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Author Topic: Full Time or Part Time?  (Read 9686 times)

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« on: March 03, 2007, 00:39 »
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I'm wondering what the breakdown is with people who use this site in terms of using microstock for F/T or P/T income.

I'm very new to this industry (started 50 days ago) and it appears that one can have a comfortable and stress-free lifestyle by doing this, so I jumped right in.

I rely on microstock for 100% of my income. Although it's quite meager right now, it is by far the most enjoyable and easiest money I've earned in quite a while.

How about you?


« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2007, 06:19 »
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i devoted 100% of my time for a few months last year to microstock.  Found another photography job which was a bit tempting and now spend about 30% of my time doing microstock and 70% doing other photography.  I am tempted to just focus on microstock some days and drop everything else, but i think a little variety is good.... and keeps me going and perhaps gives fresh ideas.  I find doing 100% microstock ends up putting me infront of the computer an awful lot.

« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2007, 06:56 »
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For me it has to be very part time as it is competing with my full time day job (which pays well and comes with retirment program, health insurance and disability benefits), other photo opportunites and my return to school.  After May school will be over so I can devote even more time to microstock.  My plans are to slowly grow bigger and bigger with the microstocks.
judy

« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2007, 10:07 »
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I still have that fulltime, corporate,middle-mgt,  'day job', same one for 30-some years now.... as rosta said, it pays the health insurance and kicks some into the 401k and stock options for later in life.  Although not all that much later anymore.  At age 58 I'm sniffing at retirement.  Looking at that recently, I came to realize that with escalating cost of living here in New Jersey, usa...    even with the 401K and stocks and social security,  the fact is I won't be able to retire in New Jersey.
        Heck, my taxes equal my mortgage already, and they are only going to go up. That with the hectic pace of life and the crowds of people... I know, something's gotta change.
        That being said, we are planning to move into the backwoods of Pennsylvania or  upstate NY.  And we are very close to buying the acreage and building a nice, cozy cabin.  We plan to do that as soon as possible. 
        Of course, when that happens there goes the corporate job.  I've been shooting photos since being a young boy. It has been a passionate hobby.   Last year, I decided to see if my work was worthy of microstock.  See if this could be a source of income to supplement the retirement monies.  So far,  it is fair.  Of course, I only have a portfolio of 200 something and that varying in size on 9 agencies now.
        Through or I should say due to my pictures being seen on microstock,  I have recently gone into contract with an east coast publishing company.  I am quite happy about that and honestly surprised.  My first spread will be in a June issue of one of their magazines.  I have been told that I can expect more assignments, they are putting out 4 magazines and publish coffee table style books. We'll see....    This outfit is owned by a larger publishing outfit, so the opportunity is there for even more work.  The typical magazine spread is for 8-10 photos.  By contract, they can only use them once. If they use them in any form again,  except in advertising of the magazine, I must be compensated again. I am being paid the  "standard rate" in the industry for half day or full day shoots.  Which, frankly, I almost feel guilty about taking for a legitimate 15-30 minutes work. But I suppose that's why folks are professional photographers. The money is very handsome and for me, the work is still fun.   I wish I could do this 3 or 4 times a week, I  COULD quit my day job and maintain my current lifestyle.
        At this time...  I am spending approximately  20-24 hours a week on photography and the related micro and/or magazine business.  I hope to be able to segway into it fulltime in the near future, leaving the corporate world behind,  ...work out of my cabin on a mountain-top somewhere in the wilds.            Now a dream... but quite possibly a reality.     Well, that's my story,  who's next?    8)  -tom
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 10:10 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2007, 11:04 »
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I live in Uruguay, South America. Things have been very difficult to us lately, but we are better now... my husband is a designer and works full time desining webs for a company located in Indianapolis and for his local clients. I help him and do this microstock thing, we both took pictures and I do all the other work.
Obviusly no health secure and no retirment program... but we are happy to be able to pay our bills and buy what we want.
I wish i had more time for microstock... and i will!  :)

« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2007, 12:04 »
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Less than part time but I recognise the potential.  And good timeless photos are almost like investing in the stock market as they may pay dividends for hopefully a few years.  I'm a stay-at-home hockey mom, chauffer and finger paint instructor.  I work from home (sometimes part time, sometimes triple time) make my income about 70% youth sports photography, 20% grad/portrait, 5% design and 5% or less stock.  Goals this year are to shoot A LOT of stock... but I honestly don't enjoy the amount of hours scrunched over the computer with all involved.  Often I'll ftp during the day then when things are quiet in the evenings watch tv with the laptop and submit.

« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2007, 12:07 »
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I'm very new to this industry (started 50 days ago)
Quote
I rely on microstock for 100% of my income.

Gee ... you really jumped into it.  Dont you do other photo work as well?

I do it very part time.  I do contract work and earn more in a day that I do 1 and 1/2 months in micro stock.  So I wont be quiting my day job just yet.  My goal is just to pay of the equipment and pay for more travel.  Hopefully the money will keep coming in and it will help me through a change in carreer in a few years time.

« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2007, 03:57 »
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Gee ... you really jumped into it.  Dont you do other photo work as well?

Nope, not anymore. I've run the photo biz gamut and find shooting stock by far the most rewarding: I can shoot what I want, when I want, and how I want. Sure, the money's not too good right now - my current level is at about $1000 per month - but I'm building.

Odd thing I've noticed about this site: Nobody seems to talk about money. Why is that? It might prove helpful to compare portfolio productivity.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 04:01 by sharply_done »

« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2007, 04:30 »
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Odd thing I've noticed about this site: Nobody seems to talk about money. Why is that? It might prove helpful to compare portfolio productivity.
  In general in society, money is a taboo subject.  I guess the same here.  I guess it is also because some people do it as a hobby compared to full time like you.  You are also an pro as opposed to me who are using it as a learning experience and a hobby.

The problem with money is that it depends on portfolio size.  Which is why when we do monthly statistic, we do percentages.  Whether you have 100 or 1000 a percentage can be compared.

Maybe some other statistics could be compared without talking absolute $$$.  Like $ per download (ie. SS will be 0.25 unless there is a EL).  Another statistic which is bandied around sometimes is how much per photo per year.  THis is used as a comparison to macro stock.  ie. if I put 1000 photos up on macro and micro, how much can I expect per year - I think $12 is commonly referred to but depends on model release etc.  The problem with this is how do you calcuate it.  I have say 500 photos but only 300 have been accepted.  Do I calcuate on 300 or 500.  If you only have one site, you would use photos on line.  With micro, you could be on 10 sites with between say 100 and 500 photos.  I have a spreadsheet that calcuates it two different ways and come out at either $8-9 or $12 per year per photo depending on whether I use total photos avaliable or just the "average" photos on line.

« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2007, 08:48 »
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Sure, the money's not too good right now - my current level is at about $1000 per month - but I'm building.

sharply_done:

You have some fantastic work, but I have to call you out on your statement.

On IS, you have been a member since 09/2006 and have sold a total of 512 images, which probably totals ~ $300.

On DT, you have essentially been a member since 01/2007 and have sold 102 images, which totals <  $100.

On Fotolia, you have sold 90 images, which totals < $75.  FT doesn't say when you joined, but from the lowest image numbers in your portfolio, I would guess it was also at the beginning of the year.

So for those 3 sites, you have sold a total of < $500 over the past few months.  Even if we just include the last two months, that is $250/month.

SS doesn't give stats, but I doubt that you are making $750/month on that one site.  That would mean that you would be selling 3000 images/month on a portfolio of less than 500 images.

« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2007, 10:05 »
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Another reason we dont talk about money  ;D ;D ;D

Sure, the money's not too good right now - my current level is at about $1000 per month - but I'm building.

sharply_done:

You have some fantastic work, but I have to call you out on your statement.

On IS, you have been a member since 09/2006 and have sold a total of 512 images, which probably totals ~ $300.

