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PhotoShelter Collection: a new opportunity for photographers? | photography by Antonio Marques

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Marketing and Business

PhotoShelter Collection: a new opportunity for photographers?


PhotoShelter Collection intends to compete with high-end stock houses. Can they change the views on the market?

Microstock sites are, without a question, a great opportunity for both amateurs and professional photographers to increase their photographic earnings. It is even discussed that due to microstock popularity, the earnings are set to increase.  

Although microstock photography is not as easy as it may sound at first, it’s also not that hard and even simple photos can get a good general acceptance.

If you want to try it (why not), Rasmus shares 5 tips to get you started.

One of the biggest issues raised by photographers wanting to expand into microstock is (of course) finances. Microstock sites are based on quantity of sales opposed to higher prices and many sell photos for $1. This requires that the photographer keep extending the portfolio in order to make any decent ammount of money. Even so you can see that with some effort it can pay for your gear.

Now, why am I going into the Microstock issue?

Today I got an email from Mike Scolins at Noise Marketing announcing the new feature of PhotoShelter, the PhotoShelter Collection.

As many of you probably know, PhotoShelter is a storage service for your photos. For a monthly fee you can upload your (if not all) most valuable photos and be sure to have at least that as a backup, just in case the sky falls on you and you loose everything else.

Now, PhotoShelter launches Collection

What is PhotoShelter Collection?

For what I’ve seen of their site (yes, I’ve registered), at PhotoShelter Collection, it is my feeling they try to distance themselves from the “regular” microstock sites. Although the more personal touch feels good (they make it sound so familiar), the general guidelines are those of a microstock agency. No word yet as for how tough their reviewing procedure is. From their guidelines, I got the impression that PhotoShelter Collection wants to explore a certain niche inside stock photography, turning it more casual.


This is where PhotoShelter Collection distance themselves from the crowd: the photographer’s revenue is 70% (85% for photos submitted before November 5th and up to six months) and the minimum price set for a photo is $50. The price is only a recommendation and you are allowed to price your own work. At least, you’ll be getting $35 for each sale minimum. The payout is set at $100 if you choose to be paid by check but they also offer PayPal or ACH as other payment methods (no word on payout here).

Advantages & Disadvantages

I have mixed feelings about PhotoShelter Collection from what I’ve read so far. I haven’t tried to submit any work so I can’t say for now how successful it can be.

Nonetheless, the high revenue percentage, low payout amount and relatively high price per photo make of PhotoShelter Collection something to seriously consider if you want to try selling your images. Also, it’s free to join.

On the other hand, competing with all the microstock sites out there is not going to be easy (is this even their aim?). Although many companies still go for the established (and much more expensive) stock agencies like Getty, the accessibility and affordability of microstock sites is hard to beat and only time will tell how PhotoShelter Collection will establish themselves in the photo market business.


Overall, I was surprised with PhotoShelter Collection. Maybe this is just a feature to increase sales on their main business (backups) and maybe not. Anyway, I’ll seriously consider uploading some work there and see how it turns out.

If you are already into stock photography and you’re not exclusive to any site, maybe you should also consider at least looking into it.


Although I just gave a very brief and positive review of PhotoShelter Collection, I’m in no way associated with them (besides having a user account at their site) and this is NOT a paid post. Truly, there aren’t even affiliate links on this post.

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  3. Brian Auer

    October 3, 2007 at 4:13 am

    I got the same email earlier. I’m still trying to figure out what to make of it all. I’ve seen quite a few photographers heading over there. I don’t get it — is the PhotoShelter Collection different from regular Photoshelter? Is it free or is it $10/month? Like I said, I don’t really get it yet — I’m still trying to wade through the crap… um, I mean marketing strategies.

  4. Grover

    October 3, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Hi. This is Grover, one of the founders of PhotoShelter.

    We’re not trying to create a system that will sell images for a dollar, we are targeting a very high end crowd willing to pay hundreds of dollars for quality images that have been reviewed by editors, in a system that makes searching efficient and productive.

    There is no monthly fee to participate in The PhotoShelter Collection. Why should we get paid if we dont sell any of your images?

    If you want to make use of the storage-based product in the PhotoShelter Personal Archive, you can still do this starting at $9.99/mo.

  5. A Marques

    October 3, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Brian,

    I guess Grover already answered many of your questions. No backup service, just a stock service. Again, as I mentioned in the article, maybe it’s worth to try it.

    Thanks for stopping by again.

  6. A Marques

    October 3, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Hello Grover,

    Nice to see that you guys actually follow up on the emails you send around :)

    In the article I never mentioned that you want to turn into a microstock site. Actually, it sounds a very refreshing venture from all the microstock hype around.

    One question that I still have, and maybe you can get back to us on this is, if you allow users to remove photos from their portfolios at any time, I’m assuming that you are not going to directly push the images to any potential buyer (like other high end stock agencies do) but rather wait for the buyer to come to you. Did I get this correctly?

    And thanks again for stopping by.

  7. Josh Rothman

    November 29, 2007 at 7:33 pm


    I thought you might be interested to know about another way amateur photographers can make money other than from microstock. It’s a new service called GoSee4Me. Check it out at http://www.GoSee4Me.com

    - Josh

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