pancakes

MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Poll

In the lifespan of an image how much (on average) do you exect one to earn

< $10
12 (12.6%)
$10 - $30
18 (18.9%)
$30 - $50
17 (17.9%)
$50 - $80
15 (15.8%)
$80 - $200
33 (34.7%)

Total Members Voted: 84

Author Topic: How much does an image earn in it's lifetime  (Read 11847 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: April 11, 2008, 08:11 »
0
On the average, how much do you expect each image to earn over it's lifetime.

Images which don't have people sell lots less but perhaps will have a longer shelf life.

People pics will date quickly but sell like hotcakes... nonetheless what do you think the average image earnings will be???



« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2008, 10:37 »
0
Wow, that's a difficult question. Do you mean with all agencies or only with one? And some of my images, I hope, will go on and on ... sales dropping off as they age but still selling.

« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2008, 11:19 »
0
LOL, that's a what came first, the chicken or the egg question.

First -  I'm guessing that for most of us only 10 or 20% of most of our photos SELL WELL. 

Compare (just one type of) Rinder to Arcurs.  Rinder's gritty, real, beautiful, leather skined seniors likely sell resonably well, but not like Arcurs beautiful, shining Giselle.  But Rinder's should sell for decades, and Arcur's will be replaced with the next best thing (shot by Arcurs, of course!)

If I look just at my SS port - I have a couple people photos that quickly sold about a few hundred times.  Next I have a nature shot that sells once or twice a day.  Much less slowly, but very consistently.  Every day it's totals get higher, it's passed #2 and now it is on it's way to being my best seller on SS with no immediate sign of sinking.

Not many of my nature photos sell.   But the best ones sell consistently.  An extremely high percentage of the extended license sales I get (likely over 95%) are the nature"ish" photos so they are likely used for calendars and posters and packaging.

So, if I make $300 per year on my one great nature photo - can I predict the future?  It can't go out of style, but it's sales steadily decline as it gets older, but at the same time per-sale commissions should steadily increase as well.  Wouldn't it be nice if it earned $300 per year for the next 10 years?  And won't I be fortunate if I can add a several equal sellers every year?

I'm guessing that good backgrounds and illustrations can enjoy a very long life as well.

Unfortunately, I think that it's inevitable that formats will evolve and our JPEGS will have little value at some point in the not-too-distant future. 

« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2008, 11:34 »
0
This is a great question, and I hope you get some great replies.

As an illustrator, I can say that the pattern of sales of my images over time is somewhat as Pixart describes with photos.

I don't think of myself as an 'artitst' at all, but rather as being in business. I try think of my images as revenue producing assets. They will depreciate over time, but how much? And is there any formula to predict trends for the image types which you describe?

In illustrations, I can presume that trendy styles such as grunge or most abstract image styles will have short earning lifetimes. But how short? And will other styles of image have longer earning-lives, and if so how long? And what will the curve of depreciation look like?

I have a lot of questions. Do others stockers have answers?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2008, 11:44 by michaeldb »

« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2008, 17:06 »
0
i have figured that the amount can be sort of calculated by the $ / pic / year * the number of years it will sell

for easy calculations say a good image sells for $10/year and might sell for 5 years.. that is $50
a boring object that doesnt sell well might make $5/year but could have a shelf life for 10 years... still $50 for that shot....

i think it is  somewhere between $50 - $100 per shot.

« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2008, 18:16 »
0
I took IS+DT+FT+StockXpert.  Calculated current monthly earnings divided by number of images.  That's giving me US$6 a year, on average, per image.  Hopefully I've learnt to create more of the good selling ones and less of the crap ones, but using this number and considering that my older material (2 years old) is selling less, I would expect something like US$25.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 18:51 »
0
I really think that this will vary a lot from contributor to contributor and portfolio to portfolio.

One thing that I think that really matters is the approach one takes to microstock.  For instance, does the contributor take the shotgun approach or the sniper approach (both of those are my terms by the way).

The shotgun approach is basically going out and taking photos and then uploading most of them without any editing.  This approach hopes to make money based on quantity.

The sniper approach is basically going out and taking photos and then choosing only a few shots from a whole shoot, editing them for hours on end and then uploading those few.  This approach hopes to make money based on quality.

Of course there is plenty of middle ground between the two.

But my point is that the shotgun approach will earn less $ per image (on average), while the sniper approach will probably earn more $ per image (on average).

Another variable that will directly affect the $/image is the topic itself.  As we know, nature (usually) doesn't sell well, while model shots (usually) sell great.

Finally, luck is something that comes into play as well.  Whether an image makes it onto the first few pages of a Best Match, or is chosen as an Editor's Choice is a roll of the dice.  I have had images show up at the top of the Best Match and sell like hotcakes, while a few months later the Best Match algorithm changes and the image hardly sells at all.

One thing is for sure - this industry never has a dull moment!

bittersweet

« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2008, 19:50 »
0
I don't think that any answer given by one person will at all apply to someone else. I have several illustrations that have netted over $1000 each. I also have several that have had only one or two downloads over the two years they've been in my portfolio. Does that mean that if I average those five or so files together and divide by 5 that I can tell someone they will average that income? Sure I can tell them that... but if they are foolish enough to believe it, they might come back later and be pretty angry.  :P

How long is a piece of string?

« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2008, 20:35 »
0
I'm not sure what a lifetime is. 10 years perhaps. I had images displayed on sites for 6 months
that only earned a dollar or two, and then I canned them.

Is there anyone on this forum in stock long enough that they were scanning prints to digitize them
and then selling them?  How about instead, we say what we expect to earn over a known set period
of time, say 5 years.

I have an image on IS that was uploaded on 09/27/05 that has earned  $265.29. Another on DT
that was uploaded 11/10/2005 and has earned $95.25. As time moves on, the earnings on those
images has dwindled. Newer images are fast moving up the ladder like those two previous images
did when they were new also.

According to my brief nearly 3 year experience in this field, GOOD images move up at a steady pace
for the first1 1/2 to 2 years and then slowly take a down turn briefly right after.

Another interesting question you might ask yourself is:
If I were to leave my porfolio as it is right
now, and never upload another image again, how long would I continue to earn and for how long, what
I am presently earning at this time.

The MIZ

« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2008, 02:17 »
0
I don't think that any answer given by one person will at all apply to someone else. I have several illustrations that have netted over $1000 each. I also have several that have had only one or two downloads over the two years they've been in my portfolio. Does that mean that if I average those five or so files together and divide by 5 that I can tell someone they will average that income? Sure I can tell them that... but if they are foolish enough to believe it, they might come back later and be pretty angry.  :P

How long is a piece of string?

well i think you CAN do just that yes, but you need a sample size of something considerably larger than 5.  Perhaps 2-3000 images and your sample size starts getting somewhat reliable for your type of images.  Microstock is all about averages.  You cant look at that one image that was unlucky and only earned $1.00 and was used on the cover of a magazine and say this just isnt worth it.  Neither can you look at the one image that has sold thousands of times and has earned $2000 and took 20 seconds to take and think you are going to be a millionaire in a year.
It is the average of the portfolio ( a decent sized portfolio that is) that you have to draw your conclusions from.

« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2008, 02:37 »
0
No idea, not even going to try guessing this one  :P

« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2008, 06:58 »
0
I have an image refused as not being stock and poor lighting (and nowadays I wouldn't have even tried submitting it) but macrostock sales have brought me in over $1000 for it in 12 months.  (most of my macro sales are 'not stock')

as to value in micros, I dont think I could put a figure for a few more years yet :)

bittersweet

« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2008, 08:03 »
0
I don't think that any answer given by one person will at all apply to someone else. I have several illustrations that have netted over $1000 each. I also have several that have had only one or two downloads over the two years they've been in my portfolio. Does that mean that if I average those five or so files together and divide by 5 that I can tell someone they will average that income? Sure I can tell them that... but if they are foolish enough to believe it, they might come back later and be pretty angry.  :P

How long is a piece of string?

well i think you CAN do just that yes, but you need a sample size of something considerably larger than 5.  Perhaps 2-3000 images and your sample size starts getting somewhat reliable for your type of images.  Microstock is all about averages.  You cant look at that one image that was unlucky and only earned $1.00 and was used on the cover of a magazine and say this just isnt worth it.  Neither can you look at the one image that has sold thousands of times and has earned $2000 and took 20 seconds to take and think you are going to be a millionaire in a year.
It is the average of the portfolio ( a decent sized portfolio that is) that you have to draw your conclusions from.


Ahh... okay, I missed the stipulation about the "decent sized portfolio". I will probably never have 2000 images in my portfolio--or anywhere near that. I'm sure that the average income of my portfolio would probably skew the results, so I guess I'm not qualified to answer the question.
Sorry.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 08:48 by bittersweet »

« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2008, 16:44 »
0
well it sounds like your portfolio is producing quite nicely.  300 is not a shabby sample size either...  and it is all hypothetical anyways... i was not trying to be difficult.

« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2008, 20:41 »
0
annoying as it seems, my best selling image is one of a white van I snapped while walking home.

To date that image has earned me $465 in total from all sites.

I reckon $30 would be a realistic result for a lifetime.

graficallyminded

« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2008, 08:35 »
0
I've had single images make several thousand dollars...its all luck of the draw I guess.  Some sell repeatedly like hotcakes, while others lay dormant. 

michealo

« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2008, 10:01 »
0
Well istock paid out $21 million last year (their figures)
I don't have the figures for last year but lets say it was an average of roughly 2 million images in their portfolio from Jan 2007 to Dec 2007 (someone may have a better estimate)
 
so thats about $10 per photo per year on iStock

say you make another $20 per year from other sites (note it may sell well on SS initially but my not continue to do so for so long)

and your image has a 5 year life (its likely that a 12 megapixel image will be small in 2013)

then thats about $150




« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2012, 16:20 »
0
It really is so varied. I have a lot of images that earn about $5-15 a year, a decent number that earn me $40-50/year and then some that have earned me over $200/year and are still selling well a year or two after I uploaded them. (These are all microstock - in traditional stock some never sell and others get licensed for several hundred$ a year, no way to estimate at all).

At this point I think that just about all of my MS images have been licensed at least 1-5x, with a growing percentage (about 10%) being licensed several times a week. Some of my images have been licensed over 70 times in a year but only earn me about $35-40/year because they are all small DLs or subscriptions, while others will be downloaded about half as much but will have a number of ELs and single image sales add up to far more.

I've only been at this for a couple of years part time with a small portfolio, but it's a question I've been trying to answer by tracking my sales and trying to concentrate on the types of images that earn me the most. My understanding is that images have a 5 year average shelf life, but like some people here I find that my nature and nature/travel images sell consistently and after 2-3 years they keep selling at the same pace. So, those kinds of images I'd expect to earn me around $1,000 average (some probably a lot more than that, and some less) in their lifetime on the micros, and possibly more for those that are 16 MP and will be large enough to use for most applications even as megapixels keep growing. The web will never need very large photos and most of these end up in online travel magazines or in the magazines themselves, not on billboards. If they keep selling for 20 years, they can earn me even more, but who know how technology will change. If people want interactive photos 10 years from now, they'll  not be worth much as stock, but they'll still make nice prints, which earn me a lot more than stock per sale, but are far less frequent.

My top 5 or so grunge and blur backgrounds are making me about $75-100+/year each - though my top seller may end up earning me more this year - too early to tell; the less frequent sellers maybe earn me $20/year.  I assume a year or two from now that trend will be out and they will have few if any sales, so I'd expect that in their lifetime, averaging the good sellers and the rest together, assuming a lifespan of 3 years with diminishing sales over time, I'll maybe average $100 per image over its lifespan. They'll be useless when the trend dies, but they were fun experiments and the light blur sales have paid for my lensbaby already.

Looking at these trends helps me decide which types of images it's worthwhile to shoot, and looking at sales across all venues helps me determine whether things such as a trip will pay for itself and how long before I actually turn a profit on the trip. I also like shutterstock's catalog idea. That's a great way to see what I average for a particular type of shoot which is probably more instructive than what I average per image. 8-10 sales a year at $28 dollars is better than 70 sales @ 33 cents, so the photo in the number two slot for # of DLs may earn more than the # 1 slot, and may keep earning for longer.

rubyroo

« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 16:24 »
0
Crikey, I thought those poll amounts were incredibly low, and just realised this is an old thread!

velocicarpo

« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2012, 16:26 »
0
Incredibly difficult to answer....some images earned thousands and I never expected them to be best sellers. Others just earn 10 bucks and I thought I was a genius after shooting :D . It depends to on the amount of "Similars" I upload from one shooting which distributes the success of an concept over more than one or two units...

« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2012, 16:28 »
0
Old but interesting thread. It's difficult to predict as I'm not sure what's the lifespan of microstock.

rubyroo

« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2012, 16:32 »
0
Yes an interesting poll - but the top number is too low.  If it was done again with some higher ranges at the top end, I'd participate in the vote.

« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2012, 16:53 »
0
I voted for $50 - $80. I wan't to be a bit pessimistic in my estimate, that way I won't get dissappointed :)
My images have already earned over $40 per image, And I expect them to earn more.
But it's very difficult to predict the "shelf life" of images. I have images from 2004 that sells (not often, but it happens!).

edit: I just noticed this thread is very old!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 16:56 by Perry »

RacePhoto

« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2012, 16:00 »
0
Crikey, I thought those poll amounts were incredibly low, and just realised this is an old thread!


Yeah, when I got to the reply from TheMiz I looked at the date. Oh Boy 2008. Now there's a place to find an answer? Whoever has the MIZ account and is probably not adding anything new, I'd wonder how that's doing after 3-4 years? I'm also not expecting a direct answer. But it would be interesting as a real example?

RJMIZ on DT:  http://www.dreamstime.com/rjmiz_info
Joined: July 12, 2005
Rjmiz's account statistics:
Uploaded files:    1,109
Total sales:   13,840
Downloads per image:    12.48

Hypothetical 50c per download (hey I had to pick a number, pick any number...)  $6.50 per image after seven years. Come back in a year and see what the numbers are?

« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2012, 16:08 »
0
His numbers would be a whole lot higher than .50 per download because of the levels that many of his images must have reached to have an average of 12 downloads. Probably a lot of level 3,4 and even 5 images balancing out the slow sellers. The RPD on those images would be pretty high by now. You're right though, even at $.50 thats a pretty good return for not much effort in the last 3-4 years.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
4926 Views
Last post February 04, 2010, 01:59
by leaf
29 Replies
10267 Views
Last post November 04, 2010, 13:13
by Artemis
7 Replies
3184 Views
Last post January 07, 2016, 03:26
by MxR
34 Replies
8562 Views
Last post October 14, 2018, 03:16
by increasingdifficulty
45 Replies
10586 Views
Last post February 09, 2019, 17:31
by fotoroad

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle