Microstock has made it possible for anyone with a decent camera, a drop of talent and a few Photoshop skills to make money as a photographer. But it would be nice to earn the sort of amounts that stock companies like Corbis and Getty charge for their images, instead of the buck or two handed out by iStock and Fotolia.
Stock companies though are much pickier than microstock sites and getting your foot in the door of those higher-paying clubs isn’t easy.
That might be about to change.
PhotoShelter, a portfolio site mostly used by professionals (and whose CEO we interviewed here), has now started the PhotoShelter Collection and is calling for contributions. A spokesperson told us:
PhotoShelter is actively seeking out both professional and amateur photographers who may not typically sell their work as stock, but whose visions can provide original and commercially viable pictures of life…
We are looking for all types of images for The PhotoShelter Collection. It is important for photographers to ensure that their pictures meet the minimum size and resolution requirements, but beyond that just be creative… This translates to an eclectic and contemporary array of image options.
Or to put it another way, it translates to something like a stock site but with a number of important differences.
First, photographers set their own prices. You have to pay a 30 percent commission to PhotoShelter, but you decide the licensing rate. PhotoShelter also uses fotoQuote which can provide a useful guide if you’re not sure how much to charge.
Interestingly, the fee can’t be lower than $50.
It’s also open to everyone. Any photographer can send in 3-10 photos in categories as wide as Contemporary, Pro Stock and Editorial for the site’s editors to review. There’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted but the site allows rejected photographers to try again, at least until the editors get fed up.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the new service is that your images don’t have to be exclusive.
That could give photographers a whole new strategy to think about when it comes to trying to sell their images.
At the moment, if you’ve got a photo that you think is sellable, the most realistic option is to upload it to a microstock site and hope that it sells enough licenses to make the effort worthwhile.
But why would you sell an image for a dollar, when you can now offer it through the PhotoShelter Collection for at least $50?
A better strategy then might be to submit it first to PhotoShelter. If it’s accepted, wait three months to see if the photo sells. If it doesn’t sell, either adjust the price or place it on a microstock site.
That could increase the time it takes before an image starts to make money but it would give your photos a chance to make their true value before iStock hawks them for a buck a piece.
[tags]photoshelter, the photoshelter collection, midstock [/tags]