Dreamstime Contributor Review

Our Dreamstime Contributor Review contains everything you need to know. Photographers, vector artists, videographers and more can begin selling stock media with Dreamstime.

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

Part 1: Dreamstime Contributor Royalties

Dreamstime have a tiered royalty system in place for all sales. This system rewards files that are good sellers, meaning once a particular file hits the higher ranks, you get more money.

There are 6 tiers: 0 – 5. Each file starts out on tier 1, and if it doesn't have any sales in 6 months it will drop to zero. This may seem complicated but it is actually not too hard to get files to progress to the highest levels. You just need to have an idea of what sells. And avoid submitting too many similar images, as you will compete with yourself.

It is worth noting that these tiers do not affect the basic monthly subscription royalty. This is always 35 cents. That's actually not bad, seeing many agencies start you off at around 25 cents until you have risen through the ranks.

Dreamstime have a partnership with Google, which leads to bulk sales added to your account occasionally. It’s not a massive windfall, but it is impressive that Google chose Dreamstime over all the other agencies out there to deal with. The other nice thing is that the deal is fair on contributors. Dreamstime supported its photographers and illustrators – another great sign in a company.

Video footage and stock audio are the latest media types to come to Dreamstime. You can now upload HD footage right up to 4k quality. Time will tell how effective Dreamstime are at turning this growing market into another successful arm of their already reliable photo and vector stock business. But it is nice to see they are continuing to expand their offerings, and keep up with trends.

We will add to our Dreamstime contributor review as we get more useful data on video and audio sales.


25 - 60%


Stock photos
Editorial photos
Vector illustrations
Footage (including 4k)


Credit packs
High-volume corporate rates

Part 2: Dreamstime Contributor Website & Apps

Dreamstime don’t win any awards for website innovation. Yet they don’t get the bad press that some other agencies do who are constantly trying to change things. They sell frequently, the site works, and you earn a decent amount per image.

The website at the moment seems to be in a little bit of a design overhaul, that isn't yet complete. But in a way, thats a nice thing – that they iterate on small improvements, rather than release a whole big unstable mess.

Some of the more recent changes are making different elements of the contributor dashboard responsive, to suit different devices. Additionally, in a very welcome move, they have implemented automatic category AI. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close in my experience. That one addition alone saves a lot of clicks.

The Dreamstime contributor website has everything a contributor needs. Features include:

  • FTP upload
  • Simple model release attachment
  • Real-time (or close to it) sales reporting

They also have a ‘Key Masters' program, where you can have your images key-worded professionally for a small fee.

The only real problem with the website upload process has to do with vectors. Most other sites allow you to simply upload a EPS and JPG file at the same time and they automatically get matched by the system. Dreamstime complicates this unnecessarily. You have to upload a JPG first, then when you go to submit it you add the EPS as an “additional format”. This is fine if you only upload a few vectors at a time, but for those with big portfolios it can become tedious.

Dreamstime Photography Companion is the mobile app for contributors who want to upload images on the road. You can check your sales, as well as get notifications of image reviews and more.

Watch The Dreamstime Contributor Mobile App Video


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Part 3: Dreamstime Contributor Earnings Experience

If you were looking for a Dreamstime contributor review you want to know two main things – will they accept my files (read Part 4 to find out), and what will I earn? Dreamstime earnings will of course vary with each contributor. However, many find that with a decent amount of images in your portfolio, it can certainly be one of the more reliable earners.

Part of the trick is to get your images up to the higher tier levels as we mentioned before. This will take some time, so be patient and look to the long-term potential. But once they do reach the upper tiers, you will begin to see the results as you get some decent credit sales come in.

While you probably won't find Dreamstime to be the highest earning agency on your list, you should find them to be very consistent. And that is sometimes just as important. If you are in this to sell images and make some money, then you want agencies that will perform month on month for you.

If you are serious about making a living (or at least part of your living) by selling stock media assets, then Dreamstime should definitely be an agency you join.

Dreamstime Contributor Review Highlights


Reliable sales, mix of subscription & credit


Between 25% and 60%, top tier images achievable


Reliable website and mobile app available


Photographers & illustrators

Part 4: Dreamstime Contributor Recommendations

There’s just something about being a part of Dreamstime that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe it’s the unusual name. Perhaps it’s because of their super friendly contributor forum, or maybe it’s the fun competitions they run. Then again, it could just be because Dreamstime make a lot of sales for decent money for a wide range of photographers and illustrators.

It's also not a bad place to start for amateur photographers and new illustrators, as their reviews aren't quite as strict as many other places. As such, you can quite likely get your images online and in front of buyers while you learn the finer points of being a successful stock contributor.

They also have one little trick up their sleeves that is quite unique. You can choose to upload your camera’s RAW image as an additional format, which sells for far more than a normal jpg. Of course this is optional and debatable as to it’s effectiveness. Some are more than happy to part with their precious RAW file in the hope of earning extra. Personally, I opt not too – but it’s nice to have the option for ones who are willing.

It’s also the only library I would ever consider going exclusive with (not that I think going exclusive is a good idea at any agency). But if you have little time on your hands and just want to sell photos as a hobby, then Dreamstime exclusively would be the place to focus on. You even get a little bonus cash for every upload you make!

While on the topic of exclusivity, you can elect to make individual files exclusive to Dreamstime. That's without having to be an exclusive photographer. So you can pick a couple of your images that may sell well on Dreamstime but not in other markets and make them exclusive to give you better return per sale and better search rankings! Great stuff right?

In short, there is no doubt that this is a microstock agency worthy to sign upto. Regular sales, good rates, friendly staff, decent website – no wonder we gave them 85 / 100!

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