Welcome back! Happy to share with you my comprehensive February 2020 report on my stock photography and footage earnings. Read on towards the end to “congratulate” the Turd of the Month Agency.
Click here to see the January 2020 Brutally Honest Earnings report.
But first, would appreciate if you could help me out!
Throughout my 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 earnings info on some of my best-sellers which will directly lead to those images reducing their value (how much is impossible to say but suffice to say that copycat thieves may be lurking).
If you feel that the information below and throughout the blog is useful I kindly ask you to donate as much as you feel is reasonable, such a price of a damn coffee (not as Starbucks though), by clicking on the following link below:
You can also support me by purchasing one or more of my images as a wall-hanger for a friend / relative.
Alex’s Fine Art Prints!
February uploads (not many)
I haven’t uploaded so much this month owing to bad weather and being stuck at the office in my day job, but I did manage to obtain some interesting super wide-angle perspectives which I trust will sell, such as the following captured on Passeo de la Castellana in Madrid, Spain:
Light and weather is improving and I’ll be much more active in March!
February Detailed Summary (Stills)
Quite mediocre month all-round as you can see from below.
|Agency||Number of Images in port (added Feb)||Net Revenue for Feb (US$)||Avg Return Per Download (US$)|
|Adobe Stock||3,361 (7)||85||1.02|
|Creative Market||1,368 (9)||8||4|
|Fine Art America||690||0||0|
|Robert Harding*||383 (0)||19*||9|
|Rex Features||725 (0)||27||5|
*RH reported 2019 Q4 earnings at $54 in total
February Detailed Summary (Footage)
|Agency||Number of clips in port (added Feb)||Net Revenue for Feb (US$)||Avg Return Per Download (US$)|
|Adobe Stock||332 (2)||28||28|
Total = $767 vs $806 (January)
Measuring Stills vs Footage
As seen in my 2020 goals for the year, by the end of the year I would like my total earnings from footage to correspond at least 25% of my total earnings.
Therefore, to track my progress, I’ve introduced the following metric which I’ll update every month onwards:
As above, perhaps also indicating that average prices for stills is falling, I’m heading nicely towards my 25% goal. Maybe I was even too pessimistic and my results will be 40% by the end of the year!!
Brutally Honest Reports is celebrating one year!
Exactly one year ago I (hesitantly) disclosed my first-ever earnings report. How do results compare one year on?? It’s not pretty reading.
One year ago, in February 2019, I earned $985 vs February 2020 where I earned considerably less at $767. This is despite currently adding more than 1,500 stills and 500 clips over the past year to the major agencies….this is evidence that this business (as a full-time gig) is probably unsustainable for most contributors. I’ll make more detailed month-on-month comparisons from next month.
With this negative tone in mind, let’s move onto the next depressing concept…
Coronavirus concepts are going viral
One of the beauties of this business model is that we can take past content to adapt to present circumstances. One example is the current coronavirus crisis occurring in Italy. Owing to my time there, I have plenty of backgrounds I could use.
Suffice to say they have sold well, for instance:
It’s frustrating though as SS come up with all sorts of silly rejections these days. They usually accept in the end but do test our patience:
Shutterstock standout results
As mentioned above, I’ve noticed a worrying lack of Extended License sales from SS in the past two months. Only one for $10 to report:
One the footage side, things are looking up. Managed to sell three clips for a total of $49, including:
The third was the usual NYE fireworks in Rio which sells almost every month.
Adobe Stock standout results
Decent month at Adobe Stock for a total of $113. On the stills side, my best sellers were:
On the footage side, only one sale and it’s a repeat sale from the previous month, which sold for $28:
iStock standout results
Average month at iStock at a total of $122 with one clip sale.
Looks like buyers were hungry in February…
As for the clip, a timelapse of a wooden cross sold for $7.
Alamy Standout Results
Alamy disappointed as usual with 8 sales for a net of $64. Standout results included:
Can’t be too hard on Alamy though as I’ve spotted some sold images which are yet to register on my dashboard, including:
Pond 5 Update
Pond5 finally came back to life with two sales ($26 net each) where I expertly used my gimbal. Both captured in Cascais, Portugal and presumably purchased by the same buyer.
Robert Harding 2019 Q4 Report it Out
RH reported and it was an anti-climax. $54 in 3 months for 383 premium images is extremely turdy (46cents per image/per month). Only two “standout” results:
I’ve stopped uploading to RH. I wouldn’t recommend uploading to them.
The combined efforts of the laggard Microstock Minnows produced a mediocre results of $59 with DepositPhotos leading this pathetic pack with $22. PicFair drew a blank for the third month in a row, wtf?
Funny that a picture of myself practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sold on DP for $1.62:
Turd of the Month
Without a doubt, following another disappointing earnings report, I nominate Robert Harding Travel Agency for the reasons outlined above.
Until next month, folks…stay safe!
I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Madrid, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’ve devoted six years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer (however, had recently go back into full-time office work to make ends meet!). I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.
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
Interesting results! RH has not turned out well at all. If your results are typical, it is hard to see them continuing in business…
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I’m glad I resisted a temptation to submit to RH. There’s a lot do dislike about RH besides poor sales. The clause in their contract that prohibits the usage of the images for 5 years anywhere else after you stop submitting to them is absolutely appalling imho.
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Glad I didn’t put in more effort and focused on greener pastures!
Your numbers certainly reinforce my opinion that Shutterstock, Adobe, and Pond5 are the only ones worthy of my attention for submitting footage.
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Absolutely! I have fluke double-digit sales on iStock and Dreamstime but def not worth the time and effort to upload
I’ve also stopped submitting to RH. Sales mostly disappointing with one surprisingly good sales report once a year. No direct sales, most are distributor with RH and getty getting the lions share of revenue, leaving very little for me.
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Yeah, they’re turds!
Hey Alex! I am following your blog for quite a while now. Thanks for the good content!
I think whether it’s still possible to increase one’s earnings may have to do with what one shoots and produces. And with a good portion of luck. I’ve noticed a couple of times that after having a single image selling exceptionally well at an agency I see a general boost in downloads after a while, probably because of better search ratings. Had that with istock a while ago, and now with Adobe for a period of more than six months.
Generally speaking most of the stuff I sell is on the conceptual side. Mostly pretty simple things. Never sold a lot of travel and landscape pictures. Maybe I just don’t have enough of those. But my earnings increased from around 650 bucks in 02/19 to around 1200 in 02/20. A good part of that increase came from Adobe, where I made less than a hundred Euros a month at the beginning of last year. Now it’s up to more than 300 for the last two or three months after a steady upward trend starting in early summer after really slow growth during the years before. So for me personally the business still looks somewhat promising at the moment while I’m of course aware of all the problems out there. At Shutterstock eg I’m pretty much stuck at the same low income level for more than a year now. Never really took off, and I don’t see that that will happen in the future.