1 2 Previous Next 48 Replies Latest reply on Sep 12, 2018 2:05 AM by Abambo

    stock royalty payments


      i have recently added some images to Adobe stock and have made a few sales. i would like some explanation of the royalty/commission payments. i see that the images are for sale at £5.99 but i have received commission of 19p - was i wrong for thinking the 33/35% royalty payment would be that percentage of the price?

        • 1. Re: stock royalty payments
          MatHayward Adobe Employee

          Thanks for your question. Your commission rate on Adobe Stock image sales is 33% of the price paid for the image. This cost varies based on the number of images and the license the customer commits to purchase. There is a minimum payment amount that is determined by your rank to ensure that for very large subscription packages, the royalty rates don't drop too low.


          There are additional price options at Fotolia where your images are available for sale. You can find information about the royalty structure at this link: Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Vector Art & Video - Fotolia


          Kind regards,

          Mat Hayward

          2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: stock royalty payments
            nathansmith Level 1

            According to Fotolia rates, the LOWEST rate someone should be paid is 99 cents, but I just sold my first image and the commission is 33 cents! And if the lowest payout is when the total reaches $50, it seems Adobe could make millions on sales where the photographers get nothing. Please explain.

            5 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: stock royalty payments
              MatHayward Adobe Employee

              There are large subscriptions available such as 750 downloads for $199. This drives the cost per download fairly low so there are minimum payment amounts in place that are set by your rank. The more you sell, the higher your rank. The higher your rank, the more your commission. You can find information with specific details at this link: Account and payment information


              Kind regards,


              Mat Hayward

              2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: stock royalty payments
                Photofish Level 1



                This is the License Agreement - Every time someone purchases your content on Adobe Stock, you get a 33% commission for photos and vector art, and a 35% commission for videos based on the price of the image.


                Nowhere does is state that one must gain in rank to make more money on stock sales. The Adobe Stock site shows only 2 Licenses for sale - Standard @$9.99 and Extended @ $79.99


                So according to this, I and others who make sales based upon the Standard License fee of $9.99 should be earning $3.29 per sale. Not $.33 or $.43


                As of now, this is a Breach of Contract and susceptible to litigation.

                7 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: stock royalty payments
                  MatHayward Adobe Employee

                  Thanks for writing. The prices you listed ($9.99 and $79.99) are based on individual license sales. In other words, if the customer is purchasing one file only, those are the prices available at Adobe Stock for the standard license and extended license. Your commission on those individual purchases would be $3.30 for standard license or $26.40 for extended licenses.  There are additional prices available at Fotolia for individual sales but for the purpose of this discussion lets stick with Adobe Stock for now.


                  If a customer needs more than one image, there are different price packages available for him or her. For example, if they need 10 images (standard license), they can purchase a package that provides them with 10 images for $49.99. This drops the cost per license to $5 each. Your commission is 33% of that price which is $1.65. There are additional variations to consider. If the customer needs 10 images per month and commits to buying a subscription for a full year, the cost for those 10 images is $29.99. The customer is committing to purchase at least 120 licenses over the course of the year this way so their cost per image goes down to $3. Downloads from that option result in a .99 commission.


                  For heavy users of stock content there is an even larger package available. A customer can buy 750 downloads to be used in one month for $249.99 or $199.99 if they commit to the full year of monthly subscriptions.


                  This package drops the cost per image very low which is where your minimum commission amount comes into the picture (no pun intended). The cost per image with this package can go as low as .26 so if we paid 33% of that, the commission would be very low. To compensate for this, there is a minimum commission amount for contributors that your royalties will not drop below. The minimum amount is what is determined by your rank. For new contributors with less than 100 total sales, the minimum payment amount is $0.25. Once you have reached 100 sales your rank goes to "bronze" status and the minimum payment goes up to $0.27. When you reach 1,000 sales your rank is increased to "silver" and your minimum payment amount is $0.29. 10,000 downloads is the requirement to reach "gold" status where your minimum is $0.31 and 25,000 sales is "emerald" status with a minimum payment of $0.33.


                  I can tell you from my personal experience as a contributor at Fotolia/Adobe Stock for over 10 years that it requires time and effort to build your portfolio. However, once you establish your portfolio, there is a massive customer base purchasing a high volume of content 365 days per year. The overall volume of sales, including the minimum subscription payments can potentially add up to significant earnings if you are willing to put the work in to get there.

