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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 11853 times)

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gillian vann

  • *Gillian*
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2012, 18:36 »
We've all got different business/personal costs so it's probably hard to quantify. It depends on whether we're here as f/t or part-timers too? I have a real photography business (with a studio + rent to pay) so stock is something I do as a by product, not my main focus.

I always see my images as "owing" me a certain amount before they are in profit.  Usually if I do a job that's underpaying I take a few stock images and expect those images to pick up the difference (eventually).  My daughter's trip to the optometrist cost me @$250, so those 6 images "owe" me that much just to break even.  Same with travel photos, I always see them as "owing" me a certain % of the trip costs.

Those images you literally snap in a 2 seconds whilst out for coffee with friends, they owe me nothing (or maybe $4 for the coffee!) and are often my favourites cos they are in the profit zone from day one.  Ditto for images that I've already been paid for, they've earned their keep already.

So after they've paid me back I still want my images to give me $100 profit. Or if they just pay the rent I'd be happy! That's probably my future goal for my stock.


« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2012, 01:23 »
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.

Yeah I know that I don't know:D

Unless someone posts the earnings, I just went at it from average sale, We could say $1 a sale and then it's $13 an image over seven years.

The question was, what does an image, on average, earn lifetime. Is somewhere between $5 and $10 a fair guess for seven years?

We're getting into that place that I don't agree with, because it's an average and doesn't take into account, "what image" or who made it. RPI is a nefarious statistic. And if we had a poll of RPD  ;) for DT, then we could see what this nice example might represent. I didn't just pick on The Miz because he's passed on, but more because 1000 images from someone who's pretty good, is a nice example, and he's not changing things, it's a fixed number that can be documented now and then checked in a year. Kind of what people were asking about... the lifetime of an image?

If it was 1000 of my Crapstock for the same period I can promise you, the sales would be much less than 50c per image per year. This is the flaw with averages in a creative effort. Some people are better and some people don't really have marketable products, even if they are acceptable to the agency.

I'm not saying I have the precise answer, just pointing out that here's something that points to the answer, without being a dynamic and changing portfolio.

« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2012, 04:37 »
I expect an average of 500 USD per image.
The illustrations I make, need time.

« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2012, 04:52 »
I expect $.12 per day from each image.  When I started several years ago, I was seeing more like $.09 per day per image, and that has increased gradually to $.12/day as I added more agencies to the mix and became better at figuring what buyers want and sharpened my skills. 

Many of my pics from the beginning still sell well, and I believe they'll outlive this arbitrary "5 year shelf life" number that people are throwing around.  But if I use that 5-year number for the sake of argument, that comes out to .12/day x 365 days/year x 5 years = $219/image.

« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2012, 05:10 »
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?

I would say at least 1$

« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2012, 05:21 »
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.

You're scaring me.


« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2012, 05:53 »
Don't be scared!  :D

I'm basing this on my best sellers, which made considerably more than the top figure listed in a matter of months.   The success of those images led me to change my strategy, as I started to figure out what worked best for me.  

Of course I have older images (pre-revelation) that don't make as much, but in time I'll replace all those shots with  ones that are more in tune with the way I think and work now.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 06:04 by rubyroo »

« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2012, 06:03 »
Ah, OK, I thought the figure was an average of the total uploads. And since I am too stubborn to chase maximisation of earnings, I suppose I shouldn't be jealous, either. On the other hand, I have got some super Mediterranean flower shots that probably won't make anything, while I've been wandering cheerfully around Crete for the last month or so.

I found a fabulous colony of orchids in a gorge yesterday.

Nothing beats commissions that let you live whatever life you choose.


« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2012, 06:07 »
Well actually now I'm envious of you  :)


« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2012, 06:21 »
True monthly RPI of 3.2-3.6 (all images uploaded to anywhere at all divided by total monthly income) so I guess lifetime earnings per image will be (how many months till I die or take down all my images or RPI drops; not sure how to calculate image's lifetime?) x (3.2 to 3.6)

« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2012, 12:16 »
Don't be scared!  :D

I'm basing this on my best sellers, which made considerably more than the top figure listed in a matter of months.   The success of those images led me to change my strategy, as I started to figure out what worked best for me.  

Of course I have older images (pre-revelation) that don't make as much, but in time I'll replace all those shots with  ones that are more in tune with the way I think and work now.

but that distorts the poll - it wasnt a poll of how your best images perform, but what to expect from ANY image -- so all those non-sellers need to be included in any calculation

that's why the RPI itself is not very useful - what's more important to me, is the income earned from the portfolio - i dont really care how any individual image performs, since that's out of my hands - even within an agency it will depend on the type of license, size bought, etc.

« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2012, 12:20 »
another factor that warps any caluclation is figuring the lifetime of an image -  my microstock portfolio includes many scanned slides that previously were part of getty and corbis collections from mid 70's to late 90's and now sell as MS


« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2012, 12:24 »
The way the question is written it seems to relate to 'an' image and our expectation.

As my returns have increased so considerably since changing my manner of working and shooting, I expect any image from the point of that change forward to garner similar or better returns.  AFAIC, what happened before that point is fairly redundant in terms of my expectations at this point.

Sorry if I misunderstood the question, but I didn't see anything in there relating to the averaging of a whole portfolio.

I haven't distorted the poll though, because I didn't vote.


« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2012, 14:50 »
I read it as referring to how much you expect the average image to make, otherwise which specific image are we talking about? my worst performer or my best? my best has bought me over $4000 on IStock alone, probably 3X + that in total, my worst nothing in 5 years.


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