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Dreamstime vs. Traditional photography

In a recent survey we have asked buyers who used traditional agencies before finding Dreamstime, specific questions regarding their experience. The questions were chosen after reading several articles written by analysts of the traditional industry such as Chris Ferrone, Jim Pickerell, Andy Goetze or Dan Heller. Although they all give pertinent and wise critique it is sometimes difficult to study this area of the industry without actually being within it. In absence of actual data and stats, like the ones we have access to, as well as perfect knowledge of the site's features, some of their articles may end up being misleading.

I have found articles that create a theory based on a user's feedback (potential buyer or photographer or site member).

Examples: “the search engines in microstock are unreliable” or “you don't have the right to use a microstock image for a book cover”.

In almost all cases this is the result of a poor knowledge of the site's features or licensing conditions, which obviously renders the conclusion 100% wrong. In order to draw a conclusion you need to rely on a large enough number of respondents. Here is a short selection from buyers who received the same questions. Answers are very slightly edited for blog inclusion and published with customers' agreement.

Q: After discovering Dreamstime, have you continued working with traditional agencies?

Yes, we work with a variety of agencies as often the images that we're searching for are quite specific in their subjects so this enables us a greater chance of finding the ideal image but Dreamstime is always high on our agenda of sites to search.

Q: What would be, in your opinion, the most important qualities to be valued at Dreamstime?

A very wide selection of good quality images

Availability of Vector Images (EPS - additional format) is very good.

Value for money

Q: Was it easier to find the aimed for/desired photo with Dreamstime or with traditional agencies? How long would you estimate it took in both cases?

On average, I usually spend between 10 - 20 minutes searching for images. I find there's little difference in this time between Dreamstime and other image libraries that I use.

Q: Compare the prices of our photos with the price of one photo acquired form a traditional agency, then expand your comparison to include quality.

Dreamstime is usually more reliable when it comes to quality of image. We subscribe to some other libraries so it's a bit tricky to compare. The initial cost of a subscription is a lot but allows unlimited downloads which works out cheaper over longer periods of time. Dreamstime is very good value compared to most sites out there. It's a shame there have been some price rises recently as before this it was unbeatable on individual photo costing.

Dreamstime is definitely better over a shorter term of time.

Q: Are there any features specific to traditional agencies that you would like to see with Dreamstime?

Possibly a subscription option to allow unlimited downloads.More British based subjects in photographs - much of the Dreamstime images are American, especially automobiles, buildings, money, uniforms and emergency services. Clipping Path Outlines on photographs of objects are a handy feature that I haven't yet experienced on Dreamstime.

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Q: After discovering Dreamstime, have you continued working with traditional agencies?

No. Dreamstime is the most affordable option that I have found for what I need.

Q: What would be, in your opinion, the most important qualities to be valued at Dreamstime?

The large selection, and the option to use credits that don't expire quickly. I like that I can buy 20 credits at a time – it is the most cost effective option that I have found.

Q: Compare the prices of our photos with the price of one photo acquired form a traditional agency, then expand your comparison to include quality.

A similar image found on "********images" is about $350. If found on Dreamstime, this would only cost me 2 credits. For my purposes, I would rather pay less and get a slightly lower resolution. Dreamstime is the best option I have found for this.

Q: Are there any features specific to traditional agencies that you would like to see with Dreamstime?

More vector images, higher resolution images.

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Q: After discovering Dreamstime, have you continued working with traditional agencies?

We have used traditional agencies only for sporting or current affairs articles. For example, I needed some images of Premier League football players for our 'Premiership Preview' article this month, and back in December, when we did '2006: A Year In Review' I needed images of the top news stories of the year.

Q: What would be, in your opinion, the most important qualities to be valued at Dreamstime?

Price.

Ease of use (downloading is very simple)

Variety of images (you cater to 90% of our needs every month)

Q: Compare the prices of our photos with the price of one photo acquired form a traditional agency, then expand your comparison to include quality.

Dreamstime quality is always very good. I've never been anything less than fully satisfied with the quality of Dreamstime. Although when we've used shots from ******** before, they are sometimes even better.

Dreamstime is significantly less expensive than any other agency I've known of. With the large numbers of images we need that means you provide us with excellent value for money. Dreamstime is the best value image library, period.

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Q: After discovering Dreamstime, have you continued working with traditional agencies?

Yes . Some agencies can offer immediate resolution of very precise or unusual requirements. We do corporate work mostly, although we have one marine insurance client who requires very precise (sometimes news-related) photography

Q: What would be, in your opinion, the most important qualities to be valued at Dreamstime?

Price/quality

Q: Was it easier to find the aimed for/desired photo with Dreamstime or with traditional agencies? How long would you estimate it took in both cases?

Time to search/find varies dramatically. Searching on Dreamstime is good, but sometimes you need an intuitive response.

Q: Compare the prices of our photos with the price of one photo acquired form a traditional agency, then expand your comparison to include quality.

Pretty much the same. Price is dramatically lower with Dreamstime. Usually a bigger choice and more specific options using our traditional supplier. Sometimes price doesn't matter; you just need the right shot very quickly. Better choice of industrial/architecture/shipping shots on traditional.

Photo credits: Johanna Goodyear.

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October 02, 2007

Maninblack

This type of Q&A is always invaluable regarding the type of response the buyers get from a particular photo site and lets us photographers ascertain if we are fulfilling the buyers requests.
Cheers.!

September 04, 2007

Starblue

I like this blog a lot . it is a shot of enthusiasm for us photographers, I would welcome such interwies more often :-) Thanks for it!

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