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Which is More Important for Selling Stock Photos and Videos: Quality or Quantity?

In today’s post I will be breaking down the absolute most important factor in selling more photos and videos as a stock contributor.

I think the answer may surprise you.

It’s actually not quality or quantity, but a combination of these two factors plus one more: competition.

Your work needs to be good. You need to have a lot of it. AND you need to think about how much competition exists in the category you are targeting.

If you ignore any one of the three of these ideas (quality, quantity, or competition) you will be leaving a lot of potential stock sales on the table.

Let’s take a look at each of these concepts and how they work together.

1 | QUALITY

This one is pretty common sense.

When a potential stock customer goes on to a stock site like Shutterstock for example, as they peruse the thousands upon thousands of options to choose from, what do you think they are going to choose every single time? Of course, they will choose the highest quality, most relevant option for their needs.

We’ll get to relevancy in a moment, but for now, you see the importance of quality.

This doesn’t mean that your work needs to be perfect. I’m not trying to discourage anyone, especially beginners, that may not feel like their work is quite up to par yet.

Instead, I want to encourage you to focus on this aspect. Make it your goal over the next few weeks or months to focus on quality with your work. As you do this, you will also built up more quantity to use in your stock portfolio, so it’s a win win!

Here are a few ideas to help you improve the quality of your photography or videography:

  1. Take an online course. Last year I took an online course that changed my work dramatically. My friends that didn’t even know anything about photography asked me what I had done. An online class is a great investment for a quick and easy way to improve your work. In case you’re curious, here’s the website I took the classes from.
  2. Check out free youtube videos about filmmaking. If you’re looking for a few free options, here are some filmmakers that I really enjoy learning from: Mark BoneMatti Haapoja D4Darious
  3. Practice, practice, practice. No matter what, you’re just going to have to get out there and try it. Remember, make sure you’re having fun. Pick topics and subjects that you enjoy.

Pssst!

Find all you need to start making money with your photos and videos right now.

If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales.

It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made.

I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW


2. QUANTITY

It’s a numbers game. Imagine how many thousands of other stock clips and photos are out there. If you really want to increase the odds of being found in the large ocean of stock contributors, the more you upload, the better your chances will be.

To some degree, there is still some luck that goes into the equation of having a winning clip or photo that gets downloaded frequently. You will dramatically increase those odds by simply having more out there.

One easy way to quickly multiply the amount of footage or clips you have is to remember to grab 3 different angles or variations of each shot while you are out. Grab a wide shot, a medium shot, a close up shot. Or if video, grab a stationary, a dolly, and a rack focus.

If you can try and grab a handful of variations of shots each time you have a new idea, you will have 3-4x as many options out there.

3. COMPETITION

Lastly, we come to the most important point - competition.

Because the thing is, no matter how great your work is or how much you have of it, you will not succeed unless you keep this factor in mind.

I might have the most beautiful sunset or flower photo of all time. But, the problem is the incredible number of other beautiful sunset and flower photos out there. If I have nothing to distinguish my work from the others, I just can’t compete.

The solution? Here are three ideas to use in order to set your work apart from the competition.

  1. What makes it unique? Think hard about what makes your photo or video different and better than the rest and be sure to use these descriptions in your keywords and description.
  2. Be specific. Include locations and other uniquely defining descriptions. See examples below.
  3. Think about current events/social issues. See examples below.

Here are a few examples to show you what I mean.

I have a couple of beautiful pictures of a sunset that sell pretty often. But again, remember how many beautiful sunsets are out there?

So in my title and keywords I made sure to include specific details about this particular photo, like the fact that it was in Mendoza, Argentina and that it’s overlooking a vineyard.

Now my photo isn’t just found under searches for sunsets. It’s also found for searches that include ‘Argentina’ and ‘Vineyards’.

The added bonus here is that usually these photos are so specific that they are downloaded by non-subscription based customers. This means someone really wants a photo of a specific location and finds it through Shutterstock (or another site) but they aren’t necessarily regular customers with Shutterstock and don’t have a monthly account. The photo is worth way more in this case and you receive a much higher payout (about $20 per download).

sunset images downloaded from shutterstock

This second example is a photo of a few cows out in a field that sells very frequently. The reason is not for the cows, as these are again nothing unique. When I studied my analytics, I found that the keywords used most often to find this photo were ‘footprint’ and ‘carbon’.

frequently downloaded shutterstock photo

Aside from these strategies, the easiest thing you can actually do is to try and target genres or categories of stock that are not already overly saturated. You want high demand and low volume for the best results.

Here are a few categories that are still great to target:

  1. Lifestyle - real people doing every day things. This is the category that I shoot and it performs really well because this is the current trend that advertisers are searching for. We as consumers have become smarter and no longer respond to forced actions from actors. We respond to authenticity in imagery. If you can capture this then you’ve found a great niche.
  2. Healthcare - another one that is hard to find out there is authentic healthcare providers that don’t look overly fake or scripted.
  3. Motion Graphics and Animation - it doesn’t have to be anything complex, but if you have some basic skills in After Effects, you can make some animations that will sell really well. If you have time to check out the included youtube video above, you’ll see some examples of simple animations that I made that sold very well this year.

A Powerful Combo

The best advice I can give as a stock contributor is to consider all three of these factors every time you shoot and upload new footage or photos. None of these concepts can stand alone, not even two of them.

Your work needs to be good, you need a lot of it, and you need to think about the competition/genre in which you are shooting.

If you combine these three concepts as you shoot and upload your stock photography and stock footage, you are going to do exceptionally well and truly maximize your earning potential as a stock contributor.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you are enjoying the content. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.

