In the days since the internet and digital photography, the number of companies in the stock photo business has blossomed and the number of pictures has soared into the tens of millions. Digital photography and the explosion of reasonably priced high end cameras have democratized stock photography but also changed the entire pricing structure. When comparing stock photo agencies there are a number of factors to consider before deciding which ones to submit your images.
Stock photography sites are the old school type sites where photos are licensed for fees ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. Microstock photography sites are the newer type sites on the block where both amateur and professionals mix and photo rights are sold for anywhere from $1 to $5. Each type of site has different requirements for image submission and not all images are accepted. Stock image galleries have three basic types of licenses: Rights Managed Exclusive, Rights Managed Non-Exclusive and Royalty Free, which includes several sub-classes of Royalty Free licenses, depending on the intended use. Rights Managed Exclusive – A customer buys rights to use an image for a limited amount of time and no other company can use that image. Rights Managed Non-Exclusive – A company buys time-limited rights to an image, but other companies are also free to license the same image. Royalty Free – Royalty free licenses have become the default license type for most stock images. Editorial Use License – Images which feature logos, brands or recognizable products, events, and even some celebrities are licensed as editorial use photos, which means they can only be used as part of a news story and not in commercial advertising or applications.
Extended Licensing – Extended licensing and buyout licensing are for companies that want to purchase the rights to use images on products, logos or copyright use marks and use them, essentially, forever. All stock photography sites insist on having commercial photo releases for every identifiable person in the image. Selecting the best stock photography sites for the individual photographer will require a screening process to determine the best match between the photographer’s images, interests and skills. It might be enlightening to review specific sites, how they’re alike and different and how much average photographers make off each site, when that information is available. The easiest way to get your photos into Getty is posting them on Yahoo’s Flickr, but they also have contracts with photographers of exceptional talent.
Like most stock image companies, Getty requires a commercial release for every identifiable person. Lately Getty has fallen out of favor with many creative companies and photographers because of what they consider overly-aggressive pursuit of even incidental use of their images.
Shutterstock offers their subscribers access to more than 10 million royalty-free images from 210,000 photographers, illustrators, and videographers around the world. Jupiter has a commanding reputation for customer service and quality, offering rights managed and royalty free images. License fees vary by the type of license and intended use, as do the payments for photographers.
Fotolia is a relatively young but growing microstock agency that started out with a focus on the European market and worked its way into broader markets around the globe.
Fotolia currently boasts an inventory of over 2 million images and licenses their products through standard Royalty Free and Extended licenses.
Where Fotolia shines is through their pricing, which runs from $1 to $5 for their standard license and is unique in letting contributors set their own prices within certain parameters. Fotolia is also generous with its split, giving photographers a minimum of 33 percent and half of any deals for exclusive images. If you’re just starting out in the stock photography business, Fotolia is definitely worth a look. Dreamstime is one of the top microstock agencies and work hard to maintain their position in the industry. While Dreamstime started as a royalty free CD store in 2000, it became community enabled in 2004.
Dreamstime is currently boasting an inventory of 1.5 million images and specializes in Royalty Free image sales, but also offers Extended licenses and buyout licensing.
Commissions for photographers run in the range of 50 percent to 80 percent with a $100 payout threshold.
Anyone interested in starting in stock photography, will have better luck and more income starting with microstock agencies.
If you’re looking for the right agency to sell your stock photography images, then you’re sure to already know that there are way too many companies to choose from. As a seller, Alamy is a great agency because you have an easier time submitting photos and can also retain your rights to the image.
Shutterstock is another highly ranked company that allows you to sell your photos, and you can also sell illustrations and videos alongside stock photography images.
At Shutterstock, the more images you sell the higher your earnings, and the higher your earnings the more each photo sells for.
Fotolia directly informs you of commission rates and earnings, so it’s an easy place to start with if you want to sell your photos. If you like using Fotolia, they offer higher earnings when you choose to only upload your photos to them.


