Jump to content

Most Liked Content

#65 Quick Tip: Deciding Which Stock Image Library to Trust with Your Photos

Posted David B on 13 October 2012 - 02:00 PM

Selecting which stock image libraries to upload your photos to can be a bit of a minefield. Do you have to select just one, or can you upload to multiple sites? Which will offer the best chance of having your work purchased? Which offer the best rates? Well here’s a quick rundown on five of the leading stock image libraries to help you make your decision.

As well as explaining a little about each site, I’ll be offering some basic statistics. But first let’s cover some terminology.

  • Royalties: The amount which you can expect to be paid for your images.
  • Licenses: The level of permission granted to the buyer. The most popular being ‘Royalty Free,’ A one-off payment allows the buyer to do as they please with the image and ‘Rights Managed,’ when each use is cost restricted.
  • Minimum Withdrawl: The required amount of money that enables you to withdraw funds.
  • Number of Images: Roughly the amount of images on the site.


As with most of the stock sites, the quality of images is very high, so you’ll need to ensure you’re submitting high quality and technically proficient images in order to gain commercial success.

It’s very easy to sign up, all that is required is photo ID and 10 images for review, of which 7 will need to be deemed acceptable to allow you to join. You can then upload as many images as you like, but each image will be reviewed to maintain a high standard of quality.

  • Royalties: $0.25-$2.85 per download
  • Licenses: Royalty Free
  • Minimum Withdrawl: $75
  • No. of Images: 20 million

Photo by rennes.i


Owned by Getty images, iStockPhoto maintains a high quality library of images popular with buyers. Payment systems are tiered into collections and fees are based upon a variety of criteria according to which collection the image falls into as well as your total annual downloads and whether your images are exclusive to the site.

Joining requires a process of answering questions from the contributors guide as well as submitting 3 images for review, if accepted, you’ll then be able to upload 18 images a week.

  • Royalties: 15-20% non-exclusive, 25-40% exclusive
  • Licenses: Royalty Free
  • Minimum Withdrawl: $100
  • No. of Images: 10 million

Photo by rennes.i


PhotoDune is part of the family of Envato marketplace sites, home to a whole host of content sites and affiliated to the Tuts+ sites, and therefore a large community of creatives.

Items are priced depending on the size and megapixels of the shot. You can make more money if the content (individual files) are exclusive to Photodune. To join, you need to take the ‘Authorial Quiz’, if you pass, you’ll then be able to upload images, all of which are reviewed.

They also run the referral programme, which rewards those who refer other authors by offering a percentage of (not from) their first deposit.

  • Royalties: 50-70%
  • Licenses: Royalty Free
  • Minimum Withdrawl: Below $50 annually can be used in the Envato Marketplace, above $50 can be withdrawn.
  • No. of Images: 2 million

Photo by rennes.i


Boasting a huge amount of images, out of the stock libraries we’re looking at today, Alamy offers the one of the largest percentages for the photographer. Pricing of images is dependent upon the attributed license, of which there are a variety of options.

Application is based upon a contractual agreement and submission of 4 images for review, after which you’ll be able to upload as many images as you want. Their intelligent ranking system rewards clicks and purchases on images by moving them up the rankings.

  • Royalties: 40-60%
  • Licenses: Royalty free, Rights Managed, Novel Use
  • Minimum Withdrawl: $250
  • No. of Images: 33 million

Photo by rennes.i


With Fotolia, the more you sell, the more you earn. Each photographer is ranked, starting at white, which offers a royalty of 20% and rising through an 8-tier system right up to diamond, achievable by reaching a million downloads and offering 46%. There are no submission requirements or upload limits, although each image will be reviewed before being accepted.

  • Royalties: 20-46% non-exclusive, 20-63% exclusive
  • Licenses: Royalty Free
  • Minimum Withdrawl: £37.50 (50 credits)
  • No. of Images: 19 million

Photo by rennes.i

View the full article