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Microstock Photography Forum - General => General Stock Discussion => Topic started by: jarih on May 14, 2012, 11:08

Title: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: jarih on May 14, 2012, 11:08
Hi people! Have you ever counted costs per image, just like RPI? Maybe there is something like:

- studio cost
- model cost
- keywording cost
- etc.

Especially I am thinking about these model costs.. how you count them.. CPI (cost per image) and so. For example you shoot during one day, lets say 1000 shot and you can use 100 of them. You pay something for model/models. That kind of counting I mean. Or any case, do you count anything like this "CPI"?

BTW, my English is that it is :)
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: velocicarpo on May 14, 2012, 13:53
Nice post. Interesting thing, that is.
I never tracked the real cost of a shooting, so I cannot say anything about CPI neither. Furthermore I would be unsure how to count my time, the Studio (which is in my own house) etc.
However. One shooting takes for me about 3 hours. I usually spend no more than 50$ on that (Model, props, etc.). Furthermore I would have to include equipment, space, worktime etc. Of one shooting I get around 200 uploadable shots with not too much similars.

Interested to ehar from others....
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: grafix04 on May 14, 2012, 16:36
Hi people! Have you ever counted costs per image, just like RPI? Maybe there is something like:

- studio cost
- model cost
- keywording cost
- etc.

Especially I am thinking about these model costs.. how you count them.. CPI (cost per image) and so. For example you shoot during one day, lets say 1000 shot and you can use 100 of them. You pay something for model/models. That kind of counting I mean. Or any case, do you count anything like this "CPI"?

BTW, my English is that it is :)


I'm afraid you are going about it the wrong way.  The first thing you'd have to do is to calculate your hourly rate.  This is where you'll do most of your calculations but once it's done, you can apply it to every shoot.
 
To calculate it you would need to break down your costs as follows:

Cost of Equipment
-   Cameras and lenses
-   Tripods
-   Flashes
-   Camera bags
-   CF Cards
-   Computers
-   Storage Devices
-   Harddrives
-   Desk & Chair
-   Tablets
-   Software
-   Etc.

As an example, let's say these come to $18,000.  You then divide this by the average life of the equipment.  Say about 3 years so end up with $6,000 a year for your equipment.  You can do this individually if you wish but for simplicity, I've used 3 years for all equipment.

Now work out how much money you need to survive or live comfortably on.  Eg.
-   Rent/mortgage
-   Petrol
-   Gas & electricity
-   Food
-   Savings
-   Etc.

Say this comes to $3,000 per month and therefore $36,000 per year.

Now factor the other business expenses you have:
-   Internet
-   Phone
-   Website
-   Insurance
-   Marketing
-   Etc.

Let's say this adds up to $10,000 per year.

So now we have $6,000 + $36,000 + $10,000 = $52,000 per year.

Now let's say you work 32 hours per week, bringing you to 1,920 hours per year which gives you an hourly rate of $27 per hour ($52,000/1,920 hours) which you can apply to all your shoots.

Now you can work out your cost per image by using the batch costing method.  To do this youíll need to calculate your job specific costs, calculate the number of hours, apply your hourly rate and you have your cost per image. 

Example:
Shoot specific costs:
-   Models
-   Studio Hire
-   Petrol
-   Lunch
-   Etc.

Let's say this comes to $2,500

Hours:
-   Shoot
-   Processing
-   Uploading/keywording

Say this comes to a total of 10 hours. 

10 x your hourly rate of $27 = $270 labour costs

So your total costs for the shoot is $2,770 ($270 +$2,500)

Divide that by the number of usable images you have (ie. 100) and your CPI is $27.70.

I would ignore the unusable images you took because as you know it doesnít cost you anything more to take 100 or 1000 images with digital photography.  You'll be factoring in your time so you've already accounted for the unusable images.  If you were processing film, it might be a different scenario.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: cascoly on May 14, 2012, 18:04
but your assumptions dont necessarily hold - in one place you assume 1920 hours per year and use that in your calculations, but if you're wrong, that number cane way off - much farther off than the 3 digit precision you're assigning to it.

and you assume that rent, food, etc are all costs of your photography business, but they arent necessarily - eg, stock may be only part of your photography business, or photography may not be your full time job

and finally what does the final figure tell you?  not much -- are all your $27.70 images going to earn more than your $26.45 images?  what does it matter? in the end the only real number is total sales

one person may have a cost per image of $10 and sell 100 images; another with a cost per image of $100 sells 10 images - which one is doing better?
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: wut on May 14, 2012, 18:22
Of one shooting I get around 200 uploadable shots with not too much similars.

