Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A "Who's Who" of Where to Submit

You may be tempted to submit your portfolio to whoever will take it in the hope of boosting sales and, in theory, this is an excellent idea. In practice, however, this is mightily time-consuming and there are a few that aren't worth uploading to (or at least not in my experience). So, this is my opinion of where you should invest your time... (Please excuse my shameless use of referral links, I am a student after all)

Shutterstock: You have to submit to Shutterstock. Simple as that. 

The initial 10-photo review can be a little difficult to overcome, but can be done so with just 7 technically accurate images (you only need 70% of them accepted and you're in). It's worth shooting at least a couple of standard stock images with controlled lighting to try and bolster your chances here, though I applied with mostly images from my back-catalogue, so don't take too much of your time up on it. The application can take up to a month, in my experience, so I'd try and do this as soon as possible - particularly if you're a tad impatient!

Once you're in, you should see sales in the first few days; Shutterstock's search engine is very friendly to new users/newly uploaded images. This is assuming that your images are "stock-friendly" - I only had one sale in the first few days, a photo of a "No Parking"sign that I took on holiday. Safe to say my photos weren't quite what buyers were looking for...

Most downloads you get will be 25 cent subscription downloads, but these very quickly add up once you have a decent sized portfolio. Review times tend to be about a week and uploads are unlimited, so shouldn't be long before you're making money here

Go and apply here http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=739474 now. Quickly!

iStockphoto: This was billed as the site that should earn the most when I started and it's not done too badly, seeing as it's currently my second biggest earner. There's a lot of talk on forums saying the iStock is slowly shrivelling away (which I will discuss in future posts) and there may be some truth to that, but I still see a good few downloads each month, though a lot of these now come from their Partner Program (which I'm a big fan of).

Main problem for me here is that you're limited to 18 uploads per week (odd number, in my opinion) and review times are usually over a week, so it takes a long time to build up your portfolio, especially when you're just learning the ropes. Oh and you pretty much have to use their DeepMeta upload tool, if you don't want to waste many precious hours of your life uploading one image at a time...

Overall, iStock is definitely worth doing, it is the biggest microstock agency, after all. Give them a go here http://www.istockphoto.com/.

123rf: This one's quite underrated in my opinion. They'll accept pretty much anything you throw at them and usually do so in a couple of days, so you can build yourself a fairly hefty portfolio fairly quickly. Upload is straightforward and doesn't require you to fill in categories over and over again, so should take very little of your time up.

Sales come in slowly, I'll admit, but they're usually bigger than those from the previous two, so it almost balances out. It's definitely worth uploading here http://www.123rf.com/#alexelliott!

Fotolia: Fotolia is definitely a site to consider applying to once you've submitted to the above three, mainly because of the irritating process of transferring keywords and choosing categories for each image. It also has a fairly strict reviewing team, but you should be able to make a few sales once you have some images on there.

It's rumoured that regular uploads will increase your search rankings, which could be the reason it isn't as fruitful as the others for me, a factor worth considering. Give it a go at http://www.fotolia.com.

DepositPhotos: A fairly new site, again with a fairly tedious upload system, though not to the same extent as Fotolia. The royalties it pays are fairly good and it accepts the majority of images you upload, but it may be beneficial to upload your images at http://depositphotos.com/?ref=1486083 if you have the time to do so.

These are the sites I get the most regular sales on, so naturally I advise you do the same. You may also find success at PhotoDune, which is fairly similar to DepositPhotos in its nature. Chances are, your experiences may be different to mine and will find more success at other sites, but you should find success on at least some of these. I'll be posting about the sites that I feel aren't worth your time soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Good luck uploading!

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