                  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


                  Kind regards,


                  Mat Hayward

                  12 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: stock royalty payments
                    Photofish Level 1

                    None of this information is stated in the License Agreement. Thus, it's a Breach of Contract based upon the current language of the License Agreement. This is a ripoff and you know it. I'll be pulling all my images.

                    • 7. Re: stock royalty payments
                      MatHayward Adobe Employee

                      I respect your decision and wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly.


                      Kind regards,


                      Mat Hayward

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: stock royalty payments
                        cryderman_aaron Level 1

                        Hi Mat,


                        I'm new to Adobe Stock and read the above thread to understand my first 0.33c payout. Your explanation was clear and understandable, thanks for posting it. There's clearly no breach of contract here.





                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: stock royalty payments

                          Why do you not inform your contributors of the reason for the level of commission when it is posted. It is just bad PR to dump on your partners like this. Very unprofessional and a bit deceitful not to explain the basis upon which the sale was calculated. Hope you don't fill in your tax returns using that approach. Maybe I'll send them your name.

                          • 10. Re: stock royalty payments
                            lucidala88 Level 1

                            Hey Mat,


                            I am about to start as an Adobe Stock contributor and found this really helpful. Thank you for providing this information. The rates are much better than alternatives such as Shutterstock, and I completely understand.






                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: stock royalty payments

                              Hi Mat,


                              I found this article very useful, everything is clear and well explained. However, there is something I don't understand: if the minimun payment amount is 0.25, why am I getting 0.18 in most of my sells?


                              Hope you can help me.





                              • 12. Re: stock royalty payments
                                MatHayward Adobe Employee

                                @Laura, that is an indication you have not completed a tax form yet. As a result, your commissions are subject to the maximum amount of tax withholding.



                                7 people found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: stock royalty payments
                                  laurar4517716 Level 1

                                  Thanks a lot Mat, I knew it had to be something wrong.


                                  Tax form completed!



                                  • 14. Re: stock royalty payments
                                    JC926 Level 1

                                    That is a very useful explanation, Mat. Might I suggest that this detailed info is posted on your site somewhere so that Stock Contributors know what they're getting into before deciding to invest the time into building a portfolio? I have spent a significant amount of time curating, posting, keywording, etc. and it's a very time consuming process. Initially, I was getting quite a few images rejected for various reasons, and that has been a learning curve too. I'm getting better at predicting which images will be accepted. I was quite excited when my first sale occurred soon after posting my first batch, but when I clicked through and saw that the payment was $.33 (rather than the $3.50 I was expecting), it was quite a letdown!


                                    So far, I have averaged about $.61 per image, and it will probably be a few more months before I hit the $50 threshold for payout. But I'm retired from my corporate career, have >100,000 images on my hard drives and am actively shooting, so I assume my efforts will eventually generate a decent amount of passive income.

                                    • 15. Re: stock royalty payments

                                      Hi Mat, sorry to add to this discussion, but I'm a little confused. I got a sale commission yesterday of $0.20. The license sold is listed as "standard", and my tax status says that I have a validated W-8BEN form uploaded. I'm curious as to why this is below the minimum payment, especially for a standard commission, rather than a subscription commission.


                                      I'm only a couple of weeks in, still trying to understand how everything works here.



                                      • 16. Re: stock royalty payments
                                        Baymare Level 1

                                        I have a couple of .20 payouts as well and just checked my tax status. Mine has also been confirmed.  I only have a handful of sales, but they seem to be decreasing in payouts.

                                        • 17. Re: stock royalty payments
                                          MatHayward Adobe Employee

                                          That .20 commission is likely a one credit sale at Fotolia. These are different than subscription sales. Your commission rate increases as your rank increases. Your rank increases as your sales count increase.


                                          Details about these sales are on the bottom of this page: Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Vector Art & Video - Fotolia



                                          2 people found this helpful
                                          • 18. Re: stock royalty payments
                                            deecresswell Level 1

                                            Thanks so much for that link Mat! It's a little painful to see that I could potentially make as little as $0.12 per image sale with the fotolia credits system, but at least I now know.

                                            • 19. Re: stock royalty payments
                                              cervantes01 Level 1

                                              I was going to sell my own images via adobe stock, but I won't bother now as the payouts are way too low.  You'd have to sell 1500 photographs to get the $50 minimum payout.  Adobe needs to consider that it takes a high degree of skill, learning, time and patience to take photographs that are good enough to sell online.  At this rate I'll never, ever recover the cost of making of those photographs via adobe stock as the payouts are so low.


