# Earnings vs Portfolio Size – Microstock Survey 2010

With this look at the results from the 2010 Microstock Survey, I’ll be specifically looking at earnings. I’ll try to break them down a few different ways so we can learn the about how much we should expect to earn and what realistic goals can be for the future.

## Earnings by Portfolio Size

Trying to determine how much you can make with 100 or 5000 files, simply by looking at graphs or comparing stats with others is extremely hard. So much depends on your image style, which niches you shoot, originality, quality, variety etc. From the graph it is pretty clear that the earnings are extremely varied. That said, trends *can* be seen and it is always interesting to know if one is earing below or above the general trend.

On Average, microstock artists are earning $10.28/image/year or a **monthly** RPI of $0.87

## Earnings by Exclusivity

After filtering out the responses that had a portfolio size of zero or left the earnings blank, I was left with 522 data points. Here is a look at how iStock exclusives compare to their non-exclusive counterparts.

### Raw Numbers

**Non-Exclusives Respondents**: 394

**Avg Portfolio Size**: 1,383

**Median Portfolio Size**: 505

**Avg Earnings**: USD 9,265

**Median Earnings**: USD 2,000

**iStock Exclusive Respondents**: 128

**Avg Portfolio Size**: 1,548

**Median Portfolio Size**: 1,000

**Avg Earnings**: USD 31,385

**Median Earnings**: USD 12,405

Wow! Simply put, I’m amazed. I was expecting non-exclusive photographers to earn more than exclusive photographers, but the graph appears to show quite the opposite.

If there is any consolation for us non-exclusives, it could be that the amount of data points in the higher earnings bracket (exclusive or non) is so small it is hard to draw exact / accurate conclusions. Another explanation could be that many of those who become serious in microstock become exclusive, or that you need to have 250 downloads with a 50% acceptance ratio (500 downloads with a lower acceptance ratio) before you can become exclusive, making the contributer caliber of this segment slightly higher.

I am very happy as a non-exclusive and want to reason away what the graph is showing, but I can’t help but admit that it looks like iStock exclusives are doing less work to receive more income. The data certainly indicates this to be true. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues over the next few years.

## Full Time vs Part Time Microstockers

Perhaps this next comparison is a little redundant but I was curious about it just the same. I was curious to see how those artists who earn the majority of their income from microstock compare to those who earn less than 50% of their income from microstock. I once again took out the responses that didn’t include portfolio size or gross income, which is the reason the results vary from the previous look at full time microstock photographers.

### Raw Numbers

**Part Time Respondents**: 403

**Avg Portfolio Size**: 1,089

**Median Portfolio Size**: 512

**Avg Earnings**: USD 6,774

**Median Earnings**: USD 2,018

**Full Time Respondents**: 119

**Avg Portfolio Size**: 2,851

**Median Portfolio Size**: 2,100

**Avg Earnings**: USD 44,667

**Median Earnings**: USD 20,500

The results are no surprise. Those who earn the majority of their income from microstock are indeed earning, on average, more from microstock. An interesting observation however, is that the jump in income appears to come from a higher RPI and not so much from a larger portfolio.

## Thoughts?

So what are your thoughts. Why are iStockers earning more than us non-exclusives? Does this paint a dismal or positive picture of the future?

Discuss on the Microstock Forum or post your comments below.

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