Welcome back to the January 2021 detailed monthly report during these increasingly strange and desperate times! I had a strange dream / vision the other day related to my January 2031 earnings and wrote about it as soon as I woke up, check it out!
Supporting the Brutally Honest Blog
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). In addition to the risk of Shutterstock shutting down my account for disclosing my sales on there.
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Detailed Earnings Breakdown
First for stills….
|Agency||Number of Images in port (added Jan)||Net Revenue for Jan (US$)||Avg Return Per Download (US$)|
|Adobe Stock||3,539 (8)||34||0.75|
|Creative Market||1,517 (5)||0||0|
|EyeEm||277 (1) – (Partner)||0||0|
|Fine Art America||690||0||0|
|iStock (Dec)||6878 (46)||90||0.4|
|Robert Harding||384 (0)||37||9|
|Shutterstock Editorial||829 (30)||0||0|
Now for clips…
|Agency||Number of clips in port (added Jan)||Net Revenue for Jan (US$)||Avg Return Per Download (US$)|
|Adobe Stock||381 (3)||0||0|
Total: $301 vs $461 in December. Compared to January 2020, where I earned $806, this represents a fall of 63% earnings.
Looking at the long-term
Still bullish on clips despite everything…
I’m still bullish on clips and happy to share with you my fav uploaded in January.
FuckerStock – Nice!
Had an absolutely abysmal month at Fuckerstock.
Really no major sales to report…just the usual 10-20cent subs ugh. In fact, the average RPI was just 24cents which is LOWER than someone starting out a year ago and earning from a sub (25cents). This is also the first time since early 2016 when I’ve missed out on a humble $100 payment level at SS.
Adding salt into the wounds, a 4K clip was sold for just under $2…
Let’s move onto more positive news, shall we…
iStock has overtaken SS in earnings for first time ever
I originally foretasted that Adobe Stock would eventually overtake SS but to my surprise the first agency to do so on my port is iStock with an OK result of $97 with the help of the following.
Arcangel Accepted Images
No sales on Arcangel this month and I keep on uploading. Some potential book covers presented themselves with the urban snow scenes from the recent winter-storm (Filomena) in Madrid. A total of five images accepted this month.
I’ve started some freelance writing for StockStudio.io and published a fun little article on Best Places to Sell Stock Photos – Transitioning to Book Cover Photography – check it out!
Alamy Live News is probably a waste of time (for me)
Staying on topic of the winter storm, I thought it was a good idea to upload some images from the storm to Alamy Live News (as well as Rex Features, now Shutterstock Editorial).
I made the application to the Alamy Live News team and only received a reply 17 hours later, thus rending the “breaking news” completely useless. I’ve written extensively about time is of the essence when it comes to uploading breaking news images.
Guardian of the Poor keeps Contributors Poor
Millions of people viewed my composite of a drone over an airport due to being featured on the Guardian of the Poor newspaper story entitled, “The Mystery of the Gatwick Drone“. Unsurprisingly the earnings earned ensured that whoever licenses to the Guardian via Alamy remains poor.
Rex Features / Shutterstock Editorial
Whereas, Shutterstock Editorial have images up and ready for clients within a few minutes after upload. Prices are great as well. Here are my latest images uploaded this month of the snowstorm:
More recently, upon spending some time in Portugal during these more interesting times, I ventured close to a hospital and gathered some pics of the commotion.
Poor showing at Adobe Stock
Very poor month at Adobe Stock with only $34 on 0.75c/download. They should rebound.
New macro Lens! 105mm Macro
I felt like treating myself this month with a brand new premium lens to add to my collection. Settled for the 105mm F2.8 prime lens from Nikon, which was on sale for 926 Euros (will take many months to pay off with my current microstock earnings but I don’t care).
Also a great portrait lens…which I’m keen to experiment soon with improving lighting conditions. What has impressed me most is the shallow depth of field, see below an example:
DepositPhotos Contributor Royalties Change
Well, unsurprising after Shutterstock’s shocking payment schedule change, other small agencies are sheepishly following the trend. Latest turd to do so is one of the better earning minnows, DepositPhotos. See below the change (about a 12% reduction in effective earnings):
Golden Turd of the Month Award
This was a particularly difficult month choose a turd as there were TOO MANY!
The criteria I use to select the turd of the month is relatively complex and includes some of the the following factors:
- Well below average revenue for a longish period (I’ll usually let the agency off the hook if it’s a one-off month) – most important consideration;
- Lots of crazy weird rejections;
- Teaming up with one of the stupid free-download sites;
- Something turdy an agency does like change the change the contributor agreement to the detriment of contributors, such as loosening licensing restrictions like SS did with the new payment schedule.
So with the above in mind, I’ve had no choice but award the coveted Golden Turd of the Month Award to….
Hey, that’s my pic (which sold for peanuts)!
Spotted my images this month in some places, which were for the most part sold for 10cent subs on Fuckerstock, which will soon lead me to the unemployment office.
Here’s a slideshow of my recently-spotted:
That’s it for this month, nothing more to report. Hope that February will be better…honestly, it can’t get any worse….
Is Microstock still worth it in 2021?
I can categorically say no, it’s not worth it unless those consider it some sort of hobby. In my case, I’ve relegated this side-hustle to a sort of a fun past-time to upgrade some gear once upon a time as discussed above and if there’s a bit left over to spend on travel (whenever possible, hopefully soon).
There’s more money to be made picking up loose change in supermarket shopping carts or turning cans/bottles over to recycling centres for a few quarters.
I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Madrid, Spain, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage, when things go back to normal (mid-2021??). I’ve devoted eight 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