Can I make a living from MicroStock?

Can i make money from my interest in photography and illustration? That's what i thought when i looked online a couple of years ago and the search results on google that came up often included words like '
microstock' and 'macrostock'.

Seemed like a good idea and pretty simple. Take pictures, upload them and sit back and wait for the buyers to snap them up.
hmmm Nothing is ever THAT simple though is it?

But nothing ventured, nothing gained. So in April 2008 i registered with and like most got a ton of rejections. Apparently next doors cat (cute that she is on camera) wasn't going to cut the mustard or be a best seller after all. Shock! hmmmm "ok" I thought.. and after a few more rejections i ended up with a 50% approval rating and about 6 photographs approved and for sale.

I did register with a few other agencies but pretty much gave up and concentrated on other matters in life until late summer of 2009 i logged onto
Dreamstime to find $10 sitting in my account. Now that's not much and in 'English' it looks even worse at around £6. But, it occurred to me that if 6 images could make £6 (albeit over 18 months or so) then what could 100 make.. or a thousand?!

Time to give it another go and this time try to stick at it and learn as much as possible.

Certainly my first interest is photography before illustration but getting quality photos (and popular ones) on the stock sites is tough (and getting tougher by the year) with so many brilliant and talented photographers out there and having a good computer i decided to try to make it work for me and downloaded the free open
source vector graphics program Inkscape:

Picked it up pretty quickly (although room for improvement and still learning what it's capable of) and was surprised to find that a submission of illustrations to ShutterStock (after being completely rejected the previous year when submitting photos of that cat et al) was accepted with 9 out of 10 approved. (One failed due to possible copyright issues as it looked far too much like an Ipod for ShutterStock).

So i was off.. I signed up with other agencies and am slowly making progress.
Income is tiny.. i mean really tiny but it is growing ever so slowly and with only around 35 unique images i am still only just beginning but hopefully, over time and with determination, my earnings will start so look more impressive and i can make a living from Microstock. :)


  1. good share,I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you're talking about. Can't wait to read more from you!

  2. Just wondering if you've had any experience with fotolia and uploading vectors from inkscape? I'm struggling to find a way to save the images that is acceptable for them :/

  3. I felt like im in victory after reading the blog.