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Author Topic: Is it too late for me to start?  (Read 3429 times)

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« on: April 09, 2022, 15:50 »
0
I've been lurking in this forum for a while now, and it was very depressing lol.
It seems like the microstock market is a sinking ship, and I was really serious about starting to upload some of my art, but I don't know anymore.
Maybe people only post when they are unhappy and want to complain and successful people are silent lol. Can anyone tell some recent success story?


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2022, 11:09 »
+4
I've been lurking in this forum for a while now, and it was very depressing lol.
It seems like the microstock market is a sinking ship, and I was really serious about starting to upload some of my art, but I don't know anymore.
Maybe people only post when they are unhappy and want to complain and successful people are silent lol. Can anyone tell some recent success story?

Even though you just asked the same question yesterday I'll give a brief history of why I think this drop in value and lower earnings has happened. Using Shutterstock as the example.

2006 = 1 million images
2009 = 6 million images
2010 = 10 million images
2012 = 20 million images
2014 = 40 million images
2016 = 80 million images
2017 = 160 million images
2020 = 320 million images
2021 = 340 million images



More than free images, more than lower commissions, more than anything else, we get less money for less downloads and have more competition.

We are in the business of selling a commodity, in most cases. Some people who offer unusually high quality or unusual in demand images are still doing well. If you are producing Microstock, common over produced shots, subjects and concepts, you won't make as much now as everyone else made in 2010.

The market and the whole business has changed. Adapt or perish.

« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2022, 11:38 »
+2
You can still make money if you make quality images/templates/illustrations.
I would say the majority cannot rely on this market to survive, it has become a 'side thing', especially when you compare how things were before.
You shouldn't be discouraged, but do other stuff on the side, maybe freelancing, YouTube etc.. (Which are saturated as well, but I think you have a bigger chance at succeeding and making good money).

farbled

« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2022, 12:11 »
+2
I think there is still money on the table. Just depends on your expectations really. I have been in micro since 2005ish, mostly with food and minerals. Income steadily decreased over time and I stopped taking photos in 2018 for many reasons.

About a year and a half ago, I pulled all my work from every stock site (about 12k photos), then uploaded 6500 to Wirestock without any restrictions. Then I simply sat back and forgot about it. Doing it this way took away all my stressing, and interestingly, took away all the history of my images (best sellers, etc) since they are basically "new" with Wirestock.

So for a "new" contributor, I make anywhere between 0 and 80 dollars a day. If you average it out, maybe 6-8 bucks a day. That doesn't count the thousand or so I pulled with Instant pay.  Remember, I have done nothing in almost 4 years.

If you've already done all the work, its just free money. If you do the research and planning that some other successful people here do, you can make a lot more.

my portfolio: wirestock dot io/terry.davis1/portfolio

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2022, 13:49 »
0
I'll say what I posted in other thread:   First and foremost you must enjoy photography and not do it only for monetization purposes.  Otherwise you will just end up frustrated.  And yes, like others said, there is still $$ to be made; demand has not decreased. You only need different strategy;  expecting "sales" from micros that pay 10 cents or 15% only means devaluing your own work.


farbled

« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2022, 14:31 »
0
I'll say what I posted in other thread:   First and foremost you must enjoy photography and not do it only for monetization purposes.  Otherwise you will just end up frustrated.  And yes, like others said, there is still $$ to be made; demand has not decreased. You only need different strategy;  expecting "sales" from micros that pay 10 cents or 15% only means devaluing your own work.

Pretty much this. If I had to start from scratch today I wouldn't do it at all, or at least I wouldn't go micro. If you have an existing body of work and just want some free money, go for it. I personally wouldn't create anything new for it, since the returns don't equal the effort for me.

Also depends on the OP's level of creativity and ability. Not all stock is equal, and I think the vast majority is overvalued at 10 cents (including some of my own). :)

« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2022, 14:42 »
0
I've been lurking in this forum for a while now, and it was very depressing lol.
It seems like the microstock market is a sinking ship, and I was really serious about starting to upload some of my art, but I don't know anymore.
Maybe people only post when they are unhappy and want to complain and successful people are silent lol. Can anyone tell some recent success story?

Yes, it is as you write: There used to be more money to be made.

