Microstock photography

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Microstock photography, also known as micropayment photography, is an offshoot of traditional stock photography. What defines a company as a microstock photography company is that they (1) source their images almost exclusively via the Internet, (2) do so from a wider range of photographers than the traditional stock agencies (including a willingness to accept images from "amateurs" and hobbyists), and (3) sell their images at a very low rate (anywhere from $.20 - $10) for a royalty-free image.

A number of microstock sites also sell vector art, and some sell Flash animations and video, as well as images.[1]

Microstock examples: iStockphoto and stockxchange


[edit] History

The pioneer of microstock photography was Bruce Livingstone, who created iStockphoto, originally a free stock photo site that quickly became an industry phenomenon - Livingstone sold iStockphoto to Getty Images in February 2006 for $50 million USD. Many other sites sprung up in the years after iStockphoto's inception; some of the larger ones are Dreamstime, Fotolia, Bigstockphoto, Stockxpert and Shutterstock, created by Jon Oringer, which employs a subscription-based payment plan. Today there are dozens of microstock sites, among them Snapvillage and Stockxpert, both owned by traditional stock agencies (Corbis and Jupiterimages). [2]

[edit] Practices and controversy

Each microstock company uses a different pricing and payment scheme. In some instances, the same photo can cost differently. Photographers can upload the same pictures on multiple sites or, with some agencies, become an exclusive supplier and receive an increased commission and additional benefits.[3]

There is no fee to post photos on a microstock site. However, microstock companies do not accept everyone or all photographs. Each employs a team of reviewers who check every picture submitted for technical quality, as well as artistic and commercial merit. Photographers add keywords that help potential buyers filter and find pictures of interest.[3]

The mindset of microstock supporters is that quality will prevail and photographers will end up making as much from many small sales as they would from a few large sales on a traditional stock photography site. But some professional photographers believe microstock devalues the practice of photography, since most pictures on microstock sites have been taken by non-professional photographers. Professional photographers see the growth of microstock sites as reducing their own incomes.[3]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Stephen Shankland, "With site revamp, Fotolia adds vector art", ZDNet News, June 1, 2007
  2. ^ Taylor Buley, [http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/09/01/stock-photography-cash-tech-egang08-cz_tb_0902stock.html "A Snappy Way to Make Money In Stock"], Forbes, September 2, 2008
  3. ^ a b c Eric A. Taub, "When Are Photos Like Penny Stocks? When They Sell", New York Times, June 5, 2007

[edit] External links

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