Friday, May 16, 2008


Shutterstock was my first foray into the world of microstock. They offer their clients a subscription based schedule where they pay X amount and then get to download Y amount of images per month. Contributors receive between $0.25 and $0.38 for each time someone downloads one of their images, depending on that contributor's sales previously. If you've made under $500, then you're at $0.25 per image and so on. Now, a quarter an image doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up. Consider that a musician gets $0.17 for an album sale, and $0.25 doesn't sound so bad.

The main requirements to become a submitter for shutterstock is that you submit 10 initial images and have at least 7 of them accepted. It's a general consensus that the initial 10 are judged a little harsher than subsequent uploads, and while I won't point out specific portfolios, if you dig around some, the standards are not always terribly high of what they accept. Don't get me wrong, there's a tremendous amount of good content on there, but there's some "2 minute photoshop" (and worse) stuff on there as well.

After the initial review process, your goal is to upload at a steady pace and be active on the forums. While it hasn't been proven, it's been the longstanding theory (and I've found it to be true) that on shutterstock, in particular, you need to keep a relatively steady stream of uploads and post on the forum relatively often (i.e. do both at least a few times a week) to have success.

To date, I've made the majority of my microstock income from shutterstock, including a recent $9 sale from a short video clip (aka Footage) but I'll leave the Footage information for another post on another day.

If you'd like to sign up for shutterstock to be a contributor, or to buy images, click here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where I've been... and microstock.

I went from posting nearly every day to missing 6 months... a great deal has happened in that 6 months... first off, the holidays... then my wife having a beautiful baby girl, and then... well, anyone who's had a brand new baby in the house (especially with a 3 year old sibling) will tell, you get *real* busy those first few months...

I've all but given up on cafepress... despite a strong initial effort, my sales were disappointing, and then my best seller got nixed because it mentioned Chuck Norris (even though it was a direct quote from a presidential candidate) and that pretty much knocked the rest of the cafepress steam out of me... at least for now...

However... I have been spending my spare time being creative in the microstock world, as some of you may have noticed from the banners and images at the top and bottom of my blog. I've actually had a decent amount of success, IMHO. I've been doing it for right at 3 months and earned just under $70 between the 2 main sites that I'm working with, Shutterstock and Dreamstime.

Never heard of Microstock? Well, here's the idea in a nutshell... stock photography is when someone needs a picture of something for their website/billboard/whatever and they don't want to go out and hire a photographer to take a bunch of pictures... so they go to one of the several popular stock photography sites and they find the right picture and buy it for a small fee, anywhere from a few dollars on up, depending on how they plan to use it. But it's not just for photography, as you'll see from my images -- there's a great deal of non-photographs, in fact.

I'm probably going to change the focus of this blog to reflect my experience in the microstock world as well as tips and tricks for people interested in looking into the whole thing.