MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: Is it too late for me to start?  (Read 3427 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2022, 06:12 »
+5
*warning, may lead to depression*

Published yesterday an interview on my blog with Mark Rozitis, Editorial Stock Footage Contributor, who was consistently earning about $4-5k/month in 2018 with regular sales on both Pond5 and SS and is now earning just 10% of that after 3 years.

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2022/04/11/interview-with-mark-rozitis-editorial-stock-footage-contributor/

Interview includes interesting insight on why sales have dropped.


« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2022, 06:30 »
+1
I hate to say it, because it sucks for all the talented contributors out there who have invested so much work and cash pivoting to video, investing in video was a bad call. Prices were good and falling fast. There was no way to know where theyd bottom out so no way to make even an educated guess on possible payback.

« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2022, 06:52 »
0
If it is over for video then I don't see any future with images either. The interview was an interesting read. I sometimes wonder how Doug Jensen is doing these days as he made good dollars just on Shutterstock alone.   

« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2022, 07:31 »
0
If it is over for video then I don't see any future with images either. The interview was an interesting read. I sometimes wonder how Doug Jensen is doing these days as he made good dollars just on Shutterstock alone.
I mean, stills market is relatively mature and stable compared to video. RPD also increased for something like 4 years with the advent of micro then pretty much levelled out. Video has been plummeting.

« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2022, 08:25 »
+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.

Just got my 7Dm2 back from Canon repair for erratic and soft autofocus. My inside tests yesterday seemed to indicate the internal adjustments made by Canon repair have worked. I need to go outside for some shooting to confirm. Shipping and repairs ended up being under $200 and turnaround was 6 days (using 2 day shipping each direction). My camera body was bought in 2015 and I would love to upgrade, but as you say, the cost of a new body is very hard to justify on my stock photo incomes in 2022. Back in 2010, with the income of those years, I would have pulled the upgrade trigger in a heartbeat. I've been shooting for stock, hobby/part time,  since 2002. Consider repairs to your camera if you can't justify a new purchase.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2022, 08:31 by StanRohrer »

« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2022, 08:34 »
+1
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?

The longer you wait the less sense it makes. Just go do it today and see how it goes for you from there.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2022, 08:46 »
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.

I can agree with both of you, but the point is in relative numbers, your competition has grown exponentially no matter what niche you shoot? Sure compare apples to apple, or cream tarts to the same, or pictures of birds, bugs, cheeseburgers or anything else, to your own. All have grown and all the competition has grown, unless you shoot something that no one else can make?

So it's not as simple as the whole database. The whole database reflects on the situation. Especially if you shoot anything that's marketable and popular, which is driving more people to create, more competition.

But if you have the numbers, please show me how many shots of chicken dinner you had in 2016 vs the competition and then how many shots of (plop and shoot)  :) chicken dinner you have now, for the same dinner, vs the competition. If you had ten and they had 100, now you'll have 100 and they will have 32,000

But sure, compare your market to your specific competition, that is a reasonable viewpoint. I'm not competing my Motorsports against Birdwatching.  ;)

farbled

« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2022, 10:37 »
+1
I can agree with both of you, but the point is in relative numbers, your competition has grown exponentially no matter what niche you shoot? Sure compare apples to apple, or cream tarts to the same, or pictures of birds, bugs, cheeseburgers or anything else, to your own. All have grown and all the competition has grown, unless you shoot something that no one else can make?

So it's not as simple as the whole database. The whole database reflects on the situation. Especially if you shoot anything that's marketable and popular, which is driving more people to create, more competition.

But if you have the numbers, please show me how many shots of chicken dinner you had in 2016 vs the competition and then how many shots of (plop and shoot)  :) chicken dinner you have now, for the same dinner, vs the competition. If you had ten and they had 100, now you'll have 100 and they will have 32,000

But sure, compare your market to your specific competition, that is a reasonable viewpoint. I'm not competing my Motorsports against Birdwatching.  ;)

Yup, comparing within my own niche is far more accurate (for me) than comparing to the entire industry or an agency library. As I said though, I am no longer producing work, and going all-in with Wirestock means I don't sweat the stats and I haven't seen any huge increase in my kind of food photography when I go look. Interestingly, my same best sellers from before are still bestsellers even though they are "new" with WS.

