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Author Topic: How many images do I need to have to make say at least $100 a month  (Read 9155 times)

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« on: July 24, 2014, 16:00 »
-4
I want my images to pay for my monthly coffee tab which is at about $100 a month.  Currently I'm a contributor at 4 top microstock places.  How many images do I need to have, between the 4 microstock agencies to start making $100 a month. Right now I only have about 50 images in each microstock. Sales are slow, well because I only have 50 images.


« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 16:02 »
+7
345.5

« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 16:26 »
+4
Why do you think there is any useful answer to such a question?

It depends on your images - more needed if you aren't very good or shoot subjects that aren't in demand, fewer if you're a Yuri clone.

I think you would do better to focus on building a portfolio you are proud of and that might keep providing you income for a while

« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 16:29 »
+13
Take 100, divide it by what you are making now, and you need that many times more images.

« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 16:32 »
+7
You could always start making your own coffee. I have no idea how many images though. My guess would be 50-500.

« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2014, 16:47 »
0
Why do you think there is any useful answer to such a question?

It depends on your images - more needed if you aren't very good or shoot subjects that aren't in demand, fewer if you're a Yuri clone.

I think you would do better to focus on building a portfolio you are proud of and that might keep providing you income for a while

I think there should be an average. I understand there are good and bad exceptions. But in any business model, there is a forecast, growth model that you can look back and see.

« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 16:49 »
0
You could always start making your own coffee. I have no idea how many images though. My guess would be 50-500.
If all else fails, then I agree, but the objective is to make residual income that is enough to cover expensive coffee habit.

« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 16:54 »
+2
In my case around 400 pictures on Shutterstock give me ca. 100 $ per month. But I don't have many people shots, there will be more sales with good people pictures, I believe.

« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 16:57 »
+10
"I think there should be an average. I understand there are good and bad exceptions. But in any business model, there is a forecast, growth model that you can look back and see."

Well, let us know when you have one.

« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 17:11 »
+4
I would say take 100 and divide it by what you are making and you need that many times more images plus about 50% to account for increases at the sites and falloff of sales. Better double it just to be sure. Or you could just make one more image - but make it a super seller.

« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 17:13 »
+7
I think there should be an average. I understand there are good and bad exceptions. But in any business model, there is a forecast, growth model that you can look back and see.

You're assuming that all things are equal in said business, or at least similar enough to generate any sort of average. This isn't that kind of business. It's too subjective. This is a form of art, although arguably not a form of high art. Still the value of each image can vary hugely. It's like asking how many paintings an artist needs to create in order to make $10,000. If you're a great artist, maybe just one painting. If you're working the craft fairs, maybe 1,000.

There are stock images that can generate $2,000 a year and there are stock images that won't make $2 ever. There are photos, vectors, illustrations, paintings, drawings, 3D, all sorts of different image types. Some people do just one type, some do a few, some might even do all of them. There is no way to accurately average all of these factors together to come up with any sort of reasonable number.

dbvirago

« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 17:32 »
+4
"I think there should be an average. I understand there are good and bad exceptions. But in any business model, there is a forecast, growth model that you can look back and see."

Well, let us know when you have one.

Interesting to read this as I was just looking at the two top 50 lists on SS and was amazed. It used to be mostly people; now there are only a handful.

To answer the OP, one really amazing image or several hundred mediocre ones. or somewhere in the middle.

« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 17:33 »
+5
Why do you think there is any useful answer to such a question?

It depends on your images - more needed if you aren't very good or shoot subjects that aren't in demand, fewer if you're a Yuri clone.

I think you would do better to focus on building a portfolio you are proud of and that might keep providing you income for a while

I think there should be an average. I understand there are good and bad exceptions. But in any business model, there is a forecast, growth model that you can look back and see.

That is true for some businesses, not all. How many Broadway musicals do I need to have to make $xxx, or how many rock songs, or how many novels?

I understand why you want to have something concrete and predictable, but you should try a different business for that.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2014, 18:00 »
+7
42.

« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2014, 18:37 »
-3
I fell like some of you guys are beating around the bush.  The fact is, none of you would be in the microstock business if you did not anticipate how many images you would need to upload to make X, and what kind of images you need to upload to reach that goal.

I'm not talking about exceptions where one uploads 100 images and gets 0 sales because he has no clue what he's doing. I hope that's not the case, because if there are some folks who aren't making money from 100 images, they shouldn't be selling stock.  Selling stock is a business, and in any business model you make predictions, those predictions are based on what you already know about the industry, and practical side of business, based on those two factors you anticipate what you need to do to reach your highest potential. The usual suspects who claim microstock is like a blind-folded person throwing darts at a bulls eye, are blowing smoke.  Microstock is not art in the pure sense of being art.  It is about supply and demand rather than art, because it is not done for art's sake, its done to make money.  Sure, better quality stuff is in more demand, and I suppose those guys who already been with microstock long enough, know the gist; what sells, what to expect, what not to do, what has been overdone, where the shifts are happening.  In this sense nobody, who is actively pursing microstock, is doing it blind-folded.

So, since some folks like to speak for other people, I want to ask you, how many images did you upload to reach your first $100 a month goal?


« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2014, 18:50 »
+3
I fell like some of you guys are beating around the bush.  The fact is, none of you would be in the microstock business if you did not anticipate how many images you would need to upload to make X, and what kind of images you need to upload to reach that goal.

I'm not talking about exceptions where one uploads 100 images and gets 0 sales because he has no clue what he's doing. I hope that's not the case, because if there are some folks who aren't making money from 100 images, they shouldn't be selling stock.  Selling stock is a business, and in any business model you make predictions, those predictions are based on what you already know about the industry, and practical side of business, based on those two factors you anticipate what you need to do to reach your highest potential. The usual suspects who claim microstock is like a blind-folded person throwing darts at a bulls eye, are blowing smoke.  Microstock is not art in the pure sense of being art.  It is about supply and demand rather than art, because it is not done for art's sake, its done to make money.  Sure, better quality stuff is in more demand, and I suppose those guys who already been with microstock long enough, know the gist; what sells, what to expect, what not to do, what has been overdone, where the shifts are happening.  In this sense nobody, who is actively pursing microstock, is doing it blind-folded.

So, since some folks like to speak for other people, I want to ask you, how many images did you upload to reach your first $100 a month goal?

I don't think most of us can realistically answer your question. When I started back in 2006, I probably only needed 10 images to make that. I doubt that would work as well today just starting out.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 19:34 by cthoman »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2014, 18:53 »
0
So, since some folks like to speak for other people, I want to ask you, how many images did you upload to reach your first $100 a month goal?
That's totally irrelevant. Many here started many years ago, and things are very different now. I found it far easier to earn my first $100 than to earn anything with new files, which is admittedly an iS peculiarity.

Honestly, our figures are no use to you. It depends what sort of files you're selling, where you're selling them (which agency your market uses), how strong your opposition is and how easy your files would be to make similars of.


« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2014, 19:14 »
+2
I would say about 150-200 images on Shutterstock would do it. This is assuming you get about the same number of total monthly sales as images in your port with about a 50 cent RPD. In other words, if you have 200 images, then you get 200 total sales, not that all of your images sell. That's about what I've always done there, although the ratio has gone down a little as I closed in on 2,000., but the RPD has gone up. Modify up or down based on that.

With 50 images, are you getting 50 total sales a month on Shutterstock? 
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 19:27 by robhainer »

« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2014, 19:23 »
+6
What I did in 2004 and early 2005 with probably 300 images is something you couldn't do today with that many, but I made $136 in March 2005 from iStock, Shutterstock, CanStock and Dreamstime - the other agencies weren't around at that point. I don't know about vectors because I added those later and always sold a mixture.

No one made the blind folded person claims, so I'm not sure why you brought that up. The problem is - for those of us who have been doing this for a lot of years - it's not always predictable what will sell and at what agency, and only part of that has to do with your images and their marketability or quality. Not to mention if you suck at keywording or get caught by some unfortunate best match/default search problems, good images never get found. It shouldn't happen but it does.

The fact that we're not blindfolded doesn't mean we can accurately predict what will happen. Think about volcanoes - people who study them know a lot about them and how things operate but they still have a hard time predicting when the eruption will happen.

No one's holding out on you, we're trying to give you answers. I get that you don't like them, but that's something you'll understand if you keep uploading to agencies long enough

« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2014, 19:27 »
+4
Let me guess.  Accountant?

dbvirago

« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2014, 19:28 »
+4
I fell like some of you guys are beating around the bush.  The fact is, none of you would be in the microstock business if you did not anticipate how many images you would need to upload to make X, and what kind of images you need to upload to reach that goal.

I'm not talking about exceptions where one uploads 100 images and gets 0 sales because he has no clue what he's doing. I hope that's not the case, because if there are some folks who aren't making money from 100 images, they shouldn't be selling stock.  Selling stock is a business, and in any business model you make predictions, those predictions are based on what you already know about the industry, and practical side of business, based on those two factors you anticipate what you need to do to reach your highest potential. The usual suspects who claim microstock is like a blind-folded person throwing darts at a bulls eye, are blowing smoke.  Microstock is not art in the pure sense of being art.  It is about supply and demand rather than art, because it is not done for art's sake, its done to make money.  Sure, better quality stuff is in more demand, and I suppose those guys who already been with microstock long enough, know the gist; what sells, what to expect, what not to do, what has been overdone, where the shifts are happening.  In this sense nobody, who is actively pursing microstock, is doing it blind-folded.

So, since some folks like to speak for other people, I want to ask you, how many images did you upload to reach your first $100 a month goal?

Not sure why I'm wasting time, but here goes. This isn't a production assembly line where if you make X units you make Y in profit. There are way too many variables. And most if not all of us didn't think one day, I need to make some money, I think I'll try out this stock photo thing I read about. We were photographers who explored a new avenue to profit from our craft. And we all have had a variable amount of success at it. I could probably look back and figure out at what point I averaged $100 a month and then look at my port and estimate how many images I had at that precise moment in time, but it would have no meaning. There is also the variable number of images on each site and the number of sites. I make $100 a month off of my top x sellers, my bottom y sellers and my middle z sellers. I should have shot more x and less z, but there you go.

If you enjoy photography and you are good at it or can get good at it and you spend a fair amount of time at it, you may or may not make a $100 a month at it.

You have asked us questions. I have some for you. How many images are currently in your portfolio? How long have you been shooting? What type of photography do you enjoy and/or are good at?

« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2014, 20:15 »
+11
"So, since some folks like to speak for other people, I want to ask you, how many images did you upload to reach your first $100 a month goal?"

I charge $250 an hour for consulting, minimum 2 hours.  Let me know if you're interested. ;)

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2014, 20:30 »
+4


I think there should be an average. I understand there are good and bad exceptions. But in any business model, there is a forecast, growth model that you can look back and see.

WHY??? sorry, that's completely illogical -- any individual's images have nothing to do with any business plan, etc.  if you READ the forum here & elsewhere you'd see that there is no simple answer. # of photos CANNOT be used to project a $/month figure

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2014, 20:35 »
+4
..... The fact is, none of you would be in the microstock business if you did not anticipate how many images you would need to upload to make X, and what kind of images you need to upload to reach that goal......


fact is you have NO IDEA why any of us are in the business, and what our personal plans and goals are.  if you seriously want to get any help here, READ the response s to your initial questions before digging yourself a deeper hole

Goofy

« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2014, 21:34 »
+7
E^2 = (pc)^2 + (m0c^2)^2

where m0 =Image Quality, p = γm0v, γ = (1 - (v/c)^2)^(-1/2) and v=Quantity ?

(Of course c=3x10^8 m/s)- DPC 

Uncle Pete

« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2014, 21:39 »
+2
No No No! 365.25 positively.  ::)

Did someone specify images of what, shot with what, how and equipment, what size, what agencies, what kind, what content? Oh I see, just a number, it's so easy, I forgot...

345.5

ps I don't drink coffee, I drink Diet Coke for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2014, 22:21 »
+2
E^2 = (pc)^2 + (m0c^2)^2

where m0 =Image Quality, p = γm0v, γ = (1 - (v/c)^2)^(-1/2) and v=Quantity ?

(Of course c=3x10^8 m/s)- DPC

That was my calculation, too. Exactly.


« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2014, 22:35 »
+7
I have one image that made me $7K in 3 years. Then I go on created a few hundreds more, many dont even sell at all. Seriously, if it's only that simple to give you the answer, I would have quitted my full time job now.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 22:39 by onepointfour »

« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2014, 23:49 »
0
I posted a similar question yesterday and all I got is a tip to invest in drawing lessons....

so I'll give you my stat:

I have about 150 images on SS and earn around 30$ a month  (26$, 32$, 37$) it it kind of predictable.

But: The Pareto law works for me as well - 20% make 80%, I would even say 10% make 90%.

 

« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2014, 02:57 »
+3
I also have about 150 images on SS and earn over $200 a month (sometimes $300 with ELs) at SS alone. It all depends on your port. Some of mine sell every day, some sell twice a year. Take note of what sells and keep producing that type/category. I'm sure I get multiple sales from the same buyer when someone finds one of my images then has a look at my port and then buys a few more similar ones eg: interiors

« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2014, 03:08 »
+1
Jodie is right...

Business people/office life/business concept are selling more than anyother stuff...so with this kind of image maybe 200-300 image you'll reach 100$/month
If you shoot isolated objects (which is faster and easier) maybe you need 1000/1500 images

« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2014, 03:58 »
+1
with first 400 i made 40$ a month, with last 400 i made i earn 400$ per mounth, same amount 10 time more money

« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2014, 04:15 »
+1
Shiny happy people always win in stock land.

It's easier said than done though - it's a much underestimated skill making saleable people pictures.

Good luck!

« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2014, 04:25 »
+1
thats true, people are very hard to sell good, studio  is very big competition and expensive. outside is not easy to find a lof of good location to shoot.

« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2014, 04:29 »
+1
A friend once told me to make consistent, everyday sales with an agency, you need approximately 1000 in your portfolio. This held true for DP and DT, the only two agencies where I have 1000+ images.

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2014, 05:08 »
+1
Here is a friendly advice:

Stop to drink coffee!

« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2014, 06:12 »
+5
Just about every time I try helping with stuff like this the OP usually makes me regret it, but I'll give it one more try.

The last time there was a pole here, maybe a couple years ago I think the average earnings per month per image was 75 cents. So 100 images spread across the top handful of sites would earn $75 per month. This obviously varies but the range was $0 to about $3 with .75 cents being common.

I don't think it's that way today. If I had to guess I'd say it's .25 cents now so a ballpark guesstimate would be 400 images to earn $100 per month. If your images are highly sellable you may do better. A poll on Alamy said the average was $1 per image per year, about 8 cents per image per month.

Like others have said, you already have some images and should have an idea of how they perform.


« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2014, 06:38 »
+1
My "business plan" was to work on this for three years and decide if it was worth carrying on my plan now is to try and grow income each month. There are too many variables and too little data to make any rational forecast .

« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2014, 06:51 »
+3
first half year you are working for free, then you learn what things sold, then it is not a problem making 100$ with 100 images,but  that is  a lof of work!

for 100 images i need 100 hours. buy something, rent something,set scene, shoot, photoshop, keyword,upload

« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2014, 07:24 »
+2
Just about every time I try helping with stuff like this the OP usually makes me regret it, but I'll give it one more try.

The last time there was a pole here, maybe a couple years ago I think the average earnings per month per image was 75 cents. So 100 images spread across the top handful of sites would earn $75 per month. This obviously varies but the range was $0 to about $3 with .75 cents being common.

I don't think it's that way today. If I had to guess I'd say it's .25 cents now so a ballpark guesstimate would be 400 images to earn $100 per month. If your images are highly sellable you may do better. A poll on Alamy said the average was $1 per image per year, about 8 cents per image per month.

Like others have said, you already have some images and should have an idea of how they perform.

Spot on, that's exactly my average 0.25 per image/month.

I'm trying to step up the game by creating less but better pictures and it seems to be working.
My last 10 images approved in SS are selling more than my other 300 there.

U$ 100 for coffee? Wow that's what I spend for a monthly supply of food in my country.

« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2014, 07:32 »
0
100$ for coffe in US is normal i think....it's US Niko   :)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2014, 07:33 »
+3
The fact is, none of you would be in the microstock business if you did not anticipate how many images you would need to upload to make X, and what kind of images you need to upload to reach that goal.
That is not a fact, it's a hypothesis you invented.
Do not include me in your wild imaginings.

« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2014, 07:34 »
+1
dont mislead him! I earn 1,1$/per image per mounth, if i delete first 400 it would 1,5$/image/mounth. i upload only to 6 pages, it is possible to earn even more.

look this portfolio, im 100% sure he earn more than 45000$ per mounth

http://www.shutterstock.com/g/pressmaster

Ed

« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2014, 07:44 »
0
There is no right or wrong answer.  I started in October 2005.  I left in April 2008 for a period of time. During the "boom years" of microstock back then, I believe I had a combined portfolio of about 350 images.  At that time, I submitted to 25 different agencies.  I could take payout ($100) about every two to three months.  There were others that were doing MUCH better than I and there were some that were doing much WORSE than I.  When I came back in 2011, I doubled that portfolio size....and my income was the same as before or less, with higher barriers to entry.  It depends on your portfolio, the subject matter you shoot, and how you approach this business.

Currently, I have a portfolio of about 5,000 images that I submit to 3 major agents (and those sites re-distribute images).  I average about $250/month in revenue on an average month - 99% of that revenue being from editorial newsworthy images (I think I've licensed one "creative" image this year).  I have other income streams aside from Stock that provide a more reliable source of photography income.

There are some here that have a portfolio of the same size that have this as their sole income stream - I applaud that but it's not my experience.

I'm also very curious as to why you are just worried about paying for coffee....why wouldn't you be more worried about making a profit?

« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2014, 09:19 »
0
100$ for coffe in US is normal i think....it's US Niko   :)

If you buy it from the grocery store, it's only a few bucks a month.

I posted a similar question yesterday and all I got is a tip to invest in drawing lessons....

Improving your skills is never bad advice. A good work ethic and practice are probably some of the best career advice I could give. It's hard to give advice to new people because results can vary wildly. Also, asking strangers about their specific finances would probably get mixed reactions anywhere you go.

That said, a lot of info is shared here. The poll to right is a decent place to start, so is the year end survey on the MSG blog. Still, results will vary and it comes back down to jumping in and seeing how it works for you.

Shelma1

« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2014, 09:42 »
+6
I posted a similar question yesterday and all I got is a tip to invest in drawing lessons....


Really? I look at that thread and see a few successful vector artists giving you varied, sound and considered advice.

It's a shame that was your takeaway.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2014, 12:52 »
+1
Well, although this is a shameless plug, I do work out, for each of the main agencies I upload to, how much I earn per month per online image. With that information, you would be able to calculate your $100 income....

Just check out my book on my blog or on Amazon.

Steve


« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2014, 14:09 »
0
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well. 

« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2014, 14:13 »
0
I also have about 150 images on SS and earn over $200 a month (sometimes $300 with ELs) at SS alone. It all depends on your port. Some of mine sell every day, some sell twice a year. Take note of what sells and keep producing that type/category. I'm sure I get multiple sales from the same buyer when someone finds one of my images then has a look at my port and then buys a few more similar ones eg: interiors

yes that's the kind of predictability I'm talking about.  Once you realize what sells, you start producing more of what sells.  Sounds logical to me.  So it is not all a gamble, like some people seem to say.  You lose some on some images, and you win on others, but you always strive to increase your winning chances by building on successful stock.

« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2014, 14:14 »
0
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well.

Interesting, Thanks

Ed

« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2014, 14:24 »
+2
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well.

Wait....are you and your friend really making $6 per image per year?  (.50 per image per month x 12 months)

So based on that info, my 5,000 image portfolio should be making $30,000 per year?  I don't think there are many folks out there that can say that.

« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2014, 15:19 »
+2
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well.

Wait....are you and your friend really making $6 per image per year?  (.50 per image per month x 12 months)

So based on that info, my 5,000 image portfolio should be making $30,000 per year?  I don't think there are many folks out there that can say that.

Those numbers don't seem unreasonable, although the per image value does tend to decrease as you create more images. Unless, you are fairly meticulous about making high value images. I know I'm not. I like the scattershot approach better.  ;)

Ed

« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2014, 15:26 »
-1
Not talking vectors, they seem very unreasonable to me.

The old standard has always been $1 per image per year.  In the example I gave above, having my images spread across 20+ agencies, I was at .78 cents per image per year...bringing in $100 every couple of months from different agencies during the "heyday".  In 2011-2012 that average was closer to .63 cents per image per year.

at .50 cents per image per month, Jeff Greenberg at Alamy would be making $618,000 per year on his 103,000 image portfolio...he's stated in the past that he's closer to that $1 per image per year (and he's at multiple agencies)....and keep in mind, that's gross (not taking account for business expenses).

.50 per image per year is much more believable these days.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2014, 15:46 »
-1
All it goes to show is that it all depends on your port and where you're selling.
It's also hard to work out amount per image per year, as usually your port keeps growing through the year, so just dividing your year earnings by the number of files in your port doesn't work.
What I can see is that my annual RPI is much lower now than it was in 2008, despite (or because of?) the huge increase in prices since then.
But I have comparatively very few expenses. RPI doesn't matter, it's profit which will pay for your coffee.

« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2014, 15:57 »
+1
I had 90 images at the end of the first month I made over 100$ (and ~45 at the start of that month). I have made over 100$ every month since then - although my RPI has fallen drastically over the years. 2012 was my best year despite increasing my port since then. I think search placement is a huge factor in your sales and although picture subjects and quality does effect this, the site algorithms and whims of timing and chance play a huge factor. My best selling image sold well for years, 'til one day it got pushed down a few pages on SS. I tried a few more similar images - I think some might have sold a few times, but they never got close to the first page - in fact I don't think I ever found any of them in search going back about 20 pages.

« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2014, 16:15 »
+1
Regardless if you think $.50 per image per month is reasonable, well that is up to you. I've shared what is true for me as well as my friend. As both of us have established professional backgrounds as graphic designers, there is natural understanding of what graphic designers look for in stock. We spend our production time wisely, concentrating on imagery that we have a confidence that will have some sort of buyer appeal, which can be done by looking in current trends in advertising, etc. In particular, my friend concentrates on composites that display a concept/idea. We both focus on execution. We definitely don't just walk down the street and take photos of random buildings and objects and upload that as stock. While that stuff is sellable (and I've shot them too in the past), it won't necessarily sell in the quantity as an image that has been thought out and given good execution.

« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2014, 18:48 »
+1
as i mentioned in another thread, i have a handful and legful of images that earn 70% of my income. so really, it can be 20 images that get you a minimum of 100 bucks monthly, or it can be 1000 images , or even 10,000 images. it all depends.
a long time ago, i read in IStock, one of our regular commentors here (Paulie Walnuts) that he made more in IS with very little images in his initial portfolio. from there, i learnt that it has nothing to do with flooding the market or cannibalizing your portfolio .


dbvirago

« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2014, 19:16 »
+7
I also have about 150 images on SS and earn over $200 a month (sometimes $300 with ELs) at SS alone. It all depends on your port. Some of mine sell every day, some sell twice a year. Take note of what sells and keep producing that type/category. I'm sure I get multiple sales from the same buyer when someone finds one of my images then has a look at my port and then buys a few more similar ones eg: interiors

yes that's the kind of predictability I'm talking about.  Once you realize what sells, you start producing more of what sells.  Sounds logical to me.  So it is not all a gamble, like some people seem to say.  You lose some on some images, and you win on others, but you always strive to increase your winning chances by building on successful stock.

Here's a thought. Just pick the answers you like and go with that. The rest of us are idiots. But thanks, this thread gives me an idea on how to increase my sales per image. I'll just delete the ones that haven't sold. It won't make me a nickel more and it will take a lot of time, but hey, my stats will be purty.

« Reply #58 on: July 25, 2014, 19:30 »
0
I'll just delete the ones that haven't sold. It won't make me a nickel more and it will take a lot of time, but hey, my stats will be purty.

it does not sound as far-fetched as it appears, really. i did just that a long time ago with my portfolio on one site, and i got, "wow, this much with only so little!". i am not sure if it boosted the saleability of your portfolio. it really depends if the site weighs port size vs income size. if so, it certainly would affect your search placement. i don't think SS and IS do that...maybe Dt, Ft,etc..

« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2014, 21:20 »
0
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well.

That's about the same with me on just Shutterstock, 50 cents per image online, maybe a tad more. It depends on the month. It'd be hard to get regular payouts with so few images on other sites.

Ed

« Reply #60 on: July 25, 2014, 21:46 »
-1
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well.

That's about the same with me on just Shutterstock, 50 cents per image online, maybe a tad more. It depends on the month. It'd be hard to get regular payouts with so few images on other sites.

Wow!  These stats are amazing to me.  I must be seriously missing something.  I'm really trying to understand this because my experience is just WAY completely different than everyone else.


Rob, you're earning .50 per image per month on your 2,117 image portfolio or $12,702 per year from Shutterstock alone?  $6 per image per year?

I'm looking at the link to your Dreamstime portfolio....your Dreamstime portfolio indicates you've licensed 1,523 images on your 1,415 image portfolio over the past 2 years.  Help me through the math because I'm really feeling lost....

1,415 image portfolio * .50 per month on average = $16,980
$16,980 divided by 1,523 images licensed (based on your landing page on Dreamstime) = $11.15 per licensed image at Dreamstime?

So between Dreamstime and Shutterstock, your gross earnings over the past year has been $21,192?  Good for you!  That's just shocking to me.

« Reply #61 on: July 26, 2014, 04:16 »
0
Help me through the math because I'm really feeling lost....

You should help yourself to some common sense. Shutterstock ToS do not allow contributors to publish their exact earnings. It is forbidden, even worse if you do that to another contributor. I suggest you delete your post and stop throwing other person earnings in the air.

« Reply #62 on: July 26, 2014, 08:28 »
0
My back of the hand calculation of my portfolio and knowledge about my friend's portfolio is that we both average about $0.50 per image per month. Thus 200 images might be the number your looking for. The 20/80 rule definitely holds. Most don't sell, but a few sell well.

That's about the same with me on just Shutterstock, 50 cents per image online, maybe a tad more. It depends on the month. It'd be hard to get regular payouts with so few images on other sites.

Wow!  These stats are amazing to me.  I must be seriously missing something.  I'm really trying to understand this because my experience is just WAY completely different than everyone else.


Rob, you're earning .50 per image per month on your 2,117 image portfolio or $12,702 per year from Shutterstock alone?  $6 per image per year?

I'm looking at the link to your Dreamstime portfolio....your Dreamstime portfolio indicates you've licensed 1,523 images on your 1,415 image portfolio over the past 2 years.  Help me through the math because I'm really feeling lost....

1,415 image portfolio * .50 per month on average = $16,980
$16,980 divided by 1,523 images licensed (based on your landing page on Dreamstime) = $11.15 per licensed image at Dreamstime?

So between Dreamstime and Shutterstock, your gross earnings over the past year has been $21,192?  Good for you!  That's just shocking to me.

Yes those calculations are accurate but today I'd say very few people are at 50 cents PIPM and those people are probably good illustrators not photographers.  I'd guess the average photographer is probably between 10-20 cents PIPM with only top photographers at higher levels. On the pole from a couple years ago there was someone at over $5 per image per month. They probably had an amazing portfolio, tightly edited, and in higher cost collections.

People on Alamy say $1 per image per year iscommon. But have you seen people's Alamy portfolios? A lot of people seem to post 20 barely different variations of one photo. So for someone that has a 2,000 image portfolio they may really only have 100-200 unique images. There's a lot of that in micro too but micro sites seem to discourage similars.

« Reply #63 on: July 26, 2014, 08:40 »
0
as i mentioned in another thread, i have a handful and legful of images that earn 70% of my income. so really, it can be 20 images that get you a minimum of 100 bucks monthly, or it can be 1000 images , or even 10,000 images. it all depends.
a long time ago, i read in IStock, one of our regular commentors here (Paulie Walnuts) that he made more in IS with very little images in his initial portfolio. from there, i learnt that it has nothing to do with flooding the market or cannibalizing your portfolio .

When I first started in 2007 I was very picky with what I submitted for the first few months and did very well. When I saw the earnings potential I started submitting as much as I could. A lot of it was pretty bad. Embarrassing even. And my income didn't really go up.

So yes, you can have 1000 good images that earn $500 per month or 10,000 bad images that earn $10 per month.


Ed

« Reply #64 on: July 26, 2014, 08:49 »
0
Help me through the math because I'm really feeling lost....

You should help yourself to some common sense. Shutterstock ToS do not allow contributors to publish their exact earnings. It is forbidden, even worse if you do that to another contributor. I suggest you delete your post and stop throwing other person earnings in the air.

I am using common sense...and I'm not asking anyone to publish their earnings on Shutterstock and no I'm not going to delete my post as I don't feel it's inappropriate - I'm simply having a conversation just as if we were to have met in the street or at a conference.  I'm trying to understand this and I don't think we're comparing apples to apples.  If you take your total portfolio size at an agency, and you divide it by your revenue and you come up with $6 on average that's just amazing to me - absolutely terrific for you.

I can certainly see an average of 50 cents per image for each image downloaded per month but again, 50 cents per image per month for every image in your portfolio just seems incredible to me.  Keep in mind that if we're still considering the original question asked, there is a difference between having a 200 image portfolio and about a 2,000 image portfolio (based on my experience as a contributor) - that's a pretty big variance.

Paulie - $1 per image per year comes from the pre-micro days and isn't specific to just Alamy.

« Reply #65 on: July 26, 2014, 08:57 »
+1
1,415 image portfolio * .50 per month on average = $16,980
$16,980 divided by 1,523 images licensed (based on your landing page on Dreamstime) = $11.15 per licensed image at Dreamstime?

So between Dreamstime and Shutterstock, your gross earnings over the past year has been $21,192?  Good for you!  That's just shocking to me.

You lost me here. Where did the $.50 per image at Dreamstime come from?

Ed

« Reply #66 on: July 26, 2014, 09:19 »
0
1,415 image portfolio * .50 per month on average = $16,980
$16,980 divided by 1,523 images licensed (based on your landing page on Dreamstime) = $11.15 per licensed image at Dreamstime?

So between Dreamstime and Shutterstock, your gross earnings over the past year has been $21,192?  Good for you!  That's just shocking to me.

You lost me here. Where did the $.50 per image at Dreamstime come from?

Rob indicated he averaged .50 per month on average just as 'charged' did....maybe I misread that and I should only consider that being applicable to Shutterstock?


MxR

« Reply #67 on: July 26, 2014, 09:51 »
0
Absurd Post, many answers.
Post interesting, fewer answers.

Microstock is full of boring people retouching photos with internet connection ... like me ...

The secret answer is 1to 4000: 1 photo: being unique incredible photos and 4000 photos: of your feet and your dog eating an apple isolated over white whit "photo, business and human" like keywords.

Dont worry now for these, just only improve!

« Reply #68 on: July 26, 2014, 18:39 »
0
Absurd Post, many answers.
Post interesting, fewer answers...
an apple isolated over white whit ...
Dont worry now for these, just only improve!

i am not sure if i understand this. whether or not it is interesting , depends on whether u want to answer the OP question.
also, apple isolated over white... isolated is fine...

to date, i have boring apple, and other food isolated (over white)
and each recorded 100 dollars, while some of my favorite which to me, have improved
extremely, have recorded 10 dollars apiece.

why is it so many ppl assumed isolated apples is a waste of time?
some ppl do not make isolated apples because it is not isolated if it has a shadow.

and not everything that is awesome looking is what the clients need.
top sellers will tell you that it is not what you think is awesome looking that sells,
it is what the client thinks is awesome that sells.

or else everyone with a Flickr account would be top sellers in SS

Goofy

« Reply #69 on: July 26, 2014, 19:49 »
+1
This sort of question is like asking "How many earth type planets are there in the universe?'  8)



« Reply #70 on: July 26, 2014, 23:08 »
0
This sort of question is like asking "How many earth type planets are there in the universe?'  8)

Only much less interesting.

« Reply #71 on: July 26, 2014, 23:18 »
+1
This sort of question is like asking "How many earth type planets are there in the universe?'  8)

um, last time i checked, it was 6,214 . oops, make that 6,212... 2 just got obliterated by asteroids  ;D

Goofy

« Reply #72 on: July 26, 2014, 23:44 »
+1
This sort of question is like asking "How many earth type planets are there in the universe?'  8)

um, last time i checked, it was 6,214 . oops, make that 6,212... 2 just got obliterated by asteroids  ;D

Probability assimilated by the borg...

« Reply #73 on: July 27, 2014, 00:44 »
+1
You should be able to make $100 just with 3 good images: One Other download at $70, second a $28 EL, and one SOD at $2.85.
They could also sell a few times as regular subscriptions, but that would be gravy.

Just make sure not to upload them to DPC, because if somebody buys them there, that could ruin the projections above.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 00:49 by LesPalenik »

« Reply #74 on: July 27, 2014, 01:22 »
+1
I read somewhere that a good ratio is
1 image = 1$ = month. (I suppose big 4).
Just a target, not an automatic rule. Exept a Yuri clone or similar

« Reply #75 on: July 27, 2014, 03:17 »
+2
Depends on the content, if you produce creative fresh content it could be as low as 10 images.

If you copy best selling images from high end contributors, you might have to produce 400, because everyone and their cousin are producing Yuri knockoffs.

« Reply #76 on: July 27, 2014, 09:40 »
0
1,415 image portfolio * .50 per month on average = $16,980
$16,980 divided by 1,523 images licensed (based on your landing page on Dreamstime) = $11.15 per licensed image at Dreamstime?

So between Dreamstime and Shutterstock, your gross earnings over the past year has been $21,192?  Good for you!  That's just shocking to me.

You lost me here. Where did the $.50 per image at Dreamstime come from?

Rob indicated he averaged .50 per month on average just as 'charged' did....maybe I misread that and I should only consider that being applicable to Shutterstock?

I said only on Shutterstock.

(Edit the rest to send to you in a PM).


Shelma1

« Reply #77 on: July 27, 2014, 10:28 »
+2
I just checked my earnings for this time last year, and I made almost exactly the same amount last July with half the images. And the majority of the images I'm selling are the same as last year. That's sad.

« Reply #78 on: July 27, 2014, 11:12 »
+1
Depends on the content, if you produce creative fresh content it could be as low as 10 images.

If you copy best selling images from high end contributors, you might have to produce 400, because everyone and their cousin are producing Yuri knockoffs.

+1
lol, well said. but i append as i am sure Yuri, JSLocke,etc.. will say
everyone and their cousin ... and their cousin's cousin's cousin...are producing Yuri,JSL,etc knockoffs

Gino

« Reply #79 on: July 27, 2014, 11:23 »
0
I don't think he is asking a weird question at all. If one of your friends or family that knows you are in stock would ask it you would also gave him a polite anwser. And we all wanted to know this when we started. ;) I was looking for info like this when I started just out of curiosity. And knowing some numbers will make you want to get in and try harder. I know a guy that makes $3 per image per month on SS alone. Some gave good anwsers so I hope this helps for you.

Good luck reaching your goal! :)

« Reply #80 on: July 27, 2014, 12:55 »
+4
 Hi Bgbs,

 Here is a basic response that will hold true most of the time but unfortunately does not answer your question specifically. I look at what I spend and what I need to make back per shoot. I find following sales of shoots rather than individual images helps narrow down what to focus on with each location next time out. So say just for giggles, we want to spend no more than 10 dollars per image on production and we want to make back somewhere around 75 dollars per image over their life. This cannot happen successfully unless you are paying close attention to what sells and what doesn't.
  We also follow a very loose rule that 20% of our content is going to result in 80% of our revenue but the more you shoot the more you can adjust this number by small margins. Remember when you move that 20% to 22% you have actually increased your revenue be a large margin so don't look for big swings just keep dialing in what sells and what doesn't and try to move that gauge with small steps.
 My best advice to any stock photographer is to stop thinking about what you like and what looks " Cool to you " and start thinking like a buyer. We are in a business to produce widgets here folks this is not art. The more you start looking through your camera and thinking about " is there a story being defined for the buyers needs " and " does it read clean and clearly as a thumb nail image " as that is the size your image is in competition, the stronger your sales will become.
 This business is so much about prep and pre-production and having a clear road map before you start your days work. Try to plan out your shoots down to the very detail in your mind and on paper. You can deviate from the route when you are shooting and see something that you didn't anticipate but for the most part treat your job like a job and you will start to see strong growth. Nothing wrong with shooting stock for fun on the side but if you want to make this a business you need to have a strong game plan and I believe your asking the question you did shows you are approaching this business from the right perspective.
 Yes, there is a very clear and distinct model to shooting stock successfully. Keep shooting and keep copious notes every day and you will start to see the model you are looking for. Best of luck to you.

Cheers, Jonathan

« Reply #81 on: July 27, 2014, 13:12 »
+3
...paying close attention to what sells and what doesn't.
 .. that 20% of our content is going to result in 80% of our revenue but the more you shoot the more you can adjust this number by small margins. Remember when you move that 20% to 22% you have actually increased your revenue ...
 stop thinking about what you like and what looks " Cool to you " and start thinking like a buyer. We are in a business to produce widgets here folks this is not art...
 thumb nail image " as that is the size your image is in competition, the stronger your sales will become.
 This business is so much about prep and pre-production and having a clear road map before you start your days work. business from the right perspective.
 Yes, there is a very clear and distinct model to shooting stock successfully. Keep shooting and keep copious notes ..

well spoken Jonathan Ross.
i more or less edited the points to note.
the need is not always to keep uploading, more so that to look for careful hints of why your portfolio is selling better or worse.
trendy stuff do sell, but over all, like suits, classics still provide a long term income stream
. the reports of boom and bust is due mostly to those who have a large weighting in a popular "widget"..ie. lifestyle. that is to me the most competitive, and unless you are coming up with something much better than Yuri, Lise Gagnon, SJLocke, and (sorry i do not follow much lifestyle, so if i do not mention you it's not to say you are not in the class of Yuri or SJL, just that i don't look much at what sells, more than what i can do better than the others. )
i also have as i said, regular sellers i can count with both hands and feet. no more than that.
and any new stuff i create does not necessarily fall in that category. i do not want to cannibalize my sales, but i do want to diversify so when one season one category rises, the next season another category rises when the other slips a little.
much like the vital stock market, diversification is the order of the game. this will ballast you in times of volatility, and you will not see the big dips, neither will you see the big gains.

but overall, as i preview my quarterly, my gains have been significant,
even though i have little time or wish to church out tons of new images like the factories
or the similars that dt enjoys rejection of more than two.

but i do not upload to dt a long time ago either, after they did the likes in fb, and freebies.
but that's for another topic.

as Jonathan says , don't look to others for comparision. it will only distract or disappoint you.
look at your own progress. if it is a consistent upward trend, you are in the right direction.
.. as little as 10% up, or even 300% from last year, ..
up tick is still an indication you are doing well.

even a little downtick does not mean you are not, esp during the low season when clients are
on vacation. but if you are not selling when everyone is doing well seasonally,
then it is time to look at your portfolio and make the adjustments needed.

