22 Jun 2007 CanStockPhoto

CanStockPhoto logoCanStockPhoto is a remarkable microstock agency for the simple reason that it was created by, and still run by, a university student.


Duncan Enman is studying Business and Entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia, Canada. He started Can Stock Photo Inc in March 2004, and while it’s not taking the industry by storm, it is well known in the microstock market. CanStockPhoto now employs 8 people and has over 25,000 active members.

CanStockPhoto Details

Web Address www.canstockphoto.com
Google Pagerank 5
Google Backlinks 759
Alexa Rank 32,164
Image Stats 471,149
Minimum Image Size Information unavailable
Vectors No
Footage No
Licenses Standard license – set maximum reproductions
Compensation 50% or $0.25 for subscription downloads
Pricing $1 – $5, or subscription
Payment Methods PayPal, Moneybookers, and Check
Payment Delay 8 Days
Referral Program 10% of referred purchases within 6 months, $5 for 50 downloads of referred contributors within 6 months
Application Process Submit an application form for approval
Exclusivity Not available. You can specify an image is exclusive but there’s no benefit
Upload Methods HTML form, Active X, Java in-browser application, FTP
IPTC Data Yes
Delete images? You need to contact support
Currencies US dollar
Languages English
Headquarters Nova Scotia, Canada

Cool Features

Contributors can choose whether they want their image available for use in templates that are available for resale. Other than making the image more attractive to buyers, there’s no additional revenue for setting this option.

Setting the categories for each image is a lot of work, but CanStockPhoto make it easy with their Auto Categories facility. This will look at your IPTC data and make category suggestions based on your keywords and title. This can save a lot of time from the upload process. The system works well and chooses categories accurately.

Not content with having their website populate your categories for you, they also provide a facility to suggest extra keywords based on the keywords you already have in your IPTC data.

CanStockPhoto also have some cool stats on their Top10 page. They list the top 10 contributor portfolios in terms of size, the top 10 selling contributors, and the top 10 most commonly used search terms. Of course the top 10 selling photos are there too.

Uploading your photos isn’t restricted. CanStockPhoto have moved the restrictions to the submit part of the contribution process. This way you can upload as many images as you like and then just submit as many as you can within your limit. Limits rise and fall depending on your approval rate.


The upload process has received a lot of attention and it’s impressive. There are four uploading alternatives including FTP. The auto-category and keyword suggestions save a lot of time.

Other parts of the CanStockPhoto website have not received so much attention. Information for this review was difficult to find and there is no search facility for the forum.

Sales at CanStockPhoto are not good in relation to the top tier microstock websites. Most other microstockers I speak to or read about report similar results to mine relative to the size and quality of their portfolios. However, they have a vibrant and passionate community buzzing within their forum, all keen to see CanStockPhoto rise to the top of the market.


When considering joining any microstock website it’s always a question of payoff – will they generate enough sales to remunerate you for the time spent contributing. One can’t escape the fact that CanStockPhoto doesn’t have a lot of sales. What they have working in their favor is a relatively painless uploading process, especially if you’re using ProStockMaster.

We signed up with CanStockPhoto back in November 2005, but I’d consider them a borderline candidate for registration if I were making the decision today.

Update February 2008: I have stopped contributing new photos to CanStockPhoto.
Update May 2009: I have resumed contributing to CanStockPhoto after sales increased following the sale to FotoSearch.


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