How do you ppl manage that? It looks mental to me to upload 200 shots from a 3 hr shoot. I don't think I ever uploaded more than 40 from a 3 hr shoot. What do you shoot? ppl isolated on white, 3-4 different stylings and then you just shoot them in every possible pose, with every possible face expression, shot from slightly different angles? What are they doing in the shot? Are they even doing anything? Are this isolated shots even selling nowadays? I mean really selling, not getting 5$ per shot/year.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: PaulieWalnuts on May 14, 2012, 18:55
Hi people! Have you ever counted costs per image, just like RPI?

Never. I just spend a boatload on cash on stuff and shovel dumptrucks full of earnings into the bank I bought with microstock money.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: velocicarpo on May 14, 2012, 20:16
Of one shooting I get around 200 uploadable shots with not too much similars.

How do you ppl manage that? It looks mental to me to upload 200 shots from a 3 hr shoot. I don't think I ever uploaded more than 40 from a 3 hr shoot. What do you shoot? ppl isolated on white, 3-4 different stylings and then you just shoot them in every possible pose, with every possible face expression, shot from slightly different angles? What are they doing in the shot? Are they even doing anything? Are this isolated shots even selling nowadays? I mean really selling, not getting 5$ per shot/year.

Well, to be honest, it`s just routine. Many times a known set and a variety of concepts which fit well in the set. I don`t do isolated. The context of the action is king. One contextual interaction gives me about anything between 2 - 10 uploadable shots which are sometimes more, sometimes less similars. Surely we are not talking about art here. Just commercial stuff and nothing "brilliant". I don`t find it very hard to produce in such a quantity.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: pancaketom on May 14, 2012, 21:06
If I spent all the time calculating out these things it would up my time costs a bit.

I am sure if I was a real business it would be worth looking into, but I am just small time and I wouldn't quit my day job if I had one.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: grafix04 on May 14, 2012, 21:56
but your assumptions dont necessarily hold - in one place you assume 1920 hours per year and use that in your calculations, but if you're wrong, that number cane way off - much farther off than the 3 digit precision you're assigning to it.

Yes, of course I'm assuming, itís just an example.  You can double that if you work more than that.  If you work less, reduce it.  If you want to be conservative to allow for more hours you can.  Typically, you would base your assumption on the hours you have worked in previous years and allow a little more.

Quote
and you assume that rent, food, etc are all costs of your photography business, but they arent necessarily - eg, stock may be only part of your photography business, or photography may not be your full time job

I don't assume that rent, food, etc are part of my business, they are part of my business because I am my own employee and they form part of my labour cost.  It's no different to paying staff member labour costs.  You pay for their rent, food etc.

If someone isnít serious about stock or itís only a part time thing then obviously theyíre not going to go through the trouble of calculating their CPI.  If someone is making a serious living out of it and and is serious about their business and wants it to grow, then they should calculate their CPI.  If the OP is wanting to calculate it, Iím assuming he's not part time and is serious about his business.  It doesn't really matter however if he is or he isn't, he was asking how to calculate cost per image and I've given him an example of how to do it.

Quote
and finally what does the final figure tell you?  not much -- are all your $27.70 images going to earn more than your $26.45 images?  what does it matter? in the end the only real number is total sales

The figure would tell you lot and it would help you make decisions about the types of shoots you should focus on in the future.  This is batch costing.  You make future decisions on the batch or the shoot in this case, not just on individual images.  Yuri doesnít shoot the same thing over and over again for the fun of it.  He does it because it brings him in the money. 

Quote
one person may have a cost per image of $10 and sell 100 images; another with a cost per image of $100 sells 10 images - which one is doing better?

Calculating CPI has nothing to do with comparing one person to another or one business to another.  This is about comparing one photo shoot to another to make profitable future decisions for yourself or your business.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: grafix04 on May 14, 2012, 22:27
If I spent all the time calculating out these things it would up my time costs a bit.

I am sure if I was a real business it would be worth looking into, but I am just small time and I wouldn't quit my day job if I had one.

Agreed, most microstock photographers shouldn't bother but it's actually not as difficult as it looks, nor is it that time consuming.  You probably already have most of the figures to calculate your tax return and calculating your hourly rate is the only area that takes a bit of time.  Once you have it, you apply it to all shoots.  The only costs you then need to work out are your direct shoot costs and they shouldn't take long to add up.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: andresr on May 15, 2012, 10:32
Interesting thread .....