                                              Also why should the price that I get paid for my product be dependent upon the value of the plan they choose to sign up for via adobe?  My photos either have commercial value or they don't and minimum commission rates should be minimums.  I've done the maths and at the moment it doesn't seem like a sound business decision to offer my photos via adobe stock.


                                              All the best!

                                              4 people found this helpful
                                              • 20. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                victry1 Level 1

                                                Not sure of where to ask this, but here seemed like a good spot. What are purchasers allowed to do with the images they purchase? For example - how many prints, brochures, t-shirts, etc? Let's say a contributor was paid 99 cents for his image-what is the most a purchaser could do with that image as far as use goes? Thanks

                                                • 21. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                  ColinBrownPhotographer Level 1

                                                  agree entirely. If a picture is sought for commercial purposes, it has a value. This race to the bottom, especially with absurd discounts, makes the whole proposition worthless.

                                                  I couldn't find any of this detail on the Adobe Stock promo's. 

                                                  • 22. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                    jeffreym10412212 Level 1

                                                    I'm feeling pretty much the same way.  Nowhere is there a way to see who is buying my images and how they are being used.  Can you imagine seeing your image on a multi-million dollar corporation's billboard only to find out that they bought it for $0.27!!  I would have to sell 10 images just to put a gallon of gas in my car, Really?!! 


                                                    This is what is killing the industry for all of us pro photographers.  You can buy any image for pennies instead of hiring a pro and paying us for what we've all worked so hard to perfect.  It's truly disheartening that another big company has found a way to squeeze out the little guys while making millions of dollars off of their hard work.  Looks like I'll be pulling my images as well.  In a year I've had 151 sales and made less that $100!!  I can't even fill my car up with gas twice for that!!  I would  have thought that Adobe, considering that they depend on all of us creatives, would be advocating for all of us to make money and support their company, but I'm loosing faith in the industry as a whole by the minute.... Ugh....Maybe I should have been a garbage man instead.  Just my frustrated $0.02....

                                                    6 people found this helpful
                                                    • 23. Re: stock royalty payments

                                                      Why should anyone hand over their product for you to Capitalize on? If im doing the shoot and uploading the images to the web and all you do is provide a space for that and dictate a license.... That would be STEALING From the creator. Usage is a very important function of the business. Why would you try to override copyright and usage payout to unsuspecting contributors and buyers?

                                                      • 24. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                        BMorrisphoto Level 1

                                                        Questionable contracts are a breach of intellectual property!

                                                        Especially when it comes to USAGE!



                                                        On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 9:44 AM, MatHayward <forums_noreply@adobe.com>

                                                        • 25. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                          rogersphoto.com Level 3

                                                          When I saw Adobe was starting a stock company I thought: "This is great!" so I did some (heavy) research. I thoroughly read their TOS, had a good laugh and dismissed Adobe Stock altogether. Period.


                                                          As a professional photographer of 25 years my only question to other professionals is WHY? Why on earth would you contribute to a company that is basically stealing from you. I mean how were you sold such a bill of goods?  Anyone who can provide a reasonably intelligent explanation as to why they are willing to give this, or any, company 65% of the profit for something they created should post it (and not Adobe's well paid spinnners) because I can't think of a single one. You all are living in backwards land because the creator should be getting at least 65% of the gross sale and the marketer 35%.


                                                          Are you forgetting you are an art director, location scout, set designer, booking agent, lighting specialist, retouching expert, asset management... plus a (seemingly) highly skilled photographer all rolled up into one. Additionally you're heavily invested in gear and training, pay for your own car, equipment and health insurance (Is Adobe providing insurance for you because they are for their employees). You spend hours and sometimes days creating a "perfect" image and you're willing to accept pennies on the dollar? Ask any one of those aforementioned "specialists" (especially art director) if they will work for pennies


                                                          You are the sole creator. 90-95% of the work is done by you and you're settling for 33%? OK fine, let's be "fair" and account for the infrastructure/storage/maintenance Adobe accounts for. At the very minimum the creator (photographer/artist) should see a return of 70 cents on the dollar (70/30).


                                                          If you're willing to settle for .33 on the dollar then heck, just give it away and sell your renewable bodily fluids because you'll get much more. Better still, come work for me. I'll even pay you 40 cents on the dollar!


                                                          Adobe stock is based on YOUR work and DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT IT! They should be ashamed of themselves.


