Best Microstock Sites
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 microstock photography 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.
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
CanStockPhoto – Great community feel to it with sales proving to be increasingly consistent
Mostphotos – Slow starter, but gaining some traction lately in the European markets
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
Cutcaster – Nice clean website, multiple pricing options
Sign Elements – Part of the Ingram Group, with a unique approach aimed at sign writers
FeaturePics – Been around for quite some time, good acceptance rates and few but regular sales
YAY Images – Formerly YayMicro, easy to deal with and offering a web streaming package
PicFair – Agency aiming to be fair to photographers, with a slightly different pricing strategy
Envato Elements – New subscription based site by Envato (PhotoDune parent) aimed at large volume designers
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.
Ways To Sell Your Stock Work Direct – 100% Commission
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.
Educational Resources for Photographers
The following resources are general guides to improving your photography skills:
Composition – Improve your skills at composing great photographs which demand attention
Camera Skills – Basic camera skills guide with video instruction included
Lightroom Workflow – Instructional videos to improve your Adobe Lightroom processes