversupplied subjects will still fall to the bottom because of the sheer volume of photos out there.

Subject matter counts! Actually subject matter is the most important thing with stock photography. Submit images of frequently requested, but unsupplied, subjects, and you'll do well. Do well, and you won't care about the unfairness that you speak of.

I notice that you didn't mention Alamy. It too, can be a great place for unique collections. Of course, if your work doesn't have that unique excellence, you'll sink to the bottom and wind up writing posts on message boards about how unfair the stock photo business is.

I wish you better than that.

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

Great points Brian, thank you for adding to the conversation. Subject is indeed king.

-- hide signature --

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 25,650
I buy stock pictures

I'm generally opposed to the concept of stock, which I do not consider real photography.

But, that said, I buy and use stock.

Almost always, I buy from Shutterstock.

And over the past couple of years, I've bought some of the biggest packages, and stored the pictures on my computer. If I need a picture of a steak, it is there waiting for me.

IF I DECIDED TO SHOOT STOCK, I would set out to shoot pictures of cities, with the idea that businesses in those cities would buy these pictures to illustrate their web sites.

I'm in Canada, and Shutterstock does not have good city pictures outside the three or four biggest places.

Years ago I did a book of interesting house and small building exteriors in ten Ontario towns. So I know that there is a lot of work involved.

FOR INSTANCE - an accounting firm in Moncton might want a hero shot for the opening page, and some square pictures of the landmark sites in the city for the other pages, instead of clip art of a pen and a calculator and a clip board.

BAK

OP Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

Thanks for the well written sharing. Appreciate your insights and I do have a few follow up questions to your response, if you don't mind.

Ellis Vener wrote:

Doom Scythe wrote:

Hi guys,

Would like to get some advice on from those who are experienced in Stock Photography websites that are currently available. I have done quite a bit of reading on the web that does comparisons but they often skew towards micro stock and less information is available on websites such as EyeEm, Offset, Adobe Stock and Stocksy.

A little background, I started to take a more enthusiastic approach to photography recently where I acquired my first non-kit lens slightly more than half a year ago. I had a camera since 2015, but it was mostly to take pictures of my travels with my then girlfriend. Didn't cared much about the technical aspects of photography then, all I cared about was whether my subjects in the pictures were sharp.

Back to the topic, I have signed up for a Shutterstock and EyeEm account, posted some pictures and that's when I started to dig deep into the Stock Photography world to decide on which websites should I dedicate my time to it. Time is limited, so am trying to get views on which will be worth my time.

Based on my research so far, the general concensus that I have been able to distilled are the following:

1. Shutterstock seems to be the most popular choice, and there are many who vouch for it as the main income earner for them within the stock photography world. However, I cannot shake off the pathetic (pardon the choice of words) payout per photo in Shutterstock but everyone out there who makes money kept mentioning the mantra 'it's a number's game'.

I have been licensing stock photographs since the mid to late 1980s. Stock photography has always been a numbers game and Royalty Free stock has amplified that aspect exponentially. But royalty free licensing is not something I do. My impression is that what works best for royalty free sales are the most generic images.
Unique images have more value but will sell fewer times.

Where else would you recommend for me to go to sell photos online? I am asking as a part timer with consideration for effort and time involved.

2. EyeEm seems to be 500px morphing into a selling platform which partners up with Getty and other stock photo selling platform.

No idea about EyeEm or 500px. Getty contracts are onerous and before you sign one, if you know an attorney who specializes in contracts, please get them to read and interpret it for you. In stock photography Getty is the elephant in an elephant shaped room. I have friends who do very well with Getty, but they are very experienced photographers and savvy business people.

The difference is that the photos are hand-picked to be sold on partner websites, allowing me to grow as a photographer to know which photos are good enough to be considered in other platforms.

If you go with royalty free sales What you'll find out is what the lowest common denominators are. A high level of high technical quality is one of those lcds. That is the nature of any mass marketing business. And that is a very different proposition from "growing as a photographer."

I am afraid I may not get what you meant entirely. Does your comment on royalty free sales also include more premium websites like Stocksy and Offset? What are lcds?

What then would your suggestion be on improvement avenues if my aim of photography is to have some part time sales of images? My thinking is rather than paying for classes, having stock photography websites reviewing my pictures seems like a better deal.

