Lookstat: Overcoming The Microstock Submission Headache

Posted on 10/14/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

The microstock submission process is an issue that frustrates many photographers.  Lookstat simplifies this process for those more interested in spending their time taking pictures than sitting in front of a computer.

To have any reasonable expectation of significant microstock sales, it is mandatory for photographers to place their images on at least the five or six top sites; it is desirable to have the images on other sites as well. Every site has different needs, submission criteria and reasons for rejecting images. Image preparation and submission can be so time-intensive that many microstock shooters who hope to make some profit for time invested quickly become discouraged.

For $4.25 per image, Lookstat will upload and submit images to up to 10 different sites. Currently, there are 12 possible sites to choose from, and Lookstat is likely to add more to the list in the near future. If the photographer wants to submit to more than 10, there is an additional fee. The company can also export images to sites like PhotoShelterupon request.

Lookstat will keyword images for $2.25 and provide a title, description and 30 to 50 keywords. If the photographer wants the images both keyworded and uploaded, the price is $5.75.

There are no minimums for a submission and no charge for periods of inactivity, but there are price breaks for volumes higher than 150 images per month. There are also reduced rates for iStockphoto exclusive photographers who only want their images placed on one site.

Tom Grill, the owner of Tetra Images and a leading producer of rights-managed and royalty-free images, recently provided Lookstat with over a hundred images to post on the microstock sites that represent his works. He said, “Once I signed up, I was able to upload my JPGs, model releases and a list of the micro agencies where I have accounts to the Lookstat FTP site. They took care of the rest. They performed all the keywording and uploading of images. And if there were any problems with submissions, they took care of those, too.”

In cases where Lookstat does the keywording, the company not only does its own quality check, but it also gives the photographer the opportunity to review and edit the keywords online. Only after photographer approval does Lookstat move on to the upload and submission process.

Photographers are also able to download their images with IPTC-embedded metadata for their own archives. There is no backup service through Lookstat.

Partners Trinette Reed and Chris Gramly said: “When we first started in micro, we did our own keywording and uploading. To say it was a logistical nightmare is a gross understatement. We were buried in the details and did not have time to shoot as much as we wanted. Lookstat took over all of our keywording and uploading in February of this year, and it was a total game changer for us. We got our life back and can now focus our energy on making images. The project management and customer service at Lookstat is outstanding. They have added a huge value to our business and our workflow. As photographers, we cannot imagine being able to work in the micro market without them.”

James Steidl of jgroup in San Diego, one of the 40 top sellers on iStockphoto, said: “If you look at the cost of this service, it is really amazing. It would take a normal person almost an hour to upload a single image to every single site. Cheap labor tends to produce bad results. To use a talented artist for this task is like hiring a thoracic surgeon to mow your lawn.  It is a great value and one we will definitely be using.”

Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Rahul Pathak Posted Oct 14, 2009

    Thanks a ton for the detailed and thorough post. We're committed to helping ease the friction associated with microstock submission so photographers focus their creative time and energy on new imagery.

    CEO & Founder

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