AI-Generated Stock Photos: A Deep Dive

Despite being in the initial stages, AI text-to-image art generators are started posing threats to multiple fields. Anyone with good prompting skills can create architecture designs, illustrations, interior design, product shots, photography-style images, stickers, and more with a single click of a button using DALL.E 2, Midjourney, or Stable Diffusion.

This article will explain the potential of AI art generators, the popularity of AI-generated stock photos, and how you can create and sell stock photos using AI.

The Potential and the Limitation of AI Text-to-Image Generators

AI text-to-image art generators make it easy to create any kind of photo or illustration in just a few seconds. Just describe your requirement in the form of a text description, known as a prompt, and click the button to give it life.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, these AI art generation models are capable of producing architectural designs to sticker illustrations. Since I have already covered those topics in my other article, now, I’m about to test the potential of the text-to-image models in terms of stock photos. Stock photos are mostly used for websites, social media marketing, and business advertisement purposes.

So let’s examine how AI art generators perform from a consumer’s perspective. Below are the images generated by DALL.E 2, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney. All are fresh-looking, highly creative photos that a content creator, social media marketer, or business people will never hesitate to add for their usage.

Note: You can’t use the below images for your commercial purpose as they belong to someone who created the prompt. You can either create images with your own prompt or take them from the AI stock photos platform (explained below).

AI-Generated Stock Photo
vaporwave composition with a Japanese castle a DeLorean, palm trees and the mount Fuji source
AI-Generated Stock Photo
A silhouetted biker on a Kawasaki overlooks a lake under a pastel, cloudy sunset, by Simon Stålenhag and Ralph McQuarrie source
AI-Generated Stock Photo
a dynamic food image of pasta salad, an award-winning food photography source

Having seen these AI images, you must have understood the potential they have for realistic photo or illustration generation.

Now let’s talk about the limitations the AI text-to-art generators have:

  • The number one limitation is the lack of generating words or phrases. If the prompt demands any instructions related to wording, the DALL.E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion fails to replicate the exact word. Instead, the phrase or word is amplified with an additional phrase or word, which would result in meaningless output. Despite spelling out meaningless words, they never fail to convey the theme or brand name with one or two-letter changes.
Limitation of AI-Generated Stock Photo
A lack of generating words or phrases by AI
Limitation of AI-Generated Stock Photo
The AI didn’t show the exact KFC brand name due to copyright infringement
  • The second limitation is the use of public figures and the limitation of certain words. DALL.E 2 and Midjourney have in-built filters that totally reject the requests which seem to violate their content policy. Though Stable Diffusion also has certain kinds of limitations across public figures and nudity requests, it is less restrictive than its competitors.

Since the usage of banned words repeatedly in DALL.E 2 and Midjourney will lead to account suspension, you must be careful about it.

Limitation of AI-Generated Stock Photo
While Midjourney and DALL.E 2 restricted this prompt. Stable Diffusion came up with this output Prompt: Elon musk smoking weed in his apartment with broken down furniture.
  • The other limitation that text-to-image AI generators used to have is the lack of face detailing. Particularly, the photography-style images which involved human faces were not up to the mark. However, all of the AI generators addressed this issue in their latest versions.

Since the text-to-image AI models are in the initial stage, all the limitations will soon be fixed in the upcoming versions.

How to Create Stock Photos Using AI 

To create stock photos using AI text-to-image generators, just simply describe what your requirements are in the natural human language. This text description is known as a prompt.

If you have difficulty explaining your requirements or speed-up the process, you can use GPT-3 for writing prompts.

AI-Generated Stock Photo
product photo for a hamburger falling apart and hitting the ground, studio lighting source

You can use DALL.E 2, Midjourney, or Stable Diffusion with a limited number of free generations. To get unlimited free generation in Stable Diffusion, you need to run it on your local machine to create stock photos.

