Shutterstock number of sales rise but income is lower

For half a year we tried to upload some photos to Shutterstock to test out the sales with this kinda media. Because we thought that selling a variety of media types would improve our exposure, number of sales and give some relative sales of photos and video files, we collected about hundred photos that would be approved on Shutterstock. Well, since uploading we had about hundred of sold files. But, what we are noticing is that, because we sold a lot of photos, overall income dropped. Is this coincidence or number of sold files are fixed to some extent and it doesn’t matter what kinda media you sell. If we had only photos, we would probably sell same number of photos and earn almost nothing, while if we only had video footage, we would earn much more from same amount of sold files.

Why this is worrysome? Because expenses making video files are bigger and if we had bigger volume of sold photos, this would mean our bankruptcy. It’s a big difference if you earn $0,38 per photo or $23,00 per video if Shutterstock limits your account with ~60 sold files per month. The more photos you sell the less video are sold and when reaching that limit you get income that is completely crap. And believe me, there are some limits how much you can earn per month depending how big your portfolio and variety of files you have. We’ve been uploading constantly and number of sales improve just slightly every year.

That is why we will delete all photography files from Shutterstock and go on without them. If we want to live from stock footage, there is no other way.

We didn’t contact Shutterstock to confirm our thesis, because either way they wouldn’t tell us the truth how their system works. After many years working for Shutterstock we are almost sure there is some kinda “magic button” that effects our sales.

If you have any similar experiences we would be happy to hear about it!


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