But to answer your question: Even if it's not as much for me as it used to be, there's still money coming in. I have hardly uploaded anything in the past two years, but it's still worth it. It's still an interesting extra income that I wouldn't want to miss.

What I can't judge, however, is whether it's worth it for someone who starts today. Because I am more than 10 years in and am therefore certainly an advantaged situation.

« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2022, 15:48 »
0






Nice graphic. It sums up the history very well.

« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2022, 16:01 »
+1


2006 = 1 million images
2009 = 6 million images
2010 = 10 million images
2012 = 20 million images
2014 = 40 million images
2016 = 80 million images
2017 = 160 million images
2020 = 320 million images
2021 = 340 million images



Holy cow!! Interesting history, Pete. Yeah, I started when it was only 20 million, and was told that there was too much competition back then. lol

2017 was interesting. That was the year that they decided to go for the biggest database. Lowered the acceptance rate from 7/10 to 1, lowered the review standard - and doubled their database!

Also around that time, cell phones started producing bigger and better cameras.

Now they have tightened up their review standards, a lot of people left or stopped uploading because of the 10c rates - and numbers have eased back a bit.


As for OP question: Yeah, money can still be made, but you've got to know what you are doing. Its a lot more than just: lets take a photo and upload it to see if it sells. I mean a person can, but I don't know how much money there is in just doing that.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2022, 16:06 by Annie »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2022, 16:38 »
+2
I've been lurking in this forum for a while now, and it was very depressing lol.
It seems like the microstock market is a sinking ship, and I was really serious about starting to upload some of my art, but I don't know anymore.
Maybe people only post when they are unhappy and want to complain and successful people are silent lol. Can anyone tell some recent success story?
You mention your 'art'.
Stock and art are not the same thing, and you might be better served looking at some art selling sites.
(That said, there have been people posting here specifically asking about outlets for their "Fine Art Photography", which was anything but.)

« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2022, 21:55 »
0
I think there is still money on the table. Just depends on your expectations really. I have been in micro since 2005ish, mostly with food and minerals. Income steadily decreased over time and I stopped taking photos in 2018 for many reasons.

About a year and a half ago, I pulled all my work from every stock site (about 12k photos), then uploaded 6500 to Wirestock without any restrictions. Then I simply sat back and forgot about it. Doing it this way took away all my stressing, and interestingly, took away all the history of my images (best sellers, etc) since they are basically "new" with Wirestock.

So for a "new" contributor, I make anywhere between 0 and 80 dollars a day. If you average it out, maybe 6-8 bucks a day. That doesn't count the thousand or so I pulled with Instant pay.  Remember, I have done nothing in almost 4 years.

If you've already done all the work, its just free money. If you do the research and planning that some other successful people here do, you can make a lot more.

my portfolio: wirestock dot io/terry.davis1/portfolio

Nice mineral pics. (in a previous life I was a geologist). I have a few mineral images that never sold much, and a few rock pics that have sold a bit better but not well. I wonder if going the wirestock route was better or worse than just letting everything ride. Probably less work total with wirestock though.

I started in 2006, but really started uploading a little more seriously in 2007. For me, 2010 or whenever it was Istock/Getty changed was the end of them and 2012 was the high point overall. I quit SS when they went 10 cent and my income there dropped in half again. I still collect $ and upload from time to time but mostly images I am taking anyway or something I just see when I am out with my camera. I very rarely actually set up and take pics just for micro anymore.

I certainly wouldn't be getting into this if I was starting now although there is still money to be made. Demand is as high as ever, but nowhere near the supply. Not only are sales much less in number, but the compensation is much lower than it was in the 2008 or so to 2017 time period.

I think with the skills and work required to do well now you could do much better with something else.

« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2022, 22:02 »
+1
If youve already got a good quality camera, try it out and see how it goes, but I dont know that Id spend the money to buy one new. The autofocus in my DSLR is dying and Im not sure it makes sense to spend the money to get a new one. But I definitely appreciate the passive income from what Ive already taken.

« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2022, 01:55 »
+1
It's fine. People have been saying the same thing since 2006. If you work hard there's still money to be made. The rate of growth of libraries is much smaller now than it was. They were doubling every year, now it isnt even 10%. The older images arent getting any views anyway.

I still see steady income growth when I work consistently, only dropping off when I have to work less for long periods due to personal circumstances. But I am protective of my work and don't give away images, especially my latest work, to low paying sites.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2022, 02:03 by Justanotherphotographer »

« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2022, 03:22 »
+2
I have an inspirational post on this forum specifically for newcomers you might like to look at for motivation.... 

Yes, you can make up to 10 cents a day in the Microstock industry
https://www.microstockgroup.com/general-stock-discussion/yes-you-can-make-up-to-10-cents-a-day-in-the-microstock-industry/msg572848/#msg572848

JaenStock

  • Bad images can sell.
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2022, 04:32 »
+3
No, forget it.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2022, 05:57 »
+1
Difficult to say whether you should try or not. What's your niche? If you don't have one, you'll probably struggle as a generalist.

I'm on my way out of microstock, after some 8 years as it's become rather pointless for me, both financially (all my earnings are public on my blog) and emotionally. But I'm grateful as uploading to micros during all these years have pushed me towards creating book covers which is something I quite enjoy and there's $ to be made with quality content.

Oh, have also recently purchased a drone and even though I'll upload the content soon to the usual suspects (after getting all the compliance out of the way and learning how to use it), I'll soon try to find specialist agencies that will pay what the clips are/should be worth.

Best advice is: don't quit your day-job for this business!

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2022, 08:53 »
+3
Hard to say without seeing your work and how much you're expecting to earn. The fact you mentioned art would already suggest you should be looking elsewhere like Zazzle, Redbubble, and the other bazillion POD/Art sites.

Return Per Image Per Month (RPIPM) on micro has fallen off a cliff. Back in the good old days I was earning $2 per image per month. So if I had a 1,000 image portfolio I would make $2,000 per month, 2,000 images would be $4,000, etc. Now I earn a small fraction of that and dont bother submitting new work because it would be an unprofitable waste of time. I've seen people posting here earning $100 per month from 10,000 images which is a 1 cent RPIPM. With no offense intended, that's an incredible amount of work for extremely low return. I'm sure some people do better than that but a small fraction.



Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2022, 09:57 »
0

Best advice is: don't quit your day-job for this business!

Yes and anyone should try and have some fun and see. I can't say what will sell or work for someone else, we all do fairly different subjects and have different interests.

So for the answer to the OP and anyone else, it's never too late to try and see. Also what others have added, finding the right market for your work makes a difference as well.

If someone expects things to be what they were or come back to the early years, don't get your hopes up, that's history and gone forever.  There is no easy money anymore and the payback is less and less for more and more time and effort.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2022, 10:06 »
0


2006 = 1 million images
2009 = 6 million images
2010 = 10 million images
2012 = 20 million images
2014 = 40 million images
2016 = 80 million images
2017 = 160 million images
2020 = 320 million images
2021 = 340 million images



Holy cow!! Interesting history, Pete. Yeah, I started when it was only 20 million, and was told that there was too much competition back then. lol

2017 was interesting. That was the year that they decided to go for the biggest database. Lowered the acceptance rate from 7/10 to 1, lowered the review standard - and doubled their database!

Also around that time, cell phones started producing bigger and better cameras.

Now they have tightened up their review standards, a lot of people left or stopped uploading because of the 10c rates - and numbers have eased back a bit.


As for OP question: Yeah, money can still be made, but you've got to know what you are doing. Its a lot more than just: lets take a photo and upload it to see if it sells. I mean a person can, but I don't know how much money there is in just doing that.

A number of people have pointed out that the number of images, (add in my tracking, doubling every two years), it was impossible to keep up with. Without all the in between numbers, in 2010 there were 10 million images on SS and many other had similar numbers. We could be found and see and there were not 100,000 of some subjects for the same search.

By 2020 there are 320 million. Maybe 32 times more competition doesn't seem huge, it's really not that kind of easy numbers. I see it as 10 million images and now 319 million MORE! Anything popular was over saturated with good images.

The demand is still going up, but once again, the growth of that demand was huge in the early years and now, demand is leveling off without the same rate of climb.

Another negative is, the expenses for the agencies have not really gone up during that time. We're the expense and the only way they can keep making more and more money is to pay us less.