                                                          DON'T SELL YOURSELF SHORT EVER!

                                                          6 people found this helpful
                                                          • 26. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                            Marie-Claire Lander Level 1

                                                            I agree that photographers are grossly underpaid. All agencies are the same so what do you do? We should all campaign to get paid at least a dollar per picture. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up pretty fast. Agencies could agree to that, surely! They depend on contributors after all.

                                                            1 person found this helpful
                                                            • 27. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                              abhishekc97135777 Level 1

                                                              Agree. The ratio should be 70/30 wherin the photographer is paid 70% of the sale. Photographers worldwide should do a crowd funding and start an agency which is beneficial to the community. These Microstock companies treat photographers like a traffic signal beggar. This is not sustainable for long. Neither for the photographers, nor for the agencies.

                                                              3 people found this helpful
                                                              • 28. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                constructed skies Level 1

                                                                I don't even know where to start on how horrible I think adobe is treating its customers here.  And am blown away at people sticking up for the adobe staffer (who may not be a bad guy and is just doing his job - I get it - nothing personal Mat). But come on people.  There's a reason you don't see this info. on the 'getting started with adobe stock 'help pages etc..  If they said hey sign up and give us your images that you've spent hours and years creating and we'll give you $0.20 ?!! LOL  OMG.  I'm glad I found this post. And, on top of it, if you're new here and we haven't already underpaid you for 1000 images or so we'll pay you even less lol.  I kept thinking I was misunderstanding as I read it, but then I realized, sadly, my only mistake was forgetting that adobe doesn't care about anything or anyone other than their bottom line. Like all businesses, so again, nothing personal adobe - I get it - someone up there at the top making millions is answerable to a group of people in a boardroom.  But let's not pretend that you were trying to be 'clear' and 'upfront' about your payment policies.  There's a reason it's not explained clearly - don't try and say it is - it's intentionally misleading, and the if not intentionally, someone should lose their job for not realizing that it is misleading, and I don't have such little faith in your employees to assume it was a mistake.  It's misleading because your model is insulting to its creative customers - not it's corporate ones who buy the images for pennies.  I'm sure they all love you.

                                                                3 people found this helpful
                                                                • 29. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                  andreaw42041264 Level 1

                                                                  minimum pay out is clearly not working. I have a commission of lest than 0.15. ALL my extended license commissions are less then 3.50. I'm sorry, but how can anyone sell a license to use my image on products that they are going to sell on and I only get about $3.10? What is going on Adobe stock? My aerial photos of Cape Town cost a fortune to take and you're allowing people to sell unlimited products and only pay less than $10 to do so. Surely that is not possible.

                                                                  • 30. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                    abhishekc97135777 Level 1

                                                                    Initially I started on Fotolia as it's payout was better. But after its acquisition by Adobe, they have ruined Fotolia  as well. I have stopped contributing new photos to Adobe stock altogether. They neither have volume sales like Shutterstock, nor do they pay enough to compensate it. Waste of time, effort and skills to contribute to Adobe stock now. Hope they realise it soon else their investment in Fotolia is going to be a financial misadventure.

                                                                    • 31. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                      MatHayward Adobe Employee

                                                                      @andreaw I checked your sales history and I'm not seeing any commissions at .15 or less. I see two subscription commissions where you were paid the minimum of 25 cents based on your rank of white which is determined by the total number of sales in your account history.


                                                                      I do see sales of XS files that originated at Fotolia for 1 credit each. Those sales are paid a commission of 20% which is determined by your Fotolia rank as well. The total commission I see there was .20. As your sales increase, the percentage also increases up to a possible 46%. Once you reach 100 total sales your rank will be increased to bronze and your commission on Fotolia credits sales goes to 23%. At 1,000 sales you become silver ranked and the commission is 25% and so on. Details on Fotolia credit sales commissions can be reviewed here: Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Vector Art & Video - Fotolia


                                                                      The advantage to these types of sales is that they are based on the size of the image. The larger the image, the more credits required to purchase. They can add up to significantly more earnings when full resolution images are purchased.


                                                                      Regarding the Extended license sales in your account. I see that you have sold some Extended licenses. These sales also originated at Fotolia where the price was 30 credits. Your commission of 20% based on your rank was $6 each. I do not see any for $3.10. Please feel free to email me with any information that contradicts this so I can investigate.


