Earnings from selling photos online in August 2018

Another day another dollar as an old American song goes! August may be a slow time of the year with vacations and holidays, but the stock world keeps on turning. I’m going to split the post this month and talk about earnings today and then come back on some of the notable sales  – ie those images that earned more than $10, of which there were 14 in the month. As it turned out, August continued my record breaking run of making more than the same month in the previous year – up to 15 consecutive months now.

Earnings from selling my photos online via microstock agencies

The month came out at $2887 which compares with $2573 in August 2017. Video sales helped a lot this month, coming out at $238 after a disappointing July.

How much can you earn selling your videos online

Adding to the mix were the two great print sales from Fine Art America for a total profit of $182. I’ve often said (and I explain it in the video of my stock photography presentation), you really need to look at this as a job. You need to be willing to put the mental energy into thinking of new ideas, turning those into solid images and videos and, in particular, putting time and effort into keywording and describing them properly. I mention this now because I did add quite a lot of new images this month, and, as you can see from the history, I’m doing more in the last 2 years or so than I did back in the days when earnings seemed to be rising month by month without as much effort. Here is the growth of files on Shutterstock and hence includes both commercial and editorial work:

How many new images added to microstock agencies in August 2018

This month I noticed an article in the Washington Post about issues brewing between West Virginia University and one of the fraternity houses about hazing. It sounded as though it could continue in the news, and so I got up early and spent a pleasant couple of hours walking around the downtown campus of WVU taking lots of images of the main college buildings and then going to each of the “Greek Life” fraternity and sorority. All told, about 50 different editorial images. Now, will they sell – who knows, but it wasn’t really much effort!

Incidentally, although I added these as editorial at the main sites, I did try this and a few others on Adobe as commercial as the building is pretty old and should be free of restrictions. They took a couple where this was smaller in the frame, but rejected most for “Intellectual Property” reasons. I also put this on Fine Art America, put it on my Facebook page and mentioned the university and the FineArtAmerica print – all to see if it was possible to do some marketing for those FAA images and get a bit of traction on them as prints. Who knows how that will turn out!

I also wandered around Winchester in Virginia when I went there to give the talk on Stock Photography to their camera club. Again, they may not sell, but I was already there so why not! Finally, I realized that it is the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War 1 this November and so there are bound to be articles about that. I found an old Memorial Plaque that was cast for each British Soldier who died in the war and so I took a few shots of that at the end of last week. So far it has been accepted as commercial at Bigstock and CanStock – still in the review queue at Shutterstock and the others. It should not need releases having been cast in 1917, but you never can tell!

Memorial Plaque or medal for soldiers who died in the Great War

Those are examples of what I mean when I say you need to be watching the news and trying to guess what is going to be popular in the months to come.

Anyway, back to my file count:

I’m now about 10,000 on quite a few sites now. It is amazing how it grows when you work away each month at new images and videos.

So what were the highlights in earnings? Shutterstock got back above $900 after a slow couple of months. iStock (July sales) was more disappointing with $330. Adobe was solid with $366 and Canstock amazed me with three large Distribution sales to give me a total of $79! A world record! Canva picked up after a slow summer to end with $227 and, finally, both Pond5 and Alamy just crossed the $100 threshold. I’ll do more on what was actually selling to get those totals in my next post.


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8 Responses

  1. Trong Nguyen says:

    Hi Steve, congrats on another solid month. I have 2 questions could you help to share your thought?
    – Do you think spreading photos on wide spectrum of agencies is slowing down your sale on Shutter, or it’s just the nature of summertime?
    – How about your sales on Deposit photo, is this a right vehicle to park your photos?

    Thank you,

  2. Mohammed says:

    Congrats on another good month. From your experience, is it ok to sell an image as an editorial on Shutterstock for example, and as commercial on Adobe Stock? So far, Adobe Stock does not accept images as editorial, so i was wondering if the contradiction would be ok. Thanks.

    • admin says:

      Good questions – I think I will write a blog post about this.

      • Nils says:

        I do this sometimes. Shutterstock in my experience have been more inclined to reject shots featuring identifiable people in the background. I had some beach shots with some people who were not the focus of the image. I submitted them as editorial on Shutterstock and had them accepted as commercial with Adobe.

        I have been able to images of city skylines with trade marks on the buildings accepted as commercial with iStock, which are ok with this as long as trade marks appear on multiple buildings, while Shutterstock is much stricter. So I submit those types of images differently across different agencies.

  3. Paul says:

    Always interesting reading about you monthly reports. And seeing how all the agents bobbing up and down each month to their own rhythms.

    I’ve now had my first full year supplying multiple agents. I’ve worked the hardest I can ever remember, certainly strange looking back to the days of supplying just one agent. Although in the good ole days that was fine. I’m earning more from all the agents this year compared to last year, and like you comparing each month to the previous year. Things now moving in the right direction since Corbis closed. So far having 12 months continuous growth, almost all sales were from footage I shot last year. So I expect the same for my current work. Although sometimes I worry of will it ever work out! But reading from your experiences amongst others makes me think it worthwhile, my work is good I know that, and more work out there has to be better than less! It took a year before I got continuous sales from Pond5 alone. Some one once said its like putting photos into a pipe and waiting for money out the other end but you don’t know how long the pipe is!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Paul – yes, it can be hard work, but I still think the payoff is worthwhile. I wish I could get my mind around video – I’m still far more comfortable with still photos, but I do try to branch out!


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