First-Ever Earnings Report – Feb 2019

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


Breaking News

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.


Adobe Stock
SS clip
Clip sale for $28
$42 gross on Alamy

Robert Harding

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:

Idyllic sunset at marina in Cascais, Portugal
Sunset in Cascais, Portugal, available at Photo4Me

I still upload regularly to both these sites but overall, very disappointed.

Alamy blip

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.

Latest clips, most in 4K

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):

Panasonic Lumix GH7 is proving to be an excellent investment

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).

Smaller agencies 

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)!

Things are looking up over at CreativeMarket

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!

WhatsApp Image 2018-12-10 at 20.55.16
PartyMillions in Rio, coming soon!

About Alex

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


  1. Congratulations. I was surprised to see your strong results for Robert Harding given you only have 352 images (similar to me). So I went and checked my own online statements and found I had earned $185 in January (no statement yet for February) – far exceeding anything I’ve earned before. Maybe I should start adding more images there.

    It is also interesting how results vary to such extremes between MS libraries. Do you also have close to 10300 images on the MS libraries that pay pittance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! The duplicates are all over the place, AS has the least since they don’t accept editorials but some agencies I’ve come late to the game and had no desire to dig through archives. On average all micros agencies have about 7k or so with SS having the most at 10,300. RH can surprise with some big sales…I’ll keep adding regularly.


  2. Well done on your earnings which are far superior to mine albeit with a much larger port. You may have seen that I am abandoning my focus with Alamy to transfer images only on Alamy to other sites as I believe I will earn more. I was refused my Robert Harding but will try again at some later date.

    POD is something I have tried also and to date have 2 sales on Photo4me which is hardly setting the world on fire. Steve Heap pointed out to me that Uk images are really what sells there and I don’t have too many of those. I am also uploading to Society6 now but have yet to have a sale.

    I have had just one sale on Picfair but it is so easy to upload that I will continue.

    I believe many of us are putting huge amounts of time and effort into this business but in reality, we are getting scant reward. For me, it is a hobby and, as I am retired, keeps me busy. A little more reward would be nice, however. I shall watch your progress with great interest.

    I was also going to ask the same question as Andy above.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, Steve has encouraged me to check out Society6 and also EyeEm. Not sure, sometimes I ask myself what’s the point of keep adding new agencies when it’s evident (from my results and also his) that some of these smaller agencies just don’t justify the effort. Sure, with Stocksubmitter sometimes it’s easy just to add an FTP. If you have to do it manually better use the time to do something more profitable.

      I need to do more to promote my POD prints. The way it is, just sitting there passively waiting for someone to purchase a print, isn’t the most viable option. Need to think of a strategy but have other more important matters to deal with.

      Alamy is a good agency but highly unpredictable. This month $75 net, who knows maybe in March I earn $500 net…it’s within the realm of possibility. But more likely I’ll earn around the $200-300 range which is OK and adds to the big picture of results.

      All the best and thanks for your support!



  3. Why not also report total sales divided by total images for each agency ($/image) – or total $ divided by # of images sold for each agency? Otherwise, it is hard to compare agencies if one has 100 images and the other has 1,000 images.


  4. Hey, glad you started doing this. Gives me something to shoot for on my reports.

    What are your current thoughts on 123rf. I have had 100 files pending review for over 4 months.

    Keep shooting and uploading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dustin,

      Nice to hear from you and thanks for getting in touch!

      I had a massive batch pending on 123rf for many months and after getting in touch with them they cleared it within a few weeks. Hope that helps!



  5. Hi Alex,
    Just found your blog – really interesting to see your progress in terms of numbers.

    I’ve been looking at stock for a number of years to supplement income (for my very busy day job). I already have a very small freelance photo business here in Japan as a side gig, but I prefer this type of work as it could get me out and about more rather than studio work.

    From what I can see, this looks like even as a full time gig, you need to supplement your income with other revenue sources like books and paid gigs. my question is if someone like myself (who basically just has weekends), is there enough time to actually make a success out of stock just as a part time thing? It seems that to be a success at it, you really have to do this full time.

    I’d be curious on your thoughts on this.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your message and compliment!

      I’ve just seen your work, quite stunning!

      I don’t do this full-time but do put in a good 20 or so hours a week, which is still substantial. There were weeks when I was doing this full-time and I find it really counter-productive, especially on the post-processing and keywording side. If you’re rushing batches then the quality drops. Stock should not be a full-time gig imo…it’s just a side hustle to pay for gear upgrades. The bread and butter work should come from working with clients within your niche.

      Part-time is fine. There’s no real rush to get images up, unless they’re the breaking news editorial side. The most important is to upload consistently, even if only 10-20 images a week.

      Hope that helps!



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