Microstock. Ups and downs. Story.
What are microstocks?
Microstocks are sites where you can sell photos and illustrations via the Internet. Microstocks assume the responsibility of advertising their image database and searching for buyers.
Both professionals and amateurs can work with microstocks. Can work even those who never held a camera.
All this can be easily learned, there are a lot of lessons on any topic on the Internet. People who already have photographic experience, can draw or have a high-quality camera, have the advantage of getting money faster.
To start earning, you need a desire and some time to understand the principle of work on selling pictures.
All images on microstocks can be sold an unlimited number of times, so each photo can be earned without restriction. The cost of one image sale depends on various factors and ranges from 25 cents to $15 under a standard license and up to $120 for extended one.
Images are bought by buyers from all over the world. Bought pictures are used for newspapers, magazines, brochures, websites, bigboards, etc.
On microstocks, buyers are very profitable to buy, because the prices are very cheap compared to traditional photobanks, where the price for an image is several hundred dollars. It is also very beneficial for the authors – a large number of inexpensive sales in the amount of significant sums.
Working with microstocks
The process of work with microstock is as follows:
The author makes images: photographs, vector illustrations, collages, drawings, videos. For photos, additional processing is desirable: color correction, remove noises, erase inscriptions, remove bags under the eyes, remove unnecessary parts, etc.
Everything is stored with the maximum quality. For each story, the title, description and keywords are written. All words must be in English.
In the title and description it is written what exactly is represented in the picture (for example, Mother holding the baby in her arms). Everything that describes the story in more detail is separated by commas in the keywords.
These words can be the answers to questions: who is pictured, what, where, how, how much, etc. All these data are desirable to be entered directly into the EXIF images.
The same images can (and even need) to download to different microstock sites. Then you need to write down the descriptions and keywords in the corresponding fields (and if you pre-write the data in the EXIF file, all information in the fields is automatically inserted), and select categories.
Photos are queued for review. Inspectors check each picture for quality, commercial value, and the absence of inappropriate content.
If there is no problem, the image appears on the website for sale. The check can last from a few hours to a week.
Buyers from all over the world are looking for the right pictures for their keywords. Having found the right one, they buy it. At the same time, the author is charged a certain amount depending on the purchased size.
Usually, microstocks work 50/50. So, the authors receive half the cost from the image. And this is approximately from 0.5 to 10 dollars for the minimum and maximum size of the purchased photo.
After reaching the minimum amount for withdrawal (35-100 dollars), the author can order payout.
How much can you earn on microstocks?
Despite the fact that it is easier to earn money on microstocks than on physical work, the same principle works here as everywhere else: you work more – you get more.
Lazy and looking for freebies here is no place. Only hard-working people earn well.
The first thing you need to understand is that you won t get fast money at the very start. There are several reasons for this.
First, there is a minimum threshold for withdrawing money and as a protection against fraud there is a delay in ordering the first payment.
But the main reason is that you need to spend several months to understand the principle of work, gain experience and build up a portfolio. Here is a similar principle, as in the opening of a business.
A person takes a loan, puts it into business, first has nothing, then goes to zero, and only then comes the income.
In microstocks, a similar principle, but you do not need to take credits, it’s just that for the first time the author invests his time and perseverance in future earnings.
The time that will pass before the first salary – from several months to a year, depending on the work of the author. Then you can receive money every month.
Microstocks for beginners are sometimes incomprehensible. And then some quit out at the very beginning. In this case, you can even meet on the forums objection that you can earn nothing on the photobanks.
This is the outrage of the newcomers, who just started working and immediately expected big money for themselves.
If it were not possible to earn on microstocks, then there were not 50 million images in their databases and the authors would not waste time downloading thousands and tens of thousands of their works.
If you walk through different categories from an amateur to a professional photographer, then on average you can say the following.
An amateur photographer who spends a few hours a day will earn a few dozen dollars a month. A person who takes work seriously and spends half a day will have several hundred dollars a month.
People who spend all their working hours creating works for microstock, who work fulltime, will have several thousand dollars.
Getting money from microstocks
There are several ways to withdraw earned money from microstocks. The first and the most common option – through payment systems like Skrill, Stripe and PayPal.
They are intermediaries between microstocks and authors. After the microstock sends money to your account in the payment system, you can already transfer them to a bank card or bank account.
Some photobanks can send money directly to the card, but only to a special one from the Payoneer payment system.
Physically, the money will be in the US bank, but you can withdraw them at any ATM in the world, both in local currency and in US dollars (if you use an ATM with dollars).
Some local banks allow you to withdraw dollars from these cards in their offices.
Microstocks send money only after reaching a certain earnings. The amounts range from 30 to 100 dollars. You can also delay payments to a larger amount.
Due to the fact that microstocks work with large amounts of money, they take safety very seriously. Therefore, to protect against fraud, all require the authors of scanned images of the passport.
All microstocks have almost identical special requirements for images that can be sent for sale. There are three main conditions listed here, although there are more.
The first and most important requirement is that you must be the author of a photo or illustration. Each element of the picture or collage must be created by you or you must have the right to use this element in your work. If they learn the fact of using someone else’s work, the author will be locked forever.
The second main rule is that there should not be any images protected by copyright, for example, names, logos, and also recognizable design. For example, the names – Coca Cola, Adidas, Samsung.
