Michael Jay Fotograf Berlin

Selling photos across agencies

More downloads, less money – new prices at iStockphoto, better deal at GL Stock

As I had reported a few weeks ago, iStockphoto has massively changed their collection system and shortly after set a new pricing for the main collection, containing all images that are not exclusive to them including mine.

While I was positive about the collection changes as they were announced, the massive reduction in prices have a devastating result: The number of downloads has risen by almost 50% – in a time of the year that used to be slower due to summer vacations in most of the northern hemisphere. But the royalties received has not grown, not even stayed the same, the final result is even lower than it used to be.

The current payment per download I receive is at a rate that I used to see when I started submitting to iStockphoto in 2007, around 60 cents per image. This is mostly due to the fact that iStockphoto pays the lowest percentages in the industry, in my case 17% of the sales price – and that is, after they have made deductions for offering discounts, refunds or foreign currency   purchase.


What you can do to make sure photographers get paid properly

If you happen to like one my images, you can have a look around at different agencies. In many cases, you will find my images at different places all having their own prices. My preferred place for microstock images at the moment is GL Stock Images. You will find most of my images, either for $1 or $2 in web resolutions.

Let’s say, you want to illustrate a baby product range on your website, and you are looking for a colorful image. Maybe you think this one would be perfect for your purpose:

Colorful baby toy – stock image available at graphicleftovers.com

You could buy the smallest resolution of this image at iStockphoto for 1 credit (equaling a value of about $1.60). Or you could decide to license this image from GL Stock Images (Graphic Leftovers) for $1 in about twice the size you get at iStock for more money.

If you need a better reason than just saving some money: You can feel better about it as well because iStock would pay me as the creator of this image some $0.27 for the purchase. GL Stock Images will pay me $0.52 for the same image in a large size which costs you less! Double my income while saving money, that would be a great deal for the two of us.

Let’s have a look at a different image: This one is of an Antique Paper as a background for your design.

Antique paper scroll – stock image available for $10 in the largest size at GL Stock Images

If you buy this image at iStockphoto in the largest resolution, you will have to pay around $20. As I am getting a share of 17% at the moment, the photographer royalty paid would be $3.40 – the same image in the same maximum resolution is available for $10 at GL Stock Images. I would kindly ask you to save half the money you used to spend. Why should I do that? Because GL Stock Images is photographer friendly and pays 52% of the fees, in this case I would earn $5.20 for the same image at the same size which you paid half the price for.

If you are used to pay more for fair trade coffee or organic meat, the stock photography industry is making it so much easier for you: Save some money and do good! Thanks for helping and sharing this story.

Get some images for free as a bonus

If you are still not convinced, let me add a bonus: As I want you to start using GL Stock Images, I donated some of my images to the “Free Image Collection” at GraphicLeftovers. Feel free to download any or all of these images, totally without any cost.


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