Fotolia Stock Photography – Scam or Legit?

Fotolia Stock Photography - Scam or Legit?


It’s getting easier and easier to snap your way through life these days – the quality of mobile device cameras improve with every model that’s released.

But what happens to 99% of these phone-snapped images?

Well, if they don’t end up on Facebook (cluttering and annoying everyone’s timeline), then they probably end up living out their life inside your phone!

There are companies out there that can help you make a little money off these snaps – one of which is called Fotolia.

Well, if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve probably gone through a couple of the Fotolia reviews and you’re still not sure about their setup.

Let’s sort out the truth behind the company, and see if they’re worth your time and effort…

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The Fotolia Review

What is Fotolia?

What is Fotolia?


Fotolia (also known as Adobe Stock) is a website that allows people to buy and sell Stock Photography (including images, illustrations, videos and vectors).

The company is a sister site to the mighty Adobe and was initially launched by Oleg Tscheltzoff, Thibaud Elziere and Patrick Chassany, way back in 2004.

It’s basically a website that offers freelance photographers, or wanna be professionals, a place to showcase and sell their images.

You have two main options to choose from when you sign up – you can become a licensed contributor or a normal contributor.

The licensed contributor is the more professional option, giving you way more features to sell your snaps and get eyes on them. This contributor option essentially allows you to become a partner with Fotolia.

You upload your images to the site, and they immediately become available to anyone that needs them online (for a price, of course!).

You then get a percentage of the fee that is paid for your image, based on your overall photographer/contributer rank.


Selling Your Fotolia Stock Photos

You can create a contributor account for free, however, you must be over the age of 18. You can’t use other people’s material – your images need to be 100% unique and original.

Once you’ve got your foot in through the door – you can immediately start uploading your images.


fotolia coupon code


They then go through a sort of quality control, where a team will check over them – if they are accepted, they will be available to customers for purchase.

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What About The Pay?

Okay, let’s get onto the juicy subject that most of you have been waiting for – how much can I make on Fotolia?

Well first I should elaborate on what I touched on above – your earnings are directly linked to your rank and license type. Yep you’ve guessed it – you are required to PAY for a license upgrade if you want to earn more through your photographs.

The minimum amount an image can sell for is 5 credits which translates to $1. Your rank will be determined by how many downloads you get and your license type.

The payout system is directed to two simple options – Skrill and Paypal. You need to have at least 50 credits in your account before you request your first payout.

Unfortunately, there is a 45 day waiting period if you are withdrawing for the first time (YIKES!).

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Fotolia Pros

Well it is a pretty cool way to earn money isn’t it? Especially if you enjoy photography!


fotolia promo code


I also like the fact that there are no real limits on the amount you can earn through the site. Some people have apparently made huge amounts of money off one image alone – they sort of went viral and numerous websites decided to purchase and use them!

It’s also a worldwide service – so no matter where you are in the world, you can try your hand at making a little dough off your photographs.


Fotolia Complaints

Okay, onto what a lot of readers consider the most important section of the article – the online complaints!

Please remember that most companies have a few complaints following them around online, it’s the nature of the beast, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad choices overall.

During my research, I encountered numerous Fotolia members that have gone through a complete nightmare with their customer service. Many contributors have complained of rude responses when they follow up on their payment request.

I also encountered a few horror stories regarding people’s accounts…being closed down without any warning!

If they manage to get the account restored, there’s no guarantee that the content they uploaded would be intact.


The Fotolia Review – Scam or Legit?

Well the company is owned by Adobe – so it’s definitely NOT a scam business!

Does is have a few teething problems now and again?

Yep, of course it does, but most online companies do!

There are thousands of testimonials online from amateur photographers that have made A LOT of money using the platform…

But you have to be good at what you do, to make the decent money. 🙂

At the end of the day, there may be easier ways to make money online IF you are not the best photographer in the world…

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6 comments on “Fotolia Stock Photography – Scam or Legit?

  1. That sounds interesting to me because I have a lot of photographs on my phone memory and the biggest I can do to them is to save them on a hard disk for future reference. I didn’t know such platforms like Fotolia existed and I appreciate your time, research and willingness to share such a noble information.

    Well, I personally like photo shopping and editing so much and I’ve done that to some of my good photos I have taken myself and I wonder if fotolia could find this a problem. Does this affect the originality such that they won’t buy it, what are your thoughts?

    Best wishes


  2. My opinion of this is that it’s difficult to call it a scam as it has been set up by Adobe so the structure of it is going to be legitimate.

    But it’s another one of those opportunities that has merit for the right people, and others are going to struggle with it.

    In other words, it’s courses for horses…

    What I mean by that is if you are a professional photographer then it’s another outlet for your business. (Like having an established high street business selling car parts for example, but then also selling them on E-Bay)

    However, if you’re just an ordinary Joe looking for a side hustle that you think you can make an easy killing on then it’s not going to work for you.

    Why? Because you’ll spend a ton of time taking crappy pictures that nobody wants, upload them to the server and have them purchased by nobody.

    As the reviewer is trying to point out. Far better to invest that time in building your own website around a passion or hobby and write content and pictures for your own site where you can monetize it for the long term.

    Have a great day.


    1. Hi Paul, 

      Yeah this definitely isn’t the best choice for a person who ‘thinks’ he/she can take good photos – you need to be confident that you have a knack for this sort of thing, otherwise you’re not going to earn a penny at it! 

  3. I can understand why people would be on the fence regarding is this any good or not. I would imagine that selling photos using this platform would be pretty good if you were taking photos of things that businesses would pay for. I would think that some types of photos would sell better than others. 

    So one of the first things I think would be to determine what types of photos do actually sell on this platform. For instance taking landscape pictures might not sell well, whereas taking photos of sports people in action might. This is an educated guess. 

    The photographer would have to know copyright rules pretty well to be sure that they do not get caught out that way by mistake. Assuming that the person has earned money with this platform, are there any forms (eg W-9) that require filling in and sending to them?

    1. Hi David, 

      Well I didn’t encounter any W-9 forms with my experience with them…but I’m not a pro with them by any stretch of the imagination. It’s worth contacting their support first just to make sure you’re not breaking any rules etc. 

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