2012 Microstock Industry Survey – Sneak Peek

I’ll be posting the full data from the survey very soon, but until then, here’s a little teaser from the results of the 2012 Microstock Industry Survey.  At the time the infographic was created, there were 708 respondents – a nearly identical amount to last year’s survey.  Thanks to everyone who took part, we’ve got some great data to look at.  I’ll hold off on analyzing anything until I post the full survey results and let you simply enjoy the visuals for now.

If you haven’t taken the survey yet, you can still do so here.  Your answers will be included in the full analysis of the data.


 Thanks to Stella Caraman for some great work creating the infographic!

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About The Author:

Tyler Olson works as a microstock photographer who also runs the MicrostockGroup forum and blog. Being so closely involved in the microstock community as a submitter, forum moderator and blogger, Tyler is able to keep updated in the constantly changing microstock marketplace.
Posted on February 12th, 2013 in Microstock Survey | tags: , ,
  • Wow! This year a lot of footagers!! More than painters!

    • I’m not sure you are reading it right. 20% of the people submit footage while 30% submit illustration – thus there were more illustrators (painters)

  • Nice work!

  • Nice work, nice graphics, interesting survey as always. Great way to show it Stella.

  • Interesting! More than half of iStock exclusives are looking to hand in their crown.

    • MichaelJayPhoto

      Not really. It was half of iStock exclusives who took part in the survey. That’s a self-selected group. Most iStock exclusives don’t care about cross-agency stats, so many of them wouldn’t take part in a survey like this. Those potentially interested in going non-exclusive have a much higher interest in getting and sharing information.

      • I disagree. The survey is informative for exclusives as well as it shows them how they are doing compared to the non-exclusives. Whether or not you are planning on switching ‘sides’ info like that is interesting. The survey only asked iStock related questions to exclusives.

        Or, put another way, you could say the same about non-exclusives. Only non-exclusives who are wanting to go exclusive would answer such a survey with so many questions about exclusivity… however only 2% are thinking of going exclusive.

        The exact same ratio split between exclusives / non-exclusive answered the poll last year. If only people who were about to go non-exclusive answered the poll the number of exclusives answering the poll from year to year would decrease.

  • Awesome charting and very interesting data thanks Tyler 🙂

    Interesting to see as many as 93% of respondents don’t outsource any part of their
    workflow. I’m gonna have to look into that and find out why.

    • I was actually a bit surprised at how many DID outsource. I do agree more people could benefit from outsourcing though.

      • I’m even more surprised by those that have “employees or work as a team” at 20% – would be interesting to see that 20% separating out into actual employees, family members, group sessions with other photographers etc.

        • Agreed. Perhaps I’ll have to work that question into the poll next year.

  • Thank you! That’s great!

  • MichaelJayPhoto

    Can we have a median instead of average for gross earnings, please? 😉

    • Yep.. just wait for the full results next week. I’ll post more raw data then.

  • faberfoto

    Very interesting data in that part surprised me. The graphics are amazing, congratulations to Stella Caraman for his work.

  • Avinash K Jain

    This is very Good work Tyler. ! Keep it up. We are seeing alot of photographers now outsource work to us. Almost 4 times than last year

  • Thanks so much for all your hard work on this Tyler. Wonderful graphic Stella!

  • I do not understand the last part of the graphic: is 26% decrease or increase of income? Thank you for the great work and info!

  • ilbusca

    If 25% of the respondents are exclusive on istock, how is it possible that only 9% of the respondents have istock as largest income source? What is the other 16% largest income? They don’t submit anywhere else…

    If 204/708 (almost 29%) of the respondents are full time microstockers, how is it possible that only 7% of the respondents have microstock as primary income? There is 22% of them that work full time on it but they get more money from something else?

    • Marco Venturini Autieri

      Exclusive on iStock does not mean not working on anything else. You might be a mason and exclusive on iStock at the same time.

    • 25% of the respondents are iStock exclusive – they only submit to iStock so we know that 100% of their microstock income comes from there. They weren’t shown the question “Where do you earn the most income” .. so the %’s from that question are for non-exclusives only.

      I suppose I should have lumped the rest of the sites into ‘other’. Other on the infographic should really be 20%. You’ll see the full breakdown on the full results I post next tuesday. The sites that you don’t see are Bigstock, Canstock, DepositPhotos, Veer, PhotoDune + several more. Those are the ones that make up the 16%

      • ilbusca


    • Re; full timers not having their primary source of income from micro. I’m not entirely sure who they all are. One person’s example was a retired person who only works with mirostock now and considers himself full time microstock, but still receives more income from a pension. I’ll look at the full stats and see if I can figure anything out or perhaps people who answered in that way will speak up.

    • Well.. after looking at the results closers (and again) getting ready to publish the full results later today, I discovered there was a typo in the infographic. The 7% primary income stat was copied from the outsourcing numbers. I’ve corrected the infographic and I believe the correct numbers make a bit more sense.

  • Petr Toman

    My girlfriend just notice, that it is quite good income from microSOCK 😀 how bout big socks? 😉