July 2022 Brutally Honest Earnings Report

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!

Before we get started…

Supporting the 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.

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 pastel de nata or a DJI Mavic Air3 or I’ll settle for the DJI Mini 3, by clicking on the following link below:

-> Support the Brutally Honest Blog! <-

July Highlights

Three monthly highlights!

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:

London, UK – July 14, 2022: View of the outside of the Churchill Arms in London. Large amounts of flowers and UK decorations can be seen on the exterior
Houses of Parliament, London

Now let’s move onto the usual detailed earnings report.

Detailed Earnings

As always, starting first with stills:

AgencyNumber of Images in port
(images added July)
Net Revenue for July (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Alamy13,747 (163)182.60
Arcangel (RM-exclusive)1,638 (97) 00
Adobe Stock3,725 (44)80 0.91
Creative Market1,594 (20)00
DepositPhotos7,107 (89)80.28
Dreamstime7,296 (37)80.50
EyeEm356 (5) – Partner Program only00
Freekpik320 (223)120.07
Fine Art America690 (0)00
Gallerist1,629 (1,549)11
iStock (June 2022)7,429 (110) 410.33
Robert Harding (Q2 2022 monthly average) – exclusive388 (2)30.5
Shutterstock Editorial 898 (0)00
Shutterstock10,877 (99)2180.82
Pond51,807 (1)00
Photo4Me354 (0)00
SignElements1,283 (5)2N/A
Wirestock1,814 (29)251.80
Total 412 

Clip earnings

AgencyNumber of clips in port
(added July)
Net Revenue for July (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Adobe Stock479 (11)2222
Pond51,705 (40)2020
iStock279 (4)00
OverflightStock – exclusive72 (9)00
Shutterstock1,239 (33)5050
Wirestock88 (0)00
Total 92 

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.

Waiting for my port to reach its peak potential…

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.

Link to clip

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:

Earned me $90 for this badly distorted Georgian-style south, captured in Kensington, London

Even though people were welcoming the start of what would be a super turdy 2020, this NYE clip sold thus earning me $50.

Link to clip

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.

Link to clip

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.

Tilt-shift success

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

Lisbon, Portugal – July 29, 2022: Aerial drone view of luxury condominium next to Parque dos Poetas in Oerias, translated to Poet’s Park

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. Great post!
    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)
    Thanks Alex!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 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?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.