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Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio

24 July 2010 2 Comments

microstock photography earnings

iStockphoto, ShutterStock, Dreamstime and Fotolia are considered nowadays a Big 4 among microstock agencies. Indeed, they bring together between 80 and 90% of my earnings from microstock photography. After 32 months of submitting the size and content of my portfolio at different agencies are quite different: iStock – 1425 pictures, Shutterstock – 2024, Dreamstime – 1586, Fotolia – 1392.

The above graph show percentage of my earnings from the Big 4 agencies and other mictostock sites during last 2.5 years. I plotted quarterly values to smooth out month to month fluctuations.

I started to submit my pictures to iStock in November 2007 and that agency dominated my earnings until I got accepted by Shutterstock. Then, Shutterstock took a lead for a year so. In the beginning of 2009 my sales at iStock started to grow and today iStock in my number 1 with 40-50% of all microstock earnings. Is it a permanent trend? My sales at iStock are slowing down despite of reaching a gold level which allows me to submit more pictures.

Dreamstime is holding number 3 in my microstock earnings with a pretty steady contribution of about 10%. The number 4, Fotolia, shows some growth recently.

All remaining microstock agencies contribute currently about 12% to my income. I can divide them into two groups: (1) agencies with regular payouts every month or every second month (BigStock, 123RF, CanStockPhoto, Panther Media) and (2) agencies where need several months or a year to reach payout level (Veer, FeaturePics, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers).

In my next post I will analyze the trends in performance of the Big 4 agencies. Is it possible to predict my income from the microstock business?

Related posts:
10,000 Downloads from iStockphoto
Microstock Earnings – First 30 Months
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers

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