A few mentioned it is a good way to sell photos here, but not many have said they are able to make much from there.

3. Adobe Stock seems to be new kid in the block. Not much info I have.

Of those you list, I like Adobe Stock best as they seem to be the fairest to the photographer, videographer, and illustrator.

Would you elaborate more on this from your point of view? The commission for Adobe Stock appears to be 33% whereas Stocksy is 50% and more. Wouldn't a higher commission be better?

4. Offset is the premium Shutterstock and Stocksy is like a co-operative. The prices per photos here seems to be a lot higher than the other websites, so am kind of leaning towards this.

The standards are higher here

I see. What about the sales generated from here? Does it commensurate better after accounting for lower volume? Does this mean that if I can get into either of these, then I should focus my time on these websites?

Anyone has more info and suggestions as to which will be best worth my time? I am open to others, but many others are micro stocks which does not seem to offer much over Shutterstock.

Did you notice that I used the words "unique" and "Uniqueness" a few times. What makes a photograph unique? Sometimes it is timing, sometimes it is subject matter, sometimes it is point of view, and sometimes it is access.

A couple of other guidelines:

if there are identifiable people in the photograph the agencies will require you to have model releases.

In some situations your agency will require you to have a property release. This includes objects as well as works of art and buildings.
Look out for branding and logos as those are often trademarked and/or copyrighted.
Listen carefully to what your stock agency representative tells you.

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

Yup, I seems to have gotten a few requests for model and property releases from my first few pictures. Am still learning about these.

Thanks again for your time.

 Doom Scythe's gear list:Doom Scythe's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 +5 more
OP Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

BrianYarvin wrote:

Very interesting comments Ellis. I would like to add a small bit to the "numbers game" comment. While stock photography is always a numbers game, it's wise to remember that different games offer different odds. Fresh, original images of oversupplied subjects will still fall to the bottom because of the sheer volume of photos out there.

Subject matter counts! Actually subject matter is the most important thing with stock photography. Submit images of frequently requested, but unsupplied, subjects, and you'll do well. Do well, and you won't care about the unfairness that you speak of.

I notice that you didn't mention Alamy. It too, can be a great place for unique collections. Of course, if your work doesn't have that unique excellence, you'll sink to the bottom and wind up writing posts on message boards about how unfair the stock photo business is.

I wish you better than that.

Thanks for sharing as well. Will keep your comment on subject matter in mind. Is Alamy a better bet than the ones I mentioned? I have not read much about them, will do so over the next few days.

Assuming that I am able to get some decent "unique" & un-supplied subjects for stock photography, which website would you recommend based on your experience? I find the process of tagging very time consuming, so I would like to narrow down my efforts to have a better impact.

My line of thought is to go with something more premium like Stocksy / Offset (or Alamy if it's premium too) as my first choice, and if photos get rejected, go to Shutterstock. There may even be a second choice between first premium and Shutterstock. Am also trying to get my workflow together.

 Doom Scythe's gear list:Doom Scythe's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 +5 more
Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

Doom Scythe wrote:

Thanks for the well written sharing. Appreciate your insights and I do have a few follow up questions to your response, if you don't mind.

Ellis Vener wrote:

Doom Scythe wrote:

Hi guys,

Would like to get some advice on from those who are experienced in Stock Photography websites that are currently available. I have done quite a bit of reading on the web that does comparisons but they often skew towards micro stock and less information is available on websites such as EyeEm, Offset, Adobe Stock and Stocksy.

A little background, I started to take a more enthusiastic approach to photography recently where I acquired my first non-kit lens slightly more than half a year ago. I had a camera since 2015, but it was mostly to take pictures of my travels with my then girlfriend. Didn't cared much about the technical aspects of photography then, all I cared about was whether my subjects in the pictures were sharp.

Back to the topic, I have signed up for a Shutterstock and EyeEm account, posted some pictures and that's when I started to dig deep into the Stock Photography world to decide on which websites should I dedicate my time to it. Time is limited, so am trying to get views on which will be worth my time.

