These Frequently Asked Questions should tell you everything you might want to know about Upixa.
Upixa is the rocket-quick, immensely scalable, entirely lovable and community-focused stock image library with artist-regulated price points and content controlled by its contributor base.
We figured it would be handy to keep everything in one place - just scroll down to the section you need, or print out the page.
Why choose Upixa to sell stock photos?
- You control your images. Once registered and approved, you may freely upload as many stock images as you like (subject to an initial maximum of 2,500 which will be increased, at discretion of Upixa, if required.) Successful stock image uploads are immediately queued for processing (indexing, naming, watermarking, resizing, and storing securely on our servers). Depending on server load, this may take from 10 minutes to 24 hours or longer. If you have embedded IPTC information in your images, the core parts related to location, caption and keywords will be automatically included when image processing takes place.
- Control the price. By selecting from one of five grades, you allocate a value to a stock photo based on your perception of its worth. Obviously this system is reliant on the objectiveness of the contributor, but bear in mind that image buyers are cost conscious and will not pay a premium price for a run-of-the-mill image. When setting price grades for photos please be realistic and as objective as you can! Please note that only approved accounts may change image prices. Your account will be approved once you have uploaded to the limit of the New Account Quota (currently 2500 images) and your account has been approved at which point your quota will be extended.
- You control how your stock photos are marketed online: the keywords, descriptions, and categories for all your microstock images.
- Higher commission for contributors: You will receive 80% of stock photo image sales after transaction processing and any currency exchange costs (usually about 5% of gross). So on a £100 image sale, you would receive approximately £70-71. Our commission is set at the same flat rate of 20 per cent across the board for every transaction. The fees we are charged for online payment processing can vary between 3 and 7 per cent depending on the amount handled and the location of the image purchaser and any currency exchange necessary. If you are a VAT registered business, you will receive payments with VAT added.
What kind of stock images does upixa want from contributors?
- UK and Europe stock: cityscapes, industry, urban environment, people, business, landscapes, travel and communications, roughly in that order.
- Highly topical or newsworthy photos with a short editorial shelf-life: current events; news; reportage; sports; fashion; travel and lifestyle.
- Cutting edge microstock: location and people-focused images, interesting and unusual photographic imagery for corporate and editorial use.
What are your criteria for acceptance of contributors?
Contributor registration is open and not subject to screening. Registration takes about one minute and all new contributors may upload a restricted number of images (currently 2500) immediately. Click here to register as a contributor. When you have uploaded to the limit of your initial quota, your account will be reviewed by the upixa contributor support team within 24 hours or less. This limit is in place in order to ensure that all new contributors are conducting adequate quality control and that our Terms and Conditions are being adhered to. Also, this acts as a safeguard for us against possible abuses by the minority who may upload inappropriate or illegal material or images which are not commercially viable. Each contributor's initial batch of uploads will be reviewed for quality and composition. If there are any problems or issues we will let you know by email. Otherwise, your account will be fully activated and you will be able to continue to upload up to a further 1000 images. Once you reach 1000 images your quota will automatically expand to allow a further 1000 images and so on.
The open nature of our system means that the onus of quality control falls to the contributors, and a lot of trust is invested in the contributors to ensure that high quality standards are maintained. If we find that a contributor consistently uploads inadequate or poor quality images, any such images will be removed and the contributor responsible will be asked to desist. If a contributor continues to abuse the system after three warnings they will be removed and all their material will be deleted.
Images can be uploaded in batches and contributors can monitor the progress of the server processing their stock image uploads in your control panel. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, assuming a typical JPEG stock photo image size of 2.5Mb-5Mb you should be able to upload between 20 and 100 images per hour. For contributors with many hundreds or thousands of images, you may upload bulk images electronically via FTP. You can also email images in to us by sending the to our amazing robot (Robbie).
I'm quite handy with a camera but it's not my day job. Can I still be a contributor?
Yes. The quality of the composition and the commercial potential of your work is more important than whether you are already earning money from photography.
I'm an established photographer with a large library of non-digital material which needs to be scanned before I can upload it. Can you give me some pointers as to what I should do?
You need to decide whether you want to do your own scanning or whether it would be better to have a professional scanning house do the work for you.
I've been shooting digital for years and I've got thousands of potential images for submission. Is there a quicker way to upload images in larger batches, e.g. several hundred at a time?
