Skip to main content

Microstock Sites – Money For Photographers

People often ask me who I suggest in terms of micro-stock agencies, or who to supply their images to, if they want to make a buck on the side, so I put together this list. Yes, if you sign up through these I’ll get a couple of pennies every time you buy or sell, but that comes from the agent’s commission, not yours. I suggest you sign up for all of them, because you just can’t predict where your stuff will do well, but Shutterstock is definitely one of the first, and a close second is istock, but they’ve got pretty steep acceptance requirements. The rest are all pretty cool to get in with, you just sign up and sell. However, the most movement is on Shutterstock and istock, with Dreamstime and Fotolia short on their heels. Crestock, 123RF and BigStockPhoto are slower, but great for cutting your teeth and getting an online portfolio established.

All the agencies work on a non-exclusive model (although exclusivity is available), where it allows you to upload the same image to different sites. However, if you go exclusive (Dreamstime allows you to submit individual images exclusively instead of your whole portfolio), you are not allowed to submit to any other sites, anywhere. If they find you do, you’ll be blackballed, and most probably by all of the agencies. If you have some great travel images, or great images shot with a decent camera (normally bigger than 4mp – but DSLR recommended), give it a shot (no pun intended). 

So herewith my selection. There are more out there, but in my experience, these are the only ones worth trying for now.



I highly recommend trying to get in here. It is the largest online agency in the world, and probably the most sales due to it’s subscription model. Your royalty is not much, US25c per regular download, and the odd extended license can go up to US$28, which is not bad. The key here is good images, and lots. If you’re into video or audio or vectors, you can also submit here.



Lots of movement, good commissions. Sign up for the partner program for each image, it can increase your sales nicely. Probably the best known agency in the industry. You need to pass a tutorial first, but after that it’s good fun. Uploads are slower though, with a very thorough key-wording process. If you’re into video or audio or vectors, you can also submit here.



or signup at and supply my Referral ID: res1519312

After the above two, the most profitable. Demanding model release requirements, but if you please them, all agencies will be happy. Also, they have a fabulously interactive community via the blogs that you can post and very active forums. If you’re into video or audio or vectors, you can also submit here.



Some of the bigwigs from istock now find them here. A very slick operation and I believe this is probably the next very big one. You have to be here as well. If you’re into video or audio or vectors, you can also submit here. 
Mojito Rum cocktail on white background in highball tumbler. photo


A very cool up and coming agency. Very easy signup procedure. No nonsense, great interface.



A very slick sight. Currently approval takes a while, but a very neat selection of images. It’s a great part of one’s mix.



Recently acquired by Shutterstock, this site will grow tremendously still. Shutterstock is spending big money here.


© All images: Danie Nel Photography cc/ta – all the images above are also available through my own portal.

 logo nelimages web


Popular posts from this blog

Dangerous Photography Jobs is taken from the above article, with permission:Photography can be a case of life or death. It may sound absurd, but professional photographers often go to great lengths and compromise their safety in order to get the perfect picture. Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph Mount Everest or a mission to cover the Iraq war, many photographers risk their lives just to do their job. Here are 10 dangerous photography jobs: Extreme Weather Photography
Extreme weather photographers aren’t storm chasers, but they do have an eye for photographing hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms and other severe weather in their most vulnerable state. As you can imagine, this job is nothing short of extreme. Extreme weather photographers have to get close to the storm when everyone else is running from it, which puts them at risk for injuries and often death. BASE Jumping & Skydiving Photography

Bronx Shoes Billboard Shoot

If you're passing Gugulethu Taxi Rank's way, or JHB Taxi Rank, you will notice a 6x9m billboard with a Bronx ad on it. Above is the Gugs one  and the Jozi one.Now, if you've wondered what goes into shooting something like this, well here goes.Client: Bronx ShoesAgency: Traffic Integrated Marketing - Danie Nel Photography - and Design: Bianca at Traffic Integrated MarketingModel: Bobby Roache - Base Models - www.basemodelagency.comThe concept was of a guy sitting perched somewhere, so one can see a Afro-entric urban landscape in the background, dramatically lit. The product shots of shoes (I shot those later in studio) would then be dropped onto the image along with copy, logo's and catchline. Also, a JHB skyline, shot by another photographer, would be dropped into one of the shots for the JHB billboard.SO:First you quote and get approval and get that out of the way. Then you go for a recce mission to get a …

Wedding: A&D, Solms-Delta

It’s a real big kick for me if I get to shoot one of my commercial clients’ weddings, every time such an opportunity comes up. It has happened a number of times now, which I’m grateful for. Not only does it allow you into a very special and personal part of a client’s life, but also allows you to reward their loyalty and trust in you.

In this case, the client and I have been doing work together for 8 years, shooting PR and ad campaigns, and having a good relationship always. However, as much as I need to impress him, it is of no use if his bride-to-be does not approve. I’m very grateful that she did, and what an easy subject she turned out to be to boot!

Horses make up a big part of her life, so it was decided that she would enter the ceremony on a horse, so prior to the ceremony starting, I had a short while to familiarise myself with equestrian photography! As it was not her own horse either, she just needed a couple of minutes to whisper to it or whatever it is that horse-people d…