Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Slow Month

So I just uploaded the few (and only) December images tonight. I doubt I'll get around to doing any more this year.

In terms of sales, I'm doing decent. I've almost met my total downloads from November, but the numbers aren't as high due to a lot of my sales coming from non-iStock agencies. ($.30 per download instead of $1.50+) I'm happy that my other agencies are starting to pick up. Still nothing on CanStock, so we'll see how they do after the new year.

How's your month going?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Better luck next year

It appears that Shutterstock is not in the cards for 2009. On the latest application, I got 6/10 again. One of the pics that was approved last time was rejected. Otherwise, that would have made 7.

Well, I think my goal for this month was to apply, so goal accomplished! :-)

On another note, I seem to be getting some sales this month. It probably won't be my best month, but at least some sales are going through. Now, I just have to get one more shoot in for the year...

Monday, December 7, 2009


December is a difficult month. Not only am I busy with all of the holiday preparations, but I barely have time to shoot any new pictures. Sales have been slow as well (although this was expected since most people say that microstock slows down in December). So, I think I'm going to have only two goals for this month:

1) Apply to Shutterstock
2) Take/upload one shoot to my portfolio

Not the most ambitious goals, but it will have to do until 2010. I plan on doing some major thinking this month about my microstock future and determining what types of photographs I want to focus on. I hope that things will be back and running come January.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well, I can already tell that this month is going to be really busy (with the holidays, not picture taking) so I'm going to try really hard to get a few good submissions in before it gets too crazy. But on the other hand, I've read that microstock is pretty quiet this month anyways.

The one thing I'm really looking forward to is my next Shutterstock application (in 6 days). Hopefully this month is the month, but if not, there's always next year! :-)

I enjoy reading all of the other microstock blogs out there and some of you have come a long way in just a few short months. Certainly shows me that I have to really grow my portfolio (by about 1000 - haha)!

Have a great week!

P.S. For those photographers out there, when you do a model shoot, do you have one universal model release that you use for all of your agencies, or do you use a separate one for each agency? I see that Yuri Arcurs has a universal release on his site, but I have not used it yet. But it would be easier to use one form versus 6 or 7.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009 Earnings aka "I love iStock"

November has been an interesting month. It seems that my big earners for October were not even contenders this month. And all of the hard work on getting accepted to iStock has paid off! Only 12 uploaded files and 5 sales! I earned much more per image than all of the other sites combined.

Now onto my goals. I didn't meet either one of them. I originally wanted to add 40 approved images to each site and make $20.00 overall. I'm finding that some of the agencies are a little more picky than the others, so it has made that goal pretty hard to attain. Also, with the holidays this month, things have been slightly hectic and I didn't get a chance to shoot as much as I normally would.

Despite not meeting my first goal, I was very close to reaching my second goal. I was only a few short dollars away!

Before getting to my numbers, I thought I would give my thoughts on the agencies so far, now that I've had a few months to get familiar with them:

ISTOCK: I LOVE ISTOCK! It took me a few tries to get accepted, but now that I'm in, I'm getting a great amount of sales for such a small portfolio. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical of the new keywording requirements (since I was cutting out the majority of keywords to get my images approved), but I'm continually getting views and sales. Couldn't be happier. The only downside would be the monotonous uploading process, but if you download the free DeepMeta, that takes care of that problem.

FOTOLIA: This is by far the hardest agency for me to get images approved. As you can see in my stats, my portfolio is still really small (even though I submitted the same number of images as the others). The upside is that I'm having a few steady sales, so I definitely see the potential. Also, FT has the fastest review time (at least for me). So that's always good!

DREAMSTIME: DT is another one of those agencies that has surprised me. I have a smaller portfolio, but I seem to get consistent sales. This shocks me since I heard that DT will put your images at the end of the search queue if your approval rating is low (which mine is). From now on, I will be submitting my images to other websites first to get a feel for what is getting accepted before submitting to DT. Hopefully this will help raise my rating. But so far, so good! The only downside would be the review time. It usually takes about a week to get images approved.

