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Microstock Photography Forum - General => General Stock Discussion => Topic started by: suz7 on August 07, 2019, 06:10

Title: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: suz7 on August 07, 2019, 06:10
I am self-employed as a signwriter but have been doing  vector and animation stock for extra cash for a few years.

Would so love to do stock full-time but for now it is just a pipe dream that seems to be getting less of a possibility.

How many of you are making a living out of it? I know depends on living costs, but I am just curious if many actually do.
For me, for now, it's a nice extra small income and good to have some creative freedom (and no clients to deal with!).
 :)suz

Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: cathyslife on August 07, 2019, 06:31
proofread your subject line.  ;)  edit: FIXED! 👍
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: SpaceStockFootage on August 07, 2019, 07:45
Me!
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: wollwerth on August 07, 2019, 08:00
Stock generally makes up about half of my income.
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: HalfFull on August 07, 2019, 08:22
I do.
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: Microstock Man on August 07, 2019, 09:35
It's still possible, just harder than it was.
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: tätarätä on August 07, 2019, 12:22
Stock photography is about 4% of my income. Guess its impossible for me to make a living of it.
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: everest on August 07, 2019, 13:35
I still do and have for the last 11 years. Doubt it will be possible in the next 5 years if the trend is heading in the same direction and at the same pace........
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: f9photos on August 07, 2019, 14:54
I do full-time for the last 10 year .
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: k_t_g on August 07, 2019, 16:56
Never! I always saw it as extra par-time equivalent income.
Everyone who qualifies in the creative market and who is honest should have a chance at this.
But these days too much greed on both sides has muddied the waters so to speak so now, I see it as piggy bank money.  ::)
Its like kids at a pinata, or those seagulls in Finding Nemo. Everyone is clamoring for more and repeating "MINE! MINE! MINE!"  The little guy gets squeezed out and gets none in the end.  Just the sad reality of today's world. 😐
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: cascoly on August 07, 2019, 18:51
as a retiree, I get about 20% of total income from stock, but that's declining; I use it to pay for some of my travel
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: marthamarks on August 07, 2019, 21:46
as a retiree, I get about 20% of total income from stock, but that's declining; I use it to pay for some of my travel

Same here. I feel bad for people who have to make a real living doing this.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: increasingdifficulty on August 08, 2019, 01:23
Would so love to do stock full-time but for now it is just a pipe dream that seems to be getting less of a possibility.

I make a good full-time income in an expensive Western country from stock (license fees + other royalties). I can't say I spend 40 hours a week on it though, much less than that most of the time. I guess I'm a bit too lazy... But on the other hand, when inspiration strikes, 12-hour days fly by just like that. It's hard to quantify exactly, and if you count thinking about work, procrastinating and reading forums, yeah, then it might be 40+ hours. ;)

I will say that only a small part of that comes from still images. My advice would be to focus on the most difficult (but of course still commercially viable) areas of stock that you still think are fun. So instead of making a simple 2D illustration that artists can churn out in an hour or less, maybe make a stylized animation that will have much less competition.

There is so much you can sell as stock, and more opportunities turn up all the time as new applications or trends become popular. Spend time on YouTube and other social platforms and see what the content creators are using. More likely than not, they didn't make the graphics/titles/animations/music/sfx/etc. themselves - they used stock media.

I frequently see my stuff being used just browsing YouTube or scrolling down my Facebook feed.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: lark on August 08, 2019, 01:54
I do. I can work long hours in some periods and then I can do nothing for months. I am very satisfied financially at the moment. But what will be in the future - who knows? I feel free and independent. The only disadvantage is working alone at home. I feel very isolated. Not only that it limits my social contacts but most people cannot understand at all what I am doing and I cannot speak with anyone except with my close relatives about my work which is a substantial part of my life. I live in two separate dimensions - one is online in Internet and the other is my real life. And they do not cross each other except in my mind.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: dpimborough on August 08, 2019, 03:46
I do but this last two months have been hard :(

Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: Brightontl on August 08, 2019, 03:54
one is online in Internet and the other is my real life. And they do not cross each other except in my mind.
Real life?
Could you explain me what is it?
:-)
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: suz7 on August 08, 2019, 04:14
proofread your subject line.  ;)
Whoops!
Thanks ;D

Great insights from everyone, thanks for replying.
 "if you count thinking about work, procrastinating and reading forums" hahahaha!
Title: Re: How many of you are dong stock full-time?
Post by: increasingdifficulty on August 08, 2019, 05:04
thanks

Here's an example of what I meant:

Take the "evolution of man" concept and search Shutterstock. On the image/illustration side - thousands and thousands of competing images. This is a concept I imagine would be quite popular in all kinds of situations, but almost any illustrator can quickly make a copy of this idea.

