Stock Photography Review Times

Review times
Review time!

One of the steps of your stock photography workflow may require a lot of patience from you. I’m talking about the wait after you submit photos to the stock photo agency. The review times can vary widely!


Why Review?

To recap, when you submit the photos, they are reviewed by a person or people before they are made public. The agencies do this for a variety of good reasons:

  1. to ensure the photos are of sufficient quality (sharpness, composition, etc.);
  2. to ensure the photos do not infringe on anyone’s rights;
  3. to ensure you have supplied the appropriate model or property releases where applicable; and
  4. to ensure the photos are suitable for selling as stock.

You can see why this takes manual intervention. With today’s technology, no machine can run all of these checks.

The problem is that these reviews can take a lot of time.


My Review Times

The following are my experiences with review times at six stock agencies.

  • 123rf: well over 7 days
  • BigStockPhoto: about 1 day
  • CanStockPhoto: within a day
  • Dreamstime: about 7 days
  • iStock: well over 7 days
  • ShutterStock: within a day



I have a few observations about this:

  • The review time seems to have nothing to do with how “picky” an agency is.
  • Your images go into a queue, so you may have several batches in the queue that will get reviewed in a “first come, first served” order. Don’t expect them to be reviewed in one batch unless you submitted them that way.
  • Some times of the day seem to get even faster response from the faster agencies.


What Can You Do?

Well, nothing.

You may get preferential treatment if your images are marked as exclusive for that agency. I don’t know – I am not exclusive with any agency.

Just keep taking photos and submitting them… they will get reviewed eventually. The agencies get thousands and thousands of images daily so it does take time for them to review them, and since they don’t get paid until the image goes live and is purchased, they have a good incentive to review as quickly as they can.

Good luck!