-Beth

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Which is More Important for Selling Stock Photos: Quality or Quantity?

I often hear one common criticism of stock photography and videography: why would you value your work so low that you’d be willing to accept pennies and dollars for each single photo or video clip sale?

Isn’t our work more valuable than that?

I have many thoughts on this issue. First, yes, of course I think our work is more valuable than what we are sometimes paid. In the past few years it’s been a race to the bottom for stock sites and stock contributors. There are many reasons for this, namely competition among stock sites causes them to compete with pricing along with more and more contributors being willing to receive less or even nothing for their work. This leads to lower assumed pricing in the market for stock contributors.

So my answer is two-fold: while I agree that we as artists and filmmakers deserve to be paid fairly for our work (more on this in a moment), I don’t agree with the race to the bottom mentality and I hope to find a solution to this problem so that we are paid fairly for good work.

However.

Every now and then you have a clip that earns $800 in a year.

In today’s article I’m going to share with you:

  1. My top 5 selling video clips and photos from this year.
  2. How they made so much money.
  3. Three tips for how to implement the same strategy with your clips and photos.

Pssst!

Find all you need to start making money with your photos and videos right now.

If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales.

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW

It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made.

I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including


My Best Selling Clips of 2019

top selling shutterstock clip.jpg

Here it is.

My #1 top selling footage clip of 2019.

It’s titled ‘Newborn Baby Yawning in Hospital’ and sells repeatedly on Shutterstock.

It’s been downloaded 36 times and has earned a total of $793.37.

most sold clip on shutterstock

#2 Top Earning Video is Baby Saying Baba to Camera with Audio.

It was downloaded 12 times for a total of $302.84.


2 most downloaded shutterstock.jpg

#3 Top Earning Video is Happy Baby Smiling at Camera.

It was downloaded 2 times for a total of $139.50.

3 most downloaded shutterstock.jpg

#4 Most Sold Video is Dad Making Little Baby Smile.

It was downloaded 3 times for a total of $119.75.

4 downloaded shutterstock.jpg

#5 Top Earning Video is Sweet Dog and Little Baby Playing on Hardwood Floor.

It was downloaded 4 times for a total of $97.14.

5 most downloaded shutterstock.jpg

5 Most Sold Stock Photos of the Year

top 5 downloaded photos on shutterstock

How did they make so much money?

Licensing versus Selling

There’s a very important distinction here that is misunderstood when it comes to stock footage and stock photography. We (myself included) very often refer to the number of clips and photos we’ve sold. This makes sense since we receive money for each download. But it’s actually an incorrect way to look at things.

We haven’t really ‘sold’ our media, we’ve actually licensed it. There’s a big difference.

Rather than selling our media to another person, we are still the owner and we’ve simply granted permission for someone else to use it in exchange for a certain amount of money.

The beauty in this difference is that we don’t sell it once and it’s gone. We can repeatedly license our media forever. We ‘sell’ it once and hope that it sells over and over again.

Yes, it seems unfair to only receive pennies or dollars for our work. Isn’t it worth more? Yes. If, that’s the only payment we receive.

Therein lies the difference. The money we receive is from a licensing agreement and there’s no end to how much we can receive.

In fact, typical licensing agreements usually are just a small percentage of what the whole product or service is actually worth, because it’s assumed that the value comes from receiving a percentage of that value many times over.

The reason why this clip made so much money is obvious - because it sold over and over again, not because it was priced at a higher rate.

Let’s dissect this concept even further and discuss the details of how to ensure that our media sells over and over again.

How to sell stock clips repeatedly

Now we’re getting to the important stuff.

I know you’re telling me, duhhh, I know I want to sell my work as many times as possible, but how?

There are three reasons why stock footage sells well, repeatedly.

Put them together and you have the perfect trifecta. The key here is that you can’t neglect any single factor. They work together to gain the most traction for your footage.

Try to implement the following strategy every single time and you will absolutely start seeing repeat stock sales.

Here they are:

1 | Quality

Quality is number one. You need to start here.

If your footage is dated or not up to par with everything else out there, it won’t have a shot in the world. The world of stock photography and stock video has become too popular and the competition is too good.

When a customer is scrolling through the hundreds of thousands of options to choose from, they will choose the best quality option every time.

I’m not saying your work needs to be perfect, but it needs to be pretty good at least in comparison to your competition.

Do a little market research. Go on shutterstock.com and type in a few keywords that relate to your subject matter. What pops up? Is your work better than what’s already out there? Does it at least stand up to it?

If the answer is no, then let’s go back to the basics and work on improving image quality a bit.

Don’t give up at this stage. It’s not hard to improve your work. A little practice and you’ll be good to go. Take an online course or two and consider this part of the process. This is where we’ve all had to start.

If you are still struggling with quality then there are some other things you can do to help matters. Step number 3 (competition) will be crucial.

The more you can niche your subject matter down, the more likely you are to stand out from the crowd. While you may not be picked among thousands of options, if the customer is searching for something very specific and you have it, then you may see some sales.

2. Quantity

This is sheer statistics. It’s a matter of fact that the more opportunities you give yourself, the better your chances are that one of your photos or videos will be seen.

Since the world of stock photography and stock video has become so popular, millions upon millions of photos and videos are uploaded across various stock sites each month.

Even with the highest quality media, you will increase your chances and odds of rising to the top of search results by increasing the quantity of footage you have out there.

In fact - I would argue that as I analyze my top 5 video and photo downloads for this year, they are not in fact my best quality work. There are many other clips that I would say are better quality than these. So why?

That’s why these three factors have power together. Focus on just one and you aren’t likely to sell very much.

