There is general information about the development of the 123RF microstock agency here
Click on the banner below and you can register with the 123RF microstock agency.
Community – This agency does not have any community to fall back on, However, their guides and other resources are pretty good. I have found the online help desk has resolved most of my issues. The helpline staff do give you a feeling of being an individual and that they are not just another support call centre.
Exclusivity – You do not have the option to make an image exclusive to 123RF unlike many other agencies.
Upload history – The history feature is quite useful as you can see what you have uploaded each month and see the current status. It also provides a summary.
Sales and Earnings – In terms of sales I have not found them to be as successful as some other agencies. You do not have the option to see how many times each image is being viewed so the opportunity to tweak the less viewed images does not apply. The earnings section is pretty basic but adequate. You can see what you have sold each month by the day and then drill down to see which images have been sold. There is an annoying security feature before you can access the earnings section that requires you to enter the number code you see every time you use it but better to be secure than not.
Portfolio – Once you have uploaded some images and had them approved you can have a look at your portfolio. The user interface is clear and well laid out. Each contributor has their own profile page and you can see some information about the contributor such as when they joined and the number of images they have available. My portfolio of images is here as an example for you to look at so you can see what yours will start to look like after a little while.
So, on to the selling side in more detail. This process can be split down into a number of tasks and there is a little information below about each and I hope it helps if you choose to sell your images with 123RF. This agency has one of the simplest upload processes and it is quite quick to upload an image and enter all the required information.
Initial upload – This is fairly straightforward but can be a little quirky. It does not like non-standard characters such as hyphens in file names and occasionally it will not recognise a jpg. If the file type is not recogised I just do it again and that seems to work. You also need to decide at this point whether it will be royalty free or editorial. They are kept in separate sections from this point onwards. You then just add the files to a list, which is automatically checked. I assume this is for basic technical requirements like image resolution and file size. After that just tick the box immediately below to accept their terms and click next and that will start the upload. This can take some little while so you have to be patient. Once uploaded you need to complete the upload process by adding information to the images so they can be reviewed. The upload section will allow you not only to upload new files but also to manage your current images. I use this feature a lot to check the current status of each image. There are four sections; all, accepted, rejected and incomplete. Quite self-explanatory.
Incomplete files – Once the files have been uploaded they will sit in the incomplete section. Just be aware an image does not go into another section when you have finished adding information to it. It just sits there in the incomplete section until it is reviewed and will then go into either the accepted or rejected sections. If you are doing a lot of uploading you will find numbers can build up in the incomplete section very quickly. There are twenty images allowed per page and this can slows things down when you have incomplete files (ones you have added no information to) mixed up with files that are completed and ready for review.
Image description – There is no long description, just a short description so make sure it is precise and relevant. Think what the buyer might be looking for.
Keywords – The next and the most important step is to add some keywords. There does not appear to be a maximum (I am sure there is) but there is a minimum of seven. Most people seem to add about 10 – 20. Don’t be tempted to add lots of irrelevant ones just to make up the numbers. It does have the nice feature of being able to copy keywords from one image to another if you need to which is useful if you have a series of similar images. It puts them on the clipoboard I guess. The keywords are not in the form of a list that you can copy and paste and I assume that is why this feature is here. One other thing to be aware of is that once accepted keywords cannot be changed so you cannot tweak them if you feel an image is not keyworded correctly. This also applies to title and country.
Releases – At this point you can attach or detach model or property release forms.
Consider as editorial – If in the early stages of the upload process you have decided to submit an image as royalty free, then by ticking this box you will allow it to be considered as editorial if it is refused as royalty free. I have never had this happen but I assume it will apply in those cases where there are logos, trademarks and people etc. visible so it cannot be considered as royalty free but the image is of good quality, newsworthy and worth approval.
Country relevance – You have the option then to add a country, from a drop down list, to identify where you think the image is relevant. I nearly always put the United Kingdom but occasionally I have a photo taken in the UK but of an animal, of say African origin, so it is more relevant to the African country than it is to the location in the United Kingdom where the image was captured. I assume this is how it should be used.
File details – This section includes the original filename, size in pixels, RAW size in Mb and the date it was submitted. This can be helpful if you want to check something.
Update the file – And finally, once you have added all the required information, you update the file and this makes it availble to a reviewer at 123RF. You can also update and save it as you go along so it does not have to be done in one operation. From what I understand, only when all the sections are completed will a reviewer be presented with the image. The image can sit there in the uncompleted section for a while. They are not the fastest for review but they will usually process things faster if asked.
Image rejected – If your image is not approved you will get the reasons why. Some reasons will be obvious and some will be a little more difficult to understand. The reasons are generic. Things like poor composition, focus and the like. There will only be one main reason but others may be present just not highlighted. I suspect that sometimes the file just isn’t what they want and the reasons for refusal are many but with no one obvious factor that stands out. With many rejections you will have the option to resubmit the image. The choice is yours.
Menus – As a contributor most of the links for managing your images and portfolio are at the bottom of the page so it does slow things down. If you click on “more” a far better set of menus and options appears which does help.
That is all there is to it. A very simple process and one which will allow you to quickly build up a portfolio on 123RF. All you have to do now is wait for sales. Like all agencies this can take a little while. I would certainly have a review of what has and has not sold within a year to see if there are any trends or obvious good or bad factors.
As with all these little mini-guides I will update them frequently both as I think of things and as I experience different aspects of the agency. Just remember these are my thoughts and I leave you to draw your own conclusions. If you do find errors or omissions please contact me and I will make some amendments.
And again here is a link to my portfolio: