Earnings in February 2017 from stock photography

Interesting how things change from month to month. February is normally a poor month because of the number of days (although aren’t all months poor months these days!), but this month I actually did better. Quite a lot of that is because I report sales from Getty when they are actually cleared, and so that adds some delay, but overall it was a good month for me with total earnings of $2719. Here is the comparison agency by agency with January numbers:


The red lines are January, blue is February. That is an estimate, of course, because I am completely lost with earnings from iStock, but I made an estimate based on previous months earnings. One interesting thing I noted when looking at iStock earnings for my tax return is that although I thought I went to the iStock site each month and carefully count the earnings from the different sale types, the amount I was paid was often higher than that. Overall, I think I got about $200 more from iStock than I had been assessing.

What is good about this chart is that things are becoming more balanced. If I look back 12 months or so, it was always the case that I got 45% of my earnings from Shutterstock and no other sites came close. Now we have lower earnings from SS, and higher earnings from Adobe Stock in particular (and iStock to some extent), then things are becoming less dependent on the performance of any one site.

Getty/Alamy did very well for me this month with total earnings of almost $550. I sold three images on my own account on Alamy and some nice large sales (often of US Store fronts) on Getty, which I got into via their purchase of Corbis. I can’t submit more because Getty is normally exclusive, but it is nice to have income coming from multiple sources.

My videos did much better in February. I plan to blog more about this, but I have been taking more “studio” videos recently and I got 3 sales on Pond5 and one on VideoBlocks this past month, plus some clip sales on Shutterstock. I currently upload video to SS, Pond5, Videoblocks and Adobe and it is normally 4K, priced at around $200 or so. The sales were for downscaled HD, but it is good having the higher resolution version there for the future.

I also had a good sale via FineArtAmerica in February which netted $74 as well.

We have had some remarkably warm weather where I live, which let me get out and about for some photos (and videos) to illustrate pollution:

Smoke and fumes from coal powered power station

But mainly I have been doing studio based shots to illustrate things in the news – Obamacare, opioid drug crisis and general healthcare issues. It is always worth reading the news and thinking of those subjects that are likely to be around for a long time – journalists are always looking for a new way to illustrate an article, so put your mind to those! As a result of this, my number of online files has continued to grow at a steady pace. I will be at 10,000 in total soon!


With spring on its way, it will soon be time to get out and get some more travel shots – happy shooting!

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11 Responses

  1. AlessandraRC says:

    Well, I also did a little better this month, and looking back it seems as though the tendency for me at SS and some other sites is a line leaningup on a graph, on average, with ups and downs. The lack of on demand and other more expensive subscriptions, however, is still a problem.

    What is happening at istock is really maddening. I have no idea who much I made last month there.

    Lately I’ve sold some local stuff, it’s been raining a lot and the Sacramento River is to capacity, and there were two sales of a full river almost reaching the bridge. My health/food related photos also sell slowly but steadily, and surprisingly, I get consistent (though slow) sales of my flowers. I try to photograph mostly local and native flowers, and have clear, sharp, clean pictures with good depth of field. When I keyword them, I make sure to add their scientific name, which lots of people don’t do. Then sometimes I take them home and photograph them against a black background. Not sure what people buy them for, but these sell as well.

    I have also been uploading more backgrounds and textures. They don’t sell very much, and I find them difficult to keyword since I am not sure what a customer would be looking for. But they are very easy to photograph and always come out very nice with my macro lens. I’ve uploaded a good deal of tree barks with the tree identifications. Lets see what happens.

    Always nice to hear about your progress, Steve!

    • admin says:

      Great to hear! I struggle with keywording backgrounds, abstracts or blurs. I’m sure these sort of shots sell, but I wonder if it is luck in getting seen early on. I’m continuing with more studio work – trying to illustrate cloud computing at the moment! One thing worth trying – get the Getty App on your phone/tablet and search for words that you are thinking of shooting. They often have better images that give you more ideas I find.

  2. AlessandraRC says:

    I don’t know. I posted a long comment but it was a wrong captcha. Then I typed the damm captcha again and then I got the message that I had already said that. Making it short now, nice to hear about your progress, Steve. Hope its the right captcha now.

  3. AlessandraRC says:

    Getty/istock or whatever it is right now, they are making a fool of themselves and a mess out of my royalties. I am not submitting there anymore until I see statements that make sense. Every few days I get an e-mail from them explaining another mistake they’ve done. Dreadful mess.

  4. admin says:

    They certainly are in a mess. I’m still submitting – I am sure they will sort it out and I might as well have them selling my images in the meantime


  5. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve you have a point…

  6. Ernesto Velazquez says:

    Thank you!, Your case is very hopeful for a beginner like me.After a year of practicing daily in GuruShots, the website of photo challenges, I have just started to post photos on the main sites of photo stock.
    I was alraedy accepted by ShutterStock, Fotolia, Dreamstime and 123RF. And for now with this I am able to begin to understand the business, especially when I have some rejection.

    It will be a pleasure to start following you because your experience I see is important. Thank you very much for taking the time to share your knowledge.

    From Uruguay, a big greeting

  7. lucian coman says:

    Just curious how many photo/video online? Main subjects?

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