Shutterstock announced yesterday that their portfolio has passed the 4 million images milestone. They have the largest portfolio of all microstock agencies and have the fastest portfolio growth, which is impressive given they are also the most selective.
Here’s a visual representation of what agency portfolio growth over the past year looks like for the agencies who publish their portfolio size.
What Does it Tell Us?
The general pace of growth is fast and reflects a growing base of contributors. More hobbyists are discovering the opportunity to earn and learn, and more and more professional photographers are realizing the serious earning opportunity that microstock represents.
Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Fotolia are each adding an average of 150,000 new images each month while iStockphoto have averaged 120,000 and BigStockPhoto only 80,000.
iStockphoto’s slower portfolio growth is undoubtedly due to their upload limits. This is a small strategic sacrifice which improves quality across the portfolio. They also enjoy the largest portion of exclusive content in the microstock market.
BigStockPhoto doesn’t enjoy the same level of sales as the other agencies which explains their slower portfolio growth rate, even with the highest acceptance rate.
More Photos Requires Better Search
Such large portfolios put pressure on search technology in order to deliver customers the images they want. Microstock has been extremely innovative in this space, creating a variety of search sort options and the ability to search by color, copyspace, presence of people and various other aspects of the photo.
While reaching 4 million images is an achievement, microstock agencies still have relatively small portfolios compared to Alamy’s current 12.61 million images and a likely much larger number at the big macrostock agencies.
Posted July 4th, 2008 by Lee Torrens