The other thing is, the complexity of individual subjects cannot easily be summed up under one or two keys (IMHO). Your chicken dinner example, if all I am going by are the keys "chicken dinner" then yes, you are correct. If I did "low carb chicken dinner, take-out" because of the food truck craze a few years ago, and shot vertical for phone ads and groupons (which were huge for me), there are less than 300, and not many are relevant for that market. Pretty easy to recoup costs and make a tidy profit. Do they sell today? Probably not as much. :)

At the end of the day though, I believe that unless you're one of those who do the research and treat it like a job, then its not worth shooting and uploading anything that has a cost to it beyond what you've already invested in gear. Models, travel, etc... nope. No way I could recoup that cost in a reasonable amount of time.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2022, 11:37 »
+1
I can agree with both of you, but the point is in relative numbers, your competition has grown exponentially no matter what niche you shoot? Sure compare apples to apple, or cream tarts to the same, or pictures of birds, bugs, cheeseburgers or anything else, to your own. All have grown and all the competition has grown, unless you shoot something that no one else can make?

So it's not as simple as the whole database. The whole database reflects on the situation. Especially if you shoot anything that's marketable and popular, which is driving more people to create, more competition.

But if you have the numbers, please show me how many shots of chicken dinner you had in 2016 vs the competition and then how many shots of (plop and shoot)  :) chicken dinner you have now, for the same dinner, vs the competition. If you had ten and they had 100, now you'll have 100 and they will have 32,000

But sure, compare your market to your specific competition, that is a reasonable viewpoint. I'm not competing my Motorsports against Birdwatching.  ;)

Yup, comparing within my own niche is far more accurate (for me) than comparing to the entire industry or an agency library. As I said though, I am no longer producing work, and going all-in with Wirestock means I don't sweat the stats and I haven't seen any huge increase in my kind of food photography when I go look. Interestingly, my same best sellers from before are still bestsellers even though they are "new" with WS.

The other thing is, the complexity of individual subjects cannot easily be summed up under one or two keys (IMHO). Your chicken dinner example, if all I am going by are the keys "chicken dinner" then yes, you are correct. If I did "low carb chicken dinner, take-out" because of the food truck craze a few years ago, and shot vertical for phone ads and groupons (which were huge for me), there are less than 300, and not many are relevant for that market. Pretty easy to recoup costs and make a tidy profit. Do they sell today? Probably not as much. :)

At the end of the day though, I believe that unless you're one of those who do the research and treat it like a job, then its not worth shooting and uploading anything that has a cost to it beyond what you've already invested in gear. Models, travel, etc... nope. No way I could recoup that cost in a reasonable amount of time.

Yes, so many good points. Interesting that the same best sellers are the same. I find that across agencies, even thought different subjects sell or different types do better or worse, "best selling" tends to be the same images, everywhere. Of course for me, everywhere is becoming a smaller and smaller group of places.

I've always contended that when people investigate a search term, two words isn't enough. Any realistic buyer will not search for (since I started this random example) Chicken Dinner. They are going to look for baked, fried, BBQ or something more specific. Chicken Marsala Dinner... and here again that whole long tail search objective?

1,060 chicken marsala dinner - I'm page 4, 189 chicken marsala dinner wooden (because it has a wood background) page 1, 45 chicken marsala dinner wooden tomato I'm of course on page one. That's because there are some recipes that call for tomato sauce. By the way, 1,400,224 chicken dinner. HA, impossible to think anyone without the specifics of their image, will ever be seen at all.

Hopeless... 12,235 bbq whole chicken grill but 367 bbq whole chicken grill orange, better chance of being seen. And I'll add that on SS nearly everyone uses the same suggestion tool which means almost everything has the same keywords.

Anyway, the Chicken Marsala is one of my earliest images. I snapped it at work, on a black table and added the distressed wood later. I've made more from shooting my lunch at a restaurant, before I eat the sandwich.  :) I was at a hotel bar and some girl came up, because I was playing with lights and food on a back table, "here take a photo of my beer". It wasn't the best, not enough head in my opinion, but OK, so I snapped it.  18DL $7.99 3/14/11

 You are the King of plop and shoot, but I'm catching up with, see it shoot it... eat it or drink it.

See red above.

To each their own and for evaluations, to each what they create. I agree with you and Annie

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.
I dont much care where said Alice.
Then it doesnt matter which way you go, said the Cat.


Sounds right enough?

farbled

« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2022, 11:42 »
0
But if you have the numbers, please show me how many shots of chicken dinner you had in 2016 vs the competition and then how many shots of (plop and shoot)  :) chicken dinner you have now, for the same dinner, vs the competition. If you had ten and they had 100, now you'll have 100 and they will have 32,000

Sorry to the OP for the digression, but I was bored and decided to look. It is so simple to find uncovered topics, even in a popular subject like food. I did a quick look at "fries with gravy" on SS, and there are only 3 relevant photos on page 1 of search, and none of them are suitable for a menu.
 

« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2022, 11:43 »
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.

