When it comes to stock photos, your choices range from free sites like Flickr and Google Images to paid sites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto,
Choosing a stock photo site is very important. You might be wondering which stock photo site pays the most, but the answer isn’t so clear-cut.
In fact, it varies based on what you plan to use your images for, where you plan to use them, and which companies are interested in that kind of content in your niche.
In order to find out which stock photo site pays the most, keep reading!
Table of Contents
Consider Your Image Needs
Make sure you know how many photos you need and what kinds of photos—you’ll have to weigh whether you’re in need of top-notch quality or an easier-to-use service.
- Keep in mind that most websites sell usage licenses (i.e., download and reuse forever), rather than standard subscriptions, so if you plan on only using one photo per month, make sure it’s worth your money.
- And if unlimited downloads are important to you, be aware that some sites charge for downloads under a certain number of images. For example, iStockphoto charges $100 per image downloaded beyond your initial 3 downloads per month; Shutterstock has no cap on its monthly downloads but charges $10 for any extra downloads after 5 images/month.
The Rise of Microstock Photography Sites
Here’s Why: In an age where most images are created digitally, it should come as no surprise that stock photography has become increasingly popular.
Much of these images are now licensed to businesses on sites like iStock and Shutterstock, which have become so influential they are often referred to simply as stock photos.
As stock photos have grown in popularity, so too have microstock sites; websites that allow users to upload their images for sale to anyone.
- The most popular of these include Dreamstime, Fotolia, and BigStockPhoto.These Sites Pay You to Use Their Photo.
- Photographers who know how to source quality content may be surprised at just how many microstock photography websites exist out there.
- Unlike some of the more well-known stock photo libraries, such as Getty Images and Corbis, microstock houses tend to focus less on selling rights for all eternity than getting you cash quickly.
Because so many customers need (and expect) immediate gratification from online shopping, micro is actually something that is taken very seriously when weeding through potential marketplaces—micro stocks certainly deliver because choosing stock photos is concerned with how quickly they can move products.
What Is A ‘Microstock Photography Site’ Exactly?
Microstock photography sites are web-based image libraries that pay you for your photographs. The goal of these companies is to sell images and graphics to businesses, who can then use them in their own projects (websites, advertisements, etc.).
Examples of popular microstock sites include Shutterstock, Fotolia, and iStockphoto. These sites have really shaken up traditional stock photo agencies like Getty Images because they allow photographers to instantly upload images, license and download new content, on choosing a Stock Photo Site, and get paid directly through online payment processors without ever having to deal with an agent or middleman.
This can help lower costs across the board while reducing workload considerably. Once you’ve uploaded some photos on one of these sites and started making sales, it’s hard not to see why they’ve become so popular. Many professional photographers make more money selling through microstock agencies than any other venue! Where Should I Sell My Pictures?:
There are dozens of microstock agencies out there—what makes each site unique? Well, to start off with: different types of images sell at different rates.
For example, you might be able to earn $2 per photograph on iStockPhoto but only $0.25 per photograph on Dreamstime—not all markets have created equal demand for every type of imagery; that’s just how things work right now.
Licensing Agreements And The Creative Commons Attribution License
What’s The Difference?: When you license an image through Getty Images, for example, you must abide by their licensing agreement. This means that if your image is used on a book cover and there’s no credit line, then you (and not Getty) would own 100% of that licensing fee.
The other option would be to use images from sites like Flickr or Unsplash which are licensed under CC0 (Creative Commons Zero). But it’s important to note that these zero-rights-reserved sites often do not require attribution, so they may not be best if you’re hoping to add credibility and transparency with outside stakeholders.
- Ultimately, every project and client has different needs—it’s up to you to know what those needs are and make sure you match them with a stock photo site whose terms align.
- Learn more about both Creative Commons licenses in our post: Understanding Copyright & Creative Commons For Stock Photography. And, remember, when it comes to choosing between two royalty-free photos one should never sacrifice quality over quantity!
There’s nothing worse than selecting great-looking photos only for them to all be low resolution (scanned images, poor lighting, washed-out colors). Our short infographic below details some key differences between various rights reserved vs. royalty-free as well as better understanding copyright law itself.
Uploading Images To Microstock Sites
The Pros and Cons of 5 Sites: Comparing Depositphotos vs 123rf vs iStockPhoto vs Shutterstock vs GettyImages! : Comparing Depositphotos, 123rf, iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, and GettyImages side-by-side reveals what to consider when choosing one stock photo site over another.
Regardless of which you choose, understanding how these sites operate will benefit you greatly as an aspiring stock photographer. So let’s take a closer look at each service in order to help you decide where to start with your own stock photography career. First, let’s talk about something important…
How Much Do Stock Photography Sites Pay?
The top five most popular stock photography sites in 2016 are Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Fotolia, Adobe Stock, and DepositPhotos. Not all of these sites pay equally well, however.
For example, Shutterstock pays contributors royalties of 45 percent from between $0.12 to $1 per download depending on the format in which their photos are used by clients.
- Authors can receive bonuses for gaining high visibility rankings on its search engine (20 percent of the site’s revenue is redistributed among contributors).
- iStockphoto currently pays a 25 percent royalty based on file downloads from $10 – 30. If you decide to use Adobe Stock, freelancers earn between 40 cents and 40 dollars for premium content downloads during their initial review process but must also wait for three months after publishing before earning any income.
- If you need to learn more about Shutterstock and making money by uploading photos check out my blog post https://everyshuttercounts.com/make-100-dollar-shutterstock-contributor-review-2022/
Once accepted into its partner program, members can earn up to 50 dollars for file downloads or 10 dollars for lease agreements plus 50 percent on subscriptions that members have made with monthly payments.
Where To Sell Photos – Rights Managed Or Unrestricted/Royalty-Free Licenses?
In order to sell images, there are two main categories of sites: rights-managed and royalty-free. Rights Managed: The photographer retains full rights to their images and is paid a fee for each time it is licensed. These are often high-paying sites with large collection libraries.
To make money using RMLs, you need to get as many images as possible into them (and preferably your highest quality). If you can’t do that (or don’t want to), then your best option is…
- Royalty-Free: Royalty-free is much more suited to our wants and needs as small business owners – after all, we’re mostly looking for one or two top drawer images rather than trying to build a portfolio or income stream from RML licensing deals.
- With RF licenses, you can download an image once in any size at no extra cost; if you download it again later in another size or format then that counts towards your limit of downloads. So make sure you check if additional downloads are allowed when purchasing!
Conclusion – If You Have Limited Time and Money, Choose Shutterstock
This stock photo site has thousands of professional images, vectors, and videos that you can use for your projects. Shutterstock adds over 20,000 new images to its library every day.
The catch? You will have to subscribe to receive access to these photos. The good news is that their subscription plans start as low as $149 per month and each plan also includes an additional amount of free credits every month.