Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography


I’ve been reading about LicenseStream on various blogs and photography business forums so I decided to sign up for myself. The first year is free for the standard account and then $50 afterwards. There is also a pro account which you can get 1/2 off for the first year but I am testing the standard account on myself to see if this is potentially a viable option for licensing images.
LicenseStream Stock Photo Invoice

LicenseStream Stock Photo Invoice

This image is of an invoice that I processed to myself. The price should be on there too but I whited it out before posting it online. If you are like me, that hates to do paperwork, then LicenseStream is definitely worth looking into. All I did was select the terms of use via drop-down menus and then email it to the “client”, then once I received the email, I clicked on the link to receive this invoice and payment options.

LicenseStream was touted as being fully integrated with the PLUS system hence the code under “Media Summary”. Basically how this works is that this code is embedded within your image meta data and the person who licenses the image should be able to copy and paste this code into the PLUS Decoder and get the terms of use instantly.

I personally think this would have limited use to buyers because only hardcore industry veterans would likely know enough to understand how this works. It is hard enough to get some photo buyers to understand the basic concept of image licensing to begin with. The plus side is that you can theoretically protect your copyrighted work a little better since the license would be embedded in the meta data. Given all of the Orphan Works b.s. that is happening in Congress, you can never be too safe.

PLUS License Decoder

PLUS License Decoder

PLUS Stock Photography License

PLUS Stock Photography License

Photoshelter’s payment and distribution options are pretty similar to LicenseStream’s but the difference is that the photo buyer can’t look for another photographer’s images on the site. This is a pretty big deal because whenever you send an instant license via Photoshelter you risk losing sales to other photographers if they decide to browse the Photoshelter home page out of curiosity. On the LicenseStream home page, there is no such site-wide archive search.

If you’re interested in seeing it for yourself, check out my LicenseStream gallery.


November 17, 2008 - Posted by | Photo Business, stock photography, Web | , , , ,


  1. Richard:

    Looks like a nice start. It’s good to see PLUS making a real first tangible step toward becoming a standard of practice. But for now, I see way too many problems with the pricing calculator to make it a true viable and working option for regular sales. For instance, I got a quote of one of your images for $300.00 for personal use – which remains relatively undefined, and $1145.00 for 1/4 page editorial use; and the same price at 5k, 10k, 20k, and 50k copies and irrespective of term. Something ain’t working right on the number crunching.

    FWIW, you can always generate your own PLUS Code & decoder at the web site.


    Comment by Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey Gary. Yeah I did notice your blog post about the wacky pricing calculator but only tested it on a few editorial uses. The numbers weren’t nearly as high as the ones you got so clearly they need to adjust it to be feasible. On the plus side, as the account holder, I can send you an invoice w/ download for any price I want.

    Comment by Richard Wong | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. You are right Gary. I just tried out 1/2 page, 1 mo. inside editorial use, 500k Circ for the North America and it came out to $198.00. 250k is $88, 250K single state $83.

    They should flip flop the quotes that you got with these terms and maybe they might be onto something…

    Comment by Richard Wong | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. Richard

    Are you using this approach still? Have you updated to v2.0 yet( it was automatic.) I just would like to know if there are buyers coming to this solution and buying your work.

    If so, enough to keep you interested in the program? Or are you going to do a long term arrangement say, maybe 3 years, then re-evaluate.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated on this.

    be well


    Comment by laurence Zankowski | April 30, 2009 | Reply

  5. Hi Laurence. I haven’t logged into my account since the upgrade so I’m not up to speed on what is new. I personally would like to play around with this a little more on my own before testing it on anybody else. It’s best to know all of the answers to potential questions before they get asked because it is inevitable that questions will be asked.

    The price is inexpensive so it really wouldn’t hurt to renew either.

    Comment by Richard Wong | April 30, 2009 | Reply

  6. […] […]

    Pingback by Selling image on Flickr | November 4, 2011 | Reply

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