Curious about microstock? Ask your questions here!

By | 2016-12-18T17:01:18+00:00 July 22nd, 2010|13 Comments

I get a lot of questions about microstock, mostly from people starting out who are wondering where to start. The thing is, most of the questions are all the same, so I thought it would be good to put together a post that will answer those questions.

So if you have a question you’d like to ask me about microstock then this is the place! Ask whatever you like, whether it’s about microstock in general or about my own career in microstock. I don’t guarantee that I’ll answer them all, but I promise that I’ll read and consider every question I get.

To ask a question just type it in the comments section below, or if you’d like to stay on the down-low and ask me privately then you can contact me directly.

I’ll take questions for about a week and post the answers up later next week.

About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,


  1. Dana July 22, 2010 at 10:14 am - Reply

    I have been shooting stock photos for iStock for a couple of months. I use a Canon 40D with a 10.1 MP sensor. I am planning on intensifying my efforts with the goal of uploading an average of one new image each day. Would adding a 7D or 5D mk II be financially beneficial since they would yield larger files?

  2. Ryan Sandberg July 22, 2010 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Three questions – Is “microstock” different than “stock”? If so, how?

    How do you find models? And how much do you pay models?

  3. Tom Husband July 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Can you really make any money with microstock?

  4. Jeff Clay July 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Nicole…excellent topic…I have a number of questions:

    – Why microstock and not tradstock? (I just made that term up, but I am talking about traditional stock agencies)
    – What sells on microstock (from a subject matter standpoint)?
    – What does not sell (B&W, landscapes, etc.)
    – What strategy do you employ in utilizing microstock? (Meaning how often do you post, do you vary subject matter, do you target somehow, do you do any microstock promotion, etc.?)
    – I have a few images in three different microstock agencies…is that good, bad or indifferent?
    – Do you shoot specifically for microstock? (As opposed to shooting and then saying “hey that would be good on iStock.”)
    – What is a reasonable earnings potential (based on x number of uploaded images)?

  5. Mike Moreau July 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for your consistent quality blog. You give a lot of honest, helpful info and I really appreciate it.

    Here is my question re microstock……Is there a way to monitor what folks are searching for on istock so that it can serve as a guide on what might be good to shoot?

    I look forward to reading your blog.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicole S. Young, fryeme. fryeme said: Via @Nicolesy Curious about microstock? Ask your questions here! […]

  7. Bob Davies July 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Heya Nicole
    Looking forward to reading your responses to people’s questions, as you know I’m already very comfortable in microstock, but your post reminded me of one written by Todd (@arenacreative on twitter) a while back, I thought it might be of interest to people reading this post :)

  8. jac July 24, 2010 at 11:36 am - Reply

    The article that Bob Davies linked to brought up a question for me, let’s say that you an idea for a shoot, you go to the studio, get the models and any other paraphernalia that you need for that idea, and then finally shoot several ‘rolls of film’ of that idea. My question is, roughly how many pix will you take of that idea and how many will you post to the stock agency to hopefully make that idea a profitable one?

    Nicole, thanks so much for doing this!

  9. David m. July 25, 2010 at 11:49 am - Reply


    What advice would you give someone who is still developing their photo-making skills and wants to try their hand at stock photography? Any specific “need to own” equipment that can help someone be successful at stock?

    Thanks for doing this!

  10. Chris F. July 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Could you expand on a few technical pointers (noise, aberration, etc.) you go through before you submit an image? What are the big gotchas from a technical point of view that need to be addressed.


  11. Iza July 27, 2010 at 4:08 am - Reply

    what an excellent idea on the post. I am really looking forward reading your thoughts on people’s questions.
    I am wondering, if for studio shots is there an advantage of doing it on seamless white background versus more natural, interesting background? I think it can be valid for either food, or people shots. What sells better?

  12. Iza July 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I just thought of one more thing. It might be different in your case, as you are Exclusive with iStock, but I was wondering if you can use you accepted into stock images to send to different contests and other personal use (which could probably be considered non-commercial use)? How about in your books (which is commercial)?

  13. Dan Stephens August 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    How do you approach somebody and ask for a model release?

    How do you convince the parents of your child models to sign the release?

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