On this page, you can find an updated list of the best Microstock and Macrostock agencies where you can sell your pictures and stock footage.
In the past few years, I had the chance to work with several microstock websites. Obviously not all of them have proved to be a good investment of time. Some websites are really good and can help you to sell a lot of images, other websites are pretty much a waste of time. On this page, I’ll regularly update my personal list of the best Microstock and Macrostock websites to sell your images.
Best Microstock and Macrostock websites
Adobestock has managed to carve out an important place for itself in the world of microstock, both thanks to their commission model and to asinine decisions by other agencies (the latest of which is Shutterstock). After buying Fotolia, it has continued to grow and is set to become increasingly important.
The real problem is that at the moment it does not accept photos uploaded with editorial license, thus limiting the possibilities of sales. If this should change, I imagine that in a short time Adobestock will become the first agency in terms of the number of sales.
It’s probably the most famous Macrostock agency. Many photographers complain that it’s quite difficult to sell any image at all. The truth is that it’s quite hard to stand out among an almost endless database of pictures, but once you begin selling your first images the sales will become constant. A good reason to try Alamy is that the price per sale it’s quite high. It happens quite often to sell one image for 100$ or more. You’ll have to be patient but you will eventually make some good money with Alamy. Last but not least, this agency keeps 40% of the sale per image as their commissions. It used to be 50% until 2018. Definitely recommended!
EyeEm it’s the antitheses of iStock: it’s a new agency that it’s becoming more and more popular thanks to its way of doing marketing and thanks to the fact that the pictures can be sold on EyeEm as well as on Getty Images. you won’t sell too many pictures but the prices are quite good compared to the other agencies.
Before Shutterstock and company, iStockphoto was pretty much the only option and for the few people who were aware of the possibility of selling their pictures, this agency was like a gold mine. Long story short, today iStock it’s in agony because it hasn’t been able to keep the pace with the other websites. Today iStock belongs to Getty Images and more and more people are getting tired of being mistreated by an agency that keeps 75% of every sale. I started a few years ago so I still have a steady income with them but it’s definitely not getting any better.
Getty Images it’s the giant of the Macrostock world. They purchased all the main competitors and are one of the few agencies that are not censored in China. Add to this the fact that they have some special agreement with important news magazines and websites and it’s easy to see why they are so important today. The problem is that they require exclusivity and that it’s not possible for new photographers to become contributors. I’m a contributor because I joined them a few years ago via Flickr. I’m not a big fan of Getty. Some pictures do sell well though and the price per image could be quite high.
Sell photos and videos as NFT
I wrote a detailed article explaining how NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) work and if you can monetize your photos and videos through this tool. I recommend you read it because it’s a relatively new technology that may have a lot of potential.
It’s a rather complicated topic but in my opinion, it cannot be ignored. Here you can find the article.
What about Shutterstock?
Shutterstock has unfortunately gone from being the best to be the worst agency in just 6 days. Since June 1st, 2020 it changed its commission model and cut the earnings of the contributors by as much as 70%. I strongly advise against starting to upload your best photos to Shutterstock. An alternative would be uploading your best content on Alamy with an RM license and then dumping the pictures that are not good enough on Shutterstock.
Best websites to sell Stockfootage
Many microstock websites allow you to sell stock footage but Pond5 it’s the best option. Don’t expect to sell any image with them, but for some reason, they do pretty well when it comes to selling videos. I honestly don’t have many videos since I’m more into photography, but I did sell a few. Pond5 lets you choose the sale price and keeps only 50% of the revenue.
If you are interested in start selling stock footage don’t miss my post about it.
I recently signed up with a new agency called Motion Array. The commission model is honestly very complicated, and long story short, the sales prices per file are some of the lowest I’ve ever seen. However, they do have one notable advantage: the sales volumes are quite high. This means that it has quickly become one of the agencies where I make the most money, especially after Shutterstock’s commission cut. The main problem Motion Array suffers from at the moment is the file upload method, which is extremely slow and obsolete. Let’s hope they fix it.
Best tools to edit your pictures and videos
I often use GDN and ND filters, but sometimes, they are not enough because the dynamic range of the scene it’s too high or because the horizon it’s not straight. In this case, a double exposure can be useful. But how can you merge two or more exposures easily and without ruining the picture? I use Raya Pro, which in my opinion, is the best Photoshop Panel for this kind of post-processing. You can read my review of Raya Pro here.
Besides Raya Pro, I use another Photoshop plugin: TM Panel developed by the Italian photographer Gaspare Silverii. The difference between Raya Pro and this Panel is that the TM Panel allows you to select a part of the picture based on its luminosity AND tonality. As far as I know, this is the only panel that allows you to do it.
Here you can read my complete review of the TM Panel.
Finally, if you are into Time-lapse photography I’m pretty sure that you know and use LRTimelapse. The reason is simple: it’s the best software to create time-lapses especially if you want a smooth day-to-night transition. Without this software, the time-lapse will suffer from an ugly effect called flickering. Time-lapses are a good option if you want to increase your sales on stock-footage websites. Here you can read my review of this great software.
Since 2014 I’ve been using Santech’s laptops, an Italian company specialed in custom-assembled laptops. Being a digital nomad I can’t afford the “luxury” of working with a Desktop workstation with a 32-inch Eizo monitor but with Santech laptops I have never had the feeling of sacrificing performances. The prices are very affordable and there is the possibility to add or remove hardware according to your needs.
BEST ONLINE COURSES TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS
If you really want to progress and improve your photography skills the best suggestion is to spend some money on good video series.
The advantage of online courses, compared to workshops, is that they allow you to learn new things while sitting in your home and, if you don’t understand something, you can always watch the video over again. There is an infinite number of more or less valid courses and before buying any, I suggest you check the reviews on the Internet. This because very often you will not learn anything new: the courses are often a gold mine for those making them. That being said, here’s a list of what I think are very good courses that will teach you something new.
Advanced Cityscape and Landscape Photgraphy by Elia Locardi and Fstoppers
Elia Locardi is one of the most famous and successful photographers of the past few years. He has managed to establish a real personal brand and the number of collaborations with international brands is countless. One of the most challenging projects led him to collaborate with the guys at Fstoppers and in recent years they have created a series of video courses on photography that have set a new standard in terms of quality. I’ll be honest: Elia courses are the best you can find on the market at the moment but are also among the most expensive. At the moment there are 4 courses of increasing difficulty and you’ll learn to master Photoshop and Lightroom. If you want some more information I reviewed 3 of the 4 courses of Elia and you can find them here: review to Landscape Photography 1 and here the review to the most advanced courses.
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