Published on 7 June 2017 | Updated on 16 January 2020
Almost all stock photo agencies offer referral programs for their users, both contributors and photo buyers. You receive financial compensation for referring new photographers and customers. Most stock photographers may avail of the program, as long as they are registered contributors. You do not have to sell stock photos to take advantage of referral programs.
Generating income from Referral Programs
There are many ways these programs can be used to generate income. You have to be patient and not expect huge amount of money coming to your bank account in a short time. We would say that implementing the program on a small website may cover your hosting cost.
If you are registered as a stock photo contributor and run a website related to photography why not place a couple of referral banners/links on it and get a few extra bucks? Referral programs are different for each stock photo agency and we do recommend reading their terms very carefully. Below we describe the most important factors to consider. Check our Referral Program Comparison to see what you can expect from each stock photo site.
Important factors to consider when registering for any Referral Programs
Who you can refer
This is crucial because some agencies (such as Fotolia or Bigstock) do not offer compensation for referring stock photographers, but only photo buyers. It means that if your target group is focused on contributors only, you will not get any referral payments even if you refer any of them.
How much you can receive for referring photographers or customers
Not much, but it varies from agency to agency. Usually compensation for referring buyers is higher than for referring photographers. Compensation starts at $0,03 for single image sold by referred author to 15-20% for single credit or package purchased by customers.
For how long you will be receiving referral earnings
This one is tricky, as not always you know exactly for how long you are going to be paid for your referred users. Make sure to study the small print. Depending on an agency, this may vary from 6 months to 2 years. Do not be surprised when your referral income suddenly stops when this time has passed. When your referred photographers register their accounts it may take some time before they upload any stock photos. And then more time before they start selling. It also happens that people register but do not upload any images at all or have difficulties being accepted as contributors. If they eventually manage to have any sales it may be too late for you to receive any referral earnings.
It is more instant when it comes to buyers. When they register they buy stock images straight away or purchase credits, packages or subscription plans. Some stock photo agencies allow purchasing without registration, so it generates referral income straight away.
Are there any extras related to the Referral Programs?
Yes. Referral program is usually understood as placing referral banners and links on your website in order to get visitors to click on them. Then, they are redirected to a stock agency website and register an account. When they start selling or buying stock images you earn extra money.
Not only this is the case. There are other ways of being rewarded by the agencies. Some of them, such as Dreamstime, will pay you fixed amount only for placing their banner on your website (subject to their approval). Others will reward you for sending e-mails inviting your friends to register an account. To increase your referral earnings you may also place referral links in your e-mails, blogs and social media profiles. Clicks from there will count as your referrals.
And finally – is it worth participating?
Yes, but do not expect to get average monthly wages from it in the beginning. It may cover some costs related to running your blog or website. It may even get you some extra cash to support your home expenditures.
Look at it as a long term investment. If your site or blog is growing regularly and you market referral links properly and constantly, it may bring some extra cash in the future.