Contributors have FTP access to their own private area into which they can upload images using FTP. All files must be RGB JPEGs with the ".jpg" extension. Files submitted in this way will be automatically processed by the server in batches and added to the contributor's account in the same way as browser uploads.
How should I prepare my microstock images for submission?
- All images should be saved in JPEG format. Minimum sizes apply (1200 pixels minimum in either dimension).
- Images must be RGB colourspace (most digital images will come off your camera native as RGB).
- Images should be saved with a high Quality setting e.g. "Maximum" or "High" - if using Photoshop, choose at least a Quality level of 9; ideally 10 or more (out of 12). Images with excessive "lossiness" (degraded by extreme JPEG compression at low quality settings) will be rejected.
- Don't Embed Profiles (the image will still be processed as if the profiling were not present, but there may be a very small chance that some colours may shift).
- Don't submit CMYK images. They may still be processed, but may end up looking rather washed out and odd after being forced to RGB. Any images which fail our quality control spot checks (for this or any other reason) may be removed without warning.
- Don't sharpen or Unsharp Mask your images before uploading.
- Maximum size per individual compressed JPEG image is 6.5Mb. This equates to an uncompressed image size of approx 50-90Mb. As a general guideline, if you are shooting with a camera capable of 8 megapixels, your compressed JPEGs at a high quality setting will usually be about 2-5Mb (approx 24Mb uncompressed). If you have a very high resolution camera, e.g. 12-22 megapixels, or you are shooting on a studio-based camera with a higher resolution back, aim for an image size of around 35-50Mb uncompressed.
- If your images are from scans of transparencies or flat prints, please ensure you spend some time checking each image: zoom in at 100% and ensure that you "rubber stamp" (touch out) any dust, hairs, scratches, hickeys or blemishes on the scan.
- Orientation: Please ensure that your images are the correct orientation when viewed normally, i.e. without turning your head through 90 degrees. Our engine is completely automated, and will not correct for this. At some stage we will introduce a feature for contributors to rotate submitted images, but until we do please ensure that all submitted images are the right way round.
- That's it!
What about embedded IPTC information? Will upixa carry it all over from my uploads?
Yes. Keywords, shoot date, and description fields will all be taken over and automatically inserted into the database as your pictures are processed. So when you come to review the image, you just need to select a category from the dropdown menu and confirm to publish it. You can add IPTC information using Adobe Photoshop - select "File Info..." from the File menu, and edit before saving the JPEG.
Will my images just automatically appear online for sale?
No. You need to individually select each image and confirm that you want to "publish" it online. Images may only be published if they have description and keywords fields completed. If you decide at any time to withdraw an image, you may do so. However, if a buyer has previously placed that image in their lightbox or basket, or has made a purchase of it, they will still be able to use that image; however an unpublished image would not be available for new buyers. Images which are "unpublished" will not show up on searches, but will remain in any lightbox or basket or previous purchases until removed by the user.
Can I see a demo of upixa's functionality?
There's no need. Just register and you will be able to upload, review and publish images. It's that simple and costs nothing. If you decide not to carry on using it you can remove or unpublish your images and simply not use your account.
What market sectors do you serve?
Essentially we aim to serve two key markets:
1) Topical Royalty-Free stock photos: our set-up makes us ideal for images which may have a short topical lifespan and are needed quickly by buyers: these typically include news, sports, reportage, celebrities, important occasions and newsworthy world events.
2) Core Royalty-Free: "non-time-critical" stock library images such as landscapes, urbscapes, scenic, abstract, people, wildlife, the environment, business, communications, healthcare, travel and transport, food, new age (e.g. Kirlian, alternative health, lifestyle) and architecture. Image quality, interesting subject matter and good composition are of primary importance.
What's in it for me as a contributor?
What's my financial commitment, as a contributor?
How will I get paid?