It's interesting to see how many people are missing the correct keywords ...

farbled

« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2022, 11:49 »
+1
You are the King of plop and shoot, but I'm catching up with, see it shoot it... eat it or drink it.
Bahaha, if only my book would sell more. I should thank someone for the name. :)

« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2022, 12:59 »
+1
....

At the end of the day though, I believe that unless you're one of those who do the research and treat it like a job, then its not worth shooting and uploading anything that has a cost to it beyond what you've already invested in gear. Models, travel, etc... nope. No way I could recoup that cost in a reasonable amount of time.

approaches vary - i dont travel to shoot stock - i shoot stock to pay for travel


« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2022, 13:21 »
+1
If it is over for video then I don't see any future with images either. The interview was an interesting read. I sometimes wonder how Doug Jensen is doing these days as he made good dollars just on Shutterstock alone.
I mean, stills market is relatively mature and stable compared to video. RPD also increased for something like 4 years with the advent of micro then pretty much levelled out. Video has been plummeting.

I've had a similar experience.

Investing in creating 4k video can be very expensive. For me it was a new mirrorless camera, a drone, and some gopros, new video cards, extra storage for 4k, and new software costs (both in cost and learning curve time). Rewards from the larger commissions were great between 2016 and 2019, and I was able to recoup my costs and time many times over, but then I saw my video commissions start to take a tumble. My photo sales tend to remain the same.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2022, 13:29 by Annie »

« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2022, 13:27 »
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.

It's interesting to see how many people are missing the correct keywords ...

Absolutely!

Getting really smart around keyword use is a very important factor. i.e. knowing how to use drop down searches to find the most common buyer searches, or just shooting things a bit different.

I have little running joke with Uncle Pete regarding 'copy space'.  Buyers love copy space and always complain that there isn't enough stock photos for that. Any time I have a look at the database, I find that photos with copy space are usually around 1/10th of similar subject ones - and therefore, a good way to avoid mass competition.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2022, 13:34 by Annie »

« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2022, 13:42 »
0
I have more than 1/2 the page 1 images for 'civil war volley' (205 images)
 but only 2 on page 1 for "civil war army" (26,018)

yet many, many of the latter show volley fire!

« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2022, 20:30 »
+4
I started selling stock almost from the very beginning of iStockphoto, back in 2002. In the last 2 years, I've rarely uploaded, even though I still have photos I could upload. I still collect royalties from past work, but sure enough the income gets smaller and smaller over time. Unless you live in a developing country where cost of living is very low, it is definitely no longer worth taking the time to create content for stock. I make more money doing other things now. Sometimes I think about spending some time to create some new stock images, since I already know how to do everything and already have all the equipment, but then I think the opportunity cost is too high. The income from the amount effort to create new content is just far too low.


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2022, 08:45 »
0
But if you have the numbers, please show me how many shots of chicken dinner you had in 2016 vs the competition and then how many shots of (plop and shoot)  :) chicken dinner you have now, for the same dinner, vs the competition. If you had ten and they had 100, now you'll have 100 and they will have 32,000

Sorry to the OP for the digression, but I was bored and decided to look. It is so simple to find uncovered topics, even in a popular subject like food. I did a quick look at "fries with gravy" on SS, and there are only 3 relevant photos on page 1 of search, and none of them are suitable for a menu.

What about french fries and ice cream?  ;D The search results are terrible and most of the images aren't but if someone wanted French Fries with Ice Cream" they don't have many good choices. = Niche!

Yes I add "Copy Space" when it applies, I don't know how many buyers search for that? But of course I'm going to add it in case.

Back to the OP. It's never too late to start. In 5 years people will be writing how much better it was in 2022? Oh my, I hope not? I'd rather hope it would be, remember when things were so bad in 2022, now the income is better. HA, that would be a dream and unrealistic, but still? I mean I buy a lottery ticket every week? Can't win if you don't get in.

It's never to late to try?

Just read what people wrote and have realistic expectations, target your specialty and find needed images. Go for it.


« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2022, 10:06 »
+1
Back in January, I closed my Alamy account after getting some 4 cent sales.  And today, just 3 months later, I got a final payout of my last $100 from microstock.   

Now there's a SUCCESS STORY!

« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2022, 13:20 »
0
It has always been a side thing for me. I'm not a photographer, I just sell vectors, either rejected client work or things that I draw for fun. I still make some money, but less than half of what I made 3 years ago, despite doubling my portfolio size (which is still small compared to most on here). One of the factors to consider is the considerable amount of time it takes to upload and keyword images. With more than half of sales now being 10, could that time be better spent elsewhere?

« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2022, 16:56 »
0
... One of the factors to consider is the considerable amount of time it takes to upload and keyword images. With more than half of sales now being 10, could that time be better spent elsewhere?

exactly - i have thousands of images waiting for editing, post & adding metadata - which is why wirestock is attractive

farbled

« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2022, 09:54 »
+1

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.

