Adobe Stock contributor review: How much can you actually earn?

By Matic Broz, the editor-in-chief with 10+ years of experience with design, stock media and licensing, and photography.

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Adobe Stock Contributor thumbnail

Adobe Stock Contributor is among the biggest contributor programs and pays generous commissions to contributors or stock photographers for high-quality images, videos, and other assets.

It’s also very convenient for anyone using Lightroom and Photoshop since you can upload photos directly from the apps to Adobe Stock. While this may not seem like a big deal, I absolutely love this feature because it saves you lots of time.

How much does Adobe Stock pay?

Adobe Stock pays 33% commission for photos and 35% for videos, based on how much the customer paid for it. This means you can earn $0.33 to $26.40 per image and $2.80 to $70.00 per video download. The customer’s price depends on their buying method, license, and the number of downloads they commit to.

While your content would ideally always be downloaded with the most profitable plan, you don’t have any influence on that. All you can do is take the best possible photos (or videos) so they are downloaded more often.

Image earnings

The amount you receive for image downloads as an Adobe Stock Contributor depends on how your image is downloaded. Customers can purchase them with subscriptions of various sizes, on-demand, or with an extended license.

You earn a 33% commission per image download, meaning you get between $0.33 and $3.30 for subscription downloads and between $21.12 and $26.40 per Extended license download.

Buyer’s planEarnings per download
3 credits per month
(Monthly subscriber)
10 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$1.65 / $0.99
25 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$0.92 / $0.66
40 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$0.82 / $0.66
350+ credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$0.33 / $0.40
Extended License
(On demand / Subscription)
$26.40 / $21.12
Adobe Stock Contributor image earnings

The minimum royalties for 350 and 750 monthly download subscriptions improve with the lifetime downloads of your images.

  • 0-999 lifetime downloads: $0.33/image
  • 1,000-9,999 lifetime downloads: $0.36/image
  • 10,000+ lifetime downloads: $0.38/image

Video earnings

The amount you receive for image downloads as an Adobe Stock Contributor depends on how your image is downloaded. Customers can purchase them with subscriptions of various sizes and on-demand in HD or 4K resolution.

You earn a 35% commission per video download, meaning you get between $2.80 and $7.84 for subscription downloads and between $22.40 and $70.00 per on-demand download.

Buyer’s PlanEarnings per download
25 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$7.84 / $5.60
40 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$5.25 / $4.20
350 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$4.55 / $3.85
750 credits per month
(Monthly / Annual subscriber)
$3.50 / $2.80
HD – 16–500 credit pack or on-demand$22.40 to $28.00
4K – Subscription, 40–500 credit pack or on-demand$56.00 to $70.00
Adobe Stock Contributor video earnings

While you don’t need to understand the intricacies to make money with Adobe Stock, you can check out Adobe Stock pricing and licensing guides to get a better idea of what you’re up against.

What do professionals use?

There are not many photographers who make a full-time living with Adobe Stock contributor. But they have one thing in common. They all use professional video editing software.

Bonus Program for additional earnings

If you’re an active and successful contributor, you can get free access to Adobe Creative Cloud assets through Adobe Stock Contributor Bonus Program.

  • 150–4,999 downloads: You can choose a one-year plan of either Creative Cloud Photography (20GB), Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, or After Effects.
  • 5,000+ downloads: One-year access to Creative Cloud All Apps

Each image counts as one download and each video as eight downloads. The downloads only count within a calendar year, so between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023. For now, only downloads of photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos qualify for the download count.

We recommend

Lightroom & Photoshop (7-day free trial)

Adobe Lightroom (+Photoshop) are the industry standard among photographers. No other software comes even close in terms of capability and low prices. To top it all off, you get a 7-day full-access free trial.

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Lightroom and Photoshop logos

How do I get paid?

You can get paid once you’ve received at least $25 in royalties. You must also meet the following criteria:

  • It has been at least 45 days since your first sale.
  • You have a valid tax form in your account.
  • You have a valid PayPal, Payoneer, or Skrill account.

Paypal vs. Payoneer vs. Skrill

Adobe Stock’s payout system is not easy to understand. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Payoneer is available only for non-US contributors who receive payments in US dollars. This includes South America, South Korea, South Africa, Australia, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. It also includes everyone who created their account after February 18, 2020.
  • Contributors from Japan need a Premium PayPal account.
  • Contributors from Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey need a Payoneer account.

Contributors from Russia and Belarus

Because of the sanction imposed by the US, contributors from Russia and Belarus may not receive the payments. This has nothing to do with Adobe but depends fully on 3rd party payment providers, who may not be allowed to work with your bank.

If your payment is not processed within 2 weeks, Adobe will return the funds to your Adobe Stock Contributor account, so you can withdraw them in the future.

Free Collection Payment

When you upload an asset, you may nominate it, meaning you are contributing it to the free collection instead of the paying one. If and when Adobe accepts it, the asset will be added to Adobe’s free collection, which currently holds 776K files.

However, you don’t get paid in cash for the works downloaded from the free collection. Instead, you get a single payment of 5 credits for each work accepted and added to the free collection. Credits are then converted to your currency with the following conversion rates: 1 credit = 1 USD = 1 Euro = 0.75 GPB = 7.10 SEK = 4 PLN = 150 Yen.

How to become an Adobe Stock contributor?