Search the footage side ("evolution man animation"), and what do you know, I find maybe five possible competing clips. FIVE! And they could easily be done much better - I'm thinking walking animated primates with those moving sketch outlines.

And I believe that would be an incredibly useful concept relevant to many content creators.

That was just off the top of my head, and there are thousands of examples like that.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: zsooofija on August 08, 2019, 05:34
I do, more precisely I'd say, stock is the only work that I do for money, but my living costs are super small.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: georgep7 on August 08, 2019, 06:14
I do. I can work long hours in some periods and then I can do nothing for months. I am very satisfied financially at the moment. But what will be in the future - who knows? I feel free and independent. The only disadvantage is working alone at home. I feel very isolated. Not only that it limits my social contacts but most people cannot understand at all what I am doing and I cannot speak with anyone except with my close relatives about my work which is a substantial part of my life. I live in two separate dimensions - one is online in Internet and the other is my real life. And they do not cross each other except in my mind.

There are many people like you.
I like to call them (and me) "digital monks".
The "good" thing is that you can spot and pass all this junk
in both digital and " real" world easier and isolate the harmful people around you.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: wds on August 08, 2019, 21:19
I read the forums full time.  :)
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: AnS on August 09, 2019, 01:33
I will say that only a small part of that comes from still images. My advice would be to focus on the most difficult (but of course still commercially viable) areas of stock that you still think are fun. So instead of making a simple 2D illustration that artists can churn out in an hour or less, maybe make a stylized animation that will have much less competition.

There is so much you can sell as stock, and more opportunities turn up all the time as new applications or trends become popular. Spend time on YouTube and other social platforms and see what the content creators are using. More likely than not, they didn't make the graphics/titles/animations/music/sfx/etc. themselves - they used stock media.

I really like your attitude! Congrats, you seem to adapt and move with the changes of business while still not giving up on having fun! A bit of a role model, to be honest!  :)

May I ask in what program do you work or what do you recommend for graphics/animations?
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: increasingdifficulty on August 09, 2019, 12:09
May I ask in what program do you work or what do you recommend for graphics/animations?

Sure, while animations are not my main focus, I use After Effects mainly for simpler 2D/2.5D stuff and compositing, and Blender + Cinema 4D for pure 3D.

I know After Effects pretty well, but I would consider myself a novice in real 3D work still. I can produce sellable content, but it takes a long time... Learning more every year though. It's important to be curious, creative and open to anything if you want to be able to skip the 9 to 5 in the long run.

And do the opposite of what the "industry pros who have been in this game a long time" tell you. ;)
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: suz7 on August 09, 2019, 12:17
May I ask in what program do you work or what do you recommend for graphics/animations?

Sure, while animations are not my main focus, I use After Effects mainly for simpler 2D/2.5D stuff and compositing, and Blender + Cinema 4D for pure 3D.

I know After Effects pretty well, but I would consider myself a novice in real 3D work still. I can produce sellable content, but it takes a long time... Learning more every year though. It's important to be curious, creative and open to anything if you want to be able to skip the 9 to 5 in the long run.

And do the opposite of what the "industry pros who have been in this game a long time" tell you. ;)

Thanks for taking the time to give some great advice, also very inspiring
(I laughed when you mentioned the procrastinating)
And to everyone else too, interesting to hear how others are doing:)
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: mindstorm on August 09, 2019, 13:09
More to the point... how much do YOU need to live full time?

I know one woman here in town that lives quite comfortably on $800/mo.  If that were me, then I would say I am just a bit shy of being able to go "full time" for an income.

Personally, $10K/mo is more my style.  And no, stock sales are no more than pocket change and the fun of seeing who liked my stuff enough each day to actually put money on it (as opposed to Facebook 'likes'...).

