Am I really making money from microstock?

I started microstock photography 2 years ago. Today, I have almost 1800 pictures in my portfolio submitted to multiple agencies and working part time for microstock.

Every month, I am posting earnings reports in my blog, Pixels Away. There are usually happy showing some positive trends. A few other microstockers are also sharing their numbers. However, it is not a full story. It doesn't say how much expenses and photographer's time was invested to produce these images. So, finally, I tried to include expenses into my analysis:

Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ?

Part 1 ... Part 2

In summary:

- I calculate RPI (return per image) or other statistics in reference to a total number of pictures prepared for microstock including rejects, multiple versions, pictures not submitted.

- I added expenses (including money saved for camera and gear upgrades) and looked at "net RPI".

- Finally, I derived my "hourly rate" as a microstock photographer - currently, about double minimum wage in US, so better than flipping hamburgers or babysitting and, arguably, much more fun.

- I included several graphs in my article.

I would welcome any comments or suggestions. How to improve my approach? What I am missing?

Photo credits: Marek Uliasz.

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November 17, 2009


nice efforts dear. i m very happy to see this. thanks for sharing

November 17, 2009


nice advices,but I'm pretty new and don't really know how I could help or say...anyway good luck for the next sales

November 17, 2009


Nice article - I hadn't thought of it that way.

November 16, 2009


Don't Despair. If you use your equipment exclusively for stock photography then the expenses are high but if you use it for pleasure mainly, than your expenses are low. And I think the later is what is keeping many of us in stock photography.

November 16, 2009


Nice analysis, thanks for sharing.

November 15, 2009


Well, Marek: I think microstock makes good money in time...with a lot of photos, people, new ideas...

November 15, 2009


But ce la vie. Golddigger for exampl...

November 15, 2009


I have left a comment and question on the blog and thank you for raising and answering this issue. David.

November 15, 2009


Very interesting blog! Thanks for sharing :0)

November 15, 2009


Very nice info. Keep. up the good work.

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