To be accepted to contribute to many traditional stock photo sites, you need a Web site that showcases your portfolio. With microstock photo sites, there is no requirement for a Web site. However, a Web site can be a big plus for your business. If you are trying to establish a reputation as a professional photographer, a Web site is a great way to do it. Your own Web site allows you to tell others about yourself and point buyers to the microstock sites with which you work. Some microstock sites (FeaturePics for example), even make it possible for you to show cases the pictures you have on their site from your site. This allows you to create a custom look for your portfolio on your site and let the microstock site do the order processing for you.
Maintaining a Web site requires a certain amount of specialized knowledge and requires time. The time you spend maintaining your Web site might be better spent taking photos. You will need to decide for yourself if you have sufficient reson to start a Web site. One compromise might be to not worry about a Web site initially, and then as you see the need for one, put one up later.
If your plan is to start with microstock sites and move as quickly as possible to more traditional stock sites, a Web site should probably be in your immediate plans.
To put up your own site, you need to consider the following:

  • How do I want my Web site to look? Will I need help designing the Web site so it looks professional, conveys the right message, and has the features I need?
  • How am I going to code my Web site? Will I need to hire someone to code it and maintain it, or am I going to do it all muyself?
  • Where am I going to host my Web site?
  • How am I going to promote my Web site so others can find it?
  • Am I going to sale photos off my Web site? If so, do I need help setting up order processing or am I just going to let someone else handle all of that for me?

So, to answer the initial question, no, you do not need a Web site to be a microstock photographer, but a Web site can give you an advantage if you have the time or resources to create and maintain one.

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