Some microstock sites allow you to submit a picture and designate it as exclusive to that site. This lets users know that you can’t get this picture anywhere else. The photographer might even get a higher commission on the picture because it is exclusive. The other exclusive is where a photographer only sells his or her pictures on one site. This type of exclusivity is the subject of this article.
What are the pros and cons of being exclusive?
Higher commissions. For example with one of the most popular microstock sites, an exclusive photographer makes a commission of 40 percent of the purchase price, opposed to 20 percent for non-exclusive photographers.
Better service. The microstock might give you higher upload limits (the number of pictures you can upload in a given amount of time), faster picture review times, or other benefits.
Time savings. It takes a lot less time to manage one portfolio on one site than to manage multiple portfolios on multiple sites.
Simplicity. You can concentrate your photography needs of one site. Each site has different needs for certain types of photographs and they also have a certain style they favor. Focusing on one site makes it easier for you to meet these needs, which results in or pictures being accepted and more sales.
Risk. What if the site with which you are exclusive changes policies or does something that hurts your earning potential. You are stuck with them. You can probably leave, but then you must start over at another site. If you do go exclusive, make sure you align yourself with one of the leading microstock sites that will be around.
Earnings potential. If there were only two microstock sites in town and you are exclusive with one of them, there might not be a large risk, since you get a higher commission for being exclusive. However, if there are ten great micros, can you really earn more money being exclusive to one site than you can not being exclusive with ten sites – not likely. Currently, the microstock world is between the these two situations. There are more than 2 and less than 10 great microstock sites, so the choice is not so obvious.
Portfolio size. Being exclusive, if your picture is rejected, you can’t sell it. With multiple sites, if one site doesn’t accept it, another might. Experience has shown that a picture that does not sell well on one site can sell great on another site. By limiting yourself to one site, you also limit the number of your pictures you will be able to sell. Also, related to this, if the exclusive site does not allow you to sell a certain type of picture, such as editorial pictures, you don’t have the option to go somewhere else to sell them.
Flexibility. Different sites need different types of pictures. If you are exclusive, you need to match your photography to their needs. With multiple site., you shoot what and how you want and how you want and there is a good chance you will be able to sell your pictures somewhere.
If you are considering going exclusive, think about your decision carefully before you commit. It might make sense for you to try a few of the best sites (see Fab 5 Microstocks) and see what you earn from each site. If your best seller is the site you want to exclusive with, this might be a good fit for you. If your worst seller is the site you want to go with, you might want to re-think your choice.