Stock Photography earnings in October 2018

Another month, another record! October earnings of $3248 marked the 17th consecutive month when my earnings from selling photos and videos online have beaten the same month in the previous year. This is going to be a slightly shorter post than normal as I have just got back from 3 weeks in China and have 4200 photos and 90 videos to process. I can see that this could take the whole of the month to work through and I need to get going!Earnings from selling photos and videos online

This month ended up with an increase of almost $500 over the same month in 2017. Not bad going, although I can see from the graph that November and December are going to be tough months. Both were well over $3000 but I am up for a challenge! 

What was striking this month was that video sales were nothing special. If you recall, I had a great video month in September but it pretty much disappeared this month. It just shows how variable earnings can be, and how it is important to spread your assets across different sites and also make sure that you have as many different subjects as possible to meet customer demand each month. I currently have about 390 videos online and so I should expect variability from month to month:

Make money from selling videos online

I did continue to add files in October (before I went on my travels) and so I have these total across the main agencies:

Number of photos and videos online at stock photo agencies

And my upload progress was definitely slower, but still solid:

Number of photos and videos added to stock agencies in October 2018

What stood out in October? Shutterstock maintained its $900+recent history with a total of $983. iStock was a little down (September results) with $426 and Adobe maintained some good progress with $487. I was blown away with a $33 sale on Canstock to bring its earnings to $50! Canva was pretty solid with $207. That latter site depends very much on luck I think. If your image gets picked up into a popular design then everyone that uses that design results in a payment back to me. Bit like a pyramid scheme! I’m luck that I have some simple patterns (a tiled floor for instance) that has been incorporated into a template and that sells pretty reliably.

I also followed my own advice by thinking ahead to what is going to be in the news and trying to meet the need for images. This time I thought about the US midterm elections and bought a roll of “I Voted Today” stickers to make about 12 videos and 40 or so photos of the stickers in various forms. So far (and the election is actually today), I have sold $32 worth of images (but no videos) and the stickers cost $12, so I guess that is a bit of a profit. This one is the best seller so far:

Although the profit on these is not great so far, at least they are now in the portfolio with a number of sales so they should be well positioned for upcoming elections. These are not specifically US focused stickers and I did get one sale for a UK version:

So I need to think more about making a series for other country elections using the same props! That is what I mean by trying to anticipate the news and get some new images in your own portfolio.

Finally, I did get one sale in October at FineArtAmerica and a second one early this month, but I will write about those separately. I hope you are seeing some success in your own portfolios as we move into the better selling months of the year!

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13 Responses

  1. Nice. I’ve been doing this for 12 years now, and my sales are nowhere near that. Dabbled in video for a bit, but I just didn’t enjoy it. I have an old I Voted image that sells pretty well. I’ll have to do more, but not wait until election day. Keep up the good work. I look forward to your posts.

    • admin says:

      Yes, it is just a matter of thinking of what you can do and then getting the props to make some nice images and videos. I would have liked to have sold a video of the stickers, but perhaps next time!

  2. Good info – At the beginning of the year, I started doing ‘stock’ work for the county I live in and some months are great and others are minimum. Video gets the best return but they ‘love’ stills.

  3. Impressive, as always!

    I trust you got some great shots and videos in China. 🙂

  4. Congrats Steve, you are my master! 😀

  5. Very nice results. I have got to get serious about uploading more stock photos. Finding the time is the biggest challenge. I like to do everything via mobile and there aren’t many “mass uploading” tools out there for mobile phones yet.

    • admin says:

      I’m not sure about mobile apps for this. It must be my age, but I prefer to do most things on a PC! Time is a big element in this if you want to do it properly. I started when I was working full time, but it is easier when you don’t have to work!

  6. Master Steve has some serious fans 😀

  7. MK says:

    Impressive! I’ve been studying your blog and my goal is to get where you are with the $3K/month. I do believe that I can do it as I work at this VERY hard and I’m consistently making $200/month just on SS with a portfolio of a little over 3,000 images & vectors (I started at SS in August 2017, for reference, so I’m not one of these veteran contributors who long for the days of yore!). I recently decided to branch out to the other agencies in September and I went from having a portfolio of NOTHING to 1100 on Adobe, 1700 on DT, 1700 on BigStock, 1100 on Alamy and 600 on iStock in a month and a half (yep, I work hard!)

    My question is, is this a good strategy or should I space the uploads out more? I have a gigantic backlog of images going back to 2012 when I first started DSLR photography – obviously there are a lot of non-stock worthy images in there! My sales at these other agencies aren’t anywhere near comparable to my SS earnings obviously but I am selling consistently on Adobe and Bigstock (no idea what Istock is yet until 11/20 – I just started there 2 weeks ago…I’ve had one Alamy sale – yay – and DT is pitiful and I’m even thinking of dropping it). Just wondering what your thoughts are!

    • admin says:

      Hi Melissa
      I don’t think there is anything wrong with uploading rapidly. There is always a danger on Alamy that you might have one faulty image which causes the entire batch to be rejected, but that is the only issue I see. Better to get them online as soon as you can. I would also sign up for something like Stock Submitter and get them on as many agencies as you can. Even if a site doesn’t sell much, it all adds up and if it is not much effort to get them there, you might as well. So keep at it!

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