Selling Photos with Stock Photo Agencies

Stock Photography

Hello everyone

Here i will share my experience with stock photography industry, Stock photography is a field where supply of photographs which are often licensed for specific uses. Stock photography had his golden time until 2005 , Photographers with good content made good money. Slowly this market started diluted because of various new venture who started to offer low cost subscription model. Still there are photographers with volume is making good money.

Please check more details about Micro and Macro Stock photography @ Micro Stock Website.

My Experience with Stock Photo industry : I heard from Ex Office colleagues about this field during 2011 , he suggested me to sell my work using Stock photo agencies and i started exploring it. Doing this i haven’t earned initially (1 year ) , but learnt a lot about market and improved my photography skill, please note that currently stock photo industry are very easy on photographers and it was not the same in past when i started. To get into shutterstock one has to submit 10 photographs and at least 7 Photos need to pass their selection criteria and believe me during those days those 7 images itself was tough nut to crack. They used to reject if image has single defect ( less sharpness , non uniform background or less commercial value ) , similar line of test Istock was following but they were not as touch as shutterstock . That way i learnt about light and how to create better commercial value photographs however this degraded artistic perception. As of now i am balancing between quality commercial photographs vs artistic world.

How to start with Stock photo industry : As i mentioned above Stock Photography is already diluted some even says it is dead , it is not dead though. I love to take photograph and feel great to see them back whenever i am free , but then why to leave them in some private terabyte of hard discs or in cloud storage , instead we can put them for sell (my view). I feel happy to see my work being used by companies like icici , amazon and so on.

Please check out this section , here one can see the client details who is using my image , please click here

Please remember that because of heavy competition stock agencies are keep on reducing subscription cost , less subscription cost means less commission for each images. So currently in shutterstock one will get 0.24$ per image and 0.30$ in dreamstime. But it all depends on number of sale per image ( count) , if image has good commercial value then it will be sold for multiple time , i have couple of images in my stock which are sold for more than 200 times resulting gave me profit of 60-100$.

if you already plan to deep dive into this industry then please don’t disappoint to see 0.24-0.30$ sale for per image, make sure it has good commercial value and if its sold for more than 100 times then you will be making 30$ per image on average.

If you are lucky then sometime dreamstime buyer opt to buy Rights of image , i was instantaneously offer 700$ for one image with one condition i.e. I have to take down request image from other agencies , so i went for it , successfully i was able to delete/disable from all agencies accept istock. It was the time where iStock was completely migrated to ESP Getty , and they didn’t provide user driven disabling option , i had to write email to them to disable the image and they revered back after week and because of this delay i lost offer from dreamstime , Buyer purchased another similar image from another photographer.

Here is the list of agencies where i am contributing now , please use this link if you want to become contributor , this link has referral signup landing page.


Shutterstock is so far my favorite Stock Agencies was my favorite stock agency , why i strike through and and changed statement because Shutterstock changed their policy during mid of 2020 , as per their policy most of the images commission will be 0.10$, this is crazy amount and time spent on creating great content followed by upload process is way to high than 10$ forget about 0.10$ , as most of the top level stock photographed stopped uploading in Shutterstock hence we also followed the similar approach, although still it is the best micro agency in world for buyer , however commission is less but number of sale per image is very high , highly recommended.


Dreamstime is my another favorite Stock Agencies, i started stock photo work and started pushing my data with Dreamstime , learned lot from Dreamstime team.


Depositphoto was doing great initially but for me it is very very slow , very rarely seeing any sale from here

Fotolia / Stock Adobe

Fotolia now it is acquired by stockadobe worked really well for me in past , after stockadobe sometime i am seeing sales.


IStockPhoto was also my favorite Stock Agencies until ESP Getty changed websites platform , not able to clearly trace out my sales and seeing very less subscription amount per image.


I recently started contributing to Alamy , So far it is one of the lowest earner for me , very rarely any sales, Upload process is not easy as Shutterstock/Dreamstime/Stockadobe.

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5

September 2020 , We started uploading into pond5 , i will update this space based on our experience , as per community feedback its a great place to upload video where we can set our own price and can earn 40% of commission. i will update this space once i will get real time feedback.

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Yours Truly