How we, the people, changed stock photography forever.

Somewhere around the year 2001, what everyone knew as stock photography was going to change forever.

It was no longer a small niche of professional photographers that could be represented by stock agencies. Anyone with access to the internet and a camera can now venture into stock photography and profit from it. Microstock was born.

Dreamstime started out in microstock in 2004, with a small database, with images that today would be considered obsolete and too simple. March 2004, Dreamstime first page

It was a small and frail dream, another big agency was already on the market at that point and to resist you had to work hard and attract clients and photographers. People who had day jobs started foraying into photography with results that no one thought possible. The era of the digital camera was launching with drums and fireworks. The cameras were starting to exceed imagination, more than 5Mpx, better colors, less noise and you could see the images you took right there on spot. Long hours in the lab were no longer necessary, ruined films by the town labs were history. Photography was not only getting better but also cheaper and more accessible.

With a little investment any person who desired could take thousands of photographs without ever passing through the doors of a photo lab.

Of course, a camera was not all one needed to take a good photo. Imagination and some sense of composition were required, but those became achievable through constant try outs. Sometimes you would obtain a great image sometimes you didn't even want to look at what you created. But all failures meant a new lesson and a step forward.

In 2005 Dreamstime was climbing the stairs to success one by one. More and more photographers were joining every day, more images and more clients would join the dream as well.

In 2006 appearance has changed and evolution was happening at a rate not even the editors and admins imagined. Photography was definitely for everybody at this stage and making a good portfolio, although not an easy task, was simpler than ever before. Even classical stock agencies were starting to feel the threat of the new age of microstock. As the internet grew so did our client base, as the newspapers, magazines even movie producers realized that having the perfect image was only a click away the sales increased. And they continued increasing.

Since 2006 the images database grew bigger and bigger, with better and better images bringing more clients than ever.

The prices have changed several times since then, giving benefits to both photographers and buyers.

It's 2009 now, we're in the very middle of a storm, an economical and financial storm of proportions bigger that ever before, however now, Dreamstime is no longer the frail little dream it was back in 2004, it's name is known well in the world of microstock and it's roots are deep enticed in the earth and still growing everyday.

As long as our photographers will keep producing beautiful new images the database will continue to grow and the royalties will continue to come.

So, as a conclusion of this short history, is good to have a dream, it may come true and be better than it was when you first imagined it.

Photo credits: Serban Enache, Dmitriy Melnikov.

Your article must be written in English



Congrats ! Onward ! <3


Fabulous article. I'm so glad I found Dreamstime. It's a great community here, the site is laid out well & I believe Dreamstime staff & members continue to help nurture and grow that very first dream.


Dreamstime is a very impressive agency and while there are times I
become frustrated with the decisions of some reviewers I am
extremely pleased with my growing sales and slowly, but surely,
expanding portfolio thereon. Most importantly, this company is
honest and responsive and there to help when you need answers.
Knowing more about its background was both enlightening and
useful - thanks, Ioana, for the enlightenment.


Nice Article, well written.


Thanks, Ioana, for the reminiscence that I feel a part of! I joined Dreamstime in late 2005 as an amateur just discovering digital photography at the same time. If you had told me then that I would be able to make sufficient money to buy all the equipment a hobbyist would need or have so much fun learning something entirely new, I wouldn't have believed it. Where we will be a year or 5 years from now is still the dream but looking back, it has been one very exciting trip!


I too wish I'd found Dreamstime, and microstock in general, earlier. I'd thought about doing stock photography years ago, but found I wasn't ready. Then I stumbled upon microstock, and I'm glad I did. And I'm certainly glad I'm part of DT.


I started in 2006 by chance and a 'what the heck' attitude. I never dreamed that microstock was something I could actually make money from. Its been an excellent learning experience and a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing the beginnings with us!


Very nice article. I joined Dreamstime with a dream to learn more about microstock photography and with them I see some of it coming true. What a wonderful Place to be.


WOW!!! Very neat article! I loved the creativity of the title!


Fun to look back, mind boggling to look forward! May we float to the top and stay there! (I personally think we already are)


Thanks a lot for the great article. It is a sentimental flashback of DT came to exist few years back. I joined the industry and DT in particular in 2006 and has seen the progress of the agency. Keep the good job and I would continue supporting this site by contibuting as many images as possible. DT also has taught me to improve alot in my photography skills. Thank you again.


Great article,i have the regret also i didn't started with photos few years ago


The only regret I have is that I wish I'd found Dreamstime sooner :0)


I was lucky, I became the contributor of DT in 2007,a photographer working exclusively with


Big Changes huh! Even the logo! Indeed DT is to dream about!


Thanks for the flashback, Ioana! DT has been a great agency and most fair toward contributors. Thank you for that. You guys are great. Wish you all the best from my heart!


Thanks for the retrospective view - it's always good to see where you have come from. The 18 months I've spent at DT have been very useful, and even if I never sell another photo (god forbid) I will be happy with the experience. But hopefully the future will be even better and certainly will challenge my best efforts. Many thanks to DT for taking the risk!


Dreamstime is my favourite stock!!!


Yes, power to the people!


Really interesting blog - thanks!


I have really enjoyed this blog - it is wonderful to see how DT started - I love it started tin March - I love March :-) And I like so much the name of Dreamstime. There is something almost enigmatic even in the name. Congratulations to DT, I am already a contrinutor longer time and I must say it is a very nice to be a part of DT. Let´s continue in this way! Thanks for such an interesting blog, Iona!


Dreamstime has really made our dreams come true! Keep going! You're #1!


Great retrospective. It is good to be a part of a dream, no matter how small or big for each of us.

History related image searches