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.
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 on each of them you can of course read our more in-depth reviews of each agency.
Also, be sure to take 2 seconds and join our newsletter to stay up to date (no spam, I promise!).
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.
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.
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