I promised to split the normal earnings post this month and concentrate on some better earners in this second article. As I was thinking about it, I began to think about what makes for a good stock portfolio. As I cover in my video talk, I see stock photos as falling into three categories – People, Places and Things. I don’t tend to do many People shots even though I think those are probably the most popular images on the various agencies. Why not – partly because it is not my comfort zone and partly because to do it properly requires models, potentially involving payments to them, and hence more of a risk of not getting your money back in earnings. So a few shots with myself as the model are OK, but not much more than that.
Yes, that really is me although perhaps no model release was needed for this one! So back to the plot. I focus much more on Places and Things and when I watch my results, it is clear that the Things category probably sells the most in terms of absolute downloads, but the Places can get the higher earning downloads. When you think about it, a good image of a wooden table with some Cinco de Mayo props will sell well in March and April, most users just want an image to stick on their website to illustrate an article about it.
This one from February has sold 52 times for $48, which certainly isn’t bad. However, I never expect it to sell for more than a few dollars. No-one is going to put it on a calendar or a large print magazine or want it in some sort of vacation brochure. This next one from the English Lake District definitely sells more slowly – 182 sales since 2012, but it did sell in August on Shutterstock for $62:
In the same vein, this sold on Alamy for $62 net:
This one, also on Shutterstock for $30:
And, to my great surprise, I had two large Distribution sales on Canstock (an almost unknown experience) for $24.90 and $19.90. Both from 2010/2011 so pretty long in the tooth:
My point with all these is that a well balanced portfolio will have images that will sell more frequently but for lower amounts per sale and hopefully a mix of those to take you all the way around the calendar of special events, and then a collection of probably landscape/place shots that will sell less frequently but hopefully for more money from time to time. It is often these larger license fee sales that make the difference between a so-so month and a great month. All told, I had 14 downloads for more than $10 in August to give me $375 in total, including this one that shows that all my rules are there to be broken – a “Thing” taken on a cruise ship which sold for $19 on Shutterstock:
But what about videos in August. A good month, as I reported, with 10 downloads for $238.
Three of them were my fake Opioid macro shots and two were macro shots of some gold coins I borrowed. I seem to do well with those pans and slides across small objects. My fake news typewriter video sold again for $28 on Adobe:
And one I did more recently about “cutting the cord” of cable TV which sold for $24 on Storyblocks:
And finally, a pretty old HD shot of a chickadee flying in to a bird feeder on a window. Shutterstock for $21:
It just goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to get stock videos that can sell. Hope this all helps explain how I think I manage to keep my earnings on an upward trend each month. I’m sure there is a lot of luck in this as well – luck that one of my new images gets picked up early (and hopefully frequently) so that it joins the ranks of “popular” rather than sinking without trace. There is no way to guarantee good luck, but continuing to upload good solid images and videos definitely swings the odds in your favor.