Welcome to the July 2022 detailed monthly report focusing on my overall earnings for the month. Happy to report that after almost three years I have finally ventured outside the Iberian peninsula, to visit the UK – let’s get started!
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Three monthly highlights!
- What to shoot for Microstock in 2022 – People, Things, Places – Guest post at Gallerist;
- Why I invested in a 24mm Tilt-Shift Lens;
- Interview with Matt Gibson, UK-based Landscape, Nature and Wildlife Photographer
- Also suggest you check out Steve Heap’s latest guest-post article at Xpiks on How to make money selling photos of yourself. Some great tips there!
Capturing unique drone angles
Had the idea to record one of my no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sessions with the drone, let’s see if some of the set will sell as editorials.
My first drone hyperlapse!
Next, I was keen to experiment with my drone’s hyperlapse mode. After watching a few YouTube tutorials I felt confident and lined up my shot and bang…this is my best one and I selected a duration of 10secs with 3secs intervals at 1/40secs.
Theo later helped me to stabilize it as it was quite windy up there at 100metres! Why so high you may ask, well seagulls struggle to get up that high, of course I would have preferred doing a lower-to-the-ground hyperlapse but not if I risked losing my investment.
Tilt-Shift Lens – First Impressions
While in the UK, I was keen to experiment with the Tilt-Shift lens and here are two examples:
Now let’s move onto the usual detailed earnings report.
As always, starting first with stills:
|Agency||Number of Images in port |
(images added July)
|Net Revenue for July (US$)||Avg Return Per Download (US$)|
|Arcangel (RM-exclusive)||1,638 (97)||0||0|
|Adobe Stock||3,725 (44)||80||0.91|
|Creative Market||1,594 (20)||0||0|
|EyeEm||356 (5) – Partner Program only||0||0|
|Fine Art America||690 (0)||0||0|
|iStock (June 2022)||7,429 (110)||41||0.33|
|Robert Harding (Q2 2022 monthly average) – exclusive||388 (2)||3||0.5|
|Shutterstock Editorial||898 (0)||0||0|
|Agency||Number of clips in port |
|Net Revenue for July (US$)||Avg Return Per Download (US$)|
|Adobe Stock||479 (11)||22||22|
|OverflightStock – exclusive||72 (9)||0||0|
Totals: $504 in July vs $741 in June
Thoughts on the month – $504 earned
Some positives to consider this month, including Adobe Stock finally breaking the $100 level (last month didn’t count as the $5-up-front giveaway is just a one-off) and Shutterstock pulling a decent month. However, Alamy and iStock were disastrous and I’ve gone back to breaking up with Alamy (what a tumultuous relationship we have) – more on this below.
I feel that I’m still in portfolio-building mode as getting dozens of drone clips up and of course book covers, so we SHOULD see some sales in a few months. Ever the optimist.
Alamy: Deep in the TurdZone
With such a pathetic month, I feel like Alamy is like that hot crush you had in high school that got drunk one night (in this case in September 2021) and you got some action, only to complete freeze you for months despite you trying to give him/her all the attention. Morning-after regrets?
Huge clients = hugely disappointing royalties
Alamy has partnerships with leading newspapers, including El Pais, Spain’s leading newspaper. One of my pics from a 2017 trip to Utrecht, The Netherlands featured on the header of one of their articles and earned me a whopping $1.18 net while being viewed by literally millions of people over its lifetime.
All in all, my port should be the poster-boy for their “own the blank page” campaign:
Adobe Stock: Finally a decent month
Adobe Stock produced a quite strong month leading with the best image sold for just under $24.
Also, one clip sale of my trip to Seville sold earning me just over $22.
iStockPhoto: Also deep in the TurdZone
As for iStock, low volumes and low RPI are something that I’ve got used to for the past two years. No matter how much new content I upload, most months are truly disappointing. The trend is certainly towards the pits as you can see the trend-line I’ve drawn on the long-term earnings chart (total earned in blue).
But I’ve been uploading regularly to those turds!
You may (correctly) say that that I need to upload more to get new sales since I can’t keep relying on old gems. But I have been uploading regularly to iStock (and now via Wirestock as they’re distributing on there). In fact, July was a particularly strong upload month with 110 image uploads and 4 clips.
Shutterstock: Decent month
Shutterstock was the outstanding result for the month with a new-normal superb result of a total of $268. Image RPI was quite outstanding at 0.82, thanks to some high-selling image sales, including:
Even though people were welcoming the start of what would be a super turdy 2020, this NYE clip sold thus earning me $50.
