Does wildlife photography sell as Microstock

I have read on the message boards and on other forums, wildlife photography does not sell well as microstock; people photos and concepts sell better.

I have been on DT for a month, I have been uploading files nearly every day. Of course, I started with zero files and today I have 231 files online. My first sale was roughly one week after my first acceptance and sales have continued to increase with increased uploads.

In one month, I have had 23 sales or roughly 10% of my total portfolio. Return per download has been 0.72 cents.

I am encouraged. If I continue to upload 200-400 images a month and I continue to sell at 10% of my portfolio per month; then my return for the balance of the year will be an income of $200 or more per month.

Granted, this is a long way from a full-time income just from DT, but it is a good start and shows that a decent income can be earned in wildlife photography with Microstock.

I believe my return per download will increase as my images sell more because the levels will increase.

What is your niche market and have you been meeting your projections?

Photo credits: Moose Henderson.

Your article must be written in English

April 29, 2010


Hi John,

I am a wildlife photographer working on Dreamstime, and i must say that i have a feeling it is just starting for us,wildlife photographers, on stock sites. I do think there needs to be more editing as there are to many bad wildlife photos on dreamstime. But i have great hope for the future !

March 30, 2010


Wow … great images!

I must say though, I know what you mean about the low rate of sales related to wildlife images on microstock. I've all but give up on that subject matter as the few sales that have registered on the wildlife images in my porti have almost all been downloaded as subs sales [and usually the largest file size too]. So the return is just too poor to go out of the way that one has to in order to get the extraordinary wildlife images that would stand out above all the others …

In my experience, there seems to be very large upsurge in the need for editorial based [EL] images, as many/all the image banks are so overfull of all sorts of too many images, but which suit current editorial needs, especially events that bear some weight to world events.

Ever since I have concentrated more heavily on the editorial side of my submissions I have noticed that there seems to be a better/higher level of sales success. Perhaps that may not really be the root cause for the increased sales, but I do see many EL files coming thru as sales lately.

That said, be warned that I do not suggest that you focus only in that area, as the sales potential for EL files could drastically corner your portfolio into a smaller pool of buyers as the sales potential on EL files is drawing from a much smaller pool of buyers, who are also quite often savvi on the ways of saving costs when making image purchases, i.e. subs buyers.

March 27, 2010


I think the best pursuit in MS, if you are trying only to earn money, would be illustrations and people photos. There is a necessity for wildlife photos on DT, in case a buyer is looking for some, but I none of my best-sellers are wildlife. Let's see. 4 of my 26 sales involved wildlife. The rest were mostly landscape.

March 27, 2010


Hi John,
You have a nice portfolio and seem to be doing well! I check it every week just to see what you've added:) I took a look at my portfolio. About 29% of my images are wildlife, and the wildlife images account for about 20% of my sales. Also, my two level twos are penguins. My feeling thus is that wildlife sells:)

March 27, 2010


Well in almost 5 years as designer, i might have downloaded just few wildlife images, great PF, good luck.

March 27, 2010


I agree with the comments below. A great image will sell itself regardless of the subject. And having images that are unusual or of subjects that there aren't many other images of all helps with sales. You're doing great :)

March 26, 2010


Although my biggest seller is wildlife/nature, a bee photo that is an assignment photo, my overall best sellers are golf themed images especially those with people. Your wildlife photos are amazing, great work!

March 26, 2010


Hi John! Great portfolio & work you've done! Speaking about animal photos I have noticed that in the previous assignment "First Steps" the first images to sell were animal portrait ones! I think a good photo is a good photo everywhere & sell it self by it self!
Keep up the good work ;)

March 26, 2010


Hi nice portfolio you got there. I never saw a tiger on the snow!!

March 26, 2010


Great numbers.... I think everything with quality can sell in a microstock. And also found that being exclusive gives more opportunities since your pics are better placed.

March 26, 2010


Sure , everything can sell as Microstock . Why not ?

March 26, 2010


Welcome, John, and very nice portfolio. I see we are neighbors. :-)

March 26, 2010


Agree. Stocks are stuffed with smiling businessmen and isolations. People will soon feel sick of them. Animals have great prospect in such situation, inho =)

March 26, 2010

Aginger my opinion, stock sites are FULL with isolated objects and business people, or people with handshake, smiling businesswomen, etc. So really hard to mark out from mass; if you can shoot animals and can figure them with human emotions - I'm not thinking about "hapy puppy", but "brave bald eagle", for example - you have strong possibilities, because that queue is not overcrowded.
In my part, I'm working on my editorial portfolio nowadays - let's see, how cars can ben sell. :)

March 26, 2010


I try to focus on everyday stuff - kids, family, etc. On top of that I do a bunch of isolated objects and textures... I had about 5-15% of my portfolio sell back when I was building up to 350 uploads. Once I went exclusive my ratio jumped and has averaged over 20% since then. Naturally it will vary for each contributor, and once could also argue that since going exclusive I've focused on what sells for me here. Either way, I've got over 1,000 images with sales out of 1,800 so I can't be too far off the mark! Yes - DT is meeting my expectations... Great portfolio, by the way!

Related image searches
Income related image searches