BIGSTOCK: I don't really have much to say about BSP. I received my first sales this month and they seem to be making a decent amount of money, so again - I see the potential. My approval rating has gotten better over the last month and their review time is usually pretty good - a few days at most.

STOCKXPERT: This was a huge earner for me in October, but not so much this month. Last month I also noticed that I was getting regular views. I can't say the same for November. Perhaps November isn't the best month for buyers. I'm hoping this will pick back up.

123RF: I just recently had my first sales at 123. I was starting to think that it would never happen! My earnings have been decent compared to other sites, so hopefully I'll start to see more activity. They seem to approve most of my submissions, so I have my largest portfolio on this site.

CANSTOCK: So far, I'm not impressed. This website also has my largest portfolio, but I rarely get any views and haven't yet made a sale. I will continue uploading until I hit the 6 month mark and then decide if it's worth the time. I keep telling myself that I'm still new at this, so maybe it will pick up in the next few months. I'd like to at least report something each month!

So here are my numbers:

Hope everyone had a good month!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quick Update

November has been pretty good so far. According to the Yuri Arcurs Projected Monthly Income Calculator, I'm on track to meet my $20.00 goal (if my sales continue through the end of the month, of course).

The front runners for this month have been surprising. iStock has dominated my sales, followed by Fotolia, BigStock, and Dreamstime. Last month, the big site for me was Stockxpert. I have yet to get any sales at SXP this month. So it's interesting how things are flopping back and forth between the agencies.

I am in love with iStock. I have made 4 sales totalling $7.44 (my portfolio only has 10 images). My views seem to be consistent (even though I drastically cut down my keywords) and my commissions have been outstanding - even on subscriptions. Granted, it's a little tough to get images approved through them, but once they're in, they do seem to sell. I hope the trend continues.

Also, I downloaded DeepMeta last week for my iStock uploads. I highly recommend this program to anyone that uploads to IS. As you already know, after uploading your images, you have to go back in so that you can clarify keywords, select categories, etc. DeepMeta allows you to do this for your entire batch of photos at one time so that when you click submit, you're done. You don't have to follow through with the extra steps. They also have great reporting features that allows you to check all of your sales, approval ratios, lightbox additions, etc. And it's free, so that's always a plus :-) One downside, though, is that I can't seem to opt-in to the partner program through DM. I have to go back in and do it through the IS website. Does anyone else have that problem?

Finally, I'd like to voice my disappointment over one of my agencies, CanStock. I hardly get any views and have yet to make a single sale. They seem to approve pretty much all of my submissions, so I wonder if they're just overloaded with images and the buyer can't locate my contributions. Or maybe there are no buyers. I've decided to give them 6 months. If I don't see an increase, I'll probably drop them.

People have often said that if I like iStock, then I will love Shutterstock. My next application is coming up in a few short weeks, so hopefully I'll have some good news to report!

Here are the links to my current portfolios:








Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New tool – projected monthly income calculator | Yuri Arcurs

New tool – projected monthly income calculator | Yuri Arcurs

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Image Set

Last week I uploaded my ball of light photo series. To create these images, I used Photoshop along with an image that I shot earlier in the week. I had fun trying out a few new PS techniques. Hope you enjoy!

This image is available in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white. You can access these images HERE.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First iStock sale!

As of right now, I only have one image approved on iStock. And today it sold for $1.68 (after only being up for a few days)!!!

It's an image that you've seen many times on my blog:

Keyword - Epic Fail

So earlier this week, one of my images was rejected on a site (not going to say who) due to insufficient keywording. They told me that I should remove certain keywords - one being "otoscope."

.....The picture was of an otoscope. Don't you think that having that word as a keyword is pretty important?

I resubmitted it with the word left in. Maybe the reviewer didn't know what an otoscope was?

Anyways, I thought that was humorous.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shutterstock Update

I was declined again. I had 6/10 approved. Only one more and I would've made it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

iSyndica Review

A few days ago, I finally tested out iSyndica. For those of you who are not familiar with this website, here is what they have to say about it:

"iSyndica eliminates the need for you to upload your files to several sites. You upload with us, we store it, we distribute it and we provide you with statistics. All in one place!"