If you’re a more professional stock photographer who already has experience, Getty Images may be more suited for you. However, if you do get chosen and accepted to submit to their site, the earnings are also much greater. Similar to Getty Images, Corbis Images only targets the best of the best stock photographers.
It may take time to build up to being able to work with a more professional company like Corbis, but all stock photographers started somewhere.
Photographs are everywhere, and they very often get there these days through stock photo websites!
Originally the preserve of pro photographers, the industry has evolved to include great opportunities for amateur snappers too.
The idea behind stock photography is for anyone, individuals or businesses, to easily get hold of good quality, cheap photos without needing to pay for the services of a photographer. Stock photo websites provide universally accessible online databases where people can search through millions of pictures to find one that suits their purposes. In the early days this was a system that served pro photographers only, as a means for streamlining the existing industry. Getty Images and Corbis are the big players, and they continue to offer the best stock photo services for professionals, whose work is sold on a Rights Managed basis.
Basically, the the stock website functions as an agent, selling licenses for the use of images on behalf of photographers, and specifying an appropriate price which they in turn take a share of. Well, over the years other stock agencies have developed, working on a slightly different model and accepting submissions from all comers - hobbyists and keen amateur photographers alike. Originally microstock agencies were pretty free and easy about the quality of work they accepted. Upload lots of your shots (and all digital photographers have lots of shots!) to several websites and the cumulative effect becomes quite exciting. Some stock photo websites give you a more favourable cut of the profits than others, so look into this before diving in.
Although you should absolutely check out other stock photo websites, these all have a good reputation and I have personally been delighted with them both when buying stock photos and selling. So you've lined up a stock photography website or two and you're eager to make those first submissions! It's well worth reading the guidelines on stock photo websites for some basic do's and don'ts, plus information on the key technical requirements.
It is the best resource that exists for anyone looking to make money through stock photo websites.
A brief introduction to some key areas to bear in mind when selling your work on stock photo websites. Here is my thorough guide to the best free sites that I tend to use, with info on what pictures to expect, how to use them and what you are entitled to use them for.
PRIVACY POLICY This web site contains copyright-protected images and text owned by Plastique Frapa inc. In fact that very first stock photography company, called RobertStock, is still in business. The days when photographers could make a living strictly from stock photography are pretty much over, except for a select few at the top agencies.
Those who have been at it regularly for a number of years are reporting incomes of $20,000 to $30,000 a year. There are two basic types of stock photography sites: Stock photography and microstock photography sites. They are primarily the domain of truly professional photographers and the screening process for photographer acceptance can be both tedious and time consuming. It’s a generally a bad idea for companies to use non-exclusive rights for advertising photos because competitors can license the same pictures.
It allows the customer to purchase the image once and use it multiple times in different applications.
Also the split between the licensing agency and the photographer can make a big difference in earnings.
Getty has over 80 million images and illustrations and 50,000 hours of stock video footage and also owns microstock agency iStockPhoto. Getty will accept a portfolio for review, but don’t expect the review to happen fast. Many creative agencies have cut back on using Getty images and switched to microstock agencies. Shutterstock is generally recognized as the king of the microstock market and consistently one of the better earners for photographers, although they do not offer exclusive arrangements with photographers.
Jupiter offers multimedia subscriptions for $599 per month or a high-resolution subscription for $2,499 a month. Jupiter or Getty are not the place to start for photographers trying to break into the stock photography business. They have struggled with web site performance in the past and have few exclusive contributors.


It is particularly attractive to photographers as their commission is 50 percent, one of the highest in the market and certainly in the top tier of microstock agencies.
Despite slower sales early on, it has preserved the loyalty of their contributors with high commission rates. After building up a catalog of 1,000 to 2,000 images, the income for popular shots can start to add up over time. With the large variety you may have trouble finding the right site for you, but we’ve chosen five of the best sites for selling stock photos and a quick review of each. It reaches out to many customers and boasts a huge selection of photos, which can be both good and bad for you. Additionally, Alamy allows you to upload these same photos to other places, allowing for further revenue. Shutterstock becomes an ideal option when you know you want to be selling images for a while, as the longer you stay with them the more opportunities you get. At this rate you could be making even $100 on a single photo download, but that make take years of building up.
As well, Fotolia allows you to sell your photos in several different ways, depending on exclusivity. This is a great opportunity for building up your sales without having to deal with any other sites, and you can instead focus more on your photography. The entry process requires much more effort, including taking a quiz and showing off your best photos. Getty Images has a variety of sites each geared towards a separate theme, and you would receive an assignment for a specific project based on the feel of your photography. After getting more experience in the business, you’ll eventually be able to work with all these great sites if you’d like. August 23, 2014 0There’s no denying that weddings cost money and in most cases, a lot of money. A huge proportion of images for advertising, news, magazines and more are sourced from stock photography websites. Businesses and individuals are ever more reliant for their creative projects on cheap photos from stock websites. But as competion and demand grew, they came to allow only pictures of a decent technical quality. In other words, people only pay a one time fee and you don't get any royalties for its continued use. Far from it - microstock photography websites like Bigstock Photo and Dreamstime are popular.
Don't be disheartened when this happens, it will help you develop a better idea of what is required. If you're interested in finding images, rather than selling them, it's often worth a quick scout around a few good free stock photo websites as a first step. You'll have more success after a little familiarising period as you get the hang of a few websites, and learn how to sell stock photography most effectively. There are a few people who manage to earn as much as $300 per day, but it takes a huge amount of effort. For Non-Exclusive image rights, Getty charges an average of $250, of which photographers get about 20 percent. Their license supports use in web sites, magazines, newspapers and brochures, though not in trademarked items or logos. However, due to their large base of photos, buyers may have difficulty finding your images, so it’s important to label all your photos with keywords!
Due to their rigorous selection process, contributing to Corbis Images entails high payout but is also a difficult position to attain. It wasn’t until the 1960s that stock photography became its own photography specialty and in the 1980s there was a surge of interest by individual and freelance photographers. For the majority of photographers it’s a part-time income that covers some of the bills for their photography habit. My advice would be that you start with the best stock photography sites sell photos there first of all. They have a little different advantages in how much you get paid and in how much time it take to upload photos to their site.If you like one of them more than the others maybe you decide to go exclusive with that one. It will help you alot!And finally the last adviceBe patient if you want to make alot of money, it takes time before you will be able to live on this! Do not get me wrong I sold a couple of photos and I still sell today because they are still in the library of some stock sites.But I have finally found the best way to make money online and it is so much more fun than taking photos, upload, put keywords and so on.



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