My latest images for sale at Shutterstock:

Saturday, 15 January 2011

First quarter results

It is now three months since I dropped my crown at iStock and started uploading to multiple sites. In spite of some fairly challenging life events which have prevented me from spending a great deal of time on stock I have still managed to upload over a hundred images to each of the sites I am contributing to. It has only been the addition of keywords to the metadata that has slowed me down - actual uploading is pretty quick and painless as I have said here before.

I have now uploaded most of my iStock bestsellers to all sites and so I am hoping for some more positive results soon. One of my favourite images (my Viking fire shot) was immediately downloaded as an EL on Shutterstock, which netted me a very welcome $28.

Acceptance rates have broadly followed those of my 'first fifty' images ie 80-odd percent on most sites, 50-odd percent on Shutterstock (although I have not yet begun to downsize the rejections to resubmit there).

In total since independence I have earned $571, of which $358 came from iStock and $213 came from other agencies. The end of December and beginning of January were pretty poor, as was to be expected, but my sales have begun to heat up again. The new earning structure at iStock has now kicked in, resulting in my royalty percentage there being cut from 20% to a miserly 16%. Obviously this will see a sizeable fall in my future iStock income. This does not inspire me to want to upload more images there, in fact with my recent revenues being as low as 13c for an XS, it makes me contemplate removing images from the site. If I do this I may well remove the images that have been accepted at other sites and leave those that have either been rejected elsewhere or which I haven't bothered to upload as I don't think they will sell.

Earnings for the first three months:

iStock - 358.25
Shutterstock - 105.32
Veer - 51.45
Dreamstime - 29.84
Fotolia - 18.26
Canstock - 5.50
Deposit - 1.78
Bigstock - 0.50
Crestock - 0 (started uploading Jan 2011)
StockFresh - 0 (started uploading Jan 2011)
123RF - 0 (started uploading Jan 2011)

For three months worth of exclusivity with iStock (including Christmas and New Year) I would have expected to bring in about $900-1000, so I am currently about $300-400 down.

For the next three months I want to get at least another hundred of my back catalogue uploaded plus another hundred new images. I am also hoping that this period will see my earnings back up above $300 a month to be comparable with my old iStock exclusive earnings. I won't be uploading all of the 661 images I have currently on iStock to other agencies as I don't think all of these are worth the effort.

The EL at Shutterstock put me over their minimum payout threshold of $75 for the first time. My understanding is that payouts there take place automatically at the end of the month in which you earned more than your set payout threshold (this can be altered by the contributor). It will be good to reach the point of getting regular payouts across the sites - so far it has just been iStock that I have been able to take payments from, which has meant some pretty lean times.


  1. Thanks Bridget! Those results are very encouraging!

  2. Thanks Marisa and Sue, always good to get feedback and know that people are still reading this.

  3. Thank you for sharing all this - I had never thought about cashing-out dates being changed because of sharing earnings between sites, and that matters a lot to some people. It's like working on a monthly salary rather than a weekly one. I'm still on the up on istock but I think there are a few of our friends who might be better off following you.

  4. Yeah, as with starting iStock it is tough getting to that first payment, but once I do then payments should start to stagger amongst the sites to give me a regular income of sorts.

  5. Great post - thanks Bridget!

  6. "...50-odd percent on Shutterstock..."
    Keep in mind that you can resubmit images at SS without asking permission. I apologize if others have already pointed this out, but it is quite a big difference if you are used to putting up with
    Scout and IS's restrictions.

    My sincere wishes for good luck going independent, I know it must be tough at first.

  7. I think it would be great to mention how many images you have into each site. I'm not sure if you have the same portfolio size into all microstock companies, so these values can show also other differences to compare. ;0) Thanks for your post. By the way, do you intend to get back your crown at iStock or will keep whis way?