Micro stock photography mathematics

Some micro stock photography mathematics

Let us assume that most clients most often purchase 100-120 credit packs. At the average micro stock website usually 100-120 credits cost around 180 $ i.e.1.50 $/credit.
The photographer usually gets an average of 15% of the sales income (for non exclusive royalty free photo)
So let’s say one ofher/ his photos is announced for sales bythe stock website  at the following rates

Size File size


XSmall 413 × 291 px 50.02 KB


Small 825 × 582 px 117.00 KB


Medium 1650 × 1164 px 314.55 KB


Large 2639 × 1863 px 676.23 KB


XLarge 4082 × 2881 px 1.37 MB


XXLarge 5100 × 3600 px 1.73 MB


Let’s suppose for 1 year this particular photo was purchased as follows:

1 time for 1 credit
3 times for 3 credits
20 times for 7 credits
5 times for 10 credits
1 time for 15 credits
o times for 20 credits

Sounds realistic for an average photo, right?

So for 1 year this particular photo was sold 30 times for the total amount of 215 credits or 322 $. If the photographer gets 15% out of the total amount, this means 48 $ income for the photographer.

Let’s suppose now that the photographer could set her/his own prices and she/he chooses to charge a price of 8$ for her/ his large size of the image (2639 x 1863). Then let’s assume the photo was sold a total of 40 times at this price, which amounts to 320 $. Let’s assume that the photographer was entitled a 50% income by the micro stock website for taking the risk of calculating the correct pricing, so her/ his income would be 160 $. The stock photo website gets 160 $ instead of 274 $ (in the previous example), but let’s assume there would be savings from server optimizations since there would be no need to support hosting of several sizes of each of the millions of images, and also given that in the future model images would not be stored beforehand so a lot of them just stay unused, but would be rather uploaded only the right images following the clients requests.

Mass production in stock photography

mass production

One of the things which I dislike and disapprove in the policy of the major stock photography websites is their policy of mass production. It is achieved through the following method

The photographer uploads one file determined by the limitations of her/his camera or his decision to supply an image with a lower resolution. Then the stock photography business operator “manifactures” different sizes of an image with the intend to sell them at different prices. The usual explanation about this policy is that it provides clients with more choices of different sizes and prices according to their individual needs – if you don’t need the biggest possible size of an image, you can get a smaller one for a lesser price. But is this approach really driven by concern about the clients’ needs and comfort? Or is it just a pure marketing device to pack the same product in different wrappings and artificially create 5 or more items out of one. It is easier to pump up prices, when you claim that you provide also an “affordable” version of the same image. True, less pixels for the smaller price, but still affordable.
Why is it necessary to run this “manifacture” process? Why not let the photographer decide what price he wants to claim for his 15 MP image? Why not let the client decide how much money he is willing to pay for a 8 MP version? The client needs only 3MP – let them (the photographer and the client) set the price between themselves.
The present stock photography business model takes the decisions for both sides – clients and suppliers and decides instead of them – what is good, reasonable, affordable and business wise for each of the parties. The intermediary has become an owner of the business and the actual drivers of the business process are forced to play by its rules. Unfair for everybody, except for the stock photo websites!
Let’s not forget that the photographers are paid only a small percentage of the price the stock photo platforms charge for their images. Given that maybe they will be willing to charge less for their images in a direct negotiation with the clients since anyway they will get more than they are paid by the stock photo platforms at present. And the platforms will not bunkrupt – even 1% of each transaction is still big cash for the millions of photos they are hosting. But offcourse this will take the control out of their hands, which they cannot afford themselves.

think about it for a second or two and give me your opinion ;) There may be a better way!

Photoclicks.net – A Photography websites directory


Photoclicks.net is an interesting photography websites directory.

It is worth to check it out. They offer you the possibility to add a link and a short description about your own photography website. In exchange they require a back link, which you should insert a click away from your home page. This and a check from administrator will grant you presence in the database.

everything is neatly organized in categories, so apart from submitting your own photography website you can check some other websites.

Here is my own contribution :)

Photography Sites

KiTT – about me and the Image Configuration

OK, a few words about myself as a person (KiTT is the acronym from the first letters of my names).

I was born in 1976, my parents gave me the name of a Greek philosopher (or was it an emperor) – Konstantin. But I am not from Greece :)

My first and most stable passion was photography (I have many others, but they shift a lot). First I have started to take photos when I was 6 or 7 years of age and my first camera was Smena 8M

Smena 8M

It was a sturdy small camera and I managed to take quite well focused images with it.

