2015 Income Report

The Income Report for 2015 is the most comprehensive to date. I am going to showcase my TOP 20 STOCK PHOTO SALES to date. I am also going to talk about lessons learned, how I went from a 50% acceptance ratio at Shutterstock to ALMOST 100% acceptance ratio, and where I plan to go from here. Hope this helps!

Shutterstock photo sales vs. income graph - income report 2015

2015 almost DOUBLED my stock photo sales with a total of 2191 sales. While still not a lot, the income stream was fairly consistent and helped pay my cell phone bill, which is at least something:) I’ve learned a lot this past year and what types of photos are and aren’t accepted as well as which photos sell.

One consistent thing I learned, at least when it comes to food photography, is that if I wanted a photo accepted to Shutterstock, then I had a much better chance of acceptance if I took my photo IN my studio using my studio lights. I took several food shots with natural lighting, and while they are beautiful, the acceptance ratio went way down. However, it is almost always 100% acceptance when taken in the studio. I use Alien Bees studio lights and have set up my studio in my garage. (I will post more details later on how I use a studio for stock photography.) I’m not “anti” natural lighting, just wanted to share what I’ve learned this past year. I also have a Canon 5d Mark ii, while probably not necessary, I noticed a huge increase in acceptance when the quality of my lenses and camera improved. (My two favorite lenses right now for studio work and food photography are the Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro Lens and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens. Pricey, but the quality is superb! I did two entire weddings using the 50mm lens and was so pleased with the results.)

Another thing I have learned is that the majority of my current sales come from FOOD. Interesting. That said, I still enjoy nature and portraiture, but I guess my strength (or the demand?) is with food photography. So, for 2016, I want to play to my strengths and see where it takes me.

Now for the good stuff! Here are the

TOP 20 Stock Photo Sales of 2015!!!


Happy Family Walking Away on a Bridge - Income Report

Happy Family Walking Away on a Bridge

Total Downloads to date: 589

Total Income: $307.04

This photo was taken for a family portrait session. They graciously said I could use their photos for stock and signed a model release. Initially, I almost didn’t submit this photo. It was a little bit soft and I wasn’t sure if Shutterstock would accept it. But, I went with my gut feeling, and boy am I glad I did. I think it is so popular for many reasons. You see the back of the family, and so it could be anyone. It also could possibly be several different nationalities because it is far away. Of course, the setting was absolutely beautiful with the eucalyptus trees and the bridge. I think it is conceptual in a generic way due for several reasons They are walking away, or could be walking towards something. They are a family and it definitely shows love and caring. I’m grateful I have received so much success with this photo.


Chef decorating and piping buttercream icing - Income Report

Chef Decorating and Piping Buttercream Icing

Total Downloads to date: 154

Total Income: $80.93

I took this photo at a friend’s house. She is a professional baker and was kind enough to allow me to sit in on one of her baking sessions. While I had seen hundreds of photos of cupcakes on Shutterstock, I saw very little of the baker actually decorating them. I brought my studio light and octobox (soft box) to her house and busily snapped photos while she was working feverishly to meet a deadline. I was lucky to have some in focus:) It was a plus that she always has perfectly manicured nails!


Pancakes with caramel sauce - income report

Pancakes with Caramel Sauce

Total Downloads to date: 153

Total Income: $55.29

This photo, being the third most popular, makes me smile:) I had some leftover caramel sauce that my friend gave me for Dave’s birthday cake and had made whole wheat pancakes for breakfast. I wanted to take a quick photo of my breakfast before eating it and thought to myself, “I should make the pancakes happy.” And so they were. Happy morning, good morning, hello world, breakfast is served! They continue to sell and yes, they were good!!!


Milky Way Galaxy - Shutterstock income report

Milky Way Galaxy

Total Downloads to date: 116

Total Income: $57.47

I have to admit, this photograph of the Milky Way is by far one of my favorites. The memory associated with it is priceless as was the time I spent with my son and husband in one of my favorite places in the world. I purchased a book by Jennifer Wu called Photographing the Night Sky. If you are interested at all in night photography and want to buy only one book, this has my highest recommendation. It is easy to read, crystal clear, and the author even goes as far as to tell you exactly what settings she used as well as how she edited them in Adobe Lightroom. The best time to photograph the Milky Way is probably in August. You can see the fullest portion of it then (at least in California). Dave and I (and my youngest son) went up to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Because it was summer, we had to wait until about 10 pm to get this shot. There were several photographers there, an astronomy club, and one man who planned on spending the night up there for a time lapse exposure. We live about 3 1/2 hours away from Glacier Point (it is an hour into the park and only open during the summer unless you get lucky and the roads are clear in the winter). I am afraid of the dark and afraid of bears, so it was nice having my sweetheart with me for this adventure. When taking photos we have to get out of our comfort zone from time to time to be able to capture what we want. I didn’t finish until some time past midnight arriving back at home around 3 am. I wasn’t even sure if I had captured what I wanted as it was so dark and it’s rude to shine flashlights around when people are doing long exposures. When I finally got some sleep and took a look, I was awestruck. I love nature and I was glad to have captured part of it.


Whole wheat apple pecan muffins - Income report

Pecan Muffins

Total Downloads to date: 97

Total Income: $88.97

This was my first photo accepted to Shutterstock. It was part of my 10 photos that I used for my submission. It took me 6 months to get into Shutterstock, but once you are in, it seems a little bit easier to have photos accepted (or you’ve grown in the process). I made these muffins for breakfast and took this photo using natural lighting.


Large vintage outdoor drive-in movie theater - income report

Large Vintage Outdoor Movie Theater

Total Downloads to date: 92

Total Income: $47.36

This photo is special because I took a trip with my dad specifically to take a picture of it. Before we moved to California, my dad and I would go on drives every Friday to take pictures of beautiful places. He would say, “If you don’t take it, who will?” He thought this vintage outdoor drive-in theater was something novel and not common. I agree. Thanks, dad! I miss our drives terribly.
To see the rest of the TOP 20 STOCK PHOTO SALES of 2015 and get more details CLICK HERE!

Okay, now for the rest of the Income Report for 2015. Here is a run down of the total sales:

Income Report Totals for 2015

As you can see, the greatest income I received in 2015 was from Shutterstock. I have learned a lot and have grown a ton. Here are the total income figures for 2015:

Income Report for 2015:

Jaunary: $135.30

February: $98.61

March: $252.26

April: $189.05

May: $115.99

June: $124.58

July: $229.97

August: $300.77

September: $275.51

October: $171.31

November: $165.69

December: $113.15

TOTAL INCOME for 2015: $2307.49

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Here’s to a great 2016!!!


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