I see it as, more competition, leveling off of demand and low commissions on less sales. Not much future in that for a starting artist. Not a great future for long time artists either, but I still get something back and I still have fun, so I stay with the top agencies.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2022, 10:18 »
0

graphic removed it's a waste of space


Nice graphic. It sums up the history very well.

Thank You

It could have been better with a third line, curved from the base, slowly arching up to the middle and only gradually increasing from that. That's a total assumption on my part, but lets say demand rose equally along with competition (supply), until 2016 at which time it leveled off. The competition keeps climbing at a higher rate.

That's an imaginary point where Supply / Demand / and value all intersected. It's there as Equilibrium. That point could have been 2012 or 2018, specifics don't matter. The graphic represents that at some time, everything was equal and working for us.

Ever since then, Value has dropped and Supply has skyrocketed and demand is slowing down, but still growing.

farbled

« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2022, 12:34 »
+1

Thank You

It could have been better with a third line, curved from the base, slowly arching up to the middle and only gradually increasing from that. That's a total assumption on my part, but lets say demand rose equally along with competition (supply), until 2016 at which time it leveled off. The competition keeps climbing at a higher rate.

That's an imaginary point where Supply / Demand / and value all intersected. It's there as Equilibrium. That point could have been 2012 or 2018, specifics don't matter. The graphic represents that at some time, everything was equal and working for us.

Ever since then, Value has dropped and Supply has skyrocketed and demand is slowing down, but still growing.

I don't think I've ever looked at it according to library size. I leave that to the corporations where it matters to them. For me, its like saying I can't sell a tube of toothpaste at Walmart because they have 3 million products on all the shelves.

I only ever looked at how many specific items there were to compete against within my niche. then comes the quality question, specificity (I shoot food and finding the exact image you need can still be a real challenge), and then useability. Not every image is used for an article for example.

For the OP, it is different for everyone according to their work ethic, talent, and subjects to see whether its worthwhile. Just my opinion, there is always more than one way to be successful here.

« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2022, 13:28 »
+1
The answer to your thread title is Yes, unless you own a yet undiscovered niche and are an excellent artist. But if that was true, you didnt need the stock biz.

« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2022, 13:58 »
0

Nice graphic. It sums up the history very well.

Thank You

It could have been better with a third line, curved from the base, slowly arching up to the middle and only gradually increasing from that. That's a total assumption on my part, but lets say demand rose equally along with competition (supply), until 2016 at which time it leveled off. The competition keeps climbing at a higher rate.

That's an imaginary point where Supply / Demand / and value all intersected. It's there as Equilibrium. That point could have been 2012 or 2018, specifics don't matter. The graphic represents that at some time, everything was equal and working for us.

Ever since then, Value has dropped and Supply has skyrocketed and demand is slowing down, but still growing.

Understood on all counts.

« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2022, 15:57 »
0

Thank You

It could have been better with a third line, curved from the base, slowly arching up to the middle and only gradually increasing from that. That's a total assumption on my part, but lets say demand rose equally along with competition (supply), until 2016 at which time it leveled off. The competition keeps climbing at a higher rate.

That's an imaginary point where Supply / Demand / and value all intersected. It's there as Equilibrium. That point could have been 2012 or 2018, specifics don't matter. The graphic represents that at some time, everything was equal and working for us.

Ever since then, Value has dropped and Supply has skyrocketed and demand is slowing down, but still growing.

I don't think I've ever looked at it according to library size. I leave that to the corporations where it matters to them. For me, its like saying I can't sell a tube of toothpaste at Walmart because they have 3 million products on all the shelves.

I only ever looked at how many specific items there were to compete against within my niche. then comes the quality question, specificity (I shoot food and finding the exact image you need can still be a real challenge), and then useability. Not every image is used for an article for example.

For the OP, it is different for everyone according to their work ethic, talent, and subjects to see whether its worthwhile. Just my opinion, there is always more than one way to be successful here.

I agree. I've always said, you are not competing with the whole database - you are only competing with those who share the same keywords as you.

farbled

« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2022, 16:05 »
0
I agree. I've always said, you are not competing with the whole database - you are only competing with those who share the same keywords as you.

If Annie agrees with me, then I know I'm on the right track. ;) She is a real expert when it comes to this stuff, I am and always have been a hobbyist.


 

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