Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

March 4, 2009

Stock Photgraphy – Fine Print

Filed under: Art Market, Photography — Doug Stockdale @ 4:32 pm

Postcard of Bavaria

Okay, this is part two following on from yesterday’s article about the potential for shooting Stock Photography, which is one more post than I planned, but I am on a roll. As Gordon had reminded me off-line, beware of the fine print with a potential stock agency.

And the fine print includes, who takes on the copyright of your photography, do you keep it or do they get to “assign” it? (hint: you want to keep the copyright, unless they offer you a ton of money). There are all kinds of financial and legal aspects that you should keep in mind and read at least once before you sign up.

Also, make sure you understand the photographic technical requirments for you images.  As an example, hereare the digital photography requirements at Thus, the Bavarian castle picture above is nicely composed, it does not meet the technical requirements for a submission. I was leading a small group from my day-job on a sight-seeing week-end day and was only carrying my Canon G-2 for “snap” shots. The G-2 is a 4 Megapixel compact. Alamy needs Pro-level camera platforms with a minimum of 6 Mp. Now a difference of 2Mp may not seem like much, but when you compare the sensor sizes, lens quality & resolution, pixel density (12 bit RAW vs 14 bit) and the list goes on, I have a very nice memento, not a stock photograph.

So there are some minimum equipment requirements for Stock that you need to be aware of. Even my Canon XTi at 10.2 Mp shooting RAW at 12 bits is very borderline, although I use the top end Canon L lens. I do not have any image capture issues when I use my Hasselblad and 120 film, but it does take an investment in time to spot those digital files after I scan the negative or transparency.

So read carefully, but if you think that this might be an opportunity, jump in. Just as I might.

Best regards, Doug


  1. Thanks for the warning Doug. I was considering singing up with a few microstock agencies, but I will study their Terms first.

    Comment by myphotoscout — March 4, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  2. After Gordon posted I went and checked out Alamy. There’s a big discrepancy in their photo requirements. On the one hand they say 6MP is sufficient but want 48MB 8-bit TIFF source images, which is 16MP.
    that means everything needs up-sizing.
    Why don’t they just specify a required dimension?

    Comment by doonster — March 4, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

  3. Martin, Excellent question. I think in a roundabout way, they have with the 48Mb size requirement and it appears that they are trying to provide some latitude and discrection in how you (the photographer) might get there.

    Just part of the fine print with each of these agencies, eh?

    Comment by Doug Stockdale — March 4, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

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