Based on my research so far, the general concensus that I have been able to distilled are the following:

1. Shutterstock seems to be the most popular choice, and there are many who vouch for it as the main income earner for them within the stock photography world. However, I cannot shake off the pathetic (pardon the choice of words) payout per photo in Shutterstock but everyone out there who makes money kept mentioning the mantra 'it's a number's game'.

I have been licensing stock photographs since the mid to late 1980s. Stock photography has always been a numbers game and Royalty Free stock has amplified that aspect exponentially. But royalty free licensing is not something I do. My impression is that what works best for royalty free sales are the most generic images.
Unique images have more value but will sell fewer times.

Where else would you recommend for me to go to sell photos online? I am asking as a part timer with consideration for effort and time involved.

Adobe Stock. And concentrate on subjects and places you know and have easy access to. BAK’s suggestions are great ones.

Also  if you have photos you want to submit go to Getty.comband search for ones with similar content using a  best. Look at all of the keywords that are used for those images and use those to start your own keyword library. And yes keywording is extremely important. You want enough keywords but not ones that do not relate the to the photo.

I repeat: keywords are very important.

And do not forget the rest of the IPTC metadata: your name and contact information, headlines, titles, and file names that describes the contents. Keywords layout a roadmap for those who are searching for photographs.

2. EyeEm seems to be 500px morphing into a selling platform which partners up with Getty and other stock photo selling platform.

No idea about EyeEm or 500px. Getty contracts are onerous and before you sign one, if you know an attorney who specializes in contracts, please get them to read and interpret it for you. In stock photography Getty is the elephant in an elephant shaped room. I have friends who do very well with Getty, but they are very experienced photographers and savvy business people.

The difference is that the photos are hand-picked to be sold on partner websites, allowing me to grow as a photographer to know which photos are good enough to be considered in other platforms.

If you go with royalty free sales What you'll find out is what the lowest common denominators are. A high level of high technical quality is one of those lcds. That is the nature of any mass marketing business. And that is a very different proposition from "growing as a photographer."

I am afraid I may not get what you meant entirely. Does your comment on royalty free sales also include more premium websites like Stocksy and Offset?

look for the terms “rights managed” and “royalty free” in what they sell.

LCD= Lowest Common Denominator.

What then would your suggestion be on improvement avenues if my aim of photography is to have some part time sales of images? My thinking is rather than paying for classes, having stock photography websites reviewing my pictures seems like a better deal.

what kind of improvement? If you want to sell usage licenses, consider what the photograph says about the subject.

A few mentioned it is a good way to sell photos here, but not many have said they are able to make much from there.

3. Adobe Stock seems to be new kid in the block. Not much info I have.

Of those you list, I like Adobe Stock best as they seem to be the fairest to the photographer, videographer, and illustrator.

Would you elaborate more on this from your point of view? The commission for Adobe Stock appears to be 33% whereas Stocksy is 50% and more. Wouldn't a higher commission be better?

is 50% of $1.00 greater than 33% of $2.00?

4. Offset is the premium Shutterstock and Stocksy is like a co-operative. The prices per photos here seems to be a lot higher than the other websites, so am kind of leaning towards this.

The standards are higher here

I see. What about the sales generated from here? Does it commensurate better after accounting for lower volume? Does this mean that if I can get into either of these, then I should focus my time on these websites?

You  should focus on covering one or maybe three subjects in depth.

Anyone has more info and suggestions as to which will be best worth my time? I am open to others, but many others are micro stocks which does not seem to offer much over Shutterstock.

Did you notice that I used the words "unique" and "Uniqueness" a few times. What makes a photograph unique? Sometimes it is timing, sometimes it is subject matter, sometimes it is point of view, and sometimes it is access.

A couple of other guidelines:

if there are identifiable people in the photograph the agencies will require you to have model releases.

In some situations your agency will require you to have a property release. This includes objects as well as works of art and buildings.
Look out for branding and logos as those are often trademarked and/or copyrighted.
Listen carefully to what your stock agency representative tells you.

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

Yup, I seems to have gotten a few requests for model and property releases from my first few pictures. Am still learning about these.

Thanks again for your time.

I hope that further clarifies things for you.

