MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: How are you doing on microstock recently?  (Read 10551 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: October 22, 2009, 08:55 »
0
I am asking experienced contributors with at least 1000 images in port and being in micro over 1,5 year.
If you don't mind please share your experience whether you have noticed a decrease or increase in your revenue for last some months let's say.
As for me I see the gradual decrease in Dreamstime revenue, especially RPD which now is below 1$ in my case. It's the biggest dissapointment
Fotolia works pretty steady (with about 15 download daily), however, this month is worse.
Shutterstock - it's a different agency than it was 4, 3 or even 1 year ago. 40 regular downloads a day + ODs often gives about 20$. 3 or 2 years ago I was avaraging over 100 regular downloads + some ODs...
Istock - works very steady but my sales have never been good there.
The rest agencies have their up and downs, but it's The Big 4 that counts.

It leads me to several question - what is the future of microstock? More and more big players from macro come to micro and the competition is getting fiercer.
What kind of pictures does it worth to upload nowadays?
Maybe it's time to look for new markets ?
Generally - what's the way WE photographers with not bad and not small ports should go to keep our businesses alive ?

Michal
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 08:58 by niserin »


« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 09:13 »
0
More and more macro players are getting out of micro because they've found it isn't cost effective.  For instance, nothing from iofoto in a year on iStock, after putting out 600 grand to get into micro.

Good news for the smaller players.

« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 09:33 »
0
or is iofoto raking in enough yearly income to steadily get a return on that 600 grand investment without having to contribute anymore, and focus his attentions to macro stuff?

I can see where contributors with huge ports would send some stuff over to micro just to use as their mortgage payment money while pursuing bigger fish. Doesn't necessarily mean micro isn't cost effective (I'm not saying it isn't cost effective, because I don't think it is). Just depends on your motivation for getting into micro in the first place. It's cost effective if it serves your purpose is what I'm trying to say.

In my business (another lifetime ago) I used to take jobs with a very low profit margin just to pay the bills, while concentrating efforts on the big accounts to make the profit.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 09:36 by cclapper »

« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 09:51 »
0
Growth still reasonably steady for me within the constraints of seasonal variation. Well on target for a BME this month, IS and FT are doing particularly well.

You're right though, it is getting tougher almost on a monthly basis and obviously that trend will continue.

"What kind of pictures is it worth uploading nowadays?". The only answer is 'good ones' __ anything sub-par and you are most likely wasting your time.

IMHO to succeed in microstock today you need to specialise. You need to find your own niche(s), then get the props and the equipment to enable you to do them well and then practise, practice, practice until you have refined your technique to the point where you images are amongst the very best out there in your subject. Then you need to do it over and over again, examining your work and continually seeking to improve upon it with each shoot.

If you want an example of someone who does just that then check out Liliboas at Istock. She does Christmas decorations. Nobody does Christmas decorations like Liliboas or in such quantity. If you want images of Christmas decorations then you'll probably end up buying them from Liliboas. What is she producing at the moment? Christmas decorations and similarly themed images of course.

That is basically the way I see microstock going in the future __ niche subject images being produced in exceptional quality and high volume by specialists. There will always be a market for the lucky grab-shot or 'found' image but it'll be increasingly difficult to earn a living from those alone.

« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2009, 10:21 »
0
Thank you gostwyck, very good answer.
Still waiting for others' views ;)

ShadySue

« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 11:04 »
0
[iStock exclusive] Although October will be my best month this year (thank goodness!), it's still way below, on both dls and $$$ what I had at this time last October.
Every month this year has had lower dls and $$ from the corresponding month last year sometimes >30% lower. That's despite uploading almost 1000 images since Jan. doubling my port). Also fewer ELs this year; a few Vettas fill some of that gap though.
I don't shoot the most popular types of images (no models, lights or studio): so I'm not up there with Sean & co; but it doesn't explain why my sales are going down, which can only be the vastly increased competition, both on iStock and elsewhere.    :'(
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 16:15 by ShadySue »

vonkara

« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2009, 13:17 »
0
Some people finally understood that quantity only favor dilution effect.

The only way to make things better is for the agencies to delete old unsold files. For photographers, stop wasting time and money on random and already filled subjects that will only result in a couple of 30 cents subscriptions.

Like Gostwyck said, filling the tiny remaining wholes and make this subject a niche or shooting better than all what have been made. Making research before shooting help a lot. But I wonder how many photographers does that as I still see brick walls, isolated food and smiling peops with headset in the newest section of IS.

That's just worthless
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 13:21 by Vonkara »

ShadySue

« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2009, 15:33 »
0
I still see brick walls, isolated food and smiling peops with headset in the newest section of IS.

That's just worthless
There was a specific request for new images of mid-older people with headsets very recently so maybe the new acceptances are a response to that?

ShadySue

« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2009, 15:36 »
0
Some people finally understood that quantity only favor dilution effect.

The only way to make things better is for the agencies to delete old unsold files.
It's not the old, unsold files that are the rivals. Talking of iStock only, they will probably be at the bottom of most searches, unless they're of a subject in low supply/demand.

lisafx

« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2009, 15:51 »
0
For me microstock is steady.  I have made almost exactly the same for about 7 months in a row.  Each of those months I have uploaded approx. 100 pictures.

This is the first year (of 4.5) that I haven't seen much seasonal variation.  Summer was steady, without my usual summer slump, and September was up slightly on August, but not the huge jump I usually see. 

So like I said, steady, but without the extreme growth of past years. 

I tend to think in my case it is less indicative of industry trends, but more a result of my portfolio reaching critical mass (5k) where my uploads represent a smaller and smaller proportion of my total portfolio.

« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2009, 16:19 »
0
...
I tend to think in my case it is less indicative of industry trends, but more a result of my portfolio reaching critical mass (5k) where my uploads represent a smaller and smaller proportion of my total portfolio.

What you're experiencing is called the law of diminishing returns. There are ways of dealing with this, and it might prove profitable for you to investigate how it works and why it's happening to you. You may find that other economic principles are applicable to your situation, too.

lisafx

« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2009, 17:26 »
0

What you're experiencing is called the law of diminishing returns. There are ways of dealing with this, and it might prove profitable for you to investigate how it works and why it's happening to you. You may find that other economic principles are applicable to your situation, too.


I'll read up on it and see if there is a solution I haven't thought of.  Off the top of my head the only I've come up with are upload more and/or upload better quality. 

I am working on improving quality, but as a one-woman-show I don't see any way to significantly increase quantity.  And I have ZERO desire to expand and take on employees.

« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2009, 17:41 »
0
I'll read up on it and see if there is a solution I haven't thought of.  Off the top of my head the only I've come up with are upload more and/or upload better quality. 

I am working on improving quality, but as a one-woman-show I don't see any way to significantly increase quantity.  And I have ZERO desire to expand and take on employees.

Of course instead of 'dealing with the issue' we could count our lucky stars and be happy with our lifestyle and what we've achieved. Five years ago __ even 3 years ago __ most of could scarcely imagine where we'd be now in microstock. Back then the thought of being able to live off it seemed barely more likely than winning the lottery. Earnings are amazingly stable considering the recession; we get to choose when, how and where to work and, as far as I've heard, no microstocker is being threatened with redundancy. It sure beats working for a living.

« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2009, 20:46 »
0
Hi Michal

I normally don't have a problem answering questions about how things are going, but something about singling out the question for more established contributors while not including basic information about yourself just strikes me as a little impolite.

I think in general you'll get a better response if you update a little bit of your information - maybe portfolio links or some speed dials? I think I can work out who you are from your alias on here, but generally its easier if people don't have to go searching... and gives them a better idea of who they're talking to.

Anyhow to answer the question - downloads have been steady, if not exciting, but then I've only uploaded 18 files in the last 10 weeks. Even with a small amount of uploads, I notice a spike in weekly revenue. I think increasingly the key is to upload high quality unique content. If you're just doing the type of concepts that are already online in abundance, your downloads will drop over time and be buiried in all the similar material that's out there. 



« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2009, 09:58 »
0
After almost 2 years in microstock my earnings are still growing at reasonable pace. However, I see a decline of my sales (or rather lack of progress) in SS during last 6 months despite of regularly "feeding the beast" and going to a higher payment rate a few months ago. My growth during last 12 months is mostly due to IS sales.

It looks like 3-5K pictures is reported as a critical portfolio mass after which you can expect much slower growth of earnings or plateau (with the same investments of efforts I assume).


« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 10:23 by PixelsAway »

« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2009, 13:47 »
0
I think some subjects are over and some are under represented. If you keep doing the same you have to hit ceiling at certain point. Obviously people are encouraged to shoot what sells but eventually everybody does the same so sales are going down.

« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2009, 21:20 »
0
I think the important statistic is not % revenue growth (a % value is going to flatten out unless you keep growing the size of your portfolio in % terms consistantly which becomes impossible) but the increase revenue per photo added.

 


ShadySue

« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2009, 11:12 »
0
I think the important statistic is not % revenue growth (a % value is going to flatten out unless you keep growing the size of your portfolio in % terms consistantly which becomes impossible) but the increase revenue per photo added.

Could you explain the maths, please? Both your thinking and how to work it out.

« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2009, 19:32 »
0
Some easy numbers to illustrate.

say month 1 you start microstock put 20 photos and each gets $1 of DL  = $20 starting
say month 2 you put another 20 photos each gets $1 + each of the existing photos also get $1 of downloads = $40
unreal I just increased my earnings by 100%

month 3 another 20 photos and $20  (total $60) you increased your earnings by only 50%. oh no the microstock gravy train is dying, market saturation, clean up the database and get rid of everybody else photos, best match must have changed etc.

Month 4 another 20 photos and $20 total 80% you only increased earnings by 33% etc.