But then, at the age of 9 it was time to go Pro – with interchangeable lenses, light meters, external flash… It was time for Zenith

Zenith -B

And I stuck to it till I bought my first digital point-and-shoot Canon A630 almost 20 years later :)

Canon A630

Then it was time for Canon S3, then Canon 400D

Canon 400D

Canon 7D

Canon 7D

…list to be continued :)

But, this is enough info for my cameras.

Let’s say a few words about me as a founder of the Image Configuration services :)

Some time ago (to be more precise in 2008) I have decided to build my own stock photography platform – Photobeluga, but with a difference.

I find the present model of stock photography outdated and not efficient anymore. This model needs to be shaken by a revolution! And here are my reasons – for some of my projects outside Photobeluga I used to buy images from the big stock photos platforms. Some of these images took me literally hours to find and even then I was not entirely happy with the results. So I was thinking “Why is it so hard to get the right images. Millions of images out there and yet I don’t find the right ones. There should be a better way.”

I had some ideas at that time (2008), but they were raw and rough and they needed to ripe. I started to build the platform and I did it the hard way, a lot of learning by doing and this kind of wise stuff…

Now in 2012 I think I have reached a point, when I can be proud of what I have live and running online. I admit it is pretty close to the model of 99design.com :) By the way I am extremely happy with their services – one of their designers have created for me the wonderful logo with the smiling beluga. Close and yet with a difference:

  • we talk here about photography, not design
  • the licensing is quite different
  • the price is not fixed, but is flexibly defined by the customer or the photographer or is reached after some negotiation between parties (I am a supporter of the free market principles)
  • the clients are different – it is funny that 99design suppliers are actually my potential customers, so we are not competitors with their business in any way. Unless I decide some day to include vectors to Photobeluga services :)

I decided to call the service Image configuration, because the process reminds me of configuring a hardware configuration – but instead of choosing different components you can define the different aspects of your image:

  • content (you can describe literally what you want to see in the photo and even provide referential images through links)
  • technical requirements (here you can set the print size, resolution, dpi, color profile, bits, image orientation,  digital manipulation – yes or no)
  • the purpose, for which the Image is intended (webdesign, POSM, photo for print or web article, traveler guide, calendar, etc.)
You can also set some details, related more to the process, than to the photo itself:
  • the deadline for submitting the images by the photographers
  • the maximum price you are willing to pay for a single image
  • the type of licensing you need – royalty free, exclusive, or both types

Even after submitting the brief you still can adjust your image on a later stage – when photographers have already uploaded some images – you can still ask for various adjustments.

Ahhh, it became too much commercial and I intended to keep it personal :(

OK, some more key facts about me (again as a person):

I am a nomad by heart and enjoy travelling a lot… Good wine and tasty food I always enjoy, but I can do pretty much the same with a sandwich and plain water…I am a cinema addict, definitely…(since the time I started doing photography)…. I enjoy reading, but less time for that in the last 15 years or so…I am gadgets and technology freak and I really believe that the invention of internet changed radically life on Earth…Mountain hiking is my favorite physical activity… I also enjoy history of art and history in general.

I will rather stop here. Anyway you will know me better after reading the blog further… and hopefully by using Photobeluga image configuration services :)


A few words about the blog

This blog of course is part of the website Photobeluga – the unique Image Configuration services provider. But you are not here for these services. If want to use them, you are  welcome to do so at www.photobeluga.com.

The purpose of this blog is a bit different. Let’s try to summarize. Here you will find:

  • a little bit more about the reasons behind the creation and existence of Photobeluga, maybe even the philosophy of the platform…
  • also a bit of history, if you are interested, how it all started (no, this is boring, let’s keep this one short)
  • a bit of personal info about KiTT – who am I, what I want from life \again some boring egocentric stuff)
  • a lot of FREE high quality images. YES, they are for free and they are for you. Of course there is a catch (there is always a catch, isn’t it?). You have to promise me you will not remove the small, almost invisible url at the bottom when you use the images. And if you don’t like it – please, be my client, come to www.photobeluga.com and buy logo free images:)
  • Some tips and tricks I learnt, I read, I found, I discovered by chance – mainly in Photography, some in design, several in web and what else…we’ll see
  • Of course a lot of links and resources, I like to share these a lot
  • Maybe an occasional e-book which I might try to write
  • A blogroll of fellow photographers and designers
  • A fair share of ratings and reviews of relevant items (hardware, software, books, equipment, gadgets and so on….)
  • Ahh, yes, a Q&A section – feel free to ask me anything about Photobeluga, or photography which I might or might not know

And basically this is it for now.

I hope you will enjoy it.

Take care and cheers:)