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Author Topic: Disappointed after three months microstock - need advice on whether to keep goin  (Read 6593 times)

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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2017, 16:02 »
+5
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...

I'd remove "probably" from that statement and then fully agree with it. To be honest, none of your images are commercially valuable. Snapshots just don't work as stock anymore, not when there are high-end photos of the same subjects shot with a lot more intent, effort, and setup. The casual "Hey I bought a latte so let me take a quick shot of it" photos don't cut it for the typical buyer these days.

This is a business that looks like it's just that simple, that you could take a picture of the plate of food in front of you with a DSLR and you're on your way to making money. The reality is that those simple-looking shots are staged, prepared, composed, lit, and edited to look the way they do. There's nothing casual about them.

Your latte photo is up against hundreds or thousands of other latte photos, many of them part of a shoot that might have taken hours to set up. I know a stock photographer who shoots in a restaurant, has chef-prepared meals plated and served and he has a full light kit around a meticulously set up table. And it's not when he's sitting down to eat dinner. He goes there when the restaurant is closed specifically to do a photo shoot.

That's how you have to treat this to make it work. It's a job, like any other, and one that requires effort and hard work. Companies used to market this as a "sell your home snapshots" business, and for a time, it was. But that was almost a decade ago.


cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2017, 16:07 »
+2
......

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.

.....

it's always been that way -- look at the number of contributors on SS vs the avg number of images submitted -- thousands of newbies with small ports.  most people don't post their dissapointments

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2017, 16:24 »
0
I guess I had false expectations.
....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.

another factor is that travel pix have a broader sales curve -- no big initial sales, but a much longer lifespan than lifestyle.  and if you enjoy taking pix while traveling you can build a portfolio that will pay passive income over time.  but you likely need thousands of images. 

building on what others have said, do research before a trip in areas that interest you - eg, Islamic mosaics, archaeology, ancient ruins, history, etc - these are niche areas that you may find that others never 'see' (eg images of an ancient Roman sewer system that sell better than the iconic landmark images of the same site)

metadata is boring, but it's something you need to do well if you want to achieve your goals.   i'm retired, so my goal is to produce enough to show a small profit while paying for several trips a year.   

Brasilnut

  • Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2017, 17:21 »
0
Quote
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

I visit Nice and Cote D'Azur a few times a summer and often takes images there. Unfortunately, most of the images don't do so well. I think there's just too much competition.

Perhaps if you go during the Cannes film festival and snap at celebrities it would be more interesting but generic marina and promenade-type shots are dime a dozen. Otherwise during the F1 in Monaco.

Here's one I took in Cannes that is licensed quite regularly even though it's an average editorial.

Keep going, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 17:25 by Brasilnut »

« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2017, 16:21 »
0
I've made almost $300 when I started uploading 3 months ago. I have about 460 photos in Shutterstock and about 500 in Fotolia. Both are my highest performing agencies. I've got thousands more I have to work on and upload. I do mostly travel and scenic photos.

Here's my ShutterStock: newbielink:https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Adonis+Villanueva [nonactive]

It's all from my Traveling/Blogging: newbielink:http://www.alwayswanderlust.com/ [nonactive]

« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2017, 00:26 »
0
Ten travel photos sold is not a bad effort when starting out. I only have a small portfolio myself which features a variety of different subject matter and the number of travel photos Ive sold is probably close to yours. I have sold other subjects as well.

The average beach or the average tree won't sell when faced against the competition.

There is one particular beach image of mine that's turned out to be one of my best sellers. It sold six times through SS and once through Dreamstime. I haven't been into stock photography for all that long but I predict that this image will probably continue to make money as time goes on. There's also another beach photo that Ive sold at least twice through different sites. But yea I know what you're saying - I'm sure there would be thousands of high quality beach images out there to compete against.

« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2017, 02:57 »
0
There is one particular beach image of mine that's turned out to be one of my best sellers. It sold six times through SS and once through Dreamstime.

Yes, people buy tons of beach images, but there are also over 1 million(!!!) results when searching for "tropical beach" and 3.1 million(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for just "beach" at Shutterstock.

The top results probably sell 60,000 times rather than 6.  :)

Most sell 0.

It's not a bad subject, just incredibly high competition.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 03:01 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2017, 03:05 »
0
There is one particular beach image of mine that's turned out to be one of my best sellers. It sold six times through SS and once through Dreamstime.

Yes, people buy tons of beach images, but there are also over 1 million(!!!) results when searching for "tropical beach" and 3.1 million(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for just "beach" at Shutterstock.

The top results probably sell 60,000 times rather than 6.  :)

Most sell 0.

It's not a bad subject, just incredibly high competition.
I have a few they sell occasionally but they are zero cost opportunist pics....I'm not about to book a flight to take some ;-).

« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2017, 03:08 »
0
I have a few they sell occasionally but they are zero cost opportunist pics....I'm not about to book a flight to take some ;-).

Nothing is zero cost. Time, time, time.

I sell beaches, waves and clouds too, but the point was just that competition is incredibly high since beaches are quite common. Probably one of the best selling subjects overall though.

The PERFECT beach shot, however, is not an "opportunist" pic, it needs to be planned.

« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2017, 03:28 »
0
I have a few they sell occasionally but they are zero cost opportunist pics....I'm not about to book a flight to take some ;-).

Nothing is zero cost. Time, time, time.

I sell beaches, waves and clouds too, but the point was just that competition is incredibly high since beaches are quite common. Probably one of the best selling subjects overall though.

The PERFECT beach shot, however, is not an "opportunist" pic, it needs to be planned.
OK there is some processing/keywording cost of my time but I go there anyway and take pictures. I don't aim for a perfect beach shot but one that will make a few $.

Brasilnut

  • Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2017, 03:49 »
+1
Quote
OK there is some processing/keywording cost of my time but I go there anyway and take pictures. I don't aim for a perfect beach shot but one that will make a few $.

Yes, I agree and would add that if you're at special beach location, show the beach PLUS something typical of that location.

Here's an example of one I did in Rio at a rooftop bar. The number of downloads has paid for the cost of the kiwi caipirinha 50x.

If you're in the Italian northern lakes, grab that aperol spritz, in Thailand a coconut, etc, etc.

« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2017, 03:55 »
0
Quote
OK there is some processing/keywording cost of my time but I go there anyway and take pictures. I don't aim for a perfect beach shot but one that will make a few $.

Yes, I agree and would add that if you're at special beach location, show the beach PLUS something typical of that location.

Here's an example of one I did in Rio at a rooftop bar. The number of downloads has paid for the cost of the kiwi caipirinha 50x.

If you're in the Italian northern lakes, grab that aperol spritz, in Thailand a coconut, etc, etc.
Thats a very good return!!! Yep you don't have to spend $$$ on a shot like that....though as has been said there are 1000s like that...that one really hits the selling spot!

« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2017, 03:56 »
+2
Travel is tough! I happen to know a very well known travel photographer with I think around 15.000 files on line and he is far from happy. Very competative and huge volumes in every agency.

« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2017, 00:14 »
+6
I'm disappointed after 10 years of full-time micro stock. If I'd spent those ten years building a real business I wouldn't be cleaning up dry banana peels from garage floors  while working as a maintenance man. Yep, that's right. Some guy who uses the gym thinks that because a banana is natural it's alright to throw the skins wherever. So i get to scoop the dry black crusty suckers into a bin.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 00:18 by goober »

drd

« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2017, 07:58 »
+2
Re: Disappointed after three months microstock - need advice on whether to keep goin

More you stay in more disappointed you will get. Microstock is getting unsustainable for many: prices are lower and lower, contributors share of sale is getting lower and lower at every agency, while the number of contributors are constantly growing.
Honestly why do you except to make a profit when you only get 2cents per image?

« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2017, 10:01 »
0

Yes, people buy tons of beach images, but there are also over 1 million(!!!) results when searching for "tropical beach" and 3.1 million(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for just "beach" at Shutterstock.

The top results probably sell 60,000 times rather than 6.  :)


Well it has sold 7 times in total. And it's likely a temporary number as well. No doubt it will keep continuing to sell and accumulate earnings over time. I would imagine that the top selling beach images have been available for a very long time - possibly years. My beach image has only been online for less than a few months so it will be interesting to see how well it does over say a two or three year period.

Pretty * impressive how many times other peoples' beach photos have sold in this thread.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 10:09 by dragonblade »

« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2017, 11:56 »
+3
an image sold 6 times across 2 agencies in 3 months and thats your best seller?

if the image has not taken off by now, and doesnt sell daily, dont leave your day job just yet

honestly, dont waste more time on this business.

« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2017, 23:02 »
0
an image sold 6 times across 2 agencies in 3 months and thats your best seller?

It seems that reading comprehension is not your greatest asset. Like I mentioned before - it is not my best seller (it is one of my best sellers) - out of a very small portfolio. And simple mathematics will tell you that 6 + 1 = 7 (in other words 7 sales at the time of my last post.) And I was right with my predictions from my previous post in that this image will continue to sell over time. I woke up this morning to find that my beach image has sold an eighth time.

if the image has not taken off by now, and doesnt sell daily, dont leave your day job just yet

There are some people who have been in this game for a very long time and have accumulated very large portfolios. For those who make daily sales (or close to daily sales) with different images rather than the same image they should just quit?

honestly, dont waste more time on this business.

I will continue to submit my still images and videos to stock agencies, whether you like it or not. I made my first payout recently on Shutterstock and also my first video sale with a port of 35 videos (I note that some individuals have ports with hundreds of videos on SS and 0 video sales.) Anyhow, Ive got some more photos to upload today so I wont waste more time on pointless discussions.

« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2017, 02:00 »
0
an image sold 6 times across 2 agencies in 3 months and thats your best seller?

It seems that reading comprehension is not your greatest asset. Like I mentioned before - it is not my best seller (it is one of my best sellers) - out of a very small portfolio. And simple mathematics will tell you that 6 + 1 = 7 (in other words 7 sales at the time of my last post.) And I was right with my predictions from my previous post in that this image will continue to sell over time. I woke up this morning to find that my beach image has sold an eighth time.

if the image has not taken off by now, and doesnt sell daily, dont leave your day job just yet

There are some people who have been in this game for a very long time and have accumulated very large portfolios. For those who make daily sales (or close to daily sales) with different images rather than the same image they should just quit?

honestly, dont waste more time on this business.

I will continue to submit my still images and videos to stock agencies, whether you like it or not. I made my first payout recently on Shutterstock and also my first video sale with a port of 35 videos (I note that some individuals have ports with hundreds of videos on SS and 0 video sales.) Anyhow, Ive got some more photos to upload today so I wont waste more time on pointless discussions.
Your right its up to you what you want to do and one of the things I like Mstock is no one can tell me what to do!

« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2017, 02:23 »
0

Your right its up to you what you want to do and one of the things I like Mstock is no one can tell me what to do!

Amen to that! Completely agree.

« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2017, 09:43 »
+3
Hey man. Look, I have started to submit pictures to microstock some years ago. In that days, it was more dificult to enter in this word and I spent some months to be able to enter in the best players (like shutterstock). Microstosck is really fun if you do not count with it to live. I used to take landscape pictures in my travels and trekkings. I really enjoy it. But, as you noticed, it is really competitive market and, lets be honest, there will be hundreds of better pictures than yours (and of course than my ones too). So, why I keep doing that? Weel, as I said, for me it is fun. And for some reason, there are guys that like and buy my pictures.. even than they are not the best. There are a lot of factors that someone choose one picture instead other from the same place. Each one of us has different perspective from the same scene. So, you should try to explore it. For example, I did some trekking on Silicon Valley some years ago. I got lucky, it was a beautiful day and I got pretty good pictures. And these picture sell. It will not give me a fortune.. but it sells... Now, I could just think, oh man, it is silicon valley, problably there are plenty of pictures from it.. why anyone would buy my ones... Even from Central Park I have already sell pictures... Central Park, man... So, my advice... it will not give you a lot of money.  But it will be fun, so, go ahead, take your pictures, read about microstock (this forum is really interesting for that) and have fun... never give up...   

« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2017, 16:36 »
+1
Hey man. Look, I have started to submit pictures to microstock some years ago. In that days, it was more dificult to enter in this word and I spent some months to be able to enter in the best players (like shutterstock). Microstosck is really fun if you do not count with it to live. I used to take landscape pictures in my travels and trekkings. I really enjoy it. But, as you noticed, it is really competitive market and, lets be honest, there will be hundreds of better pictures than yours (and of course than my ones too). So, why I keep doing that? Weel, as I said, for me it is fun. And for some reason, there are guys that like and buy my pictures.. even than they are not the best. There are a lot of factors that someone choose one picture instead other from the same place. Each one of us has different perspective from the same scene. So, you should try to explore it. For example, I did some trekking on Silicon Valley some years ago. I got lucky, it was a beautiful day and I got pretty good pictures. And these picture sell. It will not give me a fortune.. but it sells... Now, I could just think, oh man, it is silicon valley, problably there are plenty of pictures from it.. why anyone would buy my ones... Even from Central Park I have already sell pictures... Central Park, man... So, my advice... it will not give you a lot of money.  But it will be fun, so, go ahead, take your pictures, read about microstock (this forum is really interesting for that) and have fun... never give up...
Like many things in life if it makes you happy do it ...my approach is rather like yours.....


 

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