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Author Topic: Disappointed after three months microstock - need advice on whether to keep goin  (Read 6208 times)

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« on: March 09, 2017, 03:07 »
+1
Hello everybody,

After uploading my holiday and travel photos to microstock agencies for 3 months, I am rather disappointed by lack of sales - I guess I had false expectations.

I upload to 5-7 agencies, in December mostly holiday pictures from Nice, France and since January photos from my world tour (I travel for 8 months). I used this guide as orientation newbielink:http://microstockinsider.com/guides/microstock-traveller-working-while-holiday. [nonactive] However I sold only 10 images, adding up to 4$ on Shutterstock and 2 on Dreamstime.

My question to you is whether you see potential to achieve better results with some adjustments or whether the type of photos are just not suitable for stock. In that case I would just continue photography for my leisure but save the annoying keywording and uploading process.

Thank you in advance for taking time, I appreciate your honest comments.
Markus


My current Shutterstock profile:
newbielink:https://www.shutterstock.com/g/markus+faymonville [nonactive]

I also do upload to instagram, Facebook and tumblr - maybe these photos are more suitable? newbielink:http://Https://www.instagram.com/the_wander_team [nonactive]
newbielink:http://Https://www.facebook.com/jeannemarkusworldtour [nonactive]
newbielink:http://Https://Faymonville.tumblr.com [nonactive]


« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2017, 03:31 »
+16
why would anyone buy your holiday photos? and if there is one category thats over saturated its travel

your holidays snaps probably wont have commercial value, you only have 100 images, they are average, and then consider competing against 100 million other images,

its somewhat comforting to read that people new to the business are struggling though, maybe we finally have reached a saturation point, where people like you give up after 3 months. maybe we are at a point that we can start working towards our balance getting restored. and sales improve again for us who have been in the business for decades

sorry to be harsh, but for me its a living, i could do with less competition

« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 03:54 »
+5
I do this mostly for fun....when I look at my own sales and portfolio the type of "travel" pics you have are very poor sellers....I keep doing them as I'm hopelessly optimistic and I enjoy it. To make returns you have to treat Mstock as a serious business and shoot with that in mind.When I do that I get reasonable sales but its a different mindset from "holiday" pics

« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 04:13 »
+3
why would anyone buy your holiday photos? and if there is one category thats over saturated its travel

Well, travel pictures can sell VERY well, but of course, as you say, the category is incredibly oversaturated (18,000+ pictures of water buffalo, and if you've ever been to Venice, you know how many people visit and take pictures there every day).

Naturally, they have to be really good and done in the right way. The average beach or the average tree won't sell when faced against the competition. Also, try to include yourself in the images, do selfies when jumping off a cliff, or something POV style where you only see your hands paddling a kayak. That stuff sells. But not the average snapshot. You have to evoke emotion and invite the viewer into the image.

This is one of the best selling portfolios in the stock world: https://www.shutterstock.com/video/gallery/Maridav-97565/

and it's mostly travel/holiday stuff. But, includes people and is done in a way that you get a feeling you just want to go there and have an adventure yourself.

I would think more in terms of "travel lifestyle", than just "travel". Of course, if you find really nice landscapes in perfect light or great pictures of wildlife that sells too. But it has to be really good.

You have to plan and stage shots, create a world greater than reality unless it's something really special that would work as editorial.

Do a search for "sunset palm trees" and ask yourself why someone would buy YOUR picture...
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 04:29 by increasingdifficulty »

angelawaye

  • Eat, Sleep, Keyword. Repeat

« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 09:30 »
+5
Micro is a hard business.

Is it just me or do you have the "Signpost with wooden signs in many colors" 7 times in your port?

Some of the images are not properly exposed, some of the colors are very dull too.

I would suggest trying to get more close ups as well with the background out of focus for copyspace.
Bring some props too (in your bookbag).
Set up a tripod and get yourself in there (even if it is your back).

Try to challenge yourself more. What do you see that the average person may not see (maybe I getting too conceptual ...)

« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 09:58 by angelawaye »

« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 09:55 »
+3
...by the way, your Instagram pictures are 1,000 times better and many of them could actually sell pretty well.

« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 10:03 »
+6
Yes, your instagram feed is pretty good.
As for microstock, the main problem is that you came too late, at least for this kind of photography. Perhaps 10 years too late.
In good old days, SS was able to sell at least once practically everything that I threw at them, even within minutes or hours after the image went live.

« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 11:16 »
+2
you need better photos, to go the extra step to produce something very unique and more marketable. If you want to stay. Regardless, it is a tough market that will test your endurance.   For those starting now, look up to DT and other middle and lower tiers to heap some reward in one, two years depending on how much you upload.

It is a mistake to think that you can simply upload to stock the photos that you would normally take - snapshots of a vacation or a walk in the park. You need to be very deliberate about what you shoot, and upload. And always ask yourself, "what is the commercial or editorial reason for this photo? How would a customer use it to sell an idea or a product, to to illustrate a point?"

Whether you should stay or give it up is up to you, but you need a change in your frame of mind if you stay.

« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 12:38 »
+2
agree, your instagram feed is much better, just watch your tilted horizons, they need to be horizontal

Photodune Reject

« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 13:16 »
+2
This is one of the best strings I've seen here- all very helpful thus giving everyone a point! Not an easy question to address for sure.

Here are my suggestions/tips for you-

1. Why do you want to be a Micro-stocker? For extra $$ or to actually try to make a living. Big difference in the game plans.
2. Get a mentor- I had three back in 2011 and it help me a lot. Very few folks can just grasp this tough business by themselves.

« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2017, 14:06 »
0
why would anyone buy your holiday photos? and if there is one category thats over saturated its travel

Well, travel pictures can sell VERY well, but of course, as you say, the category is incredibly oversaturated (18,000+ pictures of water buffalo, and if you've ever been to Venice, you know how many people visit and take pictures there every day).

Naturally, they have to be really good and done in the right way. The average beach or the average tree won't sell when faced against the competition. Also, try to include yourself in the images, do selfies when jumping off a cliff, or something POV style where you only see your hands paddling a kayak. That stuff sells. But not the average snapshot. You have to evoke emotion and invite the viewer into the image.

This is one of the best selling portfolios in the stock world: https://www.shutterstock.com/video/gallery/Maridav-97565/

and it's mostly travel/holiday stuff. But, includes people and is done in a way that you get a feeling you just want to go there and have an adventure yourself.

I would think more in terms of "travel lifestyle", than just "travel". Of course, if you find really nice landscapes in perfect light or great pictures of wildlife that sells too. But it has to be really good.

You have to plan and stage shots, create a world greater than reality unless it's something really special that would work as editorial.

Do a search for "sunset palm trees" and ask yourself why someone would buy YOUR picture...
this is a couple they shoot them since 2006. personally i find so boring their photo. cliche. if they sells good it won't be difficult to replicate their stuff. this is not travel is lifestyle, basic, and what surprises me it sells, it looks a style of 10 years ago.,
personally i sell only travel photos and the big problem of many people is that they shoot only landmark and not go deep in travel. they go always the same place. there are location oversaturated and other with minimum cover. for example very few editorial in travel cover different theme like hotel restaurant,people.
said this the portfolio linked at beginning is only made of snapshots i'm even surprised ss accepted them.

« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2017, 14:28 »
+1
Hello everybody,

After uploading my holiday and travel photos to microstock agencies for 3 months, I am rather disappointed by lack of sales - I guess I had false expectations.

I upload to 5-7 agencies, in December mostly holiday pictures from Nice, France and since January photos from my world tour (I travel for 8 months). I used this guide as orientation http://microstockinsider.com/guides/microstock-traveller-working-while-holiday. However I sold only 10 images, adding up to 4$ on Shutterstock and 2 on Dreamstime.

My question to you is whether you see potential to achieve better results with some adjustments or whether the type of photos are just not suitable for stock. In that case I would just continue photography for my leisure but save the annoying keywording and uploading process.

Thank you in advance for taking time, I appreciate your honest comments.
Markus


My current Shutterstock profile:
https://www.shutterstock.com/g/markus+faymonville

I also do upload to instagram, Facebook and tumblr - maybe these photos are more suitable? Https://www.instagram.com/the_wander_team
Https://www.facebook.com/jeannemarkusworldtour
Https://Faymonville.tumblr.com
[/quote


you should just keep the fir 10 images for popularity and trash the rest...the one with boat at sunset is good.
i have been to nice many years and have hundreds of photos of the cote d'azur.
in my opinion if you want to be a travel photographer you must only do this traveling, not having just fun and take some photos. travel photography means 16 hours work day, scouting location, shooting at best light. you shoot only at noon that's why your images have problems of light and exposure.
you need to buy some gradient filter or learn how to stack images.
personally i don't really understand why ss keep adding contributor if they don't show images who can add to the site but just images who can steal one two sales from other portfolio.

alno

« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2017, 17:49 »
0

I upload to 5-7 agencies, in December mostly holiday pictures from Nice, France and since January photos from my world tour (I travel for 8 months).


Sounds like you are ruining a bit your expensive holidays with modest attempt to compensate couple of cappuccinos in Nice.

« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2017, 18:47 »
0
If you want to succeed in this business, consider uploading something other than travel and everyday photos.

« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2017, 00:03 »
0
You've got some great photos on Instagram. I'd put some of them on micro stock. Also, buyers generally want photos that have extra saturated colors. I ratchet up the saturation on everything I sell (except editorial). Unless you're going for a more somber mood deliberately, making the photo look like the best possible version of the place you're at is the thing to do. Obviously not every day has perfect sunlight or clouds, but you can make just about anything look better with simple photoshop effects.

Most of my images are landmarks and nature. I'm fairly casual; my portfolio is only about 300 images; I shoot stuff as I go places and upload it. Last year I probably had about 1,000 sales across five platforms, although I'll admit 40% of that is one image.

« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2017, 03:25 »
0
Thank you very much for your replies, I appreciate your input.