Recognizable designs – cars, toys, famous modern architectural structures. If the inscriptions in the photos can be erased in Photoshop, then photos with a recognizable design will have to be abandoned.
The third main rule is the quality of images. All work must be of sufficient quality to be accepted into microstock for sale. If everything is simple with illustrations, it’s enough to keep it with the maximum quality, then with photos it’s a bit more complicated.
Satisfactory image quality is usually achieved with a high-quality camera and the right shooting mode. The picture should be without noise, with the correct lighting and color rendering.
Disadvantages of microstocks
Microstocks has the same disadvantages, which are in the field of freelancing.
Freelancers, usually, are not protected with a stable income in time, as in the case with employment contract. In freelancing, earnings depends not only from the person himself, but also on objective reasons.
For example, if you look at the microstock business, then from 2002 to 2010 the competition was small, so it was easier to make money. Since 2011, competition among authors has become more, and making money on the photo market is become more difficult.
Another interesting consequence of working with microstocks is the dependence on them. Namely, some authors constantly look at their account statistics to see what’s sold.
For example, on Shutterstock, the fresh accepted images are always selling very good. Therefore, much time authors spend on viewing, which affects productivity.
Very often, freelancers who have long worked in this field, lose their self-discipline. Microstock authors, working at home, wake up when they want, eat, when they want, go to bed, when they want, they do other work in parallel, which is very bad for the number of images made.
As you know, earnings directly depends on the images made per day. Therefore, for a freelancer self-control is everything.
The distinction between Photobank and microstock?
Photobanks are large online collections of images of various authors. All images in such archives are divided into categories and have keywords, according to which you can easily find the desired illustration or photo.
There are users who tend to sell, and there are customers who want to buy such images. Photobank is an intermediary and greatly facilitates the life of both.
It can often be seen that microstock and photobank are the same, in fact it is not.
Microstocks vary from conventional photobanks in that their prices are cheap (due to the once invented simplified license), but everything pays off by the number of sales.
When you send your work for sale on a microstock, all the rights to the image still yours.
The buyer acquires only the right to use, which you choose from the offered photobank. Usually, it s limited in edition and forms of using images.
The real contrast between Microstock and Macrostock Image Websites
Macrostocks are a traditional form of business, often agencies. This is how the photo agency used to work. Then microstock companies appeared.
Speaking of root differences, macrostocks sold topnotch quality images, often exclusively and in a very limited range.
In turn, microstocks trade images of satisfactory quality to limitless sum of customers.
Still, this is the tip of the iceberg. Let s dig deeper.
Let’s kickoff with macro stock model.
A macrostock normally trade you the absolute (premium) rights to images. So, only you can use them.
Of course, an exclusive privilege meant a much higher cost in the case of microstock sales.
Rather, companies or customers only need exclusive rights.
In the case of a marketing campaign that plans to cover big amount of users, an exclusive product is ideal.
By that, you will not see in any other marketing campaign the same image, in any other blog or magazine, which will definitely increase your credibility.
In addition, most entrepreneurs also would not like to have images that were used by others.
Also, microstocks sell you media products without granting an exclusive license.
That means that these companies provide the same product multiple times. That way, you usually get product with so called a royalty free license.
Not having exclusive rights and such use of licenses works good in many cases.
Suppose you are blogging and you need several good images for your posts every day or week. You will not mind if these images are used few times by someone else.
Or, if you need about 100 images for different pages, you will most likely be OK with this.
The main advantage of non-exclusive rights is that they are much cheaper than privilege ones. While the cost of an exclusive license can reach $200 per piece or more, the cost of a non-exclusive license can cost less than $5.
Also, you need to understand that copyright holders that provide non-exclusive licenses are likely to sell them on other stock websites.
That way you probably will discover the same products on different stocks.
Nevertheless, the contrast between these stock models has been more and more blurred lately.
The reason for this is the sale of extended licenses from microstocks. If you purchased the product under this license, it will be dropped off from future sales on the platform, which means that no one else will be able to buy it in the future.
Still, customer who purchased the image before you bought it under an enhanced license reserve the right to use this image for their own purposes.
Thus, you get some partial exclusivity.
Today, there is almost no difference in the quality of images between microstocks and macrostock.
How has microstock affected the stock industry?
Changes in the technological sphere forced the stock industry to change. But this applies not only to business of photography, but also to the music commerce, where self-reliant artists offer their samples, sometimes music as free giveaway, making money by selling t-shirts, clothes, shows, etc. and getting a piece of royalty from selling their music.
With all these changes, great opportunities also come. But it will definitely affect those who do not want to change. And some people loudly declare it. Just like the music business has changed over time, the photo industry is also changing. Sites such as itunes, youtube red, etc. propose inexpensive music downloads, while fans and technophobes are still ready to buy CDs.
Literally a few years ago, microstocks were met with aggression, denial and even despair. But now they are accepted by all and are a crucial component of the stock photography industry.
Even though the whole management has not yet handled to adapt to the ongoing adjustments, industry leaders already have their own interests in the microstock field and carefully monitor what is happening.
Getty has prudently purchased istockphoto before things go harder, while Corbis has taken the bold step of pushing a “marketplace”, which is mostly a microstock in one of its premium veer brands.
View my other articles:
- How to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube
Also you can watch this video to get experience in it`s best.
So, what do you think about this? Did you make it with microstocks?
Put your answer below in comment box.