Heya Tom, I missed this one the other day. Thank you. I love geology but could never wrap my head around the science well enough to become a geologist. I was lucky to use that passion to gain access to many private and public collections as well as do shoots for mining companies for a few years. Fun stuff! And it sells well for an individual (not so much for an agency). Little competition in the areas that I did (industrial and the like, most competitors shoot shiny pretty gemstones). :)


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #47 on: April 14, 2022, 10:44 »
+1
*warning, may lead to depression*

Published yesterday an interview on my blog with Mark Rozitis, Editorial Stock Footage Contributor, who was consistently earning about $4-5k/month in 2018 with regular sales on both Pond5 and SS and is now earning just 10% of that after 3 years.

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2022/04/11/interview-with-mark-rozitis-editorial-stock-footage-contributor/

Interview includes interesting insight on why sales have dropped.

Well that one will get buried because it's not your own thread but really?  I was told at McDonalds, Im sorry but with your background youre not a culture fit.

McDonald's? There's an insult to someones intelligence.

When I turned 50 and my business was really going downhill, (the market and the competition started price cutting) I applied for a few jobs in the same field. Standard answer, "Over Qualified" which translated, I learned later meant, we want kids who will take less pay and we can mold to our ideals. Old people (but they can't say that legally) are set in their ways and will also demand better pay.

I've never heard of cultural fit before, I wonder if that's Canadian code for something else like, you're too old? Or too smart...

But his history and how things changed was really a shock. I can understand my Crapstock, not growing not gaining not really a market favorite, but Holy Moly, that was a stunning collapse of a solid collection.

Good Interview

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #48 on: April 14, 2022, 14:09 »
0
*warning, may lead to depression*

Published yesterday an interview on my blog with Mark Rozitis, Editorial Stock Footage Contributor, who was consistently earning about $4-5k/month in 2018 with regular sales on both Pond5 and SS and is now earning just 10% of that after 3 years.

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/2022/04/11/interview-with-mark-rozitis-editorial-stock-footage-contributor/

Interview includes interesting insight on why sales have dropped.

Well that one will get buried because it's not your own thread but really?  I was told at McDonalds, Im sorry but with your background youre not a culture fit.

McDonald's? There's an insult to someones intelligence.

When I turned 50 and my business was really going downhill, (the market and the competition started price cutting) I applied for a few jobs in the same field. Standard answer, "Over Qualified" which translated, I learned later meant, we want kids who will take less pay and we can mold to our ideals. Old people (but they can't say that legally) are set in their ways and will also demand better pay.

I've never heard of cultural fit before, I wonder if that's Canadian code for something else like, you're too old? Or too smart...

But his history and how things changed was really a shock. I can understand my Crapstock, not growing not gaining not really a market favorite, but Holy Moly, that was a stunning collapse of a solid collection.

Good Interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJh5wdvdfVE


zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #49 on: April 14, 2022, 15:38 »
0


Getting really smart around keyword use is a very important factor. i.e. knowing how to use drop down searches to find the most common buyer searches, or just shooting things a bit different.

I have little running joke with Uncle Pete regarding 'copy space'.  Buyers love copy space and always complain that there isn't enough stock photos for that.

These are 3 super important points (keywording, unique angle/perspective,  copy space) - and thanks for sharing.   Keywording is not always obvious & this is why tools like Alamy measures are very useful.  I wish Adobe would have something like that too.

I will add 4th thing, specific to travel (my niche in addition to landscapes).  It's called "Locals only". Example:  Take San Diego, California. But ... not beaches, Torrey Pines, Seaworld, etc. Why? Because you are competing with 1000s of tourists.  But if you go inland where tourists normally don't - just about everything I took photo of sold.  Escondido, Poway .. you name it.  Sold directly through personal website several Lake Hodges area photos.  Had 4 digit sale of Iron Mountain trailhead in Poway on Alamy recently.  USCD campus.  List goes on.

Every part of the world has something like that.   So if you are in San Francisco, took breathtaking shot of Golden Gate bridge and think it will sell - think again.  Same for Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon core tourist area.  But if you can find "locals only" place,  sale is almost guaranteed.   


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
1 Replies
2611 Views
Last post January 14, 2013, 11:07
by cmannphoto
0 Replies
2432 Views
Last post January 16, 2013, 13:22
by fritz
43 Replies
8371 Views
Last post September 25, 2014, 12:39
by cascoly
6 Replies
3234 Views
Last post February 25, 2015, 01:20
by Stockmaan
98 Replies
21137 Views
Last post August 12, 2015, 12:49
by PixelBytes

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle