Earnings from stock photography in June 2018

The months seem to fly by and now I’m writing again about earnings from stock photography (and video) at the end of the second quarter of the year. June really felt like a slow month as I was tracking my earnings on Microstockr Pro. One downside of them adding more agencies (Canva was the most recent) is that there is much less of a surprise when I finally put my spreadsheets together, but I was caught out by how much the “off-App” agencies added up to this month. I was expecting a pretty blah month, but actually ended up with just beating the $3000 threshold (by $1.80!). June 2017 was itself a pretty good month and so I wasn’t expecting to beat that one, but in the end I did:

Earnings from stock photography in June 2018

That means that I have exceeded my earnings in that same month a year ago in 9 out of the past 10 months. Not bad going at all in an industry that most think has seen its best days.

As this is the end of the second quarter, I’ve included a quarter summary to even out some of the month variations, and that shows a pretty nice pattern as well. After going nowhere between 2014 and 2016, things really started to pick up at the beginning of 2017 and has continued to date:

Earnings from stock photography in June 2018

One final milestone reached this month – my total earnings since I started back in 2008 just passed the $200K mark.

June was a busy month for uploads – I had a few days in New York and uploaded some interesting variations on standard New York views, but, to be honest, new images have not sold very well at all this month. It is quite possible that some of the bigger agencies have changed their algorithms to favor more popular images. The end result is that those newer images seem to have just got lost in the databases! Some people take this as a reason to stop uploading – thinking “what is the point?” – but my approach is to continue regardless. You never know when an agency will change its algorithms again, and you want your images to be there and indexed to give them a chance to shine when that happens. So I’ve continued to upload week by week:

This chart (and the next) includes both photos and videos and I’ve tried to focus more on adding videos as the month went on. I’ve tried for some 4th July ones as well as trying my hand at a cinemagraph – a still photo that has a video embedded into it and set up so the video continues to automatically restart for as long as it is watched. I’m not sure how well that will work with an embedded video, but here it is:

You can see the same thing in a loop here.

After all this activity, I have the following numbers of images online at the various agencies:

In terms of agency activity, Shutterstock was not great, dropping back by $200 over last month. I don’t want to get into trouble with reporting SS earnings so that is all I’ll say. iStock pretty much kept the same level as last month at $477 (I report iStock earnings in the month I get the money even though this is for sales in May). I had a couple of months with earnings of $575 or so, so this is a bit of a drop. Adobe was pretty good with $466, but the one that really bumped up my earnings was Alamy/Getty (a combination of my own account at Alamy and some images I have on those two sites via another agency) which came in at $550. Dreamstime showed some pretty strange behavior in the month with many, many 35c sales of almost all my photos of West Virginia. As a result, I doubled my earnings from $60 last month to $132. Canva was not great this month, dropping from an average of $260 or so down to $178. I’m not sure why – although they did announce some sort of deal with iStock to automatically put their images on the Canva site, so perhaps it is just the extra competition we are facing there? Who knows!

Finally, what is happening in Video?

A pretty reasonable month with sales of $262. This is a restated graph from what I have been publishing before as I found out that Microstockr Pro isn’t always recognizing a video sale on Pond5 as “video” and so just creating a report showing my video sales was understating the true figures. They are working on a fix, but in the meantime I manually corrected my numbers. Video sales in June were a combination of fireworks shots from Washington DC and some opioid macro videos I had taken. I’m off to take more fireworks this week so hopefully will expand my portfolio a bit!

Well, I think that is about all I have to report this month. Hope you are making some progress as well!


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12 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing! My June was pretty nice too 😉

  2. Mohammed says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for sharing and congrats on another good month. I am looking to expand into agencies other than Shutterstock, Alamy and Adobe Stock. Which agencies do you recommend better for selling editorial images?

    • admin says:

      If I were you, I wouldn’t overthink it. I upload editorial to all the sites that take them, and I upload commercial shots to all the sites. No choosing of shots to go to Agency A, others to B etc. I would get to know StockSubmitter, sign up to all the agencies that it supports and just upload everything you have!

  3. Michele Jackson says:

    I enjoy following your posts. I’m just starting out in stock though and the most images I have on any of the 11 sites I’m contributing to is 1,000.
    My question is……what do you know about Wemark and is it worth contributing to?
    Thank you for all your interesting tips.

    • admin says:

      Yes, I’ve signed up and uploaded about 500 images, but I’ve no idea if they are going to be worth using or not. I’ll watch what happens for a while.

  4. alessandraRC says:

    June was really bad.

  5. Vern says:

    Thank you for the tips and sharing your experience with us.

    i’m still new to stock photography (started 3 motnhs ago.) out of all stock agency out there, it is only shutterstock where i earn. even if my portfolio has 207 photos, i was able to sell 6 images. i still have a lot to learn.

    Have you try uploading 360 photos in shutterstock? im tempted to upload in other site such as 360cities.net and roundme. but i am not even sure if it is worth it.

    • admin says:

      Hi – the first thing to say is that it takes time for your images to get picked up and get some traction on many of the agencies and so the early days are all about taking good photos and getting them online. Hopefully some sales will then come along. It is also likely that your images are not that good yet (sorry!), and so spend time really looking at the best selling images that are similar to yours and see how you could improve. I haven’t taken any 360 degree images – I need to think more about that. I’ve not seem them in use anywhere, although don’t take that as any judgement on how well they sell – I have no idea.

  6. chris says:

    Funny, i have around 15 pictures taken in Virginia beach, in may 2018… they sold very well on Dreamstime in june 2018!

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