Interested in selling photos online in the microstock market? This page lays it all out for you whether you’re a hobbyist photographer or a professional new to microstock. The FAQs cover the very basics, and they’re followed by a list of articles which provide greater detail on specific topics. At the bottom there’s some ways you can keep informed through Microstock Diaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much can I make selling photos online with microstock?
A. That depends on how much time and effort you invest. Most people make very little, a few make a modest amount (like me), some make a decent living, and the best make over $1million a year.

Q. Can I upload the same photos to all agencies?
A. Yes, assuming you don’t choose the exclusivity options at some agencies and you’re only selling Royalty Free licenses (all microstock is Royalty Free), then you can submit the same photos to each microstock agency.

Q. Which are the best agencies?
A. It’s highly debated, but these ones stand out: iStockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Fotolia. See my earnings reports for more details and more agencies.

Q. Do I Keep the Photos?
A. Yes. With microstock you’re only selling a license to use your photos, unless you complete a ‘sell the rights’ sale (you’ll know it if you do).

Q. How Many Times do Photos Sell?
A. That depends on the quality of the photo and the demand for the subject, among other factors. Some photos never sell, but others sell more than 10,000 times. Most are somewhere in the middle, towards the lower numbers.

Microstock Fundamentals

What is Microstock? – an introduction to microstock in the context of stock photography

Microstock Glossary – list of common terms used within the microstock market

How to Microstock – overview of the process of contributing photos to the microstock market

What Does it Take to Become a Microstock Contributor? – list of required skills and tools

Microstock Isn’t for Everybody – some situations where microstock may not be for you

State of the Microstock Nation – a list of microstock agency profiles

Which Microstock Websites Provide the Most Revenue? – a guide to the best earners

4 Golden Rules of Contributing Microstock – timeless fundamentals

Contributing – Getting Photos Available to Sell

How to Get Accepted as a Microstock Contributor – advice to help you overcome the first hurdle

Microstock Exclusivity – comparative information to help you decide about exclusivity

IPTC Data – The Ultimate Microstock Time Saver – save time inputting data before uploading

Improving – How to Sell ‘More’ Photos

Improving your Microstock Workflow – methods to improve quality and efficiency

6 Ways to Increase your Microstock Earnings – tips to help increase your earnings

Can a Little Maintenance Increase your Microstock Earnings? – tips for getting the most out of your portfolio

LookStat – Helping you Sell More Microstock

Keeping Informed

It’s easy to keep informed about the microstock market through Microstock Diaries. The ‘Subscribe’ box at the top-right of each page provides two ways to get new blog posts automatically. Add the RSS feed to your reader, or simply subscribe by email to have the full blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.

You can also follow Microstock Diaries on Twitter, and questions are always welcome via the Contact page.