iStockphoto to raise prices in August

The microstock company is raising the cost of credits used to license images, meaning customers will have to pay more but photographers will get more.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors | Semiconductors | Web browsers | Quantum computing | Supercomputers | AI | 3D printing | Drones | Computer science | Physics | Programming | Materials science | USB | UWB | Android | Digital photography | Science Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
2 min read

iStockphoto, the Getty Images "microstock" subsidiary that sells low-cost imagery and video, will announce Monday plans to raise prices and therefore photographer revenue next month along with a number of promotional activities.

The company sells credits that give customers rights to use contributors' photos in materials such as advertisements, Web sites or brochures. The higher the resolution, the more credits an image costs, and the credit cost will increase from $1.20 to $1.30 on August 19, said iStockphoto Executive Vice President Kelly Thompson. (Credits are cheaper in bulk.)

Because photographers get a proportion of the credit cost ranging between 20 percent and 40 percent, the increase will mean a few more pennies at least per sale for photographers, too. That may not sound like much, but some popular photos sell hundreds or even thousands of times over, so there are economies of scale at work here.

iStockphoto pioneered the microstock business, but it competes with a host of start-ups and rival sites from the two large stock-photo companies, JupiterImages and Corbis.

The company also is offering some promotions to photographers who contribute pictures. On one day in the next three months, the company will give iStockphoto-exclusive photographers 100 percent of the proceeds. To keep people from improperly benefiting from the deal, the company won't announce the date beforehand, though, Thompson said.

Other promotions geared to make photographers happier include unlimited uploads for the weekend of August 19-20; lowered requirements from 500 downloads to 250 to attain exclusive status and the resulting higher payment rates; $40,000 worth of contest prizes; and expanded the access to higher-fee image licensing programs elsewhere in the Getty business.

iStockphoto sells vector art--that which can be scaled to print at any size--as well as video and flash animations. The company is raising prices overall for video, sales of which are "going beyond our wildest expectations," Thompson said. Previously, videos were available for $5, $10, $20, $35 and $50, but those prices now will move to $10, $20, $30, $40 and $50, he said.

However, vector art prices are dropping from $1, $5, $10, $20 and $40 to $1, $3, $7, $12 and $25. (iStockphoto vector art costs more according to its complexity.) In practice, though, prices aren't necessarily dropping, because the company is moving many $1 files to the $3 price.

Full pricing details are published at the company's Web site.