On DT, you have essentially been a member since 01/2007 and have sold 102 images, which totals <  $100.

On Fotolia, you have sold 90 images, which totals < $75.  FT doesn't say when you joined, but from the lowest image numbers in your portfolio, I would guess it was also at the beginning of the year.

So for those 3 sites, you have sold a total of < $500 over the past few months.  Even if we just include the last two months, that is $250/month.

SS doesn't give stats, but I doubt that you are making $750/month on that one site.  That would mean that you would be selling 3000 images/month on a portfolio of less than 500 images.


« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2007, 10:26 »
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I think it is possible to have 3,000 dowloads a month with a portfolio of 500 with shutterstock. 

The best I manged was over 2,000 with 1,000 photos but I have no people photos and a lot of my photos are not ideal for stock.

You also need to factor in the EL's.  10 of those a month reduces those 3,000 downloads by 800.

« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2007, 11:24 »
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how many people are 'averaging' 10 extended licenses a month??  i don't think many.

I have gotten probably 6 in my life on almost 2000 images.

« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2007, 14:02 »
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        Through or I should say due to my pictures being seen on microstock,  I have recently gone into contract with an east coast publishing company.  I am quite happy about that and honestly surprised.  My first spread will be in a June issue of one of their magazines.  I have been told that I can expect more assignments, they are putting out 4 magazines and publish coffee table style books. We'll see....        Well, that's my story,  who's next?    8)  -tom

Hey Tom!
Congrats on the magazine gig!
That's great!!!!
May you get many more!

S

« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2007, 14:33 »
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Hmmm, looks like I opened a can of worms. I made an honest statement about my current income from selling stock photography; I'm not trying to mislead anyone or prop myself up in any way. I'm sorry if that caused anyone grief.

StockManiac: I didn't say that I earned $1000 last month, I said that my current level is about $1000/month. My 7 day average has me at $28/day. Given my current portfolio build rate, I should meet and surpass the $1000 mark this month. I'll be very concerned if I don't. Meeting this target is in line with my income goals for the year. I'm not doing this as a hobby, or to generate extra income. I'm shooting stock photography to make my living. I cannot afford to do it pell-mell. I have mapped out what it is I have to do to get where I want to be. The reason I am here is to compare experiences and learn from others who have been doing it (far) longer than I have. I am not here to boast about how well I am doing, and I'm sorry if you interpreted my remarks that way.

CJPhoto: $12/image/year works out to $1/image/month, which is a mark I've set my sights on to surpass. I'm above that on SS and IS, but nowhere near it on DT and FT. This puzzles me to no end. I've read where people get a leading portion of their income from FT and DT, which further confuses me. I'm beginning to realize that I must be doing something wrong at DT and FT ...


FWIW, I've only had one EL sale. Those things are nice surprises, but it sounds like they come by as often as lunar eclipses. leaf: Didn't you get 4 of yours in one day?(!)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 15:05 by sharply_done »

« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2007, 14:55 »
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yep i did get four in one day last week, that accounts for 4 of them... 2 more a few months ago :)  i have gotten a few on fotolia as well but not many

shutterstock gives lots of downloads the first few weeks after you upload which could account for some of the lop sidedness you are seeing when compared to dreamstime and fotolia, but still for me SS and IS are better performers than DT and FT.

I found it surprising to hear that phil date is doing so well on ft... he must be keywording things correctly and getting in good with the search engines over there.

eendicott

« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2007, 15:58 »
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I don't think you have enough time in to predict your monthly income yet.  For what it's worth, and I'm sure opinions will vary, here's the trend you'll start to see (based on my previous experience - I am no longer with those sites)...

At Shutterstock, you need to upload at least once a week.  Three times of week is optimal.  That is the only way you will see your income on a consistent level there.

At Dreamstime, you won't realize any trends from your uploads for 2-3 months, then they will take off.  I don't know why, but that's what happens.

At iStock, you need to be a social butterfly.  Participate in the forums, get to know people, build up a "designer network", participate in the VOX community and make friends.  Eventually, they will start rating your images which will rank you higher and you'll start selling.




« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2007, 16:20 »
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eendicott: I upload to SS on an almost daily basis, so that isn't a problem. Thanks for the IS tip - I'll have to start spending a bit of time there, making comments and rating images. Flickr is about the same way - by "socializing" you get more views, and thus become more "popular". I hope you're right about DT - my income from there and FT sure could use a good kick in the, um, pants.

« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2007, 17:13 »
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I've yet to have an EL...  perhaps my work doesn't lend to that sort of thing.
     With SS, the common point here about uploading on a regular basis seems to be correct.  I see a definte upswing in sales on the day I  get a batch accetped.  And the wild thing is, it isn't those new photos in particular, it could be some I have had there for months. So I've gotten into the habit of loading a handful of pix 2 or 3 times a week to SS.
    DT and BigStock just started to pick up for me after months of being there. I'm happy with the upswing. BigStock was my #2 in sales in Feb.

Void - thanks.  I hope it does develop and open some doors and doesn't turn out to be a one-shot deal, flash in the pan.  I'll let ya know what happens.

I sure do agree with  sharply_done's comment on microstock shooting. I feel the same...  I shoot what I want, when I want, and I'm having fun.  If they want them great, if they don't ... no biggie.  Of course,  it's easy for me to say that, it's not my fulltime gig. ..................... but I'd sure like it to be.   8)  -tom

« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2007, 17:31 »
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... I hope it does develop and open some doors and doesn't turn out to be a one-shot deal, flash in the pan.

a.k.a.-tom: It's my experience that your sale will be a one-shot deal unless you actively market yourself. Out-of-the-blue sales like that are like EL sales on microstock - they're nice to get, but don't count on people beating down your door to buy your stuff without you having a big hand in that. The only way to make any sort of appreciable money through (fine art) photography is to aggressively market yourself.

That being said, a possible source of casual revenue may be to frame a handful of your best shots for use in local coffee shops and restaurants. Doing this on a regular basis, as well as displaying your work in local galleries, really helps to get your name out there.

« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2007, 23:31 »
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a.k.a.-tom: It's my experience that your sale will be a one-shot deal unless you actively market yourself. ......The only way to make any sort of appreciable money through (fine art) photography is to aggressively market yourself.
.....That being said, a possible source of casual revenue may be to frame a handful of your best shots for use in local coffee shops and restaurants. Doing this on a regular basis, as well as displaying your work in local galleries, really helps to get your name out there.


Thanks much.  This is all brand new to me and coming on rather fast.... I seriously appreciate the advice of those experienced in the business such as yourself. Your counsel seems sound.  One of the subjects I teach middle managers in my business is marketing.  I suppose I'll have to practice a little of what I preach. 
       Actually, my wife and I were asked if we would put some of our work  into a gallery for a major charity auction for McDonald's Children's Charities in Philadelphia this April.  A couple large landscape prints.
     I purchased domains a few months ago, we're  working on a site/gallery and we will be registering our business name with the state this week. We'll see what the future brings.
      I appreciate any advice from those who have already been down the road.  Thanks again,  sharply_done! Anything else you can add as you think of it would be welcomed!    8) -tom

p.s. Trust me, this kid (me) is not naive. I've been down life's road, sometimes on four flat tires.  I honestly do not think I'm living a Cinderella story.  If I'm lucky, perhaps my 5 minutes of fame... LOL!  ;D  Any way it goes down, I'll still be uploading to the micros. 
       success or failure,  I'll let you know what unfolds.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 23:43 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2007, 23:49 »
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... my wife and I were asked if we would put some of our work  into a gallery for a major charity auction ...

That sound like a pretty good way to begin marketing your photos, and may open a door or two ... good luck!

« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2007, 17:20 »
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Part time and I don't plan to change it (my earnings are so slow compared to most of you guys).  It is however generating enough to allow me to buy my DSLR in the future without hurting my pocket. :D

Regards,
Adelaide


 

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