01 Nov 2008 Microstock Earnings Report October 2008

Total earnings were down around $100 on last month despite three of the top five agencies earning more. My uploading was almost non-existent this month which surely contributed to lower earnings. Some technical bugs at StockXpert, coupled with no uploads there either, produced the largest drop as you can see in the chart. Additionally, the Extended License fairy was working for someone else in October.

Microstock Earnings Report

Agency Earnings US$ Portfolio Size Return per Image
iStockphoto 235.99 776 0.30 74
Shutterstock 216.87 866 0.25 93
Dreamstime 123.47 748 0.17 65
Fotolia 100.07 643 0.16 48
StockXpert 42.10 341 0.12 36
BigStockPhoto 14.00 446 0.03 28
123rf 15.49 359 0.04 16
Crestock 17.00 370 0.05 26
Total: 764.99
Total: 1.12
Avg: 48

Microstock Earnings Chart - October 2008

I only sold a single Extended licenses this month (at Shutterstock). And unlike the last few months there were no new records set. Historically for me, November has always been worse than October, so I’m moderating my expections for the coming month.

Despite the drop in earnings, I’m optimistic about my microstocking future. Meeting with so many successful microstock superstars in New York last week was extremely inspiring. I got lots of advice and general photography tips, especially when I spent part of one day shooting with Andres Rodriguez around New York!

Additionally, I upgraded my camera. I now have twice the megapixels and a much more modern model. I’m already impressed with the difference in quality the new camera is producing. So now I have inspiration, extra tips and a new camera. The only missing ingredient is the shooting!

  • R. Kneschke
    Posted at 11:38h, 01 November Reply

    Aw, now tell us: What new camera have you got? 🙂

  • Chris
    Posted at 12:26h, 01 November Reply

    Yes, I’m rather curious too now!

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 19:17h, 02 November Reply

      Nikon D90. Replacing the D70s. It’s a whole new world!


      • Mario
        Posted at 18:28h, 07 November Reply

        I got the D90 about a month ago too! 🙂

  • Ann
    Posted at 13:04h, 01 November Reply

    Shooting around NYC with Andres Rodriguez – Super! Would LOVE to hear any anecdotes you’d care to share about that, Lee!

    Except when shooting events with photog friend, I tend to end up shooting solo, even if I didn’t START OUT the shoot that way :-). After a bit of group shooting, even family, the others inevitably and kindly suggest they go ahead, and we all meet up somewhere later. I really slow things down, stopping every few feet for 360 degrees of shots. smiles – Ann

  • Robert Crum
    Posted at 14:16h, 01 November Reply

    I’d love to hear more about your shoot in NYC with Andres Rodriguez, too — anecdotes, the kinds of images you shot, maybe some sample shots. It’d be interesting to hear how microstock stars go about harvesting images from a walk on the town. — Thanks, Bob

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 19:32h, 02 November Reply

      Thanks for this feedback Ann and Robert. Andres and I are considering putting together a blog post about our little New York shooting safari and some of the tips Andres gave me. Keep watching!


  • Marek
    Posted at 16:45h, 01 November Reply

    Great numbers, Lee!

    For comparison purposes I am now looking at “return per image” calculated in reference to an averaged portfolio (i.e., portfolio size averaged over all agencies for a given photographer). It is a slightly different number than one obtained by adding RPI from individual sites.

    A little comparison:
    – yours portfolio; $1.34
    – Laurent’s (Microstock Experiment): $0.64
    – mine: $0.54 …

    I just posted my regular monthly earnings report with some graphs in Pixels Awayblog.

    12% increase in comparison to September, mostly due to reaching $500 total earnings from SS and a good performance of DT.
    SS+IS+DT provide almost 80% of my microstock income.

  • Perrush
    Posted at 14:11h, 02 November Reply


    mine RPI, after 1 year without upload : $1.30 So $1.30 isn’t exceptional I guess

  • Chris
    Posted at 18:50h, 02 November Reply

    Wow! An upgraded camera and a day with Andres Rodriguez. Great opportunity! I expect we’ll start seeing some more great pictures from you soon.

  • Matthew Botos
    Posted at 12:59h, 03 November Reply

    Given how much technical quality factored into the panel discussion at PhotoPlus, it’ll be very interesting to see how much a difference the camera really makes!

  • cudazi
    Posted at 16:30h, 04 November Reply

    Thanks as always for posting your numbers, it’s great motivation.

    You’ll have to set an estimated date as to when the camera has paid for itself…

  • James
    Posted at 12:26h, 07 November Reply

    Go Lee! That’s a great camera, I expect you to have some good shots coming! Here are my numbers, which were off from last month for me as well..

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