The reason these lesser quality videos sold so much is either because of quantity and/or competition. Let’s get into the details of what I mean by that now.

3. Competition

This third factor is where quality and quantity meet. Depending on your category or genre of stock, the competition might be very high or it may be quite narrow.

The more narrow the competition, the higher your chances are of receiving sales. This is a great place to start for beginners or for those who are still working to improve quality of imagery.

Try to narrow down your niche of stock as much as possible. When you do this, you are narrowing the field of competition and making your photos and video more likely to appear in search results.

Here are some helpful ways to strategically niche down using keywords in your tags or titles.

The caveat here is that eventually you need to find the right balance. The more narrow you niche down, the less overall downloads you may receive. You can’t become so obscure that your work is never searched for.

My advice is to make at least one third to one half of your keywords very specific and use broader keywords for the rest. And focus on this point if you are a beginner or if you seem to be having a hard time getting downloads.

How Much Money I Made Selling Stock Photography and Stock Footage in 2019.

As we quickly move into the year 2020, I wanted to bring you all a detailed recap of exactly how much money I made selling stock photography and stock footage in 2019.

First, for those of you who don’t know me yet, my name’s Beth and I’ve been a stock contributor consistently for a little over a year now. I have stock photos and videos that I sell each month on Shutterstock, Pond5 (just video clips), and Adobe Stock. By the way, if you’re interested in my opinion on which stock site is the best, you can read all about that here.

I’ve been sharing my monthly income from stock photography and videos here on the blog since June of 2019.

Why do I share my stock income each month?

When I first started thinking about uploading my own stock photos and videos, I wondered if it would be worth all the effort involved. From what I read, it seemed like a ton of work to only be paid a few cents per sale for each photo. But at the same time, I was intrigued by the idea of receiving some regular passive income each month from my photography. Especially the work that I had just sitting on old hard drives not doing anything else.

As I researched the internet for how well others had done as stock contributors, I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of information out there that clearly shared exactly how much money could be made each and every month. Sure there were a few stories of fluke cases where someone had a video or two go viral and they made thousands. But realistically, I wanted to know what would be possible.

This past year as I started to see consistent results with my sales, I decided it would be fun to document my progress. I’ve learned a lot along the way and felt like I would also enjoy sharing the process with you all. I’ve always enjoyed reading, researching, and learning. Teaching is the next step in that process of knowledge gathering and I’ve really enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned with you all.

I hope you all know that I don’t share my income to build myself up. I share it because it’s what I had searched for and hoped to find early in my own journey as a stock photographer and I hope that it will be helpful to you as well.

Biggest lessons I learned in 2019 as a stock contributor.

In January of 2019 I had a goal to shoot, edit, and upload 10 clips per week to all three sites. If I could maintain that goal throughout the year, I would add over 500 clips to my catalog by year end. This would more than double my current catalog and therefore, my monthly earnings (in theory).

Guess what… I totally missed the mark on my goal. I have been SO busy this year that I’ve hardly uploaded any new clips. In fact, I don’t think I’ve uploaded any since June when I started sharing my monthly stock income.

So here are my two lessons from that experience:

  1. It truly is a great source of passive income. Having not added anything to my existing catalogue, I have been so surprised that my clips continue to sell and generate income each and every month. I haven’t added a single thing and yet each month I make hundreds of dollars off my stock clips. As a busy working mom, this is such a great bonus to my life. For those of you with a full time job or a busy lifestyle, stock photography and footage may be a great little side hustle to get you some extra income each month. If you can carve out a few hours or days throughout the year to start uploading some clips, then you can just let them sit and start earning for you.
  2. It’s important to set realistic goals. Here’s the hard truth that I learned this year - I had way to many goals on my list. It’s not a bad thing to have many goals and dreams for your work, but you have to learn what is realistic and what will fit your lifestyle. 10 clips a week might not seem like a lot and when you’re first starting out I think it’s the perfect goal, but I had a few other priorities this year that involved growing my photography business and this website. Much of my time was spent on these endeavors first with very little left to growing my contributor account. I do hope to add more footage to my account in 2020 and I may have a surprise about how I plan to do that coming in a few weeks, but I will leave you in suspense for now.

Before we get into the total numbers for 2020, let’s take a quick look at how much I sold in December.


Pssst!

Find all you need to start making money with your photos and videos right now.

If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales.

It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made.

I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW


1| Shutterstock Earnings for December

Shutterstock Total Earnings for October: $241.59

(28 total downloads)

Videos: $224.35

Photos: $17.24

My current catalog includes 444 images and 469 videos.

stock earnings on shutterstock

It’s been an awesome month on Shutterstock and I am incredibly happy to see sales picking back up after a few months of low sales August through November. I had a major video sale on December 18th where one video sold for $120.55.

video sale on shutterstock

2 | Pond5 Earnings for December

Pond5 Total Earnings for December: $79.70

(4 total downloads)

Videos: $79.70

Photos: none (I don’t think Pond5 markets photo sales on their site anymore. I almost never get any photo sales here.)

sales from adobe stock in December

3 | Adobe Stock Earnings for December

Adobe Stock Total Earnings for December: $1.67

(3 total downloads)

Videos: $0 (whomp whomp…)

Photos: $1.67

adobe stock sales for december

Totals for December sales: $322.96


Now that we’ve taken a brief look at this month’s total sales, let’s look at the yearly totals:

Yearly Grand Total for Shutterstock: $2022.47

Monthly Sales on Shutterstock

Monthly Sales Numbers on Shutterstock

Monthly Sales on Pond5

Yearly Earnings on Adobe Stock

Monthly Sales on Adobe Stock

Monthly Sales on Adobe Stock

Total Yearly Sales: $3239.91

Total Stock Photo + Video Sales for 2019

Total stock photo and video earnings 2019

Concluding Thoughts

As you can clearly see, Shutterstock is by and far the winner this year in terms of sales and amount earning. I have roughly the same amount of clips and photos on each of these sites, so they are pretty closely comparable. The reason my catalog size is different for each site is because some sites are pickier than others and not all of the clips I submit are accepted to each and every site.

Overall, this year has been a great blessing. Obviously this isn’t enough money to live off, but I’ll take an extra $3k any day. In the future I would love to double, triple, quadruple the size of my catalogue, but as you know that takes time and effort.

What’s coming in 2020

For 2020 I have some exciting new ideas. I’ve decided I’m going to give Blackbox a try if they’ll have me. I’m planning to keep my current catalog going as is, but I will add an equivalently sized catalogue on Blackbox. I will then have a way to easily compare Blackbox’s results with my own. It’ll be helpful and interesting to see many of the ways they compare in terms of number and frequency of sales, ease of use, and overall whether or not it’s worth the cost (15% of earnings per clip).

Be sure to join our newsletter if you’d like to be notified each time I make a new post. I hope you’ll join us!

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HOW MUCH I MADE SELLING STOCK PHOTOS + VIDEOS IN december.jpg

How much money I made selling stock footage in November

Can you actually make an income selling stock photos and footage online? Each month I’m keeping track of how much I’ve made and sharing all the juicy details here on the blog.

My journey started a little over 2 years ago and I’ve learned a lot along the way, including whether or not it’s actually worth the time.

In case you’re interested, here’s a recap of exactly how much income I made during that first year of selling stock photography and videos.

Each month I share exactly how much income I make as a stock contributor on Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Pond5. My favorite site for uploading stock footage and photography is still Shutterstock - you can read more about what I like and don’t like about each of the sites right here.

Now, onto the numbers for November.

Here is a quick graph showing you an overview of how sales have been going for the past year across all three sites: Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Pond5.

Total Stock Photo + Video Sales for 2019


Pssst!

Find all you need to start making money with your photos and videos right now.

If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales.

It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made.

I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW


1 | Shutterstock Earnings for November

Shutterstock Total Earnings for October: $113.60

(25 total downloads)

Videos: $107.87

Photos: $5.73

My current catalog includes 444 images and 469 videos.

shutterstock earnings for november.jpg

Seasonality with Stock Sales?

I’ve wondered whether there are ‘good’ months and ‘bad’ months throughout the year as a general rule when it comes to selling stock. I know that marketing firms and other businesses that do the majority of purchases for stock footage tend to have slower months towards the end of the year due to limited budgets, etc.

But it’s hard to notice a trend early in the game. Since I’ve now been doing this for two solid years, it’s still a bit early but I can start to notice some trends.

Sales are finally picking up again over at Shutterstock this month. For those who follow my monthly income reports, you already know that the past two months have been slower than average sales and perhaps this is on par with the months during the fall? We’ll have to give it more time and see, but I am curious. Let me know in the comment section if any of you have noticed this trend!

I’m writing this update a little later in the month than usual, so I can already tell you that December has surpassed November’s numbers so we are doing good after those two lull months.

2 | Pond5 Earnings for November

Pond5 Total Earnings for November: $17.84

(1 total download)

Videos: $17.84

Photos: none (I don’t think Pond5 markets photo sales on their site anymore. I almost never get any photo sales here.)

pond5 video sales for 2019

3 | Adobe Stock Earnings for November

Adobe Stock Total Earnings for November: $22.98

(3 total downloads)

Videos: $21

Photos: $1.98

Adobe Stock Income for November

Concluding Thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief recap of my stock photo and video income for the month of November. Let me know any questions or thoughts in the comments below.

And be sure to subscribe to our mailing list if you’re interested in staying in the loop on all my earnings for the rest of the year!

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HOW MUCH I MADE SELLING STOCK in november.jpg
Passive Income for Photographers

Sell Stock Photos Online | My Monthly Income Report for October 2019

Can you actually make money selling stock photos and footage online? That is the burning question around here.

It’s the same question I had 3 years ago when I first began uploading a few photos to Shutterstock. Would it actually be worth my time? In case you’re interested, here’s a recap of exactly how much I made my very first year selling stock photos.

Each month I share exactly how much income I make as a stock contributor on Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Pond5. Through this data, I’ve been able to clearly document which stock website is the best for selling stock photos and footage, as well as a number of other factors - like ease of uploads, keyword tagging, etc.

For more information on which is the best stock footage site, you can check out this post all about it.

Now, onto the numbers for October.

Here is a quick graph showing you an overview of how sales have been going for the past year across all three sites: Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Pond5.

Total Stock Photo + Video Sales for 2019

Total photo and video sales for November

Pssst!

Want to dive even deeper? If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

You’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

Download Now: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle


1 | SHUTTERSTOCK EARNINGS FOR OCTOBER

Shutterstock Total Earnings for October: $72.19

(25 total downloads)

Videos: $62.40

Photos: $9.79

My current catalog includes 444 images and 469 videos.

Shutterstock income from October 2019

Best selling images for October

Here were my top two photo earners this month:

best selling image shutterstock.jpg
top shutterstock photo sales.jpg

If you are not yet a Shutterstock contributor, I think it’s the best site overall and a great place to start your stock journey.

