Best sites for selling stock photos: Shutterstock, Pond5, or Adobe Stock?
Where are the best sites to sell my stock footage and photos online?
With so many available options for selling photos online, the burning question remains: which stock sites are the best?
Each and every one of these sites takes a significant amount of time to upload and keyword all of your footage, so it is important that you narrow down which ones are actually going to be worth your time.
After two years of selling stock photos and videos online, I am going to break down for you my experience with three of the tops sites that I use and how they have performed for my overall portfolio. I’ll analyze a few key aspects:
Total dollar amount earned
Ease of upload and tagging
Other key differences to note
Before we get to the numbers, let’s take a look at the three sites that I use most consistently and why.
This is likely one of the most well known websites and for good reason - they have a catalog of millions of images. This can be good or bad.
Obviously they are selling a lot of content with that extensive of a catalog, but that also raises the stakes for actually getting noticed. It might take a little more time as a small fish to break into that big of a pool.
Shutterstock has some really helpful tools to help you with your uploads, as we will discuss more in a moment. Or you can check out my post on exactly how I use the Shutterstock Keyword Tool, which has been a super helpful tool recently.
I also enjoy the Shutterstock community - they have a forum just for contributors where you can go and ask questions, as well as see how others are doing.
Lastly, Shutterstock allows both video and photo uploads, which is good to know, depending on what you will be focusing on for your sales.
Here is the earnings breakdown for contributors. I have included an image of the chart, since it is a bit complicated. You earn higher percentages once you reach certain dollar thresholds for your overall sales.
The next website we will be analyzing in Pond5.
They used to be known for their stock photography sales, but in the past few years I believe they have completely transitioned to solely video sales. This is something you need to know up front if you are looking to sell mainly stock photography. This website would definitely be not worth paying attention to in that case.
For video, however, it is quite widely used.
Another great feature about Pond5 is the ability to set your own price for your video clips. Neither of the other sites give you this freedom. They also give you a pretty good percentage of the sales. As a non-exclusive contributor, you will get 40% of the price for each and every piece of media that you sell.
Recently, they added a new program for exclusive contributors. If you agree to only sell your footage through Pond5, you get 60% of the price paid for each clip.
Lastly, we will take a look at Adobe Stock. Like Shutterstock, you will be able to sell both photos and videos here.
I believe they are the newest and as such the catalog is not as extensive as the others. But I know they are growing rapidly. This is a great opportunity to get in early and hopefully see some real growth in the future.
The royalties you can earn with Adobe are 33% on images and 35% on videos.
Let’s go ahead and jump right into the numbers across all three stock sites.
1 | TOTAL AMOUNT EARNED
2019 Earnings By Month Across Three Major Sites
Sum of Earnings for 2019 so far by site:
Adobe Stock: $237.30
As you can see, Shutterstock is clearly the most consistent and best performer in terms of pure dollar amount earned per month.
This is important to me as I am using stock photo sales primarily as a means for passive income - it is important to me that I have a somewhat accurate and consistent outlook at what my monthly income is going to look like.
Pond5 on the other hand, was the least consistent. In January I earned just under $25, in February I earned $325, and then right back down to under $25 by March. I won’t complain about February, but those are some wild swings. In case you are interested, here are the three clips that sold in February.
(Someone downloaded these three clips for a sweet tune of almost $300.)