A lot – a LOT – of years ago, I contributed a few images to Fotolia, which in 2014 was bought by Adobe.
The average earnings per image were poor; so poor I eventually emailed Adobe and told it to take my images off its systems.
I had a rethink a week or so ago, though, when I got an email from Adobe excitedly telling me that the first 20,000 photographers to have 300 images accepted onto Adobe Stock before the end of 2018 would get a years’ worth of its photography Creative Cloud package.
Even my ropey mental arithmetic tells me that, as long as you can get 300 images uploaded within a couple of hours, that’s worth doing. Creative Cloud – assuming I don’t have InDesign going, which I subscribe to on a project-by-project basis – costs me about £120 a year.
Should I do it?
The big question for me – I’m running a business here, after all – is how long it would take. If it takes a whole day, it’s not worth it. I know from experience that my images aren’t massive money spinners on Adobe Stock; they do well elsewhere but I would need to shift A LOT of photography on Adobe to make a sensible amount of money. So I went into it assuming I would make nothing except for the free CC subscription.
Luckily – and this might be true for you – my image library in Lightroom is in pretty nice shape. 86k images, about 11k of which have a picked flag, and most of those have intelligible captions and keywords, either because they’ve been delivered to clients, or submitted to stock libraries elsewhere.
That means uploading to a new stock library is easy: just choose a set of images, export them at a sensible resolution and going to make a cup of tea while they bomp up towards Adobe’s stock server.
As was my experience with Fotolia, there’s a bit of weirdness when it comes to how Adobe Stock picks and rejects the images you upload. It’s important to note that if you want the free Creative Cloud subscription, at least 50% of your images must pass Adobe’s inspection, presumably to stop chancers uploading 300 shots of the back of the lens cap in the hope of scoring some free swag.
My success rate was much more than 50% (phew!) but there were some funny old rejections. I found any image with shallow depth of field would be rejected for being out of focus, even if the subject was bang on.
I also found that images with particularly wide dynamic range were liable to be rejected, even if that… wasn’t right.
Adobe Stock also doesn’t make the distinction between editorial photography and commercial photography, which means it assumes every image you submit will be used commercially. That means there is absolutely no uploading images with identifiable people without model releases (pah!), and you need to be very cautious of identifiable Things. Several of my images of iPhones were binned, as was every picture of cars.
Assuming you’re trying to bag £120-worth of free software, be cautious of spending hours on cloning labels and brand names out of your images as you’ll quickly find it’s not worth the time. As I say, I’ve approached this project with the assumption I’m not actually going to make any money licensing images, so every unnecessary minute editing bites into what is effectively a £120 commission.
A few minutes and a bit of cloning and this went from sinner to winner.
So you can’t just smash Adobe’s servers with a load of randomly chosen pictures – your rejection rate will skyrocket and – sad face – you won’t get your free subscription.
If you’re interested in trying it out, the link to sign up is here https://stock.adobelanding.com/gb/contributor-giveaway/.
Like I say, the offer is limited to the first 20,000 photographers, but I’ve been getting these emails for MONTHS and the most recent one dropped into my inbox two days ago, so you should be in with a shout. Let me know how you get on!