BECOME A SHUTTERSTOCK CONTRIBUTOR

2 | POND5 EARNINGS FOR OCTOBER

Pond5 Total Earnings for October: $63.29

(4 total downloads)

Videos: $63.29

Photos: none (I don’t think Pond5 markets photo sales on their site anymore. I almost never get any photo sales here.)

Pond5 Earnings for October.jpg

3 | ADOBE STOCK EARNINGS FOR OCTOBER

Adobe Stock Total Earnings for October: $31.63

(5 total downloads)

Videos: $28

Photos: $3.63

Adobe Stock Earnings for October.jpg

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

All around it’s been a fairly decent month - nothing great, but not as bad as last month.

Monthly totals across all sites ended up at $167.11 - and I’ll take it. For truly passive income (and it was since I haven’t touched my accounts since earlier this year) that’s not a bad number.

The past three months have been consistently a little lower than average. Because I am documenting my progress so closely, I am starting to see trends more easily. I suspect that the end of the year purchases will slow down among stock customers because of the holidays and end of the year budgets getting tighter among ad agencies and other businesses that use various stock imagery for advertisements. But with two month months to go in 2019 we will see what happens!

Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list if you’re interested in staying in the loop on all my earnings for the rest of the year!

Happy fall and happy shooting!

-Beth

BECOME A SHUTTERSTOCK CONTRIBUTOR

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monthly-income-october.jpg

Track down exactly where your stock photos are being used online.

Every now and then I sit down and have a little fun searching for some of my most commonly downloaded images online.

It’s so surprising to see where they end up!

In this post I’ll share with you exactly how to track down your own stock photos, as well as share with you where I have found some of my own.

This is also a useful practice to do every so often to keep track of your photos online and make sure that they aren’t being used illegally.

Unfortunately theft of stock photos is fairly common. You want to periodically check and make sure that no one has taken your stock photo as their own to try and get sales from it.


Pssst!

Want to dive even deeper? If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

You’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle


How to Track Your Own Stock Photos

The king of all things online search: Google reigns again.

We’ll be using images.google.com to reverse image search our images. Sadly, there’s no way to batch this process, you’ll have to search your photos one at a time. But it’s fun, right? No biggie.

I have heard others say that you can simply enter the URL here, but it doesn’t work for me. I get this error message: ‘The URL doesn’t refer to an image, or the image is not publicly accessible.’

google image error message

My guess is that it’s because of restrictions on the image for copyright purposes through the stock site? If anyone has a solution or sees what I’m doing wrong, do tell!

My work around is to simply enter a screenshot (or whatever easily accessible copy you have) of the photo into the browser and click search by image. Just hover your mouse over the little camera icon and you’ll see it. Click on the camera and you’ll see this window.

google image search by image upload

Upload your image there and google will automatically begin searching for your image.

Once this happens, scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says: ‘Pages that include matching images’. If you see your photo next to these pages, then you’re on your way. Go ahead and click through to see your image in action.

google image search results

FINDING SOME OF MY TOP PHOTOS ONLINE

Now for the fun part! Want to see where some of my top sellers are hanging out online? Here we go…

1. Andes Mountain range at sunrise in Mendoza, Argentina. Found on a German page about travel called wedesigntrips.com

my stock photo found online

2. Baby Doing Tummy Time. Found on romper.com, an article about babies holding their head up.

my stock image found online

Also found on twitter, pictured below.

stock image found on twitter.jpg

And again, found on an article at medium.com.

my stock photo found.jpg

3. NICU bassinet. Found on multiple sites, including mostly news articles and a few blogs.

found stock photo online.jpg
stock photo in news article.jpg
stock photo on blog.jpg
stock photo on romper.jpg

4. Close Up Shot of Low Country Boil. Found on a site about great camping foods.

Side note: I’ve searched for this one before and seen it on a few online menus at various restaurants. I wanted to call them out - false advertising, amiright?!

food stock photo online.jpg

5. Baby Throwing Clothes Out of Dresser. Found on a few lifestyle blogs.

stock photo on lifestyle blog.jpg
found stock photo on blog.jpg

Concluding Thoughts

I could do this all day.

If you have some recent sales, give it a shot. Post a link in the comments below to share with me. I’d love to see where your photos are online as well!

One more note: the process isn’t perfect. I’ve done the same photos in the past and received different results. If a certain photo isn’t showing any results either try it again or try another photo and come back to it.

You also won’t be able to find every use of your photo - in these examples I’m using some of my top sellers and still only pulling up a handful of results. Customers who buy your stock photos may be using them elsewhere that you can’t track down - emails, flyers, brochures, billboards, other print advertisements, etc.

As always, please leave me your thoughts and questions in the comments below. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my own stock photos in real life!

-Beth

SELLING STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY + VIDEO | MONTHLY INCOME

September 2019 - My Worst Month Yet

Most of you already know, but each month I release the numbers on exactly how much income I’ve earned by selling stock photos and videos on Shutterstock, Pond5, and Adobe Stock. In case you missed it, here’s last month’s report.

I will always be completely honest and transparent with you, even when I have a bad month of earnings. That’s exactly what happened this month. I haven’t changed a thing. But for whatever reason, things just didn’t sell much this month, especially on Shutterstock.

September Shutterstock Earnings

It’s been a crazy month for our family with lots of weddings, travel, etc. So the extra bit of time that I would normally have to consistently upload new photos and footage to stock photo sites has been completely zapped. I haven’t uploaded a single new file since June.

However, it’s made for a pretty cool experiment. It’s shown that being a stock contributor can be a source of completely passive income. Until this month, sales have kept up and even increased, even without doing any additional work on my end.

Not to be too discouraged though - my sales for this month (up to October 9th) have already surpassed what I made in September. This makes me think it must have just been a fluke.

