Earnings from stock photography in November 2016

Another month goes by – amazingly quickly it seems. I must be getting used to the new normal of Shutterstock – fewer downloads in total and far fewer enhanced and single sales – which really hits my earnings from that site, but on the upside, Adobe Stock continues to perform nicely. Overall, I increased by a $120 over October to reach a total of $2163 for November. With Thanksgiving being a big US holiday, that isn’t too bad. Pity December has some big holidays as well! earnings microstock november 2016

As I mentioned, Adobe Stock is turning out to be a pretty good site these days. They accept most of my images, rejecting some that they think are too similar (which I have no issues with) but they are now happy with both travel and studio shots. Fotolia used to be terrible with some of my travel shots in the past, which is why I only have 5014 on Adobe compared to 6500 on Dreamstime, for example. As I mentioned before, I’m using Microstockr Pro to identify best sellers that don’t appear to be on Adobe, and uploading either that, or the entire shoot, depending on whether I can find similar ones online on the site. I’m also continuing to go, one page at a time, through my old files, updating the keywords to add some important ones to the top of the list. Adobe is one of the few sites to prioritize keywords and Lightroom doesn’t allow you to do that (although that is now a feature request in the product team), and so most of my old files are alphabetic on Adobe. As I mentioned earlier this month, I’m seeing sales of images that have never sold before on Adobe Stock due to this keyword change. That continued right to the end of the month. Too soon to say if the sales will change the overall revenue line, but I’ll watch for it. Unfortunately, it is quite hard work and I try to do one complete page of 100 images and then take a break!

Shutterstock was, well, its usual disappointment. Just two Enhanced licenses (one for $14.61) and two Singles over $15 (and only a few dollars above that level) and so I ended the month at $655. Adobe was next with $249, iStock with an estimated $244 and finally Canva with $236. I did have one of their enhanced licenses this month for one image and received $35 for it.

I did get one Fine Art America sale this month, one sale of an enhanced license for a very large (48 inch wide) panorama print for resale to a client from BackyardStockPhotos (my own agency) for $35, and of course I did get an incremental $200 license from ImageBrief, but I think I will report that in my earnings when I get the money!

I’ve been doing more studio work this past month and will continue with that. A friend of mine who started in stock photography after he read my book focuses almost entirely on studio and still life work and has become very skilled at it – he told me he hit a new record of $3400 this month. So that should give some hope to us all!


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16 Responses

  1. Compuinfoto says:

    Hello Steve. About the stusio work, do you mean, product photography or studio with people?

    Greetings from Holland

  2. Compuinfoto says:

    Hello Steve. About the studio work, do you mean, product photography or studio with people?

    Greetings from Holland

  3. admin says:

    Sorry – should have been clear – I meant food and still life things in the studio, not people.

  4. admin says:

    Sorry – he wants to stay anonymous

  5. AlessandraRC says:

    Hi Steve, this was my worst month on Fotolia! From 12 U$ in October I went down to 0.7c in November! I did not delete any images! Only added! And on Shutterstock, no matter what I do, I make on average 10 U$ a month! My earnings on istock are pretty stable also, tending to less. And the others, not worth commenting. My lifesaver has been Alamy….

    I’m slowly building my port on FAA, it does take time, perhaps more than I can afford. Hopefully I will get some 25 bucks once in a great while there.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. admin says:

    Hi Alessandra
    Sorry to hear that! Do you sort your keywords on Fotolia into priority order for the first seven? I have found that made a difference to me. I did also notice that Shutterstock seemed to have changed their search algorithm late in the month and many of my new files suddenly starting selling. That effect may have gone away unfortunately, but it was nice for me while it lasted.

  7. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve, I think I have mentioned this before, but my Fotolia sales started dropping after I decided to start prioritizing my keywords.

    There are many possible explanations for this drop, the most convincing at the moment is that I have not uploaded a lot of winter/holidays related stuff and those are things people might be looking for right now.

    Of course it is possible that my work sucks and that’s there reason why I don’t sell too much overall, but the images that have sold well are still there and they did not get worse with time. It is also possible that databases are getting flooded too quickly and that those who have built a port of popular images for years stand at an advantage.

  8. admin says:

    Sorry, yes, I remember. I can’t really explain that – my earnings with Adobe have been definitely getting better, although perhaps a restricted set of my 5000 images actually sell regularly. Odd ones that I have rekeyworded have popped into that sales list more recently though.

  9. AlessandraRC says:

    I don’t even have 500 images on Adobe. Today I spent a few hours trying to find my 100 most recent images by their fundamental keywords and I did find them easily after choosing the relevant and newest buttons. Lets see how it goes. It is difficult to draw conclusions based on statistically insignificant numbers, such as my 400 and something images against the databases’ numbers. This may all be random at this point.

    • Compuinfoto says:

      Steave, I am working now with the Microstockr as you mentioned in a newsbrief, but are you alos have the problem thhat the istock earnings are only the istock itself and not the partner downloads included , what in my case is more then the istock itself.

      Greetings from Holland

  10. admin says:

    I hadn’t really noticed that iStock issue – although when I look on the iStock site I can’t see a way to manually look at partner sales as they come in? I can see the Essentials sales, which I think is what the program is picking up. Perhaps there is no way to see the others until iStock revise the contributor site.
    I do have a couple of issues that I have reported – I can’t get CanStock to finish uploading data and so I have disabled that, and I noticed that if you ever get an EL sale on Dreamstime (they sell for $12 and above), it counts the same sale twice.

  11. AlessandraRC says:

    Are on demand downloads on SS pretty much gone for you guys also?

  12. admin says:

    It is the loss of major Single On Demand and Enhanced Licenses that are really hitting me. Although the first week of December on Shutterstock had some pretty big sales for some reason, but I’ll talk about that in my round-up of December

  13. AlessandraRC says:

    had my first on demand download of the month this Christmas eve. Santa must exist. I used to get those all the time. Happy holidays Steve, keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing all your wisdom and information about stock!

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