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Author Topic: Cost per image?  (Read 5915 times)

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« on: July 02, 2008, 16:06 »
I was thinking that RPI is not giving me idea how much it costs me to get the return. We probably also need some sort of Cost per Image measure :-)

Lets give an example of two sites, DT and SS:
It takes 18 seconds to process picture on DT while only 7s on SS. I am able to process around 2000 pictures a month on SS which give us rough 4 hour of work per month. Lets say it would be $10 per hour so my cost would be $40. At the same time I was able to process only 700 pictures thru DT and it took me about 3.5 hours to make it so my cost is $35 here. If I compare these numbers with my returns it's clear that I am just wasting my time on DT. I am not adding any time for editing and keywording cause it is shared time between all the sites.

« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2008, 18:36 »
It appears to me that perhaps you are attempting to pick a fight with yourself.

Your return on your investment in time spent to create and make your images available for downloading to buyers.
Is that what you're discussing here?

If so consider that you do so because of choice. There are no one single winners when it comes to microstock sites.
Each plays a contributing factor to the end product. It takes what it take....till it takes. What ever that is.

Stop trying to find fault. They all play a role in contributing to the month end bank roll. Stop looking at them individually
and start looking at the big picture. Your looking looking for a complicated solution in the simple game of microstock.

Cranky MIZ
The voice of reason

PS I don't really expect to change your point of view, I just felt like typing a few words
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 18:39 by rjmiz »

« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2008, 19:01 »
I think everything would pay later and I almost finished going thru my old photos. That's why it looks like spend lots of time trying to upload thousands of photos in month :-) And when I search for myself on Google it's still not enough entries to generate any demand :-)

I actually did not have time to make photos recently which is good in situation when my wife is expecting a baby. I need to stay close to hospital ;-)

« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2008, 20:52 »
Stay focused

Cranky MIZ
The voice of reason


« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2008, 07:25 »
Just wondering how much you cost your forum posts!?

Even for free they seem somewhat overpriced ...


« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2008, 15:54 »
It appears to me that perhaps you are attempting to pick a fight with yourself....

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I agree with Miz.

Between this thread and your other one about how much you make per hour in microstock, it does seem like you are looking for every fault and flaw in microstock, almost trying to publicly talk yourself out of it. This isn't a game of dollars per hour, costs per image uploaded at a particular site, etc. Think about the long-term value here, not the hourly rate. This isn't a factory or grocery store where you clock in and out and get paid for exactly the time you put in. Microstock earnings are calculated on a much longer timeline, and many people (myself included) don't even give any consideration to hourly, daily, or even weekly trends. I only look at earnings in terms of monthly and yearly values, because only from those broader perspectives do I get any real sense of what I earn.

Also consider the passive nature of microstock earnings. Look at the thread in this forum about the guy who hasn't uploaded anything in 8 months and continues to earn monthly sums of about half his BME. That's 8 months of doing absolutely nothing, investing not a single hour, and still earning all the while. Think about how much money some of the top people would earn if they just stopped uploading today. Guys like Yuri and Andres would bring in 6-figure annual incomes for a few years without doing anything at all. How's that for earnings potential?


« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2008, 03:29 »
Spot on helix7.

« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2008, 10:11 »
Also how do you divide the cost?

Studio Shoot may cost $300 Studio Model Props expences plus your time add another $200 from that you may get 20 lets say 30 from 300-400 images, now how do I allocate cost they all took some element of time, $500 / 300 = $1.66 per image, now I need to write off 270 of these images, or I could say $16.66 per Image to submit, 30 post process and uploads $60 time and materials, $18.66 For each of the 30 I want to upload, I am goint to upload to 4 sites that is $4.66 per image per site, if I had a rejection rate of 25% that would mean an adjustment to $5.82 per image online as I now have 88 (22 x 4 sites) from 120 submitted.

Should each image now stand on it's own or do I say "Woopee!" when I have 40 $1.00 downloads from a batch that could have cost me $560 to produce?

Or I could just go into the garden or take the family out for a day, get lots of shots negate the cost, because I had a good day out as well and just count all downloads as profit, "I would have gone out with the family and taken photographs anyway, or photography is my hobby anyway so it don't matter!"

See it depends on if you are taking stock for a living and earning a wage, what the subject is and how you run your business, some guys go abroad just to take stock images and claim the cost against thier earning, others take photographs on holiday and submit these, the chargable cost element is different for the same style of image, taken by two different photographers at the same time and location.

For a lot of us if we wrote down all our costs, kit, power, depreciation, expences and counted all the hours spent doing stock images and used the minimum wage to calculate and add into our costs, then took this figure from our total stock revenue minus taxes etc:, we would likely be left with a positive or negative profit, then add up all images live from all sites, divide the profit by that and you are left with your net revenue per online image.

