Earnings from selling photos online June 2019

Another month zooms by (and this was a busy month for my uploads) but there is unfortunately little sign that the industry is improving. In fact, some agencies just collapsed during the month – Canva was earning $200 – $250 a month last year, in June 2019 I earned the tidy sum of $25.90. As you probably know, Canva acquired Pexels and Pixabay, two “free download” image sites and has presumably integrated that supply into their service. As a result, those photographers are probably now unknowingly supporting Canva’s business model. I’ve stopped uploading to Canva now – not worth the effort.

Earnings from selling photos and videos online via stock agencies in June 2019
The third month in a row with earnings less than the previous year(s)

Overall the month was OK. Total earnings ended up being $2765 but they were definitely helped by some big sales. Earlier in the month I was thinking this was going to be a washout of a month, but those odd sales (which I’ll come on to) really moved the dial. Incidentally, this is also the end of the second quarter and so I will do a quarter report in a few days when I have done my sums!

Shutterstock really moved some stock for me this month, ending up just over $1000. The biggest sale by far was a video taken on a cruise of the wake behind the ship. This one earned $167 for its first sale on Shutterstock.

I also had a $75 single sale on Shutterstock of some eggs on a rustic background that I had given up hope of ever getting a sale for. I thought they were nicely taken, but seem to have been lost in the background of the massive image databases of the agencies. So a very nice surprise to see this one appear:

I talked about one of my $30 sales on Shutterstock last week – the beach scene that had a fair amount of Photoshop work done to it. It all helped to make this a very good month on that agency.

Earnings from selling photos via the major stock agencies in June 2019. How much money can you make from selling images

For a change, here is a graph of my various agencies that I still have images with (even though I may not upload there any longer) and how their earnings compared. I removed Shutterstock to spread out the chart a bit. As you can see, Adobe continues to perform well. I was worried about this one as well this month, but a $70 video of some smoking chimneys at a power station plus a $65 image of the Supreme Court really made a difference to earnings this month. iStock kept its normal level of $400 or so (for May) although there were no really interesting sales that month. In fact, nothing above $20! What I find very strange is that I put some of the same images onto Getty via EyeEM (which I will also write about in a few days) and I get nicely priced sales via that channel, even taking their own commission into account, but nothing much via iStock.

I had the $100 sale via Fine Art America as well, which helped, but Society6 fell into the doldrums with a total of just $16.60 this month. I haven’t uploaded there for a while, so perhaps I need to move back to some “fine art” uploading for a while! Creative Market did OK – I’ve been struggling with uploads there as Stock Submitter doesn’t seem to be working well (or Creative Market maybe have some upload limits?), so I need to dig into what is happening there. Talking of uploads, this has been a very busy month for me with 900+ uploads.

Files per online stock agency at the end of June 2019

As a result of all that work, I have over 12000 images on most sites and approaching 14,000 on DepositPhotos who tend to take every shot. As I asked in the previous post – will these images turn into sales? It is anyone’s guess at the moment! I do see odd sales coming through from that series, but will report more fully in 12 months or so.

Finally, what happened with video? I still need to work on my videos from the cruise (which shows where they fit in my priorities – which is probably wrong!). But overall, this was the video sales picture for June:

$334 in total. The big earners were the ones I have already mentioned above, but there were three $15 sales on Shutterstock for videos I had taken of the Terracotta Warriors in China:

This one also sold for the same amount in May. The makings of a best seller??

I think that covers the highlights of June. Back with a quarterly report in a few days and some thoughts on EyeEM.

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14 Responses

  1. Daniel Hagy says:

    Hello Mr. Heap,
    I am always inspired and encouraged by your postings. My only draw back for my self is the amount of images you have downloaded to many different platforms! I guess instead of splashing around the edge of the pool one should just take the plunge to learn how to swim right? Any advice as a “Swim Coach” for someone who wants to learn “how” to swim? Sorry for the summer metaphor but it’s hot here in NYC!
    Thank you,
    Daniel S. Hagy

    • Steven Heap says:

      Hi Daniel! Well, my book contains good advice! But to come to your question, you need to not be afraid of multiple agencies. Each one adds its amount of earnings each month and sometimes there are good sales from agencies that might be slow the next month. The Stock Submitter application (which is free up to a certain number of uploads and submissions) makes it a one-click task for me. I uploaded 900+ images to 15 agencies last month, and Stock Submitter makes it so easy. I’m not saying that the editing and keywording is easy, but I have to do that to be in the game at all – the uploads and submissions are easy.

  2. AlessandraRC says:

    Steve, I have about 100 photos on EyeEM now. I opted for only uploading landscapes and cityscapes there, to have a consistent port, but so far, despite the fact that about 60% have been accepted to parters, not a single sale in five months or so. The upload process is a little grueling, hence few photos there so far. I hope you have better luck. I posted my port there in the link so you can see what does not sell there 😉

    • Steven Heap says:

      They are strong photos! How many got accepted into the Partner collection? I get most of my sales (not all) from Getty as a partner of EyeEM. I’ll write some more about my thoughts on EyeEM later. Microstockr Pro now picks up earnings from EyeEM which helps analyze which ones sell the best.

      • AlessandraRC says:

        A total of 65 have been accepted into the partners’ collections. I have not been able to figure out a pattern, i.e. which criteria they use for that selection.

        • Steven Heap says:

          I have 1200 in total, with 696 in the partner program, so a similar percentage. They are very careful with anything that might need a release I find.

  3. shutterfan6 says:

    Steve, I have been following your blogs for a few years now. Your advice has been so helpful.
    I have tried multiple times to get stock submitter to work. I cannot fathom why I have no success.
    When I use the stock submitter, I cannot select the stock sites that I use, it randomly picks up a
    few sites that I may or may not use. Also, it seems to run on an on and I am not sure anything is
    being uploaded.

    I have watched their video and my stock submitter site does
    not look anything like what is shown on the video.

    Have you heard of anyone else having difficulties?


    • Steven Heap says:

      Hi Phyllis
      Sorry to hear that! Do you use a PC or a Mac? There is also the new web based version Microstock Plus, that I think he is putting a lot of effort into. You can always ask for an account on that if you tell him that you are having issues getting the App to work. I’ve written about Stock Submitter in the past and included screen shots – does your screen look like the ones I posted? Alternatively, send me a screen shot of what you see via email if you like.

      • Hi Phyllis,

        I can only second what Steven says here… take a look at https://Microstock.plus, it even beats Stock Submitter for me, as I can work on a lesser quality internet connection on the train to keyword and submit (I do the uploading to microstock.plus at home).

        @Steven: how are you uploading to Eyeem now? I have some troubles implementing them into my workflow. The fact that they now support embedded keywords is great, but using microstock.plus now, I don’t have the keyworded images on my disk anymore to upload them to Eyeem (and Getty/iStock for that matter).


        • Steven Heap says:

          Hi Bjorn – EyeEm is a bit of a mystery in terms of what sells. I’m going to do a post on that now that I can see the actual sales in Microstockr Pro. At the moment, it is totally separate to my main processes. I look at what sells elsewhere and upload those manually, or I upload what I like even if it hasn’t sold. Must be a better way out there!

  4. AlessandraRC says:

    I use a MAC and MAC makes it very difficult to do http://ftp... For this reason stock submitter does not work well.

  5. shutterfan6 says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. I do have a MAC. I suspected that was the problem.
    I tried SS again today and nothing got uploaded.

    I will look into the Microstock Plus that you mentioned.


  6. Lawrence Glass says:

    Nice results for the month.
    Question-The video you showed of the prop wash was 19 seconds, is there an “optimum” number of time per clip that people are looking for? I have tried for 30 seconds, and have had a few shorter ones that have been bought, but understand 5 second minimum. Sorry if you have covered this before,just found this site.

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