Tips to Create Stock Photos Using AI

  • Use the “product photo of X” and “studio lighting” keywords to get professional product photography of something you want.
  • To get the best stock photo for your website, social media, or business, feel free to steal prompt ideas from platforms, such as OpenArt, OpenAI Labs, and
  • Use the reverse prompt look-up technique (image to prompt) to find out the prompt idea of a particular image.

In case you don’t want to spend your time writing prompts, you can use the AI stock photos platform mentioned in the very next heading.

The Popularity of AI-generated Stock Photos

AI stock photos platform

AI stock photos came to the limelight after Danny Postma, a serial entrepreneur founded a website called is the first fully AI-powered stock photography platform. The site got attracted 90k visitors in the first month itself.

The platform is a massive library of full AI-generated stock photos that allows users to browse thousands of pre-generated photos. Anyone can download the small photos for free. If you want to download 4K photos, you need to pay a small fee. Pricing

If you can’t find the image you are looking for, the platform will generate the exact photos you need instantly. You retain full copyright over the images you generate—requires full ownership subscription. This is perfect for those who need to use images in their own products. 

Where to Sell AI-Generated Images as Stock Photos?

There are several stock image platforms that accept AI-generated images, but many of you are unaware of them.

Currently, platforms such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and DeviantArt are accepting AI images. At the same time, other online art platforms such as Fur Affinity, Newgrounds, InkBlot are not accepting AI-generated images.

How to Sell AI-Generated Images as Stock Photos

  • Create an account on the platform you choose to upload
  • Go to the contributor page: StockAI, Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and DeviantArt
  • Upload photos
  • Fill in the necessary information, such as file type, category, description, and keywords
  • Submit and wait

The Things You Need to DO to Sell AI-Generated Images on Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and DeviantArt

  • Always mention that the images were generated by AI. You should not mention the name of the text-to-image art generator, such as “Made by Midjourney” or “Made by Stable Diffusion”. Rather, you should mention it as “Made by AI”.
  • Don’t forget to rename the image. Special characters and long names are difficult to understand by some platforms and thus will lead to rejection. Make file name shorter and clean. 
  • Regardless of whether the image is generated by AI or humans, stock platforms may reject them if they contain more noise. The AI-generated images that resemble vector style or photography style are subject to more noise naturally. Hence, submit vector-style and photography-style images as “illustrations” on the stock image platforms.
  • To increase the acceptance rate, increase the quality of AI-generated image with Gigapixel AI by Topaz Labs, which uses deep learning to increase the image quality.
  • Lastly, don’t set huge payout expectations. However, you can expect to pay for Midjourney or DALL.E 2 with your AI-stock image sales.

Will AI Disrupt the Need for Conventional Stock Photos?

Despite having seen the emergence of AI stock photos, you might have a question, Why Should I Use AI-generated Stock Photos Over Real Stock Images?

Unique and Original Images 

AI art generators and the most popular AI stock photo platform will never generate images that already exist in the world. Every AI-generated photo is unique and one of a kind. 

Highly Personalisable

AI art generator or the AI stock photos platform offers fully customizable photos according to your imagination. You can literally choose the texture and objects of the photo. From your mind to your website, social media, or business in a single click!

Make your Own Gibberish 

Showcase unimaginable things like “a spacecraft, with a supernova explosion in the background” or “a cat and a blue whale making a friendship”. Your imagination is the only limit.

Own the Copyright

You have the full copyright over the images you generate. Ideal for those who need to use images in their own products.


Considering all these cool features, people will start to move towards AI-generated stock photos over conventional ones. Actually, we have witnessed the transition happening in the case.

However, being in the initial stage of AI text-to-image generators, we cannot conclude that the disruption will happen all of sudden. Everything will take its own time.

My personal thinking is that the collaboration of conventional stock photos and AI-generated stock photos will happen. I.e. People will use conventional photos to generate multiple variations of it using AI; In other words, the conventional photos could be used as image prompts to generate a completely different version of that photo.

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