High-quality images are always in demand, and there's no reason your photos can't be among them! Selling stock photography can be a great sideline business for many kinds of photographers.
Where to Sell Your Stock Photos With Envato
Envato Market is a large digital marketplace with millions of items for sale, from video to photos and more. Envato's top authors make over $20,000 per month selling digital products and creative stock assets to a thriving community of over 6 million, across eight marketplaces.
PhotoDune is the photo marketplace on Envato Market. It offers non-exclusive authors 55% of each sale. This percentage increases if you place your photos exclusively on the site.
More Stock Photography Platforms
Dreamstime is a great place to get your feet wet if you are new to the stock photography business. While the payouts may not be as large as some of the other companies, Dreamstime does offer an extended licensing program to help increase the amount garnered from each sale. An extended license gives the purchaser additional rights beyond the normal royalty-free license. For instance, under the standard royalty-free license, the amount of print items (t-shirts, mousepads, calendars, etc...) is limited or excluded depending on the agency. With an extended license, certain additional rights may be granted for an additional fee. A good company will let you control which extended rights you wish to see, as Dreamstime does.
Alamy offers photographers 60% of each sale made on the site and currently lists over 15,000 photographers. You retain all copyrights and they are a non-exclusive site, meaning you can sell your images on other stock sites. They have an exacting quality control check of a small percentage of your submissions and if it fails all submissions in that batch fail. Dedicated help line for photographers.
Crestock boasts one of the fastest upload sites for photographers. As with all sites, your photos will undergo a quality check (QC) to make sure they are up to Crestock's expectations. Crestock does not require exclusive rights so you are free to shop them around to other stock photo agencies. They have a preference for shots with people in them.
123rf, as the name implies, is a royalty-free stock site. Royalty-free sites offer a static price per image download, no matter on use (to some degree, as there are limits). This kind of arrangement can work well if your collection is large or in a particular niche. They currently offer 50% commissions from customers who download with credits and $.36 per download from subscription customers. Uploads are fairly easy and straightforward with options for FTP, Java or basic uploader. There is a 300MB limit for each upload.
Stockxpert was one of the smaller, well positioned micro-stock agencies gobbled up by the larger, traditional stock companies. In this case, they are now owned by Jupiter Images (see entry below) and offer 50% commissions on all credit purchases. They list the license you are agreeing to assign to purchasers right on their site, which is nice to see before signing up. They also have the ever-popular extended license if you want to kick up revenues for select images. Earnings are monitored in real time and they have an affiliate program.
Fotolia also employs a sliding scale with royalties per image download of between 30-61%. This royalty can increase if you decide to become a photographer exclusively with Fotolia. One nice thing about Fotolia is they list the commissions and credits earned per sales (depending on size and license) right on their site before registering. This lets a contributor decide if they want to be fully exclusive, partially exclusive or non-exclusive right off the bat.
Big Stock Photo
Big Stock Photo also offers 50% commissions and that means your sales will range from $.50 for the smallest downloads to $3 each for the largest. Payouts start as low $50 of accumulated proceeds and can be paid through Paypal or MoneyBookers. They list the images that are most in demand, making it very useful to target your work. Uploads are easy and quick.
Can Stock Photo
Can Stock Photo currently offers photographers 50% commissions on all direct image purchases made on their site and $.25 for each subscription download. The sign up process is easy and straight forward, just link to your portfolio and upload three images for review. Can Stock does have an exclusive program if you wish to be shown at only one agency. They do allow simultaneous submissions to other agencies as well.
The payouts at Shutterstock work on a sliding scale, so the more images you have downloaded, the more you'll earn per image. The scale currently starts at $.25 per download so it will take a sizeable portfolio with stellar images before the bigger returns roll around (this is true with all stock agencies, though).
Corbis was established well before the internet opened up the stock photo industry. Gaining a foothold at Corbis is something of an elusive process. You will note when taking a look at their site that there is no easy "Submit Here" button like a number of the other companies listed. Instead, Corbis seeks out talent, typically by word of mouth in photography circles, and then invites them to become contributors. As you can imagine, a lot of photographers covet signing on with Corbis.
Veer is an arm of Corbis Images with a view to the 'affordable market'. The submission process is more open but still stringent. You'll be asked for experience in the industry, including references, what your specialization is, where Veer can see your work and the size of your collection available for stock. Veer will be more suited for those with an established portfolio they wish to shop to other sites. Not that a new photographer can't break in with outstanding work, but experience is important at this agency.
Like Corbis, Getty is a traditional stock photo agency and the entry process is different than most of the royalty-free sites on the internet. The entry process is one of the more rigorous in the industry but the payoffs are worth the effort for many. To apply, you will need to register with the site, review the guidelines for submitting, take a quiz and then submit a link to a gallery of your finest images. As with most stock companies, Getty is looking for images with a strong connection through use of concepts and emotions. If accepted, you will be offered the opportunity to submit photographs for one of Getty's House Collections with a specific theme.
iStockphoto is one of the leading micro-stock agencies on the internet. Because of their size, the QC process can be more rigorous, not to say any of the stock agencies is much of a slouch. iStockphoto also offers an exclusive images program, with larger commissions if your images are only sold through iStockphoto. They further leverage this exclusivity and package a number of high caliber photos into a program called Vetta, which helps boost sales for extraordinary photos.
jupiterimages is another of the heavyweights with little information on working directly with them. It's best described as a, "Don't call us, we'll call you" arrangement.
Share Your Experience
Are you particularly familiar with any of the above stock websites? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on which have worked best for you!
Before you start selling, make sure you're uploading your very best work. You can get your images professionally edited to maximize their impact by contacting one of the reliable providers on Envato Studio. And get some ideas by browsing the authentic free stock photos on Reshot.
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