What sells in Stock Photography?

I always find it interesting to see what sells – especially on the more expensive sites like Alamy. I check that site from time to time to see if I have any sales. Most times, no, but today I saw that I had a $245 sale (of which I get 50%) for an RF images of this:

Alamy $245 RF Sale

Well, that is a “sort of interesting” shot… I remember taking it on a hike in the Smoky Mountains, and I thought at the time that it was not likely to be a seller, or even accepted at many agencies. After all, what can it be used for? Anyway, I carried on and keyworded and submitted it and it was accepted to Alamy – remember they only look for technical quality, not commercial value. And, here we are – it sells for a cool $122.50 for me.

You never can tell what will sell!

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7 Responses

  1. Arli says:

    Congrats on your sale! Income around 200$ is not so often as few years ago, however it’s still nice surprise when you see most unexpected images in that pretty sale: D06R39, D63H5C, D06PYH, BRHYDJ, D0BCAP,…

    • admin says:

      Yes, I checked a couple of those images – it is definitely interesting what people buy. I agree though – Alamy sales can be few and far between these days and the effort involved in handling their complex keywording does make me wonder if it is worthwhile. I’m not sure I would start now and put all my images on Alamy.


  2. Kevin Hellon says:

    Hi Steve

    Couple of questions.

    1. Do you have the same images on Alamy as on Shutterstock etc?

    2. How is your own site doing? You have not mentioned it for quite some time



    • admin says:

      Hi Kevin

      The answer to the first one – yes and no! I generally put the same images (or perhaps a smaller selection) that are uploaded to the main microstock sites (such as Shutterstock) on Alamy as RF. The image in this post was an RF one that would have been uploaded to the main microstock sites as well. But I also try to take quite a number of editorial type images when I am travelling and those only go onto Alamy and Zoonar as RM images. I have decided this is the best way to maximize my income – not sure I have the proof, but it gives me more flexibility if these are RM images as I can use them for ImageBrief requests as well.

      My own site is “frozen in time” just at the moment. It is still there and I get the occasional sale, but I’m waiting for the new design from Leo (of Symbiostock) which I understand is in Beta at the moment.


  3. Steve says:

    Nice to get a big sale. I got a sale on Alamy yesterday for a whole $18 which didn’t leave much after the 70% commission payment to Alamy and the distributor. Still better something than nothing!


  4. Kevin Hellon says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am nowhere near as advanced as you in terms of sales or number of images on sites. I do have images on Alamy and have sold quite a few. In fact I have generated almost as much money on Alamy as on Shutterstock which makes me wonder if I should just concentrate on Alamy. Some images are only on Alamy and some are on microstock sites as well. I have also had 2 images shortlisted on Imagebrief and sold one to my delight. Image brief is perhaps the reason that I am considering only putting images on Alamy in case they prove to be suitable for IB in the future. I also have placed some images on Zoonar but have only had a couple of sales. I did however consider Zoonar to be a microstock site which you obviously do not ( IB require photos not on microstock).


  5. admin says:

    Hi Kevin

    The only issue with Alamy is the sporadic nature of the sales (and the hard work of getting the images on there). Great to hear about your Image Brief sale – I enjoy looking at that site for ideas even if I don’t get as many sales as I would like.

    With Zoonar – you can choose the price level when you put the images into their system. For RM ones (like the ones I put on Alamy), I choose the premium price level and make sure it is clear I have no MR or PR for the image. Hence it doesn’t fall into the Microstock category


I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!