Stock photography earnings in November 2018

All good records must come to an end! For the first time in 18 months, the earnings in November were less than those in the same month the previous year! Not bad, just not good enough! Overall, I earned $3073 from photos and videos – but less than the $3177 in November 2017. So at least the pressure is off in future months! This is what the picture looks like:

Earnings from the online sale of digital photos via stock agencies

Well above previous Novembers but I was really on a roll at the end of 2017. I was very busy this month with processing and uploading images after I got back from my trip to China. I’m still processing images and have already uploaded about 420 files to the sites so far, with probably at least the same number still to go. In case you are interested in what sort of things I take on this sort of trip you can check out my Alamy portfolio. These are a little random, but in rough reverse time order. I was surprised by the extent of pollution in China – not just in the cities but in wide swathes of the country, which is why many of these rapidly disappear into a haze in the distance. Still, it is what it is! Here is my activity chart followed by the number of files online at the main agencies:

Earnings from the online sale of digital photos via stock agencies

Number of online files on main stock photo agencies

Many of these China shots are editorial (pretty hard to find any scene without people in it!) and so the agency stats are starting to diverge. I haven’t added anything to iStock since they dropped support for Stock Submitter and Adobe, of course, does not take editorial work. I took a lot of videos on my trip but so far I haven’t even looked at those. I tend to do the photos first and then get those keyworded and uploaded and then focus on video – in that way, I already have keywords to slot into them before I upload. In November, video sales reached $220. Definitely up on October but far from my best:

Earnings from the online sale of digital videos via stock agencies

I only sold videos on Pond5 and Shutterstock this month. Three of the seven were my opioid series, two were an old video of Dulles airport, one from my GoPro mounted to a car in Maui on the small road around the island and finally, one new one! This one was taken a couple of months ago when I decided to change the filter on my HVAC system and made a 4K video of it:

The stills from this filter change have made about $50 in the past two months. It just goes to show that you should be on the look out for any home improvement/maintenance task and ask yourself if you could video or photograph it while you are working! The series of 4 shots I made when changing a ceiling mounted filter have sold for almost $3000 since I uploaded them in 2012:

But back to the story! I was pleased that a newer video had sold – shows there is still an opportunity!

On the still photo side, the largest sale was on Alamy for a net of $66.50:

fireproof sale sold on Alamy

Must have been a good month for safes as I also netted $33.25 on Alamy for this:

Close up of a well organized home filing system with tabs for each subject in fireproof safe

Three over $20 shots on Shutterstock and one $25 one on 123RF rounds out the “big” sales in November!

In terms of agencies, SS was highest as usual with almost $800 – bit of a drop over previous months. I always thought the cap would protect me on the downside but obviously not!! iStock (October results) was very good with $573. Alamy/Getty (via Corbis) was pretty good at $328, although Adobe maintained a good showing with $444. I missed having some video sales there – that always helps boost the monthly earnings. Canva was down a bit at $173 and Pond5 was OK with $150. The rest just went along as normal. I’ll expand more on this in my end of year review in January.

I did sell one print on Fine Art America this month, and also one on Photo4Me in the UK. On that latter site I always seem to sell the same picture over and over. It is from Formby in the north of England. Not complaining, but it would be nice to sell something else one of these days!

Sun setting over the beach at Formby in England through sand dunes


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8 Responses

  1. Jason Finn says:

    Great job! I recently had a $94.05 sale on Adobe Stock! I was very surprised to say the least, but also very happy!! Have you gotten larger sales on that agency? I did not know that was possible.

  2. khellon says:

    Hi Steve

    You use Stocksubmitter but did you ever consider If so what were the reasons for your choice?



    • admin says:

      Hi Kevin – yes, I did look at Dropstock, but they appeared to be (at that time) more of an FTP offering. It would save my local bandwidth but that is essentially what it does. Stock Submitter does much more – both on my local computer in terms of tracking where images have gone, keywording in priority order, sending model releases but most importantly, doing all the submission work. Of course with 4K videos, dropstock would get very expensive very quickly.

  3. AlessandraRC says:

    Good job anyways. I was sad this morning to wake up to the news that Alamy is cutting commissions though. It has been my best seller so far in terms of earnings.

  4. RobE says:

    Hi Steve,

    Congratulations on thriving in a difficult stock photography market.

    One question, are the earnings figures you quote Gross or Net of agency commission?

    Apologies if this is mentioned somewhere, I’ve searched for it on your site but to no avail.

    • admin says:

      Hi Rob
      Thanks for your kind comments! It does take a lot of work sometimes, but the rewards are worthwhile. I always report on net income. Most sites report like that, Alamy being the odd one out, but I report what I get, not what the buyer pays.

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