Stock Photo Pricing Survey

Posted on 6/12/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

In general, prices and revenue for image creators have been declining in the stock photo industry. To a large extent this has been due to oversupply and more and more customers finding the images they need at lower price points.

Based on the information I’ve been able to collect, I have made estimates of the average 2013 gross license fee for images in the five major price categories – RM, traditional RF, Midstock, Microstock and Subscription. My figures can be found in the chart below.

  2013 Downloads (est.)
Average Price
Rights Managed 1,300,000 $298 (my Getty est.)
Traditional Royalty Free 3,000,000 $133 (my Getty est.)
Midstock 5,000,000 $35.00 to $45.00
Microstock 44,000,000 $6.00 to $7.00
Subscription 130,000,000 $1.25

To get a broader cross section of data and opinion, I have prepared a brief 5 question survey to determine these averages are high or low based on my reader’s experiences. Many readers will only license images in one or two categories. Please check “Not Applicable” for the questions where you have no data.

I am looking for gross license fee, not your gross income. Since many photographers will not have easy access to gross license fees averages can be determined by dividing your total gross income for the year by the total images licensed. In parenthesis, I have included some sample royalty percentages of the gross my gross license fee calculation to save respondents from having to make their own calculations. Photographers should look at the dollar amount next to their royalty percentage and determine if their average is higher or lower than this number.

Exclusive contributors to iStock should consider their sales in the Midstock category. Non-exclusive contributors would fall into the Microstock category. In general I consider gross license fees that range from $1 to $20 for the largest file size to be Microstock and prices that range from $10 for the smallest size to $250 for the largest to be Midstock.

Click here to Complete the Survey

Copyright © 2014 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Jesse Hughes Posted Jun 12, 2014
    My average RM licensing fee in 2013 for our Erickson Stock RM images/video clips was $2750 per image. :)

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