For several years I have been searching out and applying to different rights-managed stock photo agencies that specialize in nature photography. Qualifying agencies have been difficult to find and even harder to get accepted by. Occasionally, my photos aren’t good enough, but more often than not the agency is no longer accepting new photographers.
After hours of research I have compiled a list of rights-managed (RM) stock photo agencies (specifically for nature photographers).
Here are the agencies I have found, listed in no particular order (all agency names are links to the contributor application page):
Tandem Stock - Tandem stock has some great photos on their page, including wildlife. Unfortunately, in alignment with the common theme you will soon see on this list, they are no longer accepting contributors except by invitation from a current contributor. Unfortunately, it’s been this way for over a year, so I’m not sure when or if applications will ever open up again. However, you can still sign up to be a contributor and they claim they will go over all the applications once they open the gates for contributors again.
Robert Harding - Robert Harding seems to be a bit more travel related than nature, but I was invited to apply and applied nonetheless. I was not accepted, but ended up grateful for this as, like many other agencies, I saw that they also sell their work through Getty. This seems to be a common theme with RM agencies and something I don’t want to be a part of, as I am already a Getty contributor.
Getty Images - That brings me to the ring-leader (or so it seems), Getty Images. Getty has been around for a long time and I believe is still the leader in stock at the time of this writing. I am a Getty Contributor. Getty only gives 20% of revenue to the contributor, which is pretty low compared to the standard 40-50%. I make okay money on Getty (you can see exactly how much by watching my income videos on my YouTube channel) but as it is not specific to nature I would prefer to move on to something a bit more niche.
Westend61 - This agency is German and they do have some wildlife, but they don’t have enough wildlife or nature photos to make me consider them niche. I am looking for a more specific agency, but if you would like to try out Westend61, go for it. They have a great website and seem to be very transparent with contributors, offering daily updates on sales and statistics.
FLPA - A British nature photography agency, FLPA is, as of my last request to them in October 2018, not taking on new contributors. They seem to have good work in their catalog and it is very specific to nature/wildlife, so I have written to them again and will share their response when I receive one. Update: They got back to me and said they are unlikely to ever take on new contributors again :(.
Nature Picture Library - NaturePL is another British agency featuring some pretty incredible work. They still aren’t necessarily taking photographers (since July 2018) but they will consider you if you have something from their wants list or extensive coverage of a specific species. I just went through their wants list when researching this article and saw they want something I have, a Red-Headed Krait. Mine is even eating a frog - you can see it at the top of this article. I will be applying to them soon.
Nature In Stock - Looks like Nature in Stock has some high-quality nature imagery. Unfortunately, when I contacted them in October 2018, they are no longer taking on new photographers. I will update this post if this changes.
Minden Pictures - Minden is an esteemed nature photo agency based in the USA. Their photos are incredible and I have met a contributor that I know to be excellent at what he does. I applied in October 2018 and was informed that they are only accepting contributors who have photos of rare animals, such as rare fish, primates, or felines. I will be looking to capture these animals, as always, and will try again.
Ardea - I only recently heard about Ardea and have not yet seen any reviews of them, but I’m going to do a bit more research. One thing that concerns me is that they are an agency of “wildlife, pets, and environment”. I’m not sure I want to be on a pet photography website. They are accepting photographers that have in-depth coverage of specific species, or excellent work of a broader range.
Animals Animals - I’ve heard this is a good agency for wildlife, and though they seem to have some good photos, I have not yet applied. The main reason for this is that one needs 200 images to apply and I don’t have that many high-quality photos that aren’t tied up in other agencies/places at this time. Perhaps in the future I will give it a shot. If you have any experience with Animals Animals I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Danita Delimont - This seems like a high-quality agency for both photos and videos. Art Wolfe is a contributor, so what else do I need to say? They are looking for contributors who have extensive experience in a specific area. I applied in 2018 but never heard back. Perhaps you will have more luck.
Steve Bloom Images - Steve Bloom is specifically a wildlife RM agency and they seem to have high-quality images (despite their low quality website, which is common among many of the sites on this list - why?). Unfortunately, when I contacted them in October 2018 I was informed they were no longer taking on more photographers, with no further information on whether they might in the future.
Photoshot - I have been a contributor to Photoshot since 2018. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough experience with them yet to say whether I would or would not recommend them, so I will write a more extensive post on my experience in the future.
Those are all the noteworthy RM agencies for nature photography that I have found. If you know of any others, I would love to hear in the comments below. I’m also interested in beginning a discussion as to whether RM agencies are a practical way to go in this day and age when there are so many outlets, like Etsy or Squarespace, that make it easy for us to sell our photos on our own. Let me know what you think, and I hope you found this list useful.