Complete list of microstock agencies you can trust!

Complete list of microstock agencies you can trust!

Hello, my beautiful people,

If you enjoy taking photos and you love the idea of being paid for your creativity, then you need to know about microstock agencies. Maybe you are completely new to this term, so let me tell you a little bit about what microstock photography is. Typically, microstock photography company will source all their images through the internet from a wide range of contributors and sell the images at a very low rate under royalty-free license. iStockPhoto, created in 2000 by a Canadian entrepreneur Bruce Livingstone was the first stock photo site that pioneered the subscription-based micropayment model and changed the whole stock industry.

In the following years, many other sites sprang up and microstock photography quickly became a phenomenon that opened doors on both buyers and contributors side. Photo buyers that couldn´t previously afford to pay the traditional stock photo costing hundreds of dollars for limited use are now prime customers of microstock agencies. And it also became much easier for contributors to enter the stock photography market as many agencies accept photos from a wide range of contributors – from professionals to hobbyists and amateurs.

So does it mean that anyone can become a microstock contributor nowadays? The answer is yes, if…


·    you are at least 18 years old (requirement for most agencies)

·    you love taking photos and you are ready to learn and also you know your way around your camera and some basics about photography

·    you have internet access (which I think you do, otherwise you wouldn´t read this post 🙂 )

·    you own any decent camera ( it doesn´t need to be a DSLR to start, but in a long run, I highly recommend to invest in one )

·    you have some photo editing skills and software (for example Adobe Photoshop – Adobe Photoshop 30 day free trial )

·    and very important – you have time!

The entire process of planning a photo shoot, through taking photos and editing them to keywording and finally uploading them to the microstock sites is very time-consuming. Therefore, I suggest you sign up with agencies that are established and will sell your photos well. 


Here are my TOP 5 Microstock sites in 2017 that I have made the most money with. They are sorted from bestselling first to least selling last. 


1. I highly recommend starting here, as Shutterstock is by far the bestselling agency (October 2017) – Contributor Link

Accepted Media Types: Photos, Vectors, Videos

Commission: from $0.25 up to $120 – see full Shutterstock earnings breakdown



2. Easy to manage portfolio with their free tool – Deep Meta, frequent and regular sales – Contributor Link

Accepted Media Types: Photos, Vectors, Videos

Commission: 15% for photo, 20% for illustration, 20% for video – see full iStock earnings breakdown



3. Bought out Fotolia, linked with Adobe Creative Cloud Apps, big potential – Contributor Link

Accepted Media Types: Photos, Vectors, Videos

Commission: 33% for photos and vectors, 35% for videos – see full AdobeStock earnings breakdown



4. Established agency, friendly feel, they reward popular images / 5 levels sales structure – Contributor Link

Accepted Media Types: Photos, Vectors, Videos, Audio

Commission: 25-50% for photos, vectors and videos (5 levels pricing structure) – see full Dreamstime earnings breakdown



5. Well established agency owned by Inmagine, with nice online layout and contributor dashboard, Contributor Link

Accepted Media Types: Photos, Vectors, Videos

Commission: from $0.216 (subscription) or 30% (credits) – see full 123RF earning breakdown




Down below I´ve included  10 more microstock sites that are established and worth to check. Every agency have a slightly different customer base and photos that might sell well on one site don´t have to sell so well on the other. This applies to all microstock agencies in general. Therefore my suggestion is – don´t limit yourself to just one or two agencies unless you want to go exclusive. Test the waters with your own portfolio to see how it does in a long run and feel free to share your top 5 agencies and your experience with them! Until the next post, happy “microstocking”!



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