Canva Contributor Review

Our Canva Contributor Review contains everything you need to know about selling stock media with Canva.

Make informed choices about where to sell your stock images. Is Canva right for you as a contributor? Read on to find out.

Review Updated: 2020

Canva launched in 2012 as a small Australian based company with a great new idea – to provide professional-grade design to everyone.

It didn’t take long for it to grow into a company worth over 3 billion dollars.

Canva is a very interesting option for stock photographers and vector artists. It isn’t a stock agency in the traditional sense. Thus our Canva review isn’t necessarily the same as our reviews of other sites that sell stock imagery. But instead of focusing on the design tools available (which are awesome) we will focus on what matters to sellers – what they sell, how much you will earn.

Part 1: Canva Contributor Royalties

Canva’s royalty structure has always been very simple and easy to understand. Until mid 2019 when it got a little more complicated.

The basic royalty structure goes like this:

  • $0.35 per one-design use (Sale price = $1)
  •  $3.50 per multi-design use (Sale price = $10)
  • $35 per extended license (Sale price = $100)

As you can see, it’s 35% of the sale price across the board which is pretty good. Keep in mind they operate in loads of different currencies now, but these are the general royalties and prices. And you will always be paid in USD.

The part that has become a little more complex is what they call Photos Unlimited. You get a proportional payment based on the amount of overall downloads from those using the Photos Unlimited service. I’ll let Canva explain in their own words:

“For images sold in the Photos Unlimited subscription, the royalty rate paid to contributors is 50% of net revenue earned by Photos Unlimited (less taxes and payment processing fees). That 50% share is paid proportionally to each contributor, based on the total number of downloads of a contributor’s images as a proportion of the total number of downloads.

For example: If 50% of net revenue (less taxes and payment processing fees) earned by Photos Unlimited during a calendar month is $1 million, and the total number of downloads during that accounting period was 2,000,000 downloads, then the amount attributed to each downloaded image would be 50c. If a contributor had 100 downloads of their images as part of the subscription during that month they would earn $50.”

So far, I’m finding the general royalty rate from the Photos Unlimited sales is hovering around $0.31 per sale. But this will fluctuate over time.

ROYALTY RATES:

35%

MEDIA TYPES:

Stock photos
Vector illustrations

SALE TYPES:

Individual Sales
Subscriptions

Part 2: Canva Contributor Website & Apps

Canva is a great website and app to use as a designer/buyer. It’s quite logical, clean and well designed.

Sadly, the same isn’t true for contributors.

Probably the biggest point of frustration currently is uploading. Once you use FTP (the only way of uploading) to send your content to them, there is generally no indication whatsoever that your files have been received. Weeks (sometimes months!) can pass and you still won’t see any trace of your newly uploaded files. This is disconcerting to say the least.

Eventually all files are processed, but the lack of any sign of progress needs to be fixed ASAP. Additionally, once your files are reviewed you get no rejection reasons at all – simply approved or rejected. This leaves a fair bit of guesswork as to what they are looking for.

Speaking of guesswork, if you want to search in your own portfolio you can barely achieve that currently.

But wait – there is some good news.

Late 2019 brought about a much improved sales chart, along with further promises of more contributor-side upgrades in the works. So perhaps 2020 will be the year of the contributor at Canva.

We can only hope.

Watch The Canva Video

Part 3: Canva Contributor Earnings Experience

I sell both photos & vectors at Canva, and my contributor earnings have been great. Thus, despite the negatives mentioned in Part 2, they work for me. But there is a little more to the story if you want to sell vectors that you need to know.

You need to do a little more work to submit your vectors to Canva than to other stock agencies. Canva doesn’t want templates with “Your Text Here” layouts, or icon packs with 72 different designs. They are after individual items that can be used as part of an overall design. So seperate out your icons before submitting. And don’t leave any space around them, they need to be cropped to the edge of the graphic. As you can imagine, this will create extra steps in your workflow. That’s why I mention it in the earnings section, as you will need to work out if that is worthwhile for you or not. For me, it is.

What will be interesting to see is the impact of Photos Unlimited. Hopefully it is a nice addition to regular sales, without cannibalising normal sales too greatly.

Time will tell.

Canva Contributor Review Highlights

SALES

Huge volume of sales

ROYALTIES

Decent 35% across the board

TOOLS

Limited, but sufficient

BEST FOR

Photographers & vector artists

Part 4: Canva Contributor Recommendations

What Canva have achieved is pretty amazing. Applications like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape, while amazingly powerful, are also amazingly difficult to learn. Canva has allowed the average person to knock out an amazing design in very little time, without in-depth knowledge of an expensive program. You have to love them for that.

They have also provided another revenue stream for stock photographers and vector artists. In fact, Canva are now one of my most consistent earners each month.

The only real downside at the moment is that they have tightened up who and what they are accepting, so while it is worth trying, don’t feel bad if you are not accepted right away.

Canva is a company with a strong future ahead of it. Personally, I wish there were more companies like Canva making new ways for stock photographers to earn an income, rather than just new stock agencies starting up (and collapsing) each year based on the same old business model.

Canva gets my vote.