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Image Libraries Changed The World For Designers (Part 6)

11/22/2012 11:37:25 AM
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Alamy

Website: Alamy.com

Images (including live news photos), video

Alamy was one of the first online stock libraries, and still deals in traditional ‘right managed’ images, where you pay a fee for each usage, as well as the ‘royalty free’ model used by the other stock sites here. There’s an iPad app, but it’s just a sample gallery, without search.

Description: Description: Description: Website: Alamy.com

Website: Alamy.com

Opt for only royalty free and you’ll find plenty of pictures, but prices are old-school, typically from $7.5 to $375 depending on size. In many cases this is justified by the quality of the photos, so if you need top-notch content it’s well worth a look. Then again, some shots you could match cheaper elsewhere.

What’s truly different about Alamy is that it pays out more to sellers than it keeps, and donates most of its profits to medical research through the Fischer Family Trust. Chairman Mike Fischer was a co-founder of RM, the IT supplier.

Selling

You only have to submit four images for quality control before being passed as an Alamy contributor, but be aware that standards are high. There’s a separate area for news images; if you’re accepted into this, you can upload breaking news photos at any time via FTP, and Alamy will actively offer the best to its regular customers – a far cry from microstock.

Alamy keeps only 40% of the purchase price of images sold via alamy.com, leaving you with 60%; sales through its other channels pay you 40%. You have to sign an ongoing contract to become a contributor, but there’s no exclusivity, so you can still sell pictures elsewhere. Videos contributors are paid on similar terms, but are invited only from established professionals. For pros selling to pros, Alamy clearly offers the best deal.

iStock

website: istockphoto.com

Description: Description: Description: website: istockphoto.com

website: istockphoto.com

Images, vectors, video, audio, Flash, logos

Now owned by Getty Images, iStock epitomizes the microstock model. You buy bundles of credits, costing about $1.5 each. Images are priced in credits by resolution and in bands reflecting quality. The smallest file size in the basic collection costs one credits for Vetta, iStock’s premium-quality selection, or 250 for agency photos. Audio clips cost two to 60 credits, video 17 to 170.

Alternatively, you can buy a subscription giving you a number of credits to use per day; credits don’t roll over, so you use them or lose them. Prices start at $800.5 for 20 credits a day for six months.

An iPhone app offers searching and browsing, with access to your light boxes, and there are CS and Aperture plug-ins.

Selling

To sell through iStock, you’ll need to read the contributor manual, pass a quiz and submit a set of pictures. Once accepted, you can submit images at any time, but each still has to meet quality standards. The basic commission is 15% of the value of credits paid for your items, rising to a maximum of 20%. Contributors who opt to sell their work exclusively through iStock – that is, not through any other stock library – can get up to 45%; you’ll need to have sold 500 image downloads, or 250 with a minimum 50% approval rating, before you can apply for this. (The threshold for audio and video is much lower.) If your work is selected for Vetta it’ll sell for higher prices, paying you more.

Shutterstock

Website: Shutterstock.com

Description: Description: Description: Website: Shutterstock.com

Website: Shutterstock.com

Images, vectors, video

Shutterstock pioneered the subscription model. You pay $223.5 per month or $2293.5 per year to download up to 25 images a day at any size. For designers who buy a lot of high-res images, that’s great value. If you won’t need pictures regularly, you can pay for five downloads ($43.5) or 25 ($208.5); lower prices are available for smaller sizes. Subscriptions are for one user on one computer, with multi-user accounts available at significantly higher prices. Video clips cost $28.5 at web quality, $73.5 for SD or $118.5 for HD, or you can pay up front for five, 10 or 25 clips; again, corporate plans are available on request.

There’s an iPad app that lets you find images and access your lightboxes.

Selling

To sign up as a contributor, you submit ten images for review; seven must pass vetting. Basic earnings range from 25c (about 16p) per image downloaded by a subscriber to $1.88 per on-demand image at the highest resolution, rising as you sell more work; the maximum commission per image is $2.85.

Because of the subscription model, it’s impossible to say what percentage of the purchase price this represents, but the expectation is that users who aren’t paying per image will download more images, giving you more potential sales and Shutterstock is a very popular site.

Your images may also be resold through other sites that sublicense from Shutterstock, earning you 25c per image or 20% of what Shutterstock receives, whichever is the greater but you have no control over pricing. Video commission is 30% of purchase price.

Fotolia

Website: en.fotolia.com

Description: Description: D:\!Work\!60s\!Publish\01-06.11\HTML\Tech_Photography_In_Addition_To_Photos_Stock_Libraries_Offer_Illustrations_Video_Audio_And_Design_For_Both_Print_And_Web_Part6_files\image004.jpg

Fotolia

Images, vectors, video, logos

With Fotolia, you can buy credits for $1.5 each, reduced when you buy in bulk, or subscribe. Subscriptions get you a maximum number of images (not credits) per day or month. For example, pay $223.5 per month for up to 25 images a day for a single user, $280.5 for three users or $336 for unlimited users. Or if your usage isn’t so regular, you can pay from $75 for a single user to download up to 50 images at any time over a month.

Image prices range from one to 10 credits according to size, with all resolutions covered by subscriptions. Vector illustrations cost four credits, or you can buy them as images. Videos are priced by quality, from 10 to 50 credits per clip.

As an alternative to the website, a desktop app lets you browse and download, and there’s also a plug-in, currently in beta, for Adobe CS5 AND CS6.

Selling

Because of the mix of credit and subscription sales, royalties get complicated. You can choose whether each image is exclusive or not. All non-exclusive images are available to subscribers; you can opt to offer exclusive images only for credits. Commission on credit purchases, which Fotolia says are the most popular way to buy, ranges from 20% up to 46% for the highest-ranked sellers. Your ranking is set by unit sales, with subscription downloads counting as only a quarter of a sale. Commissions for subscription downloads range from 0.25 credits (19p) to 0.4 (30p) depending on ranking. Vectors and videos pay higher percentages.

Veer

Website: Veer.com

Description: Description: Description: Website: Veer.com

Website: Veer.com

Images, vectors, fonts

Veer was started in 2002 by former employees of Getty Images and Adobe, but acquired in 2007 by Bill Gates’ Corbis Images. Between them, Corbis and Getty dominate the market for stock images.

Veer specializes in creative pictures selected to appeal to art directors. Because it includes commercial collections, some of its prices can be gulp-including – the first picture we clicked came in at over $500. Its microstock images, however, are very affordable, at $2 for the smallest size, $15 for full-page resolution and up to $30 for super large. Vector illustrations are available at all size, but if you want the vector file you pay the top rate. You can pay as you go with a credit card, or buy bundles of credits to bring prices down considerably. Alternatively, a subscription covering 20 images a day costs $229 for a month or $2,388 for a year.

Selling

To sign up as a contributor, you need to submit 10 images to review. Commmissions are paid on a mercifully simple flat rate, from 35c (about 22p) for each download at extra small size to $7 for extra-large. This works out as low as 17.5% if the buyer is paying cash, but as high as 44% if they’re paying with credits. When images are downloaded on a subscription, however, things get more complicated. If a buyer downloads just one image in a day, its seller gets $4.95; but if that buyer downloads more, the rate falls steadily, until they hit their 20-a-day limit with each seller getting only 25c (16p). This is fair, but means your returns are pot luck.

 
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