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Author Topic: Is it too late to get into Microstock?  (Read 6413 times)

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« on: September 09, 2014, 15:49 »
+3
I have sold lots on Alamy over the years, $40,000 between the years 2004 - 2008. I stopped submitting when my RPI dwindled under the tsunami of images that Alamy accepted. As well, I was really busy with weddings - so the decision to concentrate on those and forget about Alamy was a 'no brainer' during that period. I miss stock and would love to enter the Microstock arena but am I too late? This is a real 'how long is a piece of string' type of question as so much would depend on the quality, type and quantity of what I can produce. A lot of my wedding colleagues would rubbish microstock " selling your pictures for pence" etc as they have know idea just how high the standards are. As I see it anyone entering Microstock would need a varied portfolio of several thousand images, all with crystal clear concepts and of, or very near, the standards of top advertising togs. As well, lifestyle shots would need art direction, styling et all! Then with all that, how does one get traction? How do you get on the first couple of pages of the most popular searches? Would have been a lot easier 5 or 6 years ago - what about now? Might be easier to sing at Carnegie Hall!


Tror

« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 15:59 »
+12
Yes, too late. You can get some sales, but I do not think it would be worth it.

If you have a dust catching mkIII, d810, a7r,... with a bunch of great lenses sitting there just waiting to shoot some professional Models you already know and work cheap in some industry relevant locations you can get almost for free then I would say give it a try if you do not have a alternative.

Otherwise, don`t get into a game that only will frustrate you. Maybe it is more satisfying shooting what you like and sell it as print on demand or get a exhibition.

Mark Windom Photography

« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 16:10 »
+4
There are alternatives to microstock.

fritz

  • I love Tom and Jerry music

« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 17:56 »
+5
If you have at least 5-10k HCV files in your drawer ready to go why not submit them. Otherwise, too late for beginner to start build port!

« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 19:20 »
+15
Too late to get in? I think it's too late to stay in.

Photominer

« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2014, 19:26 »
+8
I think it depends on what you hope to accomplish. Making a full time living? Maybe not. As a hobby for spare cash? Sure.

Sheriff

« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 19:40 »
0
No, it's not too late.  Seems like you have a lot of skill so look at the areas that are not over saturated and nail them! People shots sell and that is your strength. Quality is the key not quantity is this business.  Make it a goal to have your images on the first page of that category. 

Finally, stay focused on your goals and don't allow distractions or negativity to slow you down. 

 

« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 20:01 »
+6
Depends on what your financial goals are. There is a pretty broad range that can work, from Yuri Arcurs who has staff and spends a lot on production to create an image factory and a full time income, to a low cost one person operation (this doesn't have to mean low quality images) with lower volume and a part time income.

If you want to give it a shot on a small scale to test the waters, why not just see what you can do in a year? If you need to support yourself fully within the next 3 months, then you need to find some other line of work. You may find that what you sold in 2004-8 won't be much of a guide to what would work today, but do some searches on Shutterstock and a couple of the other top agencies in areas you think you'd have an interest in or aptitude for to see what's there.

« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2014, 20:25 »
+4
If you have a bunch of outtakes from your assignments, you may try Stocksy or Offset.

« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2014, 22:57 »
+6
If you have a bunch of outtakes from your assignments, you may try Stocksy or Offset.

I was thinking the same.  Sounds like you have the experience and knowledge to make very good high value images.  For some reason microstock is rewarding HCV images less and less.  Sites like Stocksy and Offset offer better returns for good work. 

If I was just getting into microstock, I would consider going into video instead of photos.  Video pays better and not so crowded with competition. 

« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2014, 15:02 »
0
Thanks all of you for your feedback and encouragement, I really do appreciate you taking the time to reply.
At this stage I have just uploaded a handful of images to about 4 sites to test the water so to speak; I suppose I sell about half a dozen each week so far. Numberwise: 35 with iStock, about the same with 123rf, a few more with Canstock and about 70 with Fotolia and Dreamstime        http://www.dreamstime.com/mullan101_more-latest-adition_pg1 [nofollow]
The shots are mostly travel but that's NOT what I plan to supply long term. Lifestyle, food, business and people,people and more people! I want to find out what sort of thing sells best (me and everyone else!), learn time my submissions (what's the best month to upload Christmas images etc?) and get a 'feel' for the zeitgeist of the image world. I have, as we say here in Ireland, "got my work cut out for me". Thanks again - feedback and advice is always appreciated.

« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 15:07 »
+4
You didn't mention Shutterstock. I'd strongly recommend including them. They are about 40% subscriptions 60% "other" of various kinds, so even if you're not a fan of subscriptions, it's honestly worth including them. The earnings are good, they pay regularly and good images continue to sell (i.e. it's not just a month or two of sales when images are new).

« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 15:20 »
+1
I plan to make my initial submission to Shutterstock quite soon Jo Ann - I believe the are the best for regular sales. Getting accepted is quite hard if I understand correctly. They are really strict on sharpness, noise and lighting as well as composition and of course commercial interest to buyers. I do want my first 10 images to be more varied than just travel anyway. Thanks for the tip!

« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 15:24 »
+2

what sort of thing sells best (me and everyone else!), learn time my submissions (what's the best month to upload Christmas images etc?)

hello:)
in reply to when to upload for christmas?

right now is pretty much beginning to see downloads on yuletide images.

as for ur resume, i agree with PixelBytes, go with Stocksy, Offset,...
but nothing wrong in trying sub sites,
just split the good stuff for high paying sites, and the zero-cost stuff for sites that pays penis pennies.

getting in to SS is not hard. it took me first try to get in, after 5 years with the other top 10 at that time. so u already have that apprenticeship . just give them 10 variety of categories rather than 10 same old same old of one item shot in different angles.
gave them a good mix (to show what you can do).. ie. lifestyle, isolated, industrial, food, architecture, travel, ...and editorial.  and make sure your exposure and compostion are spot on.

as for sharpness, noise. if u shoot with the sweet spot of the lens u use, and optimum ISO for your specific camera, using the correct exposure setting...(shadow for film, highlight for digital)..
u should have little problem about sharpness and noise.
and will not should not do anything sharpening or noise reduction .
your post processing will only involve the little bit of cc if necessary and cropping, giving u
clean images to submit to SS, Stocksy, Offset.

really, if u cannot get past SS, you are sure not to get to Stocksy or Offset.

the last part, i really should not have said , since by now, you would have already got that intact.
atb.

p.s.
u can send me a barrel of Guinness draught after u make ur first grand !!!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 15:31 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2014, 16:21 »
0

just split the good stuff for high paying sites, and the zero-cost stuff for sites that pays penis pennies.


LOL!  I have some friends who would rather to be paid the first way, but me, I like cash ;D

Dook

« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2014, 16:36 »
+1
Zero cost stuff can be good stuff, too.
Good stuff can earn a lot of pennies.
High paying sites can pay nothing if they sell nothing.

« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2014, 13:10 »
+1
...At this stage I have just uploaded a handful of images to about 4 sites to test the water so to speak; I suppose I sell about half a dozen each week so far. Numberwise: 35 with iStock, about the same with 123rf, a few more with Canstock and about 70 with Fotolia and Dreamstime   

'''
The shots are mostly travel but that's NOT what I plan to supply long term. Lifestyle, food, business and people,people and more people! I want to find out what sort of thing sells best (me and everyone else!), learn time my submissions (what's the best month to upload Christmas images etc?) and get a 'feel' for the zeitgeist of the image world.
...

you've got a good plan & attitude, but don't be discouraged if you don't get immediate sales -- travel is one of the toughest area for sales, and a 100 image portfolio is quite small.  echoing others - concentrate on SS at first, all the others are slow in comparison


« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2014, 14:18 »
+3
... - what about now? Might be easier to sing at Carnegie Hall!
It is never too late to open a pizzeria. And it's never too late to go into microstock. It depends on your images. Just try it!

« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2014, 14:41 »
+5
I would go further -  Is it too late to get into Macrostock?   ;)

Rinderart

« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2014, 19:47 »
+6
It's all about the work. I have friends with 800 that make a living....A good Living and I have friends with 10,000 that just get by. Things are changing in this business faster than I can type....That i know.

« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2014, 02:52 »
+3
i started two years ago and it was already too late :)....with around 2000 images you pay only beers and food :)...if you don't drink you can become fat , but you can't pay bills  ;D

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2014, 06:34 »
+8
No, it's never too late to work like a sweatshop worker to earn enough for a coffee or two every month.  ;D

As others have said it depends. Mostly on your expectations. Want to earn a coffee a month? Then it's probably never too late.

Want to earn a living? I'd say it's possible but the people that it's possible for probably already know they can do it. They already have sellable images, business accumen, SEO skills, ability to adapt to change, and a bunch of other skills to be successful. The better someone is at those things the more chances they have of meeting their expectations.

For people like you who've been doing this for a while I'd look at other places outside of stock. Micro is constantly changing to try and figure out the right direction and those changes rarely seem to benefit contributors.

« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2014, 07:33 »
+3
Want to earn a living? I'd say it's possible but the people that it's possible for probably already know they can do it. They already have sellable images, business accumen, SEO skills, ability to adapt to change, and a bunch of other skills to be successful. The better someone is at those things the more chances they have of meeting their expectations.

That is probably true. If you have an understanding of what sells, if you are able to produce such photos and to deliver them to the right agencies or sell them yourself, you'll still be able to earn a living. On the other hand with that skillset you'll equally be able to earn a living by photographing weddings, naked ladies or racecars...

« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2014, 10:21 »
+1

No, it's never too late to work like a sweatshop worker to earn enough for a coffee or two every month.  ;D


correction PaulieWalnuts,
these days sweatshop workers actually earn a lot more
+ dorm perks = free bed , pail of water & face-towel to wash urself every morning,
+ medical coverage = empty pail under bed for employees with incontinence 
+ free coffee in factory
 ;D

Uncle Pete

« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2014, 12:04 »
+1
Thank You for pointing out one of the common Microstock falsies. Portfolio size, or is it envy?

It's not how big or how many it's what they are. Some people with 500 make more than some people with 5,000. I wish the ego answer would go away and the standard put down "well how many photos do you have".


It's all about the work. I have friends with 800 that make a living....A good Living and I have friends with 10,000 that just get by. Things are changing in this business faster than I can type....That i know.

« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2014, 15:04 »
+1
Thanks for all your replies. I am going to start, and continue till experience proves otherwise along the following lines:
1 People (model released) sell better than things, I want to shoot as much lifestyle as possible
2 I need to find what people are searching for
3 I want to produce what most contributors produce BUT with my 'twist' on it; I don't want to be so different from everyone that no one would search/buy my shots yet still not be so similar that my stuff would be lost in the pile
4 I need to find out how to get on the first couple of pages of searches for my keywords - keywords, did I mention keywords?
5 It so much easier to type my resolutions than achieve them.

Wish me luck!


« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2014, 16:55 »
+5
Wallpaper, you sound like a bright fellow with a clear understanding of what the market wants and how Microstock works. I'd guess that will give you an advantage over many that enter this profession. I've been shooting stock for six years - Micro and Macro, RF and RM. The industry is in turmoil like never before - prices in RM continue to fall off a cliff and commissions in RF are forever being shaved by the agencies. Competition gets fiercer by the day. If you were my son and you were proposing to consider Microstock as a serious career I'd advise you against it. Maybe as a way to earn some extra cash - but as a viable career with a sustainable future? No, sorry.


« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2014, 17:53 »
+2
Quote
Thanks for all your replies. I am going to start, and continue till experience proves otherwise along the following lines:
1 People (model released) sell better than things, I want to shoot as much lifestyle as possible
2 I need to find what people are searching for
3 I want to produce what most contributors produce BUT with my 'twist' on it; I don't want to be so different from everyone that no one would search/buy my shots yet still not be so similar that my stuff would be lost in the pile
4 I need to find out how to get on the first couple of pages of searches for my keywords - keywords, did I mention keywords?
5 It so much easier to type my resolutions than achieve them.

Wish me luck!

Luck doesn't count anymore in MS. What you need is - to sober up.

« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2014, 18:22 »
+2
Thanks for all your replies. I am going to start, and continue till experience proves otherwise along the following lines:
1 People (model released) sell better than things, I want to shoot as much lifestyle as possible
2 I need to find what people are searching for
3 I want to produce what most contributors produce BUT with my 'twist' on it; I don't want to be so different from everyone that no one would search/buy my shots yet still not be so similar that my stuff would be lost in the pile
4 I need to find out how to get on the first couple of pages of searches for my keywords - keywords, did I mention keywords?
5 It so much easier to type my resolutions than achieve them.

Wish me luck!

This won't help you be successful. It's the opposite; you WANT to be different, very different than other contributors with good, marketable stuff. The only way to find out is to shoot differently and upload. My best sellers are images that others don't have.

stocked

« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2014, 02:29 »
+1
Thanks for all your replies. I am going to start, and continue till experience proves otherwise along the following lines:
1 People (model released) sell better than things, I want to shoot as much lifestyle as possible
2 I need to find what people are searching for
3 I want to produce what most contributors produce BUT with my 'twist' on it; I don't want to be so different from everyone that no one would search/buy my shots yet still not be so similar that my stuff would be lost in the pile
4 I need to find out how to get on the first couple of pages of searches for my keywords - keywords, did I mention keywords?
5 It so much easier to type my resolutions than achieve them.

Wish me luck!
good summary! wish you luck!

« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2014, 02:59 »
0
let me know them... and i will change opinion about microstock

Dook

« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2014, 03:29 »
0
Thank You for pointing out one of the common Microstock falsies. Portfolio size, or is it envy?

