Earnings from Stock Photography in July 2018
I think this is the 83rd posting on earnings – I hope you still find them interesting! July (and August) tend to be the lowest period of the year for sales and this year was no different. Watching the earnings in Microstockr Pro was pretty painful and the more agencies they add, the less the surprise when I finally put all the results into my spreadsheets. However, I just managed to maintain my steady progress of beating the previous year’s results with a total of $2510 in July. Last year I earned $2267 so I guess it was not a bad result!
I think that now makes 14 consecutive months where I have increased earnings over the same month in the previous year. A friend asked me for my secret – in fact he suggested I write a new book about it, but to be honest it boils down to just one concept – keep working hard at taking the best images (and videos) that you can and uploading them regularly to as many sites as you can support. Sometimes (like these past months) it seems like new images are just not selling at all, but that can change as soon as the major agencies change their algorithms again. A bit like the stock market, you can’t guess the correct time to upload your images so I just keep plodding on adding more every month.
As you can see, there has not really been any time since early 2011 when I didn’t add more files to the agencies and recently the slope for Shutterstock is increasing as I put more editorial work on the sites that take that content. I also continually look at what images are being used to illustrate articles and stories and challenge myself to create new versions of what I see. I like to scan through the Flipboard App at least daily as that gives an easy way to see images illustrating all sorts of stories without much effort. I sometimes see my own images there (which is great), but it is a good source of inspiration for me.
I’ve been tracking my video sales each month as well. I must admit I find video to be much harder to do well than photographs, but it can make a difference in the results and it is also a less saturated market so I must force myself to get better! The sales in July were fireworks and opioids – which seem to be my popular videos this year, but overall July was not that good to be honest:
But I don’t tend to get worried by one month’s results.
Nothing much stood out in the agency totals this month – all of them were down compared to last month and some (yes, I’m talking about you, Alamy) were abysmal! With 8000 images on Alamy, I sold just three for a total net earning of $9. Another friend told me that the very hot summer in the UK is slowing everything down – lets hope that it rains soon!
However, I did have a nice surprise on my own site, BackyardStockPhotos, which I created a couple of years back using Symbiostock. Someone bought an extended license for one of my Equatorial Guinea images that he plans to print for an exhibition in the country:
Not the greatest picture in the world, but it just goes to show that if an image meets someone’s needs, they will buy it!
I also had someone contact me for an image that he had seen on other agencies, but couldn’t find on my own site. He wanted it to print for his grandmother in Puerto Rico:
In this case I did some improvements to my original image to make it moodier and better suited to a piece of wall art, but he was happy to also pay $35 for the license. It is actually things like this that are more satisfying than seeing more subscription sales on Shutterstock! Funnily enough, my highest sale on Shutterstock this month happened to be a Single Sale for $66 also of a scene in Puerto Rico:
Let’s hope that the summer doldrums end soon and we get back to some higher returns for all the effort we put into this business!