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Author Topic: Sales after you stop uploading new material for long time?  (Read 10840 times)

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« on: April 27, 2016, 14:37 »
+2
Hello all,

Does any of you have experience of stopping new uploads to microstocks for good or for a very long time (like years) and then what happens to your sales? In other words, if I build a solid portfolio, and then stop uploading (because I'm tired, have no time, other changes in life etc), will I keep receiving sales? Will they decrease and subsequently stop over time? (assuming other things equal, e.g. performance of the given agency, overall market situation, etc.)

Stock photography was never meant to be a full-time or even part-time job for me; mostly out of curiousity, to make use of hundreds and thousands of my pictures buried on HDDs. However, with less than 1000 photos on each of the top and middle tier agencies, I manage to earn ~$200 each month which is not nothing, and a good extra to upgrade the gear "for free". So I wonder if these sales can continue like this, even if I stop uploading at certain point.

Thanks for your responses!


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 15:37 »
+5
I stopped uploading to SS about 2 years ago. I started with them back in 2005. Since I stopped uploading, my sales are basically 40-50% of what they were while I was still uploading. I left Fotolia totally a couple of years back, and when Adobe bought them, I uploaded my portfolio again. The sales from that have made up for the drop in sales from SS. Photography is not my main source of income, but it certainly helps with the monthly bills.

Those are the only two agencies I submit to now. I have bailed on the others for various reasons, mostly for the bad treatment of contributors and other shenanigans.

« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2016, 02:33 »
+1
Thanks for your feedback, Cathleen. That's what I wanted to hear from someone's experience, i.e. that the sales go significantly down if no regular uploads are made. But even at 40-50% rate is a sweet reward for your prior work on building up your ports in the past.

I think that even if I stop uploading at some point on a regular basis, I could still upload from time to time, just to keep the beat on. Photography as a hobby will not go away as such, so there should be plenty of material over time to supply to stocks, just at a less regular basis. Something which, I understand, you keep on doing now.

« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2016, 04:43 »
+3
If you read the threads regarding what stats people keep track of you will see that most people on here don't really pay a lot of attention to accurately tracking the sales details of their portfolio so expect a lot guess work and speaking from the gut rather than facts (just a warning regarding some of the replies you will get).

Cathy is correct, you will see a continuous (initially sharp) decline in sales from any uploaded image, after the initial surge. The stockperformer people have written about it a few times. Typically the graph looks like a smoother version of this: http://blog.microstockgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/typical-microstock-revenue-1024x516.jpg

For seasonal images the trend is the same but will of course look like a diminishing pattern of seasonal peaks.

After a few years you will be earning an absolutely minute amount compared to your portfolio's peak, but still a residual income of some kind. Anyone with a substantial portfolio who says different either hasn't used software that analyses their sales properly or hasn't been in the game long enough to see the trend.



« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 05:38 by Justanotherphotographer »

« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 07:30 »
0
Thanks a lot for this response, very interesting and useful, indeed! And again, something I was expecting to hear, since otherwise it would be too good to keep your regular (or slightly reduced) income over years if no additional work is done with your port, just like in any business. It is just a matter of how much and when the sales will plummet to a "minute" of what it used to be. Thanks again.

« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 12:17 »
+3
If you read the threads regarding what stats people keep track of you will see that most people on here don't really pay a lot of attention to accurately tracking the sales details of their portfolio so expect a lot guess work and speaking from the gut rather than facts (just a warning regarding some of the replies you will get).

Cathy is correct, you will see a continuous (initially sharp) decline in sales from any uploaded image, after the initial surge. The stockperformer people have written about it a few times. Typically the graph looks like a smoother version of this: http://blog.microstockgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/typical-microstock-revenue-1024x516.jpg

For seasonal images the trend is the same but will of course look like a diminishing pattern of seasonal peaks.

