Thursday, October 2, 2008

Microstock sales commission: highs and lows

Few dollars more to break even :)

This year saw many microstock agencies increased their prices and their contributors' commission. Often articles about microstock are talking about photographers making pennies but overlook that commission for the same picture varies quite a lot....
Sales commission depends on multiple factors : the business model of the agency (subscription and/or credit sales), the resolution of your camera (if you downsize or not as well), being exclusive or non exclusive contributor, your own ranking or the one of your images.

These numbers are not absolute but related to my ranking in some agencies and my gear as well : I have a 10 MP camera, a bronze level at Fotolia with some exclusive photos there, few level 2 images at Dreamstime, sold more than $ 500 worth of pictures at Shutterstock but less than $ 3000.

I had a look at my sales this year at each microstock agencies and these are the highs and lows I registered so far (excluding extended licenses):
  • Shutterstock : between $ 0.33 (subscription) and $ 2.48 (on demand sale)
  • Stockxpert (subs opt-out) : between $ 0.5 (XS size) and $ 7.5 (L size, pay per download .
  • Istockphoto : between $ 0.19 (XS size) and $ 2.70 (L size)
  • Fotolia : between $ 0.35 (subscription) and $ 4.16 (L size, exclusive)
  • Dreamstime : between $ 0.30 (subscription) and $ 2.90 (L size, level 2)
  • BigStockphoto : between $ 0.5 (small) and $ 2 (large)
  • Crestock : between $ 0.25 (subscription) and $ 1 (S size)
  • 123RF : between $ 0.36 (subscription) and $ 4.5 (Mega High XL TIFF)
In my case I can get as low as $ 0.2 at IS and as high $ 7.5 at SXP for the same picture!
123RF is the agency where the difference is the more important...

However, because of my large volume of sales at Shutterstock my average monthly sales commission fluctuates between $ 0.6 and $ 0.7 per picture....


John Kropewnicki said...

do you think it would pay to get a larger MP camera?

Laurent said...

Very good question. At the moment I don t think so, sure u can sell extra big size on IS,FT and SXP but don know if actually many customers are buying these sizes, most of them could be interested in pictures for websites....
high MP are good for cropping and downsizing to remove noise