Quote
To make returns you have to treat Mstock as a serious business and shoot with that in mind.
That's myour take-away after three months as well.

As I read from the other comments therewould be two main directions to go - 1) focus on and improve my landscapes and/or 2) get myself/my girlfriend more into the images (like the profile of mirvalda).

1) would take careful planning, researching significant landmarks and always being there at the right time. As pointed out above:
Quote
in my opinion if you want to be a travel photographer you must only do this traveling, not having just fun and take some photos. travel photography means 16 hours work day, scouting location, shooting at best light.
That's is not compatible with our travel plans and after all MS is not important enough to do so.

I avoided no. 2 (photographing with people) until now to avoid the hassle of using releases. Maybe I will give this a try.

Quote
If you want to succeed in this business, consider uploading something other than travel and everyday photos.
the photos from my travels is the main content I have - considering it a business is not what I want to do - after all I have a day-to-day job.

Quote
...by the way, your Instagram pictures are 1,000 times better and many of them could actually sell pretty well.
Thank you, I will try uploading a few of those! :-)

Once again, thank you very much for your help, I guess after all i gave it a try but with my current ambitions and content I do not see much potential in continuing.

« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2017, 03:34 »
0
the photos from my travels is the main content I have - considering it a business is not what I want to do - after all I have a day-to-day job.

The beautiful thing is that you can travel tax free if you just get the ball rolling a little bit. Let's say a trip costs $5,000. You would have to earn $8-10 from an unrelated job/business before tax to pay for it, but only 5 from photos/footage if you can find a good way to work during your travels.

« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2017, 03:40 »
0
the photos from my travels is the main content I have - considering it a business is not what I want to do - after all I have a day-to-day job.

The beautiful thing is that you can travel tax free if you just get the ball rolling a little bit. Let's say a trip costs $5,000. You would have to earn $8-10 from an unrelated job/business before tax to pay for it, but only 5 from photos/footage if you can find a good way to work during your travels.
Depends on tax authorities of different countries and how persuasive you are ;-)...I wonder also if you might fall foul of immigration rules as you are then officially "working".

« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2017, 04:18 »
0
Well, if that was the case no photographer ever could take a picture outside their home country and sell it afterwards.

You could never check your work e-mail in another country. Never conduct a Skype business meeting. Never write a page of your new book in a hotel room. You see how absurd this gets.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 04:21 by increasingdifficulty »

Millionstock.com

  • Architecture; Arts; Historic buildings, Landscapes

« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2017, 05:04 »
+4
Entering now in the microstock market means that you have to work hard for hours and hours each day in order to produce high quality pictures....and gain few dollars each day.

For this reason selling pictures TODAY is a complete loss of time! Only agencies are making big money since they have gathered during the years millions and millions of pictures.
Better to concentrate yourself in other activities where you can earn a decent amount of money.

Photodune Reject

« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2017, 09:34 »
0
here is a sample of how much passion and level of skill you need if you want to make any money in any area-

http://circa.com/lifestyle/grace-chon-animal-photographer



« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2017, 10:05 »
+3
Payday has passed.  It's such a hard hill climb that you'll make a loss before your stamina runs out.

outoftheblue

« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2017, 11:36 »
0
do selfies when jumping off a cliff

Suggesting a competitor to jump off a cliff... not nice ;)


To the op:

"whether to keep goin" is not an option:

You must either decide to quit or to step up your game.
I am not judging your photos per se, just saying that to succeed in stock you need more commercially oriented pictures (travel is fine too) and many more of them.

And three months is not enough time to decide, a year is a better timeframe.





« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2017, 13:20 »
0
It's to soon to give up, if you are having fun don't.  Everyone has to deal with rejections for reasons you don't agree with, slow months, and if you didn't start early on - not seeing a lot of sales before getting a solid portfolio with varied subjects.  As an added bonus, working on subjects out of your comfort zone will only make you better all around.

You have a day job and already said you enjoy the travel and photography, don't give up.  If you are enjoying yourself keep going.  One thing I had to do was evaluate what site's I was working with and pare down to the sites and subjects that were working. Realistically, you need about 6 - 12 months to look at everything and then decide. 

If you are traveling and want people in your photos, get a release app for your phone (I use Easy Release) and not have an issue with SS,IS, Alamy, or BS with the release it generates.  I never thought I would like or use it as much as I do.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 13:22 by Lostlenscap »

« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2017, 13:42 »
+3
I guess I had false expectations.

Definitely.  The blog post you were following was first written in 2008.  Back then it was easier to make money with travel images but things have changed a lot during the past nine years.

I do a lot of travel images, often because I have to travel for my real job.  That keeps me busy from 9-5 but leaves early mornings and evenings free, which works out conveniently.  I research the area I will be going to ahead of time, figure out where the best vantage points are likely to be and what time of day the light should be best.  Then also look for whatever is different.  It is a lot of extra work but enjoyable and, until recently, worth the hassle of processing, keywording and uploading.  However, lately things have dropped off dramatically at microstock in general - for me at least - to the point where it will soon no longer be worth the effort except for fun.  Everyone will have to decide that point for themselves.


 

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