My latest images for sale at Shutterstock:

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Upload limits and inspection times.

I have been meaning to post something here about upload times and limits and with other ex-iStockers beginning to join me this is probably a good time.

Upload limits - as you can see from the spreadsheet I haven't really taxed my upload limits yet. Shutterstock don't have any limits, nor do Fotolia, Bigstock, Canstock or Depositphotos (or at least I can't find any on the site anywhere). Dreamstime start you off with an allowance of 210 per week, which will stay the same as long as your acceptance ratio stays north of 80%. (ETA - not sure why, but mine now shows 350 per week - perhaps they love me...) Veer are the most restrictive, with a 50-a-week limit, recently reduced from 100 in order to tame their wild queue. Now that the queue does seem to be under control this may increase again, but it may not. If you can demonstrate that you have a lot of high quality images to submit then I would suggest contacting them to see if anything can be done. Either way, the limits certainly aren't as restrictive as those imposed upon non-exclusives at iStock (15 per week if I remember correctly). (ETA2 - StockFresh have an upload limit of 50 per day).

Inspection times are also very good in indie-land. I will put some approximate times in a list below as it is easier to read that way:

Canstock: 10 mins to 1 hour. Seriously.
Fotolia: Usually around 1-3 hours, has been as quick as 2 minutes, occasionally 1 day.
Shutterstock: 1-4 days (1 day lately)
Bigstock, Depositphotos: 3-5 days
Dreamstime: 4-7 days (4 days lately)
Veer: 2 months initially, 4-7 days now.

Inspections have been getting much quicker across all sites lately, but this probably due to less material being submitted at this time of year. I usually process a batch of five or ten or whatever before I submit, but often I can't resist pinging a couple up to Canstock as I work - I like to think of the poor lonely inspector sitting there waiting to pounce on them as they arrive and its fun to find them approved and live by the time I finish my editing session.

Other random stuff that might be helpful:
  • Keep your keywords to a maximum of 50 (Shutterstock and Bigstock's rules).
  • Always use American-English spellings otherwise you will spend a lot of time correcting them in Shutterstock.
  • Dreamstime's Java upload app always crashes for me when I use it on Firefox and WinXP. On IE or Chrome it works fine.
  • Dreamstime offer you the chance to sell the copyright to your image and set the price for doing so (SR-EL). You might want to think about that before you upload so that it doesn't throw you when you first start. The suggested price is $250 but I heard of someone who puts $850 down. I don't tick that box as I would rather not sell the right to ever earn any more from my image in this way, but it might suit some.
  • Dreamstime can be a bit slow at transferring your new uploads from the upload area to the editing area. Make a cup of tea or upload somewhere else and when you come back they will be there. But don't worry if you don't see them right away.
  • One site (I think it is Bigstock, but it doesn't really matter) doesn't like trade names in descriptions - this includes camera names so don't put in the description that it was taken with a Nikon D3x or whatever.
  • Fotolia require you to put keywords in order of relevance. This is a pain as CNX writes the first keywords which I add (ie the most relevant as they are first to occur to me) to the bottom of the list so it needs reversed once it gets to Fotolia. I tend to just grab a bunch from the bottom of the list and drag them to the top and leave it at that. It would just take too long otherwise.
  • Veer's keyword suggestionator is a hoot. For some reason it always suggests that I add the following keywords to my image: anthropomorphic, cornucopias and hubcaps. Apart from that it is quite helpful.


  1. Thanks for the info Bridget,
    very interesting

  2. Good stuff - I keep finding that you answer my questions before I even ask them. As always, thanks for passing on so much information!

  3. Thanks for that, i'm off to add anthropomorphic, cornucopias and hubcaps to the keywords on all my image son iStock.

  4. Pants, now he knows our secret! Get him guys!

  5. thanks Bridget i am following yours and Josh's blogs closely, do any of these sites have exclusivity? will you be joining any more stock sites? like crestock etc? are there any you would avoid? and do you sell anything on Red Bubble or Alamy? just interested in the bigger picture as i need to make a decision sooner rather than later
    Thanks as always

  6. Hi Susan, I joined Crestock a wee while ago, but only submitted images to them a week ago. Still not had any inspected there, so will write about them once I do. Not really interested in RB or Alamy as I don't think that is the direction for me - I know of quite a few people who have been with Alamy a while without making anthing there. I wouldnt recommend an outfit called '3D models' as they didn't inspect my images at all - they just went live straight away on their site. I don't like this idea and didn't want to associate with them further. Also 123RF have me worried by their insistence that I agree to pay their legal costs if someone sues them re one of my images, so I haven't uploaded there. I know that there are some fake sites out there that are designed to steal any images you upload to them, so be careful and only follow links from a trusted source.
    Be sure and check out the forum Susan as it contains some useful info now....

  7. thanks Bridget, i am just wondering what sort of stock photos sell at these places is it much the same as what sells on iStock? or do you need to specialise in something? just curious

  8. I think there are specialist agencies out there (Tracy has identified some I believe for her agricultural stuff) but I haven't got much 'niche' stuff so I haven't really gone looking. If you click on the portfolio links at the top of this page you will see that the images accepted at the various sites so far are a mixed bag so no, I don't think any of the agencies are much different to iStock really.