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How to Succeed in the Microstock Sales Arena

Group of bison walking across eroded cliffs
Group of bison walking across eroded cliffs
What is microstock?

Microstock is a subset of stock photography. Its purpose is to provide inexpensive imagery for buyers who can’t or don’t want to create the images themselves. Buyers include graphic artists, magazines, textbooks, advertising, and many other types of users. There is no fee to post photos on a microstock agency website. Some few photographers pursue microstock as their sole or main income source. Others participate as a hobby or for extra income.

Symbiostock – How to Create Your Own Photography Selling Site An alternative to microstock agencies: Symbiostock is an open source collaboration among photographers and web developers that allows artists to present their work how they’d like at prices they set, keeping 100% of the sales

Huayna Picchu mountain Panorama - overlooking Machu Picchu
Huayna Picchu mountain Panorama – overlooking Machu Picchu
Indian villagers sell eggplant and other vegetables
Quick & easy eggplant recipes
How is microstock different from other types of photography?
Microstock, like stock photography is very different from the way most people pursue the capture of images. It emphasizes the generic rather than the specific;  iconic, rather than editorial; commercial rather than fine art. The traditional photographer usually thinks “What do I want to portray in this image?”, while the stock photographer thinks “How can a buyer use this image for their work?”
Don’t be confused by the name and cheap prices. It’s a professional marketplace ; more technically demanding than most other photography you will encounter.  Competition is fierce. Many professional photographers initially have trouble adjusting to these differences and getting images accepted at the major stock agencies. Some never do adjust [or disdain the concept entirely], leaving opportunities for many newcomers. When you first dip into the microstock pool, you’ll have the chance to greatly improve your photographic talents. The learning curve is fast and there are many ways to get help.· Accept rejections in an ego free manner and learn, then profit, from them.· Study the latest accepted images from various agencies.· Post images in the critique section of the microstock agency forums to get other users opinions.· Read the forums of each agency you want to join to learn the quirks and preferences of that agency. You can spend a lot of time wading through the endless debates in microstock forums about who is a professional, what an adequate income is, etc, but ultimately microstock provides a way for each individual to make that decision for themselves.