01 Jul 2009 Microstock Earnings Report June 2009

The microstock market seemed to produce mixed results in June. Some photographers are reporting rises and others are reporting drops. A lot of microstockers send me their earnings in private and it really helps to get a feel for what’s going on. There’s also always an informative earnings thread each month over at Microstock Group.

Jack’s Results

Jack‘s supply of images ran dry after the first week of June as he overloaded his retoucher with other projects. Subsequently he didn’t add much to his portfolios and his earnings growth slowed as a result.

Agency Earnings US$ Sales Portfolio Size Return per Image
iStockphoto 36.91 25 69 0.53 33
Shutterstock 101.47 346 647 0.16 52
Dreamstime 87.80 47 675 0.13 9
Fotolia 15.30 19 667 0.02 7
StockXpert 25.50 53 681 0.04 8
BigStockPhoto 5.00 9 695 0.01 2
123rf 5.00 9 898 0.01 1
Totals: 279.98 508 0.90

Jack's Microstock Earnings Chart - June 2009


  • Daily earnings show a mildly sudden drop in sales a week after submissions stopped
  • RPI and STR at the top few agencies are rising rapidly during the first few months

My Results

My earnings were down at all agencies this month, though the total earnings charts below shows the trend is consistent to this time of year.

Agency Earnings US$ Sales Portfolio Size Return per Image
iStockphoto 267.76 211 780 0.42 76
Shutterstock 170.85 318 875 0.24 94
Dreamstime 143.83 90 762 0.19 70
Fotolia 135.58 154 650 0.22 53
StockXpert 38.80 61 345 0.18 52
CanStockPhoto 65.73 8 466 0.14 27
BigStockPhoto 6.50 11 465 0.03 34
123rf 15.89 23 367 0.05 19
Crestock 3.74 10 370 0.01
Totals: 848.68 886 1.49

Microstock Earnings Chart - June 2009

Total Microstock Earnings Chart - June 2009


  • The axe still hasn’t dropped – each agency still produced historically reasonable results
  • Cutcaster earned $8.48, more than two other agencies
  • I had one Extended License sale at each of Shutterstock and Fotolia
  • Still no sign of stock shoots for me, not that I’m happy about it
  • Luis Santos
    Posted at 09:22h, 01 July Reply

    Pretty good Lee 🙂 your photos have really good clients! congrats!

    about Jack i was thinking that he would raise more $, but it is quiet good.. congrats!


    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 10:04h, 01 July Reply

      Thanks Luis, I’m really surprised by how my earnings are holding up after such a long period without contributing.

      Also, keep in mind that what Jack’s currently submitting are all very simple photos. When/if he starts to submit ‘different’ shoots I expect we’ll see his earnings increase.

  • Orson
    Posted at 10:44h, 01 July Reply

    Well for me was June the best month ever (again, because may was also BME). The best suprise for me in June was Stockxpert and iStock… for more info you can look at my stats on my blog.

  • Anton Prado
    Posted at 11:32h, 01 July Reply

    Hey Lee,
    We are glad you had more time to write this month.
    Our charts went down too and apparently it won’t be better next month : (
    We were checking Jack results and earnings were exactly the same that last month. Not the total, but each agency subtotal.
    Take care!


    Anton Prado

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 17:25h, 01 July Reply

      Hey Nacho, yes, my mistake. I’ve updated the figures for the correct month. Not sure how that slipped through.

  • R. Kneschke
    Posted at 11:40h, 01 July Reply

    Hi Lee,

    what do you mean by “still no sign of stock shoots for me”, I didn’t get the meaning…


    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 17:27h, 01 July Reply

      Hey Robert, it’s an expression meaning that I haven’t done any more shooting nor is there any set plans to do so. But I’m building up passion and excitement about resuming shooting again. I’ve learned so much this year and can’t wait to put it to use!

  • Thomas
    Posted at 13:05h, 01 July Reply

    The math on Jack’s totals is wrong, off by quite a bit. You put his last month’s table in I believe.

  • Valentino
    Posted at 14:10h, 01 July Reply

    Hi Lee,

    I was curious to verify some data after reading your monthly earning post, and I found out the confirmation of a thing I already suspected: that June wasn’t historically the lowest month for me.

    But what I want to point out here is that there is an obvious reason why people do have mostly a low sales in June/July. is the fact that consciously or not, we tend to submit less images in the summer! Sure, also buyers are a bit on the ‘vacation’ mood, but that is only a partial reason (or an excuse to work less? :-)) for decline in sales. We must remember that the market is now global.

    Last year, I have invested a lot of time to improve my portfolio overall and I have submitted consistently along all year (an average of 120 images per month). Result? More sales, also in summer! Is not a magic formula, but in stock, more often than not, it works.
    Back in 2007 and 2006 the growth was tiny, but was there as well. Because I didn’t stop to upload new images.
    Indirectly you confirm this my opinion with Jack’s numbers, that are stalling or declining, after he stopped submitting…

    The exception is when you sell (you did! 🙂 also without submitting new material to agencies.


    Posted at 15:07h, 02 July Reply

    I had a drop on sales on some agencies but overall I had an increase of 9% comparing to may… my biggest drop was shutterstock, but dreamstime and 123rf sold much more than last month.

    I uploaded a lot less images than I did in may and i think that contributed to the drop on sales as well


  • Marek
    Posted at 16:23h, 02 July Reply

    I am slowing down a little bit with my microstock production, but, fortunately, I don’t see a summer slow down in my earnings yet. IS returned back to my #1. IS + SS = 70% of earnings.


    • janaka
      Posted at 15:06h, 13 July Reply

      i earn 1089 $ this month

  • victoo
    Posted at 04:09h, 03 July Reply

    $65.73 from Canstockphoto with 8 sales without Extended License?? Thats really interesting.
    Looks like this stock is not gonna give up.

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 04:48h, 03 July Reply

      Yep, since the “deal” with Fotosearch they’ve been selling lots of photos at around $20 commission.

  • Casio
    Posted at 12:04h, 03 July Reply

    Has anyone licenced their Flickr imagery through Getty, and if so what are the earnings from that looking like?

  • Cristina
    Posted at 10:57h, 01 August Reply

    Hi, I always read about you! I’m a biginner in microstock and I like to read and learn from other’s experience! I think this is one of most interesting blogs about!!!
    Have a nice month and good light!
    Ciao! Cris

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