Wirestock Contributor Review - is it a scam?
Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Wirestock is a fairly new player in the stock photography market for contributors. It’s a platform which does all your keywording and descriptions for you for free, and submits to multiple different microstock platforms with the one click.
Sounds too good to be true... so does it work or is it a scam? And whats the catch?
Basically, Wirestock makes money by charging 15% commission on every sale. I think this is actually a good thing because it means they’re incentivised to do a good job of keywords and descriptions and to make sure their contributors photos actually sell. Sure, you’re going to lose some of the commission, but if your photos are selling on 7 different microstock platforms rather than just the one, the theory is that you end up making a lot more money anyway.
If you have the time and energy to do all your own keywording, uploading and descriptions, you’ll probably be better off not using Wirestock because you won’t be charged that commission. Currently I'm still earning more money from Shutterstock which I recommend if you have some spare time, sign up here or read my full review here: Shutterstock contributor review - my first $150).
But when time is money, I would personally prefer to get my time back to do other things that pay a better hourly rate!
How much money have I made from Wirestock?
This is a bit of a “watch this space” as I only discovered the site less than a month ago. But basically it took about a week for my first batch of photos to be approved, and another week before I made my first sale of 36c, with a portfolio of about 60 approved images. A week or so later I made another two sales of 30c each. It's not much but it's more than triple a typical single sale on Shutterstock.
Now that I’ve made my first sale and I know that contributors can make money through this stock photo upload platform - I’ve uploaded a whole lot more photos. They’re currently sitting in the “in review” folder and will hopefully be approved in the next week or two.
I’ll update this review post in a few weeks when I get a better idea of Wirestock income and sale rates so if you’re interested, comment below, subscribe and watch this space.
How long does it take Wirestock to review and approve photos?
This is one of the downsides to using Wirestock. Because they’re doing a bunch of manual work in the background, it takes more time for photos to be submitted through this channel than it does for other stock photography websites. For example, before a photo you upload becomes available on Shutterstock it will need to be reviewed by Wirestock, keywords and description added, submitted to Shutterstock then reviewed by Shutterstock and approved. So you can understand why this would take a bit longer.
Wirestock model release forms
Wirestock makes their model release form system extremely user friendly because you can do it all online - no paper forms or pen signatures necessary!
And it means you never have to worry about having different release forms for different agencies, you only need the one single form if uploading through Wirestock.
Initially I found it hard to work it all out, I tried to submit some images using a Stocksy model release form and they got rejected, but then I saw that they used the generic Shutterstock release form as their preferred form. So that was a win, because most of the people I had shot already had signed Shutterstock forms.
But don't let me lose you there! For those who I didn't have forms for yet, it was insanely easy because you can do it all online through their system. You just enter the model's name and email address, and they send a form off to the model electronically, the model can sign it digitally and then hey presto it's all approved in the system and ready to go. Heaps easier than the paper forms.
Pros and cons of Wirestock
I’ve talked a bit about the pros of Wirestock already but here are some of the cons.
There’s an “instant cash” option when submitting photos where you can earn a one-off payment of $3-4. That sounds pretty good, right? Well… not necessarily.
How this works is that the photos are offered up for sale to one of the free stock photography websites. If they purchase your photo, you get a one off payment which is more money than you would usually earn on a regular sale, but you’re then no longer able to earn any ongoing income from that photo.
You might see this as a good thing, but free stock websites are killing the paid stock photo industry. Why would you buy stock photographs if you can get them for free? So you might make a quick buck, but in the long run you’re contributing to the demise of the industry and jeopardising your ability to make more money from stock photos in the longer term. You also risk losing sales on other sites. Why would a buyer purchase your image from, say Dreamstime, when they’ve done an image search and discovered they can get it for free from a different site?
Another downside (or con) of using Wirestock is that the photos aren’t posted in your name - they’re posted under a generic Wirestock folder. So if you are particularly proud of an image and you’d like some kind of credit or recognition for it - you won’t get this through Wirestock. On the other hand, that might work to your advantage. For example if you have a specific style of photography and pride yourself in consistency but you also have a bunch of atypical photos that you think you could make some money off, you can upload them without them messing your signature style on your personal page.
Wirestock Review Summary
So, would I recommend microstock contributors use Wirestock? Yes and no.
If you’re time poor and love taking photos but hate spending time entering data and doing all the admin, this is a great alternative. It has meant that all those photos I had sitting there that I knew were pretty good but just didn’t have the strength to process, are now online earning me money. If you enjoy the data entry side of things, you’ve got specific keywords you’re trying to target or you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, you can earn slightly higher amounts by doing it all manually yourself, so in that regards you might be better off avoiding it.
If English isn't your first language and you’re uploading in English, or you don’t feel confident in the areas of spelling and grammar, I would definitely recommend uploading through Wirestock and using their keywording and description services. Other stock photography sites like Dreamstime offer a service like this but they charge per photo - so having a free option through Wirestock is definitely a bonus.
If you’re currently uploading to only one or two stock photography websites and your images aren’t exclusive, I’d definitely recommend it as an add-on. You can keep your original portfolios as they are and just select the sites that you don’t currently contribute to, doubling or tripling your earnings potential with hardly any extra work.
If you are trying to build a name for yourself and would like your name attached to all your hard work, this is not the site for you, stick to uploading individually or through other upload websites.
Want to give it a go? Sign up to become a Wirestock contributor through my referral link here.
I’d love to hear your personal experiences, comment below to let me know how you’ve found it.
Since writing this post 6 months ago, I've leant a few things about this site.
The first is that the keywoarding is a bit inconsistent, and the person doing it often misses the keywords I would have thought were most obvious. Sometimes their keywording is great, other times it has seemed rushed. For example, a picture of a child playing they might have used the keywords 'kid' and 'playing' but not included the word 'child'. They also wouldn't pick up on specific cultural nuances, for example in a typically Australian photo of a child playing in the bush, this image would appeal to people looking for Australian imagery, however the reviewer wouldn't have included the key word 'Australian', unless I specifically ask them to.
So, make sure you write notes to the reviewer highlighting where it was taken and any key themes you want highlighted from the image. Or if you can be bothered, do the keywording yourself. This still saves a heap of time because you're still uploading to 7 sites in one go.
I now have 723 photos accepted and I've made 103 sales. It was a slow start but they're starting to increase in volume and speed and I haven't uploaded anything in ages so it's a reasonable little side earner.
Currently I'm still earning more money from Shutterstock which I recommend if you have time to keyword and add descriptions etc, (sign up here or read my review here: Shutterstock contributor review - my first $150) and iStock - that review's still coming! Subscribe if you're interested in reading about it.
The gaps in the stock photography market - what you should be shooting
4 reasons why your stock photos aren't selling.
Shutterstock contributor review - making my first $150
Stocksy - getting rejected by Stocksy United
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When I'm not selling stock photography I'm creating Aerial Drone artworks which are available as prints through Society6. See some of my drone photographs here.