-- hide signature --

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

 Ellis Vener's gear list:Ellis Vener's gear list
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incoherent1 Contributing Member • Posts: 623
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

BrianYarvin wrote:

Very interesting comments Ellis. I would like to add a small bit to the "numbers game" comment. While stock photography is always a numbers game, it's wise to remember that different games offer different odds. Fresh, original images of oversupplied subjects will still fall to the bottom because of the sheer volume of photos out there.

Subject matter counts! Actually subject matter is the most important thing with stock photography. Submit images of frequently requested, but unsupplied, subjects, and you'll do well. Do well, and you won't care about the unfairness that you speak of.

I notice that you didn't mention Alamy. It too, can be a great place for unique collections. Of course, if your work doesn't have that unique excellence, you'll sink to the bottom and wind up writing posts on message boards about how unfair the stock photo business is.

I wish you better than that.

How does one identify "unsupplied"?

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BrianYarvin
BrianYarvin Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

My line of thought is to go with something more premium like Stocksy / Offset (or Alamy if it's premium too) as my first choice, and if photos get rejected, go to Shutterstock. There may even be a second choice between first premium and Shutterstock. Am also trying to get my workflow together.

Speaking as somebody who has never been able to gain entry to the "premium" agencies, I can't answer.

Without seeing your work, there's no way to make actual, constructive suggestions about where it belongs in the stock photo universe. Broadly speaking, I would avoid any agency that asks for exclusivity. This is because the present overall trend of the industry downward - less revenue, lower earnings per photo, and a shrinking number of agencies. You need some flexibility if things take a wrong turn.

I have noticed that despite the long answers, I haven't seen any discussion of earnings. I believe that the question you really want to ask is "where will my photos earn the most revenue?" In my experience, this is far more important than specific rights or percentages.

To answer a different question, you search for your subject on the agency website and see what comes up. Several of these sites have more than a million images of London, England for example. Only those on the first page are likely to sell, the rest are almost doomed, no matter how good they are.

Finally, I'm very uncomfortable with BAK's advice. I believe it was made without comparing actual sales performance of images of places the size of Moncton vs still lifes with business themes. I've been there both as a photographer and agency employee and based on those experiences, would never suggest a travel image over a still life.

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instagram @brianyarvin

Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

On earnings:

Stock photography is a “long skinny tail” proposition. It may take a 12 to 18 months for yphotos accepted by an agency to start selling and then unless you are the exceptional exception to the norm the ones that are licensed more than once (if ever)  will probably only be 10% of the ones accepted by the agency.

And even if you go the preferred “rights managed” route do not expect large sales.

my experience is that an agency will split the revenue of a licensing fee 50/50 with you. But if there is a sub agent involved it the sub-agent will take 30-40% and you and the agency will splint the remaining 70-60%.

on the other hand, the agency which represents me still licensces images I shot back in the early 1990s.

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Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

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OP Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

Ellis Vener wrote:

Doom Scythe wrote:

Thanks for the well written sharing. Appreciate your insights and I do have a few follow up questions to your response, if you don't mind.

Ellis Vener wrote:

Doom Scythe wrote:

Hi guys,

Would like to get some advice on from those who are experienced in Stock Photography websites that are currently available. I have done quite a bit of reading on the web that does comparisons but they often skew towards micro stock and less information is available on websites such as EyeEm, Offset, Adobe Stock and Stocksy.

A little background, I started to take a more enthusiastic approach to photography recently where I acquired my first non-kit lens slightly more than half a year ago. I had a camera since 2015, but it was mostly to take pictures of my travels with my then girlfriend. Didn't cared much about the technical aspects of photography then, all I cared about was whether my subjects in the pictures were sharp.

Back to the topic, I have signed up for a Shutterstock and EyeEm account, posted some pictures and that's when I started to dig deep into the Stock Photography world to decide on which websites should I dedicate my time to it. Time is limited, so am trying to get views on which will be worth my time.

Based on my research so far, the general concensus that I have been able to distilled are the following:

1. Shutterstock seems to be the most popular choice, and there are many who vouch for it as the main income earner for them within the stock photography world. However, I cannot shake off the pathetic (pardon the choice of words) payout per photo in Shutterstock but everyone out there who makes money kept mentioning the mantra 'it's a number's game'.

