05 Mar 2010 Snapixel

Snapixel logoSelf-described as a marriage between Flickr and iStockphoto, Snapixel is not your standard microstock agency. The Snapixel mission is ‘Openstock’â„¢ – opening a licensing opportunity for photos that don’t look like typical stock photos.

What’s Different about Snapixel?

Snapixel are not the first to combine photo sharing with a photo agency, but the integration is instantly familiar. Sharing photos and joining groups is just like Flickr. Following other contributors is just like Twitter.   And seeing the activity of those you’re following in a stream is just like Facebook.

Those just using the sharing and social features get a free account up to 5GB of storage, after which a €9 per year Pro account unlocks unlimited storage capacity among other benefits. Contributors selling photos in the marketplace, once approved, get a free Pro account.

Other key differences are

  • Euro currency (Though adding and withdrawing credits can be done in any PayPal supported currency)
  • A high 60% commission
  • No typical review process, just quality control and internal ratings
  • Contributors can set their own price
  • No release management (releases must be emailed in)
  • No FTP upload (but they’re working on an API with the intention of enabling uploads via iSyndica)


Web Address www.snapixel.com
Minimum Image Size 4 megapixels
Vectors No
Footage No
Licenses Royalty Free (with Creative Commons outside the marketplace)
Compensation 60%
Pricing Set your own price, €3 – 27 (more for extended licenses)
Payment Methods PayPal only
Payment threshold €30 (equal to 50 credits)
Referral Program None
Application Process For approved marketplace account, submit three test images
Exclusivity Not offered
Upload Methods HTML Form, Flash uploader
IPTC Data Supported
Currencies Euros (plus all PayPal supported currencies for payments)
Languages English
Headquarters San Francisco, USA

So Will it Work?

The question ‘will it work’ has a different context for Snapixel. The intention is not to climb the ranks of the top microstock agencies. The intention is to create a market for photos which don’t fit the narrow definition of commercial value of microstock agencies.

For microstock photographers, Snapixel represents an interesting, if not unique, opportunity. All those slightly more artistic photos which microstock agencies just don’t appreciate have a welcome home at Snapixel. Remember, there’s no reviews!   That’s not to say that they’re not interested in your regular stock portfolio too. They’ve recently taken on Yuri’s entire portfolio which currently floods the search results.

So will it work as an alternative marketplace for non-typical stock photos?   The concept itself is not new nor is it enough to generate the buzz and rapid growth of Flickr and iStockphoto.   Though there’s much more behind the success of those two sites than just the core idea.


Will Snapixel deliver a return on your time invested uploading your existing portfolio? Probably not until they get their API online and connected to iSyndica to reduce the time investment.   But that’s probably not the best opportunity they represent either.

If the photos you like to create are routinely rejected by microstock agencies but you know there’s a market for them, Snapixel might be the solution for you. The ability to set your own price and the super-high commissions are also big positives, especially in the current microstock climate.

I’ve uploaded 10 of my best selling photos and will upload the remainder of my portfolio when they come online with iSyndica. You can register at Snapixel here and once you have connect with me here.

  • Igor Petrović
    Posted at 20:03h, 05 March Reply

    Looks like this microstock agency with a good potential. 🙂
    I have read their Help Center but i could not find what happens if I want to cancel my account if I would like to become a exclusive photographer for some other site (iStockphoto).
    Thank You for good reviews and other articles. 🙂

  • Vitezslav Valka
    Posted at 13:33h, 07 March Reply

    Reminds me “Will it blend?” viral video series 🙂 Snapixel definitely brings nice design and unique approach to microstock. I would be affraid only of one thing: “doing everything” sometimes kills. Keep the focus guys!

  • Sean Locke
    Posted at 18:20h, 08 March Reply

    Interesting. Nice looking interface. However, I’d be concerned the implications that come from “community” being really intertwined with images you’re trying to sell.

    A bit of a contradiction here: “Through its streamlined application process, photographers can quickly upload their photos and sell them in the Snapixel marketplace without existing stock photo constraints. ”
    “# Underexposed or Improperly Lit (Shadows)
    # Blurry or Out of Focus
    # Noise, Graininess or Image Distortion
    # Over-Compression or Artifact
    # Over-Filtering or Excessive Processing
    # Inaccurate Title, Description or Keywords
    # Inappropriate or Adult Content (Zero-tolerance policy)
    # Images portraying Hate or Violence
    # Poor Isolation, Composition or Cropping
    # Dust or Debris
    # Up-sampled or rezzed-up images
    # Frames, Borders or Custom Watermark
    # Copyright or Trademark Infringement. Images cannot containing logos or trademarks”

    So, if their only differentiation is that they are more lenient on the “subject” or “content” side of things, it would seem they aren’t that much different in the end.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 18:36h, 16 March Reply

    I tried to register with Snapixel, as I liked the look of it and it seemed one of the easiest sites to get into. But when I pressed Enter after completing my details, my AVG toolbar sent me a warning that the page wasn’t safe, and that it didn’t recommend I proceed to the page. Has anyone else had any problems with viruses or security issues at Snapixel? No one else I heard about seemed to, so I would love to know why I was told that site was dangerous!

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 22:12h, 16 March Reply

      Hi Sarah, the Snapixel security certificate has expired. It’s not necessarily a security concern for you itself, but it does open up some vulnerabilities. And it’s quite concerning that the owners let it lapse! I’ll shoot them an email to make sure they know.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 07:36h, 05 May Reply

    Hi Lee,

    I left that above comment some weeks ago about Snapixel not being safe, and thank you very much for the message you sent me back, letting me know about the Security Certificate! I tried again today, having given them a few weeks to sort it out, and I got in, although a notice did pop up about did I only want to view the content that had been delivered safely, so there must still be something. Have you heard any more about Snapixel being safe or unsafe, and do you think it would be wise of me to continue with them?

    Secondly, I hope this is not too much trouble, but can you recommend any agencies that a) are happy to work with people just starting out in the selling photos business, b) don’t require huge photos from a big fancy camera, and c) don’t mind taking photos of flowers, leaves, sunsets etc? I have been really looking into this over the past while, but it’s so daunting and confusing sometimes, so if you have any recommendations on this, it would really help me!

    Thank you!


    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 08:13h, 05 May Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      I don’t think you have anything to worry about with the security of Snapixel, but of course, use all best-practice security precautions including site-specific passwords.

      You will always struggle with shots of flowers, leaves and sunset regardless of which agency you choose. There is very little demand for these subject and lots of photographers like to shoot them. If your photos are particularly artistic (beyond the usual ‘art’ of a sunset photo) you could persist with Snapixel and also check out Photocase, but the artistic value must be very high.

      I recommend keeping your expectations extremely modest if this is what you plan to shoot. Some people find it more rewarding to use photo sharing sites rather than trying to sell photos of low-earning subjects, but that depends on you and what you want to achieve.

      Most microstock agencies are happy to work with people just starting out and with relatively small cameras, so at least that won’t hold you back too much.

      Good luck!


  • Sarah
    Posted at 12:05h, 07 October Reply

    Well I’ve made two attempts at applying to Snapixel, and was rejected both times, so so much for them apparently being easy to get into! And both times I sent them a short email asking for feedback over my rejection- not to hassle them or anything, but just looking for clear reasons so I will know what to change or improve next time- and both times I heard nothing from them, so they’re obviously not very quick with support or advice either! I can understand they’re probably incredibly busy, but overall I’m not very impressed.

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