The two things I needed most when starting out as a new contributor to microstock was a reliable list of agencies, and a guide on how to get started.
Thus I created two things:
You're currently looking at the first one, the comprehensive list of the best microstock agencies for 2021.
If you haven't checked out the second one yet, be sure to take a look! I make sure to keep them up-to-date and relevant.
But back to the point – the best microstock agencies list. All these sites I have had personal dealings with at some time. They have also all sold some images for me. And they are presented in a rough order of best-selling first, and smaller agencies last.
Bear in mind that each agency has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some might excel at selling photos, while others do better with vectors. Perhaps the best option is to give each of these a go, and see how they perform with your own individual portfolio over a couple of years. For more information, some of them also have more in-depth reviews.
Finally, if you landed here but were actually looking for the best stock photo sites for buyers, then we have you covered as well.
Best Microstock Sites List
- Shutterstock – One of the best microstock sites in terms of overall earnings for many contributors (Review)
- Dreamstime – Well established microstock agency that rewards popular images with higher commissions (Review)
- Depositphotos – Regular sales of photos, vectors & videos, although mostly subscription based (Review)
- Pond5 – Hugely successful with stock footage clips & audio tracks, slowly growing photo & vectors sales as well (Review)
- Adobe Stock – Many contributors new favourite agency, huge potential with Adobe Creative Cloud integration (Review)
- iStock – Despite the lowest contributor royalties in the industry, still manages to earn decent money for many (Review)
- Getty Images – Well known brand that only pays a small percentage to its contributors but has global influence
- Envato Market – Best known for sales of WordPress themes, it also sells a lot of stock videos & sound effects (Review)
- Envato Elements – Newer subscription based site by Envato Market aimed at large volume designers
- Canva – Taking the design world by storm and selling lots of photos & vectors along the way (Review)
- Sign Elements – Part of the Ingram Group with a unique approach aimed at sign writers (Review)
- EyeEm – Massive community of photographers with direct sales as well as a portal to Getty Images
- BigStock – Owned by Shutterstock but seems to attract a totally different buyer base, very low sales
- 123RF – Good agency that has come a long way in a short time but seems to have dropped off a lot recently (Review)
- CanStockPhoto – Great community feel to it but sales proving to be increasingly consistent (Review)
- PicFair – Agency aiming to be fair to photographers, with a slightly different pricing strategy
- Zoonar – European flair with 3 different pricing tiers to choose from and great royalties
- FeaturePics – Been around for quite some time, good acceptance rates and but very few sales
- YAY Images – Formerly YayMicro, offering a web streaming package
- Mostphotos – Slow starter, but gaining some traction lately in the European markets
The microstock photography sites list will be updated as new agency's come along and I have some experience with them. Hope this microstock photography website list has been helpful.
Best Microstock Alternatives
- Symbiostock – Incredibly easy way to setup your own direct sales website for selling stock photos & vectors. It is a free WordPress theme that links you in (if you want it to) to a network of other artists all selling directly. There is no fee & no sales commission! I use this myself on my own direct sales site THPStock Direct. All you need is good, reliable web hosting with unlimited storage. Symbiostock recommends Bluehost. They have an excellent cost to benefit ratio.
- Fine Art America – A massive print-on-demand site that sells all kinds of prints, products and now includes image licensing as well. The beauty is you can set your own prices on everything.
- RedBubble – Uploading here can be a little time consuming, but once you have the hang of it you can create all kinds of cool print-on-demand products. Plus you can set your own commissions as you please.
- Learn Essential Camera Skills – Basic camera skills guide with video instruction included
- Important Composition Skills – Improve your skills at composing great photographs which demand attention
- Super Photo Editing Skills – Get the best out of your digital photos quickly and efficiently
- Fundamental Light Skills – Better understand how to work with light to improve your photos
- Really Easy Retouching in Adobe Photoshop – Learn the art of fast, natural retouching for your images
- Before/After: Lightroom Workflow & Processing – Instructional videos to improve your Adobe Lightroom processes
- Black and White Photo Editing – Learn how to create stunning black and white photos in Adobe Lightroom
- How To Backup All Your Images – Learn how to create a backup system, step by step, and keep your precious photos safe
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