I've come over from Stack Overflow to see if anyone here uses stock photography/microstock sites and knows if any of the many out there currently give 100% of sales to photographers?

Obviously they've got to make money somehow and I know some do monthly subscriptions to photographers to host their images but I can't find any that charge a small upload fee to add images and pay out 100%.

I work for a design agency in Brighton and we recently sourced 7 images for a client for £4K and the photographer only sees something like 20% of this and it seemed a bit unfair.

EDIT: Amending the question, if it were a well used site would you USE a site where you paid a small fee for each photo you upload (either annually or a one off) and kept 100% of the proceeds?

  • Think of this as your business now, you get £1 per photo, you need 50,000 photos per year uploaded, to cover your costs, of Marketing, Web Hosting, Web development, Employees (you cant do it yourself). Now if at some point your uploads slow down beacuse photographers are not selling their images (they wont to start with) you will not earn any more money once uploaded. You are limited to making £1 from an image, and that image must then stay on the site indefinately. What then happens if the business isnt making enough to survive? you have charged £1 per photo, the 'togs will want that back. Dec 13, 2011 at 12:33
  • There is a reason you do not see many of these agencys. Dec 13, 2011 at 12:35
  • A fair point. An annual fee of say 25p per image could solve that issue but clearly needs more thought. It's an idea for a start up between me (web developer) and a friend (marketer(?)) which covers a lot of the initial costs involved so it's more a business model I'm looking at currently. Obviously there's a lot of sites out there so I'm just trying to gauge if it's something people would use. Without photographers it's nothing.
    – SpaceBeers
    Dec 13, 2011 at 12:41
  • 1
    With the annual fee, some photographers will find themselves paying more to host the collection than they earn. if you look at iStock (as you can see their downloads) most images havent been downloaded, and some only once, a lot of these images will have been there for years. If an image hasn't sold is the photographer going to wat to pay for it to be on their every year? this means you will start to lose images. You are better off starting with something like 84% commission. But be specific about the type of stock you want. ( good sport stock for example is hard to find except golf) Dec 13, 2011 at 13:40
  • Of course. I'll leave the question open for an hour or so to see if I can get a few more opinions but I'll get some votes going on after that. Thanks for the help...
    – SpaceBeers
    Dec 13, 2011 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


You will find the larger agencies like Getty are reducing their commissions to photographers, to around 35%.

I know one of the smaller agencies offer a better rate.

Local Stock ## (100% commission)

However I don't know if they actually sell many.

Put it this way, I would rather have images at 35% commission that get sold and shown to a very wide audience around the world than get 100% of a very small UK market.

  • 1
    Wow. That is a terrible looking site. It's another subscription based model it seems. As a photographer would you prefer this model, a small commission or a small fee (£1 or something) per upload and 100% commission?
    – SpaceBeers
    Dec 13, 2011 at 11:52
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    Not really, Getty and iStock are the big players and they spend a lot of money on marketing, Unless a site can spend a lot of money on marketing and or be unique enough to generate a consistently high number of worldwide visits and sales it's not worth it. Most new agencies that are set up are gone within two years and any successful ones are bought up. Haymarket are currently buying a few agencies. Dec 13, 2011 at 11:59

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