Click on the banner below and you can register with the Dreamstime microstock agency.
Once you have registered you can begin the process of uploading images.
One of the nicest things about this microstock agency is that it has an active community of contributors who are more than willing to answer your questions and help where they can.
I will focus in this brief guide on selling images as a contributor but where it is relevant talk about using Dreamstime as a buyer.
- Initial upload – This is fairly straightforward. You just add the files via the upload tab. Once the upload process starts it can take a little while so you have to be patient. It works in the background so you can do other things while your files are uploading to the unfinished section. I usually use the FTP option but the choice is yours. FTP is good if you have a large number of images to upload.
- Unfinished section – Once uploaded and in the unfinished section you need to decide whether the files will be commercial (royalty free) or editorial. After you have chosen that you can move on to entering the required details.
- Autopopulate – If you have an image with similar details you can use that to autopopulate the current image you are working on. That can save a lot of time. As far as I know no other agency has this feature and you will find it a real time saver if you upload lots of images with similar details.
- Short and long descriptions – Self explanatory. Just make sure they are relevant. A nice feature of this site is that it populates the keyword list using words from the descriptions so saving you some more time. An associated spell checker reduces spelling errors too.
- Categories – When assigning a category to an image the choice of categories is fairly arbitrary. They are trying to fit images into boxes that they don’t really fit in. You can choose up to three and you should use all of the options if the categories apply to the image. Once the image is being reviewed you cannot change the category yourself without contacting support.
- Editor comments – At this point you can add some comments for the editor (reviewer).
- Keywords – The next and probably the most important step is to choose some keywords. Some will already have been autopopulated from your descriptions. You are restricted to a maximum of 80 with a minimum of 10. Most people add about 15 to 30. Don’t be tempted to add lots of irrelevant ones just to make up the numbers. It ignores conjunctions and articles etc. This is the main way a buyer is going to find your image so I cannot stress enough how important this is.
- Other information – You then have the option then to add a geolocation and additional file formats. I never use that but I guess some people might.
- Licensing – After that you need to specify the type of usage of the image that you are selling. There are three basic option: web usage, print usage and to sell the rights (for differing periods of time). As a minimum I tick the web and print usage boxes. Rights sales are not very common and I always go with their recommendation. If you do have a rights sale you will have to restrict the distribution of the image.
- Image exclusivity – Lastly, you have the option to make the image exclusive to Dreamstime. You will benefit from better search placement and a higher commission but can only sell the image through Dreamstime.
- Upload the file – This sends it to Dreamstime for review. The estimated review time is a very useful feature.
If it is not approved and rejected you will get the reasons why. Some will be obvious and some will be a little difficult to understand. 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. With many rejections you will have the option to resubmit the image. The choice is yours.
Once approved and online there is a suite of features to help you manage your sales and portfolio. You can find this under “My Account”.
Once you have uploaded some images and had them approved you can have a look at your portfolio. Using the interface is easy and the images are clear and well laid out. Each contributor has their own profile page. You can see some account statistics about the contributor, for example: when they joined, number of images uploaded, sales etc. It also shows the latest photos, most popular and exclusive images all in their own separate sections. If you just want to see the images then go here and look at my portfolio of images. You can see what yours will start to look like after a little while.
One option you do have is to make your images “exclusive” which means the only agency that can sell that image is Dreamstime with some sales benefits. After a while you will also have the option of becoming an exclusive photographer, only selling your images through Dreamstime. As with the individual image there is an increase in commission and higher search placement.
Commision rates are in tiers so the more you sell the more your commission rate will increase.
One nice feature is to have the option to enter a small number of images for an assignment. You can increase an image to the top sales level or take a cash bonus. Other contributors will vote for the best images and the top three will receive a small prize. A nice touch. There are also blog competitions. Well worth looking at.
My view of Dreamstime
There is a real community feel about this agency which I like. Uploading is straightforward and the interface is good. Sales have been disappointing. After initially being promising with good growth that has largely tailed off since the summer of 2016 but that could change.