  1. Create your contributor account

    Go to and sign in with your Adobe ID (your Adobe account). If you don’t yet have an Adobe account, sign up first.
    For Fotolia users, you can sync your accounts via the Contributor portal.

  2. Upload content

    Accept all the Legal guidelines Adobe throws at you. Also, you need to be at least 18 years old and be the rightful owner of all the content you upload.

  3. Add a title, description, etc.

    Every piece of content you upload to Adobe Stock Contributor needs to have a title, a category assigned to it, and keywords that best describe it.
    If your ima

  4. Submit images

    Your content is now ready to be reviewed. A team of Adobe Stock curators will check all your content for technical quality and value.

  5. Manage your content

    You can add more or remove your content at any time. I also encourage you to edit and update descriptions and titles to make them more alluring regularly.

  6. Earn money

    Wait to sell your first piece of content. It might take a while at first, but the earnings will start snowballing once it starts going.

How to upload images?

To upload images as a contributor, you need to create an account first. Then, click on Sell in the top right corner and upload images or videos with an FTP upload.

When the images upload, you’ll need to add a title, description, category, and keywords, for which Adobe Stock automatically provides suggestions. Importantly, you must attach a valid Property or Model release for your photos that depict a property or a person.

When you’re done, click Submit, and Adobe’s curating team will check your photos for technical and artistic issues, which takes around 1-3 days. When your images get approved, they automatically show in search, and you can start earning money.

Adobe Stock Contributor program also daily updates your sales to keep you up-to-date with your earnings.

Guidelines for photos

Adobe Stock doesn’t mind whether you’re a professional photographer with a $5k camera or an amateur with a mobile device. Photos must meet the following requirements:

Technical requirements

  • Format: JPEG
  • Colour space: sRGB
  • Minimum image resolution: 4 MP (megapixels)
  • Maximum image resolution: 100 MP (megapixels)
  • Maximum file size: 45 MB (megabytes)
  • No watermarks or timestamps
  • Do not artificially increase image size

Quality standards

If you want your images to be valuable to customers, they need to reach specific quality standards.

Make sure that they are:

  • Properly exposed and well-lit,
  • Without visible noise, dust specks, or water drops,
  • Perfectly-composed (for beginners: Rule of thirds)
  • Not over-edited

Title and keywords

Title and keyword are how potential customers find your images and videos. Therefore, you must find descriptive titles and keywords.

A common mistake I noticed a lot among beginners is that they want to be poetic.

Adobe Sensei can be a great help here. It helps you by suggesting up to 25 keywords and a title for you automatically. In addition, it leverages artificial intelligence to analyze the content of your image and compare it to similar best-performing images.

Adobe Stock Contributor Keywords

Don’t spam

Adobe Stock considers spam as uploading multiple variations of the same scenery with only minor differences between them. The same applies to different postproduction effects, depth of field, and angles.

Spamming can get your Adobe Stock Contributor account temporarily blocked or even permanently banned.

Pay attention to legal issues

Is the model in your photos recognizable? Is the property in your photos recognizable? Then you need a model or property release, respectively. These contracts specify that the model or the property owner allows the use of the photos for commercial intents.

In addition, Adobe Stock won’t accept any files that contain company or brand names, logos, or trademarks. However, you may upload content where these have been removed. Read more about it.

How to earn more with Adobe Stock?

A friend of mine struggled to sell stock photos. Following my advice, he earned 20% more at the end of the month and 3.1x more shortly afterward. And his investment paid off in only six weeks. Pretty good, don’t you think?

» What’s trending right now? Learn about the photography trends of 2023

1. Get premium photo editing software.

Professionally edited stock photos are the only way to succeed at Adobe Stock due to their high-quality standards. Sure, almost every app can edit photos, but not all of them are easy to use. You want a photo editor that gives you full control over post-processing. I recommend Lightroom for intermediate users and Luminar AI for beginners.

2. Improve your post-processing.

It doesn’t matter which photo editing software you get if you don’t know how to use it. So I recommend you learn the basics of photo editing. The best way to do that is to buy the software first, then follow through. You’ll pick it up in no time.

3. Use professional Lightroom presets.

The Lightroom presets allow you to edit photos quickly and efficiently. What I love the most is the ability to try tens of edits simply by hovering over the presets. It allows me to find the best edit for any photo quickly. Next, I make minor tweaks if necessary. The best presets available right now come with a bundle discount.

There are more options to earn money with photography. Find more about them in my guide on selling photos online.

Want To Increase Adobe Stock Earnings?

Lightroom and Photoshop are the two favorite tools of professional stock photographers, especially when it comes to Adobe Stock.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to delete the Adobe Stock Contributor account?

Being Adobe Stock Contributor doesn’t cost you anything, so think twice about whether it’s worth deleting your account. Navigate to the bottom of the Adobe Stock Contributor Portal and send a request via a contact form.

How much do Adobe Stock Contributors make?

As an Adobe Stock Contributor, you can expect to earn anywhere between $0.33/photo and up to $70 per uploaded video. Some contributors that upload daily make thousands of dollars per month.

How to start selling images and videos on Adobe Stock Contributor?

Create a new Adobe account and sign in with your Adobe ID. Upload photos (or videos), add description, title, and keywords, and submit the content to be reviewed. Once it’s accepted, you’ll start making money for each piece of content sold.

Do I keep remain the owner of the content?

You are only selling the right to use your images, for which you earn money in the form of commissions. You still retain full ownership of your content.


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