Open Discussion – Ask me Anything!

We’re now at the the peak of the summer season and sales are naturally quiet. I suppose it’s also a moment of reflection heading into the “business end of the year”.

Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to throw out there:

  • Any questions, suggestions for topics or anything else that you may be interested in sharing?
  • Any topics you’d be interested in me covering? Any additions to the sales reports that I may focus on?
  • Anybody with an interesting story/background that they would be interested in sharing (for an interview on here)?
  • Anything else!

Brainstorming a new book out not so soon…

I’ve been brainstorming lately on putting together a new book, combining my legal background with photography. Although it’s still very early days, it will be on country-specific rules/regulations as a street photographer within the top-50 most visited countries, with a twist on what landmarks and types of content can be licensed editorially at stock agencies.

A practical guide to stay on the right side of the law (or as close to as possible) and avoid any unnecessary risks and protect yourself in case of “harassment”. May also throw in info on up-to-date drone regulations as this is a new exciting development. Let’s see!

Sounds interesting?

Still much work and research to be done, but just throwing it out there for comments/suggestions…would this be something that would be interesting for you when you do get back to regular traveling? Have you had issues shooting out in the public in your travels?

Pedestrian street in the historic centre with the Bell Tower of La Mezquita (Great Mosque) in background, Cordoba, Andalucia, Spain, Europe

About Alex

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 (Late-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


  1. Hi Alex,
    I’d like to know about inheritance. How do we pass on copyright to our heirs in a way that is acceptable to the microstock agencies.
    I always enjoy reading your blog, your writing is refreshingly honest and entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michele,

      I’ve done some research on the matter and the process varies from agency to agency. However, what all agencies appear to have in common is that if the heir / beneficiary presents a copy of the death certificate and a will it will be sufficient to pass on the copyright.

      This depends on the jurisdiction though since in some countries the assets pass automatically to the next of kin even with a living will after a judicial process as a certain percent HAS to go to your family, wife, kids etc.

      As for Shutterstock: “Your portfolio may be transferred over to a beneficiary. Mention that in your Will and have that reviewed and approved by a lawyer. When it comes time, your beneficiary would approach us with the necessary paperwork for account transfer to take place. Please be aware that Shutterstock does honor the instructions of Estate representatives.”

      More details:

      Hope that’s helpful and all the best!



      • Hi Alex
        Yes that is very helpful, thank you so much. I’m at that age where I need to think of these things and it’s been on my mind of late. We put so much effort into microstock that I feel it’s worth passing along and I have a son who’s interested.
        It was very kind of you to help.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What is your forecast for the next couple of years for the microstock industry. I liked your sarcastic post about bitcoin and Dreamstime leading all the way, but seriously, what’s the brutally honest forecast?


    • Hi Elijah,

      Great question.

      As you know, 2020 and 2021 were strange years due to Covid, which severely affected the travel industry…impacting on sales within our respective travel ports. Travel is slowly returning and we’ve seen that sales have improved year-on-year.

      However, in the middle to long term it’s not looking great. My all-time RPI on micros was at 70cents for a long long time and now it’s around the mid 50cents even after adding new pics (which don’t sell for much anyway). In 5 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if my micros RPI is at 25cents and in 10 years at 10cents! Even lifestyle images aren’t immune as you’ve seen that AI is speeding ahead to create models artificially.

      In a few years, most agencies will be strongly encouraging or even demanding that images may be given away for free. Perhaps new contributors will even show glee at seeing their image in some sort of big publication even if it was given away for free.

      So, there’s no point continuing unless you have some sort of masochistic tendency. There are some rays of hope though, high-quality video is showing less signs of slowdown and saturation and of course drone footage is still in its infancy. And of course the book cover industry which is eternal, especially with lockdowns and such! Everything else is probably a waste of time unless you may create some very very niche content.

      Oh and of course, Dreamstime will overtake Shutterstock and Adobe Stock for top spot and pay us in DreamstimeCryptos!



  3. Does it matter anymore if you mark RF or RM when selling photos with Alamy? Aren’t your chances to sell are higher if you sell as RF? Thank you!


    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your question.

      Alamy deploys a hybrid licensing strategy where RF can become RM for a one-time basis and RM can almost be like RF for a one-time basis. There is no longer a clear distinction.

      Nevertheless, there are three main benefits of going RM in Alamy:

      1. As I’ve discussed, there have been incidences of suspicious Personal License usages, which Alamy turns a blind eye. It’s not possible to disable this usage as RF but can be done for RM.

      2. With a pure RM you will receive a more detailed usage report than RF. Also, multiple re-occurring sales may occur, which wouldn’t be possible with RF (one payment and many usages).

      3. Exclusivity is only possible with RM. Although exclusive sales are rare when they do happen they can be highly profitable (book covers for instance).

      One disadvantage of RM is that you cannot under the licensing terms license at other agencies as RF.

      More info here on the above pros/cons:



  4. I would like to understand more about the tax process in Adobe stock. Being in Mexico, I am very confused and don’t understand what form I would use.
    I have a few images there, do you even think it’s worth submitting there?
    Thank you


  5. Thank you, Alex, for a detailed reply!
    As for your second point:
    Did it ever happen in your experience that an image was used multiple times and you were paid royalties?
    As for your third point: with the change of contract there’s no incentive to be exclusive anymore.
    Do you think a buyer still prefers the image marked as exclusive, like, for a book cover usage?


    • The licensing terms at Alamy for Rights Managed editorials are usually 5 years, so some of the ones that were licensed in 2017 are coming to the end, will be interesting to see if I get some renewals.

      At Arcangel, I have had the same image sold multiple times (RM) as the books are published in different jurisdictions / languages.

      If a buyer wants exclusivity, Alamy customer relations will contact us directly to request such exclusivity. They will want to be 100% sure that such image is indeed exclusive before proceeding. Pity they got rid of the extra 20% royalties on ticking the exclusivity button, I guess many contributors won’t be honest.

      Hope that answers your questions and all the best!



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