What is stock?

8 min read

Deviation Actions

One of the many purposes of this group is to provide you with an educational resource to help guide you along the way to successfully contributing to the deviantART Stock Project.

:star:  What is microstock?

First, let's break it down.

micro (payment) {small, i.e. low cost}  + stock {off the shelf, i.e. ready to use images and graphics} (photography)

Microstock is different from traditional stock photography in many ways:

:bulletblue:  There is a vast resource available of stock images on almost any subject, and it's very easy to find what you need.

:bulletblue:  Images are sold at very low price -- just a few dollars with clear information about the type of copyright and appropriate licensing included in each sale.

:bulletblue:  Images are sourced from the general public, amateurs and professional photographers, designers and illustrators –- anyone can contribute.

So with that in mind, we've put together a handy guide of information & resources for you to refer to in order to set the context for participation in commercial stock either as a user or as someone who hopes to produce stock.

:star:  What is a royalty free image?

A royalty free image means that the price of the image is the same no matter how long you use the image for or how many prints you require. Thus, when you buy an image under a royalty free license, you can use this image without a time limit and as many times as you like, provided it is for the same client, campaign or project.

:star:  Equipment counts

Most stock consists of photographs. But as you can see by going through the collections at  stockproject.fotolia.com, illustrations, vectors, backgrounds and textures are also part of a microstock offering.  For photographs, the bar is set pretty high at professional or pro-am levels in terms of equipment, quality and file sizes.  For illustrations a good scanner is required and you should start with simple line work without textures.  Obviously, you'll also need a way to transfer your work onto the Internet.  

For people who use stock, sometimes all you need is to simply download an image to place the work into a PowerPoint presentation or into a document.  But for those who enjoy photomanipulation and other digital art techniques, stock file sizes will require a good processor and good image software.

You'll need to get your hands on some image editing software to assist you with this. Adobe Photoshop and Apple Aperature are very popular, however there is also an abundance of free alternatives.

:star:  Choose your subjects

Think about what subject matters are the most likely to be used frequently by different customer groups.  This doesn’t mean making images that fit everyone’s needs.  But the subject of the images should be thought through to fit specific needs that seem likely. Think about what you already have access to, and what is going to sell well.  Look at the major categories on stockproject.fotolia.com or at other stock sites and take a look at the lead image results in those categories to get a good feel for what sells.

You never really know what people will want to use and what they will be searching for.  That is why successful microstock offerings contain very deep catalogs of millions of image choices - - essentially the more the merrier as long as there is functional search.

:star:  Rights matter

Stock results in a third person using the stock image for all kinds of publications and applications.  There are a variety of licenses used.  They break down what you can do with an image.  The more the user wants to do in terms of commercial exploitation, the higher the price of the license.  But it all starts with one basic principal - - the person making the stock must be able to transfer the rights to a user.  In practical terms that means:

:bulletblue:  Yours! You must be the copyright owner of the images you submit.

:bulletblue:  Released. Make sure that you have all the appropriate documentation in place, i.e. a signed model release if you use people.

:bulletblue:  Don’t put into the image any trademarks or billboards or business names.

For people using stock, read the license for the image to make sure you can use the resulting project the way you intend to use it.  For example, stock agreements can limit the number of items you can make using the image as product packaging.


Here are some excellent tutorials that provide you with all you need to know about in order to shoot and prepare quality stock.

:bulletblue:  How to shoot stock tutorial by mjranum-stock

:bulletblue:  Guide to Stock - Part 1 by AttempteStock

:star:  Have you found any helpful tutorials on preparing stock? Let us know and we'll update our listing!

Visit the dA Stock Project w/ Fotolia
© 2010 - 2021 StockProject
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sleeprobber's avatar
I became a regular member & then later on a premium member here at dA because of the stock resources that are bottomlessly available!! Since that time almost a year ago now...I have even created some of my own...and will continue to do so as long as I am alive & able!! Thank you to all of you out there who share their imagination with me here on dA...
cardfue's avatar
Very interesting!
slays-me10's avatar
umm...what on eath is stock anyway?
PrincessAsparagus92's avatar
That's some cool stuff :)
C6x676's avatar
SWEET! work gets out more! need better camera so bad :( .
jaffar-style's avatar
how i can search for free stock's in fotolia ?
Compusician's avatar
I just read a tutorial on how to prepare stock (a photo shoot). And I learned something. Thank You.

But I am here to learn how to use Fotolia to my advantage as an artist.

I proboably will see the Fotolia Tutorial coming up...
feureau's avatar
Okay, I signed up on fotolia. Now what do I do? How do I get my stuff over there? LIke, how do I link my accounts?
nevit's avatar
The idea sounds great...

1. IMHO more control over the usage of the work should be given to authors of images:

Not a stock image
Public domain. (No credit needed, use any way you want!)
Use a Creative Commons License?
Attribution required?
Allow commercial uses of your work?
Allow modifications of your work?
Notification of use required?
Pay per use?
Royalty free?

