Hey P.W. Staples Sorry for any confusion — the pictures were taken very sporadically for several months (including some iPhone photos not originally intended for this purpose) and then I spent a couple of hours (maybe 8 hours per weekend, 1–2 days) over several of those weekends uploading the photos. My point was just that this was not an everyday or time intensive effort.
It’s hard to quantify how many hours I spent taking photos (could not have average over 20 min per day). The more annoying part was uploading the photos and tagging them for hours (which I did sporadically as my phone filled up). I also did not realize I’d be documenting this or I would have taken better notes :)
As for the number of photos, it was more on the order of hundreds of unique photos that consistently sold for most of this ramp up period. I now have thousands, and while my earnings have gone up, my earnings per photo dropped after I ran out of my favorite niches.
As for the earnings, as I got above higher thresholds, my earnings for each photo went up per the Shutterstock tiers. But what probably skews the data is the amount of enhanced license images which can offer big paydays per image. I didn’t really go into those on here as those are not really what a beginner should expect, but they do happen, and will drive you earnings per picture up.