11 Dec 2015 Fotoarabia Review

With the intention of raising the Middle East’s positive image worldwide and overcoming stereotypes and prejudices, Fotoarabia launched in 2013 accepting only high quality Middle Eastern and Arabic images and selling them at traditional Royalty Free prices.

Their business model is somewhat of a hybrid between microstock and traditional, and has undergone quite a few changes in their short history.  But today, Fotoarabia counts itself among a growing number of successful and ambitious agencies focussed on the growing Middle East region.

Agency Profile

Based in Qatar, the agency is founded through a parent company in visual media backed by two local Qatari businessmen.

Their hybrid model includes the higher prices, small collection and high aesthetic review standards of traditional agencies, as well as no FTP for non-exclusive contributors and no vectors.  But their license is equivalent to a standard microstock Royalty Free license and they’re open to all contributors, like most microstock agencies.

Like almost everyone in the market today, FotoArabia prefers authentic images, which is especially important for this region which is very poorly represented in stock.

The Early Days

Fotoarabia are demonstrating some good industry awareness and an ability to correct and adapt from their early experience.

Since launch they’ve paid for uploads of commercial images, initially $0.25 per image, but now $0.15.

They’ve experimented with pricing and royalty rates as well. In the beginning they had high prices and royalties at 50% including an ‘early adopter’ higher-than-standard rate of 62%. After a while they decided to try a different strategy: they lowered single image prices and included subscriptions.

As exclusive content proved to be their strongest selling point, they decided to actively encourage it. Their image-based exclusivity deal worked on the initial 50% royalty rate –and exclusive images were priced higher–, while the rate from non-exclusive photos was set down to 30%.

Today the single purchase prices are based on size, at $60, $180 and $320 for Web, Medium and Large sizes respectively. Subscriptions were removed.  Royalty rates remain at 30% for non-exclusive images and 50% for exclusives –the ‘early adopter’ contributors are still getting the higher 62% rate.

Contributors may submit images as exclusive, but FotoArabia has to both accept the image and except it into the exclusive collection.  With images in the exclusive collection, a contributor gets access to FTP upload.

FotoArabia Details

Web address www.fotoarabia.com
Google Pagerank Unranked
Alexa Rank 697,000
Image Stats 60,000
Minimum Size 800 x 450 px
Vectors No
Video Footage No
Licenses Standard RF, Extended available by contacting customer support
Compensation 50% for exclusive images – 30% for non-exclusive
Pricing $60 Small, $180 Medium, $320 Large
Payment Methods PayPal, Bank transfer, Cheque
Payout $100
Referral Program Coming soon
Application Process Online
Exclusivity Image-based
Upload Methods Browser, FTP, Hard drive
IPTC Data Yes
Delete images? After notice period of 180 days for approved images
Currencies USD
Languages English
Headquarters Qatar
Founders Mohamed Jaidah and Abdul Salam Abu Issa

Early Promotion

In partnering with Sony Middle East, FotoArabia is promoting the agency to contributors via a competition. Started in October 1st and open until January 31st 2016, Fotoarabia’s Picathon invites photographers to send in from 3 to 10 images in a photo story format, centred in the theme “The nation’s pride” for one of the 8 regional countries participating. All photos must be submitted to Fotoarabia including keywords, and will be automatically available for sale if approved. Winners and runner ups from each country, to be announced in March 2016, will be awarded with high-end Sony cameras.

An affiliate program is about to be launched to promote the agency to buyers, but there aren’t any public details on that yet.


Many believe the Middle East region is still under-represented with content and that there’s still growing demand.  If you’re a photographer or skilled photography enthusiast based in the region, there’s quite a few options available to you now.

FotoArabia will need to catch up quickly to ArabianEye who have a similar price range but a much larger collection that they’ve grown observing higher overall quality standards.  And now MEAshots has entered the market with lower prices, hoping to win contributors and buyers with a higher-volume, lower priced approach.   FotoArabia are in a race for the region.

Are you a Fotoarabia contributor?  How are they performing for you?

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