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Author Topic: Are you getting good return on your photo equipment investments  (Read 5426 times)

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« on: August 19, 2008, 11:31 »
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Are you getting good return on your investments
My cost of producing quality images

Camera body Canon 30D  DSLR $700.00
Wide angle lens Tampon 17-50mm 2.8 $435.00
Canon 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM   $425.00
Canon Speedlite 580ex  $400.00
Smith Victor 1500 watt Tungsten studio lights $200.00
Photoshop Elements 5.0 $85.00

Over the four years I have been doing this I broke even If I added computers and computer upgrades it would be an extra $1000.00.

To maintain my addiction and competitiveness  to this wonderful business  I would need to upgrade to

New computer
Upgrade backup server with larger hardrives
New monitor
Lightroom or CS3  $1500.00


« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 11:51 »
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Jack,

I guess there are oodles of photographers who approach business like this but it just doesn't pay the bills. ROI has to include a lot more than what is spent on gear AND in the end there needs to be profit so you can buy the kids shoes and feed yourself.

« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 12:14 »
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It's a great hobby and a tough business to get into. Hay I made enough
this month to eat out and have a beer ;D

« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 12:55 »
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Most microstockers seem to have a pretty low opinion of their own value. Our main investment is our precious time and not a few bucks paid for equipment.

Some shootings might be fun but please don't tell me you enjoy things like processing, uploading or keywording.

It is no rocket science to occasionally track the time invested and get a ballpark figure for your hourly earnings. Some might be shocked by the results...

« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 13:17 »
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Gizeh
If you want to add time to the investment it's a greater loss

YES  ::)I really do enjoy processing except Fotolia I use Prostock master
it cuts allot of time out.  I  value of my time i allot higher then some of
the stock agencies do.


« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2008, 13:25 »
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I reckon two years in I'm about even when all's said and done. That's equipment, not including computer related stuff, which I had and use already.

As for time. Impossible to add that up or price it really. To do so would only take more time.

« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2008, 14:42 »
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Interesting reading throughout this thread.

Microstock is a really tough business if looked at from a purely investment/return basis.  You could put $1000 into a tax free cd and get around 3% annually ($30).......or put $1000 into a dslr and sell $30 worth of images in a year.

If you have the camera, you have a chance to have "fun" with it every day.  That is a return that has no cash value, but certainly has an entertainment value that is worth something.  The only "fun" you'll have with the cd is cashing in when it matures.

After a couple of years of microstock, I can honestly say that if I had taken all the monies earned, I would have been able to pay for my camera, a couple of lenses and the software to process them.  My earnings per "hour" of work would be very low, however.

But can you really put a price/value estimation on the great feeling one gets when they see their photos displayed on a magazine cover, or a book cover, or a record cover?


« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2008, 15:25 »
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Jeffclow
You are correct on all points of view, but what I am looking for is a steady flow of income from stock photos and that can't be done unless
you have thousands of files. I am not giving up will see what happens
in 20 more years as long as my finger can still hit that button ;D

« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2008, 15:43 »
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Jack,

I am personally about 10 years from the preferred age I'd like to retire, and I too would like a steady stream of income in 2018 from the microstock portfolio that I'm building today. 

I'm not sure what the "correct" math is to make that happen, but I agree that one needs a much bigger portfolio to get a steady stream of decent income.

On another thread on this site, there is a discussion about earnings per photo per month - and that most microstock portfolios earn between 50 cents and a dollar per image per month (assuming you are on several of the sites).  So, if one would want to average $3000 per month, the math would say you would have to have somewhere between 3000 images and 6000 images approved and online to make that happen with current payouts. 

Is that realistic to shoot for?  I think so.  I've got a personal target to add 150 images to my portfolio this year and if I did that every year for ten years, I'd have almost three thousand images up and running by my targeted date.

However, if I happen to take a really stellar shot, I might earn several hundred or several thousand on that one image - which would change the math somewhat. 

I read in Popular Photography where a world famous wildlife shooter made over $3,000,000 (yes, that's 3 million) off of one image he took of a Grizzly catching a salmon in mid-air.  Now, most of us will never approach his talent level....but we can certainly set our sights higher than a few bucks per image.

Thanks for stimulating my thought process with this thread.  It sure makes one realize that we're currently working for less than minimum wage - but there is a chance that that will change as the years pass and we all get better at our craft.


« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2008, 16:22 »
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On another thread on this site, there is a discussion about earnings per photo per month - and that most microstock portfolios earn between 50 cents and a dollar per image per month (assuming you are on several of the sites).  So, if one would want to average $3000 per month, the math would say you would have to have somewhere between 3000 images and 6000 images approved and online to make that happen with current payouts. 

Is that realistic to shoot for?  I think so.  I've got a personal target to add 150 images to my portfolio this year and if I did that every year for ten years, I'd have almost three thousand images up and running by my targeted date.

However, if I happen to take a really stellar shot, I might earn several hundred or several thousand on that one image - which would change the math somewhat. 


a few points.

That stellar shot that will earn you thousands.. and hopefully you get a few - will make up for all the images that sell 0 times.

isn't 10 years of 150 images 1500 images?

but yes it is more than possible to earn a decent income from stock.  There are many people on this board doing just that.  The [wiki]RPI [/wiki]is also very dependant on your images.  if you shoot lots of travel and stuff you have around the house then the $.50 - $1.00 is accurate.  If you are a pro who shoots high quality stock and nothing else then you can expect $1.00-$10.00 as an [wiki]RPI[/wiki]

« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2008, 16:28 »
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leaf....

My bad about the 150 images per year.  Yes, 10 times that number would only be 1,500 images added to my current base of about 300 photos at most of the sites currently.

  I meant to add a line in my post whereas I hope I can get that number up to around twice that as I get older and I have less "real" work days and more "fun" work days with a camera in my hand.  But I had it only in my head and didn't add it to the post, and thus the math doesn't add up.

In terms of a stellar and strong selling shot - I've only had a couple so far, but both have earned in excess of $500 each off of sales that were generated because someone found the photo via Flickr .... not via microstock.




michealo

« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2008, 16:38 »
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If I recall correctly I think Hidesy is adding an average of 45 images a week ...

« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2008, 16:40 »
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Now, most of us will never approach his talent level....

... or luck.

« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2008, 22:12 »
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The [wiki]RPI [/wiki]is also very dependant on your images.  if you shoot lots of travel and stuff you have around the house then the $.50 - $1.00 is accurate.  If you are a pro who shoots high quality stock and nothing else then you can expect $1.00-$10.00 as an [wiki]RPI[/wiki]
I don't mean to sidetrack the discussion but nice wiki superscript linking. I haven't seen it done like that and I like it. Nice job leaf.

« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2008, 00:49 »
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for every dollar that I have spent on photo gear since 2004 + the computer gear in last 12 months I have earnt almost $5 in the past 15 months. 

I am still trying to confince my wife that if I go spend an extra $10000 on gear that will mean $50000 will come back in within 4 months, but she is sceptical :D


 

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