They have different subscription levels, depending on how many uploads you do each month. Right now, I am testing out their free subscription, which gives me 100 credits per month.

How do these credits work? Well, each time iSyndica sends my image to a microstock agency, it costs me 1 credit. I happen to upload to 6 agencies, so I spend 6 credits for each image that I submit.

Another feature is the analysis section. There you will find charts and graphs of your microstock agencies and how well you are doing. You can see your revenue, projected earnings, and number of downloads for each agency.

Now here's my review:

I've uploaded to microstock agencies via HTTP, FTP, and Java and the iSyndica process is much faster than any of those other methods. As soon as my images upload to the website, they are sent to all of my stock agencies within a minute or two. Since I'm now utilizing IPTC data, this makes for fast, easy submissions. After the images are uploaded, I just go to each of my stock agencies, select my categories, and submit. Very easy.

Personally, I think the analysis tools are interesting, but the whole reason for me trying iSyndica was to help save me time in the uploading process. I currently use the PicNiche Firefox add-on to manage my current earnings, so whether it's through PicNiche or iSyndica, I have constant real-time access to my earnings.

The only downside I see to iSyndica is that it doesn't seem to work well with Shutterstock. Since I haven't been accepted yet, I really haven't had to deal with that. But I did a quick Google search and it seems that there are ways around it. I've yet to try that out, though.

So, to wrap it up, I think it's well worth it to test out iSyndica....especially if you are uploading to multiple agencies like myself. With their free subscription, you really have nothing to lose.

More info can be found at:

Upload once - Sell everywhere! iSyndica, the web distributor

November Stats So Far

November is off to a great start. I've had 7 sales so far (compared to 11 for the entire month of October) and I've already earned 25% toward my monthly revenue goal. Fotolia is my #1 earner for this month, which is a bit surprising. Following closely behind is BigStockPhoto and Dreamstime. I'm hoping Stockxpert picks up, since they were my #1 agency last month.

I recently submitted a batch of images that includes a little of my Photoshop work, so as soon as they are approved, I will share them.

Finally, I'm waiting on my first batch of iStock images to be approved. And my Shutterstock application is pending, of course.

So far, so good!

Shutterstock: Take 2

Well, it's been 30 days and I'm able to apply to Shutterstock again! And let me just say....WOW. In my opinion, the quality of my images has really improved in the last 30 days. I guess that's what happens when you start learning about what's accepted/purchased in the microstock world. Now, is it good enough for Shutterstock? We'll find out soon enough! :crosses fingers:

Even if I don't get accepted, I'm still impressed with my growth as a photographer. I'm still proud of my iStock approval, so I would say that this month has been a success so far. I'm sure Shutterstock will happen in due time.


The last time I applied to Shutterstock, I had 3 images that said "Not Approved", but the reason was, "7 of 10 must be approved." So does that mean that they would've been approved if I met the 7 approval goal?? The rest of the rejections had detailed reasons.

So my other question is, can I re-submit those 3 images in my new batch? Or do they want to see 10 brand new images?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

iStock Application

For those of you who are curious about the images I submitted for my iStock application, please see below.

*Note* The thumbnails were taken from my CanStockPhoto portfolio since they are not up on the iStock website yet. (I had to re-submit them to add them to my portfolio).

As soon as I get images approved on iStock, I will post my portfolio link. As of right now, it's still a blank screen :-)

For those of you who are still trying to get into iStock, keep at it! It took me 4 tries to finally get accepted. It seems that iStock is consistently the #1 earner for a lot of photographers. I'm excited about the opportunities!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Tonight my application was finally accepted at iStock! I can't wait to start uploading. I've only heard great things about them. I'll post the lucky pictures tomorrow in case anyone is curious about what I submitted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Off to a great start!

