Whether this is good news or bad news depends on whether you're buying or selling photos at iStockphoto, but the Getty Images subsidiary's prices will go up in 2008.
According to the new fee schedule, the cheapest image will still cost 1 credit, or $1.30, though that price diminishes when credits are purchased in larger quantities. However, a small image increases from 2 to 3 credits, a medium from 4 to 5, a large from 6 to 10, an extra large from 10 to 15, and an extra extra large from 15 to 20. In addition, credits purchased in modest quantities cost slightly more. (Size is based on the pixel dimensions of the image. For example, an extra small is up to 300x400 pixels, and an extra extra large is 3300x4900.)
For the microstock company's other licensing options, the intermediate grades of vector illustrations--moderate, detailed, and complex--also increased in price, but videos stayed the same.
Setting prices is a balancing of the needs of photographers who upload their photos, videos, and graphics and customers who pay to use that content. Both have the choice of taking their business elsewhere--there are many competing "microstocks" that also license images to customers for a small one-time fee.
"At iStock, we seek to maintain the appropriate price/royalty ratio that will keep our contributors happy and satisfied while balancing the needs of our clients," iStockphoto Excecutive Vice President Kelly Thompson said in a statement Wednesday. "We last raised image prices a year ago and will still have the best price/quality ratio in the industry come January."
Raising prices also is necessary to support iStockphoto's growing computer infrastructure need, Thompson said. The company's Web site traffic increased 86 percent from September 2006 to the same month this year, and part of that expansion involves offering photos to customers in more countries.