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Author Topic: How many photos you need to to have $300 a month  (Read 8625 times)

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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2011, 14:02 »
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Jeeeezzz... I find reading this thread unbelieveable in that some people are saying you need up to 1000 photos to make $300 a month, why on why would you bother to do all that work for $300 a month!!! Unless people are saying they are shooting isolations shot at a million different angles or something! For me as an independent Id say 150 to 300 images spread across the top 4 will easily achieve that.


« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2011, 14:10 »
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What joingated said.  There is a huge difference between photos and stock photos.  1000 photos may not earn $300 per month, but 50 stock photos that get a fair crack in the search and don't sink first day can absolutely earn $300 per month.

« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2011, 14:27 »
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You'll need 1,000 this year, 10,000 next year and 100,000 the year after that.  And then it will end because the archives of 'free' images will be large enough to satisfy the needs of 80% of buyers, and stock sites will be making it from ad income off of their search results pages.

Plus 1

« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2011, 17:15 »
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Jeeeezzz... I find reading this thread unbelieveable in that some people are saying you need up to 1000 photos to make $300 a month, why on why would you bother to do all that work for $300 a month!!! Unless people are saying they are shooting isolations shot at a million different angles or something! For me as an independent Id say 150 to 300 images spread across the top 4 will easily achieve that.

Jeeezzzz... The top selling image at iStock had almost 1,300 downloads last month.  Assuming a $1 credit, $3 per download (Small) and a 20% royalty rate, that's at least $780 in just one month.  So, it sounds to me like you are doing more work than necessary.  Why not just upload one really good image and not mess with the other 149 to 299 images?  What will you do with the extra $480?

« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2011, 17:37 »
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Haha nice advice with hindsight! I wish I knew when my top sellers where going to be so popular. As it stands I'm still surprised by files that sell hundreds or thousands as opposed to tens. It's rarely those I predict.

OM

« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2011, 20:15 »
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Starting today, you may need thousands of images to get to $300/month within 1 or 2 years.........or you could do it with 10 good sellers.

I started late (2008) and by end 2009 I had 120 images at FT (exclusive). In 2010 I added around 80 images. My return per image in 2010 was around $5+/image (assuming an average of 150 images in portfolio over 2010).........but the 80 uploads in 2010 account for almost nothing. I have a few best/better sellers that were all uploaded in 2008 from which doth come the majority of my stock income.

My recent stats (last 6 months) show that there is an increasing % of subscriptions to downloads and that the downloads are reducing in size (fewer XL's and L's). I know that this year will be (much)worse (FT reductions in %'s) than last unless I can come up with a couple of new 'killer' sellers. If most newly uploaded images die a fast death which they seem to do if not 'EXCEPTIONAL' then I consider that there must be easier ways of making the $60/month from FT.
Dunno what that is but I'm working on it.

ShadySue

« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2011, 20:34 »
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The only real, documented way to do it nowadays is being apprenticed to one of the Big Sellers.
I understand Sean's hiring.  ;) :P

« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2011, 20:48 »
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After reading all of these comments I am made humble how inferior my images must be.   I am not a pro.  I am just selling stuff cause its fun and it, eventually, will pay the camera equipment habit that I have.

But after 2 years and anywhere from 300-1100 images across each of 7 sites,  I am up to about $150/month.

So I can see that I have a looooong way to go before I do pro quality images.

Its still fun though.

« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2011, 21:03 »
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So I can see that I have a looooong way to go before I do pro quality images.
Its still fun though.

Bob, what some of these guys aren't quite making clear is that when talking about the big bucks, it's not just about 'quality' -it's about subject, model and pose - i.e. knowing what the big buyers really want in terms of people shots, and having access to the right models.  Oh and sure, good technical quality is important too.  But most of us small fry can only guess at what buyers really want, because we have no access to them.   It's a funny market, where the middleman is able to keep producers and consumers from ever talking to each other.  People that are big-time successes in stock do have contacts on the buying side, and a much better idea of what to shoot.  Subtle differences in shots probably make big differences in sales.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 21:08 by stockastic »

« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2011, 23:02 »
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I'm so confused... so 1000 images or 1??? :)

My port is around 15 images and 5 vids (+- something). So around 20 files, and only at IS. Really, it's more like 15 files, cuz some are similar. This is a (fun) side project.
I made $300 only in November of 2010 (I  usually average way below that). My return per image was lowest In March ($1.7) and highest in Novemeber ($17.5).

I don't make anywhere near what the people in this thread make, obviously, but maybe then I'm just another example to add to your statistic.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 23:06 by adijr »

CCK

« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2011, 02:57 »
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I also shoot inferior photos: My average at SS is $1 per year (but rising), and my best sellers make $50 per year. Unfortunately I have only about 4 best sellers.

« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2011, 09:38 »
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To those  reposting huge RPI etc. - it very strongly depends on WHEN you started! Numbers are very different for those who did in 2005 and those in 2008. Just check istockcharts how many sales do have small portfolios from 2005 and same sized after 2008 - you will be very surprised.

Right, but also wrong.

If you are of average quality, you could get in and establish yourself in 2005 or prior, and still be coasting somewhat on a seasoned portfolio that comes up highly in search results just because you've been around so long and seen a lot of downloads.

So if you're average today, you really don't have much of a prayer.

But it IS possible to jump in today and get a decent RPI, though you'll be one of a very tiny minority.  To join this exclusive club, you have to stop downloading the same old stuff everyone else is and carve out your own niche.  Think about what buyers actually want.  They don't need your latest rainbow or puppy dog pics, or snapshots from your recent trip to Yosemite.  There are tens of thousands of those already... you don't have a prayer of competing with the well-downloaded pics.  Go beyond the no-brainer subject matter, put on a business person's hat, and ask yourself, "what business do I have doing this if I'm not offering anything new?  What need is not being met today?"

And it's not enough to say "I'll just try to do it better than everyone else."  Quality is no longer a selling point, because just about everyone has it, or they wouldn't have gotten in the door.  You have to say "I'll just do different things than everyone else."  This is what separates the men/women from the boys/girls.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2011, 10:07 »
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Hmmmm... is there a boondoggle going on here;  everyone flaunting their revenue while avoiding the deducts?  
$3K a month isn't a lot when it costs you $3.5K to produce it.   ???
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 10:11 by WarrenPrice »

« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2011, 10:09 »
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Agree with the above. I started in 2009. Rpi per month was $1 end of year. End of last year it was up to $1.78. So newbies can grow and get a good return even in these crazy commission times.

« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2011, 10:14 »
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Whoops. Meant I agree with stickmarketer. Warrens post slipped in before I could post. Also I agree with warren re overheads. I don't know how you pros do it with overheads. I use what I use in my day job as a graphic designer. Investment has been in lighting and lenses which certainly racks up but is well worth it. I don't shoot models or anything that costs more than a few pounds. But it's all about the idea and usefulness of the image for me. I would never try and shoot people as so many others do it so well!

« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2011, 10:27 »
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Whoops. Meant I agree with stickmarketer. Warrens post slipped in before I could post. Also I agree with warren re overheads. I don't know how you pros do it with overheads.

I've kept my investment in vice-presidents down. ;)

« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2011, 10:31 »
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Sometimes I have to invest in a cup of coffee.


WarrenPrice

« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2011, 11:51 »
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Sometimes I have to invest in a cup of coffee.

I make my own and take a picture before drinking it.   ;D

« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2011, 11:52 »
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Hmmmm... is there a boondoggle going on here;  everyone flaunting their revenue while avoiding the deducts?  
$3K a month isn't a lot when it costs you $3.5K to produce it.   ???

I find it quite hard to separate hobby from 'production cost'. if I want to buy a random little camera accessory that I don't really plan to use for stock photos but rather for fun/family, and then later I decide to sell a picture that I did using that accessory, is that part of my production cost? Maybe this doesn't apply to all you pros, but for me it's a difficult computation.

I find that in reality my production cost is pretty much just my time, as most other things I bought I would have bought regardless of whether I was microstocking or not.

« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2011, 12:06 »
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Seems to me that the photos that have flooded the market in microstock also seem to be the costliest to produce: young-ish models, business settings, handshakes, etc.  And all the "isolated on white" stuff that needs to be lighted just right with good lighting equipment.  I can't see how anyone starting in microstock shooting this kind of subject matter is going to cover his/her costs.  Maybe this is a good thing... perhaps this type of photography will become so cost prohibitive and the returns will not justify the cost and effort, and we'll stop seeing so much of it (or at least the copycat stuff by people who think they'll ride the coattails of Yuri and others).    If you are new to microstock, and this is your plan, you might as well stop now.

So what's a newcomer to shoot?  That's where you have to get creative... how do you eliminate costs and end up with shots that stand out and are marketable?  (Hey, at least I solved half the puzzle for you... telling you what NOT to do.)

« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2011, 13:12 »
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I think you are right. We are fast approaching the point where the returns for anything other than stunning professionalism are probably not worth the effort for a newbie. The standards are so demanding and and the sales are becoming so infrequent that I really can't imagine anybody today getting the sense of satisfaction that used to inspire people to go from complete amateurs to competent pros a few years ago.
Can you imagine submitting 100 shots to iStock at five or ten a week, whatever the limit is, getting 70 rejections and then piling up a dozen 15c sales over three of four months from the 30 that get through? Why anyone would bother doing that is beyond me.

« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2011, 13:30 »
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Can you imagine submitting 100 shots to iStock at five or ten a week, whatever the limit is, getting 70 rejections and then piling up a dozen 15c sales over three of four months from the 30 that get through? Why anyone would bother doing that is beyond me.


It's more like 'who' than 'why'. Young folk with lots of time. Depending of your definition of a developed world, there's 1billion+ people in that world, with DSLRs becoming incredibly accessible, and with smaller devices becoming incredibly more powerful (Total sales are at around 100M/year!, with 10M being DSLRs - http://www.dpreview.com/news/1001/10012606cipa2009.asp). And more people will learn about stock. So in the end I'm seeing this as there being a huge influx of images for people who are not expecting huge income, but are maybe content with a few extra bucks - and the problem is filtering those images, not why to shoot them. That's at least my view, I could be wrong.

« Reply #47 on: January 27, 2011, 13:38 »
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It's more like 'who' than 'why'. Young folk with lots of time. Depending of your definition of a developed world, there's 1billion+ people in that world, with DSLRs becoming incredibly accessible, and with smaller devices becoming incredibly more powerful

I used to think this as well.  But for the most part, buyers want images of people who look like their customers... and in general those won't be people in India, China, etc.  OK, maybe the "images on white" types of shots?  Sure, some items are common around the world, but many are not, and anything with a style that hints at where it's from will face the same kind of geographic biases.  OK, maybe locations and landscape.  Sure, but the marketability of such shots is extremely limited, unless  you're one of the world's top travel photographers. 

Then there's the whole other issue of processing and uploading.  These young people who can afford extremely cheap cameras... can they also afford good computers with Photoshop or other processing software, and will they possess the skills to use them appropriately.  And then there's access to the Internet... in much of the developing world, people get onto the Net in cafes where they pay by the minute, hour, day, etc.  Will these people make enough at selling these shots of limited marketability to offset the cost of uploading them?  Maybe in the future the answer will be yes, but for now, I don't think so.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #48 on: January 27, 2011, 13:46 »
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It's more like 'who' than 'why'. Young folk with lots of time. Depending of your definition of a developed world, there's 1billion+ people in that world, with DSLRs becoming incredibly accessible, and with smaller devices becoming incredibly more powerful

I used to think this as well.  But for the most part, buyers want images of people who look like their customers... and in general those won't be people in India, China, etc.  OK, maybe the "images on white" types of shots?  Sure, some items are common around the world, but many are not, and anything with a style that hints at where it's from will face the same kind of geographic biases.  OK, maybe locations and landscape.  Sure, but the marketability of such shots is extremely limited, unless  you're one of the world's top travel photographers. 

Then there's the whole other issue of processing and uploading.  These young people who can afford extremely cheap cameras... can they also afford good computers with Photoshop or other processing software, and will they possess the skills to use them appropriately.  And then there's access to the Internet... in much of the developing world, people get onto the Net in cafes where they pay by the minute, hour, day, etc.  Will these people make enough at selling these shots of limited marketability to offset the cost of uploading them?  Maybe in the future the answer will be yes, but for now, I don't think so.

This seems off the topic of "How Many" but would make an interesting separate thread.   8)

« Reply #49 on: January 27, 2011, 14:16 »
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I was wondering how many photos (statistically) one needs to have $300 a month.
Now mind you (before you start lecturing me that the numbers are not important, but the subject is ;)) I do understand that some photos sell better some sell worse and there is also good time for a specific photos and bad time for them.

It's just a statistical wondering - maybe you already got this moment when you have $300 a month, maybe more.
(I picked the number $300 because it's more or less how much I did already earn on stocks, and because I spent this very money on a compact camera for a friend).

So, what do you thing - how much photos one need to have in the portfolio in for example shutterstock to earn $300 a month?


I don't know how I missed it but here is a great site on the net called Microstock Diaries.   He publishes his monthly earnings so you can see the portfolio quantity vs sales.

http://www.microstockdiaries.com/tag/earnings-reports

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

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