Experienced photographers working with Depositphotos will tell you that all you have to do to start earning money as a stock photographer is just get started. Everyone learns the tricks of the trade as they go along. With enough perseverance and practice, you can become quite successful as a Depositphotos contributor. The perks are many, which is why we put together this guide to help you get started.

Photographers, illustrators, and even filmmakers come to us to build up their portfolios and deliver their art to image and motion buyers. Creatives all over the world are always scouting for new and exciting content. They can then upload their best works, keyword their files, and continue growing their portfolio.

Our guide will help you get started and answer all your questions in regards to selling photos with Depositphotos.


Where to sell stock photos: A little bit about Depositphotos


Depositphotos is a global marketplace for visuals. With a library of over 150+  million files and clients from over 200 countries, we prioritize creativity and innovation. There are over 100,000 contributors from all over the world and we’re always happy to see new talent that only improves our library with their unique style.

When you become a Depositphotos contributor, you’re taking your first step towards selling your artwork to our global client base of millions of customers. You get to sell your photos, vectors, or videos on an international scale.


Q: When will I be able to sell stock photography on Depositphotos if I decide to proceed with registration now?

A: It usually takes around 10 minutes to fill in the contributor’s form and up to one week to pass the Depositphotos test so we can see the quality and relevance of your work. For this, you’ll need 5 best examples of your work. They will be evaluated by the Depositphotos content team and we’ll get back to you in 5-7 business days. You do not need to pay any fee to become a Depositphotos contributor.  


Stock photography explained

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When you’re new to the microstock industry, you might have some questions in regard to the nature of the business. Stock photography is a category of photography that is put up for sale and is resold as many times to meet the requests of clients. Your images are always available on the website. You earn a specific percentage from every sale you make. All the images are royalty-free.

Stock photography is a convenient solution for clients because it is much more efficient and accessible than hiring professional photographers for custom photoshoots. Think of stock photography as a marketplace for images, videos, and illustrations. You upload your works and add keywords and descriptions on relevant topics, and clients looking for the same topic will find similar images once they search for them on Depositphotos. 

#professional background

Q: Who can sell stock photography online? 

A: Anybody who wants to sell their works! You don’t need to be an experienced photographer, a videographer with a huge portfolio, or an illustrator with a specific diploma to become a contributor. Sometimes, people with no professional background contribute to the creative industry a lot as well. What we really suggest you do is to follow our requirements for images and videos 


Becoming a Depositphotos contributor

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Uploading your work to Depositphotos is quick and easy. We have an excellent workflow in place and the process of uploading, submitting, and getting approvals takes very little time. Some Depositphotos contributors can start earning the day they upload their works.

Another perk of working with Depositphotos is that we are not an exclusive microstock which means you can sell your works on other websites. You can really broaden your customer base and enjoy the benefits of Depositphotos at the same time.

Here are the 3 simple steps to start selling photos, illustrations, and videos on Depositphotos:

1. Sign up with Depositphotos and create your account (up to 10 minutes) 

2. Upload a few of your best photos and pass an easy exam (up to 7 business days to hear the decision)

3. Upload images and start earning! (although every image is reviewed by our content curators to meet our rules, in most cases, images appear in the Depositphotos library in a few minutes.

Keyword tips

The biggest concern and secret to success on microstocks for you as a photographer is how you’re going to make your images visible to clients. The best tip is to put yourself in the shoes of the client and think about the possible keywords they can be using to look for your images. Try to step outside the typical keywords that literally describe the picture.

Spend some time surfing our website to get a better idea of the kind of keywording that other photographers are using for photographs with similar subjects. Study the images on the first page of search. Images that are more conceptual and can be assigned many adjectives usually have more chances of surfacing on the first pages.


Q: Is selling photos on stocks impossible without keywording? 

A: Yes. If your image is non-discoverable (read: not supported with the right keywords and image description), there is no way the client can find it on the microstock. Learn how to keyword your photos and illustrations


Model and property releases

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Stock photography beginners with a classic photography background would find stock photography distribution a bit unusual for some of the technicalities. The most critical difference is legal matters. You can sell stock photos with models, with objects that are considered to be intellectual property, or taken on a private territory but only with the consent of the model or the owner. For these purposes, you must have the appropriate release forms.    

You can download a model release form on our website. If your pictures include people’s faces and the person can be identified, you need to include a model release form when you upload each image. A model release form is signed by the model, the photographer, and a witness. This is a legal document that grants you the right to feature people in your photographs for commercial purposes.

The same applies to properties. It is required if you take pictures of protected objects such as other people’s art work or on private grounds. You can find the property release form here.


How to sell stock photography online and increase your profits 

All images on Depositphotos are royalty-free. This means that they are available as per the licensing terms. The clients that purchase your images receive non-exclusive, lifelong rights to use them according to the Standard and Extended license types.

The royalty that you will receive as a Depositphotos contributor once your image is sold, depends on your level. See the charts below to see what percentage you will make with the On-demand and Subscription plan sales:

Royalties from On-demand files:

royalties from stock photos sold

Royalties from Subscription files:

royalties from stock photos sold subscription

Contributor levels:

contributor levels depositphotos

Find out more about pricings on our contributor program page. If you have any other questions regarding how to sell stock photos, see our frequently asked questions.


Q: I would like to sell stock photography online. Who is my target audience? 

A: What we advise you is to define your target audience by yourself. Ask yourself a couple of questions: 

  • Who will find my works useful? (hypothetical business area, target company size, business location, and purpose to use your particular work)
  • What kind of content could be supported with my images?
  • What makes my image stand out in the eyes of customers? 

Then, fill your portfolio with files that will appeal to your projected target audience and measure your monthly results to adjust the strategy. Here are more tips on marketing for photographers.

Selling stock photos for beginners: useful resources to get started

When you’re just starting out, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. We provide valuable tools for our photographers – one of them being this blog. Sign up for our blog digest to get the latest updates.

Images are a form of visual communication, and that is a field that is in the process of constant transformation. It’s important to keep up with trends and have an updated portfolio of images that you know will sell.

We have also released a visual trends report 2020 that can help you choose what style and type of photography you can get started with. We cover some important themes and topics that are going to be in demand for this year.

Depositphotos is quickly growing and evolving thanks to our talented photographers. Join us today, and we’ll join you on your creative journey where you will also find your financial success.


We have also released a visual trends guide that can help you choose what style and type of photography you can get started with. We cover some important themes and topics that are going to be in demand for the next year.

Depositphotos is quickly growing and evolving thanks to our talented photographers. Join us today, and we’ll join you on your creative journey where you will also find your financial success.

Become a Depositphotos contributor

For our blog readers: Images for as low as $0.80 Shop with discount

Depositphotos Blog Digest