I decided to take some of my images just sitting around in my portfolio and put them to work.  To that end I created an iStock account to sell some of them for stock.

I’m pleasantly surprised that, so far, they’ve only rejected one image, and that one because it was a photograph where a brand name was visible (I should have know better).  I was surprised that they didn’t reject more of the photos because they were all taken with a point-and-shoot camera and had compression errors at full size.  I reduced them to fix that, but I still wasn’t 100% sure they were sharp enough.  I uploaded just a few of them mostly to get an idea of if that quality of image was good enough.  I guess they are.

I’ve got quite a few in-queue still and some of the accepted ones aren’t up yet, but if you’d like to see what’s up so far, here’s the link to my iStock portfolio:

Also, I’m curious if any of you have tried iStock as contributors and what your thoughts are on the experience.

14 thoughts on “iStock

  1. daynesislendesign says:

    Please continue to post about your experiences with iStock. I have used iStock for some of my graphic design clients’ websites and brochures. The prices are very reasonable and the images have been very good.

    I’m interested to hear from the artists’ side of the process. The prices seem very low, but since you can sell/rent the images out over and over, I guess it works out. Good Luck, images look great.

    • Karen B. Jones says:

      Not really very good. It hasn’t quite been a year yet and I’ve barely made $40 from it. ($41.08 to be precise.) You have to make at least $100 before you can cash out. I have a 131 images, which have been downloaded 26 times. You only get between $2 or $3 per download, which is ridiculous when the company charges $15 for a single credit (my images download for one credit). Used to be even less if the client downloads a smaller image size, but now there’s only one price per image. Still not much but better than getting 75 cents for a download or something ridiculous like that.

      I won’t go into why I suspect I’m not getting more downloads, but I will say I was hoping/expecting better results than this. If I were getting frequent downloads, then that price would be fine. Making it up on volume, you know? As it is, I haven’t even gotten one pay-out yet. So, I think it’s sort of a rip-off from the artists perspective. Still, I have to stick with it until I sell at least $100. It might be another year until that happens.

      I will probably cash out at that time and close my account, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. I’ve considered setting up another stock image account with another company but, actually, iStock does seem to be the biggest one. So far I just haven’t found the time to research other stock sites very well.

      • Lauren says:

        Ah, bummer! I’ve suspected a similar result for myself – there’s so much on there to search through, it must be hard to sell images if you’re not on the first page of search results… I did notice the site highly favors vector illustration, everything I’ve ever bought has been a vector.
        I just bought a wordpress theme that allows me to sell digital downloads myself, maybe it’s worth looking into for your art? I haven’t started using it yet, I’m dragging my feet as I don’t have many visitors to my page.

        • Karen B. Jones says:

          Well, the vector thing is very interesting. It’s actually a weird way they set up their site. As far as images go, they set it up to accept “Photos” and “Illustrations”. Photos were defined as any raster image and illustrations were defined as any vector image.

          You see the problem there?

          Most people would consider a Photo something that came from a camera and an illustration as something someone drew or painted (either with real media or digital). However, a whole category of what most people would consider illustrations are categorized as photos because of how they define the terms. Only vectors are considered illustrations.

          Now, the obvious solution is to just rename the categories as “raster” and “vector”. But they decided not to do that.

          Instead, they’ve started moving raster illustrations over to the illustration category. However, it’s a manual process and you still have to initially upload your raster illustrations as photos. THEN you have to request that they get moved over to the illustration category.

          So, there are actually a lot of raster illustrations still under the Photo category (including some of mine) but they’re so outnumbered by photos that you don’t usually see many of them.

          So, if you are ever looking for illustrations and aren’t finding what you want under “Illustrations”, you might try wading through “Photos” for miscategorized raster illustrations.

          It’s actually quite frustrating for the artist. It takes a month, two weeks or more to get an image accepted, then another month to get it switched over to the correct category. Sometimes they ignore your email and you have to request it twice.

          I’m not impressed with the way iStock is set up. You’d think, since they’re the biggest company doing this, that they’d have a better set-up. But apparently not. :\

          • Lauren says:

            oh – about your vecter/raster issue. You might want to check out Etsy. If you have a store with them, you can sell digital items with no hassle about the file type…..however you will be competing with people who sell illustrations for $5, so again, you’d have to sell a ton to make a decent profit. I feel your pain, Karen! lol

            • Karen B. Jones says:

              Well, I’m currently selling through Zazzle (though my inventory is out of date and I need to upload some new stuff and cull the older stuff) which sells prints and cards and T-shirts and a ridiculous number of other items. I’m not getting much from there either, but it’s better than iStock. I’ve actually thought about getting an etsy store because I have some framed prints sitting downstairs that I’d like to move out. I wasn’t aware you could sell digital items through etsy, though. I might have to look at that.

          • Lauren says:

            The theme I bought uses a Woocommerce plugin, which is a free wordpress plugin for online selling of physical & digital items. It should work with most themes, but it you want to get fancy, there are also dedicated themes for selling digital items – here is a link to read more:

            I am using, but I see you are using, so I don’t know if the same things are possible – I only have limited experience with, but I don’t think you can have plugins?

            • Karen B. Jones says:

              I’m not sure how does plugins. I’d have to look it up. Honestly, I set this WordPress site up three years ago or so and I haven’t done much to the setup since. I’ll have to refresh my memory on what I can and can’t do with it.

              Thanks for the link, though. I appreciate that. 🙂

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