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Author Topic: At what point is this no longer worth it to you?  (Read 11053 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

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« on: August 11, 2012, 17:04 »
0
I've seen some threads where people post they're on track monthly earnings of $1 or a few dollars.

Camera, lenses, tripod, bag, lighting, software, computer and all the other stuff costs at least hundreds or more likely thousands of dollars. Plus all of the time it takes to edit, keyword, submit, resubmit, learn, etc.

Whether you're just starting out, or have been doing this for a while and earnings are dropping, at what point is this no longer worth it to you?
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 18:19 by PaulieWalnuts »


« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 17:15 »
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That point would be different for everyone because everyone values their time and energy differently.

« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2012, 17:35 »
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thats so subjective

1 - you can do very well with a D80 (yes a D80) and a 50mm lens, I know a few doing so and thats so cheap
2 - you dont need a gitzo 600$ tripod or the coolest bag ever if you carry only one or two lens
3 - software myself I use GIMP
4 - computer ??? who doesnt have a computer or internet connection these days?

you can work on pictures with 2k $ expenses or even less and that is for sure paid on a few weeks/months

(i am not talking about top contributors but those can get there too...)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 17:37 by luissantos84 »

WarrenPrice

« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2012, 18:00 »
+2
I was hooked on photography long before hearing of "microstock."   I buy equipment (camera, lenses, software) because I want it; not because there will be an ROI.  Much of my port is scanned from ancient slides and negatives.  Maybe the Alien Bees were inspired by selling pictures? 
Traveling is because WE (wife and I) love traveling; not to build a portfolio.  The pictures are residual.  I'll continue traveling and taking pictures even if MS goes belly up. 

I'm probably the poster child for MS Agencies.  The "Real Photographer's" nightmare.   :P

But, it is nice to sell a few images to justify the purchase of all the exciting new stuff.   ;D

PS:  @Luis: I really would like to replace my D80 with a D7000. 

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2012, 18:18 »
0
That point would be different for everyone because everyone values their time and energy differently.

Right, that's what I'm asking. Maybe I should have said - At what point is this no longer worth it to you?

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2012, 18:24 »
0
thats so subjective

1 - you can do very well with a D80 (yes a D80) and a 50mm lens, I know a few doing so and thats so cheap
2 - you dont need a gitzo 600$ tripod or the coolest bag ever if you carry only one or two lens
3 - software myself I use GIMP
4 - computer ??? who doesnt have a computer or internet connection these days?

you can work on pictures with 2k $ expenses or even less and that is for sure paid on a few weeks/months

(i am not talking about top contributors but those can get there too...)

For some people it could be paid quickly. Others not so quickly. But that's the question. If you drop $500 on a used D80, 50mm, and some other stuff, what is the point where it is, or isn't, worth your time?

« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2012, 18:43 »
0
For some people it could be paid quickly. Others not so quickly. But that's the question. If you drop $500 on a used D80, 50mm, and some other stuff, what is the point where it is, or isn't, worth your time?

why not? in the end we all like to take pictures (other like surfing, beach, facebook, reading, nothing etc)

sure there is the editing (which most of the time you can do that very quickly), there is also the keywording which is very time consuming (and boring too) but you when you are starting off you arent even considering it as a full time job so you basically go with the flow, you dont need to rush, if you see some income why not continuing even if at a slow pace, its very relative depending on each person ambitions but after a few time you have a "stock portfolio" and if you see some consistency you will have sales every month so why wasnt it worth? if not its because you werent having much sales or spending too much with not much return...

answering your question, i believe it is worth when you see higher return, continuous increase in sales/downloads, if not you can always try news things (inside or outside stock) while you are still collecting $$ from the pics you have shoot for stock, if you have invested a lot of money in producing those you need to balance it better yep..
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 18:55 by luissantos84 »

« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2012, 19:11 »
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There's probably about 3 groups:

The pros who make a good living out of this  - maybe 100 - 200 people

The high performing part timer making more than equivalent of minimum wage (about $1500 per month in these parts) - probably < 1000 people

The rest - for whom it's a hobby that generates a bit of extra money but would be doing pictures anyway (probably better pictures).

The "is it worth it" question is really for the first 2 groups as the rest of us are not really taking our time or production costs into account.

rubyroo

« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2012, 19:18 »
0
When the pain becomes greater than the pleasure.

OM

« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 19:26 »
0
thats so subjective

1 - you can do very well with a D80 (yes a D80) and a 50mm lens, I know a few doing so and thats so cheap
2 - you dont need a gitzo 600$ tripod or the coolest bag ever if you carry only one or two lens
3 - software myself I use GIMP
4 - computer ??? who doesnt have a computer or internet connection these days?

you can work on pictures with 2k $ expenses or even less and that is for sure paid on a few weeks/months

(i am not talking about top contributors but those can get there too...)

Just a minute..........I like my D80 and 50mm. In fact I prefer it to my D90 which cost two-thirds what the D80 cost new!  ;D
Anyway leaving the gear overhead aside and discounting the software cost (even buying the latest CS6 for $600, there's no need to update for 5 or more years so that's $2/week), you can't be a stock photographer without an internet connection and that's around $400/year. How much do you think you deserve to pay yourself an hour? You have a skill which not everyone has, you are self-employed, you may have bought your gear for buttons but it will need replacing in future, you have to eat/feed a family, pay health insurance etc, heat your home and keep a roof over your head.

Can you do all these things on say $10/hour or do you need $15/hour (40hours/week = $1,600 or$2,400/month). So, if you spend 40 hours/week on stock (arranging, shooting (no model or props costs), pp and keywording + uploading) will you make your $1,600-$2,400 back with sales within, lets say, 3 to 5 years? If not, you're subsidising your stock photography with some other form of 'enterprise'/work!

Our stock distributors (I used to think they were agents but they're nothing of the sort........they're out for No. 1, themselves and to hell with us) profit from the fact that there are more than sufficient 'stock photographers' prepared to work for pennies an hour (for some just being able to say, "My work has been bought and published" is sufficient) that there is little room for the full-time pro photographer to earn a living from stock alone. Your work may be superior and you may have learned that the best 'will rise to the top' and be rewarded accordingly but the mountain of crap is now so all engulfing that this old adage is probably no longer valid.

I'm only in it with the intention of supplementing my sub-par old age pension in a couple of years time. Presently, it's a little pocket money but I'm dependent on real, decent-paying studio work to keep me ticking over until the State kicks in with its free money for life!

Edit: Oh yeah, 'Consistency'....future predictability....something that every business person tries to achieve! But it's completely out of your hands when your distributors mess with the search for purposes unknown to you.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 19:42 by OM »

Lagereek

« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 00:19 »
0
I have been a freelance, commercial photographer for 25, years, I buy equipment with this in mind but also use it for stock.

Microbius

« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 02:40 »
0
There's probably about 3 groups:

The pros who make a good living out of this  - maybe 100 - 200 people

The high performing part timer making more than equivalent of minimum wage (about $1500 per month in these parts) - probably < 1000 people

The rest - for whom it's a hobby that generates a bit of extra money but would be doing pictures anyway (probably better pictures).

The "is it worth it" question is really for the first 2 groups as the rest of us are not really taking our time or production costs into account.
I would think there are more than 100-200 people making a good living out of this, I think I am well outside the top 200 and still make what I consider a decent living.

This would stop being worth it for me when it falls below a level necessary to give my family a good standard of living, at which point it is time for a new career.

Lagereek

« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2012, 04:28 »
0
There's probably about 3 groups:

The pros who make a good living out of this  - maybe 100 - 200 people

The high performing part timer making more than equivalent of minimum wage (about $1500 per month in these parts) - probably < 1000 people

The rest - for whom it's a hobby that generates a bit of extra money but would be doing pictures anyway (probably better pictures).

The "is it worth it" question is really for the first 2 groups as the rest of us are not really taking our time or production costs into account.
I would think there are more than 100-200 people making a good living out of this, I think I am well outside the top 200 and still make what I consider a decent living.

This would stop being worth it for me when it falls below a level necessary to give my family a good standard of living, at which point it is time for a new career.

Hi!

Oh I think its a lot more then that making a good living out of Micro. There is over 2000, photographers making a heck of a good living out of RM alone. Then again its lots more revenue over there.
I cant remember where, but I did see and read that something like 800 photograpohers easily live well out of their micro earnings. Ofcourse it depends where you live. Here in Scandinavia, you need to earn 10 times more then lets say in Africa but on the whole there are lots of people doing quite well.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 04:30 by Lagereek »

« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2012, 05:01 »
0
That point would be different for everyone because everyone values their time and energy differently.

Right, that's what I'm asking. Maybe I should have said - At what point is this no longer worth it to you?


I'm already at that point when it comes to stock, Paulie. I have no ambition to invest another penny in gear, lenses, etc., to support my stock shooting. I can't say that I feel good about any agency I contribute to these days, and I don't feel like any of these agencies will be worth working for much longer.

Any new gear I purchase would be for event photography which I do on the side, or for my own personal shooting. I've been wanting a wide angle lens in the 12-18mm range for about a year now for specialty shots. Otherwise I am very happy with my setup, and I could care less about producing new material for stock agencies.

CD123

« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 05:06 »
0
About when the increase in my revenue's percentage falls below 50% of my images growth.

« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2012, 06:23 »
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If I keep uploading my normal amount of pictures every month but see consistently falling numbers vs. the previous year, I will probably give it up.  (August has started out this way, but it has just turned a corner and my daily average is now just slightly above year ago.)  I don't think I could justify the time it takes from being with my family if I'm running my self ragged just to make less money than I earned a year ago.   I have already started on my Plan B.

Lagereek

« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2012, 06:47 »
0
That point would be different for everyone because everyone values their time and energy differently.

Right, that's what I'm asking. Maybe I should have said - At what point is this no longer worth it to you?


I'm already at that point when it comes to stock, Paulie. I have no ambition to invest another penny in gear, lenses, etc., to support my stock shooting. I can't say that I feel good about any agency I contribute to these days, and I don't feel like any of these agencies will be worth working for much longer.

Any new gear I purchase would be for event photography which I do on the side, or for my own personal shooting. I've been wanting a wide angle lens in the 12-18mm range for about a year now for specialty shots. Otherwise I am very happy with my setup, and I could care less about producing new material for stock agencies.

Know exactly what you mean, one runs out of patience with all the ups/downs, paranoid search changes, bugs and glitches. Honestly, all it takes is one more of the big four to start messing and its goodbye.
Sometimes I almost get the impression they only want weekend snappers, they are easily fooled and dont make noise and only too happy to see their little pic as a screeen shot.
trouble is the governors of the major agencies have long ago already made their monies and by now they are probably pretty burnt out and just want to go really, so they dont care one bit. couldnt really give a hoot.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 06:52 by Lagereek »


« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2012, 07:14 »
0
Know exactly what you mean, one runs out of patience with all the ups/downs, paranoid search changes, bugs and glitches. Honestly, all it takes is one more of the big four to start messing and its goodbye.
Sometimes I almost get the impression they only want weekend snappers, they are easily fooled and dont make noise and only too happy to see their little pic as a screeen shot.
trouble is the governors of the major agencies have long ago already made their monies and by now they are probably pretty burnt out and just want to go really, so they dont care one bit. couldnt really give a hoot.

I don't think they care, either. They have enough photos and good photographers now that if some leave, they are ok with that.

« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2012, 07:51 »
0


I don't think they care, either. They have enough photos and good photographers now that if some leave, they are ok with that.
[/quote]

^^This is the core, accurate logic^^.  In the early days when MS just getting over the "junk on your computer" hump and getting good participation from excellent photographers, those photographers were important.  Today,  the agencies have a pool of nearly unlimited excellent photogs & illustrators that it will make a zero dent in their revenue if one were to leave. One replaces another in style, content, quality.  Any buyers don't know what they are missing when they never see the port of those departing contributors (fictitious, I  know). So a departing contributor, as a whole, does not affect the CUSTOMER and the agencies know this.  That's why they could care less if you leave.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2012, 08:08 »
0


I don't think they care, either. They have enough photos and good photographers now that if some leave, they are ok with that.

^^This is the core, accurate logic^^.  In the early days when MS just getting over the "junk on your computer" hump and getting good participation from excellent photographers, those photographers were important.  Today,  the agencies have a pool of nearly unlimited excellent photogs & illustrators that it will make a zero dent in their revenue if one were to leave. One replaces another in style, content, quality.  Any buyers don't know what they are missing when they never see the port of those departing contributors (fictitious, I  know). So a departing contributor, as a whole, does not affect the CUSTOMER and the agencies know this.  That's why they could care less if you leave.
[/quote]

One person leaving probably doesn't matter unless it's one of the top contributors. But there seems to be a lot of people reporting earnings or downloads dropping to pre-2009 levels. What if a massive number of contributors slowly stop contributing because it's just no longer worth it?

« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2012, 08:22 »
0


I don't think they care, either. They have enough photos and good photographers now that if some leave, they are ok with that.

^^This is the core, accurate logic^^.  In the early days when MS just getting over the "junk on your computer" hump and getting good participation from excellent photographers, those photographers were important.  Today,  the agencies have a pool of nearly unlimited excellent photogs & illustrators that it will make a zero dent in their revenue if one were to leave. One replaces another in style, content, quality.  Any buyers don't know what they are missing when they never see the port of those departing contributors (fictitious, I  know). So a departing contributor, as a whole, does not affect the CUSTOMER and the agencies know this.  That's why they could care less if you leave.

