Iberian Adventures, 1 Year on – What Sold and Why?

Time flies and it’s been one year since my two-leg Iberian adventures road-trip (see links here for Part I and here for Part II) from Portugal, across Spain and onto the south of France and then back again on a loop, as seen below. Amazing trip!

Iberian updates

2300 images and 100 clips

That’s how many there were from the two legs, roughly. Out of those, how many do you think have sold? Let’s find out!


Is one year enough time?

One year should be enough time to gauge how a batch of images have done and draw some conclusions going forward to be more efficient for next time.

If some images never sell after a year they will probably never sell, that’s the nature of the game, with the exception of some of the Rights-Managed at Robert Harding. Clips may take longer but as you’ll see, some have already started selling.

Let’s start off with some of the best sellers and why:

Best sellers from each country

I won’t give exact numbers as rather not give too much away…suffice to say that the following have done quite well at all agencies (just these have made like 70% of total earnings from the trip).

Best-sellers from Portuguese leg

Person pouring a cherry-liquor drink, known as ginja into a chocolate cup in Obidos, Portugal
Statue of 16th-century navigator, Pedro Alvares Cabral in Belmonte, Portugal, resulted in a decent sale at Alamy, but otherwise sporadic subs

Best-sellers from the Spanish leg

The Spanish leg was the longest, so naturally there should have been more quantity/quality and indeed my best results were from Spain, including the following:

Left is from a Tapas / Pintxos bar in San Sebastian, as the owner was kind enough to allow me to take some shots using the natural light (very difficult but managed to pull it off). Top-right is the Golden Tower in Seville overlooking the Guadalquivir river and on bottom-right a lively street view of a busy restaurant terrace and street-view, also in Seville.

Splendid Seville

Now that I look back, Seville turned out to be a profitable place, unlike the likes of Cordoba, Tarragona, Peniscola, Girona, etc. The following has also done well…and guess where…Seville!

Tourists on a Segway exploring the centre of Seville. Wide angle shot.

Spanish leg clip sold

So far, only one clip from the Spanish leg:

$17.50 for this timelapse in Tarragona

Best-sellers from the French leg

France, on the other hand, has so far proven to be a disappointment on the stills side. The only light at the end of the supermarket tunnel is the following which is being regularly picked up:

This shot of the interior of a busy Auchan supermarket near Nice, Cote d’Azur paid for my grocery shopping and more

One pending from Robert Harding

Need to wait for the next report as I have recently spotted this one licensed via RH which could be for big bucks:

One of my pics of the Arles Roman amphitheater licensed via Robert Harding

French clips sold:

Clips have been better with two clips so far has sold from the French leg:

juan les pin
Restaurant terraces in Juan les Pins sold for $17 on SS
$35 for this clip of a man playing with his dog on a rocky beach near Nice

What lessons can I learn from this experience

Quality vs Quantity

Ah the eternal debate between quality vs quantity? Which should you settle for and why?

I went a bit overboard on the quantity side, I admit, especially on the first leg, which got me stuck later on for 3 weeks post-processing with little returns for my time. Calmed down and stuck to more clips on the second leg…smart decision.

Quality will beat quantity any-day 

However, The shots that did sell were ironically ones that required the least effort. Basically, low investment, incidental, walk-around shots. In other words, the scene presented itself rather than me actively searching out.

The tapas, for instance, were because I was having a pre-dinner snack and the Golden Tower was just that I happened to be walking past at golden hour. Golden Hour Golden Tower 🙂 .

Perhaps we need to introduce another element into the Quality vs Quantity equation…luck! Maybe your content gets picked up and rises the rank or doesn’t and will never been seen…

Luck is an important element in this game

My fav shots are rarely the most profitable

The great irony of this game are that my fav shots are rarely strong sellers, such as the following from the road-trip:

Plaza Virgen de los Reyes leading to Calle Mateos Gago at night, Seville, Andalusia, Spain
One of my fav shots from the trip, yet has never sold. Captured in Seville, Andalucia, Spain
My series from Plaza de Espana in Seville have proven to be a disappointment, probably owing to the over-supply
Few subs from this beauty of Carcassonne Castle
Minimalist panorama of a rolling hilly plowed field with solitary suber cork oak tree, Quercus Suber, captured at Portugal's Alentejo region
Few subs for this minimalist panorama of a rolling hilly plowed field with solitary suber cork oak tree, Quercus Suber, captured at Portugal’s Alentejo region. However, I’m holding out on this beauty being picked up as a fine-art print

Keep it simple, stupid

Another lesson from the trip is to stick to one subject, such as one statue of a famous person (research the history behind to keyword), some nicely presented tapas, one monument with nice light.

Take the following conceptual shot, captured in rural Spain, which has done better than 90% of the batches.

Elderly man walking with a cane past a red stop sign leading to a curving highway - conceptual image
Elderly man walking with a cane past a red stop sign leading to a curving highway. Conceptual metaphors: forever young, never being too old to follow your dreams, defiance, overcoming challenges. etc

Also the fucking toll booths which have also done better than 90% of the batch – go figure! Shortly after the road-trip, I published a blog post entitled “Why a toll booth image is probably worth more than 10 fine art shots”

Useful shot, picked up here and there and everywhere

Local food is in-demand

Another lesson from the road-trip is that there is real value in capturing local food and drink, as shown above with the Ginja and tapas. One of the benefits if you manage to frame the shot properly (then clone out logos), is to upload them as commercial.

Not from the Iberian adventures but these Dutch bitterballen have sold extremely well!

In addition, this plate of Lebanese dishes has done very well. Again, incidental, hand-held and natural light!


Was it a profitable trip?

Hell no! Looking from a purely business-point of view, I’m at a huge loss in terms of all the costs (petrol, accommodation, food, etc) and I was still on a budget. I’d have to be pretty stupid to undertake one of these trips purely to make money from stock photos.

Try to cover some of your costs

However, the point is that I was going to go on the trip anyway purely since I enjoy traveling, so the pics/clips are just a little extra. Would be nice if I can eventually manage to cover even 1/2 of my costs, I believe it will be a success.

As for future trips, while I hone my craft and focus on which subjects to focus on for next time and shoot even more clips, I believe I should be able to easily cover most of my costs.

Would appreciate if you could help me out!

Above and throughout the blog, as you can appreciate, I’ve given quite a bit of my time to help you make sense of this complicated stock industry and focus on making money. I’ve also given away some of my best-sellers which will directly lead to those images reducing their value (how much is impossible to say).

If you feel that the information above and at other posts is useful and if you’re so included, kindly donate as much as you feel is reasonable by clicking on the following link below:

Donate Now!


Enjoy your summer!

That’s it folks, hope you found this blog post useful and please comment below. In particular, please let me know if you’ll be traveling anywhere special this summer and of course if you plan to take stock pics/clips!

Conceicao Beach in Cascais, Lisbon region, Portugal - Costa Verde Portuguese Riviera
Cascais, Portugal – final destination and you can see why 😀

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 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. I guess it depends If you are doing that as a main job or just expect a side-income.
    Personally, I don’t travel for stock, I travel and do stock.
    The Holy Grail question, like the Monty Python movie, is: do we do less covered subjects that might sell less or do we go with the flow and do already covered subjects, leaving our potential earnings to luck, hoping we got better keywords and higher search engines appearance? Even if someone (apart from the agencies) knows, he sure is not going to tell us!


  2. It actually the most precious information that one contributor can give out – what kind of images sell and from which location.


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