June 2022 Brutally Honest Earnings Report

Welcome to the June 2022 detailed monthly report where, as usual, I’ll focus on all my stock earnings for the month. Overall, it’s been a busy June particularly with more drone content produced including the following Maverick-style POV shot along the cliffs of Portugal!

Before we get started…

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June Highlights

Two monthly highlights here on the blog!

Drone: Avoiding Seagulls and Further Studying

The studying never stops it seems, together with improving my skills as a drone pilot. So far, according to the DJI App, I’ve racked up just over 8 hours of flight time and haven’t crashed once! Nor have I been fined/arrested/humiliated, but I have had a few close calls with aggressive seagulls as you can see here with my first-ever flight in Lisbon (I must have been super close to some nests) – apologies for the shaky video.

Seagulls don’t usually reach dizzy heights of 80+ metres as their main food source is on the ground but the problem I had with shooting in this particular location, in the centre of Lisbon, is that I was only given authorization to fly up to 30 metres. Next time I’ll have to break some rules or risk losing my drone to a seagull attack!

EU A2 Certificate Obtained!

As I’m operating a drone that is on the heavier side at 595 grams, I’ve gone through the trouble of obtaining my A2 qualification in order to fly as close as 5 metres from “involved people” at least until the end of the year. Pretty cool that is qualification is valid throughout the EU.

From 2023, perhaps I may need to get a new drone with a C2 marking as my currently will turn into a “legacy drone” but let’s see what the regulators come up with…

Taking the A2 Exam

The exam itself, which was held at the Portuguese Aviation HQ, wasn’t too difficult (30 questions, all multiple choice) but I did have to prepare for at least a few hours. Lots of questions on meteorology, correct use of batteries / technical stuff and mitigating risks.

Enough about drones, let’s move swiftly onto my usual detailed earnings for the month:

Detailed Earnings

As always, starting first with stills:

AgencyNumber of Images in port
(images added June)
Net Revenue for June (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Alamy13,584 (67)274.5
Arcangel (RM-exclusive)1,541 (46) 12864
Adobe Stock3,681 (40)53
(320 from FREE collection)
Creative Market1,594 (20)00
DepositPhotos7,018 (58)160.40
Dreamstime7,259 (71)60.45
EyeEm351 (15) – Partner Program only00
Freekpik97 (46)90.08
Fine Art America690 (0)00
Gallerist81 (81)00
iStock (May 2022)7,319 (49) 490.50
Robert Harding (Q1 2022 monthly average) – exclusive386 (0)30.5
Shutterstock Editorial 898 (0)00
Shutterstock10,788 (36)1200.39
Pond51,806 (10)00
Photo4Me354 (0)00
SignElements1,278 (21)1N/A
Wirestock1,785 (65)70.50
Total 739 


AgencyNumber of clips in port
(added June)
Net Revenue for June (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Adobe Stock468 (13)00
Pond51,675 (35)00
iStock275 (46)20.80
OverflightStock – exclusive63 (1)00
Shutterstock1,216 (15)00
Wirestock88 (0)00
Total 2 

Totals: $741 in June vs $646 in May

Thoughts on the month earning $741

Other than the two relatively small Arcangel sales (details below), a hugely frustrating month, particularly when it comes to clips which earned me just $2 lol and at iStock of all places. I’m not sure what else I can do but keep grinding away producing those aerial shots which should begin selling soon…

The bounty received from AS, although very welcome, is a one-off so really skews the results ($320) of what is a poor global trend.

Now, let’s go through each of the major agencies in more detail.

Alamy: Back to TurdZone

After a relatively encouraging May where I earned a net $65, Alamy went back to the TurdZone with just net $27 with a worrying average of just $4.50/sale. No major sales to report, obviously.

I do like Alamy but their inconsistency is troubling…as well as some ridiculous sub 5cent sales to China.

Adobe Stock: Continued continued continued continued continued continued disappointment…but at least there’s hope!

Adobe Stock and Pond5 are just two agencies that I just can’t get any momentum and June was no different to previous months with very disappointing results.

$320 earned from 52 downloads in the free-collection scheme

Pretty good result with 52 downloads vs 16 in the last round. Most of the images selected aren’t even strong sellers so quite happy to earn the $5. As for some that are strong sellers and were selected, I’ve checked some of my sales and even if they were selected last year they continued to sell on all sites, such as my famous Dutch bitterballen.

iStockPhoto: Back to TurdZone

May produced a very decent $154 with a super healthy average of 90cents/download, but momentum quickly died off with June producing just $50 on 50cents/download on average. Honestly, what’s the point?! No major sales to report, obviously.

Shutterstock: Poor month

Continuing on with the bleak sales repot, Shutterstock produced a poor month at only $118 with an average of $0.38/download, pretty much close to the lowest I’ve ever seen and for the first time EVER lower than iStock.

