Macrostock or Microstock: Which is Right for You?
Thanks to the Internet, artists can now sell their images through several different types of online agencies. Two examples of this are macrostock and microstock. But which should you choose?
To understand macrostock and microstock agencies, you'll need to know the difference between the two. Macrostock agencies will sell your images for a hundred dollars or more per sale. These images can sell over and over again, which makes this a nice way to earn a passive income.
Microstock, on the other hand, is slightly different. With microstock, you sell your images from $.25 to several dollars (a lot less).
Sometimes you will receive what is called an "EL", which basically grants the buyer of the image printing rights. The price of this type of license will depend on the agency in question, and on the number of prints that the buyer needs. You will usually receive between ten and forty dollars for the EL. Occasionally, you may have a buyer request your image for a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars. At this point, though, this is like winning the lottery.
As for your images, they will sell over and over again just like they would with macrostock.
Why sell your images for such a small amount of money? Simple. With macrostock, you can expect to sell your images a couple of times per month if you have a large enough or popular enough portfolio. So if you have a portfolio with a thousand high quality images, then you could make a few hundred dollars or more per month with macrostock.
However, thanks to the low cost of microstock imagery, you could make the same amount of money. But only if you have a really good portfolio.
While those two or three sales you have at the macrostock agencies will bring in a lot of money; you could have several hundred or more downloads at the microstock sites, which may generate a similar amount of money. In the end, though, it will simply depend on your skill level and the uniqueness of your portfolio.
Separating Your Images
Some individuals believe that separating your microstock and macrostock images is the ethical road to take. However, keep in mind that some buyers will only shop at a particular agency. So by separating your microstock images from your macrostock ones, you may be cutting yourself short.
Most microstockers have migrated over to using macrostock, and some macrostockers have moved into shooting microstock. Of course, most macrostockers simply detest having to sell their images for such a small amount of money. But keep in mind that eventually, the prices at microstock may rise some. Granted it will never be as expensive as the macrostock agencies but still. This industry is changing constantly.
Problems Down the Road
The only real problems with the microstock and macrostock business model are competition, world wide recession, keyword spamming, and photo theft. Out of all of these problems, keyword spamming and image theft are the worst. It's difficult to track who uses your images, especially with an RF license. Thanks to tineye and other similar sites, it may become easier to do in the future.
Keyword spamming on the other hand, is extremely annoying and difficult to control. If you have an image of a pumpkin over a white background, then you should use words that relate directly to that image. Many people do not do this, and unfortunately, it can cause buyers to look for images elsewhere.
Selling your images through online agencies is a great way for artists to generate some extra money. Even if you're just a hobbyist, these online agencies can still work for you. You may not become rich if you do this, but you will definitely earn some side money if you stick with it.
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