As many readers know I have been using StockUploader for 3 or 4 years and it has always served me well. However, it has not been publicly available for at least 12 months and will be totally unavailable at the end of the year. So what should new stock photographers do? The answer has also become more complex for me because of the need to identify and prioritize the first seven keywords to fit in with Adobe Stock’s process and while there is a workaround if you have a copy of StockUploader, it isn’t great. And, of course, we still have the issue of iStock and having to go to another site (qHero) to sort the controlled vocabulary issues of that site. Is there a one size fits all solution?
I think I have found it in StockSubmitter.
StockSubmitter, a free program to automate the upload of images (using FTP) to as many sites as you care to configure. I must qualify Free, though. Maintaining a program like this is a continual battle as the agencies update their sites and their ways of doing things, and the developer must keep up to date with those changes. As a result, there is a free version for stock photographers with limited requirements of 33 submissions (per agency) per month, but above that you need to pay a monthly subscription. However, I think that is a pretty reasonable sum – currently 3.3 Euros per month for 100 images automatically submitted to the agency each month. The program automatically looks for updates each time you start and that update process is itself automated. In fact, the most complex part of this program is setting up the FTP addresses of each agency, together with your user name and password. This information stays locally on your PC and you don’t need to know much about FTP – just make sure you get the right login details entered as these are sometimes different from your normal website login information.
The program has two main functions (at least that I use so far). Firstly I use it to sort my keywords into a priority order and then I use it to actually upload the files to the various agencies and submit them. Let’s look at these two functions in turn.
When you select an image, you see the current keywords in the box on the right. As they come out of Lightroom, they are in alphabetic order. The small button called Advanced Editor brings up a small window where you can simply drag and drop the keywords into the order you want. Remember for Adobe Stock, you just need to get the first seven in order. The rest don’t matter. So I drag the main ideas for this image into the first slots as shown:
Before you leave this window, if you submit to iStockPhoto, you will know that they have a “controlled vocabulary” where they want you to confirm which of several different meanings certain words have. Click the iStock Terms button in the top right and you will see the words that they are questioning:
Here I need to select the meaning of honor, military and November 11 and save the results. These meanings are stored elsewhere in the file – you won’t see them in the keyword list, but they are hidden ready to be used when the file gets to iStock. The program also remembers your answers to these questions and will choose the same iStock term the next time it comes up.
If I had multiple files that had the same basic keywords, I can then copy the keywords to the buffer using one of the down arrows on the right, then select the new file and use an up arrow in the buffer area to copy those sorted keywords to the new file. It is as easy as that. One last word on keywords – if you don’t like the idea of keywording in Lightroom and then sorting in StockSubmitter, you can do all the keywording and descriptions directly in this program and simply save them into the files to be uploaded. Check out the QuickMeta button on the right – it brings up similar images that you can use to select keywords from in just one step.
The other area to check are the categories:
These are automatically created from the information in the file and generally are right, but you can select better ones if you want. These are used to automatically populate category fields on the agencies that use them. As you can also see, the keywords are now sorted into my priority order for this file.
Uploading using StockSubmitter
Upload is pretty easy from this point – just select the files you want to upload and click the sites that you want to upload to:
The check boxes on the left are the upload ones, and clicking Upload Selected sends the image(s) to those agencies. The check boxes on the right will then cause the program to wait a while and then complete the submission process on the site using the categories you chose. It continues to check every 15 minutes to see if there are any more unfinished files to submit, because files can sometimes take some time to go from FTP to ready to submit. When you think about alternative manual upload processes, it is certainly true that sending the files via FTP is a bit of a pain, but then visiting each site in turn to go through their unique process of submitting images by adding categories and finally submitting each one (especially with Dreamstime) is even more painful. StockSubmitter solves both those issues!
All in all, this is a great little program and has now become my go-to program for both keyword sorting and upload submission! And, of course, it has also solved my issue with iStockphoto so that all my images automatically go there instead of being stuck in limbo until I get round to thinking about working on and submitting them. I suggest you try it out.