Earnings from Stock Photography May 2016

Another month goes by so quickly. It has been a strange month here in the wilds of West Virginia – very cold early on, and then pretty hot for the last week. With moving into a new house we are still snowed under in boxes and lots to be done around the house and so almost no photography to speak of for at least 2 months now. I’ve not uploaded very much either as a result, so it is interesting to watch the money still come in from licensing stock photographs. After a poor April on Shutterstock, things improved in May with some single sales in the $60 range. I ended up the month with $920 on SS – not great, but not too bad either. Overall that helped the month end with $2456 although I have estimated the iStock extra earnings and then Zoonar usually comes in with some nice earnings for May in a month’s time. Last month, for instance, I think I reported $25 on that site, but ended up with $179 now all the sites (particularly their agency with Alamy) have reported. I have given up directly submitting to Alamy because of the complexity of their upload system, but I do push all the Zoonar images to that site and although I obviously lose some commission, it is still worthwhile in my view.

Other things of note – I sold a print on FineArtAmerica, but I will blog about that separately. Canva is a great site for me and I know have 3 images that have been incorporated into other designs and I get my 35c each time one of those is sold. This is the most recent example:

My isolated flowers in a design that sells well on Canva

At the end of the month, I had sold $240 on Canva. Fotolia/Adobe continues to do well with earnings of $199 and 123RF wasn’t bad at $141. To make a change, here is a graph showing the earnings in May for all of the sites:

May 2016 earnings from sales of my digital photos

Earnings from stock photography

Big happenings tomorrow – I finally decided to sell all my Canon stuff and move across to Sony. Perhaps it was the earnings burning a hole in my pocket, but I was attracted to the larger sensor but particularly the smaller size. So with a new body, 16-35mm F4, 24-70mm F4 and 70-200mm F4 being delivered tomorrow, this is going to be an exciting time. I have a lot of Canon lenses (and a Canon 5D Mk III) that are going to be on sale shortly. Let me know if you are  interested!

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17 Responses

  1. Madrolly says:

    Hy there Steve,

    In May I had 420 photos on SS and i earned the exact amount of $9.51 (in the whole month). I also thuink that is a very low revenue for that amount of shots. Can you give me some advice or maybe telling me what do you think about these stats?

    Thank you,

    • admin says:

      Hi Rolly. If you would like to email me the link to your portfolio (to sales at backyardsilver.com), I’ll give you my thoughts.


  2. Hey to Steve,
    Your portfolio is a true goldmine. I am glad to read of your continued success. I am sure there will be plenty of new images added to your portfolio created by that new Sony. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing your new images. You are the second photographer I know that announced this week that they have switched to Sony.

    I am a Canon guy for life. Just call me “old fashioned.”


  3. Bill says:

    Whoa Steve … I’ve been thinking about asking you just exactly this question for a while now and bang there you are answering it! Sony replaces Canon! Well there’s some news and certainly worth it’s own blog post I think. We’re interested to know all the details, which Sony, how many bodies, which lenses and why and all those juicy details. What do you do about speedlites for instance. So when you get time we’re all ears. Oh yeah WOW again đŸ™‚

    • admin says:

      Yes, I will definitely explain my Sony setup – just getting to know the system at the moment – the menus are similar to the RX10 so at least it isn’t completely new.

  4. Sasa says:

    Greetings from Serbia!
    All praise to your blog, follow at about one year.
    Last week I signed up for Canva but has not got a reply. How many long waits for a response?
    I apologize to my bad English !!!

    • admin says:

      Welcome to the site! I can’t really answer your question about Canva as I signed up in the very early days before it was well known, so I got a quick response. I have no real way of judging how long it takes now. Sorry!

  5. Amlan says:

    Hey Steve

    awesome to hear about your shift to Sony. I started out this entire stock photo thing way back in 2013 with my Sony NEX6. Haven’t really built that much of a port since then, but have been able to atleast take out the money that I spent on the camera and my many legacy lenses.

    What is your opinion on Getty images? I’ve been a contributor there through the flickr alliance. However It’s been dead for almost a year now.

    Opinions and advise would be awesome



    • admin says:

      Hi Amlan
      I haven’t really followed that Getty/Flickr thing and so I can’t give you any direct advice there. I’m assuming your pictures are not selling very often via that partnership? I get onto Getty via Zoonar and normally sell a couple of images a month for 20-30 euros. However, I have 8000 images on Zoonar and although I don’t know how many Getty have taken, it presumably is quite a percentage. You don’t get to see which images sell via Getty, so I have no real feel for what works over there. I think the main issue with getting onto Getty direct is that they require exclusivity and I think that is a big mistake these days. It is hard to see which agency is going to be successful over the long run and so tying yourself to one agency, even one as big as Getty, seems to be a risk.

  6. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve, and others. I was surprised to find some of my images (don’t know how many) on getty and other partner sites via istock. Apparently I do not have a portfolio on getty, since when I click on my name (AlessandraRC by the way) on the image credits it returns no images. I have opted out of getty through zoonar because they say that they do not want you to feed them twice with pictures, and since stock ialready does that automatically I though I should not do it on zoonar.

    This month I collected my first payout from shutter stock, and overall I have sold more than last month. Uploading, however, and curating is far more work than I had anticipated, and I am having difficulties increasing my port. Right now I am in Brazil on vacation, trying to catch up and take some more photos…

  7. admin says:

    Hi Alessandra
    I don’t see my images on Getty (at least the ones I have searched for). Perhaps they change the keywords in the import process to go with the iStock ones, but so far nothing I have searched for is there. Perhaps they don’t take very many of the ones from Zoonar?

  8. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve, look for your nickname on google. That’s how I have found my images on getty. I type “AlessandraRC” and go down on the third page or so of entries I find my getty images.

    I was thinking about the possibility of having the RM photos from zoonar feeding into getty, might write to Michael at zoonar about this. My problem is, Zoonar sometimes rejects many of my RM images, particularly if there is a logo. Apparently they do not have a license to sell pictures with logos, though depending on the context, sometimes they pass.

  9. admin says:

    I don’t have an issue with logos on Zoonar – I think if you let him know you are going to mark them as no releases and RM, then you should be fine. I only put editorial stuff on my own site and Zoonar these days and so I can make them all RM.

  10. AlessandraRC says:

    You don’t upload them to Alamy? That’s where I have most of mine since zoonar will only take a percentage of my editorials. But Zoonar seems to be a one man company and the owner might like you and your pictures better. I’ve had whole batches of pictures rejected at once, then less agreeable pictures accepted, it’s all about the mood of the day. Alamy is more consistent, but in neither one there have been any sales for me.

  11. admin says:

    No – the Alamy upload process really used to annoy me and so I stopped direct uploads. Perhaps Michael at Zoonar does like me – almost every image gets accepted (about 150 Equatorial Guinea editorial ones yesterday) and they go to Alamy and Getty and the rest from there.


  12. AlessandraRC says:

    Yes, that’s the one, Michael. I’ve had entire batches of RM pictures rejected because of “sticks and random people’ in them” or “the model has a useless expression” when there were no models.

    I must confess that lately he has been in a good mood with me. But that can change đŸ˜‰

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