Back in the Seventies and Eighties I founded and ran several Fleet Street photo agencies specialising in stock images of celebrities from pop stars to politicians. These were syndicated to the National and International press and Television. These days I am active in the Microstock world and this blog charts my journey as well as, hopefully, providing inspiration and ideas to others. Image buyers should also find this blog useful with links to my portfolios and regular updates on new uploads. Unless otherwise stated all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Comments are very welcome but will be reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dollar Photo Club - Why I opted out and how to do it:

Never heard of the Dollar Photo Club? Well, if you are a contributor at Fotolia and you haven't opted out then your images are part of it.
Started a few months back Dollar Photo Club initially looked like it was a partner site of Fotolia using their API to offer images on a new platform. What became clear quite quickly was that DPC is in fact wholy owned and run by Fotolia.
Though DPC says it it selling subscription packages they are, in fact, much more akin to an "on demand" package. Subscription packages (such as offered by Shutterstock and the other sites)  typically offer buyers a large number of downloads for an upfront substantial fee. These result in a smaller payment (per download) to photographers but make up for that in volume as buyers use up their allowance of downloads within the period of the subscription.
By contrast DPC offer a package of just $10 for 10 downloads (hence $1 per image) for which the photographer receives a subscription rate payment at Fotolia. Low payment and low volume. Worse, the DPC package doesn't expire at the end of a set period so there is no incentive for buyers to use up their allowance and drive sales to the photographers.
Other subscription sites do offer "on demand" packages where buyers only wanting a few images can just pay to download a few images each month. These result in substantially higher commission to the photographers (on Shutterstock I usually make over $2 each time on these, for example).
What DPC will do is to help to kill these valuable On Demand sales and, indeed, regular single credit sales as well. Ironically, credit sales on Fotolia themselves are likely to be hit as well.
Read up about the DPC on this long thread at
Originaly, all Fotolia files were available on DPC but after a lot of protest an opt out has now been added. You'll struggle to spot it but here is where to look:

Log in to your Contributor page.
Under My Account, select My Profile.
Then select Contributor Parameters.
You will now see a little badge saying "Sell my files on DPC".
Click on the Modify word next to it.
It should change to "Don't sell my files on DPC".
Now click on Save Parameters to complete the opt out.
(Warning: be careful not to click the modify button twice or it will revert to the opt in again).

I opted out as soon as the option became available as I believe DPC will be damaging to my sales both at Fotolia and other sites if buyers switch to this bargain basement option. After all, Microstock prices are hardly expensive compared to the traditional stock agencies -let's not help drive these already low rates even lower.

Some photographers have also been deleting files at Fotolia itself or closing their whole account in protest at DPC. For now, at least, I am happy to continue working with Fotolia itself but I am glad to be out of the industry damaging DPC. You must all, of course, make your own decisions. Regards, David.

***EDIT: Fotolia is now owned by Adobe. DPC is no more. No opt outs or boycotts required! 31/3/16

April sales updates:

As ever, Shutterstock stormed head in April -far outgunning all my other agents. And, as ever, I am not allowed to publish the detailed figures due to their Terms Of Service. That's always a shame as it would be good to demonstrate just how well this agency sells stock images. Still, if you haven't already,
sign up for yourself and find out!

Dreamstime produced 17 downloads ($8.29) but, sadly, a lot of subscription sales pulled down the earnings. The big news at Dreamstime was their change of policy towards older unsold images - I'll write a seperate post about that later.

Istock saw an improving 13 downloads ($10.83) and an excellent crop of 19 PP sales ($6.87) -an increase that I imagine is because my editorial images are now also for sale at Thinkstock. I am looking forward to further increases here combined with the new subscription offer at Istock itself. First results should be in at the end of May.

Bigstock continued its growth with 16 downloads ($7.32) with lots of the $0.38 subs sales. It's good to see the increasing number of sales here which do not seem to have harmed my sales at parent company Shutterstock. Obviously, should they drop the special $0.38 sub rate for Bridge to Bridgestock participants my opinion may well change as my sub rate will drop considerably.

123rf ticked over with 13 downloads ($6.07) -mainly $0.25 subs. Reviews of both editorial and commercial images continue to be prompt.

Over at Fotolia I had 5 downloads (2.40 credits). Fotolia continued to be on peoples minds because of the launch of their subsiduary agency Dollar Photo Club. Again, this will be the subject of a seperate post.

Recent uploads included the 24th Hastings Mini Run (held in conjunction with the Hastings Half Marathon race). I also covered the two big May Day events in Hastings. The traditional Jack In The Green festival, where images included Flora the Singleton Giant. Pageant or Dancing Giants are a centuries old tradition in Britain and are reputed to protect their home towns from danger. Flora caused me some problems when I accidently renamed her Clara and had to spend time re-editing my captions!
The other big event was the annual May Day bikers rally which takes place on the seafront. This has been going for many years but just keeps growing in size. This year was certaily the busiest I've seen with an estimated 30,000 + motorcycles arriving in town and it is now said to be one of the biggest motorcycle events in Britain. I spent a lot more time photographing it this year -with a number of images already uploaded and accepted.  It certainly made a change of pace going from Morris dancers and Giants to all that horsepower on display. Regards, David.