What stock photos and videos sold in September?
I published my normal report in two bites this month to avoid giving you all indigestion. Earlier this week I published the financial results, this post has more of the “why” rather than the “what”. First thing to note for me is that I had some days with some great sales. Here is my snapshot of daily earnings from Microstockr Pro. This doesn’t track every agency (and iStock, which is tracked, has the results for the month previous so I don’t actually see any iStock earnings in these totals). However, the developers have done a great job of adding the main agencies and so there are not many surprises between what I see here and the final results.
As you can see, some solid weeks coupled with some outstanding day sale totals. The tallest column in the graph is $190 in sales for the day. Within these totals, SS was my best agency at $922, followed by Adobe with $535 and then iStock (August results paid in September) with $318 and finally Pond5 with $308.
I know Alex has his Turd of the Month award for the worst agency, but I am too polite for that. My most frustrating agency must be EyeEM. I’ve written in the past about their obtuse approach to deleting perfectly good keywords and descriptions and replacing them by bland and often meaningless words, with the result that I often get some good earnings, but they are far from what I could get from the images they have submitted to Getty. I ended up with $119, which is certainly OK, but $107 of that came from just two images:
I simply can’t believe that out of 308 images now in my Getty portfolio, these two simple desktop shots are the only ones that “deserve” a sale. The real reason is that these are the only ones that their AI driven keywording has got reasonably right and so buyers are finding them… The LAN cable shot had one sale for $52 and the telephone one had a sale for $34 – without those my results would have been nothing like as solid.
Just to show you that the most unlikely shots can find a buyer, this simple shot of blue glass panes, sold for $28.50 on Shutterstock. It had previously had 4 subscription sales.
And for those of you who think that studio shots must be complex, this one (which is actually a composite of the various bits of technology) sold for $45 on SS:
Finally, this simple shot of an incandescent light bulb sold for $30 on Shutterstock:
Finally my cat sold for $32 and a Washington DC sunrise shot for $27.
What transformed my month were videos, with a total of $615 in earnings:
What you can see here is one of my secret sellers. As you know, I always advise my readers to try to spot trends by following the news (fake news will do best for this) and try to imagine what is likely to be in the news in the future. What new things are on the horizon that are catching fire. In my case here, I saw that vaping was becoming a popular replacement for cigarettes and the undoubted leader in the field in the US was Juul. A quick check on Shutterstock revealed zero shots of Juul vaping systems and so I bought a starter kit (in Heathrow airport as it happens) and started photographing against white, in home situations, in a school bag with books and apple (to capture the advertizing to children controversy), with a stethoscope (for medical issues) and then with a judge’s gavel (for court cases). I added videos as well including close ups and also ones of me putting the device together. What I didn’t do was take images of me smoking the thing! I’m not that stupid… As a result, $160 of these videos were vaping related. Total earnings to date from stills and video is over $1000. Not bad for a $30 investment. Now why tell you now and give my secrets away – mainly because you would be too late if you copied me! There are now 9 pages of results on Shutterstock and I have my images in most of the top positions in the search. I’m going through this to reinforce that need to be ahead of the competition. Not all your concepts will be winners – I thought I had a good edge in Game of Thrones tankards, but those have hardly sold at all. So go with your gut and try to get some early shots of the next big thing in the news.
As you can see, my cruise shots continue to sell, a silly letter Q with a US flag behind it also sold on Pond5 for the Q conspiracy theory. And of course, my opioid shots continue to sell. Quite a number of these videos were created on my home studio glass table using the Edelkrone DollyOne tracking dolly. I don’t think I would get the results I do without it! If you are tempted, that link gives me a small commission. In addition, occasional clicks on the adverts on this page also helps!
And so that is the message for this month – to get good earnings, you need to be ahead of the pack, not a follower!