I have been licensing stock photographs since the mid to late 1980s. Stock photography has always been a numbers game and Royalty Free stock has amplified that aspect exponentially. But royalty free licensing is not something I do. My impression is that what works best for royalty free sales are the most generic images.
Unique images have more value but will sell fewer times.

Where else would you recommend for me to go to sell photos online? I am asking as a part timer with consideration for effort and time involved.

Adobe Stock. And concentrate on subjects and places you know and have easy access to. BAK’s suggestions are great ones.

Also if you have photos you want to submit go to Getty.comband search for ones with similar content using a best. Look at all of the keywords that are used for those images and use those to start your own keyword library. And yes keywording is extremely important. You want enough keywords but not ones that do not relate the to the photo.

I repeat: keywords are very important.

And do not forget the rest of the IPTC metadata: your name and contact information, headlines, titles, and file names that describes the contents. Keywords layout a roadmap for those who are searching for photographs.

Yup, good idea on going to Getty and do a keyword search. Will do that. Also, thanks for reminding on the IPTC metadata. It completely slipped my mind!

2. EyeEm seems to be 500px morphing into a selling platform which partners up with Getty and other stock photo selling platform.

No idea about EyeEm or 500px. Getty contracts are onerous and before you sign one, if you know an attorney who specializes in contracts, please get them to read and interpret it for you. In stock photography Getty is the elephant in an elephant shaped room. I have friends who do very well with Getty, but they are very experienced photographers and savvy business people.

The difference is that the photos are hand-picked to be sold on partner websites, allowing me to grow as a photographer to know which photos are good enough to be considered in other platforms.

If you go with royalty free sales What you'll find out is what the lowest common denominators are. A high level of high technical quality is one of those lcds. That is the nature of any mass marketing business. And that is a very different proposition from "growing as a photographer."

I am afraid I may not get what you meant entirely. Does your comment on royalty free sales also include more premium websites like Stocksy and Offset?

look for the terms “rights managed” and “royalty free” in what they sell.

LCD= Lowest Common Denominator.

Yup, I read about Rights Managed and Royalty Free and understand what they stand for.

What then would your suggestion be on improvement avenues if my aim of photography is to have some part time sales of images? My thinking is rather than paying for classes, having stock photography websites reviewing my pictures seems like a better deal.

what kind of improvement? If you want to sell usage licenses, consider what the photograph says about the subject.

A few mentioned it is a good way to sell photos here, but not many have said they are able to make much from there.

3. Adobe Stock seems to be new kid in the block. Not much info I have.

Of those you list, I like Adobe Stock best as they seem to be the fairest to the photographer, videographer, and illustrator.

Would you elaborate more on this from your point of view? The commission for Adobe Stock appears to be 33% whereas Stocksy is 50% and more. Wouldn't a higher commission be better?

is 50% of $1.00 greater than 33% of $2.00?

I am trying to maximise my return here, so are you suggesting that Adobe Stock would be able to get more sales over time? I read up on Adobe Stock and it does seem like they are a microstock that offers images at less than $1. Am wondering about how viable is this actually.

4. Offset is the premium Shutterstock and Stocksy is like a co-operative. The prices per photos here seems to be a lot higher than the other websites, so am kind of leaning towards this.

The standards are higher here

I see. What about the sales generated from here? Does it commensurate better after accounting for lower volume? Does this mean that if I can get into either of these, then I should focus my time on these websites?

You should focus on covering one or maybe three subjects in depth.

Do you mean creating a 'niche' where I specialise in?

Anyone has more info and suggestions as to which will be best worth my time? I am open to others, but many others are micro stocks which does not seem to offer much over Shutterstock.

Did you notice that I used the words "unique" and "Uniqueness" a few times. What makes a photograph unique? Sometimes it is timing, sometimes it is subject matter, sometimes it is point of view, and sometimes it is access.

A couple of other guidelines:

if there are identifiable people in the photograph the agencies will require you to have model releases.

In some situations your agency will require you to have a property release. This includes objects as well as works of art and buildings.
Look out for branding and logos as those are often trademarked and/or copyrighted.
Listen carefully to what your stock agency representative tells you.

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

Yup, I seems to have gotten a few requests for model and property releases from my first few pictures. Am still learning about these.

Thanks again for your time.

I hope that further clarifies things for you.

Yes, it does. Thanks!

