01 Nov 2007 Microstock Earnings Report October 2007

Wow! This month’s figures are a mess, and in a good way. I had a run of extended license sales from both Dreamstime and Shutterstock in the first half of the month. Dreamstime produced five, three of which were on the same day and for photos with a similar theme. I had four at Shutterstock, all within the first 15 days. This pushed my total earnings passed my all time monthly record of $551 set last month. My new record is $698.59.

If I could realistically expect the run of extended license sales to continue consistently, then I’d be excited about being so much closer to achieving my goal of $1,000 per month by the end of the year. I purchased a new lens this month which will help make shooting easier and give slight improvements to the quality of my shots. I’ve also been busy inputting IPTC data into my older photos ready to bring all my agencies up to the same quantity of uploaded photos. So I’m still committed to achieving my goal.

I did some uploading of new photos late in the month, but they’ve only started to become available in the last few days. For that reason, I’m using the portfolio size figures from the start of the month in my earnings calculations.

Agency Earnings US$ Portfolio Size Per Photo Percentage
iStockphoto 168.57 625 0.27 24
ShutterStock 234.80 594 0.40 34
Dreamstime 177.51 539 0.33 25
Fotolia 32.56 442 0.07 5
StockXpert 28.00 105 0.27 4
BigStockPhoto 21.50 212 0.10 3
123rf 18.80 108 0.17 3
LuckyOliver 6.60 148 0.04 1
Crestock 6.50 63 0.10 1
CanStockPhoto 3.75 363 0.01 1
Totals: 698.59 1.77


  • Total per photo earnings is up 21%, approaching $2. I expect this will come down considerably as I make my portfolio sizes uniform across agencies
  • Due to the extended license sales, Dreamstime and Shutterstock both broke their records
  • For the first time ever, iStockphoto was only my third biggest earning agency
  • I would have broken my Dreamstime record even without the extended license sales, but Shutterstock would have been slightly down on the previous month


Microstock Earnings Chart - October 2007

  • Pedro Pinto
    Posted at 10:22h, 03 November Reply


    Just a curiosity:

    Which lenses do you use?


    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 15:51h, 03 November Reply

      Hi Pedro,
      We’ve been using some old lenses made for full frame sensors up until now. A 35-55mm and a 55-200mm. In October we purchased a Nikon 18-200mm AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor, but none of the shots we’ve taken with it are in our microstock portfolios yet.
      – Lee

  • greg
    Posted at 21:09h, 04 November Reply


    How are your Alamy photos performing? I think my photography pretty much fits in the editorial category, so I am hesitant to go forward with microstock sites, but macros are pretty a challange to join. What is your advice? 🙂

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 07:59h, 05 November Reply

      Hi Greg,

      I’ve been very slack with my Alamy photos, so I can’t really tell yet. Shutterstock will sell editorial photos for you, and my experience is that they sell quite well. It doesn’t usually take much for an established photographer to shoot commercial photos in addition to editorial. If you want to take advantage of microstock, broaden your scope.

      Good luck!
      – Lee

  • greg
    Posted at 08:20h, 05 November Reply

    the thing is, that I’d like to take advantege of my existing shots and the ones I take in my leisure time… try if my shots can finance a new lens or body…. so basically I’m looking for any kind of possibilities. and while microstock is at least an available option, however I’m not 100% sure if it fits my idea… alamy and photographersdirect seems to be interesting, but I’m curious how do they compare to microstock. business, contract, usability vise and in overall. will see…


  • MarkFGD
    Posted at 15:56h, 07 November Reply

    Hello Lee

    Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for posting your results. It’s great to be able to compare one’s own ups-and-downs.

    My sales are around a tenth of what you’re achieving but they reflect similar trends (on the sites where I’ve submitted images), with a slight drop in both dollars and downloads at iStock and a best-month-ever (dollars-wise) at Dreamstime.

    I don’t have images on Shutterstock yet but joined Fotolia, StockXpert and 123rf last month. I thought Fotolia and StockXpert did OK with 25 and 11 downloads respectively, though still awaiting my first download on 123rf!

    Good luck with hitting your £1000-a-month target.


    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 10:45h, 08 November Reply

      Thanks Mark. Sounds like you’re off to a positive start. Getting in to Shutterstock will boost your earnings quite a bit when it happens.

      By the way, I’m aiming for US$1,000, not £1,000. It would be nice, but I think that’ll take a bit longer. 😉


      • MarkFGD
        Posted at 11:05h, 08 November Reply

        Sorry, Lee. I rarely have to hit the dollar sign in this neck of the woods so hit the pound sign by mistake. Though with the exchange rate as it is, £1,000 would be a jolly nice month’s earnings!

        Thanks again.


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