Monday, March 02, 2009

Microstock - photo and illustration stock websites

So I've been on several 'microstock' sites for the last month.  They've been hit or miss on a couple of sites - but it's been paying off quite well on one.

Shutterstock seems to make the most money - especially for vector art

I know a couple of photographers that are on the site - and they'd back me up on that - it's not just that the clients seem to like vector art more, but that it's easier to get images approved on shutterstock if they're art, than photographs. There's so much stuff you have to watch for in a photograph (such as pixelation, blur, or noise) - but I've hardly had any problems with my illustrations. The biggest problem is that if you work in vector art (Adobe Illustrator) then you have to back save everything as an Illustrator 8 eps. That's no problem, except if you're using filters or effects or things that weren't compatible with version 8. But since I found that out - I usually just avoid those things (like gradient mesh and I don't go too crazy with transparencies).

Anyhow - here's a far as it's worked for me:

Shutterstock - 95 % of microstock earnings have come from Shutterstock

Dreamstime - 3 % - this is a hard one to judge though - they take a little bit more time to accept any images (shutterstock approves images in about 2 days, if not sooner - whereas Dreamstime takes about a week AND then another day or so to upload into the search while the images might have been created at the same time, they're still finding their feet on Dreamstime) - if you wanna check out this site - - that's my referral number...

Stockxpert - 2 % - I'm not a fan of this site - they take too much time to upload.  They make you upload a high quality jpg version as well as an eps file - but it can't just be an eps file, it has to be zipped.  And they're the most strict with open paths and color profile conflicts and bitmaps (meaning, that if you have any of these then your image will be denied).  They approve (and deny) the quickest out of all the sites, but they are the hardest to get approved by (as the smallest thing will get your image turned down).

Fotolia - .05 % - that's right - POINT OH FIVE!  it's been quite a small part of my stock images - but it's the easiest to upload images to - what sucks is that they want all their vector files as SVG (which is a suck version of AI or EPS files)...they've also been slow - but I feel like it' s a matter of time.  The month of March is turning out quite a bit better as I've already made $2.50 (as opposed to February's 2 downloads and 60 cents).  What's nice about Fotolia is that you can see how many people have viewed your work (I'm averaging about 60 views a day, so I feel like it's only a matter of time before people start downloading my stuff).


Anyhow - so that's the month of February for Microstock.  It's been a lot of fun - and especially because Shutterstock has been so successful so far.  We started with a base of 40 images (and by we, I mean my wife and we're both creating images) and have created about 160 new illustrations for these microstock sites since the 6th of February.  So, I expect our totals to go up as we build our far, so good!

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