Already I've sold 4 images this month! My best site is still Dreamstime with 3 sales. The other one came from BigStockPhoto - this was my first sale with them. So here they are:

Cowboy Hat (sold 2 times)
Ace Up The Sleeve

Cowboy Hat (slightly different than the above image)

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Goals

I have 2 goals for November:

1) Add 40 approved images to each of my microstock sites. (Last month, I was able to meet this goal on 50% of my sites)

2) Make $20.00. (Last month I made $9.99)

Yesterday I submitted another small batch of medical images in addition to a few humorous shots. I'll be sure to share a few in my upcoming posts!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October 2009 Earnings

Well, my first month of microstocking is complete! I must say, I'm quite proud of my results. At the start of this experiment, I was happy to just get a few views. (In fact, I checked my websites daily and it made me extremely happy to know that someone out there was looking at my photos). Then, I received my first sale. Let me say this - nothing is more motivating than getting a sale! I've never been so happy about $.30 before!

A few posts ago, I mentioned that my goal for October was to get 40 approved images on each of my websites (BSP, FT, DT, SXP, 123, CSP). Well, I discovered that it can be quite difficult to get photos approved based on the different criteria for the different sites. I found that I was getting all of my images approved on one, just to get a handful approved on another. All in all, I was able to achieve my goal on 3/6 sites.

So overall, I think I did great for my first month. Here are my stats:

So, I guess it's back to work! New month, new goals! Thanks for reading!

P.S. This was my first result posting. If there is information that I left out, please comment and let me know so that I can include it next month!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hope everybody has a safe and happy Halloween this weekend. Check back with me Monday to see my October microstock statistics!

If you haven't already seen it, here's my pumpkin/scalpel photograph from 123RF: Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

$5.00 Sale!!!

Today I received my first big sale. A whopping $5.00! I'm beyond excited!

The sale came from Stockxpert. This was my second sale with them.

Pixmac Now Reselling Dreamstime Images

Taken from

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

iStock: Back to the Drawing Board

Today my iStock application was rejected again. Actually, 2 out of 3 images are approved, so it's not like I have to start from scratch each time. Honestly, I had a feeling that my 3rd image would be denied, but since that same image was approved on ALL of my other stock sites (including Fotolia, which is my toughest critic so far), I thought I would give it a shot.

On the plus side, I'm starting to get a feel for what it takes to get images approved through the stricter websites. And I love a challenge, so it's all good.

Better luck next month!

Monday, October 26, 2009

4th Sale on Dreamstime!

Dreamstime is totally exceeding my expectations. With a portfolio of only 17 images, I've managed to sell 4 this month. Since this is my first full month in microstock, my only goal was to just get a few views. So I've been really lucky! I'm trying to beef up my portfolio a little bit, but I only have about a 50% approval ratio and my newest batch still has 116 hours to go before approval/rejection. But it's worth it!

The image is HERE

The rest of my portfolio can be found HERE

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Sale on Dreamstime!

Today I sold a 4 credit image on Dreamstime!

You can see the rest of my Dreamstime portfolio HERE

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Editing Tips for Microstock Photographers

Here's a helpful link that I found through Twitter that gives a few helpful tips for editing microstock photos:

Friday, October 23, 2009 - Firefox Add-On for Microstock Buyers and Contributors

After posting on about the length of time it takes me to upload images, one of the contributors suggested that I look into the picNiche Firefox add-on. I went ahead an added this program and already I'm pleased with what I see. Taken from the website, (and clicking on the toolbar link at the top), the picNiche add-on offers the following:


The Microstock Image Search toolbar is built for image buyers. It'll help you find images. It also has features to:

  • Send image-requests direct to contributors
  • Search across many agencies
  • Notifications when contributors add new images you may interested in
  • Simple image-log for tracking projects
  • Built-in global Upcoming Events calendar
  • Keep informed about news, events, and promotions from microstock agencies

The Microstock Contributors toolbar is built for image creators. It'll help you find images for research, but it also has a lot of other features too:

  • Get notified when you make a sale on each agency
  • Get notified when images you've submitted are approved
  • Announce approved images direct to buyers
  • See your current earnings for each agency at-a-glance
  • Quick associative keywording tool
  • Workflow improvements through the image submission process
  • FTP-Upload drop-box for six agencies
  • Built-in global Upcoming Events calendar
  • Keep informed about news, events, and promotions from microstock agencies and community websites

As I type this blog, all I have to do is look up and all of my earnings are there in real-time. If I get a new sale, I should receive a pop up notification telling me about it. I'm not too sure about the other capabilities (FTP, notifications when images are approved/rejected, keywording, etc) since I have not had a chance to try them out, but this may really save me some time.

