26 Sep 2012 Photaki Review

With so many new microstock agencies launching each year, surviving more than 12 months is starting to become what sets the good apart from the not so good.

Having been in business since 2009, the Spanish-born microstock agency Photaki is approaching veteran status.

But having enough profits for the agency itself to survive doesn’t mean it will be profitable for contributors to submit.   Hopefully this review will give you the information you need to make a well-informed decision for yourself.

Photaki logo

Photaki Background

Like the majority of microstock agencies, Photaki started out as a collection of online images before switching to the microstock business model.

The original collection consisted of photos of the local area pooled by a group of photographers in Malaga, Spain, way back in 2001.

In 2009 it switched from Rights Managed licenses to a fully fledged microstock agency and changed the name from AndaluciaImages to Photaki.

The team is small and multi-skilled, allowing them to achieve a lot without spending too much money.   And that’s important when your strategy involves undercutting the market on prices and paying super-high royalties.

Traction has been slow since Photaki launched as a microstock agency, and that’s how the team likes it.   Steady and sustainable growth is their objective.

Photaki Details

Web address photaki.com
Social Profiles Facebook   Twitter
Google Pagerank 3
Alexa Rank 44,266
Image Stats 673,000
Minimum Size 4 megapixels
Vectors Yes
Video Footage No
Licenses Royalty Free and Rights Managed, Editorial, Extended License for Resale Products but Unlimited Reproduction is included in the standard license.
Compensation 50% – 80%, based on sales performance of each file
Pricing 1 – 15 credits, 1 credit = €1. Subscriptions provide credits, not downloads.
Payout Methods PayPal or bank transfer
Payout €50 minimum balance, or €150 for bank transfer
Referral Program 15% for referred buyers and 10% for referred contributors
Application Process Submit ID and 10 test images.
Exclusivity Not offered
Upload Methods Web form or FTP
IPTC Data Yes
Delete images? Yes, immediately and individually
Currencies Euro
Languages English, Spanish (and Catalan), French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Japanese, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Chinese, Russian
Headquarters Málaga, Spain
Founder Pablo Blanes (LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr)

Cool Features

If you have 150 approved files and 70% or higher approval rate, you can set your own prices.

Photaki allows buyers to browse photos on a map, which is not something we haven’t seen before in microstock, but it’s not common and very useful for photo buyers in the travel industry.

Most microstock agencies will allow new contributors with very large portfolios to submit all their files at once by posting in a hard drive or DVDs with a release spreadsheet. Photaki have formalized this program to encourage more microstockers to contribute.

Contributors get a sub-domain portfolio which can be customized (change colors). While not so useful for those committed to stock, it’s popular with the ‘less stocky’ contributors that seem to like and do well at Photaki.   Photos from Flickr can also be imported for display (not for sale) in the portfolio.

Issues to Consider

Photaki have worked hard to clear up the issues that arose from switching to the microstock business model and changing the primary language of the site to English.

Most of these issues have now been resolved, so while the site isn’t as slick as some of the big-team microstock agencies, it’s functional and ready to get on with the business of selling photos.

The biggest issue for me is the inclusion of unlimited print runs and multiple seats in the standard license.   The cheap licensing of the microstock business model works because buyers get only very limited rights.   Including Extended License rights in the standard license makes it easier for agencies to sell while eliminating the lucrative Extended License opportunity for contributors.

The translations of the license agreements into English – which came way too long after the English-language website was launched – are full of grammar errors and confusing language. As a buyer this would concern me. As a contributor I wonder why they haven’t had a native English speaking lawyer properly draft these most critical legal agreements.

Low prices are great for customers and high royalties are great for contributors. But neither is helpful for an agency, especially when combined. Competition among microstock agencies is fierce, so having healthy margins – not to mention the motivation of healthy profits – makes the difference between languishing and sustaining meaningful growth.

One of the key ideals of Photaki is that small microstock agencies prevent the dire consequences of oligopoly, hence it’s in the interests of contributors to support them. It’s the classic “help us to help you”.   That makes sense, but clashes with the strategy of under-cutting the top agencies on price.


Photaki is clearly a serious microstock agency worthy of consideration for adding to your microstock distribution.   The business has demonstrated longevity and the ability to resolve problems with the business.

The need to support small microstock agencies for the health of the market is a fair argument, but I recommend we request two critical issues be addressed before we support Photaki as our agent for market balance.   These are the inclusion of Extended License level rights in the standard license and the poor translation of the license agreement.

If you’d like to join me, leave a comment below with a link to one of your microstock portfolios (so Photaki can see what’s at stake). State that you’d like to see the rights and license issues addressed (and/or any others) before you submit your portfolio.

