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Author Topic: 2012 Annual Analysis of Agency performance  (Read 2425 times)

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  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« on: January 02, 2013, 10:14 »
I've just completed and posted my annual analysis of my earnings per agency, per download and per image online now that 2012 has drawn to a close. It is a long post and would be hard to summarize here, but the end result for me was another doubling of earnings from 2011 to 2012 (for the fifth year of activity), but I can see that it will get much harder to continue! My analysis of earnings per online image across the 20 sites I submit to continues to show that with my sort of subject and portfolio, I can expect between $0.65 and $0.70 per image per month and that has been pretty consistent for 18 months. So, to double my earnings means I need to double the images I have online on the various sites - and keep the quality and image saleability consistent.

As you can see, Shutterstock is easily my most important site, followed by iStock. I had a rotten month with IS in December, with earnings per online image falling to the lowest since early 2011, but the previous two months held up the quarter a bit. I have a monthly graph of this in my post.

The full table of sites and earnings per online image:

The full details are in my post, which can be found here:

I'd be interested in anyone else's view of earnings per online file (and whether it is changing over time). Do portfolios with mainly people shots have a higher earning potential per image that one that mine with a mixed bag of studio, travel and nature work? I don't have any direct costs of a stock session (no models to pay), but do I suffer as a result?

Interesting questions!

Happy new year and I hope your 2013 earnings surpass your expectations!


« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 15:20 »
I like your analysis Steve, very comprehensive.

Sorry but I don't help you, i'm a newbie.

I uploaded my port in 8 agencies since jan 2012. 405 avg port and my Rpi in last three months was:

Oct 0,78$
Nov 0,59$
Dec 0,65$



  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 17:13 »
Interesting that it is in the same range - $0.60 to $0.80. With a smaller portfolio, you will obviously get more random variations as you get a big sale one month and then smaller ones the next.

Good luck with growing the portfolio!


« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 09:09 »
I agree with you that this statistic is very important and an excellent gauge of which agencies are increasing.  It also tells you which agencies should receive your attention for getting new images online.

I calculated average return per accepted image per month for each agency and averaged those over the year.  My numbers are very similar to yours, except sometimes a bit lower.  For 2012:

SS: 0.19
iS: 0.12
DT: 0.05
123, Veer: 0.04
CS and FT: 0.03
DP: 0.02
BS and all the others: 0.01 or lower

Over the 4 years I have been doing this - part time, shooting what I feel like - the ones that have grown are:

SS from 0.14 to 0.19
CS from 0.01 to 0.03
DP from 0.00 to 0.02
123 from 0.01 to 0.04
Veer from 0.03 to 0.04

DT went from 0.04 in 2009, to 0.03, 0.04 and 0.05
FT went from 0.04 in 2009, to 0.02, 0.02 and 0.03
So those two both dropped royalties, then gradually clawed back (not quite back for FT)

iS went from 0.31 in 2009, to 0.31, 0.15 and 0.12
Pretty dramatic drop and not surprising.  I wish they could turn it around and get back to 2009 levels, but that doesn't seem likely for independents.

I'm sure 123 will drop dramatically this year.
The low earners have stayed pretty constant at around 0.01.

I assume those who shoot lifestyle, do vectors or are more skilled than me have much higher numbers.  Overall, it looks like getting images on SS will make you the most money.  Unfortunately, that strategy won't work in the long run if everyone else does the same, unless you can increase quality - that's what I need to do now.

Thanks for starting this thread - I'm glad to know my numbers are quite similar to yours so the results are pretty consistent across agencies even though our subjects differ.


  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 10:04 »
Yes, it is interesting to see where the common areas are - and also the differences. iStock seems to stick out as an anomaly. I saw quite a bump in iStock when Photo+ was introduced and I have religiously made sure that I have the maximum number of Photo+ images marked. I also remove some of the zero earners and put others in their place. As a result (perhaps), my iStock numbers initially grew and then stayed flat from that point (although quite a way below your starting point.) I don't think I used to keep file number counts back in 2009, so it would be hard to calculate what iStock was back then, for me.

I think I also see a useful bump in earnings from submitting to smaller sites that have little effort associated with uploading images.



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