30 01

2021 Stock Photography Earnings and 2022 Goals

In this article I will add up my overall earrings from stock photography and video for 2021 and go over my thoughts and goals for 2022. 


2021 was my first full calendar year doing stock photography and by the end of 2021 I am now 18 months into this journey. Sounds like I am talking about a small child, I guess in a way perhaps it is. 

I ended the year with images and videos on 14 different stock agencies and platforms. It is worth noting that for the first 4 months of 2021 I only had images on 4 agencies and no videos with a portfolio of around 300 images.

Since April I added 9 new agencies and platforms over the next few months. My focus was  on getting those newly added agencies caught up with the same images I already had online.

My Stock Photography Portfolio at the end of 2021

 Not counting istock and Fine Art America (cause I have less than 70 images on each) I had on average in my Portfolio:

  • Images 573
  • Videos 69

Overall I ended up adding approx 180 new images and 69 videos on average across all the agencies by the end of the year. The actual portfolio count varies as I have over 800 images on EyeEm but only 200 on Canva. And over 100 videos on Dreamstime, Pond5 and Depositphotos but only 14 on VideoHive.  

My Total Stock Photography Earnings for 2021

My Total Earnings for 2021 are $274.52

My Total Downloads for 2021 are 419

St. Pete Pier, St. Petersburg, Florida© Joel Hartz

The Best Selling Image was ST. Pete Pier which sold 17 times earned me $18.24

My Only Video Sale for 2021 was this clip

Best Selling video,  lol, my only video sale, was this one above! It is from driving in Puerto Rico when I lived there at the beginning of 2021. It sold just once but for a handsome $28. That ONE video sale accounted for 10% of my sales! 

If you read my Top Earning Images in 2021 article or watched the video version then you will also know that my top 10 earning images accounted for $99.95. That is nearly $100 of my $274.52 total 2021 Stock Photography Earnings or 36% of my total sales.

This is what I keep seeing with other stock photographers who write about their sales. The top 20-30% of their earnings come from just a small portion of their portfolios. This is correspondingly similar to the 80/20 rule that basically states that 80% of outcomes (earnings in this case) come from 20% of causes (or in this case  sales). 

80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes

How much did I earn on average per download?

My Total Revenue Per Download RPD was $0.66

If you want to look at it across my entire portfolio, then my average revenue for all images and videos was $ .48 per asset (RPA). 

In other words I earned $ .48 on average for each image or video I had in my portfolio in 2021.

How does that compare with your earnings? Let me know if your portfolio is more image based or video based too in the comments.

Considering I’ve only been uploading videos just the last half of the year. And videos make up less than 16% of my portfolio on average. I am not surprised for the lower RDP or even RPA it is lower.

Thoughts and Lessons in Stock Photography from 2021

Like I mentioned in Lessons and Earnings after my 1st year of stock photography video and article, some of the biggest stock photography lessons I learned in 2021 were:

  • Learning what makes a good stock image that the agencies will accept.
    • Including Composition, subject matter, or even not limiting yourself to just commercial or editorial images
  • Learning what the quality levels are for each agency, some agencies are supercritical, i.e. technical specs, artistry, center framing, ect. 
  • Focusing on workflow and using tools to help manage and upload images to multiple platforms at once.
  • Ultimately balancing your time and thinking of your time and images or videos as an investment. 

I think I have made some good strides with most of those. Overall I am still improving my process in order to keep it a “mostly passive” income stream with minimal amount of time invested going forward.

Stock Photography and Video Goals for 2022

My goals are pretty simple:

  • I plan on spending the first 6 months finishing editing my back catalog and uploading them mostly on Wirestock to save me time keywording..
  • Begin editing my shoots much quicker so I can get more timely images and video online, especially editorial assets. Instead of the 6 months to 10 years later like it takes me now.
  • I plan on doing a lot of traveling in 2022 for my  wanderinghartz.com site and youtube channel. Since the bulk of my images come from my travels, I am expecting to create a lot of images and videos in the second half of the year and hope to have my workflow nice and tight.
  • Doubling down on those Video assets, especially for all of my new uploads in 2022! I would like my video portfolio to grow to 500 on average by the end of 2022.
  • Sales goal to consistently be over $100 a month and surpass the $1000 mark for the year.
So now, what are some of your goals for 2022? Also let me know what are some of your obstacles you’re trying to overcome? Let me know in the comments below.

I Want to Hear From You

Let me know where you are in your stock photography journey in the comments. I hope this provides some insights or even some inspiration that can help you develop your own income stream with Stock Photography.

You can follow along on my socials, subscribe to my YouTube channel and check back here for more insights from my stock photography journey including income reports and more.

If you are just starting your journey then do me a favor and use my links if you found this free advice helpful. It is an easy no cost way to say thanks! Or you can also Buy me a Beer!



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