As it happens though, I am retired.  I travel a lot (8 countries on a 6-month trip already this year), and write a travel/photo blog ( www.mindstormphoto.com (http://www.mindstormphoto.com) ).  That is where most of my focus goes.  After the blog is published, I look to see what else might sell, and upload that too.  I am fortunate enough that I saved and invested heavily when working, so now can do this and no longer have to worry about money. As they say, YMMV... :)

And, FWIW, I do not monetize my blog in any way, and have no interest in doing so.  I started writing it for myself, just to help me remember and relive these trips we take. Then "family and friends" started reading it. Now it has roughly 2000 readers (according to Google Analytics).  In other words, another little ego boost, but with no cash attached. :)
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: jonbull on August 09, 2019, 15:26
More to the point... how much do YOU need to live full time?

I know one woman here in town that lives quite comfortably on $800/mo.  If that were me, then I would say I am just a bit shy of being able to go "full time" for an income.

Personally, $10K/mo is more my style.  And no, stock sales are no more than pocket change and the fun of seeing who liked my stuff enough each day to actually put money on it (as opposed to Facebook 'likes'...).

As it happens though, I am retired.  I travel a lot (8 countries on a 6-month trip already this year), and write a travel/photo blog ( [url=http://www.mindstormphoto.com]www.mindstormphoto.com[/url] ([url]http://www.mindstormphoto.com[/url]) ).  That is where most of my focus goes.  After the blog is published, I look to see what else might sell, and upload that too.  I am fortunate enough that I saved and invested heavily when working, so now can do this and no longer have to worry about money. As they say, YMMV... :)

And, FWIW, I do not monetize my blog in any way, and have no interest in doing so.  I started writing it for myself, just to help me remember and relive these trips we take. Then "family and friends" started reading it. Now it has roughly 2000 readers (according to Google Analytics).  In other words, another little ego boost, but with no cash attached. :)


you don't need money but sell photos...if i were so rich to not have any problem of money for my style, stock would be the last way of spend my time.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: mindstorm on August 09, 2019, 15:45
if i were so rich to not have any problem of money for my style, stock would be the last way of spend my time.

Then don't do it.  Simple enough decision.

Apparently, you are not yet retired. How do you plan on spending your time when you are?  I'd bet a month's stock income that whatever you think now will not hold up past the first year (if even that far) into your own retirement...

Create a good workflow, and stock media is not really very much work. No, I probably do not wring every last dime out of my media, but then as you point out, I don't need the cash. I do it to the point the enjoyment of the results is greater than the effort. If that balance ever drops below the break-even point (emotionally), then I will stop submitting.

OTOH, I produced 54 instructional videos (60 to 90 min each) between 1995 and 1999.  Those made a good deal of money when they were new ($10K+ per month).  They are still being sold at Amazon, 20 years after the last one was produced.  I still get about $100/mo from Amazon, and have not even looked at them in over 15 years (about the time I turned them over to a small DVD-on-demand company that was later acquired by Amazon).

Again, not a lot of money, but kinda nice to see that people still actually pay for educational videos this long after I produced them on VHS and sold them from my bedroom (and when I DID need the money)... :)
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: angelawaye on August 10, 2019, 21:07
10K a month is insane to me. I live in New York too.

I use to make a full time income with stock. I'm back to doing web and graphic design projects but around 35-40% is stock.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: foliootter on August 10, 2019, 23:19
it would be pretty difficult to go full time, (not impossible). It would help you have a full time production crew (3-4) people, expert drone operators, tons of models, and money to pay for models and sets.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: jonbull on August 11, 2019, 06:41
it would be pretty difficult to go full time, (not impossible). It would help you have a full time production crew (3-4) people, expert drone operators, tons of models, and money to pay for models and sets.

thats' why most of success producer are from russia or ukraine at the monet...cost of production one fourth of the rest of western world. because to make money now you need shoot model released images with great content, the only files that cannot be found easily free on the web, good luck using unspkash files with people and no release:)....the rest travel food still life nowadays can be easily found in free website without any difficulties, editorial are a niche if you have interesting files, but again a lot of competition. lifestyle with good model, good concept have still a great potential, especially video.
Title: Re: How many of you are doing stock full-time?
Post by: jonbull on August 11, 2019, 06:43
10K a month is insane to me. I live in New York too.

I use to make a full time income with stock. I'm back to doing web and graphic design projects but around 35-40% is stock.

yesterday i shoot an anniversary for a couple, 3 hours, 800 dollar....those are money., i do full time but i work like 4 different photographer, stock documentary fine art with top notch gallery and assignment both commercially and personally. those are full proof for the future in case as i think stock will sink more and more. i especially focus on rich people who not have any problems in fork out 2000 dollar for engagement shooting or 5000 for a wedding.