Controversial Freepik is a welcome surprise
Happy to report that Freepik (horrible name for an agency btw) pulled a strong month with $12 on just a 320-large portfolio, although the portfolio averaged about 200 for most of the month.
Elijah has been uploading at Freepik for longer and has broken the $100-mark on just 2,200 images. He has also shared some of his initial thoughts after a few months uploading on there:
“My Freepik earnings are a lot higher than ‘premium’ Alamy where I have 6x as many images but earn 4x less. Contrary to popular belief, sales at Freepik have not adversely affected earnings on other platforms”.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Elijah!
Pond5: Just one sale
The hibernating bear woke up with one small sale earning me $19.50. Overall, many disappointing months at Pond5.
Now onto some good news…
Record 97 images accepted Images in Arcangel in July!
Now finally some good news – here they all are as accepted this month.
Patience is key
In terms of building my port at Arcangel, I’m having huge success in getting images accepted which SHOULD translate in sales very soon, keeping in mind that there is at least a 6-month / 1 year lag between images accepted and sold.
Keep building the port
I’m confident that the reasons why so many new images are being accepted compared to just a year ago is of course the coaching I’ve received / continue to receive and most recently, investing in a drone.
Drone shots are in demand in the book cover market
I’ve just checked some stats and since April, 45 of those images accepted have been captured with the drone out of 276, equaling 6%. This many not sound like much but I’m not out flying my drone everyday and when I do it’s not for long periods (1 hour max). This is compared to when I’m doing my usual rounds as a street photographer for long periods (up to 5 hours).
Perhaps soon the book cover market will become too saturated with standard top-down drone shots and I’ll have to adjust but I’m glad that I’m getting in there relatively early. Here’s one of my favourite for the month where I also added a smoke action on Photoshop.
A much more recent investment of mine is the tilt-shift lens and having some early success on having such images accepted. Super early days as I’ve only been using it for 3 weeks (and there’s a learning curve) but I can already see that this month out of the 97 images accepted 10 were captured with the tilt-shift lens using some sort of effect. Here’s my favourite.
Focus on what will sell
My Arcangel port is a bit all over the place, some really great work and other stuff that is mediocre. It’s basically borne out of a more opportunist style of street photography which is hit and miss. I’ve been advised that planning out shoots should be much more rewarding financially.
Therefore, I’ve decided to focus on more sellable concepts and go for the low hanging fruit of the book cover market, including bloody knives in showers!
Other scenes that I’ll be focusing on during this summer are various swimming pool and young woman concepts. May even include myself in some of the shoots.
Hey, that’s my pic !
Spotted the following 7 pics this month in use this month!
Golden Turd (Most Hated) Agency of June
As selected by you, dear reader, here’s the GOLDEN (HATED) TURD agency of June:
Hope you’re enjoying your summer and will be back soon! I have a super useful interview lined up to be published in a few days with George Cairns, a post-processing expert, so stay tuned!
Now, I’ll go chill in my penthouse pool paid for by Microstock earnings ;P
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
Istock is going to the catacombs. Their forum is on fire!
I don’t know what’s going on with Alamy, they have lowered the commissions at the same time that the “zoom”, or the percentage of CTR have gone from 1.20 to 0 in the last 3 months! (it’s just a stat, but some experienced contributors advised me to pay attention to that CTR)
Congratulations for everything accepted in Arcangel, great photographs! (I like the ones in the religious building between columns) I am paying more attention to Arcangel, they are the only ones with whom I feel positive, although without sales yet (but increasing the rate of accepted)
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Gracias, amigo! Keep building that AC port, it’s got some great content (just seen it).
The religious one was at Canterbury Cathedral, true treasure trove for book cover content and they had no issues with photographing (except for the crypt area).
All the best
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It’s interesting you say that Alex.
I have rarely uploaded photos from cathedrals/churches anywhere as their details almost always say what Canterbury does ie it’s not ok without formal permission for selling (or am I misunderstanding? I 🤔)
You’re right. I tried my best to keep the shots as generic as possible. I’ll try to obtain an after the fact permission to be in the clear.
Gracias for your feedback! A quick question. In AC, do you usually fill in all the information fields of the photograph? (image specifics, mood, conceptual terms, book genre/concept…) or only on images that are very specific
I only fill in the location specific fields
Hi Alex, thank you for your very informative blog posts! I have a question. Do you have to upload property release for images of non-generic decorations, houses, doors, windows or statues when submitting images to Arcangel?
You’re welcome. For statues maybe, but for other generic things no need