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

Portrait Shoot: Pierre van Heerden

So a number of years back I did a shoot of Pierre van Heerden, South African actor, musical performer, playwright and comedian, at my old studio. It was just for fun, really. I was exploring some portraiture ideas, for a project I was considering at the time. We had a great time shooting these, exploring some cool ideas as we spent the morning talking rubbish, laughing and drinking coffee.

Fast forward some years later, and he contacted me to do an update of the images, but this time for his book.

The images were meant for publicity purposes, his marketing material and such, but what I want to share here is just some of the expression shots we did once we had those in the bag. Working with an actor in stills is great, as they know their face, they know expressions and have a large selection of facial "skills" to employ for a portrait.

I would simply call out a bunch of emotions/expressions and he would comply each time.

The "30 second portrait" I made is an idea…


Herewith a little video I put together for Creation Wines's leg of Stage 2 of the 2017 ABSA CAPE EPIC MTB Race. #untamed