Journal & Blog of Jim Sincock and Interrobang

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A Photographer's Brief Review of Dreamstime Stock

Being an artist isn't an easy way to make a living. Getting a steady paycheck at a regular job is the easier way to go. Artists (whether a photographer, illustrator, designer, painter, etc) have to sell themselves or enlist others to help sell their work. Most commercial artists know about the stock image industry, some have tried it, and some of you may be thinking about trying it.

With the micro-stock websites, the ones where people can buy images usually for less than $10, your odds of making even a fraction of a living are very limited unless you literally have thousands of high quality and relevant images with the agency. If you don't have that to offer an agency, odds are that you will be making very little money.

In 2009 I tried out several micro stock sites. Some did better than others, but all of them made me barely any money since I only had 100 or less "average" images. Over the past couple years I've deleted my images, closed my accounts and "cashed" out.  Well, that is until I tried to do that with Dreamstime.

To put it bluntly, Dreamstime has a shitty practice of refusing to pay contributors what is owed to them if that amount is under $100. They flat out refuse. Of course they have legally covered their ass by clearly spelling it out in their terms for contributors.

"No Contributor shall be entitled to receive payment, nor shall Dreamstime be liable for any such payment, unless and until the total amount of that Contributor’s unpaid earnings exceeds One Hundred U.S. Dollars (US$100.00)."

Yes it is clearly stated. Maybe they should add that this includes when you close your account, they still won't pay what is owed to you.

I thought it was bad enough that I was only making $0.35 on XL sized file downloads, and that they had moved several of my images into a FREE category without my knowledge. Now I find out they will not pay me because my balance is less than $100.

The other stock sites I was with and closed my accounts all paid me, regardless of how little was owed to me. 

I can't recommend that anyone contribute their work to Dreamstime, and I'd also hope that stock image buyers wouldn't support a company who has no issue with "legally" ripping off their artists.