10 Essential Microstock Tools
As I mentioned in the reviews of lookstat and iSyndica, working with microstock images can be a lot of work. Lucky for submitters however, there are a number of tools to help us perform the many mundane tasks. Below is an extensive list of the tools developed with microstock photographers in mind. I have listed the various programs and services in the order voted most popular in this thread on the forum.
General FTP Program
If you are still uploading your images via a browser, one-by-one, and have more than a handful of images to upload, you need to check out an FTP program. Keeping true to the ever true “K.I.S.S.” principle, a simple FTP program is still the most used piece of image submission software for microstock photographers. A few of the most popular FTP programs are
- FileZilla (Free) PC | Mac
- CyberDuck (Free) Mac
- FireFTP - FireFox plug-in (Free) PC | Mac
- SmartFTP ($36.95) PC
For those photographers who are uploading to iStockPhoto, DeepMeta is essential. It may take a few minutes to find your way around the program, but once you are familiar with it – you will become entirely dependent on it – and that’s a good thing. The program is completely free and assists you in attaching releases, keywording images, uploading, tracking – the works. The software only works with iStock but even for non-exclusive photographer it is a indispensable tool.
There are a number of keywording tools available for microstock photographers, all of which are free. MicrostockGroup has created two tools, a keywording tool and a keyword list comparison tool. The simple design aims for speed and efficiency to rule their layout. Yuri Arcurs also provides a number of tools on his website for anyone to use. One of which is a keywording tool. The keywording tools work by asking you for a few specific keywords, then, through an image search, finds other keywords which may apply to your image. The tools need to be used with caution as it is easy to get carried away and use too many keywords with your images, however they are great tool for brainstorming and seeing which keywords you may have missed. Other keywording tools are located at Dusegard.se and FindPhotoKeywords.com
PicNiche is a Firefox broswer plug-in and has a number of useful functions including image uploading (similar to FTP), microstock blog updates, personal earnings notifications, a keywording tool, and various other useful link shortcuts. The creator Bob Davies is an active MicrostockGroup member and posts updates and provides trouble shooting support in the dedicated PicNiche area of the MSG forum. The software is free – so you have no excuse to give it a run!
ProStockMaster is the Swiss army knife of microstock tools. The software allows you to simultaneously upload to multiple agencies, brainstorm for keywords, provides earnings statistics and allows you to search your database by metadata. The software isn’t free but if you make good use of it, it isn’t expensive either. The software is sold as a monthly subscription.
I did a full review of the iSyndica service earlier, so I won’t cover it all again – but suffice it to say that it is a very useful image propagation tool and stats tracker. If bandwidth is one of your biggest deterrents to getting your images online – you will want to check out iSyndica. iSyndica has a free trial, but does cost a little if you end up using it to upload a large amounts of photos, videos or vectors.
The other big name in third party services, Lookstat provides a full package of image services for photographers who need to lighten their workload. They also provide detailed image sales tracking through iStock and Dreamstime with the ability to create collections to further refine earnings performance. Lookstat provides image statistics for free, and charges if you choose to use their ‘Back Office’ image uploading / processing services.
Similar to ProStockMaster, CushyStock provides keywording, uploading and tracking of your microstock images. The software has a free trial, with two additional software versions depending on your needs, both sold as a one time payment.
FindPhotoKeywords works similar to Yuri’s Keywording tool, but has more features. The tool allows you to search for keyword ideas from five different sites, as well as search in 10 different languages. While I had a few problems when selecting images from Getty, and when trying to ‘unmark all keywords’, a number of MSG members find the site quite useful.
Did I Miss Anything?
What tools do you use? Did I miss anything essential?
[MSG Discussion] – Which third party tools do you use?