My latest images for sale at Shutterstock:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Making Cuts - Images and Agencies

I have started removing some of my images from iStock. So far these have been my best-selling images that I feel have found a worthwhile new home elsewhere, be it Shutterstock, Dreamstime or wherever. I took nine down last month and have taken a further eight so far this month, so not a lot, but a start.

I found it painful to see these images being sold for just a 16% return which sometimes equated to as little as 13c in commission (other indies have reported receiving just 9c in commission for some sales *edit - I have since had a sale for just 10c commission!*). I can just about stomach it with some of my old junk images, but not my best stuff, such as it is. I also did not want to support ThinkStock (against my will) and removing these images now was the only way to prevent them being mirrored onto ThinkStock's site. I see this site as a direct competitor to Shutterstock, which I have a good relationship with and do want to succeed, so supporting the competition would seem a foolish thing to do.

I have also stopped uploading to some of my agencies. 123RF recently announced a cut in contributor's pay for anyone below a certain threshold of portfolio size. This ensures that all new contributors will be on the lower commission rate and will stay on it, regardless of their portfolio size in the future. I say 'announced', but by this I mean they emailed a couple of contributors and left them to pass the good news on to the rest of us. No announcement was made on the site at all. I was not at all happy with the way that they acted, but as they have also rejected a vast number of my images for nonsensical reasons, I am happy to drop them from here. I will leave my images there for now, but may well delete them in future. The same goes for Crestock, who reject a lot of my images but hardly ever sell any either. I can understand Shutterstock being picky - they can afford to be, but when 'lower tier' agencies turn their nose up at images that have been accepted at 'top tier' agencies I feel it isn't really worth the effort. For this reason I have also stopped uploading at Photodune for now. A lot of indies have reported high rejection rates there, with the feeling being that the 'out-of-house' inspection team are not as sophisticated as they might be. I have certainly had a lot of rejections there, which is a demoralising process. My sales (which started reasonably brightly) have now completely dried up and I am left wondering if Photodune were a bit of a flash in the pan.


  1. Oooh, and I thought iStock were bad communicators. Sounds that 123RF takes that prize away from them for the time being :D

  2. It was very poor Tracy. 123RF insist they sent an email to all contributors and won't accept any problems with this, in spite of numerous people on MSG telling them that they definitely did not receive it. The whole thing was bungled and should have been postponed, announced properly and re-launched, but wasn't. They still haven't said what the lower rate of pay will be and it was supposed to begin at the start of the year. They haven't provided any sort of justification for the cut either - we must assume it is simply because they want to make more money at our expense.

  3. Interesting blog. I share many of your views.
    Jens Stolt