Choosing the best stock photo agency to sell images online

Choosing the best stock photo agency to sell images online

The number is microstock sites is constantly growing and changing. New ones appear, some are closing down, bigger companies buy smaller ones. Stock photographers have a choice to become exclusive with just one agency, or to submit their work to multiple sites, which is usually more profitable.

Submitting to all of them would be too much work, and it’s not worth it. The best thing to do is submitting to all the biggest ones, and adding a couple of low-earners which seem to you the most appealing.

According to my personal statistics, the best ones in terms of earnings are Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia (or Adobe Stock), Dreamstime, and 123rf. BigStok, Depositphotos, and CanStock are quite good too. All the others are “low earners”, and are worth working with only if you already sell your images on bigger sites. All together, those smaller agencies, will still give you a nice little additional source of income.

Depending on your photography style, some sites might work for you better than others. Statistics on other websites reveal a slight difference, putting sites like Pond5, Alamy and Evanto much higher in ranking.

Shutterstock is definitely the site you will want to join but it can be much more difficult to get approved than on all other sites. You will need to submit 10 photos for review, and have 7 of them approved. If you are not accepted, you can try again in a month. Shutterstock alone can give you about 50% of your total earnings from microstock sites, so it’s really worth trying. And trying again if you get rejected!

As for “low earners”, Yay Micro, FeaturePics, ScanStockPhoto and StockPhotoMedia have convenient uploading system and pretty fast review times, so it’s not a big effort to submit to these sites. Pond5 has been really slow recently, both in terms of image sales and review times. My newest addition is Photocase, a German site with a different concept – they are aiming to create a library of unconventional images that do not look like traditional “stock”.

Sites like iStock can help you to become a better photographer because they usually explain pretty well why the image has been rejected. When I was just starting out, I learned a lot just by correcting and re-uploading rejected photos.

Here you will find a list of all the stock photo agencies where I sell my images, successfully making a living from photo sales with a portfolio of about 3000 images.