Fotolia by Adobe – Complete Review

Fotolia is one of the leading historical microstock agencies, founded in 2005 by Oleg Tscheltzoff, Patrick Chassany and Thibaud Elzière and with offices in the US and Paris. The growth of Fotolia has been steady in recent years and its portfolio has grown from 4.2 million images in 2008 to 9.8 million in 2010, then to 17 million in 2012 and currently, especially after the 2016 acquisition from Adobe and the launch of the new Adobe Stock platform, the portfolio exceeds 70 million files (January 2017). The launch of Adobe Stock as a twin platform of Fotolia has also greatly increased the potential of this agency, since its contents were made available in all Adobe softwares, with considerable increase in potential customers. For old Fotolia contributors it has been given the possibility to merge the old account to the new account on Adobe Stock and to manage their own portfolios on one or the other site, although it is very likely the complete transformation of Fotolia in Adobe Stock in a short time. For new contributors, it is needed to create an Adobe account to be able to sell their work, therefore exclusively through Adobe Stock platform and no longer through the old Fotolia website. Given the size of its portfolio, there’s no wonder that reviewers at Fotolia are quite demanding and there are frequent rejections to images that perhaps other agencies would approve without hesitation. As counterpart of this strong selectivity by the reviewers, to become a contributor to Fotolia by Adobe there’s no need to pass an admission test: you simply register for free on the site and then you’re immediately able to start sending images, without any limit. In this sense this agency is a great opportunity for microstock beginners, who may try immediately to start selling without going through a difficult admission test, which is normally required by other microstock agencies. But you must accept the fact that you will probably go through a long series of rejections.

The uploading process is very easy and can be carried out either by webform, FTP or, for Adobe users, also through a comfortable publishing plugin within Adobe Lightroom. Even the submission is greatly simplified compared to the past: it is not anymore necessary to select categories, image by image, and it’s enough to apply the categories massively to a selection of multiple files.

Another historical disadvantage of Fotolia, which at least in my personal experience limits the agency in achieving the same results than Shutterstock, is due to the lack of acceptance of editorial images. Considering that editorial images are approximatively a half of my downloads from Shutterstock, I wonder how would Fotolia perform if they would accepted editorial images as well. Also in this case a change of policy in the future might be more than welcome, especially after the acquisition by Adobe.

Talking about earnings, they depend on the dual system of purchase offered by Fotolia, namely through previously purchased credits or through subscription. For images purchased through credits, the contributor receives a good 20%, increasing as the level of the contributor goes up. For images purchased by subscription, the contributor earnings starts from 0.25 credits, also in this case increasingly as the contributor level gets better. It’s also provided the opportunity to become exclusivist: the earnings in this case start from 35% up to 63%. Finally there is a section of free images, to which you can contribute by donating your images automatically in case that they are rejected by reviewers, with the advantage of increasing the exposure of your portfolio.

Below is the table with the main informations about Fotolia:

Logos Fotolia



Social Links/Blog Facebook, Twitter, Forum, Blog
Headquarters United-States New York, USA
Portfolio over 70 millions (update January 2017)
Website Traffic Rank by Logo Button 125x40
Admission Test Not needed. After the registration on site you can start immediately to send your works for review.
Image Size Minimum 4 Megapixel (2400 x 1600 pixels) – max. 30MB
Accepted File Types Photos, Vectors, Footages
Severity of the Reviewers High
Editorial Images Not accepted
Types of Licences Standard License, Extended License
Price of the Images Da $0.74 per ciascun credito oppure da $0.19 per ciascun acquisto fatto in abbonamento
Earnings for Contributors Starting from 20% for every single download and 0.25 credits per download subscription (growing according to this schedule)
Payout Minimum Threshold 50 credits, equal to 50 €
Payment Mode Upon request once thresold exceeded, via PayPal, Skrill
Exclusivity from 35% for each download and up to 63% (according to this schedule)
Referral Program 15% for each referred customer, 20/10 credits for the purchase of monthly/daily subscription plan
Uploading Mode Webform, Flash, FTP
Recognition IPTC data from file Automatic
Currency Euro € (EUR)
Supported Languages English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Turkish, Korean, Dutch, Swedish
Tools Microsoft Office Word & PowerPoint Plug-ins, Fotolia Desktop, Fotolia Instant Collection App x Smartphone, TEN Collection, Adobe Plug-in per Photoshop, Illustrator e inDesign
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.