Ok, on to the numbers!

Pssst!

Want to dive even deeper? If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

You’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

1 | SHUTTERSTOCK EARNINGS FOR SEPTEMBER

Shutterstock Total Earnings for September: $55.21

(30 total downloads)

Videos: $43.70
Photos: $11.51

My current catalog includes 444 images and 469 videos.

shutterstock earnings for september 2019

Best selling images for September

These two have consistently been my top best selling images, each selling every few days. They received about 5-6 downloads this month.

top selling stock image
best selling stock image

Regardless of poor earnings this month, Shutterstock is still my consistently highest earner. I would still recommend starting with Shutterstock if you’re looking to sell your own photos and videos online.

BECOME A SHUTTERSTOCK CONTRIBUTOR

2 | POND5 EARNINGS FOR SEPTEMBER

Pond5 Total Earnings for September: $9

(1 total download)

Videos: $9
Photos: none

(note: I don’t think Pond5 markets photo sales on their site anymore. I almost never get any photo sales here.)

Pond5 Earnings for September

Note: Seeing some of my drone footage starting to sell more consistently is pretty exciting. I’m jumping the gun talking about October sales, so I’ll save it for another analysis next month.

3 | ADOBE STOCK EARNINGS FOR SEPTEMBER

Adobe Stock Total Earnings for September: $59.62

(6 total downloads)

Videos: $55.99
Photos: $3.63
adobe stock september earnings

Thank you Adobe Stock for pulling through this month! It started off as a poor summer of earning with Adobe Stock, but the last two months have shown that all hope is not lost with this stock site.

While the sales are fewer and farther between, they do seem to sell for higher prices than the other sites.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

That wraps it up for the month of September. As I said before, I’m not too worried about Shutterstock sales, as they’ve already picked up for the month of October. Thanks again for following along on this journey. Please leave me a comment below and let me know any further questions you have or other topics you’d like to learn more about.

Total Stock Photo + Video Sales for 2019

Stock Photo and Video sales for 2019

Happy shooting!

-Beth

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monthly-income-september-pins.jpg

How much money I make selling stock photography

Each month I share exactly how much money I make selling stock photos (as well as videos) online through a detailed monthly income report.

In case you missed last month’s report, you can find it here.

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing with you exactly how much I make as a stock contributor on Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and EyeEm (and Pond5 for stock footage). I’ll also break down exactly how much money comes from photo sales and how much comes from video sales.

My goal is to not only keep myself motivated by tracking my own progress, but also to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that may help other stock photo contributors sell more photos and videos.

When I first started selling stock photos, I was so curious about what to expect for realistic income from stock photography. Is it worth all the time and effort that’s required?

Which is better - video, photo, or both? Are they both worth submitting or should I focus exclusively on stock video footage?

These are a few of the questions that we’ll tackle in today’s post. I’ll be focusing specifically on what I make selling stock photos and whether or not it’s worth doing at all.


Pssst!

Want to dive even deeper? If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

You’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

Download Now: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

Total Income from Photo Sales (in 2019 so far)

I’ll get right to it. Here’s what I have made so far this year from stock photography sales alone.

This graph breaks down my earnings by month and site (EyeEm, Adobe Stock, and Shutterstock).

Stock Photo Sales in 2019

Stock Photo Sales in 2019

In case it’s hard to see, here are the total numbers for the year so far from each site:

EyeEm Total Earnings for 2019: $9.73

Adobe Stock Total Photo Earnings for 2019: $30.68

Shutterstock Total Photo Earnings for 2019: $147.20

I should also note how many photos I have available on each site. This is important for estimating what might be realistic in your case.

To find an average, I divided my total amount of photos available by total sales for each site. This gives the average amount you’ll earn per photo, per year (more like per 8 months since it hasn’t been a full year yet).

EyeEm: $9.73 / 185 photos = $0.05 (average per photo ytd)

Adobe Stock: $30.68 / 202 photos = $0.15 (average per photo ytd)

Shutterstock: $147.20 / 444 photos = $0.33 (average per photo ytd)

Obviously this gives you a very rough estimate as there are many factors take into consideration - like the quality of your photos and how well they are key-worded, but it’s a real life example that may be worth analyzing.

If you are already in the game and looking for more effective key-wording strategies, I highly recommend checking out this post all about the best ways to tag your photos, as well as exactly how I use the Shutterstock keyword tool across all platforms to generate the best descriptive words.

If you are interested in becoming a Shutterstock contributor, you can easily start here.

BECOME A SHUTTERSTOCK CONTRIBUTOR

Strategies to sell more stock photos

Quality versus Quantity : Which matters more?

The short answer is both! Obviously, the more photos you have available for download, the better your odds are for success. Especially when you consider how many millions of stock photos are already out there. And there are some pretty good ones, I might add.

But you can’t stop there. It’s not all about quantity. You can have thousands of photos available, but if your photos aren’t any good (or at least not better than your competition), they’ll never stand out against the crowd.

I recommend two things:

1) focus on continually improving your photography skills

2) set a schedule to keep yourself motivated to upload more and more photos each month

If you can commit to doing these two things consistently, not only will your photos naturally improve, but you’ll simultaneously be building up a larger and larger portfolio.

Find a niche

I’ll add one additional factor - finding the right niche. Forget about trying to sell shots of beautiful clouds or a field of wildflowers. There’s just too many other good ones out there already. Instead, try to find a specific topic that isn’t already saturated.

Many of the photos that I sell are from the first few days after I had my first little girl. We spent a few days in the NICU with her. Photographer that I am, I of course grabbed a few shots of various medical things in the hospital. There’s one that says ‘NICU’ on her bassinet. It’s a simple photo that sells all the time.

