Adobe Announces New Stock Image Service

Adobe Announces New Stock Image Service

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.

Adobe's pricing for subscribers.

iStock pricing. 6 credits equals either 2 images from their exclusive collection, or 6 from their essentials collection.


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.

Fotolia Payment Schedule for Contributors.


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.

Seth Lowe's picture

Seth Lowe is a portrait and advertising photographer located in Peoria, IL. He works with a variety of clients ranging from industrial photography, to lifestyle, and editorial assignments.

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screw adobe!

The rates they say they will pay make no sense and I don;t just mean they are too low (they are) ... the math doesn't add up.

The 750 images plan is 200$ if you pay 1 year in advance.
200$ / 750 images = 0.27$ per image in revenue (ignoring that Adobe has to pay credit card fees for that).

The payout chart above says (if you go to the actual site): 0.25 to 0.40 depending on your ranking as a contributor.

That means that Adobe is taking 1 or 2 cents per sale or IS PAYING CONTRIBUTORS 0.13$ OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET for every image downloaded on a 750 plan.

Now, they might be banking on the fact that subscribers won't download their 750 images every month and I'm sure that that is a trend they've already observed with existing Fotolia sales.

Now, let's say you are a new contributor so you are getting the lowest rate possible on 750 subscription sales.

To make a living wage (26,000$) BEFORE INCOME TAX, business costs and PayPal processing fees from this you would need to sell 104,000 photos a year or 8667 photos a month or 2000 photos a week or 285 photos a day.

Following sales trends on other sites like IStock ... I know that this is not very likely.

Let's say each one of your images sells 25 times in a year you would need a library of approximately 4160 images in your portfolio.

This is unsustainable.

I don't think anyone is really looking at this as a way to make a real income, hence me mentioning "passive income" above. Realistically probably no one will ever download 750 images a month, but I am sure that there are lot of people who need 20-40 for projects, so it makes sense for them, then it keeps the payout in line with adobes 10 image pack. Plus micro stock like this isn't really robbing that many photographers of jobs. This stuff gets used for small projects where they wouldn't have hired a photographer and just gone with out images. It's usually for last minute small stuff that has an extremely short life span, or for creating story boards and mocks for larger projects where they actually hire photos. No creative director is going to look at an ad campaign for a major brand and debate between shooting original content, or using a $2 image anyone can have.

Personally I sold 2 pictures of my neighbor's vineyard and earned myself a nice 0.28$

I should be rich approximately at the same time our sun dies.