Stock Photography Agreements

Stock Photography Agreements

Stock photography agreements define where and how your images are made available. They are either exclusive or non-exclusive.

It’s usually in the best interest of the agency to have exclusive contributors.

Why? Lets say Adobe Stock Images has an exclusive agreement for your images. They have content that’s only available in their galleries. None of the other sites have it.

In the end, they can charge more for it.

What Are The Perks Of Exclusive Agreements?

The agency is getting paid more, so they can pay YOU more! Higher commissions.

Images with exclusive agreements get a boost in search results.

Some agencies even go as far as having premium galleries for exclusive content.

What Are The Drawbacks?

If your stock photography agreements are exclusive, you can not sell your images on other agency sites.

Higher prices mean LESS sales volume.

Your images do not get the exposure from being another ten agency sites.

Non Exclusive Agreements

Non-exclusive stock photography agreements mean that you are free to upload and market your photo on multiple sites.

This could work for you if you’re not sure which agency is best. It allows for a “dialing in” period where you can figure this all out.

Your images are available in more places. So, in general, non exclusive agreements in mean a high sales volume.

Drawbacks Of Non Exclusive Agreements

Your image may be bound to a site that it will not perform well on. All images are not meant for all agencies.

Non exclusive stock photography agreements are priced lower. In the end, you will get lower commissions.

Uploading to ten sites is a lot more work! More uploading and submitting is time consuming.

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.