Best selling assets in March

Following on from my previous post about total earnings from stock photography in March, this is the next layer of detail of what worked, and what didn’t. I’ll talk about video first – as I mentioned, this was a great month for video with total sales over $500. In fact, it was actually better than that! Due to the way iStock reports earnings, I always include the money I get from them in the month as the earnings for that month, but in reality, that money covers sales in the previous month. So my totals for March actually include files sold in February on iStock. Normally that doesn’t make much difference as I have few video files on that site, but I noticed that I had a big video sale for $85 on iStock, which does change the calculations. In fact, the earnings from video in March turned out to be $689!

Earnings from selling video clips online via stock photo agencies
Revised Video earnings after correcting for iStock reporting lag

The clip in question was one that actually used a model with a release! Of course it was only me, but still very well acted, I thought!

This clip sold for $85 on iStock and also on Adobe for $28. A very similar clip but with more of a sunset also sold for $28 on Adobe. Just to show you that boring shots also sell, this same model did an excellent job adding some paper to a laser printer, and this one sold for $43 on Pond5.

Of course, my opioid macro shots sold several times in the month, including an enhanced license upgrade on Pond5. I think this is when the client wants some additional legal protection. Most of these shots were taken with the SurfaceONE motorized dolly from Edelkrone that I have written about before. This has been replaced by an updated model, the DollyONE – which is priced on their site at $699 with further discounts available. I know this seems to be expensive, but it is very solidly built – which it needs to be to carry a full DSLR and macro lens – and it has easily repaid its cost many times over. The shots are very smooth (although I usually use the smoothing effect in Premiere) and you can get movements that would be impossible to achieve in any other way. Besides the Pond5 sales, I also sold this one on Shutterstock for $99 in March. By the way, Edelkrone just gave me an affiliate account, so if you are thinking of this product, please use the link above.

Using the Edelkrone DollyONE for stock video

I mentioned the car wash and students at WVU shots last month, but one of those students walking to class clips sold again on Shutterstock for $37.50. Also of note this month in the “anyone can take this” category was this one of my dog on a lead taken with a GoPro on a stabilized handle:

On the still front, I already mentioned the $100 image of my Norwegian Pancake maker sold on Alamy. Alamy actually came back from the dead in March with net sales of just short of $200. iStock/Getty had some good well priced sales as well. My good old icebag sold for $41 and $28 on that site. That one has earned close to $2000 since I originally took it for an Image Brief brief (remember them??):

Simple image of a bag of ice against a white background
Ice cubes in plastic bag isolated with a pen tool created path in the file

This simple one of a beer in a plastic cup (which was another Image Brief request) sold for $30 on Shutterstock.

Plastic glass of beer isolated against white background
Golden beer, ale or lager in a plastic disposable cup or glass for party concert or by pool for safety

It just goes to show that getting a well executed simple shot is often more profitable that something far more complex!

In terms of the agencies, Shutterstock as usual was the pace-setter with total sales of almost $1000. Adobe Stock was great – easily the best I have done on that site with sales of $690. The videos helped, but it was just solid sales most days of the month. My previous best month was $576 on that site. Then iStock came in with $635 – again, my best ever. The videos really helped there as well. Lots of very small sales, but these bigger ones really helped. Pond5 also came out of hibernation to reach $229.

The site that is really heading for the dumps for me is Canva. I used to reliably get close to $300 on this site – now, I was lucky to squeak past $100. It must be all the images they imported from Getty. Once again, it shows the folly (in my mind) of making yourself exclusive anywhere – you never know what plan they will hatch that is probably very good for their customers and the company (which is what they really care about), but not very good for the suppliers – ie us. I don’t blame them at all for what they did – they need to look after their customers after all, but I’m glad I have other agencies that are growing as they fall.

Nothing at all from Fine Art America or Photo4Me, although I did get $26 from Society6. I decided to change my prices on FAA back to my original ones – I did that over the weekend and will now see if reduced prices makes a difference to sales on that site. I’ll leave you with a celebratory drink – sold on Alamy for $13 net! I hope your portfolios are showing some signs of movement!

Mans hand pouring a pint of beer from a bottle isolated against white background
Golden beer, ale or lager being poured from bottle into a traditional english tankard or mug isolated against white background
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7 Responses

  1. Thank you Steve for another inspiring and enlightenment post!

  2. You got me Steve!! You got me into Stock Footage now 😉 I’ve started processing some old footage I playfully took years ago with my Gopro, and submitted it to different agencies after reading your footage posts. And now it got accepted! So out for more now! And out for learning Premiere Pro CC 😉

    • Steven Heap says:

      What, more competition! What you really need to get going on footage is one of those Edelkrone motorized dolly’s. And buy it through my link!! That would help me deal with the new competition!
      Best of luck, Steve

  3. jordan paw says:

    great post. for video what format sells best? 1080 or 4k?

    • Steven Heap says:

      I think the HD clips sell more frequently at the moment, but I always take and upload 4K videos. Partly because of the occasional 4K sales and partly because they will become more popular over time, I think.

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