But each month you increased you monthly earning by the same amount. ie $20 for every 20 photos.


Increasing portfolio size should,(or use to) increase you sales on existing photos as every photo provides a link to your portfolio which may lead to extra sales (especially in subscription sites such as shutterstock)

When you get to 3000-5000 photos the effect of this dies off as you are only increasing the size of your portfolio small % at time.

The effect of image lifetime also needs to be considered somehow.

Doing calculations monthly on small portfolios (in comparison to 3 -8 million total) doesn't really hold much statistical accuracy  as there are to many variables. Overall yearly trends would be better but most contributors would be 3 years or less in this game.



« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2009, 10:22 »
0
Lisa,

 There is a critical mass ( nice term ) in stock and I don't think any math solution will fix it. Look more at what you bring in and how much it has increased. Your income should go up but your RPI will drop by shear number of years your older work has been up outweighing the new work you produce. To keep this from ever occurring you would have to keep doubling your portfolio and that is impossible. If you are still making good money whatever that is, then stay happy that is the goal : )

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2009, 17:07 »
0
...
I tend to think in my case it is less indicative of industry trends, but more a result of my portfolio reaching critical mass (5k) where my uploads represent a smaller and smaller proportion of my total portfolio.

What you're experiencing is called the law of diminishing returns. There are ways of dealing with this, and it might prove profitable for you to investigate how it works and why it's happening to you. You may find that other economic principles are applicable to your situation, too.


Hey there, it's been a while Sharply.  Nice to see you back.

anyhow.. yeah I agree.  Some time we are going to see our old files dropping off faster than we can upload new ones... but I like what Jonathan said - if we are still making good money, that is really what matters.

lisafx

« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2009, 17:39 »
0

anyhow.. yeah I agree.  Some time we are going to see our old files dropping off faster than we can upload new ones... but I like what Jonathan said - if we are still making good money, that is really what matters.

(emphasis mine) Absolutely.  I agree :)

The alternative of trying to keep doubling portfolio is not possible.   

« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2009, 19:01 »
0
Growth. I won't say more.

« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2009, 19:18 »
0
Me:  Small port + very very limited uploading = increasing dollars.  Not increasing by a lot, but it looks like 09 will be 20% higher than 08.

There is a critical mass ( nice term ) in stock and I don't think any math solution will fix it. Look more at what you bring in and how much it has increased. Your income should go up but your RPI will drop by shear number of years your older work has been up outweighing the new work you produce. To keep this from ever occurring you would have to keep doubling your portfolio and that is impossible. If you are still making good money whatever that is, then stay happy that is the goal : )

If we were designers selling our clothing we wouldn't dare have last year's jeans in our boutique.  We might throw a year end sale, change the label for a 2nd party, clear them through an outlet or destroy/donate old and dated inventory.   Sometimes "fire sales" can be very good for business, brings new customers, gives more liquid cash to invest in growth. 

Maybe we photographers need our own "clearing houses" after all.  Dollar bins, Istock subs (eeeekkkk, did I say the S word?), Freebies (ahhhh did I say the F word?)  I really don't mind the dollar bin model for those photos that are gasping their last breaths.  Don't like free, or practically free.

lisafx

« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2009, 19:38 »
0

If we were designers selling our clothing we wouldn't dare have last year's jeans in our boutique.  We might throw a year end sale, change the label for a 2nd party, clear them through an outlet or destroy/donate old and dated inventory.   Sometimes "fire sales" can be very good for business, brings new customers, gives more liquid cash to invest in growth. 

Maybe we photographers need our own "clearing houses" after all.  Dollar bins, Istock subs (eeeekkkk, did I say the S word?), Freebies (ahhhh did I say the F word?)  I really don't mind the dollar bin model for those photos that are gasping their last breaths.  Don't like free, or practically free.

Except designers are selling objects.  Actual concrete inventory.  Retail stores have to clear old inventory to make space for new several times a year on a seasonal basis.

We are selling intellectual property.  Intellectual property doesn't lose value in the same way as objects and can be sold many times, over a span of years. 

And although images do take up server space, each of our portfolios is a virtually insignificant fraction of the collection for any agency.   

On top of that, designers charge a premium for their products.  We are selling licenses for micropayments.  For most shoots it will take some time to recoup expenses and show a profit.

I have no problem with clearing non-selling images after several years like the micros are doing, but I see no benefit to clear images that sell regardless of their age.  Year end clearance sales seem pointless for microstock.   



 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
67 Replies
22308 Views
Last post November 19, 2009, 16:33
by Oldhand
9 Replies
3057 Views
Last post January 15, 2011, 02:33
by jkp
13 Replies
3905 Views
Last post June 06, 2012, 19:36
by [email protected]
1 Replies
868 Views
Last post January 12, 2013, 07:56
by leaf
9 Replies
2190 Views
Last post February 05, 2015, 15:46
by heywoody

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle