Yesterday, along with many other updates across its creative suite, Adobe announced new its stock image licensing program. The libraries are integrated directly into Adobe’s various creative software, making it incredibly easy for users to browse, test, and integrate stock images or graphics directly into their projects. Adobe acquired stock photo provider Fotolia earlier this year, and has used its image and graphic assets to launch this new service. According to Adobe, there are over 40 million different image and graphics available, with contributors adding new content daily.
Their pricing is definitely competitive with iStock’s, and with the previously mentioned integration, I am sure creatives will definitely consider Adobe for their stock image needs. On the smaller tier, you get 10 images from Adobe stock for $30, while iStock gets you 2-4 images(depending on the collection) for $60. Unused downloads roll over every month in Adobe's plan as well, so you don't lose anything. I haven’t seen an official payment schedule from Adobe, but this statement can be found on their website: “Adobe also announced it will offer industry-leading rates to photographers and designers contributing content to Adobe Stock.” A quick search led me to Fotalia’s pricing schedule however, and I can’t imagine this will end up getting any better, if at all. At $30 a month, I see this being extremely popular for a lot of users.
Should You Contribute?
As a photographer, its always a little depressing to see these prices, but rather than complain about them, I just personally choose not to sell images via microstock. It would be practically impossible to make living by only selling stock this way, and would probably be foolish to assume that its possible. I think young start ups, non profits, and small businesses will really benefit from this pricing and integration structure, as it will allow them to create quality content they may not have had before. Sure, it eats away at some of the assignment work that may be available, but there will always be a need for original and specific content for clients that want something no one else has. If you don’t have a huge image library that could be used for stock (I am talking hundreds or thousands of images) I don’t think its really worth going the microstock route, as the time investment it takes to get it all organized, tagged, uploaded, etc.. vs your odds of being found and making consistent money are pretty low. You’re probably better off pursuing new clients and assignment work with your time. For people that have massive libraries that are free to license, its a great way to earn a little passive income from images that other wise might not be seen again.