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Selling Photo on Dreamstime

Updated on September 28, 2010
Camera Lens
Camera Lens

Microstock - Overview

Microstock is general name for low price royalty-free stock photo. Unlike traditional stock photo, microstock photographer varies from amateur to professional photographer. Even you can take a photo using point-to-shoot camera and sell it in microstock agency. You will get paid if somebody buy your photo.

There are many microstock agencies such as Dreamstime, iStockPhoto, and Fotolia. Dreamstime is one of popular agencies. If you are new to microstock you may consider selling your photos through Dreamstime agency.

Video: How to Sell My Photography

About Dreamstime

Dreamstime is one of the biggest microstock agencies. It is most favorite agency among microstockist and noted as best selling one. Depend on the contributor level; photographer commission is about 30%-60% of the photo price. Their staffs are friendly and respectful to their contributors.

It is easier to selling photos with this agency. Unlike other agencies that require submitting best example photos when applying as contributor, in Dreamstime as long your photo passes their minimum standard requirement you will be approved as contributor. Although their requirements are high, photographers can meet their criteria easily even by newbies.

Their features are great. Uploading process is easy; they support web upload and FTP upload. They have feature to keep track photos and selling. Contributor can request payment via check, PayPal or Payoneer.

How to Start Your Own Photography Business

Dreamstime's minimum photo requirements

Dreamstime is approving high quality photos only. They manually approve each submitted photo. In order to get approved for selling, your photo should follow basic requirements:    

  • You should own the copyright of the photo.
  • Your photo should technically right (good composition, good lighting, good exposure, etc).
  • If your photo contains recognizable face, you should  have model release for each person
  • If the photo contains recognizable property, you should have property release
  • Minimum size is 3MP
  • Photo should be in RGB JPEG format with highest quality
  • The photo should not contain trademark, logo, or other copyrighted stuff.  You can remove the trademark or logo by editing your photo in photo editor.

Cooperation Concept
Cooperation Concept
Competition Concept
Competition Concept

Good and Marketable Photo

Dreamstime is looking for great commercial and marketable photos. In order to become contributor and selling your photo, you should know what type of photo they accept. Here some guidelines what kind of photo you should upload:

  • Good concept. Microstock is not for daily photos. Uploaded photo should illustrate some good concepts. A good concept photo conveys an idea, such as romance, fun, fear, trust, etc.
  • Contain a symbol. Beside it has good concept, best selling photo usually contains a symbol. Using this symbol, photo can visualizing an idea, such as a fruit photo means healthy live, a bull photo means strength and power,etc.
  • Technically right. Your photo should have good composition, good lighting condition, clear and no noise, correct white balance.

Out of focus
Out of focus
Image with trademark/logo
Image with trademark/logo

Why my photo rejected?

There are many reasons why your photo rejected. Here are some common reasons why your photo refused by Dreamstime:

  • Technical Reasons . This reason means your photo does not meet minimum technical photo standard. Some technical failures include too many noise, image too dark because underexposure, image too white because overexposure, poor lighting setup, objects is out of focus and incorrect white balance, poor composition.
  • Model Release . Model release is agreement between you and the person you are photographing. Model release gives photographer a permission to use the image. If you shoot a model or people with recognizable face, you should create model release for each person. If there are three recognizable faces in your photo, you should have three model releases. Dreamstime will reject the photo if you cannot show and upload model release.
  • Property Release . Property release is agreement between property owner and photographer. It gives photographer a permission to take a photo and use the property image. Sometimes they need property release, and your photo will be refused if you cannot show the release.
  • Similar Image. Common reason for this rejection is ‘too many photos on the same subject or from the same series’. Your photo will be rejected if you are uploading too many similar photos. Avoid submitting excessive photos with same object, same concept, or same angle.
  • Trademark. Dreamstime will refuse your photo, if it contains trademark or copyrighted stuff. You should remove any shoe logo, watches logo, characters or other trademarks.

Amateur Photographer Issues

Although Dreamstime is favorite agencies among microstockist, if you are newbie photographer, you will face some issues. These issues including:

  • Minimum payment is 100$. For some newbies it’s difficult to achieved this amount. It needs times and more photos to get this amount.
  • Although it is stated that minimum size requirement is 3MP, it is rarely being approved in that size. You need a higher size minimum 8MP to increase a chance of being accepted. It means you need a more professional gear, such as upgrading your point to shoot camera to DSLR camera.
  • Submit limit is depending on your approval percentage. The more your approval percentage, the more you can submit photos each day. Newbie photographers usually get low approval percentage. It is difficult to increase the approval percentage if you have low submit limit. To get maximum upload limit 20 images per day, photographers should submit their best images.

A Guided Tour in Yuri Arcurs' Photo Studio

How to get more sales?

It may the most asking question by amateur photographer. The answer is simple: upload more photos. The more photos you submit, the more chance of sales you get. For example Yuri Arcurs a microstock celebrity; he earns more than $60,000 per month from microstock (not only entirety from Dreamstime). Do you want to know how many his photos have been uploaded in Dreamstime? More than 27,000 photos.

So if you want to get more sales, you need to take and submit more photos.


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    • profile image

      patricia 5 years ago

      I have a question. Who is actually checking the quality of the photos? are they professionals? I would like to have more info about this topic. If you know something related please.. let me know!



    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this overview of Dreamstime and selling photos.