Well I finally did it. 3000 images on iStock by Getty Images. This has been my goal for a couple of years now, but one problem after another built a wall of resistance that I just could not climb. I uploaded my first image on July 31, 2006 after an article was published in a new magazine I was receiving called Digital Photographer Magazine discussing a new method of selling photographs that was catching fire at that time. I had been with a traditional agency for a year at that time without much success and was looking for something new. So I took the plunge and not much later images began to sell. Royalties were pretty skimpy back then, but having some images showing in the sold column was very encouraging.
2007 was probably my most prolific year at iStock and a fun year for Tricia and me as a couple. We had an antiques booth at a mall in Arvada and I would run up to Boulder and Golden while she was stocking and pricing and shoot everything I could find. I think I had over 1000 images accepted that year, which was pretty good since image inspections were pretty rough back then. I think in those days it wasn’t unusual to have 30% rejected. 2007 was also the year I wisely abandoned my EOS-1D and began to use the inferior 10D. It wasn’t nearly the camera that the 1D was, but it produced a large image while the 1D only had the chip for a medium, which at the time resulted in significantly less revenue than sales of a large could bring.
In 2008 I purchased my 40D and a better lens. I would have uploaded more to iStock, but I was getting a bit disillusioned by the miniscule royalties and infrequent payouts so I cancelled my exclusive contract with iStock to start uploading to Alamy. I still remember the day I gave up my exclusive crown… I regretted it the second I hit the cancel button. I called them and begged them to reinstate me, but they said it would take 30 or 90 days or something like that. Anyway, I figured I might as well give Alamy a try as long as I was already committed. So that year I ended up sending about 1000 images to Alamy. Unfortunately 2008 was the year the economy blew up so that effort was for naught.
2010 brought big changes to iStock when Getty Images bought it and began to sweeten the exclusive pot for exclusive artists. So I began the long journey back to exclusive by removing all royalty free images from all the places they had been sent. Eventually I got my exclusive crown back and began to upload in earnest. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before Tricia’s illness took precedence over everything and I was about 500 images shy of meeting my next self set milestone at iStock of 3000 approved images.
Finally this spring, with my new hiking opportunities and all my running around to Colorado Springs to take care of business, I have been piling up some images again. And today was the big day… my 3000th approval. Yesterday’s hike up the Red Rock Canyon Trail put me over the top. It isn’t showing yet since the data base indexing doesn’t run everyday, but I know I have made it. I’m sure no one else really cares and there won’t be any awards or fanfare for it, but I know. That’s good enough for me 🙂