iStock is another popular name in the stock photography industry. iStock used to be an independent player, but in 2006 it was acquired by Getty for $50 million. As such, it can provide a good platform for displaying and selling your images. In addition to selling stock photos, HD Videos, and 4K videos, you can also sell infographics and illustrations.

iStock sells photos to over 1.5 million customers in 200 countries. iStock Photo is the micro-stock offshoot of by Getty Images. The major difference between the two is your photos on iStock are non-exclusive, which means you can sell your photography with other agencies as well.  But this also means you earn a much less  commission than exclusive photos. 

Its popular forums and resources will help you to find your feet, and understand how to sell photos online. Learn about the best types of photos you can take, based on what actually sells.

iStock Photo is  also a community of photographers. Once you join, you have access to online forums to chat and learn with other artists. Anyone can create an account and access the forums, but to sell with iStock, you’ll also have to pass a quiz and submit samples of your work.

iStock also includes popular forums and resources that help you understand how to sell photos online. It’s quite useful if you feel clueless about where to begin.


iStock has a base payout of 15% for photos and 20% for videos and illustrations. The commission for the contributors varies between 15% and 45%, depending on the options the photographer chooses when submitting new visual content.

In terms of licensing there are two options available: exclusive and non-exclusive. 

  • If the contributor chooses the non-exclusive option, it means that the photographer can upload the images not only to iStock, but to other stock sites as well. In this case the photographer gets a flat commission of 15%.
  • If the photographer goes for the first option – submitting exclusive content – the commission can reach 45%, depending on the number of downloads. The more downloads you have, the bigger the percentage, and it’s in these upper tiers when you can really start to make money from stock photography.

If you are into exclusivity, iStock photo will give you between 22-45%. This rate works on a contract with a 30-day notice period.

How to join

In order to start contributing, you will need to sign up for a free account, and submit three of your very best photos. You have to apply before you start selling your photos. The application process consists of submitting a few samples of your work through the Contributor by Getty Images app. Since iStock Photos and Getty Images are partners, you may get accepted into either platform.

iStockPhoto does have a pretty stringent vetting process – so make sure you only upload high-quality images.   To apply, just select the most appropriate category (photos, illustrations, video or audio) and fill out an application (it’s free).

The iStockphoto team will review your qualifications and you’ll have to take a short quiz to assess them. The final step is to upload a few samples of your work to make sure it’s top-notch.

Submit your pictures:


  1. // Reply

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