It's not how big or how many it's what they are. Some people with 500 make more than some people with 5,000. I wish the ego answer would go away and the standard put down "well how many photos do you have".


It's all about the work. I have friends with 800 that make a living....A good Living and I have friends with 10,000 that just get by. Things are changing in this business faster than I can type....That i know.
I think that both matter - size and quality. We are constantly trying to simplify things, one way or another. Unfortunately, it's not possible.

« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2014, 05:47 »
+3
If you can find something that makes you stand out - something unique, trendy, fun or quirky - to put your signature stamp on your stock, then all the better. It will make your images stand out and be recognisable, and have the buyers come back to you.

« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2014, 20:48 »
0
There are alternatives to microstock.
What alternatives ?

« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2014, 22:32 »
+3

Ubermansch

  • Im designed to think
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2014, 02:24 »
0
Microstock is an dead. (at least the easy money low hanging fruit) Now you have to climb to stay above the fray.

Take a course in marekting online or something. Hardly difficult. Something most fellow togs wont tell you.

Snow

« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2014, 02:55 »
+3
It was already too late when I started back in 2011 but you can give it a go and find out for yourself.
Would I have gotten into this business knowing how it all works? no way!
I knew what to expect but I'm still amazed as to how far these agencies will go for them to make a bit more while we make a bit less. Anyway as I said, you can have the great pleasure of experiencing it all by yourself.
Best of luck!


« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2014, 04:09 »
+2
Take a course in marekting online or something. Hardly difficult. Something most fellow togs wont tell you.

Please don't do that....this is really a waste of time much more than uploading to microstock  ;D ;D ;D

Dook

« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2014, 05:24 »
+2
Microstock is an dead. (at least the easy money low hanging fruit) Now you have to climb to stay above the fray.

Take a course in marekting online or something. Hardly difficult. Something most fellow togs wont tell you.
Isn't it more logical for a photographer to be a photographer?
Any average photographer has many other options besides stock. Photographer can easily get into wedding photography, photojournalism, senior, family etc portraiture, event photography. These are the fields of photography that are easy to get into, no matter where you live.
The problem is that stock agencies believe that we have no options and that we have to do stock whatever humiliating move for contributors they make.
I refused many good job opportunities in last few years, just because I wanted to concentrate on stock. And I think agencies should appreciate that and have it in mind the next time they decide to do something that's harming contributors.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2014, 08:32 »
0
I'd agree with Dook except "photojournalism" which is about as dead as Micro. Far too many hopeful people and publications are paying less and less and sometimes... nothing, except for covers or unique images. Assignment work is good if you can get it, but again, the positions are filled with well qualified, experience, pros.

Not a place to go Break In.

Find something where you work on a contract basis. Events are good. Groups or businesses will need someone because they don't have an in house photographer. Anyone who can make anything on Micro knows sharp and composition and can do weddings. There are some people who just got a camera and a flash and say "I'm a photographer".

Someone good and smart and - who knows marketing - can make it as an independent.

Ubermansch

  • Im designed to think
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2014, 11:07 »
0
I think many look at it the wrong way. You need some good stock. You need it on a site that has "reach" Then you need to SELL that stock...not to an individual buyer, but to search engines....sheesh...im spelling it out and nobody has an ear.

« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2014, 11:37 »
0
I think many look at it the wrong way. You need some good stock. You need it on a site that has "reach" Then you need to SELL that stock...not to an individual buyer, but to search engines....sheesh...im spelling it out and nobody has an ear.

Not that nobody has an ear.  Just that when a agency gets up to 85 %  commission on my hard work the least they could do is market it.

Ubermansch

  • Im designed to think
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2014, 11:42 »
0
Yah...they dont do a thing...they just congeal pictures...if they get lucky an SE presents your work. Guarantee you most micro big earners go beyond the upload and wait bullcrap.

YOU GOTTA RUN PUPPIE

« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2014, 12:39 »
+2
I think many look at it the wrong way. You need some good stock. You need it on a site that has "reach" Then you need to SELL that stock...not to an individual buyer, but to search engines....sheesh...im spelling it out and nobody has an ear.
anonymous advice nneds some evidence before being taken seriously --
how about some examples of how your advice can work??  what agencies have you used this strategy with?  the only agency you even mention is stocktal which is hardly a recommendation

marketing and seo are done by the individual agencies not photographers --  except for a very few branded artists, buyers at agencies could care less who the photographer is

spending time trying to improve your seo on an agency is wasted time that could be better spent increasing your portfolio.   
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 12:44 by cascoly »


 

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