Graffiti Policy in Stock Photography

If you have a thing for graffiti and street art like me, you have probably already tried uploading photographs of your favorite works to a stock agency. And they rejected all of your images, am I right?

It took me some time to understand the reason behind this policy, that most microstock agencies seem to have in common. Graffiti and all kinds of street art are only accepted if you are able to provide a model release with a signature of the artist. At least as long as the main focus of your photography is the piece of art.

Shutterstock published a note on 24 March 2016 that stated their point of view clearly:

“We are no longer accepting images or footage for editorial use in which isolated graffiti artwork is the only or primary subject. This type of material can be accepted for commercial use only with a property release from the graffiti artist. Submissions where graffiti or street art is present but not the focus of the content may be accepted for commercial or editorial use on a case by case basis.  Please note that we are not currently accepting submissions of isolated graffiti or street art for either commercial or editorial use where the content has been shot in San Francisco, California.” [Shutterstock Forum]

I do not quite understand while street art from San Francisco is not accepted anymore… Probably every wall and back alley is already too well covered. Hard to imagine, although the new mobile apps for smartphone photography might have their part in this development.

Mostphotos is an exception from this rule – on their website you can upload any photography without any review process. 😉


Visit the Microstock Beginners Guide for more Information on how to get started selling vector illustrations and photography online:

microstock beginners guide



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s