I do measure my CPI but I do not count the equipment I use.

For a studio shoot with one person for a 3 hourst, including studio time, model, post processing, keywording and uploading etc ... it costs me $6 per image to produce. From that, I get an average of 100 selects to upload. From those selects I get between 0.70 and 4 RPI (per month) so it takes me between 2 and 8 months to get the money back but average is 3 months.

For a location shoot it just varies a lot, I normally do group shoots in a location but it costs me anything from 1000 to 3000 USD.
I upload between 100 and 200 selects. Average RPI per month in a shoot is between 2.5 and 10 dollars per image so it takes me a couple of months to get it back unless the shooting goes really really bad but I think the worse has been 13 months and the best has been 1 month.

I think it is costing me a lot of money and I am uploading too many selects. I think if I was more careful with the selection process I would get more money. There are a lot of images in a shoot that never sell so there is still a big learning curve there :)
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: jarih on May 15, 2012, 13:26
This is what I am talking about, variable costs. If you shoot, there is costs, if you  don't shoot there's not any costs.

RPI - CPI (variable costs) = like sales margin, "bread money" :)

Andresr, obviously you shoot great stuff, I think that you have excellent RPI. But that's it what I am thinking, how long time it takes get money back and after that make more money. Of course important is also images.. what it is.. images "lifetime". How many month or years images can make money.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: JPSDK on May 15, 2012, 13:54
everybody forgets assets.
They always do.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: andresr on May 15, 2012, 14:17
This is what I am talking about, variable costs. If you shoot, there is costs, if you  don't shoot there's not any costs.

RPI - CPI (variable costs) = like sales margin, "bread money" :)

Andresr, obviously you shoot great stuff, I think that you have excellent RPI. But that's it what I am thinking, how long time it takes get money back and after that make more money. Of course important is also images.. what it is.. images "lifetime". How many month or years images can make money.


It depends on the agency. Shutterstock is the best one for first months ... then for the second month other agencies even it out so actually for me it is equal and grows slightly until month 6, from then on it depends how many images from a specific shoot made enough downloads to keep popularity and keep growing ....

It all comes down to www.stockperformer.com (http://www.stockperformer.com) jeje you should sign up and it will tell you everything you need to know from your portfolio :p It is incredibly helpful!
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: jarih on May 15, 2012, 14:36
everybody forgets assets.
They always do.

No ;)

Selling
- variable cost (my interest is here now)
= Sales margin
- fixed cost (of course this is there also)
= Profit

Variable: all costs which be based on shoot session
Fixed: Stable costs, cameras and etc..

It depends on the agency. Shutterstock is the best one for first months ... then for the second month other agencies even it out so actually for me it is equal and grows slightly until month 6, from then on it depends how many images from a specific shoot made enough downloads to keep popularity and keep growing ....

It all comes down to [url=http://www.stockperformer.com]www.stockperformer.com[/url] ([url]http://www.stockperformer.com[/url]) jeje you should sign up and it will tell you everything you need to know from your portfolio :p It is incredibly helpful!

That I assumed during my short selling experience out of my homeland.

Thanks.. stockperformer.. right now I handle my self.. but nice to know, maybe in future!
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: JPSDK on May 15, 2012, 14:50
assets.
I big part of your business are assets.
It is always assets that starts a new business and always assets that makes it die.
Dont forget them.
Also the accountants are obsessed with them.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: jarih on May 15, 2012, 15:00
assets.
Would you open this word for me: assets
My English :) I check out dictionary, but I am not sure what you mean precisely.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: grafix04 on May 15, 2012, 22:28
Interesting thread .....

I do measure my CPI but I do not count the equipment I use.

For a studio shoot with one person for a 3 hourst, including studio time, model, ,post processing, keywording and uploading etc ... it costs me $6 per image to produce. From that, I get an average of 100 selects to upload. From those selects I get between 0.70 and 4 RPI (per month) so it takes me between 2 and 8 months to get the money back but average is 3 months.

For a location shoot it just varies a lot, I normally do group shoots in a location but it costs me anything from 1000 to 3000 USD.
I upload between 100 and 200 selects. Average RPI per month in a shoot is between 2.5 and 10 dollars per image so it takes me a couple of months to get it back unless the shooting goes really really bad but I think the worse has been 13 months and the best has been 1 month.