New Sale!

I had a new sale today on Stockxpert!

I actually sold the same image a few days ago on Dreamstime, but this was the first sale for me on Stockxpert.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

45 minutes later....

....and I am finished uploading 4 images.

OK, I shouldn't say that. I had to catch up and upload 16 images to CSP, but on all of my other sites it was 4. It takes me forever to pick the correct categories. To save time, I have a spreadsheet and I type my keywords on that so that all I have to do is copy/paste into the web applications. But for some reason this entire process is taking forever. Then, I noticed that some photographers don't even bother with the categories and they are all getting sales. So maybe I'm spending too much time on it. I should also mention that I upload to 6 sites at the same time.

In other news, I re-submitted my application to IS today. Crossing my fingers!

Monday, October 19, 2009


While reading, I noticed that a number of photographers were also submitting their images to websites such as Zazzle, CafePress, etc. and have had some success with selling their products. So, I decided to head over to Zazzle and check it out.

Essentially, Zazzle sells t-shirts, coffee mugs, aprons, photo prints, etc. As a contributor, I can go in and customize different products for Zazzle to sell. If my products sell, I will receive a commission (just like microstock). However, the commission potential is a lot higher on Zazzle. For example, if I sell an image through a microstock company, I may only make $.20 - $.30 for each sale. On Zazzle, if I sell one of my products, I can make $2.00.

I have a feeling that it will be a lot easier to sell images through microstock than Zazzle, but I decided to try it out (after all, isn't this all just a big experiment?).

I took one of my pictures of boiling eggs and created an apron to sell. Supposedly it takes a few hours for it to appear on my store website, but here is the link:*

I understand that I will have to create a lot of products in order to see any sale activity, so I'll periodically add more. Then, I will just sit back and watch what happens. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Much to my surprise, I had a few sales this month. Honestly, I wasn't expecting to get a sale until my portfolio was a bit bigger. But I must say - getting a sale is a HUGE motivator. It means that there are people out there looking at my photos and at least 1 of them spent money to download one!

My first sale was through Fotolia. It's a photo of a prickly pear cactus that was taken while on vacation in Arizona:
The second and third sales came unexpectedly from Dreamstime. These photos were uploaded less than 24 hours before the sales.


My goal for each month is to add 40 approved images to each portfolio. Different websites have different criteria, so for some companies, this will be a pretty easy goal to attain. For others, it may be a bit harder. As of October 17th, my photo status is as follows:


As you can see, each website has approved/declined a different numbers of photos. I try not to get discouraged. In fact, it has become a challenge of mine to improve my approval ratio with each upload. I'm starting to get a handle on my lighting and camera settings and (in my opinion), I'm starting to take better pictures. For example:

This is a before/after of one of my earliest photo submissions:

Making a few white balance changes and altering the depth of field can really make a difference. Although, you never know what the potential buyer is looking for.

Microstock websites

Currently, I submit images to 6 microstock companies. Links to my portfolios can be seen below:
  1. 123RF
  2. BigStockPhoto
  3. CanStockPhoto
  4. Dreamstime
  5. Fotolia
  6. Stockxpert
I am also trying to gain acceptance into iStockPhoto and Shutterstock; however, my applications have been denied and I am working to better my portfolio before applying again.

Here we go!

Hello and welcome to my journey! Photography has always been a hobby of mine, and recently I was approached with the idea of submitting images to microstock websites. I was enticed by the challenge of constantly improving my work, and also motivated by the potential income. I plan to utilize this blog to document my journey from a beginner to a (hopefully) successful stock photographer.