A couple of years ago I discovered microstock and I’ve been supplementing my income selling vector artwork ever since.
What is microstock?
Microstock photography, also known as micropayment photography, is a part of the stock photography industry. What defines a company as a microstock photography company is that they (1) source their images almost exclusively via the Internet, (2) do so from a wider range of photographers than the traditional stock agencies (including a willingness to accept images from "amateurs" and hobbyists), and (3) sell their images at a very low rate (from US$0.20 to $200 in the US) for a royalty-free (RF) image.
How much can you make?
Well, that depends on a couple of factors; the quality of your work and the quantity of your work. Quality is the more important key here. One good piece could sell a couple of times every day, while 100 poor graphics might not sell at all. The beauty of the stock graphics industry is you’re selling usage rights to your artwork, not the artwork itself, so you can sell a single piece as many times as someone might need it. As of writing this, my library of around 600 pieces makes up about a third of my overall monthly income.
Each agency has different usage rights and licenses, so check their terms individually for licensing details.
What kinds of graphics sell the best?
It’s hard to say. I have some pieces that I thought were a bit bland, but sell multiple times a day and others that I put more time into that get purchased less frequently. I just like to play the numbers game. Create quality graphics, upload, and repeat. You never know what will catch fire.
How do you get started selling your artwork online?
Below are links to my most successful of the microstock agencies I use in order of monthly sales. I would suggest you re the next section of file preparation be for you start submitting:
How to prepare your files for microstock sales
Each agency has some variants as far as what they need, so please check their guidelines prior to submittal. But there are many points that are universal for stock acceptance:
Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding getting started. It’s always nice to meet like-minded artists.