iStockphoto still the number 1 site?

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JoeyFields
Member is a contributor and has less than 250 Photo downloads
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:36AM
I first bought an image from iStockphoto in 2005, and iStockphoto seemed dominant back then as I didn't know any other online stock photo library. I kept buying images from iStockphoto for the next few years, and became a big fan of the site. That's why I upload images only to iStockphoto even after I turned into a contributor (I even made myself be an "exclusive" contributor although not eligible yet to turn exclusive).

But, recently I'm wondering whether iStockphoto is still the number 1 site or not as there now seems to be many similar websites around. As a contributor, it may not be wise to commit myself to a website that is losing its popularity...

Is iStockphoto still the top dog? Or, not really any more?

(Edited on 2012-11-15 01:37:28 by JoeyFields)

(Edited on 2012-11-15 04:59:20 by JoeyFields)
sjlocke
Member is a Black Diamond contributor and has more than 200,000 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Flash downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Flash ArtistExclusive iStockphoto VideographerMember has had a File Of The Week
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:37AM

Posted By JoeyFields:
I first bought an image from iStockphoto in 2005, and iStockphoto seemed dominant back then as I didn't know any other online stock photo library. I kept buying images from iStockphoto for the next few years, and became a big fan of the site. That's why I upload images only to iStockphoto even after I turned into a contributor (I even made myself be an "exclusive" contrubutor although not eligible yet to turn exclusive).

But, recently I'm wondering whether iStockphoto is still the number 1 site or not as there now seems to be many similar websites around. As a contributor, it may not be wise to commit myself to a website that is losing its popularity...

Is iStock photo still the top dog? Or, not really any more?


Depends on what you are looking to get out of it, I guess. What answer are you looking for?
Gewoldi
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloads
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:45AM

For me in earning in $ iStock is second or somtimes even third (i am uploading at more than 20 sites).


For fast and easy uplading istock is very bad.


In site performance its average and in communication with its contributors it's less than average.


iStock lost the status as "top dog" and me as an exclusive contributor because of making many mistakes in the last 2 or 3 years. The problems are going on (zoom, logo, png, site performance, change of asa, paying not the full comission in relation with foreign currencies, etc)


But this is only my personal opinion! Ask 20 others and you get 20 compleatly other statements.
Imgorthand
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:25AM

You must answer this question yourself.


For many there are sites that earn more for them - but is this better for them? Personally I don't think so.


For me istock is still the best but the future is clouded and soon it may not be the best for me anymore.
OliverChilds
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:01AM
You have a long way to go before you qualify for exclusivity, I would suggest that you should perhaps use the time that you have to try a few different sites and see for yourself. When it comes time to become exclusive you will have your own opinion as to whether or not exclusivity still makes sense for you here or elsewhere.
AlbertoSimonetti
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:22PM

I guess that when things are not going as well as they used to it's rather easy to get caught up in the moment and project our frustration and disappointment on reality as if they were themselves objective external facts. We will be in a better position to judge the site and our own situation when things get back to normal.


In my opinion it's still the best and the most vibrant out there. Of course, this doesn't mean it will always be so. It's something that needs to be earned every day.
cobalt
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Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:02PM

I think an important question is also - what do you want to shoot and how much time do you want to spend with stock?


Take a look at the Vetta and Agency collections. Those are the most expensive files and we are encouraged to shoot to this standard. Or at least attempt to shoot this standard and then submit our suggestions.


Would you enjoy shooting these styles?


What do you want to specialize in?


Or do you have a strong interest in editorial and want to create a strong portfolio with that?


Or more simple stock, but a dedicated niche with content that is clearly missing from istock?


If you are not really sure what kind of stock you want to specialize in then maybe it is too early to even decide on exclusivity. You might want to focus on what you can produce and how much will it sell first.


Shoot. Upload. Repeat. 


Get the production flowing first and worry later about going exclusive. 


Maybe you discover you don´t even enjoy shooting stock. happens to many people who love artistic photography and find it boring always having to avoid logos, get model releases, production planing, very carefil photoshop work. I´ve seen many people try stock but then go back to their normal photo work or Hobby.


Our portfolios may look simple, but it really is very hard work.