I think it is costing me a lot of money and I am uploading too many selects. I think if I was more careful with the selection process I would get more money. There are a lot of images in a shoot that never sell so there is still a big learning curve there :)

Andres, how do you calculate your post processing, keywording, uploading etc.?  Don't you use an hourly rate and don't you factor in all costs - fixed, variable, direct and indirect - which includes the cost of your equipment, to calculate your hourly rate?  If not, how did you derive your hourly rate to cost your own time?
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: JPSDK on May 15, 2012, 22:35
Assets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset)
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: lagereek on May 16, 2012, 00:29
Useless to even think about, especially in stock photography, you can go out one day and stumble over something unique, take a couple of shots and within a month sell it for 2K, ( has happend to me a few times btw), result: no cost at all, just all profit.
Next day you can upload 50 shots, involving  models and all and it wont sell a bit. Bad dealio.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: gostwyck on May 16, 2012, 05:28
Useless to even think about, especially in stock photography, you can go out one day and stumble over something unique, take a couple of shots and within a month sell it for 2K, ( has happend to me a few times btw), result: no cost at all, just all profit.
Next day you can upload 50 shots, involving  models and all and it wont sell a bit. Bad dealio.

That's how I view it to a large extent! Sales from a shoot are so unpredictable that it is impossible to work out what the returns on an investment are likely to be beforehand. Working out what the benefit/costs later is a bit like calculating how much you might have won or lost on a horse race that has already run.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: JPSDK on May 16, 2012, 07:04
Not true. Sales are not so unpredictable.
Its about style and trend and most popular.

Problem is that those who can predict fight over the crums.
And leaves the crums of the crums to the rest of us.
And there are not so many then.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: jarih on May 16, 2012, 08:31
Assets.

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset[/url] ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset[/url])


Thank you.. now I know what it mean in Finnish :)

Of course assets is important too, but my original topic concentrate more to profit and loss account, and only to part of that.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: JPSDK on May 16, 2012, 08:38
Point is.
if you want to find out if you make a profit or not.
You should follow the rules of the accountants.
Else its pure piracy and everyone can claim he has a plus.

Fx i can claim that stock payes for my beer, my meals or my gear.
But does it?
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: lagereek on May 16, 2012, 08:46
Useless to even think about, especially in stock photography, you can go out one day and stumble over something unique, take a couple of shots and within a month sell it for 2K, ( has happend to me a few times btw), result: no cost at all, just all profit.
Next day you can upload 50 shots, involving  models and all and it wont sell a bit. Bad dealio.

That's how I view it to a large extent! Sales from a shoot are so unpredictable that it is impossible to work out what the returns on an investment are likely to be beforehand. Working out what the benefit/costs later is a bit like calculating how much you might have won or lost on a horse race that has already run.

Even more strange, if you look at the top ten guys at IS, black-diamonds, etc,  thery are all into models, lifestyles, etc, studio productions, time consuming, the lot. Their ports are almost impossible to separate.
How can this be cost effective?  the profit per image must already be 150% down, minus, before they even upload the stuff or the ports are so big it takes years before any return is profit.
bests me.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: BaldricksTrousers on May 16, 2012, 15:57
I use the Micawber formula. If I enjoy what I'm doing and after paying my bills I have a penny more at the end of the month than I did at the beginning, that equals happiness. If I have a penny less, that is the road to misery.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: JPSDK on May 16, 2012, 18:55
Thats not so stupid.
Thats actually the base of the accountants.
Title: Re: Cost Per Image, just like RPI
Post by: ruxpriencdiam on May 16, 2012, 22:00
Here's the way i see it.

Jens you dont get the crumbs of crumbs you have your own style like Vampires and Butterflies along with HDR.

For me no big cost at all.

Equipment is paid for so no cost, dont do models and if i do it is me so no cost or you can use model mayhem for the cost of a CD for the model.

If i want to do outdoor shooting i just do it on a day when i am going to be in the area where i want to shoot anyway so no cost there because i was going there anyhow.

Most everything is done at home or nearby so minimal cost for example i shoot some editorials 6.3 miles from where i live so round trip is 12.6 miles or 1/2 gallon of gas $1.72 i get anywhere depending on event 100-200 images of which i get 50-100 or more for stock then while i am there i am passing out business cards to every and anyone interested in my work and i line up appointments with them for shoots paying more then what microstock pays.

So CPI may come out to a few pennies per image if that.