24 Jun Yuri Arcurs – Microstock Celebrity

Yuri Arcurs - World's top selling microstock photographerPutting together a post about celebrity microstocker Yuri Arcurs was easy. He’s extremely successful at creating commercial photos which has resulted in his career being extremely well documented.

Turns out he’s also a bit of an over-achiever.

Known For…

The world’s top selling microstock photographer.


arcurs.com | Twitter | Facebook Fan Page | Flickr

Personal Details

Born 1979 | Danish | ‘Yuri Arcurs’ is an alias used to separate careers | His top model, Cecilie, is also his partner


Freelance student journalist, started graphic design firm, promoted up through the Danish military, served on peace mission in Kosovo, won NATO rifle competition, ran a 100km marathons in 15 hours, bachelor of psychology, bachelor of philosophy, graduated from the Danish School of Photography, maintains photographic studio with 2 staff and 10 freelancers, world’s top selling microstock photographer.

Yuri Arcurs’s Microstock Portfolios

iStockphoto | Shutterstock | Dreamstime | Fotolia | BigStockPhoto | Crestock | StockXpert | 123rf

Signs of Success

  • Earns $25,000 per month from stock photography (not entirely from microstock)   Update 2008-02-03: Yuri’s earnings have risen substantially since this post was first written. In January 2008 he earned $64,000 from microstock and with his macrostock income the total was over $80,000. Yuri says that even though his revenue is so high, his maintenance costs, managment costs and distribution fees will mean he won’t break even on recent investments for another few months.
  • Sells over 400,000 microstock photos per year
  • Sells photos in the macrostock market under another name
  • Over 44,000 references to “yuri arcurs” on Google
  • Top ranked selling contributor at Shutterstock, Fotolia, Crestock and BigStockPhoto

Sells over 1,000 images per day on Shutterstock

Press Mentions and Interviews

Yuri Arcurs interview on Crestock | Yuri Arcurs Q&A blog post on iStockphoto | Yuri Arcurs interview on 123rf | Article written for Crestock

  • ProPhotographer
    Posted at 04:31h, 31 August Reply

    Earns $25,000 per month from stock photography (not entirely from microstock)

    …not entirely from Microstock……

    So if microstock is SO good. Why doesn’t he place everything there. Perhaps, because he can earn more on traditional libraries?

    What percentage of the $25k a month comes solely from micros?

    We’ll probably never know. Because its in the microstock industry’s advantage to put people like “Yuri” on a pedestal and show them to other contributors as an example. Its smoke and mirrors.

    This guy is the “highest earner” yet we still don’t know how much he earns from microstock.

    A recent PDN Stcok shooter’s survey showed that the vast majority (90% or more) of microstock contributors can expect to make around $1000 a YEAR.

    That’s the reality of microstock.


  • LFChavier
    Posted at 23:36h, 08 October Reply

    What percentage of the $25k a month comes solely from micros?

    I know that on Shutterstock he has about 1000 DLs per day. This equals $300 per DAY = $9000 per month. This is in just one of the microstock sites. He contributes to 8 of them. I am pretty sure he makes more than $20K per month just from micros.

    A recent PDN Stcok shooter’s survey showed that the vast majority (90% or more) of microstock contributors can expect to make around $1000 a YEAR.

    I think the vast majority of microstock contributors don’t put a lot of effort on shooting, and that’s why these low numbers show up. I have devoted little time to stock shooting, but in the last 5 months I was able to make about $600 from 8 microstock sites. Note that I have a low budget equipment (basic DSLR/lenses and one studio flash).

    I don’t think microstock is the definitive sales model, but at least it is a good and accessible entry point for amateurs, and a good place to sell more generic (high-volume sales) photographs for the pros. Another good thing is that the microstock model addresses a new market – for example, the blogs and other low budget website editors and designers, for whom the purchase of a $200 image is prohibitive. I think they deserve to have some decent images to illustrate their work, and they are willing to pay something for it. And there are a LOT of these people out there 😀

    I think that images that cost a lot to produce and have more specific subjects, without a potential for high-volume sales, should be sold through macrostock. I wish I could some day get to a point where I can contribute to both types of agencies, with different kinds of work.



  • Karl
    Posted at 04:15h, 07 March Reply

    if you want to know more details, like the % earnings from microstock vs. macrostock, just google yuri arcurs and you’ll find other articles about him that state that.

    But besides, why would he want to publish that? If I were so successfull, I think I would kind of hide it… I wouldn’t publish my earnings and spendings and all sort of insider info.

    Why he also posts on macrostock, although microstock brings him more: I guess it’s diversity. In finance: more diversity = less risk

  • vik
    Posted at 09:21h, 07 April Reply

    i do keep some stats for some photographers, yuri is one of them, i think he is getting more than that
    from one site only have about +60.000 usd in two months

  • Tony
    Posted at 17:47h, 05 June Reply

    Yuri make about 1$ per image sold on Istockphoto. So just compare numbers from now to next month, and you will know his Istockphoto revenues. Numbers are based on my revenues there, not on speculations…

  • Joe B
    Posted at 20:48h, 09 June Reply

    You still don’t have any idea what his cost of doing business is either. It’s not going to be cheap with 2 staff and 10 Freelancers.

    What’s the cost of creating an image, even a simple one? There’s the cost of equipment and technology, cataloging it into a database with keywords, etc, etc.? Then pay business overhead expenses, both fixed and variable, cover your living costs and set some money aside for retirement.

    Unfortunately, few photographers take all this into consideration when they look at the price they sell an image or the use of that image for. So, they get to keep working the rest of their lives trying to make ends meet. It’s not as much cookies and ice cream as it looks.

  • Jane S
    Posted at 04:48h, 10 June Reply

    There is no longevity in this business model. The cost of producing each image is far higher than the income from it so the only way to break even or make profit is to shoot at a phenomonal rate. This is unsustainable, the company will burn out, they will run out of ideas or the market will become saturated, he will kill his own market. Will this guy still be working like this in five or ten years time? I doubt it, making it a very short career.

  • John A-M
    Posted at 04:51h, 10 June Reply

    I’m with Joe on this one. Just because you can sell a lot?( maybe) on microstock sites it is not a good reason to do so. Unless you are thinking of doing something else for a living a few years down the line.
    Most photographers tend to be sole traders and they (in my experience) do not factor in the costs of their time.
    I don’t really see how this business model is sustainable in the long run. What will be left will be people who are prepared to subsidize their photography with a day job.

  • Christelle
    Posted at 07:10h, 10 June Reply

    Don’t worry for Yuri, the guy is clever, and he seems to be of the type who will always fall back on his feet: even if microstock goes all wrong I expect he will go into another business venture (of course he does not solely rely on microstock, that would be stupid). Motivated, driven, and most of all an entrepreneur, well done to him. be more positive, he seems to be that too….
    The idea is to go with the flow and not dismiss any opportunity. Microstock is one, but be prepared to diversify….
    By the time guys like Yri surf the wave, you should know it’s too late for you: you missed that wave. Stop wingeing and find your own …!
    Hard to put in practice? Yes… Keep trying…

  • Sangesh
    Posted at 14:40h, 13 October Reply

    Wow man… this is really a type of dream-come-true real life story for me. One thing is fore sure ppl try for different option and they keep experimenting for the best options.

    best of luck to Yuri.

  • Philippe D
    Posted at 16:03h, 17 January Reply

    Congratulations yurri
    Which can sell more than 1 million images per year?

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  • bucar
    Posted at 13:00h, 11 May Reply

    keep goin yuri..
    hope someday you can teach me how to get that effort..
    by doing step by step with yuris way..
    good luck..gbu..

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