17 Jun 2015 Microstock Uploading and Submission Tools

As a microstock contributor producing anything more than a nominal quantity of images, you’re already using a tool to streamline your distribution process.  Right?

The range of tools available is somewhat dynamic, with new tools popping up frequently, and others disappearing just as often.  Here’s a quick list of the ones that are currently available.


The current darling of microstock contributor tools, picWorkflow is a cloud-based service, taking over the work of uploading, keywording, categorising and some submission preparation.  Prices are per service and per image, so you pay for what you use.  There’s free trials and some services have a free-of-charge allowance.  The key advantage of cloud-based services like picWorkflow is that you only have to upload each file once.  That’s a huge saver for people with limited bandwidth or super large portfolios.

Octopus Microstock

Octopus Microstock is one of two apps that go beyond mere preparation and uploading, fully automating the submission of files. Unfortunately it is Windows only.  File preparation and uploading is free, requiring payment only for the submission.  The basic tier with 250 submissions per agency is only $9 per month, ranging up to $19 for the 2000 files per agency tier.


StockSubmitter is the other app that automates submission in addition to preparation and uploading. It fully automates the submission process at 15 microstock agencies, uploading to a total of 30.  It also works with video and vector files.  Metadata assisting tools can be used free, but the key feature, automatic distribution, is paid.  Prices are determined by the quantity of files to be sent each month.  It starts at €10, up to €40 for an unlimited quantity of submissions.

While a Mac version has been promised for a while, StockSubmitter is currently a Windows only application.

ProStockMaster & Lightburner

ProStockMaster was the original desktop application to streamline uploading for microstockers, though still Windows only.  The app is technically free and assists with file preparation submission. However, distribution and submission can only be done via a Lightburner account, which has required a paid subscription for the past two years.  Lightburner can be used with any FTP application, or through ProStockMaster, and like picWorkflow, provides a cloud-based platform to distribute the files to the FTP servers of all your configured agencies. Plans start at $9.99 per month for 1GB of storage and 1GB of uploads.


The recently announced Pixendr provides a similar service from a mobile device.  From what I can tell, Cushy Stock is no longer available.  The StockPhotoExpress website is still online, but no signs of life since 2009.

Which one are you using?

  • Giovanni
    Posted at 01:24h, 18 June Reply

    Great list!
    I use cloud tools to speed upload, on my blog I published a tutorial

  • Jon Yau
    Posted at 01:30h, 18 June Reply

    Hey Lee,

    Interesting post – Picworkflow stores each file free for 7 days then starts charging thereafter. Would most photographers use it mainly as a pure dispatch service? i.e. a temporary warehouse until it has shipped to the agencies before deleting the files? Or would most use it as the default cloud storage service?


    • Ozgur Coskun
      Posted at 02:32h, 18 June Reply

      Not sure about the most but I use as a temporary warehouse.
      By the way I like your discount code.

      • Jon Yau
        Posted at 03:18h, 18 June Reply

        Hahah – thanks Ozgur 🙂

    • Bob Davies
      Posted at 07:12h, 18 June Reply

      Most members use picWorkflow only for free storage, 7 days (it’s actually 8, but anyway) for unkeyworded/uncaptioned. If purchasing keywording/captioning the image is extended to 10 days and will always get 10 days on top of however long it takes to complete the metadata (it can take quite some time, depending on the queues, so will always finish with 9-10 days storage).

      Only a handful of people always use the storage extensions, probably 20-25 photographers who store a copy of their entire active portfolio to support sending to newly arrived agencies.
      Extended storage is so rarely used I’m considering removing support for it, and just extending for free, but requiring some manual input (i.e. must physically confirm “I’m not ready to trash this yet” for each file), but I don’t want to inconvenience those few people who are storing long-term. Trying to think outside the box and come up with some better storage model, though not sure yet when that will be (probably when I replace the entire UI with new tech). Maybe user-owned storage, like Dropbox or some other cloud-services are the way to go.

      • Jon Yau
        Posted at 11:35h, 18 June Reply

        Cheers Bob. Fantastic product. Fascinating insights. I think it definitely hits the mark in terms of the uploading service. Makes sense to upload once and let software takeover the repetitive task of transferring the portfolio at hand to the relevant agencies.

  • Ozgur Coskun
    Posted at 01:51h, 18 June Reply

    I’m have been using PICWORKFLOW at least couple years and happy with them. You can check their work at my website StockRaphy.com pretty much all of them done by them at least properly done ones. Owner is pretty responsive and helpful.

    • Bob Davies
      Posted at 07:05h, 18 June Reply

      Thanks Ozgur 🙂 V glad you’re happy with the site 🙂

  • Vera
    Posted at 06:54h, 28 June Reply

    Octopus is a nice app, undoubtedly. Unfortunately, as far as I know this project has almost been halted and doesn’t provide customers with real tech support

  • Raphael
    Posted at 00:25h, 14 October Reply

    Hey Lee,
    thanks for that list! I had huge problems with downloading stocksubmitter. Avira’s Antivirus was detecting a trojan horse everytime I installed it. Did you hear of that problem before?

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