Part 2: Opportunities Outside of Microstock – Fine Art Images

Hey fellow grinders,

In my previous blog post about opportunities outside of Microstock, I discussed submitting some of your more artistic images to Fine Art America, a Print-On-Demand agency.

On this post, I’ll discuss other uses of licensing your ‘fine art’ images at one of the major Midstock agencies (I’ve included a comprehensive list on another blog post).

What is ‘Fine Art Photography’

Fine art photography differs from stock photography in that it is creative vision of the photographer that matters. The subject and theme are not immediately (or perhaps ever) clear. Therefore, these types of images do not naturally lend themselves to the promotion of products and/or services.

Sometimes I get bored of shooting stock

Let’s face it, sometimes shooting for stock can be boring. Ideally, everything needs to be in focus, little shadows and bright (vibrant). This is before I even mention the subject matter…I was shooting bundles of hay the other day...

I can’t bite the hand that feeds me since stock is my main photography income, but to express how I feel, I need more. Sometimes it means going deep into dark themes which is why I also shoot fine art photography.

Which Stock agencies accept fine art photos?

Well, as long as the fine art is done “technically well”, pretty much any agency accepts them. There’s surely an overlap between fine art and stock, with some fine art images making for great stock subjects (in reverse, stock images rarely make for great fine art images). Here’s an example:

A fine art that naturally lends itself to be licensed as a stock photo, but not all fine art images make for great stock photos as the message usually isn’t clear enough

However, most of my fine art images wouldn’t be accepted into stock galleries and I wouldn’t them there anyway! I’ll show you a few examples soon. I generally avoid sending fine art images to stock banks these days. From my experience, the Return Per Image (RPI) is just too low, probably due to the images having little versatility for use in promoting products and/or services. In other words the message the image is communicating isn’t always clear as it’s an expression of the artist.

So where else can I send my fine art images?

Two niche Midstock agencies I would recommend are Trevillion and Arcangel Images. I’ll focus on Arcangel, since that’s where I’ve been submitting for the past two years.

Their clients include international book publishers, record labels, advertising and design agencies and magazine publishers. These clients are looking to source images to be inserted on covers of their media internationally, such as the following:

Source: Arcangel Images
man on bench - Copy
Thinking about copy space is fundamental when submitting images to Arcangel, as well as other agencies that licence to book publishers

boy with camel

How good do these images need to be?

Standards are naturally high (higher than submitting to Microstock), and as stated on their website this is what they’re searching from their contributors:

“Stunningly amazing images… pure and simple. All themes, subject matter and techniques accepted. We want smiles of satisfaction from our client’s when they view our collections and realise they have found the perfect image for their project.”

More information on their contributors’ guide including information how to apply to be a contributor. Commissions are attractive at 50%, but images submitted to the main collection must be exclusive and its licensed as Rights-Managed (however, they do have a small non-exclusive RF collection). Naturally, many of the covers feature models, which must sign a model release.

Some favourites from my Arcangel Images portfolio

You can see my modest portfolio of 474 images at Arcangel by clicking here. My goal is to have at least 1000 quality images there by the end of the year. This will take a lot of work since Arcangel Images photo editors tend to be extremely picky with what they choose to accept within their collection.

Here’s a small selection of the images within my Arcangel portfolio. Notice how these images differ drastically from my Shutterstock portfolio, especially by the use of heavy VSCO filters, vignettes and grain added:





Until next time! Take a look at my new article on how photographic breakthroughs are important to keep the motivation high!


To purchase a copy of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography click on this link!


  1. […] That’s why I urge time and time again for newbies to use Microstock predominately as a photographic learning tool, including hopefully as a way to pay for some photography trips + upgrade equipment, while continuously looking for more profitable opportunities elsewhere! I write about finding opportunities elsewhere here and here. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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