Travel Stock

New Years Resolutions and the Microstock Survey


January is a time for reflection and resolutions and if you shoot microstock, the 2013 Microstock Industry Survey is a good way to reflect on how the past year has been. The results are helpful in planning for the new year ahead too.

I started out licensing stock photographs through Alamy Images, a traditional stock site, but soon discovered microstock. Although the low prices on the various agencies such as shutterstock, dreamstime, and iStock initially deterred me from licensing my photos there, as I joined various photography forums and learned more, I discovered that for many photographers those micropayments do indeed add up. Dabbling in the microstock world the last few years, I’ve seen a steady increase in my microstock income, with a 43% gain this year over last.

I’m still a small player in the microstock universe, with most of my photo income coming from traditional stock and assignment work, but I’ve found it’s a great way to learn the business since you sell multiple images daily, giving you a real sense of what sells best. It’s also great to know that thousands of your photos are being used and enjoyed by people the world over. Here are just a handful of mine:


Tearsheet-stockphoto-cover-031913TAKING STOCK

As I’ve done for the past three years, each January I assess how I’ve done on the various sites. How much did I make? Which sites are earning me the most overall? Which sites are earning me the highest RPI? (RPI stands for “return per image”  – a great way to compare sites when you have differing numbers of photos on each)  How many new photos have I added to each site and did my income this year rise in proportion to the effort that I made? And finally, how am I doing compared to others in the industry?


That’s where the Annual Independent Microstock Survey comes in. Tyler Olson, who runs microstockgroup, an excellent blog and social forum, has been surveying the microstock community about their earnings since 2008, not long after the microstock phenomenon began. By responding to the survey, you can help paint a more accurate picture of how things stand.

The survey results give you a chance to see how your work is faring compared to others in the industry. It also gives you a good overview of how the various sites are doing and some sense of what you can expect to earn as you increase your online portfolio. Did your income from one of the big sites tank this year? Perhaps you’re not alone. Had a banner year at another site? Thinking of joining some new sites and want to know how they compare to the ones you’re on? The survey results can help you answer these questions.

It’s anonymous, so no need to worry about divulging information. If you want a chance to win one of the prizes you enter your email after you’ve submitted the survey results.


Tyler will be drawing random numbers and giving away prizes to a lucky few of those who take the survey, if you need a little more incentive. These include:

• One year Eagle and one year Sparrow membership from StockPerformer ($400/$125 value)           (2 winners)
• $500 and $400 image editing packages from ProImageExperts (2 winners)
• A 6 month unlimited subscription from MicrostockSubmitter ($250 value)
• A GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition from microstockgroup itself ($399 value)

Here’s a link to the survey results from last year. I’ll post a link to the 2013 microstock survey results when they are tabulated, but first you need to take the survey. How was your 2013? Feel free to share your views below.
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