Productivity tools for the microstock business
I learned a new approach about software that can help the producers of stock images and stock footage from Daniele's course.
I should call it a more commercial approach:
- ptimizes workflows
- saves the time I need to produce more and better
Most importantly: this is useful not only for the microstock business, but for every business.
A few lessons in the course are focused on tools that can speed up the keywording for stock images and stock footage. Sometimes the software has just launched and, as Daniele explains, it has not yet been perfected.
I tried the paid version of Everypixel Dam (visit the website). It is still full of bugs, and the support doesn’t answer customers’ questions.
I’m sure they are bugs, as I also tried to switch browsers, but nothing changed. Without any explanation, the site works today and tomorrow maybe not.
Therefore: since the strategy to make more money is to save time while keeping the quality level of your work high, Everpixel DAM doesn't help us producers at all. Rejected!
On the contrary, there is an interesting tool that works better: Microstock Plus (visit the site). It’s perfect for Mac users, while for Windows there’s a "twin" tool called Stocksubmitter (visit the site).
Microstock Plus has also several bugs but, compared to Everypixel Dam, it’s not that bad.
There was response when I tried to contact support.
What did I do then?
I wrote directly to the email address of the PayPal account where my money ends up when I pay. They answered me quickly.
My problem was related to the API, but the regular support has washed their hands, telling me that there are Telegram groups where someone still has some active API key. But unfortunately those groups are made up primarily of Russians, Ukrainians and Lithuanians. So you have to communicate by writing in cyrillic.
I was not discouraged, and with an online translator, I got the API key and started uploading to Istockphoto via Microstock Plus as well.
No! With Istockphoto, when you send files through Microstock Plus, it makes you waste a lot of time, because you have to convert each keyword and perform time-consuming actions.
So I changed my strategy: today, if I want to send files to Istock, I upload them from their site and fill the titles and keywords in the traditional way.
Unfortunately, I no longer have the AOIi key to share it here, because one of the Microstock Plus bugs is that sometimes you have to reset the settings of the agencies.
Conclusions: Microstock Plus Vs Everypixel DAM
Everypixel has a working and free tool that analyzes stock images (or frames from stock footage) and create the keywords to associate with them. It’s great, and I suggest you to use it. Unfortunately, the paid part of the software (Everypixel DAM) doesn’t work.
Microstock Plus is good for me. I created a workflow using it along with dropstock.io. So I can save time, and I also solved the problem of an unstable and slow internet connection.
My favorite microstocks
When I started, I used to upload my stock images and stock footage only to Pond5, Shutterstock and Storyblocks.
After discovering Microstock Plus, I expanded this number of agencies to 35. Most of them didn’t perform, so I removed:
Now I upload to a limited number of microstocks:
And a few more…
I made this selection by getting rid of those agencies that forced me to manually send part of the information related to titles and keywords, as it took way too much time for the revenues they generated.
Then I removed Getty Images because the stock footage was sold at very low prices (they used to sell videos at the same price of photos).
As for Alamy, as I have already heard from other contributors, I considered it to be full of great surprises, but in the last year it was disappointing. For the moment, I keep it only because it does not take up my time with uploading and keywording.
My choice of the agencies to use is linked to the kind of subjects that I portray. For example, Canstockphoto loves lifestyle content (people doing things) and it doesn't even take my landscapes into consideration.
Direct sale of photos through my site
I’ve also started to sell my photos through my site.
The income they generate for me is almost exclusively generated by surfers/kiters images that I portray around Fuerteventura.
It works this way: I first have direct contact with them, during which I show them my website where they can buy the image online.
With this system, I have eliminated the bargaining and any further meetings, saving a lot of time.
I had the idea to sell directly after finding my photos on brochures and advertisements of local businesses. They had been purchased on microstocks.
- I upload those same photos to my site.
- I contact graphic designers and companies from Fuerteventura.
- I invite them (before buying from agencies) to take a look at oceansoulphoto.com (as they find the same content at cheaper prices).
The goal is to create an ongoing relationship with these small entrepreneurs. I'm having some results, but it’s still a young business to understand if it’s worth it.
My best seller stock images
The photos I have sold the most so far have grossed low figures compared to those of contributors who spend much more time than me on this business. The first year I only had a collection of 300 stock images online.
I want to diversify my income. For the moment, I settle for paying with microstock:
These are my best sellers: