My top 50 best earners for 2013

Once a year, I look back at the performance of my photographs to try and see what I’m doing right and also to look at trends, but also to put to rest or solidify some assumptions I have about what’s happening at Istock and the effects on my income. This year, I thought I’d share this top 50, posting a few photos every day on this blog. Going over the results, I was kind of shocked to see how many of these winners I’ve never featured here. I was always waiting for some special occasion and well, this is now.

Why a top earners list instead of a most downloaded? Well, at the end of the day, it’s the income that counts. For a few years now, the amount of sales has declined for Istock exclusives like myself, but the money coming back on each sale has generally gone up, keeping, in my case, the income pretty stable and slightly higher than 2012. When you add in Getty Images revenues, then BAM! major increase. A third of my stock revenues this year came from Getty Images on a fraction of the sales numbers I get at Istock. With commissions going as high as $105 on a single sale, it doesn’t take many to push a photograph into this yearly top 50 earners list. All in all, the reality is that I can now make as much from a handful of sales as I did in the past for a hundred. Hence, away with the depressing download numbers, and say welcome to the top earnings list.

I’ll try to find answers to a few questions nagging me during this exercise. A major complaint all year from IS contributors was the lack of sales for new material uploaded after the big search engine change last Fall. Is it really impossible to make money off of new shoots? Or is the reality quite different? Is it possible to make good money outside of the Sig+/Vetta collections mirrored at Getty? What kind of photographs are the buyers ready to shed big bucks on? What should I photograph and select in my editing?

Let’s see how the old, musty best sellers of yonder years are fairing against the newer material… enjoy!

By the way, if you read this prior to February 2014, please note that the order may still change. After all there is still a month to go at Istock and two to come in yet from Getty. I should receive my December money from Getty in late January, then I’ll do the final adjustments to this blog. Oh and the dates of the posts don’t make sense because it’s the only way I found to change the post order. Don’t worry it’s all posted in December.

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