Best Microstock Sites List

Best Microstock Sites

Updated: 2017

There is a baffling array of microstock photography sites out there. Some are legitimate microstock agencies, some perhaps not. When I first started out in microstock I spent countless hours trawling through forums, websites and blogs trying to find out which were the best microstock sites. I needed to know which sites I should trust, and which ones I should begin selling with. That time could have been better spent taking photos to sell!

So here is the results of my research and personal experience condensed into a single page outlining the best microstock sites for contributors. All these sites I have had personal dealings with and can recommend. They have also ALL sold some images for me. They are presented in a rough order of best-selling first, and smaller agencies last.

Arrow signs outside pointing the way on a walking trail

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 on each of them you can of course read our more in-depth reviews of each agency.

Best Microstock Sites List

Shutterstock – Best agency in terms of earnings by a long, long way

Dreamstime – Friendly, established agency that rewards popular images

Pond5 – Hugely successful with stock video footage clips, now branching out into photo sales as well

Depositphotos – Huge marketing muscle has made their rise one of the quickest in the industry

Stockfresh – Run by some established professionals but still a little slow going for sales

PhotoDune – Part of huge Envato network of stock sites, this ones taking off

BigStock – Owned by Shutterstock but seems to attract a totally different buyer base

123RF – Good agency that has come a long way in a short time

Canva – Taking the design world by storm and selling lots of images along the way

iStock – Despite the lowest contributor royalties, still manages to earn decent money

Fotolia – European flavour which will suit certain types of portfolio’s more than others

Adobe Stock – Bought out Fotolia and currently running both, huge potential with Adobe Creative Cloud link

CanStockPhoto – Great community feel to it with sales proving to be increasingly consistent

PicFair – Agency aiming to be fair to photographers, with a slightly different pricing strategy

GL Stock Images – Formerly Graphic Leftovers, good staff to deal with and fair pricing structure

Zoonar – European flair with 3 different pricing tiers to choose from and great royalties

Storyblocks – New name for GraphicStock and part of a network of media sites

VideoBlocks – Strong performer in video footage sales and part of a network of media sites

AudioBlocks – Connected with the two sites above

Sign Elements – Part of the Ingram Group, with a unique approach aimed at sign writers

Envato Elements – New subscription based site by Envato (PhotoDune parent) aimed at large volume designers

Getty Images – Well known brand that only pays a small percentage to its contributors but has global influence

FeaturePics – Been around for quite some time, good acceptance rates and but few sales

YAY Images – Formerly YayMicro, easy to deal with and offering a web streaming package

Cutcaster – Nice clean website, multiple pricing options

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.

Additional Resources For Selling

While not being microstock as such, there are other ways of selling your photos, vectors and more. So in addition to outlining the best microstock sites, here are some other alternatives proved useful for many. Part of the trick in being successful in selling media online is diversity. So it doesn’t hurt to try selling direct or testing out a print-on-demand site or two.

In addition we recommend checking out the educational resources section to improve your skills – or learn new ones! Being a microstock contributor can be a steep learning curve for even professionals. So why not take some time to review your skill set and brush up on weak areas. Our recommended tutorials will get you up to speed.

Finally, take a look at our Microstock Tools & Resources page. You will find some tools to help speed up your workflow and improve your chances of being a successful microstock contributor.

An old camera in its original vintage leather case on a wooden background

Non-Microstock Sales Platforms

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 commission and no catches! 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, as do I.  This is the hosting I use on our stock site. They have an excellent cost to benefit ratio. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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.

Educational Resources

Many photographers are looking for high quality resources to fine tune their skills. Or maybe to learn new ones to help them be more successful in microstock photography. Our friends over at Photography Concentrate offer high quality HD video courses on a variety of subjects. Plus you can download free ebooks and field guides to get you started. Check out their video tutorials below:

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