The one question that rarely gets asked when people look at the massive libraries of MicroStock agencies is this: where did they get all these photos? The answer is simple – from photographers! Now, I know what you’re thinking – so you’re telling me that photographers contributed over 40 million photos to create this library? This answer is also simple – yes. Yes, they did.
The business model is simple. When a photographer contributes a photo, they don’t get paid. They get paid when a customer purchases a license for the image.
Before we go too far, but start by figuring out where Adobe got 40 million photos in the first place.
When It All Began
One year ago, in 2014, Adobe Stock didn’t exist. How did Adobe Stock create a library with so many photos in one year? To be honest, Adobe Stock didn’t exist until June 2015 when they launched. Going back to December 2014, Adobe was on the prowl to purchase a pre-existing stock photo library to add to their Creative Cloud. That’s when Adobe found Fotolia.
Adobe Acquired Fotolia
Adobe offered $800 million in cash to purchase Fotolia. Fotolia took the bait. Now, when you go to the Fotolia’s website, the only link they have to prove that Adobe owns them is a small Adobe logo in the upper left corner of your screen.
Instead of forcing every Fotolia customer to create a Creative Cloud account, Adobe decided to let Fotolia continue to run as its own a business entity. Honestly, the move was smart. Adobe decided that making waves of angry people wasn’t necessary.
The Birth of Adobe Stock
After the acquisition, it took Adobe a full six months before they launched Adobe Stock. The wait was well worth it. During this time, they were not only importing Fotolia’s entire library into a brand-new service, but they were restructuring their entire Creative Cloud to accept it.
Adobe Stock Is Now a Member of the Creative Cloud
Since Adobe Stock is part of the Creative Cloud, you can now purchase raw stock photos from directly within the Creative Cloud applications. Adobe streamlined the process. This means that Adobe’s customers no longer needed to subscribe to a separate stock photo agency, license a photo, save the file to their computer and then import it into the Adobe application. This seamless integration is why Adobe took six months to introduce Adobe Stock.
Adobe and Fotolia: the One in the Same
If you were to compare the Adobe library and the Fotolia library, you would discover that they are one in the same. Everything that gets contributed to the Fotolia library gets added to the Adobe library automatically by proxy. From this perspective, it wouldn’t make sense to have one account with Fotolia and a separate Creative Cloud account.
How Each Are Different
The truth is that Fotolia is a little different from Adobe Stock. If you have an account with Fotolia, you may find yourself with a Creative Cloud account simultaneously. Fotolia does exist as a separate and distinct business entity.
How to Make a Living As a Stock Photographer
As a stock photographer, how do you make a living? While many photographers make a living doing events, other photographers are busy photographing everyday things in the world around us. Stock photographers make a living by contributing their photos to various stock photo agencies. Verbiage is important here – stock photographers don’t donate their photos. They contribute them.
Stock Photographers Are Paid on Commission
When a stock photographer contributes a photo to a stock photo agency, they don’t get paid. That’s a good thing – it has two effects. First, the photographer retains the rights to the photo. The stock photo agency does not purchase those rights. Second, it entices the photographer to submit photos of the highest quality possible. You see, the photographer doesn’t get paid until a customer purchases the photo. This means that the photographer can get paid each and every time that a customer makes a purchase of licenses the photo. Secondly, customers are not going to license low-quality photos. The more high-quality photos that the photographer can contribute the more money the photographer can earn from the photos.
How to Contribute to the Adobe Stock Library
If you visit the Adobe Stock website, you’ll find a little link toward the bottom for contributors. However, you’ll also notice that Adobe does not accept contributions directly. You may contribute – but not through Adobe. You must go through Fotolia. This is the only case in which having a Fotolia account simultaneously with a Creative Cloud account may make sense. You see, you don’t get charged for having an account with a stock photo agency. The account is free. You get charged when you purchase their photos.