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Is it true? $1 / image / year

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I think it depends on how many images you have online.  Semmick, you have 396 images in your portfolio.  That works out to one good RM license, two mediocre RM/RF licenses, or four poor license fees.  That's not much in one year's time.


It also depends on the type of photography you do.  If you are purely a commercial photographer, then yes, and more.  If you are an editorial photographer, then no, not so much.  If you have a mix, then sure, why not?


If you do a search on contributor "Zuma Press" you'll see as of this moment, they have 1,826,852 images online in the library.  I am willing to bet that they are probably making 50 cents an image per year on Alamy as a secondary market to their work...or less as they are a purely editorial group.  On the other hand, there are some here on Alamy that have 10% of that in their library and are probably earning just as much simply due to content.

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I find it varies from library to library.


Shutterstock is on average $1 a year for me. Last year it was working out at $0.25 as I was on the first payment tier.


Dreamstime - disastrous.


IStockPhoto is around the $0.50 mark.


Alamy I need to work harder on my keywords to get things rolling.


Getty is more like $3 an image. There is a mixture of RF and RM there with 2/3 as RM.


Robert Harding roughly at $1.50 a year.


I'm also with Arcaid and not seeing the same sort of returns as RH despite them having similar distribution channels. But have started sending them more varied stuff this year which I'm hoping will open things up a bit.


Any help to you?

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Traditionally, this number is calculated as your net; that is, the amount you deposit in the bank after all agency fees are deducted. Personally, I would use the number of photos you had on file on Jan 1 of the year you're calculating. There are no proper accounting methods in this industry yet.

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Thanks for the answers guys, interesting, 


Its wasnt about stock in general by the way but for Alamy only. 


@ Ed, not sure if I understand your reply. I have 396 images and made net 392 in one year. So its correct in what I am saying. I had 9 sales from 50 cent to 219 netto. Seeing all the replies, its around the dollar mark per image year. 

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There's lots of current info to be found if you google on stock photography rpi or "return per image"

The $1 RPI has been an industry truism for as long as I know. And there have always been people making 10x or even (claiming to make) 100x that.

(So there must be people making 10x or even 100x less.)



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Ok I'll be a bit more specific.

(all this for Alamy only:)

- I started in 2005.

My best year was 2008 with an RPI of 11.92

my worst year was 2007 with an RPI of 2.44

both gross in $)


It went down from 2008 on until it bottomed out in 2010 and from their it slowly went up again. But nowhere near my best year.


There have been threads about this on the Olde Forum, some yearly, with lots of numbers and details from lots of contributors.

It's really a pity that old Fundgrube -treasure trove- has been lost.

(Probably in the




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When I just started here about a year ago I read a few times that on Alamy you make $1 / image / year. For me it seems spot on. 


How does that formula work out for you?



$1 per image per year?


I remember back in 'the good old days' of film a photographer I met a who shot travel, often spending 3 -4 months away sometimes twice a year, said he earned about $5 per image per year.  Knowing he had something like 40,000 plus images across a number of libraries made him a good income - but with travel bills like that he clearly played the long-game.

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