Making money from your photos – April 2019

Somewhat delayed, my earnings report for April! But first, a shout out to my good friend Alex, who has been regularly publishing interesting and insightful blog posts at his Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock, and now publishes his earnings each month. Alex has different approaches to me – in particular he is separating out his best images for Robert Harding as exclusive RM as well as uploading specific ones for book covers at Archangel. Interesting to watch how his earnings are growing.

As to my own earnings for April – I ended with a pretty reasonable $3063. Well below the record setting $3672 for March, but not too shabby at all. I had been watching the relatively slow sales as we went through the Easter period, and my main agencies didn’t actually do anything special, but I really made up for their shortfall with a great result from EyeEM – $197 from sales via their partner Getty. What I find interesting (or strange) about EyeEM is how the same few images sell many times. I have 691 images that have been selected for their Partner Program, and at present I can see 337 of those currently on Getty. EyeEM themselves have over 6M! When I look at what sells, it usually ends up being multiple copies of these two images:

Jefferson memorial at sunrise during Cherry Blossom Festival
Sun rising illuminates the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin with bright pink cherry blossoms framing the monument
Lonesome sad bengal kitten
Bengal cat in light brown and cream looking with pleading stare at the viewer with space for advertizing and text

Sometimes I get $1 for them, sometimes as much as $40. What is also intriguing is that the cat rarely sells on iStock, and so this “backdoor” to Getty has really proved to be a winner for me.

Back to the results:

Earnings from stock photography and selling photos online in April 2019

As you can see, this was actually well above most of my April results, but well below last April. Not sure what was special about that year, but I’m happy with the performance this month. It does appear that my results with video sales are the ones that make a difference between an acceptable and a great month. Video this month was down from the heights:

Sales of video clips online in April 2019

which also shows up in the split chart between still and video clips:

And finally, my chart of uploads.

I slowed down in March and April – mainly because I had two trips to England to help my daughter find and then move into an apartment. But that gave me more opportunities for stock images!

Modern kitchen in small apartment or flat as a stock photo
Clean new apartment kitchen in gray with modern appliances and equipment

I had some largish sales this month. Some of relatively banal images such as this one that sold for $40 on Shutterstock:

Pond5 also did pretty well with just over $200 of sales including three shots of a steam train I took a few years back on a “photographer’s excursion” on the train from Cumberland, Maryland. Looks like I tried zooming out and panning on this one:

Well, that’s enough for April. Lets hope we all do well in May!

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6 Responses

  1. Jason Finn says:

    You’re awesome! EyeEm is very funny for me. They are the reason I got into stock photography because I was just using EyeEm for fun and all of the sudden I sold an image for 10 bucks. About a month later I sold a panorama of Yosemite Valley at sunrise for over 100 bucks and decided that I would dive deep into stock photography! Since then, I have sold less than 50 bucks worth of images in 2 years!!!

    • Steven Heap says:

      Hi Jason
      Yes, it is certainly difficult to understand the sales. Early on, I got many sales of so pictures of an old telephone and some ethernet cables, but they don’t sell as often. Now it is the cat and Washington DC shot. It must be to do with how high you rank in the EyeEM collection I think. And who knows what drives that rank? Still, it has been good to me, so far!

  2. waterinegirl says:

    i have a question. animals wont cooperate with me whenever i take them pictures. is this your own pet? how did you get them to be cooperative?

    • Steven Heap says:

      Yes, it was my daughter’s pet. We worked with them together on a white cloth covered table and took a lot of shots that didn’t really capture the right look. This particular cat was quite calm and so would sit for a while as I took photos.

  3. Vlad Savin says:

    Congratulations on good sales! What do you think about the Zazzle website? They have the opportunity to design clothes and sell it. Have you tried it?

    • Steven Heap says:

      I always find Zazzle to be a pretty impenetrable site. I struggle to create new products and often have to search for how to do things. So I rarely add anything to the site – my calendars were the only thing added in probably 2 years!

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