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OP Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

BrianYarvin wrote:

My line of thought is to go with something more premium like Stocksy / Offset (or Alamy if it's premium too) as my first choice, and if photos get rejected, go to Shutterstock. There may even be a second choice between first premium and Shutterstock. Am also trying to get my workflow together.

Speaking as somebody who has never been able to gain entry to the "premium" agencies, I can't answer.

Without seeing your work, there's no way to make actual, constructive suggestions about where it belongs in the stock photo universe. Broadly speaking, I would avoid any agency that asks for exclusivity. This is because the present overall trend of the industry downward - less revenue, lower earnings per photo, and a shrinking number of agencies. You need some flexibility if things take a wrong turn.

I have noticed that despite the long answers, I haven't seen any discussion of earnings. I believe that the question you really want to ask is "where will my photos earn the most revenue?" In my experience, this is far more important than specific rights or percentages.

To answer a different question, you search for your subject on the agency website and see what comes up. Several of these sites have more than a million images of London, England for example. Only those on the first page are likely to sell, the rest are almost doomed, no matter how good they are.

Finally, I'm very uncomfortable with BAK's advice. I believe it was made without comparing actual sales performance of images of places the size of Moncton vs still lifes with business themes. I've been there both as a photographer and agency employee and based on those experiences, would never suggest a travel image over a still life.

You read my mind! That's exactly what I am trying to find out, where I can make the most revenue. Where do you suggest that I go to if I would like to maximise earnings?

Interesting thoughts on the still  life. Most of my photographs are from my travels within the South East Asian region and it does appear that there is a big gap in more under-developed countries like Cambodia. I don't claim my images are anywhere great, but given there's a niche where I can access it easily, I was hoping that I might have a shot at it. What are your thoughts on travel photography that I have just mentioned?

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OP Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

Ellis Vener wrote:

On earnings:

Stock photography is a “long skinny tail” proposition. It may take a 12 to 18 months for yphotos accepted by an agency to start selling and then unless you are the exceptional exception to the norm the ones that are licensed more than once (if ever) will probably only be 10% of the ones accepted by the agency.

And even if you go the preferred “rights managed” route do not expect large sales.

my experience is that an agency will split the revenue of a licensing fee 50/50 with you. But if there is a sub agent involved it the sub-agent will take 30-40% and you and the agency will splint the remaining 70-60%.

on the other hand, the agency which represents me still licensces images I shot back in the early 1990s.

I am actually more inclined to go with a few stock photography websites and just accept their terms be it rights managed or royalty free as long as it nets me more money. Which is the whole reason I started this thread actually.

I have also done some research on Adobe Stock and Alamy as mentioned in this thread. It does seem like Adobe Stock is a direct competitor to Shutterstock, so am still not sure if I would opt for that as opposed to Shutterstock. Do you have experiences in both?

Also, I am open to other agencies if you have good ones to suggest. The initial list I posted are the ones that I know of. I am asking with an open mind (I know, being in DPReview for so long with so much negativity, it's hard to believe an OP does not have a hidden agenda behind his post) so please feel free to provide other options which you deem as better.

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BrianYarvin
BrianYarvin Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

Interesting thoughts on the still life. Most of my photographs are from my travels within the South East Asian region and it does appear that there is a big gap in more under-developed countries like Cambodia. I don't claim my images are anywhere great, but given there's a niche where I can access it easily, I was hoping that I might have a shot at it. What are your thoughts on travel photography that I have just mentioned?

Since we have already agreed on the notion of stock photography as a numbers game, then you'll have to do something to make the odds in your favor. Travel images represent only a tiny fraction of stock sales, yet the supply of them is far greater than any other category. I used to work in a NYC stock agency (long gone sadly) where my boss would greet me in the morning with comments like "since you left last night, a thousand more people became travel photographers." Mr. boss would say "99% of new photographers are travel photographers." I found this to be wrong. When I picked up the phone, 100% (often a hundred or more a week) of aspiring photographers did travel. About 4% of the sales at that agency were images that could be called "travel."

This brings up a question for Ellis. If Rights Manged is the preferred sales method, could you name any agencies besides Alamy that would accept images from a beginner travel photographer? ... or from anybody who's not an elite specialist?

