September 2022 Brutally Honest Earnings Report

Welcome to the September 2022 detailed monthly report focusing on my overall earnings for the month.

That Autumn feeling is slowly starting to creep in but hope that your earnings are heating up! In this update I’ll also discuss what I’ve been up to in the past month outside of creating stock content, including a road-trip and some encouragement to work with clients on commissioned jobs.

If you missed out or would like to catch up on previous monthly-earnings reports, you can see them here.

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 help you to 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! <-

Another way to support the blog – Invest in a Bevis Gear during the October 10% off promotion!

Brutally Honest Blog and Bevis bag are running a promotion during the month of October only where you’ll receive 10% off with the code “HONEST10” when using this link.

Check out the full review of the Bevis Gear here.

September Highlights

I’ll rest when I’m dead, super busy September with many highlights!

Detailed Earnings Breakdown

AgencyNumber of Images in port
(images added Sept)
Net Revenue for Sept (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Alamy14,005 (192)597
Arcangel (RM-exclusive)1,739 (36) 15075
Adobe Stock3,891 (114)600.70
Creative Market1,614 (10)00
DepositPhotos7,400 (221)140.47
Dreamstime7,508 (212)80.65
EyeEm364 (8) – Partner Program only2Crap
Freekpik544 (120)190.07
Fine Art America373 (0)00
Gallerist1,992 (140)00
iStock (August 2022)7,662 (154) 860.49
Robert Harding (Q2 2022 monthly average) – exclusive391 (3)248
Shutterstock Editorial 898 (0)00
Shutterstock11,029 (103)1160.39
Pond51,816 (17)22
Photo4Me372 (14)00
SignElements1,288 (5)4N/A
Wirestock1,839 (0)131.10
Total 557 

Clip earnings

AgencyNumber of clips in port
(added Sept)
Net Revenue for Sept (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Adobe Stock583 (72)33
Pond51,767 (26)22
iStock378 (68)1Crap
OverflightStock – exclusive85 (0)00
Shutterstock1356 (93)379
Wirestock97 (0)00
Total 43 

Totals: $600 in Sept vs $1,399 in August

Now, onto a detailed breakdown for the major agencies I upload to.

Alamy: Slight improvement but still struggling

After many disappointing months, Alamy bounced back with a semi-decent $60/net on 8 sales. Highlights include this Shining carpet pattern, which earned me $20.

As well as a regular tropical street market scene, captured in Rio some years ago, which earned me $22.85.

Adobe Stock: Disappointing and worrying downward trend, perhaps

Nothing to brag about at Adobe Stock with quite a disappointing but not disastrous $62/net on 87 downloads. No major sales to report.

I’m actually slightly worried that the average return per download for images at Adobe Stock is dropping slightly, this month registering 70cents/download, down from 82cents/download in August. Something I’ll keep an eye on as the historical average is about $1/download…

iStockPhoto: Small recovery but still disappointing

After many months, iStock bounced back slightly at a disappointing but not disastrous $87.30, including a drone clip that earned me 61cents.

Some of the highlights:

Shutterstock: Disappointing

As September is the start of the “business-end” of the year, earning just $150 is extremely disappointing and I expect much better from Shutterstock, something like twice as much.

On a positive note, an image that I shot just 2 months while in Whitstable, UK sold for $6, helping to rise up the keyword rankings.

As for clips, at least there were some sales, including the Madrid drone skyline shot which is a regular seller.

Two Sales + 36-images accepted Images at Arcangel!

Happy to report two relatively small sales this month at Arcangel, each earning me 75 euros.

One is from a super-recent shoot six weeks ago, which is unusual in the book-publishing industry. Not details yet of the title / author.

As you can see it’s a super graphic image with a strong narrative and plenty of copy space…exactly what AC are looking for.

The second image sold for a textbook and it was one of my first few hundred submissions to the agency about five years ago.

Accepted images in Sept

As usual, here they all are as accepted this month, an exciting mixture between mainly drone top down shots and tilt-shift.

On the road again -> Galicia!

I was on the road again this month, this time towards Vigo in Galicia to compete in a poker tournament in the Spanish Poker Festival Tour. A picturesque 4-hour drive north from Lisbon.

Took advantage to explore the city and on the way back visited Braga’s famous Bom Jesus Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Damian Nigro, fellow poker buddy and photographer, who I interviewed here a while back put together a review of Vigo on his blog and included many of my drone pics. We sure carried around a lot of gear!

But was well worth the effort…

Work with clients, people!

Professionally-speaking, the highlightest of the highlights of the month for me has been getting more regular commissioned photography / videography work and not having to rely as much on income from stock.

I hammer this point home numerous times and it’s extremely important. We, as creators, cannot rely on stock income to make a living anymore…not even close. At most (for the super vast majority) it’s just to supplement existing income. Therefore, use the skills you’ve gained as stock contributors to pitch gigs for clients, be it real-estate, events, product photography, sports, etc.

With this in mind, this month was busy for me shooting real-estate / property photography and videos as well as a dog-training course, which was super fun. In both instances, I used my drone to capture some unique angles and clients were super pleased.

Some of the leftover more generic content, where applicable, will/has gone towards stock agency making it all-round a win-win situation.

Hey, that’s my pic !

Spotted the following 6 pics this month in use this month!

Hope you had a good month and until next time! Now, I’m off to sleep!

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. It is shameful that pennies are paid for a video, well also for a photo.
    I am concerned about the drop in revenue per download. Seems to be generalizing
    Congratulations on your sales at Arcangel!


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