I looked at some stats from a three years ago and the average return per download was at 70cents…a sign of the times. Here’s the depressing trend (red line is the historical average)…

Only one $15 sale to report of this drone/airport composite.

Pond5: Summer Hibernation – Wake the fuck up!

Gone missing, again!

46 Accepted Images in Arcangel in June + 2 Sales!

Finally some good news! After many months with no sales, finally happy to report to sales in June for the following:

Found it interesting that they completely replaced the black and white picture on the book with their own!

The book, picture and table cloth were all props I purchased at Madrid’s El Rastro market almost exactly a year ago. Check out the blog post on visiting that flea market and uploading images to Arcangel!

Props I purchased at the flea market

And as for the second sale…

Feeding the beast!

I just keep building my port and happy to report that 46 accepted images were accepted in June…

I’m optimistic that I’ll now begin having regular sales at Arcangel as my port is reaching a decent size and quality.

Signed up Gallerist, a new Italian Agency offering decent returns

I’m always on the lookout for new agencies that may offer, us contributors, a decent-enough return on our investment. Thanks Fabio Nodari for recommending me.

I’ve decided to upload some of my best-selling images to Gallerist as they offer a minimum of 1Euro per image sold, under their subscription package, which is pretty good.

As they’re a new agency they are still ironing out some technical bugs to streamline the uploading process but I would recommend signing up now and beginning to upload. Opening up a new agency in 2022 is a HUGE challenge but I believe they have what it takes to make it a success.

Hey, that’s my pic !

Spotted the following 8 pics this month in use this month!

The Poll is back!

Name your GOLDEN TURD OF THE MONTH AGENCY (worst-performing / most-hated / most evil agency)

Until next time, I’m off to the UK…

After more than 3 years I’m finally leaving the Iberian peninsula next week, going to the UK, so will be a nice change of scenery!

Juxtaposition of David Wynne’s Girl With A Dolphin statue near Tower Bridge and Victorian engineering on the River Thames, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Lisbon, Portugal, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.

Most recently I’ve gone all in on submitting book cover images to Arcangel Images. Oh and also recently purchased a DJI Mavic 2s drone and taking full advantage.

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. Thanks Alex. Great and interesting report as always.
    Congratulations on the Arc sales.
    I have still only had the one although as they take quite a while to pay, there may be one pending, who knows. I’d love to be told at the point of sale and before payment. That could be encouraging rather than waiting for months until payment comes in.
    I had a $30 sale on Sstock for a doll this month which was pleasing and very unusual.
    What will you be doing here in the UK?
    All the best for that.
    Sorry, this has turned into a dissertation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Visiting my brother and sister in law in UK, as well as friends I haven’t seen in many years! Hope to also capture some stock content of the book cover kind and perhaps I’ll take my drone, haven’t decided yet…

      Keep uploading to AC!

      All the best!


  2. My payment trigger at Sstock is set to $35.
    My balance yesterday was $34.99 and didn’t move.
    One cent off payment. Doh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your sales from Arcangel. I can not wait to have my first one.
    I am confused with vintage imagery as I have had mine rejected because I have no model release from the next of kin but I see you got yours accepted. I wonder if it is because yours were from older times.

    Regarding Alamy, I woke up to a $0 sale this morning and I am fuming! The sale was so low that after the distributors and Alamy getting their commission I ended up with nothing.
    I am seriously thinking of deleting all my images. Us photographers are treated with such lack or respect. I can not do this anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! AC will put the burden for providing a MR/PR in the hands of the contributor so if they didn’t accept your pic it may be due to other issues.

      As for that they accepted, don’t think there are issues as the pics are 70 years old.

      Stick with Alamy, they are worth it but highly inconsistent.


  4. Great summary, as always.
    I follow your experience with drones. I am practicing with a mini drone and I hope to do the A2 exam soon
    Of course, I’m also interested in your experience with Arcangel. Congratulations on those sales! Agatha Christie? wow! 😄
    I’m optimistic about Arcangel (my acceptance rate goes up), and pessimistic about micro agencies, although I keep sending images. The TurdZone is starting to get crowded! 🤦🏻‍♂️
    As always, thanks for sharing your numbers and experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps with your mini drone you won’t get much benefit from the A2! But anyway, if it’s free and you have the time, why not.

      Let’s hope we both get more AC sales soon :)))

      All the best – Alex


      • Yes! I imagine it will be quite different. I bought it to have one more tool for stock, take pictures and some 4k recording and gain experience in handling. The idea is to get some professional pilot certificates and have a possible job opportunity, in case the stock does not recover 🤦‍♂️😄


  5. Alex, have you re-applied to Trevillion?
    I wonder if they pay more than Arc.
    With the quality of work you are producing, seems worth another try..


  6. Is awesome that you make some sales on Archangel after so many months of no sales. I see the first book cover is in Greek, and the second one in Romanian. I hope soon you will earn at least 500 $ every month from Archangel alone.

    Liked by 1 person

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