Best Microstocks: Shutterstock Or Getty Images?

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The microstocks market is changing at a fast speed, and if you want to succeed, you’ll have to keep up with the trends. The stiff competition in the photography industry is not making it easier. If you want your images to get accepted and boost your sales, you must shoot and submit high-quality photos.


Shutterstock is one of the most popular microstock among photo buyers worldwide. It’s characterized by a long history in the industry, impeccable quality of service, a great reputation, and competitive prices. To help you decide whether to use or not to use Shutterstock for your content, let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages.


Broader clientele base despite the large competition in the photography industry, you can still reach a wider clientele base when using this microstock agency. They offer affordable prices, making them the go-to option by people who have a limited budget. Some of your expected buyers when using Shutterstock, include small businesses and bloggers.

Incredible user interface Shutterstock has redesigned its user interface to make it easy to manage your content. In the new contributor dashboard, you can effectively monitor your sales and earnings in real-time mode, view your best performing content, and the location where the item was downloaded. With this information, you can easily refine your photo shooting as well as determine what to post on the platform.

Fast review turn-around Shutterstock is one platform I have never found myself wondering when my work will be reviewed. This is because their submission review doesn’t take more than a few days.

Exclusivity It’s non-exclusive.

With these benefits in mind, you only need to know how to maximize your earnings with the agency. While there’re various factors that can determine how much you make with Shutterstock, you need to give a lot of attention to the following elements:

  • Content - upload high-quality content regularly to ensure your portfolio remains relevant.
  • Choose your keywords wisely - having relevant keywords increases the number of downloads than uploading too many images.
  • Meet the needs of the customers - the number of downloads you get depends on whether your content meets the needs of the customers or not.

Getty Images

If you’re looking for a platform that will pay you some good cash for your photos, then Getty Images is your go-to agency. However, you must be willing to dig deeper into your pockets to sell your photos here.

In the microstock industry, Getty is known for the highest quality and highest standard imagery. But before you decide to invest your hard work here, it’s necessary to determine whether the drawbacks are worth it.


Potential to make good cash Getty has contracts with high-end buyers such as Moment Collection which pays 20% of every photo bought. This means you have the potential to make $115 from a high-resolution photo listed at $575. Even the low-resolution images you shot years ago can make you good money depending on how much they’re listed.

Excellent reputation Getty Images is one of the most reputable microstock platforms in the industry. Having your photos listed here gives you a sense of pride.

Offers editorial classification this feature is important to people shooting travel and architecture photography. If you have photos that you want to edit but fear they will look terrible, classify them under editorial and you might make some cash out of them.

Offers freedom unlike other microstock agencies, Getty offers a lot of creativity freedom. This means that a blurry photo that portrays strong emotions is more likely to be accepted by Getty than on other agencies.


Awful contribution and submission platform - despite the potential to make good cash on the agency, Getty has what you would call outdated submission platform.

Exclusivity - unlike Shutterstock that’s non-exclusive, Getty Images is exclusive, meaning that you can’t sell your photos anywhere else once you sell them here.

Poor customer service - in addition to a poor site, they also have terrible customer service. It takes months for a ticket to get resolved, which makes me wonder what they do with all the cash they generate if not upgrading their site.

Bottom Line

The rise in need to submit quality imagery to different agencies makes it hard for the faint-hearted to achieve success. However, you can still find viable strategies to help you succeed as a hobbyist. Don’t let rejections discourage you, keep submitting everything you have, and you’ll be surprised to see the images you doubted selling.

The most important thing that can help you succeed in the industry is trying different agencies and remaining persistent. One agency may reject a photo, only for it to be accepted by another.