« Reply #82 on: July 27, 2014, 13:56 »
+2
The numbers may depend on how you do the calculations.  For me, I divide the total I make on every agency every month by the number of images online at that agency at the end of that month to give me the RPIPM for that agency, then sum them over all agencies to get the monthly total.  I take a mean of the monthly totals every year and then took a mean of those values from 2009-2013 and came up with $0.52 RPIPM.  Therefore for me the average number of images to make $100 per month is 192, but that is over more than a dozen agencies.  Since I mainly shoot landscapes/travel and isolations of whatever in my back yard is slow enough to be caught (and stays still long enough to photograph), I assume my numbers are low and others do much better.  My RPIPM peaked at $0.64 in 2012, dropped to $0.46 last year and is more like $0.43 so far this year.  Sales were much easier in 2009-2012 so I think someone starting out now would need quite a few more to earn $100 per month.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #83 on: July 27, 2014, 14:20 »
0
And we all wanted to know this when we started.
Again, don't include me in your wild imaginings.
You can, of course, speak for yourself.

« Reply #84 on: July 27, 2014, 17:57 »
+4
I think the best advice here is to keep track of what sells for you and how quickly you make back the cost of a shoot so that continued licensing is pure profit. I'd also say keep track of what sells best where.

I've heard that 50 cents per image per month on the micros is a good average, and I've also heard that in traditional stock the average was $1 per image per year, and then I've heard people say they make about $30 per image per year just on Getty alone ... so it's hard to know what to expect until you see how your own images do.

Remember, if you're shooting lifestyle and spending a lot on props, location or models, or if you are traveling solely to shoot stock, you need to make more to see a profit than if you are shooting isolated objects you have around your home, using friends as models in exchange for prints, etc.

I shoot a lot of travel and generally anticipate that it will take about 2 years for me to recoup the cost of a trip from stock photo sales alone, though I sold two prints that completely covered the entire cost of a 6-day trip a couple years ago (driving, so gas, parking, hotels, food). Over time, I've realized that some destinations are better sellers than others, and am planning to return to those locations that give me the best return so I can further develop the breadth of my portfolio.

I shoot editorial and commercial work too, so stock photography is just part of my income, although direct stock photo sales have become more important to me, and I spend a lot of time contacting editors, etc, much as I would for assignment work, in addition to the "passive" income I make selling stock directly from my website and through the various agencies. When I shoot travel, I plan ahead of time, do lots of research, and spend hours getting the shots I believe will sell. I love traveling, but do look at it as a job and not a holiday. I also shoot when I'm on vacation, but set aside specific times or days when I will be shooting stock, and don't just hope for some lucky grab shots. I expect a few of my shots from each trip to earn hundreds and others thousands over their lifetime, and know others will earn pennies, with the average return per photo heavily dependent upon the location. Some may sell many times and others just once or twice, and I try to distribute them accordingly.

Looking at a one-day trip I took in late 2010 (not my best-selling location, but a good seller and I was shooting specifically for stock), I made an average of $58.66 per image per year on those images in 2013 (some made me $0 last year, some made me $300+) I shot about 300 images that day and have about 30 available as stock, and added together the earning from all of them, divided by the number online. Comparing that to a similar seaside location on the opposite coast, shot with the same camera in much better weather, I averaged $14.40 per image per year in 2013. In both cases, half my images are RF and on the micros, and half are RM, I've just included the average for the micros, if I average both micro and macro my return per image per year drops to $28.66 shoot 1/$10.14 shoot 2, though overall earnings increases significantly (greater earnings, but more images with no sales in 2013 dilute the RPI for the year). The difference? One set screams out the location in nearly every shot, while the second set is more generic. Beautiful beach shots, popular tourist location, more "stock-y" shots and less successful.

So, as you can see, even similar photos taken by the same photographer can give you varied returns, so it's tough to say how many photos you need to make $100 per month. 20 images that do as well as Shoot #1 will earn me $100/month since they average $4.88/month per image, but I'd need nearly 100 similar to those in Shoot # 2 ($1.20 RPIPM). As they say, about 20% of your images will make you 80% of your income, but until they are online, you won't know which ones are your best sellers.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 18:00 by wordplanet »

« Reply #85 on: July 28, 2014, 00:30 »
+1
Got to love how some innocent person wonders into the forums, asks a newbie question and gets hammered for it.

« Reply #86 on: July 28, 2014, 10:00 »
+3
Got to love how some innocent person wonders into the forums, asks a newbie question and gets hammered for it.

not goober, not everyone  8)
as u can see, most of us are giving OP our own insights to our own experience.
so, the newbie is not getting hammered.
in every forum there will always be someone who likes to hammer anything u say that is sour to their mouth. but one or handful of  personal assassin(s) is not everyone


« Reply #87 on: July 28, 2014, 13:29 »
+3
If you ask for advice and then argues when you get good advice from experienced people maybe that's why to get 'hammered'.

« Reply #88 on: July 29, 2014, 17:06 »
+1
An awful lot of chatter over a coffee bill....  :)

« Reply #89 on: August 01, 2014, 05:36 »
0
593 online images (on average) earns me $104 monthly. So... it is about 570 images in my case. Not very good :-(


 

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