It's Not My Fault if Sales are Poor

posted on 19th of january, 2011

There is a common theme you see in the forums that goes something like this: "I've been on DT for a year and with 100 images in my portfolio I have only 5 sales. But over at XYZ I have 25 sales."

In other words, there is a problem with DT. Someone else eventually will post and say they have 25 sales on DT and 5 sales at XYZ so the problem is really with XYZ. And thus the debate continues.

However, the point that everyone seems to miss is this: You've been doing stock for 12 months, have 100 images, and a total of 25 sales. It seems everyone is willing to blame the stock sites, the competition, whatever, yet right there in front of them are the hard facts. The numbers tell the entire story and everything you need to know as to what the real issues are.

If you look at the portfolios of people who are questioning results, it is many times shocking to see images that are stunning, well executed, and processed with exceptional skill. However, great photography does not equte to images that sell well. There are tons of blogs every week that discuss various ways of being successful in stock; people are giving away their secrets for free!

I've mentioned this in previous blogs: If you search, you can find portfolios with 100 images and 1000 sales while others have 1000 images and 100 sales. There is a reason for that. I can tell you what that reason is but despite Contributors blogging their secrets for free, the message isn't getting out there.

Regardless, there is a secret no one has yet to divulge, and that is this: If there is one thing that you can fix in order to become more successful in stock, all you have to do is look in the mirror. When you finally see it, you will discover why your sales are poor. And it's not that simple, you have to keep looking and keep improving in order to reach new plateaus.

Until an individual figures that out, it will never be his fault if sales are poor.

Comments (15)

Posted by Sobek85 on February 14, 2011
Great point
Posted by Plaincrazy on January 23, 2011
I have 69 uploads and 11 sales which I thought was good. but the fact that one has 3 sales makes me proud. I hope to have the 4th sale of it before I been here a year. to me that is success as I came here to learn. got long long way to go but that is the fun of it. keep on keeping on. but I probably Make editors crazy. but that is their job.I have slowed my uplloads to check things out see if I can improve my acceptance ratio. time to study more.
Posted by Kittycat on January 22, 2011
Thank you for sharing. Very well written.
Posted by Maigi on January 21, 2011
Good comment, Visceralimage. That's what many users don't realize at the beginning. It's not the photography forum or gallery of beautiful pictures. It's the service. It's not about how creative you are or how praised are your photographer's skills, it's about providing clients what they are looking for, helping them to achieve what they envision. That's the idea of stock photography.
Thank you for the blog article, Wisconsinart!
Posted by Visceralimage on January 20, 2011
Good analysis Wisconsinart; my mirror is broken so I tossed it in the trash but I already know who to blame.

I have two images in my portfolio that have won national contests; large contests. One has only sold three times and the other has sold one time. The images that sell are the images the client can use; not the ones that are prize winners. Wanta make more money; produce what the client wants! Wanta enjoy your photography; don't worry about your sales and produce what makes you satisfied.

I knew coming into this microstock that wildlife images were not hot sellers; so I am a bit more realistic knowing I will never sell to the same level as other photographers or illustrators.
Posted by Littleny on January 20, 2011
Great info here and im laughing cus im one of those newbies who has posed that very question recently. And Yup..learning as i go and trying to sift thru the wealth of info at there on how to reach my potential. But i do think what has stumped me and others who have questioned this is not so much what sells and doesnt BUT why success rates on same images vary sooo drastically from one site to another. Theres alot of mystery in the algorithm of what shows up in random searches and 'similar images'. That algorithm and placement of an image has a lot to be said for the success of an image maybe even more then the quality of the shot.
Posted by Infotrontof on January 20, 2011
Well I've always been surprised at some comments where the users just want to make quick money with only minimal effort.
I've got only 66 files online myself and I've only got 8 sales .. so what? .. no big deal, I've not entered this new world hoping the money would come flowing in within a couple of month!! .. I'm in it for the long run, increasing numbers and improving my photography in the process.

I'm taking every single sale as a success .. those who want to call success hundreds if not thousands of sales are simply going a but too fast in my opinion ;)

My two cents ...
Posted by Trottola on January 19, 2011
I agree with you. Maybe it's difficult to be objective looking at it own portfolio, but analizing other contributor's ones everyone can understand what you said: portfolio with beautiful and well done images are more succesful of others and you can learn from them.
Thank you for sharing!
Posted by Egomezta on January 19, 2011
Thanks for sharing your thinking... I guess Stock photography is way too different from common photography, you always have to think in what can sell...
Posted by Damithri on January 19, 2011
Well said!
Posted by Laurasinelle on January 19, 2011
Good point! Thaks for sharing!
Posted by Cednik on January 19, 2011
If you have poor images, your sales will be poor too thats what you dident mentioned. Also I see a big trend in posting the blog articles from people who has ussualy download per image rate under 1%.
Posted by Gennaro86 on January 19, 2011
Thank you for sharing!!!
Posted by Tan510jomast on January 19, 2011
1248 sales 587 images? sales are poor?
if this is my stats, I would be thinking DT is hot stuff for me ;)
Posted by Mariaam on January 19, 2011
Good point. Thanks for sharing!

Comments (15)

This article has been read 1890 times. 3 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Easyshutter.

About me

My greatest passion is landscape and fine art photography. However, stock does provide a challenge in itself. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and concepts and learning new techniques. In the end, each compliments the other. The things you learn from one can apply for another and you grow with the craft. I have over 30 years experience with different kinds of art and freelance endeavors and have yet to become tired or bored with finding new ways to exercise the creative side of me. Thank you for visiting my profile and I hope your time here will be a reward in itself. I am located in Wisconsin... [Read more]

confidential info

Blogs Exclusive user
August (2)

Stock Photography that BLOGS!

Interact, make friends, share tips and techniques, have fun. Dreamstime wants your ideas and thoughts whether you are a photographer, designer or regular user. Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite images and photographers, post tutorials or simply exchange opinions with your with fellow dreamstimers.

Don't forget words and pictures go great together so make sure you choose some Dreamstime favorite pics to brighten your article. For inspiration, check out the hottest or the most useful blogs on the left.

Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite stock images and photographers

Create your blog

My favorite articles


More favorite articles

Related image searches

poor sales mirror look

Mirror related stock images