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Author Topic: 7 Reasons Why Microstock Photography is (Probably) a Waste of Your Time  (Read 3459 times)

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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2021, 15:31 »
+4
Quote
all-in for a cost of between $200-$300

thanks,
you forgot in your calculation:

-your own working hours (shooting, culling, postproduction, keywording, uploading,taxwork etc)
-transportation
-running costs for gear, lightning, software, hardware etc
-internet, electricity, rent ..
+consider Taxes, Fees(transactions,currency,paypal,etc), insurances...

+all costs are on rhe rise

just some thougths, no offend

Based on my RPD of 1.24 per image on AD, just for the $200-$300 in expenses I would need to have 160-240 downloads on AD just to break even on fixed expenses. When you factor in your "reality" costs then I would presume it's safe to say you would require a bare minimum of 200-300 downloads just to break even.  8 of those downloads would go back to AD for the dreaded cloud monthly, that's 96 downloads per year.

This is hardly cause for celebration. The only winners in this game are the agencies. Anyone with a modicum of business acumen can see this immediately.





« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2021, 16:50 »
+3
Quote
My question to you and anyone on this thread is this...Did you do anything different this past year to keep up with the evolving trends and to maintain a relevant portfolio?


Hi Mat,

I haven't done anything differently but still uploading quite actively. I deal exclusively with travel photography and don't complain about Adobe performance. Being able to maintain pre-covid levels on Adobe is impressive these days.
This brings me to a follow-up question.
What in general can be done differently in travel photography niche that can make it more relevant to today's demand and trends?
(besides doing covid-related travel images).
Here is my port for reference https://tinyurl.com/3krwjk62

Elijah

I think that will depend on where you are traveling. My first thought is if you can capture in your content how various locations are re-opening. Safety measures in the travel process such as airports and train stations. "Welcome Back" signs with travel locations in the background, etc. There are opportunities, you just need to figure out what they are before your competition does. What are you seeing differently in travel. Stock is really about capturing real life as it is. Since travel will undoubtedly look different when it resumes on a larger scale, there will be content gaps available for you to fill. Be observant when you are out and about and translate what you see with your camera.

I really appreciate the dialogue in this thread. I genuinely understand why some of you are discouraged. The reality is that the market has evolved and the industry has changed both for customers and contributors. If you intend to find success shooting stock, you need to be ready, willing and able to adapt as the changes happen. Don't make excuses and do not allow defeat. Be versatile, continue to learn and invest in your personal growth as a creative. Take a look at the content you were creating 10 years ago. If you don't see a noticeable difference in quality and subject matter from then until now, you have been missing out. I guarantee you have opportunities for growth. I know I do. Heck, WE ALL DO! Set a personal goal to learn something new and try something different with your camera every month. Challenge yourself to diversify your portfolio. Who knows? You may just find what you've been missing even if you didn't realize it wasn't there to begin with.

-Mat Hayward

farbled

« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2021, 16:57 »
+9
Like others noted, "breaking even" is hardly an incentive to go lay out expense for a shoot. Here's my issue with wildly popular or in demand areas: Agencies see a trend (or create one) and ask for contributors to fill it. There is a rush to do so depending on the ease of shooting, location, etc. Some make some money, most don't, or make not much. The client wins with a good selection, the agencies win because they have a wide range and profit no matter which image sells. But the individual contributor very often makes little simply because of the competition chasing the same dime. I have lots of respect for those who can and do make enough to keep doing it, like Alex and Steve or Matt here. But I have found, for an independent "hobbist" shooter like I am, or was, it is better to find those few areas that no one cares about either because shooters don't have easy access, or agencies don't care because the volume isn't high enough. What is too low to consider for an agency can be a wonderful return for that one shooter who has little to no competition.

I think we are returning to the "B-roll" days of micro (for the average contributor), where you need another reason to take the picture in the first place, and if you can submit something for stock later, even better. But going out to shoot solely for stock makes little sense (or cents) for me nowadays.

The other thing to point out is, like them or hate them, free sites have very talented shooters as well. I can see that soon that the only differentiator (potentially) for agencies will be to have content that actually costs real money to produce. But since there is smaller and smaller rewards, I believe that content is going to dwindle. There is simply less and less incentive to throw money away.

Just my opinion.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2021, 18:13 »
+2
Wow, reading some of the above (what people are photographing), it seems a lot of countries must be much further out of lockdown than we are here. We've been in a pretty strict lockdown since 26 Dec.

Still, there seems to be a new third wave in several counties of Europe who eased lockdown rules before getting a significant proportion of their population vaccinated, so I'm not complaining.

« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2021, 18:27 »
+6
snip...  Stock is really about capturing real life as it is.
....

I think that this statement is rarely true. It seems agencies always crow about "reality" and being "genuine", but what they mostly want is a sort of curated version of reality that fits whatever dream someone is trying to sell.  Maybe they don't want airbrushed plastic looking models anymore, but they sure do want better than average looking people with clean backgrounds, good weather, etc.  Maybe they want older people or plus sized or different demographics, but they still want the good looking versions of those. There is nothing wrong with this - the purpose of stock is usually to sell something, and you aren't going to sell much with average reality. - you need the iconic, the perfect, the essence of what you are shooting, and that isn't really the reality of most people and most places.

Mat, I definitely appreciate your point of view and your coming on here to communicate with what can be a pretty hostile crowd, and maybe even give me some ideas to shoot, so thanks.

« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2021, 20:34 »
+2
tho retired, i still lead trips to Turkey & India and participate in fb/forums for travel industry folk - they've been revving up for awhile now, mostly w NO mention of the pandemic (no need to remind people why they haven't been traveling!)  i'm planning a lighting hiking tour to Bulgaria/Georgia/Turkey this fall and the 2 comments I've rec'd are either -' i'm ready to travel again', or 'i've ALREADY booked my travel for late 2021'.

so like holiday sales the time for post-pandemic images may already have passed - and the demand will be short-lived.

« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2021, 01:26 »
+3
Wow, reading some of the above (what people are photographing), it seems a lot of countries must be much further out of lockdown than we are here. We've been in a pretty strict lockdown since 26 Dec.

Still, there seems to be a new third wave in several counties of Europe who eased lockdown rules before getting a significant proportion of their population vaccinated, so I'm not complaining.
Covid is miles from being "over" and as long as countries like Brazil are acting as mutation incubators things will be difficult. The UK is doing well at present but a surge in Europe is a big threat.

« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2021, 01:57 »
0
snip...  Stock is really about capturing real life as it is.
....

I think that this statement is rarely true. It seems agencies always crow about "reality" and being "genuine", but what they mostly want is a sort of curated version of reality that fits whatever dream someone is trying to sell.  Maybe they don't want airbrushed plastic looking models anymore, but they sure do want better than average looking people with clean backgrounds, good weather, etc.  Maybe they want older people or plus sized or different demographics, but they still want the good looking versions of those. There is nothing wrong with this - the purpose of stock is usually to sell something, and you aren't going to sell much with average reality. - you need the iconic, the perfect, the essence of what you are shooting, and that isn't really the reality of most people and most places.

Mat, I definitely appreciate your point of view and your coming on here to communicate with what can be a pretty hostile crowd, and maybe even give me some ideas to shoot, so thanks.
Not much travel photography used to sell holidays features the crowds and queues that are ever present at major tourist sites ;-).

JaenStock

  • Bad images can sell.
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2021, 13:44 »
+6
I am very unmotivated with Istock and Shutter. I can't imagine taking photos to sell them at 0.02 or 0.10 ... and on top of that with crazy rejections, different requirements, tedious loading and indexing processes ...

The problem with the covid photos is that the difficulty is greater, the cost is the same as models without a mask and when the pandemic ends, those photos will stop selling at once.

farbled

« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2021, 14:31 »
+2
The problem with the covid photos is that the difficulty is greater, the cost is the same as models without a mask and when the pandemic ends, those photos will stop selling at once.

Good point, one of the major reasons (for me at least) to do micro at all is to have an image generic enough to be useful in multiple venues, for as long as possible, earning the entire way. It was almost the entire selling point of making micro payments for images. Volume. Without the volume, the point of micro is gone, in my opinion.
 

Tenebroso

« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2021, 15:45 »
0
The volume and great competition in a market on the edge for the artist. The market needs to provide new formulas to help customers. The more offer the customer has, the better for the business. We must be the artists, the ones who are able to find our opportunity.

If I were the owner of AS I would help make Matt accessible. I'm not talking about the quality of his work. I am talking about the power of the volume of files and the ability of agencies to decide on their offers and marketing line.

Agencies have the ability to give visibility, agencies determine the level of visibility of each user. They have the power to decide whether to offer you images or hide them. It is normal, it is the business of its owners. It's not my business, it's the agency business.

Let's do our business. Simple decision and very difficult to do. But we will.

The future is heading towards partnering. A single artist is unable to sell images, he can sell by chance or miracle. 20k artists, if they can sell files. And more. Few at first. Over time, the advantages of going to an image bank of 20k artists have their advantages for the client and for the artist.

It is very complex and with many problems to solve. Since the group must fight with the bias of the searches, for example.

However, regardless of the amount of problems that exist in associating, groups of artists will soon begin to offer their products directly to customers.

The agencies will continue their business. There is cake for everyone.

farbled

« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2021, 16:18 »
+4
Well, I am pretty much retired so its a moot point for me. I'll leave the chase to the younger, eager, and more talented bunch.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 17:01 by farbled »

« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2021, 21:20 »
+1
I started in early 2019, grew ports (photos, videos, illustrations) across a number of agencies. 2019 was slow beginnings but things really picked up throughout 2020 (during the thick of the COVID pandemic). However since 2021, sales volumes and earnings have fallen sharply with no sign of recovering to 2020 levels even with increasing content in subjects that are evergreen and have shown to sell as they were just months prior.   

« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2021, 15:59 »
+3
Good photos sell, bad photos don't...I have good photo's from 15 years ago that sell today and bad photos that never sell. I have bad photos that I shot yesterday that most likely will never sell. Most of us know what is good and most likely will sell. I still make good walking around money from stock. I still have fun with stock. When the magic of a good photo happens it always puts a smile on my face. It is really easy to shot bad photos and really hard to shot good one... We all became photographers to show our work to the world. That is what stock dose , you just might publish ever once in a while a good photo to the world. I am a photographer and will always be a photographer, how about you....   

« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2021, 04:55 »
+5
Good photos sell, bad photos don't...I have good photo's from 15 years ago that sell today and bad photos that never sell. I have bad photos that I shot yesterday that most likely will never sell. Most of us know what is good and most likely will sell. I still make good walking around money from stock. I still have fun with stock. When the magic of a good photo happens it always puts a smile on my face. It is really easy to shot bad photos and really hard to shot good one... We all became photographers to show our work to the world. That is what stock dose , you just might publish ever once in a while a good photo to the world. I am a photographer and will always be a photographer, how about you....
In Microstock the definition of a "good photo" is something that sells nothing else.......

« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2021, 14:36 »
+1
i don't know about photography, but for illustrators and motion designers i think that there is some room.
There is a high demand of 2d/3d images and animations...high quality 2d/3d images and animations.
Invest on expensive hardware and software, learn how to use them, develop your own style, follow the trends,
or better, try to anticipate them, and you'll be the king of microstock :)

A message for the newbies: Forget about following tutorials and upload the result...sorry, but it doesn't work.

Tenebroso

« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2021, 15:03 »
0
I have it on the agenda as well as approaching the sale of music. I need to learn and know the different fields. I am with a thousand things at the same time, but you recommend a first approach.

Some professional on YouTube?. Something from where to approach a beginning? Of movement, not illustration. 3D programs that record movement or frame by frame. Can you tell me a start?

Thanks.


« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2021, 15:31 »
+1
i don't know about photography, but for illustrators and motion designers i think that there is some room.
There is a high demand of 2d/3d images and animations...high quality 2d/3d images and animations.
Invest on expensive hardware and software, learn how to use them, develop your own style, follow the trends,
or better, try to anticipate them, and you'll be the king of microstock :)

A message for the newbies: Forget about following tutorials and upload the result...sorry, but it doesn't work.
How many dollars we need to invest in a fast computer for 3d animations?

Tenebroso

« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2021, 15:54 »
0
The team, of course. But very basic things.


I'll have to start with the displaced effects in a word, bulge, turn of each letter, glitter moving. A bubble, drops of water, plane, drone up and down and back on the other side. Eyes widening, and things like that. I guess by recording it to video, it will make movement. I will need imagination and taste.

It's microstock not a Pixar feature film.

« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2021, 17:47 »
+1
Hi all

Im using a Dell mobile workstation with intel i9 and nvidia quadro card,
its about 4000 euros.
You can do almost the same with a less poweful computer, but the
render time will be longer.
The software i use: Adobe CC, Cinema 4D, and Blender.
And a lot of after effects plugins (element 3d, plexus, stardust and others)
But its not all about money. Because you have to learn the software.
Its about time, and mostly about passion and love for what you are doing.
Its not an easy path, im sorry :)

« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2021, 17:55 »
0
@tenebroso
If you want to start with 3d, you could try Blender
Its free, and you can find a lot of tutorials on youtube
Not easy to learn but very powerful.

Tenebroso

« Reply #46 on: March 23, 2021, 18:32 »
0
Thanks. I know that software from listening to it, I have read blog users that it is good software for 3D. To give you an idea, I registered with SS to send GIFs, which I am a professional, and I was surprised that the GIF did not work, therefore, I saw another business opportunity, as well as the PNGs. Right away I saw that agencies work on impulse and that they need some competition to move them from their comfort state.

You could have shut up and continued at your own pace. Your contribution is very sincere and collaborative. You are not the first to hint that you are making money from moving images. Thanks.

I promise you I look at this software. Very thankful.


I need moderators who want to help create a help forum. In addition, in this forum, we will talk in a private group about solving problems around various groups of direct sales of digital files.

I would like to count on you. If you are interested to send me a private. It is to open the forum in two months. I am working on an online sales platform for digital articles of all kinds, books and microstock files, directly client and artist, Marketplace. I want the best by my side. At least in attitude.

Unfortunately, the subject of the videos is complicating our lives. The memory is very cheap, but the amount of space for the videos is very expensive at the time of acquiring space.

I hope I can count on you and share knowledge. Just because of your attitude. We will start in Alpha mode and we will make a lot of noise.

Thanks. A hug.

« Reply #47 on: March 23, 2021, 21:13 »
0
@tenebroso
If you want to start with 3d, you could try Blender
Its free, and you can find a lot of tutorials on youtube
Not easy to learn but very powerful.

3D is very nice. Do you have a port to show? Can you still make nice salable 3D animations with After Effects and Element 3D?

« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2021, 01:49 »
0
@Tenebroso
Thanks for your kind words!

I really appreciate your offer, but i work full time on microstock plus some freelancing (i upload new content almost every day),
so i have little to no spare time for other projects.

But i read this forum, and if there are any questions i can answer i'll gladly do so. :)

@Pacesetter
Sorry, i prefer to not share my portfolio, but if you are searching for inspirations this is a good start point:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UqWqoJ6qJo

And yes, i often use element 3d, especially for conceptual animations where i don't need realism

« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2021, 02:40 »
0
@Tenebroso
Thanks for your kind words!

I really appreciate your offer, but i work full time on microstock plus some freelancing (i upload new content almost every day),
so i have little to no spare time for other projects.

But i read this forum, and if there are any questions i can answer i'll gladly do so. :)

@Pacesetter
Sorry, i prefer to not share my portfolio, but if you are searching for inspirations this is a good start point:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UqWqoJ6qJo

And yes, i often use element 3d, especially for conceptual animations where i don't need realism

Thanks for that. I followed some tutorials online learning After Effects and made a couple of cool animations but nothing like what some of the more powerful 3D programs can accomplish. I will consider adding Element 3D and likewise learn with YT tuts.


 

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