BigStock – Complete Review

Logo Bigstock

BigStockPhoto is one of the oldest Microstock agencies, founded in 2004 in Davis, California, with a mechanism for the sale of images based on the credit system. In 2009 it was acquired by Shutterstock, which at the time was already the leading Microstock agency based on subscription system. By acquiring Bigstockphoto, Shutterstock wanted to extend its business to buyers who preferred the system of credits for purchasing images. Following this acquisition, Bigstockphoto has radically changed its website and finally changed its name to Bigstock in 2010. Currently the agency has about 43 million royalty free images (updated January 2017).

To become a contributor for Bigstock you need to register on the site and complete a short test after reading the tutorial for contributors. Once you pass the test, you can start right away to send images for sale. The upload modes are the usual ones, webform or FTP, while timing of review of files range from a minimum of 2 days to a maximum of 10. There are no limits in uploading files via FTP, but there are nevertheless limits rather restrictive during submission on the website and obviously these limits depend on the approval rate of the files previously submitted: if you have an approval rate equal to or less than 50%, the maximum number of files that you may have in the approval queue is only 10. To have no limits, you need an approval rate of 93%, significantly much higher than the average of the other agencies. The complete diagram of the submission limits can be found on this page of the BigStock website.

As Shutterstock, also Bigstock accepts editorial images, provided they have a specific caption in the description tag (the same Shutterstock format).

Earnings are calculated with a dual system of remuneration: for extended licenses and sales through partners, Bigstock grants to its contributors a 30% of the sale price; for downloads made with credits system, contributors receive $ 0.50, while for downloads on subscription, earnings range from a minimum of $ 0.25 to a maximum of $ 0.38, according to a scheme that takes into account the downloads generated in the previous 12 months. Payments are made through Paypal, Skrill or by bank check, upon exceeding the minimum threshold of $ 30.

There’s not so much to say about extra services, but there’s a blog for contributors with tutorials and informations, while sales statistics seem quite accurate and easy to use.

Ultimately you shouldn’t expect great satisfactions from Bigstock, especially if compared to the older sister Shutterstock. Sales have a rather low frequency and commissions are mostly generated from subscription sales ($ 0.25 per image). The greatest flaw of this agency in my opinion lies in the strong limits about the submission of the new files: in the worst case – which is also the most frequent case – the limit of 10 maximum files in the approval queue forces the contributor to return to the website frequently for the validation of 10 files per batch. If you have hundreds of files to send… well, that means months and months before you can complete all of your submissions. Therefore, my personal advice is to send only images of the highest quality, so as to maintain a high approval rate and to have higher limits for submissions.

If you have to optimize your time regarding the management of the microstock agencies, the choice of Bigstock does not seem the most appropriate. Anyway, because the minimum threshold for getting payments is only $ 30, it may be worth keeping Bigstock as a “reserve agency”, to which dedicate some time when you can, and wait for the sales to do their course, albeit slowly.

Below is the table with the main informations about Bigstock:

Logo iStockphoto Logo
Social Links/Blog Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blog
Headquarters United-States New York, USA
Portfolio 43.000.000 (updated to January 2017)
Website Traffic Rank by Logo Button 125x40
Admission Test Needed, quite easy to pass.
Image Size Minimum 800 pixel
Accepted File Types Photos, Vectors
Severity of the Reviewers Medium-High
Editorial Images Accepted, although a particular description of the file is required before submission, according to specific directions
Types of Licences Standard License, Editorial License, Extended License
Price of the Images Starting from $0.99 per single credit and from $0.35 per download on subscription
Earnings for Contributors 30% for the Extended License and sales through Partners; $ 0.50 per download with credits and $ 0.25 per download on subscription, growing according to this schedule
Payout Minimum Threshold $30
Payment Mode Upon request once thresold exceeded, via PayPal/Skrill, bank check.
Exclusivity Program not available
Referral Program 35% on the first purchase for each referred customer
Uploading Mode Webform, FTP
Recognition IPTC data from file Automatic
Currency $ US Dollar (USD)
Supported Languages Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese
Tools Blog
Download Release Forms Adult Model Release
Minor Model Release
Property Release

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Expert in Marketing and Communication in a major company of the Italian FMCG market, traveler by vocation, passionate photographer, contributor at all major international microstock agencies, founder of Marcor$tock, a blog focused on Microstock Market and Digital Photography.