In the first part of this interview with iStockphoto’s CEO, Kelly Thompson, we found out who iStockphoto’s main audience is and what advantages iStockphoto has over other stock photography services. Now we’ll take a look at how this service benefits photographers, what iStockphoto’s powerful search engine consists of and their latest invention, CopySpace.
Brigh Hub: Do you see this as a useful service for amateur photographers?
Kelly Thompson: iStock is great for amateurs both from a learning curve and an income perspective. There is a thriving forum community where people are constantly asking for and receiving constructive critique and support for their work. Even if you pass our test and are accepted as a photographer, each of your images are always inspected for technical quality, and will be returned to you with precise feedback on what is wrong with the image. Some of our most financially successful photographers, who now make 5-6 figure incomes, started this way and became excellent artists through learning, sharing and feedback they received from their peers and mentors on iStock.
iStock pays from 20-40 percent royalties on the sale of each image or video. Your royalty percentage increases based on how many images you have sold and whether or not you choose to be exclusive on iStock.
And, in the U.S., if you earn money from your imagery, you might be able to legitimately write off the business expense of that fancy new camera.
Bright Hub: Can professional photographers sell you their photos? How does this work?
Kelly Thompson: iStock welcomes existing professionals in the stock imagery market to view iStock as an additional revenue stream, but treats them no differently than anyone else. You will still take an online test, submit three images and, if you pass and are accepted, you can then upload images for review and approval.
Bright Hub: How do you ensure that a photographer isn't selling someone else's work?
Kelly Thompson: All artists are bound to the Artists Supply Agreement and we have proprietary inspection techniques that help us catch any missteps.
Bright Hub: How are photos accessed? It is by keywords, subject matter or other topics?
Kelly Thompson: We have a powerful search engine that allows you to search by keyword, file type or size, color, ethnicity or area of the world. And, our controlled vocabulary engine means that all of the 3.5 million images are searchable in 12 languages. We even invented a patent pending feature called CopySpace that allows you to specify where on a picture you want to leave space to write copy so people in a vets office, for example, could buy an image of a dog with empty space at the top, so they could write a reminder notice, and then print that off numerous times and send to patients.