Year in Review


I still can’t believe it’s 2020… can you?

Sitting here at the dawn of a new decade, it’s the perfect time to look back at what we’ve done and set new goals for next 10 years.

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who filled out our 2019 Year in Review survey. Now, let’s take a look at the results…

2019 Progress

16% of responders got accepted to their first agencies in 2019. Yay, congrats!

14% made their first sales.

16% joined more agencies than they had previously.

Nearly 50% are already up-and-running and continued building their portfolios over the last year. Nice work, guys.

And 26% increased their sales over the previous year. This is great news!

Strongest Agencies

For number of sales, Shutterstock was the front-runner again this year. 62% reported that they made sales here in 2019.

Following closely is Adobestock in 2nd place, and Dreamstime in 3rd.

Bigstock, Alamy, and iStock came in next, with 123RF trailing in last place.

Of course, some of this is affected by the agencies where respondents actually submit. Many, for example, might not submit to iStock – which is why it’s trailing in so far behind. But in my experience, Shutterstock does lead in sales, which is why I’ve focused most of my effort there.


Here are some achievements that readers reported:

  • Made it to the next earning tier on Shutterstock.
  • Submitted 200 more photos to Shutterstock, Adobe, and Bigstock.
  • Having the courage to finally step out on that limb and take the leap of faith to submit my photos.
  • I just started at the end of this year, but just figuring out how to use Lightroom and how to submit my photos to a few sites was huge — then having them accept many of them was great!
  • Had more than 300 images accepted to Adobe so got some portion of my subscription paid for (yay!) and immediately sold 6 images – after having only sold one on that site, and one on another in the past year.
  • I FINALLY applied to three agencies—and got accepted by all three.
  • I taught a class on photography that was stock related.
  • Joining the Breakfast Club!

And my favorite:

  • My biggest achievement was to actually do it!

YESS!! I love that!

Goals for 2020

When asked, “What’s your one biggest stock photo goal for 2020?” Here’s what readers said:

  • Try to earn at least $50 per month from each agency.
  • To upload more! And to get on other stock photo sites.
  • Keep growing my skills and increase sales.
  • 10 photos added to my portfolio(s) a week… add one stock agency.
  • My goal is to develop the HABIT of uploading 3 times per week, the other two days editing and preparing to upload. While uploading add appropriate images to my smugmug site. I need a dedicated morning time and workflow.
  • My biggest goal is to give up my day job so that I can be a full-time photographer!

And one big thing that readers reported they wanted to learn this year: Video.

Overall, the biggest trend I see every year is that results come from action. If you want to make money with your photos, you need to get started! Don’t let your fears hold you back from giving it a try.

And then from there, keep going. Start small, and keep taking baby steps forward. By the end of the year, you’ll know a lot more than you do now.

Over the next year, I’ll share some S&SPC readers’ best-selling photos, more success stories, and of course more tips and motivation to keep you moving forward so you can fill out next year’s survey with pride in your accomplishments!

Here’s to our success in 2020 and beyond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *