Earnings from Stock Photography – April 2016

Is this an April Fools Joke or what – earnings in April were down to a new low and Shutterstock, normally one of my more reliable agencies, failed to even reach $750 this month – ending at just $736. The last time I had earnings so low at Shutterstock was in February 2013 – over 3 years ago, when I had just 3664 images online at that agency compared to 5800 now. I don’t know if the buyers are voting with their feet and going to other agencies, but not a good sign for me!

Counting my Shutterstock Earnings

Counting my Shutterstock Earnings

Overall I just managed to scrape over the $2000 mark – ending at $2274. Zoonar normally adds sales for April at the end of May, so I will end up a bit above that, but it hasn’t been that good a month for me. I was searching for some bright spots but they are few and far between!

Canva continued its progress – a best ever result of $212. Pond5 came back with sales of $136.75 with 3 videos sold. It always reminds me that I ought to do more videos! Finally, Fotolia/Adobe stock was very good with a best ever of $203. Just 12 months ago in April 2015, I sold $44 on Fotolia, so that is definitely a brighter spot. 123RF did OK as well with sales of $175 in the month. It definitely shows that spreading images around different agencies is a good approach as you can at least benefit from the changing competitive environment.

I hope your month was better!

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10 Responses

  1. Arletta says:

    Hey Steve, and how did you do on Alamy and FAA last month? They both already hit the BME and BYE records for me.
    Shutterstock? I almost forgot about them…
    Best 🙂

  2. admin says:

    Hi Arletta
    Alamy was actually OK, now I think about it. I had a total of $131, which is nowhere near my best, but OK! Nothing on FAA since February!

  3. Chris says:

    I had a strange month. Best on record overall. That being about US$1000 of approx 1500 images. SS was high at over US$500 but only 1 big sale of $20. So good considering all smaller sales. Wish these were more frequent or consistent as I had 6 month before.

  4. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve, on Shutterstock’s forum there is the suggestion, particularly by one long time member, that their algorithm tweaks the search results slightly in favor of lower ranking photographers. This makes sense to me since at ss I sell the most, whereas on sites, except for fotolia, sales are very rare.

    Just an idea, a search engine that will expose new files from lower ranking photographers more consistently, intermingled with popular images from higher ranking one. It is not too difficult to program for and if the user likes the photo of a lower rank photographer, they have pay less commissions.

    The other day I was surprised that, at SS, I sold an image of stacked cookies. I had not in a million years expected to sell it. There are hundreds of thousands of photos of cookies in their database, most of them better than mine. Go figure.

    I have not made a single sale on Alamy, Zoonar and CanStockPhotos yet, but SS, Ft, 123, IS, DT, and DP, in that order, have sold my files. Totaling about 21 bucks on 120-300 files. Some sites are really slow with reviews (over 4 weeks late!), others like DP are pickier and reject a lot, so there is much variation in numbers of files.

    • admin says:

      Yes – I did hear that SS could increase its margins by pushing contributors that have lower commission rates, and if the buyers still buy, then it makes a lot of sense from their point of view! Zoonar takes a long time to kick in – 12 months or so, and Alamy is very hit and miss, so no surprise that you haven’t sold images there yet. Keep up the good work!

  5. Ian Woolcock says:

    Hi Steve,

    Dont Canva pay 35% of 1$ per download? To have got $212 you must have sold rather a lot of photos on there. Or am I reading there site incorrectly? I find there website very confusing to be honest….

    Have been reading your site for ages but for some reason this is my first comment 🙂

    • admin says:

      Hi Ian
      Thanks for commenting (and reading!). Yes, Canva pay 35c per use and the designer pays each time they use it (so it is more like an RM license). In addition, someone can take my image (like an isolated guitar) and incorporate it in their design and make that available to other designers – I get my 35c every time someone uses their design. I don’t have many of those, but they help. So, yes, I do sell a lot of images there to get to $200.

  6. Ian Woolcock says:

    Thanks for the repy Steve. Personally i have about 4 isolation shots so it sounds liks Canva is a non starter for me. Last month and this month so far have been poor all round. Heres hoping for some kind of pick up with Shutterstock though i fear that site is really in decline.

  7. Deymos says:

    hi, SS is on the way down. i did slightly better, but may started in a big pile of crap. sales cut in third. weekdays like weekend. i’m on ss since 2010 and it looks to me ss will allow 5 good years. i’m not sure it is even possible to revive a fallen portfolio, seems like a lost time…

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