As you know this has been discussed here a lot and the overall tone is that a mass exodus would not happen. Not enough contributors willing to put their thingies in a vice for sake of sending a message.  Too many make a living on MS and their careers bank on the income, no matter how small.  BUT, if it did happen, I think it would send a message, but not a big enough one to make them change their ways.  We'd end up like Joan with Fotolia who told her that they do not wish to re-engage in a working relationship.  So contributors need to be very, very, very careful what they wish for.

One person leaving probably doesn't matter unless it's one of the top contributors. But there seems to be a lot of people reporting earnings or downloads dropping to pre-2009 levels. What if a massive number of contributors slowly stop contributing because it's just no longer worth it?
[/quote]

digitalexpressionimages

« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2012, 08:46 »
0
Know exactly what you mean, one runs out of patience with all the ups/downs, paranoid search changes, bugs and glitches. Honestly, all it takes is one more of the big four to start messing and its goodbye.
Sometimes I almost get the impression they only want weekend snappers, they are easily fooled and dont make noise and only too happy to see their little pic as a screeen shot.
trouble is the governors of the major agencies have long ago already made their monies and by now they are probably pretty burnt out and just want to go really, so they dont care one bit. couldnt really give a hoot.

I don't think they care, either. They have enough photos and good photographers now that if some leave, they are ok with that.

When Tyler's DTrank.com was still in operation there were some important statistics displayed in the top left corner of the pages. Those stats said that 50% of sales came from a mere 800 contributors. That's out of 130,000+. If just those people decided it wasn't worth it anymore DT's sales would drop by 50%. I think they'd notice something like that. The other important stat was that 90% of sales came from something like 4800 contributors. Meaning 125,000 contributors account for only 10% of sales. Those would be your weekend shooters. I'm fairly certain those numbers apply to every agency.

I can see a stockpocalypse coming. I can see the govs of those agencies caring a bit when it happens.

« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2012, 09:03 »
+1
 
Why do people always discuss pulling their images? If everyone simply stopped contributing to an agency like 123RF because they were dissatisfied with the new royalty rate scheme three things would happen within six months if everyone participated:

1. You would continue receiving revenue from 123RF.
2. 123RF would revert back to its' old formula because its' library is stagnant.
3. ALL other agencies would think twice before lowering their rates in the future.

The problem with the Microstock system currently is that the agencies are empowered and they know it. We are only empowered if we all stand in unison. Period. Everybody leave your portfolio intact but stop contributing to 123RF as of January, 2013 and the Microstock business will improve for the contributor.

« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2012, 09:05 »
0
Know exactly what you mean, one runs out of patience with all the ups/downs, paranoid search changes, bugs and glitches. Honestly, all it takes is one more of the big four to start messing and its goodbye.
Sometimes I almost get the impression they only want weekend snappers, they are easily fooled and dont make noise and only too happy to see their little pic as a screeen shot.
trouble is the governors of the major agencies have long ago already made their monies and by now they are probably pretty burnt out and just want to go really, so they dont care one bit. couldnt really give a hoot.

I don't think they care, either. They have enough photos and good photographers now that if some leave, they are ok with that.

When Tyler's DTrank.com was still in operation there were some important statistics displayed in the top left corner of the pages. Those stats said that 50% of sales came from a mere 800 contributors. That's out of 130,000+. If just those people decided it wasn't worth it anymore DT's sales would drop by 50%. I think they'd notice something like that. The other important stat was that 90% of sales came from something like 4800 contributors. Meaning 125,000 contributors account for only 10% of sales. Those would be your weekend shooters. I'm fairly certain those numbers apply to every agency.

I can see a stockpocalypse coming. I can see the govs of those agencies caring a bit when it happens.

Interesting...

I was extrapolating based on the impact of very low sales numbers on FTs 7 day rank and very much in line with this.  Id expect that, even among the 800, there is a pretty huge variation with the top 10 15 % garnering 85-90% of that 50%.

I dont doubt that sites would lose revenue if the cream of the crop stopped submitting but nothing like 50% as most subject matter would still be well covered so it would just mean that further sales would be shared among the great unwashed.

Lagereek

« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2012, 09:07 »
0
Ofcourse they dont care!  Although without sounding pompus, I doubt very much they could find some of my imagery, I happen to know the other four photographers, on the entire globe, that get carte-blanche, to some of my places and none of them wants to even get close to micro, ( I must be the idiot here).

In general though its true, they couldnt care.


 

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