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Author Topic: A Critical Mass  (Read 7261 times)

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« on: March 19, 2008, 13:16 »
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I know that there are a few photographers (sorry to the vector graphics people, but that is a different paradigm) that seem to have healthy downloads with only a few hundred shots in their portfolios. But I believe this to be the exception rather than the rule.

So, the question is: What level of files on-line constitutes a 'critical mass' where one can expect to have a fairly decent and reliable cashflow from microstock?

I watched an Alamy conference stream a whileback and they seemed to indicate that the top earners there had around 10,000 files up on line!


« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 15:32 »
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I think the shots have way more to do than the numbers.  Either one of my top earners (they earn across all sites too) each have made more than all other shots in my port combined minus the other one.  Granted I'm sure it is hard to predict these shots (1 was easy to see, the other was not, and I've missed on 2 others that didn't take off like I expected), but honing your ability to predict these and trying to concentrate all effort on taking them and ignoring the simple overall #'s of shots will not only make you a better and more creative photographer, but also will earn more in the end, as it takes time to take, process, and upload shots that maybe will see a few DL's at most in their lifetime, time that could be better spent trying to get that one great shot that will out earn dozens of lesser ones.

With this in mind that critical mass will be drastically different for each photographer, and each too will define the boundary about what constitutes reliable cash flow differently.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 15:34 by Waldo4 »

« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008, 16:12 »
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It hurts my brain to read this post

The MIZ

« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 16:25 »
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Yep, hurt my brain too.

michealo

« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 16:28 »
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I think after 100 you will seem some level of predictability, after 1000 more so, and so on ...

« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008, 16:37 »
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It hurts my brain to read this post

The MIZ


Sorry about that Miz! Let me know where to send the bottle of Advil  ;D

« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 17:07 »
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Pardon me, I did not mean your post. I meant the one just above me by Waldo4

I have my own Advil, and have taken care of the issue.
The MIZ

« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 21:35 »
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but then they have tightened up on similars. there was discussion about 2 years ago because someone uploaded 40-50 pics of a couple walking along a beach... no big deal :) except that it was taken at about 5fps! in about 8-10 secs of shooting there wasn't a great deal of difference between shots.

I also once come across someone who was very very proud that over 90% of his shots are stock and accepted on alamy straight from the camera. at the time (18months-2yrs ago??) he was increasing 200-300 images a week part time.

hitting 10000 images like this would be pretty easy :)

as for micros.  the number 1 selling image for istock for the last 3 months has probably made more in this time frame then I have with 2000+ images on a heap of sites... I could cut my portfolio in half and not really make a difference (yeah, I'm a slow learner :) )

Its always a quality vs quantity 300 great 'stocky' images will earn more than 3000 great 'not stock' images and more than 30000 poor images etc etc
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 21:42 by clearviewstock »

« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2008, 00:23 »
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as for micros.  the number 1 selling image for istock for the last 3 months has probably made more in this time frame then I have with 2000+ images on a heap of sites... I could cut my portfolio in half and not really make a difference (yeah, I'm a slow learner :) )

Its always a quality vs quantity 300 great 'stocky' images will earn more than 3000 great 'not stock' images and more than 30000 poor images etc etc



True that 300 great images will sell better than 3000 crappy (can i say that?) ones.
BUT, the 300 GREAT images must be found by the search engine...
My assumption here was that ALL or MOST of the images in a given portfolio are of good to excellent quality. Given that as a factor then where is the 'sweet spot' for making a living at this.

For example fashion/beauty and IS exclusive photographer; 'Iconogenic'.
She has 3,550 files all of equally high technical quality and had over 112,000 downloads.

If my math is not totally off, this is an average of 31.55 downloads per image. I believe that to be a respectable figure.
But of course the reality is that MOST of the downloads are spread over maybe a couple of hundred of her most popular images.
I believe that if she ONLY had those most popular shots, but not the few thousand others that she would not have as many hits in the search engine and therefore have much fewer sales overall.

That is pure conjecture on my part though. YMMV.


« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 01:59 »
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It is a matter of the usual business 80/20 ratio, where 20% of a business's activity generates 80% of the income or profit.

It's the same in microstock - 20% of the agencies make 80% of the revenue (which is why most of the new agencies will fail because they are all chasing the 20% tail).

Most photographers make 80% of their income from 20% of their images.  But it is almost impossible to tell in advance which images will 'set the world alight' so one has to submit 100 to 'find' the 20.

There ain't no easy route to riches for most people.

« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2008, 02:25 »
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It is a matter of the usual business 80/20 ratio, where 20% of a business's activity generates 80% of the income or profit.

It's the same in microstock - 20% of the agencies make 80% of the revenue (which is why most of the new agencies will fail because they are all chasing the 20% tail).

Most photographers make 80% of their income from 20% of their images.  But it is almost impossible to tell in advance which images will 'set the world alight' so one has to submit 100 to 'find' the 20.

There ain't no easy route to riches for most people.

definetly, and unfortunately the 20% of images making the money at any site is often different at each site. 

« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2008, 11:59 »
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I found a website that a photographer lists his microstock earnings each month.  This gives a general idea of earnings consistency month to month and comparisons of the different sites.  He doesn't have a very big portfolio so not sure how good of a comparison it is.  The one thing it does confirm is that the more he uploaded, them more money he made.

For me, at first I was trying to just upload lots of photos, but now I am trying to focus more on quality than quantity.  Guess I will see if it makes a difference.

« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2008, 12:24 »
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Lately, I have the feeling, the more files I've got, the less I sell :( Dont know why. I hope it is related to easter, and holidays, but I am not happy with my sales at all in last 7 days, especialy today.

« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2008, 12:51 »
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"Lately, I have the feeling, the more files I've got, the less I sell "

I shared that same felling a little over one year ago. A re-evaluation of my portfolio revealed
I was uploading images that were destined NOT to SELL by the their very nature of the
images I had been uploading.

A quick turn around in my way of thinking, and uploading the proper images eventually put me
on the right track and I am once again successful at this game and every image now produces
it's own little gold mine.

The MIZ

« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2008, 15:02 »
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tnx miz. I need more human model photos.

« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2008, 16:18 »
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tnx miz. I need more human model photos.

I am begging to think about model photos. with them one can earn much more.


« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2008, 20:47 »
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I am begging to think about model photos. with them one can earn much more.




Don't be so sure.  :-\
Most of my photos are of models and they sell quite slowly.
I have much better luck with them on SS than on IS though.
Just something to keep in mind.


« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2008, 22:04 »
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Lately, I have the feeling, the more files I've got, the less I sell :( Dont know why. I hope it is related to easter, and holidays, but I am not happy with my sales at all in last 7 days, especialy today.

Watch your rank in fotolia, if you sell a litle but your rank is up, that's mean sales slow in general not only you.
I just sold 2 photos yesterday and my 7 days rank up from 670 to 564. To reach 560 rank usually I sold 5-8 photos a day.

DanP68

« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2008, 22:34 »
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Lately, I have the feeling, the more files I've got, the less I sell :( Dont know why. I hope it is related to easter, and holidays, but I am not happy with my sales at all in last 7 days, especialy today.

Watch your rank in fotolia, if you sell a litle but your rank is up, that's mean sales slow in general not only you.
I just sold 2 photos yesterday and my 7 days rank up from 670 to 564. To reach 560 rank usually I sold 5-8 photos a day.


Yes, you can do that.  I track the online sales of a few large contributors over at iS and DT, and then compare my growth against theirs.  If things are slow, it will show up in their numbers, and give me some perspective.  That way I never have to ask, "Has it been slow at XX lately?"  It is also interesting for tracking the market share between the two entities.

I don't think any other large sites publish contributor DL numbers (except for individual image sales).  If I missed something, please let me know.

« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2008, 01:36 »
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The magic number is:

1234

Once you hit this you're downloads will go through the roof!

« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2008, 02:13 »
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You are right about rank, I am 7 days 50. (few days ago I was 44), so I guess everybody else is doing slow.


 

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