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Submitted. Accepted! Sold! Now confused.

Hi everyone,

I'm new to Dreamstime but happy to be here.

I've been a photographer for many years (as a hobby) but stock is a new adventure for me. I submitted my work to Dreamstime and was so excited to have 26 photos selected! DT is the only stock agency I'll be submitting my work to, so hopefully soon I'll be considered "exclusive". If I'm not mistaken, I need 50 for that?

A few days after my photos were accepted, I sold my first one. I was so happy! Then I learned that I made 42 cents. Um?

I am trying to read everything I can, but I'm hoping someone can explain how this works, in kindergarten language, please. What, exactly, is the point of me submitting my photographs to stock if I make 42 cents for a sale? And it was a large file too.

This may sound silly to ask, but basically, if someone uses one of my photographs for an ad campaign, which shows up in a top magazine... I, as the photographer, will have made 42 cents?? And I won't even know where it is published?

Help me, if you can, understand how to make the most of this?

Many thanks.
Posted: 1 minute ago
There is a lot of information on microstock photography out there, do a search. There are blogs from pros dedicated to this form of photography and they are very helpful. Here's one definition - "Microstock photography, also known as micropayment photography, is a part of the stock photography industry. What defines a company as a microstock photography company is that they (1) source their images almost exclusively via the Internet, (2) do so from a wider range of photographers than the traditional stock agencies (including a willingness to accept images from "amateurs" and hobbyists), and (3) sell their images at a very low rate (from US$0.20 to $10 in the US) for a royalty-free (RF) image."

If you had joined 4 or 5 years ago you would have found faster success. Now, there are millions of images available at many different microstock sites and because there are so many they compete on price. You will have to produce many unique images on a regular basis to make a lot of money because microstock is based on volume. Many sales are purchased with subscriptions from buyers who buy in bulk and that cuts the prices even more. You only get a percentage of each sale and that varies. You will receive more per image only if they are purchased with a license for special uses. That information is available if you read the FAQs and the license info.

If you don't have the stomach to sell images for these prices you might want to look into a different outlet, perhaps RM or Rights Managed but the competition in that area is just as fierce. Everyone is a photographer these days. The big players have thousands of images on several sites and have been in this business for over 5 years. Some even have a staff to assist them in keywording and uploading. The limit of the number of images that can be uploaded is now 840 files per week and some will upload that many. Can you keep up (I can't).

Keep in mind that if you do become exclusive you cannot sell your images anywhere else but here and on your own site. Any images. Think seriously before you commit further. This is not a get rich quick scheme anymore but there is still money to be made if you produce unique imagery and a lot of it. Again, microstock is a business of volume, but only if that volume includes unique ideas, well-lit subjects, images that reflect modern ideas and are useful in a number of different areas. Simple objects still sell but only if there is no competition. Landscapes and food sell but not as often as they used to. The market is saturated with many subjects/objects (but not all, you have to do your homework).

Frankly, shots of your dog are a dime a dozen (no disrespect) and not unique, there are others better staged. Your portfolio is full of snapshots, again no disrespect. Take a look at the Stats and Community tab on this site to see what the big money makers shoot to get a better idea of what sells. Microstock images are purchased to illustrate an article in print or on the web or to advertise a product. It's hard to admit that your images (not just yours, mine included) are not so great and that being said why would people want to pay big money for them? If you search for images similar to yours you will find many others for the buyers to pick from. There are 3,562 images of a dog with a ball for example. You have to ask yourself why a buyer would choose yours over the others.

Here is a good source of microstock information from industry insiders -
Microstock Blogs and Links
Edited: 1 minute ago
Thank you for such a thorough answer!
Posted: 1 minute ago
I also wish to thank RED for his great answer. The times are tough. The competition is fierce. Microstock market is for all the volumes. Don't mind the small sales. If you have volume of files online, you would not even look at what sold for how much if over all sales numbers are right and great.
Nikon Gears
Posted: 09/25/2013, 09:48:38 AM
Hi .. I'm curious how long you had to wait to have your images reviewed. I submitted my first batch a week ago and have heard nothing yet? Is it always this slow. ******** takes 3 days max.

I didn't receive any confirmation that they received my images .. like I do with SS. They also don't show anywhere on my profile. Did this happen with you? Did you get a confirmation that they had received your photos?

Posted: 09/30/2013, 10:56:44 AM
hallo, within a few months I am two years on dreamstime, in the beginnng I thought the same, a few cents for a pic? but after one year I had my first 100 dollar, and I started to look with a critic eye to my pictures, started with 45% pics admitted, now I have 9O% of my pictures admitted, and a few dollars away of 400 dollars sold, with 124 sales, my best pictures earinings are around 40 dollars, some pics earned 25 dollars in one sale
So with my two year on dreamstime,I will give you courage taking pictures and sell them

wish you succes
God's light from morning untill evening
Posted: 1 minute ago
Great encouragement! Thanks.

@Andrea - It took a little over a week to get my images reviewed. They are in "pending" until then.
Posted: 1 minute ago
Andrea, when I uploaded there was a review time that popped up to say it might take (I think it was 192 hours). I think it is a little over a week as Naavale said (beat me to it) All the best.
Posted: 10/03/2013, 04:56:46 AM
Thanks all. I have finally received my feedback and am officially a contributor now - it then also took a few days for the images to appear in the keyword searches ... a little frustrating when you waiting waiting waiting. Now just need to make some sales!
Posted: 10/03/2013, 05:37:11 AM
I also would like to thank red for HER answer. Yes, it is true, Red is a lady.
video. Lenses: Primes, L series and cinema lenses...
Posted: 1 minute ago
Indeed, Red's post and very thorough and informative.

Be sure to look at the pay schedule too, Naavale. Unlike most agencies, DT is unique in the more times a photo sells, the more it will sell for in the future. If it is a very successful image, all that much better. Not all sales will be that low, some could be a little lower if its a subscription.

Posted: 1 minute ago
Good information! Even though I've been here about a year and a half, I'm still learning! Sometimes I get discouraged, but I think it will pay off in the long run.
USM, Vintage Canon FD 50mm 1.4 fim lens with Fotodiox adaptor. Pana...
Posted: 11/08/2013, 06:36:43 AM