If you recall my 2018 year-end-review, one of my goals for 2019 was to publish a summary of my monthly earnings every month. If I’m going to (brutally honestly) talk the talk, it’s only fair that I must walk the walk.
In addition, this is also a good exercise for me to meretriciously measure which agencies are improving over the medium to long-term, as well as the types of content to focus my energies to producing more of that type of content.
First, let’s see which are the agencies that I’m currently working with.
Which agencies do I currently submit (and number of images)
Microstock (up to 10,300 images)
- 123RF, AdobeStock, Bigstock, Dreamstime, DepositPhotos, Colourbox, CreativeMarket, Canva, Picfair, SignElements, Shutterstock, iStock, WeMark
- Rex Features (662), Zuma Press (exclusive, new entrant)
Footage (up to 668 clips)
Print on Demand (up to 688 files)
Total: 22 Agencies
Net Earnings ($) and highlights
Total: $985 with a few agencies pending
Note: Some agencies report at different times of the month, such as iStock on the 20th, so above I’ve included results for January. REX Features should report in a few days but there’s usually a considerable lag from when the client used the image to payment.
With Arcangel it’s really random and depends on one-off sales.
My Quarterly Robert Harding report-card on those magical 352 image which I cherish so much came in and there were two large sales (three-figures) – below. I won’t disclose the amounts for contractual reasons.
Piss on Demand (POD)
Print on demand or piss on demand which I’ll start calling it is turning to be really frustrating for me due to lack of sales. As you can see above, none in Feb and my last sale was on Photo4Me in November for this print:
I still upload regularly to both these sites but overall, very disappointed.
I had a double blow on Alamy in Feb. Not only was this a very very disappointing month at just $75 net on over 11k images is a waste of time, but the 20% reduction came into effect. I was hoping for a late-month surge which is quite common on Alamy but it just didn’t materialise. However, lots of other contributors are also reporting lower-than-expected earnings on the Alamy forum thread about sales in Feb, so this suggests that it’s merely temporary.
I still have great faith in Alamy and trust that this will be temporary and I should be back to my usual $200+ net months soon and hopefully even more.
Footage is slow-going but should pick up
A few weeks ago, I purchased the fantastic Panasonix Lumix GH7, which records in 4K resolution. Had some fun trying it out in London capturing transport-related shots as well as Brexit-related content and Chinese New Year…all in 4K for potentially higher returns.
Back in Portugal
Back in Lisbon, as the light is improving, I’ve been out and about capturing real-time and timelapses, such as this one overlooking the iconic April 25 bridge, resulting in this clip (thanks Theo for helping me to colour-grade):
Overall Verdict – Mixed
It feels bittersweet since $1k/month for doing something I love is still respectful but overall I’m not happy about the amount I’m currently earning for the effort I’m putting. But the good news is that I feel that I’m on a verge of a breakthrough.
On the stills side, some of the agencies listed above have huge upside potential, such as Adobe Stock, Alamy, Arcangel and Robert Harding. The last two have one-off huge upside potential as one license can be in the high 3-figure ranges.
Speaking of Arcangel, here’s some of my latest book cover potentials from the past week:
On the video side, of course it should take longer, but hopefully some of the 4K sales will come through (even if buyer decides to purchase an HD version).
As you can see, some of the smaller agencies just aren’t worth the time and I’ll probably drop a few after I reach payout (SignElements, Canva) come to mind. Picfair and Wemark are new and must give them time. CreativeMarket was a surprise as I had two sales from two different buyers on the same day for these two beauties (total $28.50 net)!
Predictions for next year
My goal is that by this time next year I’ll be making approximately $2k/month and perhaps in two years to double that. I’m taking inspiration from Master Steve Heap’s excellent and well-deserved earnings, as published on his blog.
Just need to keep pushing and learning.
Beware of fraudsters / thieves
I’m well-aware that there are copyright thieves around all too willing to cut corners so forgive me for not going “full out” to protect my own interests. If I say XYZ images are doing well and give results, what’s to stop people simply copying my work? I partly regret going into so much detail about the drone-strikes in this post. I’ll have to be wiser in the future…
This whole SS fraud situation has been a real eye-opener…and the fact that they’ve shut down the thieves threads after all the work myself and others put in to wack those moles just makes me very angry. Here’s a link to the update.
See you next month!
I’m off to Rio in two weeks to participate in the PartyMillions Poker tournament. In any case, I’ll be back with a summary of March! Stay tuned!
I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted over six years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.
I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography