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Author Topic: 2019 Year-End Review: Good, Bad & Ugly  (Read 3895 times)

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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2020, 15:13 »
0
Thanks for the good read. My December was disappointing. First time since 2016 I didnt make payout on Shutterstock. My port is fairly small, about ~500 (primarily landscapes and architecture) and a typical SS month is $50-100, but its still disappointing. There are definitely far fewer Single sales than there used to be.

On the plus side, AS continues to improve. Now, if only I could crack the nut of videos  folks want to buy. Shooting video of the things I shoot stills of does not seem to be working.


steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2020, 13:53 »
+4
I decided to wait until the EyeEM earnings were published before writing about my results. Really glad I did - $22 made all the difference!

So the end result was just over $2600. I guess that is OK for the generally slow December.
Here is my growth pattern up to and including 2019.:


Full discussion, as always, on my blog: https://www.backyardsilver.com/2020/01/stock-photo-earnings-december-2019/

Steve

« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2020, 03:49 »
+4
Unfortunately it is people with your thought that are one of the reasons of the stock industry demise. Of course there are people that don't stop at pennies and are glad to give their creations for free to Usplash and the likes so it is of no surprise where we are.

 You are still making a few dollars here and there and you have the mentality ride the wagon as long as you can. Your earnings will drop no doubt about it , it does not matter how much time or effort you put into it. This is the direction of the stock train and no turning back is possible so your strategy as an individual person is not wrong but as a collective we are all responsible that the value of stock photography / video /music is heading to 0 as days go by.

Collateral victims are contributors and agencies that fought to maintain value. Once again history shows us that without regulation this is not possible. It is what it is.

Quote
Is not uploading but leaving things on IS for my $50-$100 a year also flawed? Some days I think so, and wonder about just closing. Others I feel that for the effort, I'll take some "free money". Can't decide, so I keep reviewing the situation and thinking, maybe I should just close out and stop helping them. But then I say, what's the harm... OK you get the idea, undecided, flip flop, can't make up my mind.   ;D


Closing is always the nuclear bomb option should only be done in extreme situations. I closed my account on Canva after the teamed up with those Unsplash turds and started offering our entire ports for $10/month. In 2019 I closed my accounts at Colourbox and Canstock, mainly due to poor performances.

One option would just be to stop unloading new stuff which is still shooting ourselves in the foot since it would prejudice future earnings, however small. It comes down the accepting that we are too small to make any sort of meaningful difference. Even if Africa Studios pulled their entire port of 1.3million pics on SS, not even sure that would make a huge difference, so what hope is there for my puny 6.5k pics on iStock. They don't care, we're just drops in the sand. But the $100 is real and = $1.2k a year to put towards upgrading/trips/wild trips in Amsterdam, etc.

I would rather feel slightly "bad" about about earning $1.2k/year than feel good / righteous about earning $0.

« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2020, 09:48 »
0
Unfortunately it is people with your thought that are one of the reasons of the stock industry demise. Of course there are people that don't stop at pennies and are glad to give their creations for free to Usplash and the likes so it is of no surprise where we are.

 You are still making a few dollars here and there and you have the mentality ride the wagon as long as you can. Your earnings will drop no doubt about it , it does not matter how much time or effort you put into it. This is the direction of the stock train and no turning back is possible so your strategy as an individual person is not wrong but as a collective we are all responsible that the value of stock photography / video /music is heading to 0 as days go by.

Collateral victims are contributors and agencies that fought to maintain value. Once again history shows us that without regulation this is not possible. It is what it is.

Quote
Is not uploading but leaving things on IS for my $50-$100 a year also flawed? Some days I think so, and wonder about just closing. Others I feel that for the effort, I'll take some "free money". Can't decide, so I keep reviewing the situation and thinking, maybe I should just close out and stop helping them. But then I say, what's the harm... OK you get the idea, undecided, flip flop, can't make up my mind.   ;D


Closing is always the nuclear bomb option should only be done in extreme situations. I closed my account on Canva after the teamed up with those Unsplash turds and started offering our entire ports for $10/month. In 2019 I closed my accounts at Colourbox and Canstock, mainly due to poor performances.

One option would just be to stop unloading new stuff which is still shooting ourselves in the foot since it would prejudice future earnings, however small. It comes down the accepting that we are too small to make any sort of meaningful difference. Even if Africa Studios pulled their entire port of 1.3million pics on SS, not even sure that would make a huge difference, so what hope is there for my puny 6.5k pics on iStock. They don't care, we're just drops in the sand. But the $100 is real and = $1.2k a year to put towards upgrading/trips/wild trips in Amsterdam, etc.

I would rather feel slightly "bad" about about earning $1.2k/year than feel good / righteous about earning $0.

Regulation could help getting a fair share out of our work, however, this would not change a lot in terms of situation.

It is not "people like us" that are killing the industry. Uploading to get a few pennies may work first, just to check how this work. However, after a while, you will either find a profitable approach or give up, because you will discover that it is not only about shooting and uploading, there are plenty of boring steps to follow to get results.

When it comes to the "turd" websites such as 123RF or DP, they are not really a threat. I checked a bit the revenue shares by platforms: 85% of my revenue last year came from SS, IS and Alamy. If we stick to downloads, it's the same, the other websites and they often lower royalties don't represent more than this trio. However, the dose of efforts to upload to these smaller platforms is almost insignificant given that most of the work (shooting, processing and keywording) will be necessary already for the three main platforms.

So, if we want to solve things, blaming people for uploading on turd stock websites is not the solution. In fact, these websites are not responsible in any case for the situation. Regulation may be a part of the way to resolve it, especially to stop some shameful practices from IS or Alamy, but it won't change a lot.

The main reason why the money we get is decreasing (which is actually not the case for everybody) comes from a very simple fact: the cost to produce a picture of acceptable standards has never been that low. As a consequence, it's not surprising to see the supply increasing and the prices decreasing: it's both more profitable, and easier to get something acceptable.

The world of photography has changed a lot, and it became harder to get money out of it, it's a fact. However, it's mainly a problem of technological change, so it's gonna be hard to counter it.

That being said, there are plenty of domains where you can still get more added value: there are still plenty of uncovered content areas in microstock, where you can get a very decent return on investment. Even more, if you want to fine something more artistically rewarding, you can get to other fields of photography than microstock, it pays more, but it's much harder to get results, of course.

« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2020, 19:23 »
0
Good blog, but this part bafffled me:

Quote
Im really trying hard to justify why I keep uploading to iStock when they provide, by far, one of the lowest Returns Per Download for the majors, at around 0.45 cents and non-exclusive commissions are at a pathetic 15%.

However, Ill keep uploading to them because $100 a month is better than $0 but I cant say that I feel good about it.

Uploading to one of the worst offenders in microstock for a mere $100 "because it's better than $0?"? That's flawed logic. You're saying you have a hard time justifying it.
I would understand it if you keep your portfolio online, but uploading new content to a greedy agency is exactly the reason why they're able to stay afloat.

Is not uploading but leaving things on IS for my $50-$100 a year also flawed? Some days I think so, and wonder about just closing. Others I feel that for the effort, I'll take some "free money". Can't decide, so I keep reviewing the situation and thinking, maybe I should just close out and stop helping them. But then I say, what's the harm... OK you get the idea, undecided, flip flop, can't make up my mind.   ;D

No, that's what I do as well, leaving it online. Considering the work we all put in to upload to iStock, deleting your entire portfolio is a waste, but not actively uploading hurts them enough I hope. But I'm going back and forth as well between closing and leaving it online :D

Semi offtopic, no matter the work I have put to upload in the one agency submitting to,
I will have no doubts and regrets to delete everything if leaving them one day.
It is basic business tactic I think similar if leaving an employer or a client.
You don't leave some gear or files or a hard drive around just in case they pay something in the future...

Perhaps I am wrong though :)

I understand that, but an employer or client is something different. Unless there's nothing for me to gain, I'm not a fan of burning bridges definitively. Sometimes an agency can turn 180 degrees (Fotolia for instance).

I left fotolia and rejoined when Adobe took them over, and it is taking me ages to get back to where I was with fotolia. Some of my best sellers at the old fotolia were rejected by Adobe because there were too many similars in the agency's portfolio, and I'd be at a higher status now if I didn't have to start from scratch. But I like them since Adobe took over, and while it's still small potatoes for me, I see my income there growing.

I removed nearly all my images from iS too. but left about 100 originally waiting for a payout years ago. I haven't added anything new on principal, but I collect about hundred or so a year from that tiny portfolio, so I've just left it there, at first because I forgot about it. It pays for LR/PS, though getting that free in 2020 thanks to Adobe.

2019 was a weird year. Alamy gross income was close to 2018 levels, but net was down about 20% thanks to the commission cut. SS took the biggest nose dive.  Even though I made an effort to increase my portfolio for the first time in years, and even though new images are selling there for me (I've been watching my last 20 downloads and they average 5 new out of 20 this month), my income there is down 43%. I didn't upload much new work however until about October, and January is already beating out any month last year, so maybe it won't be as bad in 2020, but I'll probably just tread water. Adobe is growing but it is still small at this point. FAA was the biggest winner, more than doubling over last year, and last year I doubled my 2018 earnings there. FAA has been my best-earning site since 2018.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2020, 18:19 »
+1
Well, half way through January, I have managed to publish my own year end review of 2019. Earnings were almost the same as 2018, which would have been great had I not added a lot of images and videos during the year. Overall picture looks like this:


Full results as usual on my blog: https://www.backyardsilver.com/2020/01/year-end-review-2019/

Steve

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2020, 04:04 »
0
Hi Steve, thanks for sharing. Nice to see that your video sales are starting to contribute to a significant portion of your overall earnings

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2020, 11:27 »
0
Quote
Nice to see that your video sales are starting to contribute to a significant portion of your overall earnings

Yes, it is good to see that. Now if only I could feel more comfortable with thinking and taking videos as easily as I take photos. I guess I just have to stick at it!

Steve


 

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