After a few years you will be earning an absolutely minute amount compared to your portfolio's peak, but still a residual income of some kind. Anyone with a substantial portfolio who says different either hasn't used software that analyses their sales properly or hasn't been in the game long enough to see the trend.
While you are probably right I have noticed of late that some long forgotten pics have had a new or even first lease of life. I don't think the future is as certain as you think and no amount of analysing the past changes that

« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 13:53 »
+6
I stopped uploading a bit over a year ago.  My sales this year are 25% less than last year.  But they had been going down year on year for a couple of years even with regular uploading.  This is with between 5-6k images depending on site.  If the drop continues at current rates, I expect I will be earning close to nothing in a couple of years.

 If I  could be sure of increased income, I would start uploading again.  I have 1k or better of un-uploaded pictures, but I would have to see some improved treatment of contributors by the major sites before I bother submitting more photos.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2016, 10:01 »
+1
I uploaded substantially less this year because of other assignments (microstock is not my main source of income). Some older illustrations are still selling like crazy while others are completely dead. So it depends on the quality, commercial value and timelessness of a file.

Overall, my yearly revenue is still steady (even growing a little bit) but I expect it to decrease over the years if I would completely stop uploading.

« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2017, 19:52 »
0
When I first started uploading to stock sites (mainly iStockphoto and Dreamstime) I had no sales at all. However, I kept persevering - constantly uploading on a regular basis. I kept doing that for a few months and still 0 sales - nothing. I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere so I took a break from it all for about two or three months or thereabouts. When I came back, I logged into iStockphoto and discovered that I had made a sale. Checked Dreamstime too and I had made two sales there. Then less than a few days later, I made another sale through Dreamstime. And that gave me the motivation to start uploading again. Then more sales followed. I also joined SS later on.

And later on I took another (short) break from stock photography and later found a good number of sales had occurred during my absence. So yea I know that my experiences differ from a number of other people in that sometimes I'll have a decent surge in sales during a break. 

« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2017, 13:45 »
0
few of us have steady enough sales with enough volume to draw any meaningful conclusions

that said, I uploaded nothing in Dec and my jan sales were BME

I stopped uploading to dream & bs more than a year ago with no effect on sales (still low & not worth more uploads)

as always, there are too many variables from portfolio to portfolio to make any prediction from others' results

dpimborough

« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2017, 14:01 »
0
I stopped uploading to everyone including isuck about a year ago.

For those agencies there's been no change to sales but they were rubbish anyway

As for Shutterstock it doesn't seem to matter if I upload or not the sales are still staggering around like a drunk man in a high wind.

Only Alamy has repaid uploading with a 100% increase in sales in the last year.

« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2017, 17:04 »
+1
I stopped uploading to everyone including isuck about a year ago.

For those agencies there's been no change to sales but they were rubbish anyway

As for Shutterstock it doesn't seem to matter if I upload or not the sales are still staggering around like a drunk man in a high wind.

Only Alamy has repaid uploading with a 100% increase in sales in the last year.

Sammy, I  notice the same.  Haven't uploaded in a year or so and there have been declines, but not worse than the declines I was seeing when I did upload regularly.

Are you saying you HAVE been uploading to Alamy but nowhere else?  If so, then you have seen big increases at Alamy?  If you don't mind answering,  are you uploading RM or RF?

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2017, 05:03 »
0
Interesting discussion.

As one of the chapters in my upcoming book, I've run a simulation of projected revenues of a complete newbie consistently submitting for 3 years to the largest 7 Microstock Agencies as RF and 2 agencies as RM (premium images only exclusively).
 
Major assumptions here including a "quality" portfolio within a "niche". He/she isn't shooting flowers and pets.

   Year 1: $1 RPI/year, uploading 50 images/month
   Year 2: $2 RPI/year, uploading 75 images/month
   Year 3: $3 RPI/year, uploading 100 images/month

In this scenario, the contributor stops submitting in Years 4 and Years 5 after building up a portfolio of 2700 images.

Total Revenue after Year 5 and end of simulation: $20,668

RPI depreciation of 25% a year (2.08% a month). Perhaps this is too low as an average?

Lots of unknowns / assumptions here but something to think about.

Brasilnut


« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 05:10 by Brasilnut »

« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2017, 10:33 »
+1
Interesting discussion.

As one of the chapters in my upcoming book, I've run a simulation of projected revenues of a complete newbie consistently submitting for 3 years to the largest 7 Microstock Agencies as RF and 2 agencies as RM (premium images only exclusively).
 
Major assumptions here including a "quality" portfolio within a "niche". He/she isn't shooting flowers and pets.

   Year 1: $1 RPI/year, uploading 50 images/month
   Year 2: $2 RPI/year, uploading 75 images/month
   Year 3: $3 RPI/year, uploading 100 images/month

In this scenario, the contributor stops submitting in Years 4 and Years 5 after building up a portfolio of 2700 images.

Total Revenue after Year 5 and end of simulation: $20,668

RPI depreciation of 25% a year (2.08% a month). Perhaps this is too low as an average?

Lots of unknowns / assumptions here but something to think about.

Brasilnut

I like your work but your analysis is very wrong. Why do you have RPI increasing every year? The depreciation should be much higher and the drop off much faster.

These charts are much closer to the reality: http://blog.microstockgroup.com/the-tyranny-of-the-microstock-lifecycle/

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2017, 11:00 »
0
Quote
I like your work but your analysis is very wrong. Why do you have RPI increasing every year? The depreciation should be much higher and the drop off much faster.

Ah, thanks for the link.

I've put together a case-study of a contributor who's a bit clueless at the beginning, but after a year the quality of his images improves considerably. So, if I'm not mistaken, it should reflect in a higher RPI. Should I keep the RPI at about $2/year?

In the story he also has access to some unique places.

I think I will put the depreciation at 40% a year / 3.33% a month instead of 25%.

outoftheblue

« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2017, 12:14 »
+1
I've put together a case-study of a contributor who's a bit clueless at the beginning, but after a year the quality of his images improves considerably. So, if I'm not mistaken, it should reflect in a higher RPI. Should I keep the RPI at about $2/year?

I am afraid you are mistaken (like "Justanotherphotographer" already said)

rpi can change over time for a lot of reason, all more related to the general market than any specific photographer. I don't know if you should keep the rpi at $2 but the reason you stated (improvement in image quality) is very insignificant for rpi.


« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2017, 17:51 »
+1
Interesting discussion.

As one of the chapters in my upcoming book, I've run a simulation of projected revenues of a complete newbie consistently submitting for 3 years to the largest 7 Microstock Agencies as RF and 2 agencies as RM (premium images only exclusively).
 
Major assumptions here including a "quality" portfolio within a "niche". He/she isn't shooting flowers and pets.

   Year 1: $1 RPI/year, uploading 50 images/month
   Year 2: $2 RPI/year, uploading 75 images/month
   Year 3: $3 RPI/year, uploading 100 images/month

In this scenario, the contributor stops submitting in Years 4 and Years 5 after building up a portfolio of 2700 images.

Total Revenue after Year 5 and end of simulation: $20,668

RPI depreciation of 25% a year (2.08% a month). Perhaps this is too low as an average?

Lots of unknowns / assumptions here but something to think about.

Brasilnut
What are you basing this on?

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2017, 01:47 »
0
Quote
What are you basing this on?

Many assumptions on an average, yet talented person starting out.

I would have liked to use me as an example but I think my case is a bit peculiar as I don't shoot "typical stock" and don't submit to so many agencies.

I'm curious whether if someone starts shooting more intelligently in a niche if that would increase his/her RPI, independent of image quality improvement. 

« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2017, 04:33 »
0
Quote
I like your work but your analysis is very wrong. Why do you have RPI increasing every year? The depreciation should be much higher and the drop off much faster.

Ah, thanks for the link.

I've put together a case-study of a contributor who's a bit clueless at the beginning, but after a year the quality of his images improves considerably. So, if I'm not mistaken, it should reflect in a higher RPI. Should I keep the RPI at about $2/year?

In the story he also has access to some unique places.

I think I will put the depreciation at 40% a year / 3.33% a month instead of 25%.

It is very tricky because I would call RPI the the result of the calculation rather than starting with RPI then applying a depreciation. You can either decrease the RPI every year or keep it constant then apply a depreciation, it amounts to the same thing. Basically an overall decrease in RPI year on year.

I haven't run the numbers but 30-40% rings true to me if you don't adjust the RPI beforehand, the result being that after a few years you hit a "wall" where your 30%-40% depreciation per year of existing content outstrips your ability to increase your portfolio size in proportion.

Forget about RPI increasing with quality of images. The overall quality in the marketplace is also increasing constantly due to competition. Failure to improve would decrease RPI further, improvement only keeps you inline with the rest of the competition.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2017, 14:06 »
+1
Quote
It is very tricky because I would call RPI the the result of the calculation rather than starting with RPI then applying a depreciation. You can either decrease the RPI every year or keep it constant then apply a depreciation, it amounts to the same thing. Basically an overall decrease in RPI year on year.

I haven't run the numbers but 30-40% rings true to me if you don't adjust the RPI beforehand, the result being that after a few years you hit a "wall" where your 30%-40% depreciation per year of existing content outstrips your ability to increase your portfolio size in proportion.

Forget about RPI increasing with quality of images. The overall quality in the marketplace is also increasing constantly due to competition. Failure to improve would decrease RPI further, improvement only keeps you inline with the rest of the competition.

Ok, thanks for all your inputs.

I've updated the results over a 7 year period with constant RPI of $2/year during constant submission and once submissions stop, a depreciation of 40%/year or 3.33%/month. Total income after 7 years is just over $17,000.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 03:26 by Brasilnut »

« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2017, 14:46 »
0
Can someone give a rough estimate regarding the percentage of total income earned by an image or batch in regards to time.

Let's say you upload 1000 images in a month and then stop uploading. How much time will need to pass before you earn 80% of all the total income those images will earn in their lifetime? Or how about 50%?

That'd be a useful metric.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2017, 04:41 »
0

Quote
Can someone give a rough estimate regarding the percentage of total income earned by an image or batch in regards to time.

I've simulated one image earning $2 RPI/year with a depreciation of 40%/year from the second month. In reality its value should peak on 4-6th month but I've just used an average RPI to keep it simple.

Therefore, in its full life cycle it would earn $4.32 after 6 years and very little after that (1 cent a month).

 
Quote
Let's say you upload 1000 images in a month and then stop uploading. How much time will need to pass before you earn 80% of all the total income those images will earn in their lifetime? Or how about 50%?

Using the same logic of $2 RPI/year with a depreciation of 40%/year from the second month when you stop uploading, it would reach:

- 50% of $4,320 (lifetime earning) on the 18th month; 
- 80% of $4,320 (lifetime earning) on the 40th month.

Of course the above depends on 1000 factors but something interesting to consider.

« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2017, 04:47 »
+3
While its an interesting academic exercise I think the industry is far too  volatile for this kind of analysis. Think back to 2012 what would you have projected then how did that turn out? I think by 2022 things will look very different

« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2017, 07:13 »
+2
I appreciate the fun in estimates but at the end of the day, it's just completely useless. No one sells the exact same images with the same keywords and results will always be very, very different for each individual.

However, if you're making less than $3 per image per year, you're doing something seriously wrong and need to come up with some changes. That could be OK for ONE site, but in total $5 should absolutely be minimum if you're thinking about this stuff seriously.

« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2017, 08:46 »
+3
I appreciate the fun in estimates but at the end of the day, it's just completely useless. No one sells the exact same images with the same keywords and results will always be very, very different for each individual.

However, if you're making less than $3 per image per year, you're doing something seriously wrong and need to come up with some changes. That could be OK for ONE site, but in total $5 should absolutely be minimum if you're thinking about this stuff seriously.
It can be a misleading stat what really matters is money in vs cost out (including your time)-you could make a high RPI by creating expensive to produce pics with intensive post production and lose money
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 11:23 by Pauws99 »


 

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