Some real variability in sales this month

I’d become accustomed to two things recently in my earnings – one was the lack of large priced sales on Shutterstock and the other was the non-existence of sales on Alamy! This month (in fact the past week) has shattered my expectations (and in a good way!)

Normally, I get almost zero sales on Alamy. I don’t know why – I have 5500 images on the site under my own account. I think there are elements in the Alamy search that I either can’t be bothered to get to the bottom of (including that well selling pseudonyms tend to always come up higher in the search results) and that the positioning of keywords in the descriptions and in the list of keywords themselves make a difference to the search as well. As a result, I have outsourced some of my best images to another agency that manages them on Alamy on my behalf and I usually get a couple of hundred dollars a month via that route. Anyway, this month I have had nine sales in my own account with this one selling for $159 gross:

The new Capitol Building in Equatorial Guinea

All told, I will have earned $195 from Alamy sales this month alone. Now it is hard to get that particular shot – which is why it is only available as RM on Alamy – but it is certainly nice to see some sales from that site. It perhaps illustrates a key point in deciding where to submit an image. If anyone could turn up and take a particular travel shot, then put it in the microstock agencies. If it is harder to get (either because of location or because of the light conditions when you took it) then going for the occasional high value sales on a site like Alamy is the better option.

On Shutterstock, I have been seeing a real drought of Enhanced and higher value Single sales for several months. This past three days I have had one enhanced license at $20:

Then three single sales for $27:

then $75:

and finally $60:


The ice bag shot was originally done for an Image Brief request (which I didn’t win) and so I uploaded it to the micro agencies as a shot that was relatively easy for others to reproduce. So far, it has sold 1171 times for a total of over $1500. It shows the power of many small sales and I doubt I would have achieved this level of success on a more expensive site.


Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Excellent post, Steve. Simple concepts make for great in-demand stock.

I also don’t get how Alamy works, I get a bunch of views and zooms but what really counts, downloads, is lacking. I do like their live news feature and much rather submit breaking news to them than microstock alternatives. I’m at 2,500 images there so still willing to be patient with them…

Hi Steve,

How do images sell for 60 $ on shutter stock? I thought the contributor is paid a few cents for each download?

    Hi Ramana
    Good question – there is often an assumption that microstock=cheap and the subscription plans are part of that. When a subscription is used, the contributor gets either 25c or eventually 38c once they have achieved a certain level of sales (I think is it $10K). However, there are then on-demand downloads where the buyer doesn’t have a subscription, where you generally get $2.85, then enhanced licenses for larger print runs and some resale opportunities (like calendars) and finally some corporate clients of Shutterstock get a more “hands on” support and pay a lot more – the contributor can get up to $120 for those sales depending on the license. I’ve had one $75 sale on SS this month.

[…] this month have been pretty good with a total of $2859. As I blogged earlier, I had a real run of solid sales on Shutterstock mid month and a total of 10 sales on Alamy on my own account for $210. The final one came in on 30 June for […]

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.