December 2022 Brutally Honest Earnings Report

Greetings from Brazil and welcome to the December 2022 detailed monthly report focusing on my overall earnings for the month. This will be a short post as I’m preparing, as usual, a detailed end-of-year review, including new goals for 2023. Let’s get started!

People at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with Christ Redeemer Statue in background

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

December Highlights

Some highlights this month!

Detailed Earnings Breakdown

Image Earnings

AgencyNumber of Images in port
(images added Dec)
Net Revenue for Dec (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Alamy14,282 (178)643
Arcangel (RM-exclusive)2,017 (66) 00
Adobe Stock4,037 (65)620.64
Creative Market1,634 (10)00
DepositPhotos7,811 (106)120.28
Dreamstime7,9436 (277)100.71
EyeEm388 (8) – Partner Program only2Peanuts
Freekpik665 (57)120.07
Fine Art America373 (0)00
Gallerist2,344 (177)00
iStock (November 2022)7,879 (113) 410.46
Robert Harding (Q3 2022 monthly average) – exclusive390 (0)202
Shutterstock Editorial 923 (25)00
Shutterstock11,213 (59)144 + 32 Contributor Fund0.48
Pond51,816 (0)00
Photo4Me380 (2)00
SignElements1,318 (10)1N/A
Wirestock1,967 (73)2N/A
Total 421 

Clip Earnings

AgencyNumber of clips in port
(added Dec)
Net Revenue for Dec (US$)Avg Return Per Download (US$)
Adobe Stock665 (61)52.5
Pond51,992 (25)2828
iStock483 (44)83
OverflightStock – exclusive92 (0)00
Shutterstock1,507 (72)9614
Wirestock103 (5)00
Total 137 

Totals: $538 in December vs $1,386 in Nov

Alamy: Surprisingly OK

It’s always like this, as soon as I give up on Alamy they come back on the next month and actually produce some OK results. Nothing special but I suppose $64 is OK. But WTF is going on with those 1cent sales from China?

Adobe Stock: Average month

Ending the mediocre year in mediocre fashion. Really expecting much more from AS next year because current results are quite disappointing for the size and quality of my port. I’m actually worried that the average return per download for stills has dropped considerably in the past two months, from over $1/image to now in the 60cents…something to keep an eye on.

iStockPhoto: Again very disappointing

I’ll repeat that another agency that I don’t give a shit about is iStock with yet another disappointing month at iStock which I’ve pretty much given up on. Highest-earning photo was only $4 and that already says a lot. Nothing more to say, just a pathetic agency that helps to drive the whole industry to the ground.

Shutterstock: Strong finish to the year

After many disappointing, followed by new normal mediocre months, finally a strong finish to the year with $144 earned with images and quite impressive $96 from clips. Helps that I’m at relatively high earning tiers, but as we all know these will be pathetically reset in the new year.

Highest earning images

Clips sold

The usual NYE fireworks in Rio, followed by a daytrip to the Lisbon zoo and quite encouraged to see one of my drone videos selling, finally.

Shutterstock Contributor Fund

You may have noticed a new header in your Shutterstock earnings – “Contributor Fund”. In fact, I earned $31.69 this month from this category – see the FAQ for more info what it’s all about.

What is Shutterstock doing to ensure artists were properly compensated if their work was used in AI training models?

We have established a Shutterstock Contributor Fund, which will directly compensate Shutterstock contributors if their IP was used in the development of AI-generative models, like the OpenAI model, through licensing of data from Shutterstock’s library. Additionally, Shutterstock will continue to compensate contributors for the future licensing of AI-generated content through the Shutterstock AI content generation tool.  Earnings that resulted from the OpenAI datasets, also known as data deals, will be issued in Q4 2022.

66 images accepted Images at Arcangel!

No sales this month with Arcangel breaking a four-month trend. Nevertheless, I managed to discover my image on a book cover sold in The Netherlands.

Accepted images in Dec

Average month with 66 accepted images, which just a year ago would have been an outstanding result. Here they are:

Until next time!

Hope you enjoyed reading this report. Click here for the year-end report. Happy New Year!

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 article, Alex! I enjoyed your book cover uploads. All of them intriguing with very little overlap. You have a great eye for it now. We all must be thinking how we climb that ladder with SS again. Biggest cash grab ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alex,
    You seem to be very patient with Gallerist. Am I right in thinking that (like me) you have only earned $1 early on and nothing since?

    Thank you for your regular blog posts – I always look forward to them and you have inspired me to aim for a successful Arcangel application as one of my 2023 goals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Milton,

      I have a partnership with Gallerist so investing my assets there and publishing monthly blog posts. Hope they will succeed and working on their marketing plan these days to bring in clients.

      Good luck with your Arcangel application, they’re a nice agency and one of the few remaining bright spots in the stock photography business, imo.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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