iStockphoto Lauches New Subscription Model, Pays Contributors as Little as 28 Cents Per Image Download

iStock Image Subscription

iStock Image Subscription Email Notice

The popular stock photography service, iStockphoto, sent out an email to contributors today that it will begin offering a new subscription model to customers in April 2014. While iStock did not reveal the customer pricing for the subscription model, it is likely to be similar to Shutterstock’s plans, which allow 25 image downloads per day for a flat rate of $249/mo. [Read more...]

iStock Pricing Now Uses Real Dollars for Stock Photo Purchases

iStockphoto has long used a “credit” payment system that lets you buy images and other stock files with credits instead of dollars.

Until recently, the only option available for purchasing stock files at iStockphoto has been to purchase credits and then purchase the files with those purchased credits. Additionally, the actual dollar value of a credit may be different depending on how many credits you purchase in bulk.  For those who buy lots of images on a frequent basis, the bulk purchase of credits makes sense.  However, those who only occasionally purchase stock images or other files encounter problems with understanding the credit-to-dollar value of files, as well as the possibility of your credits expiring (it’s happened to me).

The new Shopping Cart Checkout at iStock now allows you to purchase stock images without having to first purchase iStock credits.  When you add a file to your shopping cart, you will see the price in dollars and not credits.

[via iStockphoto]

Editorial Images Now Available at iStockphoto

iStockphoto has now made “editorial use only” images available for purchase.  Unlike the millions of other pre-existing royalty-free images on iStockphoto, the new editorial collection of images are strictly for non-commercial use and “are intended for use by news outlets, publishers, magazines, bloggers and presenters as a descriptive visual reference to a product, place, event or concept.”

Additionally, contributing photographers will generally not be required to submit a model release for editorial images, nor is there a need to remove trademarks or other branding from editorial images.

More details on the new editorial image collection in iStock’s press release below. [Read more...]

iStockphoto Now Accepting Editorial Image Submissions


iStockphoto is crossing over into the editorial licensing realm for stock photography.  Rolling out in 2011, iStock will only be accepting editorial submissions for specific categories, such as products, architecture and landmarks, travel and lifestyle, social commentary, and urban living.  iStock is expressly avoiding submissions for time-sensitive news and traditional photo journalism.

You can find a thorough review of the new editorial submission guidelines in this article on iStockphoto’s website.

iStockphoto Changes Royalty Rates, Dishes Out Pay Cuts to Most Contributors

Seemingly out of the blue, iStockphoto announced a major change in stock photography royalty rates starting in 2011.

Gone are the days of when a contributor’s canister level (based on number of total downloads) determined the royalty rate received by the contributor.  Starting in 2011, the royalty rate will be based on annual “targets” of redeemed credits. [Read more...]

Taking Stock: Make Money in Microstock Creating Photos That Sell – New Book

Taking Stock: Make Money in Microstock Creating Photos That Sell is a new book from photographer, Rob Sylvan.  In Taking Stock, Sylvan addresses “how to shoot, edit and keyword photos that sell” on microstock sites like iStockphoto.

If you’ve ever tried your hand at microstock photography, then you understand how challenging it is to acquire the right formula for image upload acceptance, let alone sales.  Sylvan is an iStockphoto inspector and well-respected member of the iStock community, so picking up this book might be a good idea for those who need to brush up on their stock photo skills.

Taking Stock: Make Money in Microstock Creating Photos That Sell carries a retail price of $29.99; however, it can currently be found on for $19.79.

More details in the full press release below.

[Read more...]

iStockphoto Raises Photo Upload Limits

iStock Screen Capture

Last week, iStockphoto raised the weekly limits for photo contributors.

New upload limits for non-exclusive contributors:

  • Base: 18
  • Bronze: 20
  • Silver: 24
  • Gold : 30
  • Diamond: 38
  • Black Diamond: 40

New upload limits for exclusive contributors:

  • Bronze: 60
  • Silver: 90
  • Gold: 120
  • Diamond: 150
  • Black Diamond: 200


Happy 10th Birthday to iStockphoto


iStockphoto has been kicking around for 10 years now.  The site has had over 100 million downloads of various types of media files.

Many photographers have become full-time, specialist microstock photographers thanks to the likes of iStock.  Over the years, other photographers have grown to loath iStock, and its contributing photographers, claiming that they are killing the photography industry.

Regardless of where your stance is on microstock photography, there’s no doubt that it has changed the industry forever.

Read more about iStock’s 10th anniversary, along with a contest that it’s kicked off in conjunction with this celebration, in the press release below. [Read more...]

iStockphoto Guarantees All Image, Video and Audio Files Up to $250,000

Yesterday, iStockphoto made an important announcement for designers and photographers. In an attempt to build trust with their customers who purchase royalty-free content, iStockphoto implemented a guarantee that all image, video and audio files purchased on the site will be guaranteed, such that iStock will cover all files for legal costs and damages up to $10,000.

However, purchasers who demand additional peace of mind may purchase greater coverage under the guarantee on a file-by-file basis at a price of 100 iStock credits. The credits vary in price/value depending on the bulk amount in which customers pre-purchase those credits. For example, a package of 12 credits will run $18 or $1.50 per credit; however, a package of 2000 credits will run $1900 or $0.95 per credit. As a result, this “insurance” can run anywhere between $95 and $150 out-of-pocket per file.

While that seems like a bit much to pay per file, companies running a national or global campaign probably wouldn’t mind a little more peace of mind. Just ask Virgin Mobile.  Designers working on or quoting these major campaigns should probably think about which ones to build this into their budgets or quotes.  When you think about the scale, it sounds like a pretty good deal on insurance.

What does it mean for photographers?  iStock has a history of being sticklers on trademark and copyright elements in submitted photos, as well as obtaining appropriate model releases.  iStock does a good job of covering its butt (and photographers’ butts too) when evaluating submitted files.  If a file is questionable as to whether there is a copyrightable or trademark element within, the safe thing to do is reject it.  While iStock uses a fine tooth comb in reviewing files, iStock is not your momma or your lawyer.  When submitting files to iStock, the artist makes some heavy representations and warranties as to his or her authority to submit the files for commercial use.

If iStock gets called on the carpet for a file, you can bet your $1.06 commission that iStock will be dragging the photographer along with them.  Just a little reminder to conduct your own, personal inspection of files for potentially troubling elements before clicking submit.

With the scary part out there now, I think this move by iStock can increase the marketability and visibility of stock photography as a valuable resource for bigger customers.

More reading on this topic from John Harrington and Thomas Hawk.

Also see the news release below. [Read more...]