Stock Photo earnings in April 2017

Another month quickly goes by and it is time to add up all those earnings again! I didn’t need as big a calculator this month as Shutterstock seems to have dropped back into its old ways. After a great March with almost $1000, I’m back down at $597 on that site. Not a single enhanced license in the month! Overall, things are back to their normal levels as well (normal being “not so good”) with total earnings in April of $2469, including my FineArtAmerica sale for $108 and a local print of an photo where I got $80 for the image itself. This month I thought it would be interesting to look at how the earnings vary per month. Surprisingly, I’ve never worked that out before:


The one high point in December 2014 was from a large ImageBrief win, so that month is a bit of an outlier, but what is interesting is

how little variation there is between the different months. It looks like February and March are generally higher (perhaps because of my Washington Cherry Blossom pictures?) and August is down, but most months seem to hit the same sort of levels. It would be nice to say that I have developed a portfolio that is attractive year round, but of course that is just the way things have worked out!

The uneasy conclusion you can also draw from this graph is that if I look at my images on line:


you can see that I have been steadily adding images month by month. Zoonar includes both commercial and editorial shots, Shutterstock perhaps is the average among the main agencies, Fotolia is trying to catch up from the period when I stopped uploading to that site a few years back. So over the past 3 years I have maybe added 50% more files (from 4800 to 6800 on Shutterstock) and yet my monthly income has maybe gone up by 10% or so. Such is the state of the microstock market these days!

You could be positive and say that I am working perhaps 15 hours a week on this and I am earning $2500 a month from my efforts – which is one way to look at it, but it is not the way the licensing market used to work.

Earnings per site is displayed in this graph:


This is getting a bit hard to read now, with the different months, but the intent was to show how each agency performed. The latest results are shown by the top bar against each agency. iStock has been remarkably consistent since the ESP results started in January. I now track the payment I get in the month as my earnings, and I have had three months of around $450. Adobe continues to be strong and 123RF has shown some good results recently. Other sites have fallen back – Dreamstime is nothing like it was, and Canva is much lower than I was seeing in 2016. Still, taken together, the agencies are delivering a steady $2500 or so on average each month, and I will continue to take photos (and videos) and upload them as often as I can. I keep telling myself it is not really work if you enjoy it!

Good luck with your results!


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Steve, though I am happy with the big 4 (Alamy, SS, IS, and FT), where my earnings, on average, slightly increase as I add images (I mean there is a positive correlation between the number of images and sales) I must confess that the lower tier agencies (namely 123, zoonar, deposit photos and dreams time) have been a big waste of time for me. DT is picking up slowly, but still, a dollar or two a month hardly justify thinking about uploading there.

I also had a small sale at FAA, I wish I could post the picture her but I don’t know how. It was the photo of a vintage car and sold on a t-shirt.

Keep up the good work.

Many thanks for publishing results … always interesting to see….

Its long term and nit as good as it used to be, but a nice agency to work with especially editorial

Are you in Creative market, i´m trying to do a portfolio for that but i don´t know if really works

Hi Steve,

Does this stats stand for images or ara the footages included too?
I’m interested especially about the SS stats.


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