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Stock photographer report: Stock Photography and Footage Income in 2021 – includes photo agency reviews

Jarmo out and about searching for fresh stock photos

Last week PAN spotted an interesting report by stock photographer Jarmo Piironen about his earnings and a review of the photo agencies he’s been contributing to over five years while building his image portfolios, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, iStock, Pond5, Alamy and EyeEm.

PAN contacted him and he has allowed us to run the report here:

Jarmo Piironen | Stock Photography and Footage Income in 2021 and 5-Year Development

Another year has passed, and my stock photography marathon continues going forward.

It has been a long and laborious journey so far, and one may ask if it has been worth the effort?

People say Stock Photography generates passive income. I write so sometimes also. However, that is only partially true.

It is true that when you upload a photo or video onto a stock site, it will possibly generate passive income as long as it is available for download.

In reality, though, you need thousands of images to generate a reasonable amount of passive income from stock photography. Not just any kind of images, but good high-quality images that buyers want to buy!

It takes a lot of time to build a high-quality portfolio. All images have to be tagged well to make it possible to find them. The portfolio has to be updated regularly and kept fresh. You need to develop your skills, study the market and follow trends.

Stock photography can be a full-time job. So, in reality, it is not passive income.

Is stock photography worth all that effort then? Let me answer my opinion at the end of this article.

2021 marks my 5th full year of building my stock photography and stock footage portfolios. It took me five years to grow from $0 to $550 a monthly income.

To celebrate that, I’ll share with you my 5-year total earnings development between 2017-2021.

But first, let me share my 2021 Stock Photography Income.

Stock Photography Income in 2021

First of all… I will only share my total income. That is because there have been cases in the past where a contributor sharing their detailed earnings for each stock agency individually has led to closing their contributor account for violating the Terms of Use.

That mainly concerns only one agency that has been harassing the contributors. Everybody who has been in this business for a longer time knows which agency I’m referring to. So no more about that…

Anyway… I have images and videos uploaded on eight different stock photography sites. Those are Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, IStock, Pond5, EyeEm, Alamy, Dreamstime, and Mostphotos.

However, only 6 of those sites are the ones that generate reasonable revenue. For example, Dreamstime and Mostphotos are minor sites that don’t make much difference to my income. I still have hope that both Dreamstime and Mostphotos will grow in the future.

My TOP 6 stock photography and footage sites and portfolio sizes are as follows.

Read the full report on Jarmo’s site

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