This is a niche that I happened to stumble upon. This month is ‘NICU’ month. I had no idea such a thing existed, but guess what, it’s been a great month for a few of these photos.

Think about subjects that you enjoy and have easy access to shooting. If it’s a broad genre, like fishing for example, niche it down even further to something like fly-fishing, bass fishing, lake fishing, etc.

Best Selling Stock Photos

I thought it could be interesting to share a few of my best selling photos and how much they’ve each earned over the long haul.

The image below is a screenshot of my best selling stock photos on Shutterstock.

Take note mostly of the total number of downloads over the total earnings. The ones that were only downloaded 2 or so times are a bit skewed by a few purchases that went for a higher price than average.

best selling stock photos on shutterstock for 2019

Stock photography : Is it worth it?

Now that we’ve taken a thorough look at exactly how much money I make selling stock photos, let’s talk about whether or not it’s worth the time and energy.

If you’re new to stock photography, I’ll be the first to tell you that it does take quite a bit of time to not only sort through your photos and upload them to each site, but especially to properly keyword each and every photo one by one.

Of course, there are ways to copy and paste batches of similar photos, which I do recommend. But it still takes hours. And when your pay off is only $0.25-0.33 per photo… you have to ask, is it really worth it?

Honestly, it’s a personal question that only you can answer. But here are some things to consider.

It’s passive income.

To me, this is the number one reason why I am a stock contributor. I love the idea that I can put in the time to upload and tag and then my photos and videos will continue to earn money for me indefinitely.

It’s the best feeling in the world to go month after month earning hundreds of dollars while not doing a thing.

Time is money.

On the other side of the coin - if you’re limited on time and your time could be better spent on something higher paying, like earning a few hundred dollars per shoot. Then stock photography may not make sense for you, as it’ll take a long time to exceed those earnings with stock photography.

My kids are young and right now I am more focused on spending as much time with them as possible at home, so for me passive income makes sense. But rewind my life to 5 years ago and I was out making way more money on individual shoots than I do on stock photography. It comes down to your priorities and your stage in life at the moment.

Which is better: stock photography or stock footage?

Here is the critical divide that I have personally come to. For me, it’s obviously not a question anymore: I have found a lot of value in selling stock. I will continue to upload new media. However, the question for me now is whether it’s worth continuing to upload any more stock photos over stock footage.

To be honest, right now the answer is no. I am not adding any more stock photos to my portfolio. When I have the time to upload more content, I focus on adding stock footage.

Two reasons why I’m focusing on stock footage:

1) There are far less stock videos available than stock photos, which means less competition. This means a much higher chance that my clips will be downloaded over the competition than the same content with stock photos.

2) You earn SO much more for a single footage clip than a single photo. For one clip you’ll earn anywhere from about $20-40 versus less than a dollar per photo. Just take a look at a few months of my previous earnings and you’ll see where the majority of my earnings come from. And interestingly I have almost the same number of clips as I do photos. The videos make about 10x as much money on average than my photos.

If there comes a day that I run out of stock footage to upload, then maybe I will go back through my photo catalogs and upload those, but for now I just can’t justify the time spent doing photos over the amount I could make in the same way through stock videos.

Conclusions

If you don’t have the capacity to take stock video clips or if you have an abundance of great photos to upload, I don’t want to discourage you in any way. It’s all about what makes the most sense for you! If you can upload 1000+ photos and are happy with an extra $100 bucks from it each month then I say go for it.

I think it’s an excellent little side hobby to earn some extra cash, even if it’s not your primary source of income.

Wishing you all the best on this journey. Please leave any questions or comments below. What are your thoughts on stock photography? Still worth it??

How much money I made selling stock in August 2019

It’s that time again when I share all the details of what I made this month from selling stock footage and photography across three major stock sites: Shutterstock, Pond5, and Adobe Stock.

1 | SHUTTERSTOCK EARNINGS FOR AUGUST

Shutterstock Total Earnings for August: $139.92

(25 total downloads)

Videos: $129.23

Photos: $10.69

My current catalog includes 444 images and 469 videos.

Shutterstock August Income.png

Best selling image

This one has gained a good amount of traction this month and is beginning to sell more frequently. It sold for a total of seven times.

To learn more about how to shoot and upload images that will experience this ‘snowball’ effect by ranking higher in the search results and thus selling more frequently, you can check out this post that includes my top 5 tips and tricks for how to best shoot and tag your stock imagery.

best selling shutterstock image.jpg

Best selling footage

For this entire year, this video has been my top seller each month. This month it sold twice for a total of $62.17.

best selling shutterstock video.jpg

For those interested in becoming a Shutterstock contributor, you can start here.

BECOME A SHUTTERSTOCK CONTRIBUTOR


Pssst!

Want to dive even deeper? If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

You’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

2 | POND5 EARNINGS FOR AUGUST

Pond5 Total Earnings for August: $53.84

(4 total downloads)

Videos: $53.84

Photos: none

(note: I don’t think Pond5 markets photo sales on their site anymore. I almost never get any photo sales here.)

Pond5 August Earnings.png

Nothing crazy to note this month with Pond5 other than the fact that I’m pretty excited to have two drone footage sales. My husband and I just started experimenting with the drone this past fall. I uploaded a handful of shots from a trip out west and I’ve been very curious to see how they do.

I hear about a lot of other stock contributors uploading drone shots, so I’m skeptical that the niche may be oversaturated, but I’m hoping to be proven wrong.

