23 Jun 2007 BigStockPhoto

BigStockPhotoBigStockPhoto are a small and relatively quiet microstock agency. Sales are consistent and most contributors find the earnings worth the time to contribute.feisty little outfit. They don’t compare in size to the market leaders, but they’re certainly stronger than most of the newer agencies.


Entering the microstock market in late 2004, BigStockPhoto experienced impressive growth up until the end of 2006. Since then, it’s tapered off, according to the Alexa charts. The agency was started by husband and wife team Tim & Dawn Donahue. Tim is CEO and Dawn goes by the title of Co-Founder.

BigStockPhoto Details

Web Address www.bigstockphoto.com
Google Pagerank 6
Google Backlinks 5,160
Alexa Rank 4,223
Image Stats 1,190,000
Minimum Image Size 800 pixels across
Vectors Yes
Footage No
Licenses Standard Royalty Free and 14 different Special Licenses
Compensation $0.50 per 1 credit
Pricing $1 – $2
Payment Methods PayPal, Moneybookers
Payment Threshold $30 increased to $50 in August 2009
Referral Program 35% of first buyer purchase, $5 per referred contributor with portfolio of 75
Application Process Pass an online test
Exclusivity Not offered
Upload Methods HTML form, FTP
IPTC Data Yes
Delete images? You need to contact support
Currencies US dollar
Languages English
Headquarters California, USA

Cool Features

BigStockPhoto have a Collections page where the best photos of various categories are collected together. This simplifies finding the best images for popular categories.


Sales at BigStockPhoto place them at the bottom of the top tier. I personally don’t have a lot of my portfolio there, but I still manage to earn 6 cents per photo per month on average. Other microstockers report earnings in the same range as Fotolia and Dreamstime, which obviously depends on the portfolio. I plan to upload the remainder of my portfolio very shortly.


BigStockPhoto is a tentative ‘yes’. While they’re not yet competing with iStockphoto or Shutterstock, most contributors consider them part of the top five microstock agencies. Their website lacks the punch, clarity and functionality of their competitors, but they still seem to be able to sell a lot of photos.

Register at BigStockPhoto here.

  • Dan
    Posted at 07:35h, 24 October Reply

    Bigstockphoto interests me more and more every month. As a contributor, I have considered them an afterthought for several months. I’d get a sale here, a sale there. Nothing much to write home about.

    Suddenly in September they perked up a lot. They moved up to my #3 monthly earner, leaving Dreamstime in the dust. Apparently it was no fluke. In October they are up even more for me, and are running neck and neck with Shutterstock as my #2 earner.

    What I like most about them is they are getting me about 85-95 cents per sale in September and October. That makes them my top $ per sale performer for 2 months running. And starting in November, their payout will be even higher due to the credits per image increasing.

    Most people seem perplexed when I mention how well they doing for me. But a handful of people on their message boards are reporting the same thing. It makes me anxious to see how November plays out.

  • claudio
    Posted at 04:34h, 22 June Reply

    Although of course sales are lower than at the big ones, it is still worth contributing pictures since they have a good acceptance rate and pictures will sell steadily.

    The only think I dislike about them is you can’t delete pictures easily: you’ll have to wait 90 days after upload and then ask them to delete EACH picture individually – this may be an issue should you decide to remove a picture to sell exclusively somewhere else.

  • Gav
    Posted at 16:19h, 26 September Reply

    Reading BSPs forums, the site does seem to have a loyal following. But of all the libraries I submit to, I like BigStockPhoto the least. Performance wise, I earn exactly 1% of what I earn from Shutterstock (105 images, 9 months membership, $500 earned) and <.5% of iStock (80 images, 9 months membership, $1,200 earned) Image views are very poor.

    I don’t like the ball-and-chain approach of holding my images hostage for 3 months. In terms of functionality, they have done little to improve the site, which compared to others feels very dated, with illogical layout and poor functionality.

    The only reason I stick with them, is the vague hope that I will earn the minimum payout owed to me. After that, I shall leave.

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