We don't know what your work is like and even if we did, we don't have the same eyes or client contact as the "elite" agencies, so recommendations are tough. But since you mentioned travel, it is my experience and understanding that many travel photographers prefer Alamy.

I am re-thinking my point about earnings based on this. Remember, this is an industry that's been steadily shrinking for several decades. Your future is less revenue, not more.

-- hide signature --
BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 25,650
Not travel

RE>> would never suggest a travel image over a still life. <<

I was not suggesting travel images. I was recommending business images.

We have a law firm client that bought a dozen images from an amater photographer and is using them to illustrate the law firm's commitment to the community it serves.

The Pride Week photos are of an event to it supports. So are the music festival pictures.

And they certainly have no use for two generic racially diverse and well-pressed models standing behind a seated person, looking over his shoulder and pretending to see a computer screen.

I was working on a national directory once, and wanted pictures to illustrate the business and financial "feel" of a dozen cities.

BAK

BrianYarvin
BrianYarvin Contributing Member • Posts: 586
Re: Not travel

BAK wrote:

I was not suggesting travel images. I was recommending business images.

BAK, the problem here is that in the usage of the stock photo industry, the images you were describing would be identified and keyworded as "travel." You are free to think of them another way, but using the vocabulary of the trade can keep things clear.

-- hide signature --
OP Doom Scythe Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy

BrianYarvin wrote:

Interesting thoughts on the still life. Most of my photographs are from my travels within the South East Asian region and it does appear that there is a big gap in more under-developed countries like Cambodia. I don't claim my images are anywhere great, but given there's a niche where I can access it easily, I was hoping that I might have a shot at it. What are your thoughts on travel photography that I have just mentioned?

Since we have already agreed on the notion of stock photography as a numbers game, then you'll have to do something to make the odds in your favor. Travel images represent only a tiny fraction of stock sales, yet the supply of them is far greater than any other category. I used to work in a NYC stock agency (long gone sadly) where my boss would greet me in the morning with comments like "since you left last night, a thousand more people became travel photographers." Mr. boss would say "99% of new photographers are travel photographers." I found this to be wrong. When I picked up the phone, 100% (often a hundred or more a week) of aspiring photographers did travel. About 4% of the sales at that agency were images that could be called "travel."

This brings up a question for Ellis. If Rights Manged is the preferred sales method, could you name any agencies besides Alamy that would accept images from a beginner travel photographer? ... or from anybody who's not an elite specialist?

We don't know what your work is like and even if we did, we don't have the same eyes or client contact as the "elite" agencies, so recommendations are tough. But since you mentioned travel, it is my experience and understanding that many travel photographers prefer Alamy.

I am re-thinking my point about earnings based on this. Remember, this is an industry that's been steadily shrinking for several decades. Your future is less revenue, not more.

Very interesting insights into travel photography. Your comment really got me thinking, perhaps instead of travel, I could photograph more 'real life' images of the under-developed world and carve a niche from there. I think (brain-storming here) it's also the packaging part of things, where the same scene could yield different results with slightly different angle to it. Meaning I photograph the more 'mundane' things that not many people have access to in order to create the niche.

On the topic of agencies, would you consider Stocksy and Offset as 'premium'? Or are there more premium avenues other than those 2, apart from Getty that is.

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,993
My final advice
1

photograph what is interesting to you. Photograph it in depth. Build up a small  library of that subject.

For each photo figure out  the best dozen or so keywords that describe the content along with a headline and caption for each. Stick to the “five W’s” (who, what, where, when, and why)

find an agency that appears to specialize in images of that kind of subject matter and contact them. Describe what you  are photographing. Give them a reason to be interested. If they are interested send them a selection of images (about 20-50). Listen to their feedback. If you don’t understand what they are telling you, be honest and ask them to explain it.

Keep shooting and submitting.

Eventually you will make sales because someone somewhere will need those photos.

and

dont quit your day job.

-- hide signature --

Ellis Vener
To see my work please visit http://www.ellisvener.com
Or on instagram @therealellisv

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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 25,650
Re: Stock Photography - Shutterstock, EyeEm, Adobe Stock, Offset and Stocksy
1

Who is it that wants to buy "more 'real life' images of the under-developed world"?

BAK

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