Whatever you do - have fun!
Willowpix
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Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:40PM
^Nice post - lots of good advice. Including the inferred summary answer "it depends".
jacus
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Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:52PM
Posted By cobalt:

Take a look at the Vetta and Agency collections. Those are the most expensive files and we are encouraged to shoot to this standard. Or at least attempt to shoot this standard and then submit our suggestions.
.

Lower commission for Vetta files isn't encouraging in my eyes. Contributors spend more money to product this kind of images, should be creative, take risks and get lower percentage then dollar bin collection?

Shoot. Upload. Repeat. 


This approach is a little bit too "robotic" for me. Even if it not worth? Endlessly repeat not working scheme? I like a human part of this job with analyzing, taking decisions, adapting.



To respond to OP question I don’t think iStock is number one anymore. Not in term of revenues, community, contributors relation, communication, innovation, reliability, stability, durability, IT technology, marketing.


When I took a look to "iStockphoto & Getty Images: Who's Who 2012" topic I was surprised that only one admin has 3 referred members. Others have zero or don't even participate to referral program. Lack of conviction? BTW the topic wasn't updated, Rogermexico is still there.



 
vesilvio
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Posted Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:54PM

Posted By AlbertoSimonetti:

I guess that when things are not going as well as they used to it's rather easy to get caught up in the moment and project our frustration and disappointment on reality as if they were themselves objective external facts. We will be in a better position to judge the site and our own situation when things get back to normal.....


Bravo Alberto !
cobalt
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:40AM

Hi Jacus,


Of course you have to think before you shoot. You are not a robot. But if you think of yourself as a "stock professional" and want to shoot with a regular income in mind, then you have to work like a professional. This means good high quality production skills. 


 I see many people discussing very theoretically their still inexistant stock portfolios. They buy the cameras, invest in software and gear...but still have less than 100 files online. And are still just uploading images of birds in the tree (nothing against well done bird images)...


For the last three years I have been teaching a workshop in stock photography at a local art school. The problem I keep seeing is: very unrealistic earnings expectations and total overconfidence about ones owns abilities to "make it" in the stock world. Stock is very competitive, on an international scale.


That is why I encourage the students to just practise getting into a good production workflow and set themselves clear goals (I want to earn 200 dollars a month in a year). And don´t buy fancy equipment until you have more experience. Any modern DSLR will do the job just fine.


People read these blogs were good stock artists openly post their earnings and celebrate that they are now over 9000 dollars a month. But they don´t see that he produced over 3000 high quality images in last the year.


This disconnection between abilities and production skills also happens to pros. I know a great videographer who has been saying for over 2 years he wants to create a good stock portfolio in photo/video. And he already has all the skill, he is an experienced director and has been working in the media industry for over 20 years. But between assignment and work and other projects, he somehow never finds time to actually do it and upload. 


In the meantime the industry has moved on and other videographers have already taken many interesting slots. So even if he dropped everything and started full time production now, it is difficult to catch up on the last two years. 


Success in pro assigments doesn´t automatically translate into a successful stock portfolio. There is a lot to learn.


That is why my suggestion would be to focus on production skills first and see if it really is the thing you want to do.


Maybe it is a better investment of your time to shoot portraits or weddings. Or do gallery work. 

ETA: and about the OP question to go exclusive, yes indeed my answer would be "it depends". I believe that what kind of portfolio you want to create, how much money you want to earn every month and how much time and skill will you dedicate to that end are more important questions to answer.


Just my 2 (long) cents.

(Edited on 2012-11-16 04:46:22 by cobalt)
guenterguni
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:38AM

@ cobalt: excellent! Should be read by every beginner here.


 
kelvinjay
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:41AM
Yes. Nicely put, Jasmin.
YinYang
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:42AM
Well said, Cobalt.
cbarnesphotography
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:38AM
@coblat - wow - very well said.
damircudic
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:22AM
Excellent Jasmin! Well said!
cobalt
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:52AM
Thank you everyone
shank_ali
Member is a Gold contributor and has 10,000 - 24,999 Photo downloadsExclusiveMember has won a contest
Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:11AM
Posted By JoeyFields: 

Is iStockphoto still the top dog? Or, not really any more?

I think it's number two now......
xavierarnau
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:29AM
Really nice post Cobalt !
slobo
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Posted Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:36AM
great summary, Jasmin!
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