Exclusivity, another look at a popular subject

posted on 4th of january, 2011

A common question on the Dreamstime forums concerns Exclusivity; many of us have struggled with the decision to become exclusive or to spread our efforts over different RF (royalty free) and RM (rights managed) agencies.

I joined the DT community February 2010; I also jointed 12 other RF agencies at the same time. After a couple months, I began to see the immense amount of work to keep all the agencies going and decided to go exclusive with Dreamstime. It was not until mid-August 2010 that I was able to cancel all the other contracts and become exclusive with DT.

Was exclusivity profitable? LetХs take a look at the raw numbers. I have slightly more than 700 images here on DT (100 of which were uploaded in the past month); I have sold slightly more than 400 images. My primary focus is wildlife photography which generally is not a super hot selling item. Of the 400 plus sales, over 200 images have sold at least one time; four images are level three (>10), about 10 images are level two (>5 sales). Nevertheless, I believe a look at the numbers is valid.

Between February and August 2010, I averaged $33.27 dollars in sales a month and $1.04 RPD (return per download). Between August 2010 and December 2010, I averaged $67.68 dollars per month and $1.53 RPD.

In addition to the increase of income for the months August-December 2010; I also received a $0.20 credit for images uploaded, approximately $150.00 total.

Again, was exclusivity profitable? Like all things in life, it depends on your goals and time commitments. Managing a portfolio on a stock agency is time consuming; sure, once it is uploaded it does not take much time but uploading, keywording, categorizing, etc is very time consuming as each different agency has different standards and procedures. Some agencies, wildlife photography does not sell well; for these it is a waste of time to do all the work for the meager returns. DT has been worth the work and effort; I have not gotten rich but I can see the potential. With a monthly commitment, I can build my portfolio and build my income. Looking at the numbers, I roughly doubled my average income per month and increased my RPD. I made enough on DT in the past 11 months to purchase a camera body.

Would I advise a friend to become exclusive? If you are a full-time working professional photographer and you want to make a good portion of your income with RF; I would say no. It would be better to load your portfolio on all profitable sites but this would entail a serious time commitment. If you are not a professional photographer and do not have lots of extra time; then I believe exclusivity with DT is a good option.

I wish all success!

Comments (18)

Posted by Tan510jomast on January 29, 2011
hey, good blog. something i have been wondering too ie. exclusive contributor, exclusive image,.
I am a working photographer with stock being a miniscule portion of my work schedule. ie. more active in winter months less active during summer when my work takes up almost 18 hours a day.
Going exclusive has been on my mind too. I don't have the time to subscribe to multiple sites that promise bigger commissions but no sales or worst no views.etc.
I made lots of good friends here in DT community and with another top site , whom I noticed are successful exclusives with that highly respectable agency. I asked them the same question too, re putting the eggs in one basket.
I noticed, at least in my case, different sites sell better specific concepts. I can safely say Dreamstime sells more or less a specific niche for me, so I am increasing those niche exclusively for DT.
I think if I were to look at my production and tailor make it to say one specific site , ie. the site that sells the most...(More)
Posted by Vishakha27 on January 26, 2011
Hey..........i totally agree with u.
to become exclusive to DT is really profitable.....but dont u think so tht they shud increase the amount for exclusivity,it shud be more than 0.20$ because we r providing them exclusive images....!
Posted by lzf on January 10, 2011
good job and i'm exclusive here also.. good luck to all exclusive members here ..
Posted by Iwhitwo on January 07, 2011
Well written blog on an interesting subject John, thanks for sharing and good luck with your future sales.
Posted by Jlhope on January 06, 2011
good luck and more sales in new year 2011
Posted by Anhong on January 05, 2011
Very friendly advice. Good luck and do good!
Posted by Visceralimage on January 04, 2011
Thanks all!

Cednik; RPD is the average price paid for each downloaded image in your portfolio for that month. Say you had 10 images downloaded and your income was $10.00; your RPD download is $1.00 per image. Some images may have sold as subscriptions for $0.27 and some may have sold as individuals for a couple dollars each, but the overall average is $1.00 per image.

Best to all!
Posted by Scottysally2 on January 04, 2011
Beautiful images, good luck in exclusivity, wish you many uploads and sales. :)
Posted by Physi28 on January 04, 2011
very interesting useful and helpful blog, thanks!
Posted by Brianarbuthnot on January 04, 2011
I agree John and thanks for sharing and beautiful port.,from an envious wannabe,Happy new year.
Posted by Trottola on January 04, 2011
I agree with you. Interesting blog, thank you for sharing!
Posted by Themalni on January 04, 2011
I'm glad you wrote this article and shed more light on the subject that I was interested in. Thank you!
Posted by Novembergale on January 04, 2011
I agree with your comments 100%. Well written!
Posted by Infotrontof on January 04, 2011
Great insight!! Thanks a lot...
Posted by Sobek85 on January 04, 2011
love those shots
Posted by Cednik on January 04, 2011
Congratulations. BTW what does that RPD actually means?
Posted by Dmccale on January 04, 2011
I agree also.Being exclusive works great for me.I tried other sites ans this is less stress and more money at a great community.
Posted by BCritchley on January 04, 2011
Totally agree. It works well for me, especially the enhanced placement of your shots when buyers search.

Search "parked cars" and it returns over 1000 images, uner my preset of "relavancy- descending" at least 4 of my images appear on page 1 in position numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. I can't fault that and saw nothing like this before I was exclusive :-)

Comments (18)

This article has been read 1426 times. 8 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Moose Henderson.

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Professional Wildlife Photographer working in Russia and North America.

Jackson, US

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