Payments are prepared for contributors using an automated system which runs at the end of every working day. All sales which are 30 days or more since transaction date will be released for payment to the contributor. The 30-day buffer is necessary to allow confirmation of receipt of cleared funds from the buyers (even with credit card online transactions, a time lag of a few days is necessary to ensure that there is no risk of a transaction being reversed through fraud or error, or in the case of a payment needing to be reversed because of a problem with an image, for example). The net amount due to each contributor is calculated after deductions of transaction processing fees and upixa's 20% flat rate service commission. You will be able to view all this information online in your contributor account area and see exactly what's been sold, what the customer paid and what you've earned from sales of your images along with details of what has been deducted for processing and upixa's commission. Whenever a contributor's "cleared" account balance (i.e. all image sales over 30 days old which have been paid and are not subject to query, dispute or chargeback) exceeds £100, a Paypal payment will be raised for the full balance due. If you are UK VAT registered and you have provided your VAT registration number you will be paid VAT; if not you will be paid net of VAT. With every payment you will receive a "self-billing invoice" in the form of a receipt with details of the payment and description of what you are being paid for to help with your accounting. This information is also accessible online in your Contributor area.
OK, Upixa has got some cool ideas but why should I choose Upixa instead of a competitor?
- Speed: we are the only fully commercial online digital image library offering immediate upload facilities and individual image price control and upload via both FTP and email to contributors. The time between an approved contributor uploading an image and the picture appearing for sale could be as little as 10 minutes, and will be within 24 hours maximum except in extraordinary circumstances: our target benchmark is currently 2 hours, though times of day, bandwidth and general server load can all impact on this. This speed has many potential advantages. Imagine you shoot a sporting event, a political conference or important news item, or you happen to take some "right place, right time" shots of a new product about to be launched. Within 24 hours you could make those images available for sale, and capture the available market for that image before the window of opportunity expires. With other libraries, by the time you burnt the image to CD, posted it off, waited between 5 and 11 weeks (with no guarantee of inclusion) it might be of historical interest only.
- Relaxed image sizing criteria: we recognise that many creative jobs don't need huge poster-size 60Mb images, especially editorial, reports, brochures and web sites, where images and information content need to share the available space. We think it's a mistake to exclude quality material simply because it's been shot with a smartphone, tablet or basic digital camera and is therefore likely to be no more than 6-8Mb uncompacted. Upixa will accept images from around 1200 pixels upwards - approximately 4Mb uncompacted. The quality and saleworthiness (commercial potential) of the image takes precedence over resolution.
- Control: approved contributors are enabled to set the price bracket for each of their images, and they are given the ability to amend these settings if they wish. Contributors may select which images are made available for sale, and may delete them if they wish.
- Smaller commission rates means a larger chunk passed on to contributors: years of careful analysis of the market has given us an insight into what should be done better. And what's missing from the competition. We want to have the edge and grow into the best, most responsive and most innovative in this market. That's why we offer a whole rack of great features unheard of on our competitors' engines. We believe that our approach really raises the bar and sets new standards for contributor-led image resale systems worldwide. A very streamlined, highly automated approach with minimum human interventions is designed to squeeze waste out and keep costs nailed down. Our goal is to set commission levels as low as possible with the intention of keeping these levels at half or less than comparable operations.
- Fairer pricing: our image pricing is worked out automatically and individually on the spot for each image, based on a number of pixels per penny, derived from a mathematical analysis of the image size and resolution and based on the prevailing min-max price points in place at that time. This may sound bizarre but, being based on a sliding scale and a consistent mathematical equation, it works really well. For the smallest image sizes, a penny buys around 150-250 pixels, whereas for the largest (e.g. 60Mb uncompacted file size) each penny may buy 2000-3000 pixels. It's a fair, thoroughly scaleable system which is more transparent for buyers and is calculated to increase sales through enabling buyers to make the most of their image budgets. Buyers know that it's frustrating to have to pay over the odds for just a little extra resolution - e.g. let's say a designer needs a 4Mb filesize, the 1.7Mb option won't do the job so typically they have to pay over the odds for a 9 or 10Mb size “just to be on the safe side” and then scale the image down. Better in our view that they have a wider, fairer choice of image sizes and less disparity between the prices. For contributors, the advantages of this system is that price increments can be dialled in easily with inflation just by tweaking the floor and ceiling settings and the curve of the sliding scale. Likewise, as the scale is based around a simple equation and all the parameters, including those for image grades, are flexible, if we find over time that image prices need to be adjusted or the price grade gaps widened, it's easy to implement a change with a simple tweak.
And, last but not least: it's not often you get to have your cake and eat it. There's nothing to stop you submitting to as many libraries as you like; you can upload the same images to your upixa account as well as with other providers, thereby casting your net as wide as possible to maximise the potential for sales of your microstock photo collection.