Exclusive Stock Photography Agreements

Exclusive Stock Photography Agreements

Exclusive stock photography agreements are made between a photographer and their agency. When you upload a photo, your agency is going to ask you whether you want to opt for an EXCLUSIVE agreement.

This is an agreement between you and your agency.

An exclusive agreement means only one agency can license your photo. You can not submit that photo to another agency.

Non Exclusive Agreements

Non-exclusive stock photography agreements mean that the photo is made available to more than one agency.

Here’s An Example — If you sign up with Adobe Stock, and agree that a photo is exclusive, you’re saying to Adobe that you will not upload the image on any other agency site.

Only Adobe can license the photo.

Why Choose An Exclusive Agreement?

There’s a reason why a photographer may do this… IT’S CALLED MONEY

If Adobe gets an exclusive agreement for your image. They like that! Their catalog is that much more unique and stronger. They have content that’s only available to them. In the end, they can charge more for it, and pay you more!

On the flip side of that, if the photograph is posted to ten other stock sites, it is not worth as much to Adobe. This is a non exclusive stock photography agreement.

Keep in mind though, a non exclusive agreement could be worth it for YOU! If the image is on ten other sites, it has more exposure, it might sell more.

Which Is Better?

A Thirty Day Sales Example

With A Non Exclusive Stock Agreement – Over Thirty Days, You may license an image ten times across ten different sites at a dollar each for a total of $10

With An Exclusive Stock Agreement – Over The Same Thirty Days, you may license an image just once, on one site, for a total of $10

In this example it’s a wash. It rarely works out this way. But this demonstrates the difference.


So you need to make a decision on a photo. To go with exclusive or non exclusive stock photography agreements. Usually there is a tipping point in one direction or the other. You need to speculate on which one will work better. Make a decision, and run with it.

In general, I tend to work non-exclusively. I submit my photos to as many sites as I can. A high tide raises all ships. My thinking is to get my photographs in front of as many eyeballs as I can. In the end though, this decision is up to you.

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