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Author Topic: Is it too late for me to start?  (Read 3428 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.

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.   

« Reply #50 on: April 14, 2022, 17:19 »
+1
...
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.


yes - many similar opps in the Seattle area, esp'ly  once you leave the city (and ignore the tulip festival!) short hikes at Mt Rainier or St Helens will take you away from the std kodak moments

on an Alaskan cruise, we went hiking at each port, skipping the std port excursions

« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2022, 04:54 »
0
There are images for free and microstock images in a competition about downloads.
I think nowadays its better to give images away for free. If you sell images at microstock there is some extra work with tax.
The few sales don't justify this extra work.


« Reply #52 on: April 16, 2022, 11:38 »
+6
There are images for free and microstock images in a competition about downloads.
I think nowadays its better to give images away for free. If you sell images at microstock there is some extra work with tax.
The few sales don't justify this extra work.
so are you still active? if so, why?

 and btw, tax is NEVER > income.   some income is usually better than no income

« Reply #53 on: April 17, 2022, 11:38 »
+2
There are images for free and microstock images in a competition about downloads.
I think nowadays its better to give images away for free. If you sell images at microstock there is some extra work with tax.
The few sales don't justify this extra work.

I don't see any problem at all as far as taxes are concerned. The microstock income is quickly determined and simply added to the main income. It costs maybe an hour for a whole year - that's all. Compared to the time it takes to put a few images online (even for free) it's not worth mentioning.

« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2022, 08:35 »
+2
My last 100 or so uploads on AS? Not a single sale.

« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2022, 09:04 »
0
My last 100 or so uploads on AS? Not a single sale.

That's right. It has become really difficult compared to before. My last 100 uploads to AS (i.e. in the last year and a half) have brought in only 155 downloads. Half of the downloads have come from 4 images. And most of the images have not generated a single download.

« Reply #56 on: April 18, 2022, 12:34 »
0
My last 100 or so uploads on AS? Not a single sale.

That's right. It has become really difficult compared to before. My last 100 uploads to AS (i.e. in the last year and a half) have brought in only 155 downloads. Half of the downloads have come from 4 images. And most of the images have not generated a single download.

not aimed at anyone  but Sturgeon's law states "ninety percent of everything is crap." so, most images are 'expected' to never sell


zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #57 on: April 18, 2022, 13:37 »
+1
It is certainly true most images will never sell (until they get moved to free collection where they generate 10 cents on some sites)

Reason that AS sales are dropping is saturation;  main thing that brought whole micro-industry down.  Specially after SS restructuring that made people upload more on AS. It is very important that image gets these initial 1-2 downloads, I believe on AS more than elsewhere;  otherwise it just drops into the swamp soon after upload rarely to surface up ever again.


 

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