05 May 2007 Why Doesn’t Anybody Show their Microstock Earnings Online?

Businessman, Suprijono SuharjotoIn a recent link to one of my articles another industry observer commented on how from all the people who post and blog about their microstock statistics, nobody actually posts the amount they’re earning. Hmm….

As a commercial venture, this blog lives to provide value to readers, whether they be existing microstockers or people considering becoming microstockers.

There’s obvious value for existing microstockers in being able to compare their income. They can compare portfolio quality and quantity against earnings to see how they’re performing relative to me. I’ve always stated that I’m not a professional photographer – I don’t even claim to be good, yet – so there’s no shame in it for me.

There’s also clear value for people considering starting to sell their images online. They can compare their offline portfolio, or indeed their photography skills, to mine and guage how much income they’re likely to make. This will either encourage them to start selling their images online, or indicate that it’s not for them. Either way, they have an expectation that they didn’t have before. That is good value.

So if there’s value in it for readers, why doesn’t anyone post their amounts? I’ve given it some thought and done some research and can only conclude one thing. Many people are uncomfortable talking about or hearing about income levels for a variety of cultural and social reasons.

What about me? I thought about it and concluded that I wasn’t publishing my figures because I thought that’s just how it was done. So in the absense of a good reason to keep them to myself, I’ve decided to start revealing my amounts in order to increase the value I’m providing on this blog. Watch my future posts.

As for other people revealing how much money they’re earning selling their photos, I did find someone else who publishes their figures. Two in fact:

LarynandJanel – microstocking as an ‘experiment’ with marked success

Probably due to Network Congestion – has some good statistical analysis on his blog


Paulus N Rusyanto – has been publishing his earnings for some time. I missed this one. Thanks to Mikhail for the tip.

Found another – a microstock earnings update on someuseless.info blog back in February 2007.

  • pdtnc
    Posted at 05:25h, 06 May Reply

    Hey, thanks for the linkage to my stock totals, I’m probably due another update now as most of the rf stock sites I’m on are up to a year of continuous running.


  • lpkb microstock
    Posted at 12:16h, 29 May Reply

    thanks for the link. i thought the same thing–if people are considering the model, they need to get some kind of an indication of possibilities, and the ability to look at my portfolio and compare it to my earnings will be a great value to them in deciding if they want to give it a shot. i have been very lax in uploading photos for a year or more but still the photos i uploaded in the first year continue to make money a little at a time… so i’d say the experiment was a success and i do plan to upload again, it’s just a matter of making the time.

  • MikLav
    Posted at 17:09h, 11 June Reply

    There is another (more successful) photographer sharing his income for a long time (on a monthly basis):
    http://www.dphotojournal.com/sell-photos-online/ – Paulus Rusyanto a.k.a. Ximagination

  • erwin
    Posted at 01:51h, 10 January Reply

    Be careful if you send to the subscription agenceis model such as shutterstock, 123rf, dreastime it bad for the long term, consider this:

    1. subscription sales are much more destructive for the business as a whole, than microstock in general. Subscriptions enable customers to build large image archives that reduces the need to download photos in the future and thus our (photographers) profit potential.

    2. average subscribers only use about 15 – 30% of the full potential of their membership. This means that most pictures in a subscription sell at a 5-6USD price-point in average, giving us (photographers) about 25 cents in commission. A bottom-line commission of about 5 percent. Even if I was totally wrong and every subscriber actually downloaded the double of what I have heard, the commission would still only be 10%.

    3. Same price at all size, even 16mp the price same as 1.3mp?

    Downsize your image before send to the subscription model agencies.

  • Matt Antonino
    Posted at 23:48h, 12 January Reply

    I read this post – and then the date – and then compared your list to those who blog stats now and it seems like people are more & more willing to share their info openly. 🙂

  • Etienne
    Posted at 09:21h, 02 January Reply

    Apologies for the late reply on this topic, but on http://www.microstockadventure.com I now provide monthly earnings reports as well. I am only just starting out in the microstock business, so I am not yet as successful as some people here, but practice makes perfect!

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