14 Sep 2012 picWorkflow Review

You’ve most likely already heard of picWorkflow – the microstock distribution service from Bob Davies, creator of picNiche and many other tools for microstockers.

picWorkflow logo

But if you haven’t, or it’s been a while, it’s time to take a look at how far picWorkflow has come.

Not only is it now much more than an uploading service, it’s also got something for everyone, including agencies!


The primary service of picWorkflow is file uploading, replacing the now closed iSyndica and LookStat services.   It’s free to upload to some agencies, and 1 cent (US dollars) per file per agency for the others with 3 months of storage included.   There’s also a free version of the service with up to 100 uploads per month and 7 days storage.

This service is great for those with limited bandwidth and those who distribute widely. It supports photos, illustrations and video and works with every serious microstock agency.   You can get your files into picWorkflow by FTP, a Flash-based web uploader, or an Adobe Lightroom plugin.

Security is particularly tight, requiring a master password to decrypt stored agency credentials. While sharing login credentials is a deal-breaker for a few contributors, and agencies don’t like it, there were no major issues with iSyndica nor LookStat, and so far none with picWorkflow either.


User feedback told Robert that analytics weren’t the top priority, so they’re still very basic.   They show portfolio sizes and some quality checks on metadata.   The analytics will expand and improve in future, but it’s a difficult task given agencies don’t support it and there are so many agencies to support. If you’re wanting an automated way to track your earnings balances, Robert’s picNiche toolbar does that and is free.


The keywording service allows images and video to be keyworded by picWorkflow.   You offer the price you want to pay from 15 cents per file and set the quantity of keywords you want.   The results vary in speed and quality based on how much you offered.   You supply the title (and any necessary details like location) and they’ll supply the description and keywords.

The picWorkflow keywording staff are remunerated based on how well they do, so the best earn a lot of money.   There’s currently a waiting list of people wanting to become picWorkflow keyworders!


The most recent addition to the service offering is full retouching services. The services are provided by partner JaincoTech but seamlessly integrated into the picWorkflow system.   You can pick from a menu of development and retouching tasks. They each have set prices that are competitive with similar service providers.   This addition makes picWorkflow an almost end-to-end service for microstock contributors.   Be sure to check out the demos of the retouching services.

Backup Storage

You can permanently store your files with picWorkflow as an additional backup.   It’s hosted in the super-reliable Amazon AWS service.   It costs 1 cent per photo for three months, or 1 cent per 22MBs for video or extra large photos.

Sponsored Uploading for Microstock Agencies

For $100 per month microstock agencies can make uploads to their site free for all picWorkflow customers.   Depositphotos are doing this as you can see in the top graphic above. This is a great way for agencies to increase their ingestion rate, particularly if they’re new and/or small in size.   According to Robert this drastically increases the quantity of uploads an agency receives. There’s also other sponsorship opportunities and services available for agencies within picWorkflow.

Insights Galore

One of the benefits of doing so much for so many is the quantity of data picWorkflow generates.   And Robert uses it to share a lot of insights into the market via the picWorkflow blog.   Check it out and I guarantee you’ll learn something helpful.

Who’s Using It?

Robert reports a variety of contributors use his service, each in different ways.   At the top end, Andres Rodriguez uses it primarily for the uploading service. At the other end of the spectrum many beginners use it to help navigate the complexities of microstock keywording and retouching, as well as streamlining their file distribution.   All the services are independent, so each microstocker can use just the services they need.

What Do You Think?

I’m not actively shooting at the moment so I haven’t made much use of picWorkflow myself.   But I’d like to hear and share opinions from those who are in the comments.   If you’re using any parts of picWorkflow, what do you like about it and what would you change?   And do you find it value for money?

Check out picWorkflow here.

  • Chris - Smudged Photo
    Posted at 06:10h, 17 September Reply

    I would love to use something like this, but until I’m making sufficient in Microstock it’s difficult to justify the outlay per file.

    I think once I’ve made a dent and I’m making enough profit to cover it it would then come into it’s own. Right now I use Photoshelter (which I also use for my portrait/wedding business) to ftp to all the stock sites. I can keyword and title all the photos in Photoshelter and then send them off. No stat tracking though, but it works well for me. 🙂

  • Jean-Marie
    Posted at 00:14h, 19 September Reply

    Lee confused about retouching service partner…

    “The services are provided by partner JaincoTech..” while on the PWF site is mentioned “is provided by ProImageExperts catering…”

    Cheers, JM

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 00:58h, 19 September Reply

      JM, JaincoTech changed their name and I neglected to clarify. That’s all.

  • Buz Dammarell
    Posted at 18:35h, 11 October Reply

    Lee,…picworkflow appears to be a service I may want to utilize. However, each time I attempt to “register” (sign-up) I get an error messeage stating that there is a “server error”. Would you please inquire of Bob Davies as to how my sign-up problem might be resolved? Thank you.

    • Bob Davies
      Posted at 15:34h, 13 October Reply

      Hi Buz

      This happens for some people, usually using old browser versions (or internet explorer), which *tech-speak* don’t obey cross-domain access policies for javascript. Since most of picWorkflow runs on https (secured) but the homepage has to run on http (unsecured) for SEO/accessibility reasons *end-tech-speak*, old browsers don’t allow this access because they don’t understand the bits the server sends to say it’s ok.

      Either access picWorkflow directly using https://www.picWorkflow.com (which should then let you signup) or upgrade your browser to anything except IE, and make sure it’s been updated within the last 6 months or so (when the html5-friendly access policies were implemented).

      Hope that helps, if not please drop me an email on bob@picWorkflow.com

      Cheers 🙂

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