My experience with microstock photography started in 2007. I was travelling in Europe and China on business, and on weekends while far away from family and friends I questioned, “what will I to do in my free time?” As it happens, this turned out to be an excellent opportunity for me to fire up a good old passion of mine, photography. I quickly realized that it was an excellent way to fill my time, and find great enjoyment. I had some Nikon lenses and I decided to buy my first professional DSLR camera.
Over the course of my microstock journey I’ve uploaded images to 14 different agencies. Eight of them generate some income, while the rest I will probably stop uploading to. I have been accepted at Istock, after two trials I was accepted in Shutterstock, and also Fotolia, Dreamstime, 123RF, Big Stock and others. I started selling images in 2008; my first sale was at Fotolia in November 2008 (see image below: Lion sculpture in Forbidden City). This photo was taken during my time in China. It was in China where I started my stock photography.
During these first few years I have learned quite a lot about microstock. Improving my photography has been a labour of love. I have found the time and energy whenever possible to practice, study theory and review photos. As a result, my image quality has improved dramatically, and my microstock approvals have skyrocketed. There are basic 6 features in stock photography which can help to increase sales. They are: portfolio size, composition, stock suitability, timing, key wording and image quality. I have tried to work on all of these elements to improve my sales except in the area of stock suitability. I am still taking pictures I like.
Once my portfolio grew in size so did my revenue. Last year my earnings got off the ground, and are worth mentioning. I sold 1625 images while my average portfolio size was 770 images, in 11 major agencies. My best selling site is Shutterstock, and in 2013 it generated 40% of my microstock income. My top 5 best selling agencies in 2013 were: Shutterstock, Istock, Dreamstime, Fotolia and Depositphotos.