Best Microstock Sites List

The best microstock sites list for 2020 is my updated list of the best microstock agencies for stock contributors to try.

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 are the results of years of my research and personal experience, all condensed into a single page outlining the best microstock sites for contributors.

Best Microstock Sites hero image of 3 trophies

Updated: 2020

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:

  1. This comprehensive list of the best microstock agencies
  2. The Ultimate Microstock Beginner’s Guide

You’re currently looking at the first one, the comprehensive list of the best microstock agencies for 2020.

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 – Best microstock site in terms of earnings by a long way for most contributors (Review)
  • Dreamstime – Well established microstock agency that rewards popular images with higher commissions (Review)
  • Depositphotos – Regular sales of photos & vectors, although mostly subscription based (Review)
  • Pond5 – Hugely successful with stock video footage clips & audio, now photo & vectors sales as well (Review)
  • Adobe Stock – Formerly Fotolia and improved everything about it, 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 and code plugins, also sells a lot of videos & audio (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 images 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
  • Stockfresh – Run by some established professionals but still a little slow going for sales
  • BigStock – Owned by Shutterstock but seems to attract a totally different buyer base, 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

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 that have 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.

Various print on demand products pictured for the Additional Ways To Sell Images section of the Best Microstock Sites list

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.

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:

Books on bookshelf for educational resources section of the Best Microstock Sites list

Video Courses

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