If I was offered it as a job I would likely say "You want me to pay you how much!"  ;D

Another point I see a lot calculate thier RPI from the best site, but your RPI is all revenue from all sites divided by your image count from all sites, so a slow site will affect your RPI across all sites.

Currently I am off the micros and have had 1 sale on Alamy and I had at the time only 10 images on Alamy so at the time $8.50 RPI, but now with 54 images as of today and I also have 37 on Photoshelter my current RPI is Alamy $85/54 = 1.57, PhotoShelter = $0.00 and a total RPI of $85 / 91 = 0.98.

See I can twist it both ways and another single sale will blow that out of the water, with no more sales but more uploads this will affect my total RPI .

« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 10:47 by Adeptris »


« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2008, 10:47 »
If we all start thinking so analytically like a Costing Manager,
we would all quit making photographs in an instance;
or start to shoot like a mass-production machine .
Result: our images will be hoaky ( fake ) ,and the buyers will sense that too.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 10:49 by tan510jomast »

« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2008, 10:52 »
If we all start thinking so analytically like a Costing Manager,
we would all quit making photographs in an instance;
or start to shoot like a mass-production machine .
Results: our images will be hoaky ( fake ) ,and the buyers will sense that too.

Some photographers do just that, Yuri has people post processing and keywording like a production line, and then there are other specialist photographers that have expectations of a revenue return for a shoot that is calculated before they lift the camera.


« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2008, 18:40 »
I really liked Helix7's comments. 

I might also add something I have said before, maybe here. I could make much more money per hour with technical translations, but it would be boring, so I prefer to make some money doing something I like in my free time.


« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2008, 11:31 »
It is a valid question the one you ask.  I can tell you that it will depend on the style of your shooting.  I see that people focus just on RPI and many dont take into account the time spent in sorting them, selecting and editing images, adjusting their color, cropping, then uploading, and also all costs involved:  from electric energy and fuel to getting to the shooting place to all other costs involved.  And if you use models then the administrative costs of managing the model releases can be a burden when you have several hundred going around.

It all costs money (and time... well, time is money).  In the long run you can recover this money, but if the time needed is too long then you have to take into account other financial considerations into the equation. 

If you see this as a business you should ask and ask yourself all these questions and find out if it is worth the effort.  Only you can put a value on your time according to the living standards of your city or country.  Then you will be able to decide what to do.  Otherwise, it will be just a paid hobby and sometimes, depending on your talent, a money losing one.

« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2009, 11:47 »
although this is an old thread, i'm interested to restart the conversation as i couldn't find other topics on this issue that concerns me a lot - costs per image

based on my past works, i find that the costs per image for me averages out to about US$20

that's inclusive
(1) studio rental costs
(2) outdoor logistic costs (if not shooting in studio)
(3) post-processing costs ($$ spent hiring others to help with retouching and keywording)
(4) my own time spent (this is hard to quantify, but basically i attach a base price for my time spent shooting)

does anyone else has any useful information to share about this? are there any public information about costs per image for the top producers such as Yuri Arcurs or Andres ?

« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2009, 14:00 »
Hey Asiaphoto,

Thanks for sharing, and of course one thing that really affects costs per image more than anything is your shot count from a day. We really try and optimize (i mean really) a day of shooting to get the absolute most out of it.

For a single model, studio 300 shots @ $4-5 per. Other end of the spectrum, location, 5 models and 200 selects @ $22 dollars per image.

From discussions with Yuri his shot cost is roughly the same, but he does really optimize his shooting to get a lot out of every day.

Hope that gives some insight.


« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 14:13 »
Yes, hard to call an average.  Some are very expensive in props and models, some not so much.  Some invite a wide variety of images, others fewer.  Mine are all limited to two hour or so shoots tho.

« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2009, 14:16 »
Wow, it always gives me a start when I read a re-opened thread without realizing it and come across a post by the Miz (Rijmiz)

« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2009, 21:57 »
 Hi All,

 We all go about this differently but this is how we approach it. There is the cost of the shoot. The models, locations, props, assistants, lunch, coffee anything that is spent directly on that shoot that day. Then there are the costs of running your business. Insurance, pre prep, post production, paper, ink for your printer, depreciation on your equipment and many more factors, a huge list of things. Then there is your salary, what are you making from your efforts, don't just count your net profit as your salary you need to be paid for every minute of your work. What you pay yourself for your time.
 Deduct all these from your returns and see what was left over. That is your companies profits, or losses. That is how we have always run our business, I see some photographers that really don't take into account things like their car insurance or the gas spent to get to and from the shoot ( actually paid in miles for the ware of the vehicle as well. ) I could go on and on but if you do not do your math you might be working for 50 cents an hour. Hope this helps.



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