I uploaded these in March and have begun seeing sales from them for the first time this month on Pond5 as well as Adobe Stock as you’ll see in a moment.

In case you’re curious how long it typically takes for footage to sell once you’ve uploaded it, I recently made a post all about my experience here.

3 | ADOBE STOCK EARNINGS FOR AUGUST

Adobe Stock Total Earnings for August: $65.28

(4 total downloads)

Videos: $63.30

Photos: $1.98

adobe stock august earnings.png

Finally, a decent month on Adobe Stock!

If you’ve been following along with my monthly income reports, you may have noticed a sharp decline in monthly earnings from Adobe Stock. I have no idea why yet, but I’m happy this month wasn’t so bad.

All the difference came from one video sale. It is a drone shot through the Gallatin Mountains near Bozeman, Montana. I obviously hope this trend continues but only time will tell.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Overall it’s been a pretty average month of stock footage earnings: not great, but not too bad.

Here was the grand total across all sites in case you’re interested: $259.04

And here is a breakdown by site and month so far for 2019.

Total Monthly Earnings for 2019

Monthly Stock Photo Earnings for 2019

As always, thanks for your interest in my stock photography/footage journey. I am enjoying sharing the process with you. Please comment below for any additional thoughts or questions. Would love to hear from you!

Happy shooting,

-Beth

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Monthly stock photo earnings for August 2019

At What Point Do You Start Making Money Selling Stock Footage?

Once you’ve shot, edited, and uploaded a curated portfolio of stock footage to various websites, how long will you have to wait until your footage actually begins to sell?

There are many variables that play into this equation, so it’s not the easiest or most straight forward question to answer. The fact is that nothing you upload is guaranteed to sell. It could take a month for one video to sell while it takes a year for another.

However, I did some research among other stock contributors and also studied my own experience to come up with my best estimation to this burning question that many of you have.

In this post, I’m breaking down exactly how long it can typically take for footage to sell once it’s uploaded across various sites, specifically Shutterstock, Pond5, and Adobe Stock.

My first sale

I began my stock photography and video journey back in December of 2016. If you want to read the full story of my journey into stock and how much money I made the first few months, you can check all that out here.

I began with about 100 photos at the beginning of December. My very first photo sale happened on the evening on December 30th, for a whopping 25 cents. See the photo below.

My first shutterstock sale

So it took about 30 days for my first sale.

I sold 14 by month 2.

By month 3, I was selling double that amount.

So for a short answer you can see that if you upload 100 quality files, you should begin to see a few sales picking up starting in about a month.

However, if you continue to upload, you will not only see an increase in your sales month over month from your new uploads, you will also find that the files that have already been downloaded should continue to be downloaded, sometimes exponentially so.

The snowball effect

I’m going to term this incredible phenomenon the snowball effect.

See, what happens is that once your footage is noticed by a buyer and then downloaded, the stock website then bumps your footage higher in the search results because the site’s algorithm deems it ‘good’ and ‘relevant’.

So the next time someone searches for those keywords, your footage is more likely to be seen by the buyer. If it continues to be downloaded, you will quickly find your footage rise to the very top of the search results.

When this happens, you will start to see this footage downloaded more and more frequently, often resulting in multiple sales per month.

Here is an example of one that just continues to get more and more frequent downloads as the months go by for me. As you can see it was added just over a year ago and started getting frequent downloads about 6 months ago.

most downloaded video from shutterstock

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

DOWNLOAD NOW: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Stock Bundle

Pssst!

Want to dive even deeper? If you’ve read my monthly income reports then you already know that I haven’t added a single clip or photo to my portfolio since January this year, and yet I’m still making hundreds of dollars each and every month from photo and video sales. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m walking you through exactly how to do it, even with a small portfolio of HD clips.

You’ll receive a beautiful 20 page PDF filled with valuable content packed full of insider tricks, including


It depends on demand

I would say the most critical factor in how quickly your footage or photos will sell is based upon the genre of clips you are submitting.

If you submit something in the nature category - a field of flowers for example - it could take much longer for your footage to be noticed. You are competing against a very large pool of gifted photographers and filmmakers and it will take more time for your work to rise to the top (even if it’s excellent).

If you submit something that is in higher demand - a doctor administering a medical test, for example - your footage will be sold way quicker. For more examples of what’s in high demand, check out this post on the latest stock footage trends that stock companies are asking for.

From the research I’ve done among myself and other stock contributors, if you submit high quality work in a genre that is in high demand, your footage will take about a month on average to get it’s first sale.

If you continue uploading, you may see a snowball affect begin to take place within the first six months of uploading, increasing over the next year or two as you continue uploading.

Here is a screen shot of the monthly growth I have seen on Shutterstock over the past 12 months. And note that I haven’t added any additional footage for the past three months. (So much travel over the summer has me behind schedule, but I do plan to get back on track with more uploads soon.)

shutterstock monthly earnings over time

Factors that matter

You can’t just throw footage or photos online and expect them to sell (within any certain timeframe) if you haven’t practiced a few other key strategies with your media.

For a complete breakdown of exactly how I get my media noticed and sold quickly, be sure to check out this post dedicated to my top 5 key strategies here.

But briefly, you need to make sure that you are:

Conclusions

In summary, you can expect your first few sales to come trickling in within the first month of uploading.

But with a little research and focused attention to what to shoot and how to properly upload, you will begin to see those sales exponentially increase within the first six months, only to continue to increase month over month after that, especially as you continue to upload more content.

I wish you the best of luck on this journey!

Let us know your experience in the comments below: how long did it take to get your first few sales and how have the following months been after that?

BECOME A SHUTTERSTOCK CONTRIBUTOR

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