Microstock FAQ

How does Microstock work?

Microstock is a segment of stock photography, where photographers and illustrators sell their works relatively cheap through subscription and single-order credit plans. Prices vary depending on the plan the buyer chooses.


What is “Stock Photography”?

Stock photography is photography that is intended to be used for either commercial or editorial purposes such as advertisements, newspapers, articles, websites, product packaging and any other kind of commercial use. It is most commonly purchased and used by graphic agencies and designers, artists and typographers.


How do I get started selling my photos?

Each agency will have a sign up page where you create your account and get started uploading. For more information about how to get started and where to sign up, see the Agency Reviews and The Beginners Guide.

What does “Royalty-Free” mean?

Royalty-free means that an image is available for use in accordance with the Licensing Terms without the need for additional description or coordination of the place, audience, way of use, etc. The customer can use the stock file in any given context.


Do I keep the copyrights of my work?

Yes. That’s the reason why you as a microstock contributor can sell the same file over and over again.

Can you make a living selling microstock?

Yes, most definitely. Just have a look around the scene and you will discover a lot of designers whose main income is based on microstock.
Are you going to be rich overnight? No, for sure not. It really all depends on the time you put into it. Work on it for a few months and you’ll see the first rewards coming in.

Do I need expensive equipment to get started in microstock?

No. Definitely not in the beginning. Most 12MP or higher cameras should be enough to get you started, as long as it will produce nice noise free images.

Can anyone sell their photos?

Yes and no. You don’t need any certificate or special training. Anyone over 18 can sign up and try to get their images accepted; but not everyone will earn his time worth. See the Bestseller – What Sells Well? article for more information about what to submit.

Will I actually sell anything?

If you join the big microstock sites and get your images approved, then will sell something.  Don’t ignore the major agencies and focus on the smaller guys, it is not worth your time!

Should I be exclusive to just one agency?

I advise you not to. Why give up your independence for a few percent extra?
Read more here: Exclusivity vs. Non-Exclusivity!

Which microstock agency will suit me best?

You should definetly sign up with the top agencies in the industry: Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Depositphotos & Fotolia.
Every further agency you want to contribute to will increase your sales and the exposure of your portfolio. For more information check the Agency Reviews!