  • p.studio66
    Posted at 19:35h, 27 September Reply


    from my point of view is this agency nothing for photographer that send a big quantity of pictures. You need to review all your pictures, picture for picture. Photaki don’t have any batch tools, nothing that help photographer that send a lot of pictures. Imagine how many time you will need to review 1000 pictures and every week you send 100 pictures more, sory but I don’t have this time.

  • turista
    Posted at 00:46h, 28 September Reply

    The image editing process is very very slow and laborious

  • Dimitrios
    Posted at 01:34h, 29 September Reply

    Apart from the one by one editing, I don’t think that unlimited print and seats are very different from selling copy-write (in practice)

  • Helder Almeida
    Posted at 11:17h, 03 October Reply

    Here is my portfolio http://www.istockphoto.com/hjalmeida

    But beside what has been writen by Lee, i only contribute to small agencies that take care of all the upload process.

  • Kenneth William Caleno
    Posted at 17:29h, 04 October Reply

    Sounds interesting, but would like to see terms of service and licencing details-Here is a link to my shutterstock portfolio: http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-50932p1.html

  • claudio
    Posted at 10:45h, 12 October Reply

    I am willing to support small sites, as I believe competition is healthy. But the upload process MUST be easy, especially for a new/small site. And with “easy” I mean FTP and forget… when I tried Photaki two years ago it wasn’t anything like that. If they’ll change, I am ready to try again

    • Pablo Blanes
      Posted at 08:54h, 14 November Reply

      Hello Claudio,

      We have changed many aspects. Upload process is easy. We will take care to publish all photos with their metadata, you only need to upload the files.

      Please contact us.


  • B. Melo
    Posted at 09:16h, 17 October Reply

    I would consider submitting to this agency if the upload/editing process was easier, had FTP, and changed the licensing policy as mentioned in the article.


  • Joshua Resnick
    Posted at 05:41h, 22 October Reply

    Here is my portfolio, http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?gallery_id=105328 I would submit my images if they helped me out by making it easier to upload and process.

  • Microstock Man
    Posted at 18:01h, 31 October Reply

    Thanks Lee, very informative as always.

    I would agree with the comments above, any new site needs to have VERY easy upload process, basically just FTP and forget (depositphotos was a good example, where they did all image attribution for me).

    Also, Photaki really does need to look at that license agreement and the inclusions in it currently.

    If all of that gets taken care of, I would be happy to give them a go.

    My stock portfolio – http://www.microstockman.com/portfolio/

  • Galyna Andrushko
    Posted at 04:07h, 06 December Reply

    I’m interested to contribute to photaki.com as it can be perspective. But Standard RF license aggreement issue is discouraging. My portfolio: http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-62698p1.html

    • Pablo Blanes
      Posted at 08:00h, 18 December Reply

      Hi Galyna,

      Photaki is modifying the terms of the licenses. Now with the Standard License no image can be reproduced or used more than 250.000 times. For more than 250.000 customers must selected the extended license.

      We need to clarify these point to make it very clear to buyers.

      We are grateful to Lee Torrens for your help. This article help us improve our licences. And of course the contributors comments are essential to us.

  • Les
    Posted at 11:20h, 19 May Reply

    I have small portofolio with Photaki since 2010. Recenyly I am trying to termintre my agremant and remove all my picture with them as I want to become exclusive contributor with other side. Photaki does not have any button to termiate the agremant, it also no posible to delete my pictures. I have contcted them several times askin to remove my picures from they webside and got no reply. Dose anybody have any suggrstion or similar experience with Photaki. I was able to remove my pictures from othe sides easly exept with Photaki.

  • Les
    Posted at 22:56h, 23 May Reply

    I have contributed to photaki since 2010. Recently, i wanted to remove my portofolio and all my pictuers with photski as i indend to go exclusive with other agancy. Photaki does not have a disable portofolio button, so i had to contact them via internal e-mail. I got no reply for over 4 weeks. It looks like i got stuck with photaki and can not go with my idea of becoming exclusive contributor somewere else. Does anybody have similar experience with photaki or any sugestion how to terminate contract with photaki without sending a docen of not replied e-mails
    0 Reply

    • stan
      Posted at 12:34h, 30 May Reply

      Also I can not wait !!!

  • Dan
    Posted at 22:01h, 26 October Reply

    I had over 1500 images on Photaki and they sat there for 3 years and in that time I made a total of 2 SALES worth 2 Euros. What a joke this microstock is. Do not waste your time!

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