In the past year or so, there have been a few small time and startup agencies who have tried to get this ball rolling, and now stock industry giant Alamy is jumping in the ring with its new Stockimo app.
Alamy is the biggest stock photo agency in the world, so if anyone has the pockets go this thing kind of thing started, it’s them.
Stockimo works like this: You sign up for an account (or log in with your existing Alamy contributor account), upload your images to the app, caption and tag them and then collect your commission payments when and if they sell.
In theory, it’s that easy, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since I’m already an Alamy contributor, I downloaded the app, set up my account and gave it a spin. Here’s what I’ve found so far.
1. Your photos have to be approved: I’m not sure what the criteria is, but after uploading about 10 photos, only 3 of them have been approved. Supposedly, Alamy uses a rating system, but I don’t know how they judge. That said, my 3 approved images have already shown up in Alamy’s main search results.
2. They have a different pricing structure: Stockimo images show up and are licensed as either “Commercial” or “Editorial” images. Both show up inside Alamy’s general search engine alongside other relevant images, but they have slightly different pricing plan. Commercial images are priced as Royalty Free, whereas Editorial images are priced Rights Managed. Since they’re smaller than traditional camera hi res images, they don’t have the higher end pricing options.
I don’t see this as an issue, though. Royalty Free images are licensed by file size, not by usage, so this actually fits perfectly within Alamy’s regular pricing model. Also, the prices are certainly better than what microstock offers you.
3. Existing Alamy contributors get a different commission rate: Stockimo is offering an “early bird” special rate of 40% commissions. In the future, it will be only 20%. Existing Alamy contributors get an even better rate, which is explained in your agreement.
4. You can even use filters and stuff! Alamy seems to recognize that Instagram and Hipstamatic type filters add to the creative value of photos, so they’re totally fine with you uploading photos that you shot and processed with these apps. Two of the photos of mine that Alamy took were made with Instagram.
5. You get paid via PayPal: Stockimo commissions are paid through PayPal, even for existing Alamy contributors. The good thing is that the payment threshold is much lower. You’ll get your money monthly if you earned more than $10.
6. Stockimo is for Phone only: No Android or Windows at this point, but that’s not to say that it won’t be available for these platforms in the future.
There’s no question that iPhoneography is here to stay. Even as DSLR and mirrorless cameras continue to get better, lighter, stronger, faster and smarter every year, the same technology soon finds its way into the iPhone, which currently has a high quality glass lens and an 8MP CMOS sensor. Sure, the entire lens assembly is still smaller than a pea, but image quality from the iPhone is more than good enough for just about any use on the web.
Consider that of all the images licensed by all the stock agencies every year, most of them are used 1/4 page or less on the web. iPhone image quality more than meets that criteria, so all that’s left is content, and we all know that a talented and creative shooter can make great images with an iPhone.
Alamy seems to have though this out carefully. I think they made a good move tying Stockimo right into their main agency model instead of trying to create a separate agency just for mobile images. They figure (and rightly so) that most clients don’t care what camera was used to make a shot. If it has the right look, then it’s the right image.
The only thing is that since the stock photography business is a numbers game, you’ll have to upload a lot of images if you expect to see any money. That’s where this a nice option if you’re already an Alamy contributor; Stockimo images just add to your existing collection and only increase your percentage.
Stockimo’s terms are non-exclusive, so you can still market your images through other non-exclusive channels and if you decide it isn’t right for you, you can always have Alamy delete your account and remove your photos from the service.
Check out Stockimo for more details or to sign up for an account.