CEPIC New Media Conference: Making Millions with Microstock (Part II)


CEPIC New Media Conference: Making Millions with Microstock, One Euro at a Time (Part II)

Tyler Olson – MicrostockGroup – A meeting place for microstock photographers

Tyler Olson

Tyler Olson - MicrostockGroup

Tyler Olson, full time microstocker, lymph and “leaf” of MicrostockGroup, has recently published the interesting results of the 2009 microstock survey, based on 413 people/contributors answers Microstock Survey – 2009 Results. During the panel Making Millions with Microstock, One Euro at a Time, Tyler presented some more insights and statistics extracted from the survey and from other sources.

First of all, “Why do microstock photographers insist on ruining the stock photography industry?”; because “It's fun!”.

It's fun

Microstock is open to everyone. The most part of the microstock contributors has a small portfolio, here some stats from iStockcharts:

  • ~30,000 iStock Photographers with at least 1 image
  • 7% (1782) of iStock photographers have a portfolio over 1000 images
  • 1.4% (408) over 2500 images

It's profitable

  • paid as little as $0.20/download but with several downloads per day
  • zero cost to have images online
  • buyers need images, and LOTS of them
  • it’s very reliable profit
  • very quantifiable profit
  • for the hobby photographer, everything is profit

Microstock pays off for those who make an effort

  • On iStock 50% of the images belong to ~7% of photographers (numbers are repeating themselves, a similar proportion was presented by Yuri Arcurs regard his portfolio).
  • On iStock 50% of the image sales belong to ~2% of photographers

How much can I make?

tyler microstock income

The long tail is also well represented in this slide, with 89% of the photographers polled with a microstock income < 25,000$ (most of them in the lower part…).

The average RPI / Year of the 388 photographers is USD 9.26, with a sensible difference:

  • income < USD 25,000 –> RPI USD 5.35
  • income > USD 25,000 –> RPI USD 17.85

Finally, Tyler's 5 tips for microstock success, with a special indication for those who are coming from the traditional stock photo market and have to learn dealing with image rejections…

tyler 5 tips microstock success

Empty Seats
© Tyler “Leaf” Olson | Dreamstime.com
Slides courtesy of Tyler Olson

About Author

I write about the stock photo and microstock industry since 2006 on my several online-magazines. My goal for MyStockPhoto is to teach photographers and stock photographers how to sell more photos and earn money with their photography hobby.


  1. Well 2.500 is a big number and i assume big revenues, is a low number for people working in team like yuri arcus, who concentrate in photos but others do the keywording, uploads and formatting.
    in my case http://www.dreamstime.com/Deskcube_info i am continuing to submit more but because at this time i have some other works i can't be @ 100%, but is valuable the effort. good information and hopefully reach the 1000 mark uploads files.

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