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Stock Photography Sites

There are these days countless stock photography sites to choose from, either as a contributor or as a customer.  However, these stock sites are not all created equally.  It is generally agreed upon that the top stock photography sites are as follows:

Shutterstock

iStockphoto

Dreamstime

Fotolia

BigStock

123RF

Now, here are my personal best stock photography sites, in terms of earnings:

iStockphoto

Shutterstock

Texturevault

Of course, not all photographers are interested in submitting textures.  So, Texturevault is only applicable to some stock contributors.  Next to my Napa Valley vineyard shots, my abstract textures are my top selling stock images.  I’m plenty fine with this as I enjoy making them in Photoshop.

Royalty Free Images

Shutterstock and iStockphoto are my top earning sites due to their huge image library and very large customer base.  Interestingly, these are the only two sites that I have submitted stock images to that required me to apply to become a contributor.  The application process for both of these sites while simple, was certainly not easy.  In fact, like most other new microstock contributors, I failed my first attempt for each site.  While nerve-wracking, it was all worth it.  That initial acceptance email from each site was a happy and memorable occasion for me!

Shutterstock sells its stock images on a subscription only basis.  This ultimately benefits the customer who may need to download many high quality stock images, as each image ends up costing much less than if purchased one by one.  Shutterstock is also “friendlier” to more artistic submissions in my experience.  Many of the images that I have had rejected at iStockphoto, for “over-processing” have been accepted by Shutterstock.  This includes my HDR photography, which by its very nature consists of quite a bit of processing.

There is actually a separate Shutterstock website for contributors, so if you are interested in applying, you will need to go there.

The main Shutterstock website is for customers.

iStockphoto is my top earner at this point, although my earnings there are only slightly better than at Shutterstock.  Interestingly, my portfolio there is smaller as they simply accept fewer of my images.  Still, most of my photography and textures that have been accepted there have produced sales.  Unlike Shutterstock, it is possible to purchase individual images by first purchasing “credits”.  They also offer subscriptions and corporate accounts.  As a contributor to iStockphoto, I like that my older images are still getting downloads.

Last but definitely not least, is Texturevault, which is perhaps the only premium stock photography site which sells and accepts textures only.  Every image needs to be reviewed and accepted in order to be added to the site.  I have found that they are just as stringent on quality as Shutterstock, and my sales there come in third place overall.

2 Responses to Stock Photography Sites

  1. Hi Rachael,

    Nice blog! Thanks a lot for sharing this blog with everyone.

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