Whatever the license of image a download fee can be obtained per /MB of image download. First x MB free?

2. For photos of identifiable persons, clarify the status of photo:

No model release available (Use at your own risk, do not use on printed press, TV etc. May be suitable for a powerpoint presentation intended for a small audience)
Model release available (upload as a file attached to main image)
Person too small or not the center of interest
People are part of a crowd

Sample warning from commons.wikimedia.org

Personality rights warning

This work contains material which may portray one or more identifiable persons alive or deceased recently. The use of images of living or recently deceased individuals is, in some jurisdictions, restricted by laws pertaining to personality rights, independent from their copyright status. Before using this content, please ensure that you have the right to use it under the laws which apply in the circumstances of your intended use. You are solely responsible for ensuring that you do not infringe someone else's personality rights.

3. SVG is a good format for vector work. Currently not supported by DA. SVG editors are adobe illustrator and inkscape.

4. Derivative photos of 2D objects or 3D objects may be copyrighted in some countries. A group of experts or volunteers may be needed to screen and remove such works from stock. See [link] A disclaimer for unscreened work.

5. Current DA categories and tagging system are insufficient. Here is my workaround:

a. Uploader adds initial tags
b. Any user adds more tags
c. Other users vote tags as appropriate or inappropriate by clicking on + and - signs next to tag.
b. Some categories / tags should be sub to upper categories: ie. Kitten is sub to cat and cat is sub to mammal and mammal is sub to animal.

6. Marking the location when appropriate by:
a. Geocoding information retrieved automatically from EXIF and pictures should be visible on a world map...
b. Adding general or specific location info: London, Istanbul, Maldives, Africa, etc.

7. Anonymous or hidden vote system should be in place to place better works upper in search.
a. A minimum of 3 votes for vote to be effective...
b. Average point = Points received / number of registered viewers.
c. Another average = Points received / number of votes.

d. Other automated quality data: Number of downloads, number of views, number of comments, number of favorites? etc. etc.

8. Sharpness of image should be evaluated twice.
a. First at a fixed resolution such as 800x600 or 2MP or any other fixed resolution.
b. At full resolution
This will prevent up-loaders of High-res images to be punished because of lack of sharpness at full res.

9. A total value of image score can be calculated by mixing different parameters.

makepictures's avatar
All great suggestions. Thanks.
Vlue's avatar
I also have a suggestion! PLEASE allow METADATA/IPTC/EXIF to automatically be entered into the fields when making a submission. This includes Title, Description, and Keywords. This is a standard feature on all stock sites and Flickr - all but DeviantART. I've suggested this to a few others a few weeks ago, but they said that the need is not large enough. Well, if an entire database of stock images is going to be implemented onto DeviantART, I'd say the need is pretty high. I'm not going to spend days copying and pasting the title, description, and keywords of each individual image in my library of images and videos onto this site.

I'm pretty excited about this, but won't be mass uploading unless we get that feature up and running!

Also, as you pointed out, nevit's suggestions are great. 1, 2, 5, and 6 are my favs lol. 5 is really good. also, I particularly like the option to set a licensee on each image. We should also be able to search images only under a certain license category, similar to Flickr's Creative Common Search. Even though DeviantART has the option to attach certain licensees to an image, I don't think they are searchable at the moment.
makepictures's avatar
Excellent points. One of the possibilities here is the importation of stock collections all at once and to do that, the submission process will need to be upgraded, as will search.
Vlue's avatar
yay! lol

So this will probably be all done by the end of next year you think?
makepictures's avatar
Sooner than that later, we would hope!
I think it's a good idea. I'm seriously struggling with the requirements of other 'stock' sites - mainly because of the sizes required which is why the photo's I've put up on deviantArt are only of the small types. I cannot zoom into 100% for the other stock companies to see a problem because it ALL looks blurry to me, which isn't the case at say - 60 - 80%. IF - and here's the big IF - this 'marriage' occurs, I'm hoping that some of my 'work' (whatever you wish to call it) will be useable without me maxing out my poor computer's memory and taking 5 minutes just to sharpen something.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love someone to purchase one of my photographs at huge sizes for wall hanging....but I just can't get the quality right enough because I only have an itsy bitsy screen =- about 46cm x 29 cm - that's usable screen
Sandgroan's avatar
I'm looking forward to expansion in the number of tutorials available here
makepictures's avatar
We will be doing that.
LOREINOFA's avatar
Excellent idea...
AlecWolfe's avatar
Whooo! Awesomeness. Let's see what gets made from this ^.^
hel-stock's avatar
So, if you don't have a high-end camera, you're done with this, right?
maView's avatar
fotolia accept only images shooted by DSLR, NO compact cameras images!
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