                                                                      The price for Extended licenses at Adobe Stock is $79.99 with a 33% commission. This is the same for all contributors regardless of rank. The only time your rank has an influence is when the sales originate at Fotolia. Once you reach 100 total sales you can increase your Fotolia Extended License price to 60 credits and when you reach 1,000 total sales you can increase the price to 100 credits.


                                                                      To do so you may contact me directly also and I'll be happy to assist. My email address is mhayward@adobe.com


                                                                      Kind regards,


                                                                      Mat Hayward

                                                                      • 32. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                        MatHayward Adobe Employee

                                                                        @abishek  I appreciate your feedback. I took a look at your account and see that your portfolio only has a total of 45 images with only 20 uploaded in the last year. As you mentioned, microstock is a volume based model. The way to earn revenue is to consistently create and submit new content. More and more customers every day are finding the convenience and selection at Adobe Stock very appealing and are creating accounts at Adobe Stock. It takes hard work and determination. The work you do have online looks great but you must dramatically increase productivity to find success. I genuinely believe with some hard work and determination you could do very well as a contributor at Adobe Stock.


                                                                        I wish you the best of luck!


                                                                        Mat Hayward

                                                                        • 33. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                          andreaw42041264 Level 1

                                                                          Thanks a lot of your reply, but then it seems the problem is Adobe stock must have the incorrect exchange rate for South Africa. I can only see my sales in South African rands. My lowest sale is ZAR 1.88 and my extended licenses are all ZAR 45. The exchange rate has never lower than 11.8 and usually hovers around 13 to the dollar. So for a $6, I should be getting more around R 70 and it's only showing me R45. With a sale of 1.88, that would equal less than 18c (around 15c), so something is very wrong. I wish they would display and pay out in dollars like all the other libraries do, and then I could draw it when the exchange rate is favorable for me. Can you tell me how they work out the exchange rate for South Africa please.

                                                                          • 34. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                            MatHayward Adobe Employee

                                                                            Thanks for that information. Your original post makes more sense to me now. I can only see your payments in US Dollars. The currency conversion rate on Fotolia credits is 1 credit = R 7.50.



                                                                            • 35. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                              andreaw42041264 Level 1

                                                                              Hi Matt


                                                                              Is one credit = to $1 normally? If so, then South Africans are getting short changed ... and by a substantial amount.


                                                                              So what can be done about that.  ... or do we get our payout in the correct dollars amount (I don't know as I haven't requested a payout yet) and then use a proper exchange rate through the bank that I draw into?


                                                                              Thanks for looking into it for me.

                                                                              • 36. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                                MatHayward Adobe Employee

                                                                                1 credit = R 7.50


                                                                                Kind regards,


                                                                                Mat Hayward

                                                                                • 37. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                                  andreaw42041264 Level 1

                                                                                  Yes I got that part. But why is 1 credit = $1 for people who earn dollars when $1 = R13,24, not R7,50. Why are South African's earning almost half of what other photographers earn? When I signed up, I had read the charts on the commission that we earn and I'm getting way less.

                                                                                  • 38. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                                    andreaw42041264 Level 1

                                                                                    On Shutterstock, iStockphoto and Dreamstime, I earn in dollars and the exchange rate only comes into effect when I withdraw the dollars ... by the bank. I'm earning almost double on those sites than I earn through the fotolia page. How does Adobe stock work out their exchange rate? Are they also only giving us R7,50 to the dollar?

                                                                                    • 39. Re: stock royalty payments
                                                                                      abhishekc97135777 Level 1

                                                                                      Thanks Mat,


                                                                                      As I told that for the time being I have stopped contributing on Adobe. stock. I am focusing my time and energy on Shutter stock and IStock. Particularly Shutterstock give much better returns in terms of time invested in  uploading, keywording the same set of photos. The returns provided by Adobe stock are not sustainable for most photographers. Why would one waste so much time and effort to get mere 12-20 cents.


                                                                                      For same set of 50 photos the earnings on SS are way better as the no. and frequency of downloads is high. ( I have now around 500 photos on SS and other agencies, and I am happily contributing there.)

                                                                                      Being a Graphics designer, I often search stock photos for designs. There also the search result and variety of SS is much better than AS. You search it there you will get it. Unfortunately that is not the case for Adobe stock. Even though Adobe stock has tied up with agencies like 99designs, the designers often use SS, IStock more than AS. We simply don't find the photos we require on many occasions.


                                                                                      So 'AS' at present is neither serving the interests of Photographers, nor of Designers. So better to avoid it, till there is some improvement shown on these fronts.

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