As PhotoDune nears its fifth year, we’ve decided to pause and take stock. Today, we’re shutting off new item submissions, the first step in a major renewal project likely to span the next 12 months.
Why, what’s going on?
Up until now we’ve focused on growing the depth and breadth of our photo collection. By the end of year one, we’d passed a million photos; today, there are almost ten times that amount.
But more is not necessarily better. Library growth has consistently outstripped sales growth and an increasing number of items (and authors) have never made a sale. All of this despite an ever-increasing stream of customers we know frequently use photos in their projects.
It’s time for a new approach.
Over the next year or so, we plan to make a series of improvements to how we do photos at Envato, across three main areas:
Our photos offering to customers: We’ve introduced new quality standards as the starting point for transforming PhotoDune into a finely-tuned, quality-driven collection. In 2017, we’ll also be giving customers a photo subscription option via Envato Elements.
Our relationship with authors: The biggest change we’re making here is to switch from reviewing items to selecting authors who we trust to upload only the best quality content. We’re also going to let authors decide item prices on PhotoDune. This means more control for authors and more time for us to develop resources and tools for author success.
Our photos platform and the technology behind it: Our UX for uploading, storing and showcasing photos and its underlying infrastructure are in serious need of an upgrade. Our main goal here is to lay the groundwork for future improvements.
What does this mean for PhotoDune authors?
At the heart of this project is a vision to increase opportunities and improve the experience for talented photo authors. When we’re finished, we’ll have delivered:
- More responsibility and control through author-driven pricing and the freedom to instantly publish your content (no more review queue!)
- More exposure on the new, slimmed-down PhotoDune
- A new channel for earning via subscriber share on Elements
- Better support, tools and resources for managing your business
More immediately, however, we’ll be inviting PhotoDune authors to refine their portfolios against the new quality standards. As a guide, we’ll be providing authors with personalized feedback, including an assessment of their portfolio’s overall quality and specific examples of photos that do and don’t meet the new requirements.
Authors who are ultimately able to achieve a very high level of quality across their entire portfolio will get early access to the new PhotoDune and Elements. While we’re committed to bringing over as many authors as possible, a higher bar likely means some of today’s authors won’t be joining us in tomorrow’s world. At least from day one, that is - even if you don’t make this initial cut, you will have another chance to be part of it when we reopen portfolio submissions in the future.
So, what’s next?
This is a massive project with a lot of moving parts. We’re currently working to the following timeline, although it’s likely to change along the way - we’ll update you all here as it does.
- Stop reviewing new item submissions (starting today)
- Switch to single resolution to prepare for author-driven pricing
- Disable PhotoDune uploads
- Assess portfolios and email feedback to individual authors
- Invite qualified authors to participate in the new world (including Elements)
- Re-enable uploads for qualified authors
- Launch author-driven pricing
- Start removing portfolios that no longer meet the new standards
- Launch new upload center
- Enable photo uploads to Elements
- Begin offering photos on Elements
- Launch PhotoDune shopfront improvements
Massive! But we’re excited by the challenge and motivated by the knowledge that we’re ultimately delivering a better deal for our high performing authors and customers.
More info and discussion
We’ve tried to cover the most important points here and left the fine print to the following help center articles. We’ll also be sharing details of how we’ll be assessing quality and managing post-review outcomes in the feedback to authors set to go out in December.
New PhotoDune Requirements
- Getting Started With PhotoDune
- Overview of Photo Submission Requirements
- Upload Requirements & General Policies
- General Photo Technical Requirements
- Technical Requirements For Backgrounds & Textures
- Technical Requirements For Isolated Objects
- Technical Requirements For Photomanipulations & Composites
- Technical Requirements For 3D Renders
- Metadata Requirements
- Intellectual Property Requirements
- Most Common Mistakes
- Commercial Demand Guide
- GraphicRiver or PhotoDune?
Helpful Info About Being an Envato Elements Contributor
- What is Envato Elements?
- What is the ‘Subscriber Share’ Model?
- Benefits of Being an Envato Elements Contributor
- Exclusivity Rules
@natman and @jamesgiroux will be on hand to answer questions and, as we’ve done in the past for big announcements like this one, we’ll be providing batches of answers every few days. Please make sure you’ve read through these and the help center articles first as we’ll only be responding to questions not yet covered.