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Author Topic: Microstock's Business Case: How much can you earn?  (Read 3815 times)

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« on: November 11, 2014, 04:09 »
0
Thanks to Tyler for publishing our newest article on MSG's blog:

http://blog.microstockgroup.com/microstocks-business-case-how-much-can-you-earn/

Our motivation was to explore how much one could earn with microstock if one decided to start today. We wanted to look at the most important parameters which are under your control and offer you a live calculator to play around.

Of course, the evolution of the industry cannot be predicted. We hope however, that the business calculator is a useful and fun tool to explore the various options you have when deciding the best strategy for yourself.

Enjoy!


« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 05:49 »
+3
Very good article. I do think some of the estimates for productivity and revenue are somewhat on the high side however.

I've been working as a full-time solo photographer for 10 years and have never got remotely close to uploading 200 images in a single month! Anything over 100 images in a month is good for me. Although admittedly I'm quite lazy, it's not just a question of putting the hours in. Even with fairly simple subject matter there is still an element of creativity and you do need time to think, time to play and time to do the research before inspiration comes to you. Whenever I've tried too hard to be more 'productive' then the overall quality tends to reduce.


fotorob

  • I am a professional stock photographer

« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 06:09 »
+3
@ghostwyck:

I beg to differ.

I am a fulltime stock photographer myself and in the last five years I always managed to produce, retouch, keyword and upload more than 200 images a month. I even keyword in two languages, have a child and am lazy as well :-)

« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 06:25 »
+1
To Stock Performer: thanks for very interesting article. Just one question, how did you calculate the RPIs you mentioned? For example, $1.50 for Business Plan 2?

« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 06:36 »
+4
the numbers look very realistic to me. I think for most people trying to get in now the biggest problem is the long waiting time to see results. if you have no previous experience with Stock production, even if you are a pro assignemnt shooter or wedding or portrait photographer, I would definetly recommend to keep your day job until you have reached an income that is at least half your running costs,  or until you have a reliable 1000 Dollars a month.

I have seen many talented people fail because the shoot upload repeat life just isn't for them.

of course you need to try it before you can decide.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 08:30 by cobalt »

« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 14:24 »
+3
1)

"Amateur images do not sell well in todays market. So you can expect a poor revenue per image per month of about 20 cents."

I'm an amateur, but I know for a fact that I earn more than some full-time photographers, and my RPI is couple of times larger than that value.

2)

I tried to use the algorithm for my previous year, putting in the numbers I had in July 2013 and the estimated RPI yadda yadda, and it doesn't really work well because images don't scale in a linear fashion, every image has a half-life, and it's not good at predicting even with a large sample size, at least for me. I'm not sure who can find this useful except a maths/statistics teacher in elementary school. I wouldn't base any decisions on this (and don't) and I think neither should you.

3)

As this is a product from the guys at StockPerformer, it'd be much more interesting to use the sales and trends data they have in order to construct a model which more closely resembles reality, maybe even a personalized model based on the sales history of the person registered at SP. Here, you get a free business idea, you're welcome.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 14:27 by spike »

Buffalo Bill

« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 15:51 »
+1
I love how the differences of opinions bounce around on this topic!

There are a few, okay maybe several, variables to put into this equation-

1. What type of images will greatly determine how many you can produce a month. For example, table top images are much easier to do in speed and processing compared to people shots.

2. Area of Market- Is it seasonal or a fad.

3. Amount of time for doing research on the subjects.

These are only a few areas to consider for your amount of images that you can produce. Some folks can generate in the upper 100's while others may only produce a 100 or less images per month.   Another note- quality wins hands down compared to just volume today. One very good images will sell several times a day on all sites where a 100 average images will be lucky to have a few sales a day. There are individuals out there with 1,000 or less images making $5,000 USD per month or more! 

Just my thoughts...

BB

« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 16:16 »
+7
Of all the solo stock photographers contributing to microstock right now, even limiting it to full time producers (scenario 2), I wonder how many are earning the almost $70,000 a year that scenario 2 in this blog post talks about?

I'm not saying there aren't any, just that there are not that many who can do that. I don't think these numbers represent a typical or average full time microstock photographer.

I also don't think the amateur scenario is all that realistic - no one will get anywhere with a strategy of "Just upload everything on the card!", largely because that would only pass inspection at iStock :) You can be part time (which is what I think the writer really means by amateur) and zero cost but still more focused, skilled and purposeful than pet snapshots.

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 18:05 »
+3
Interesting read. I noticed the picture of photographer in the article was holding his camera incorrectly. He's not off to a good start!  :o

I'd be interested in a similar article about illustration. As an illustrator, I have very little equipment needs. I can draw a stadium filled with interesting people and not need a model or property release. Nor would I need to pay any of them for posing. We really have it different than photographerseasier in most cases. Quantity is tough, however. I've been averaging 45 images uploaded weekly. It's been grueling. 100 would be an interesting challenge.

Thanks to Tyler for publishing our newest article on MSG's blog:

http://blog.microstockgroup.com/microstocks-business-case-how-much-can-you-earn/

Our motivation was to explore how much one could earn with microstock if one decided to start today. We wanted to look at the most important parameters which are under your control and offer you a live calculator to play around.

Of course, the evolution of the industry cannot be predicted. We hope however, that the business calculator is a useful and fun tool to explore the various options you have when deciding the best strategy for yourself.

Enjoy!

OM

« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2014, 19:52 »
0
Interesting article. Thanks. Just not sure that giving 'example' of a RPI of $2/month is very realistic. Can be done but almost certainly not the norm.

« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 23:54 »
+3
Interesting article. Thanks. Just not sure that giving 'example' of a RPI of $2/month is very realistic. Can be done but almost certainly not the norm.


Yeah, it's not the norm, and even if you achieve it and can stay there for awhile, as I did a couple of years ago, it is nearly impossible to maintain long term.  Now my RPI in October was .97, and that was up from the summer months. 

These articles always paint an overly optimistic picture.  Who's going to bother reading an article with realistic numbers, much less start a stock business based on them. 

« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2014, 19:29 »
+8
I think that the article doesn't address the biggest concern for seriously attempting microstock as a career and that is changes to the market.  Think about the changes to IS over the last 60 months. How is anyone going to make a business plan with that kind of unknown in there?

This model looks like it expects RPI to remain constant over time - which I don't think is true. At some point it will start to fall and eventually with a steady output of pictures one's income will reach a somewhat steady state (although still subject to the whims of the agencies - so probably gradually falling over time). The more interesting question is is the amount of work required to maintain that steady state acceptable compared to the income you make at that point.

« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2014, 08:43 »
+1
Well the article seems pretty gung ho about the business. Whats good is that they highlight the hard work, time and quality (as RPI) needed to make money. Unlike the make a ton of money from images on your hard drive articles


« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2014, 09:39 »
+1
....This model looks like it expects RPI to remain constant over time - which I don't think is true......

Yes it is very strange that it does that, as it's obvious to everyone that has done this for a few years that it isn't the case.

Shelma1

« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2014, 13:19 »
0
Interesting read. I noticed the picture of photographer in the article was holding his camera incorrectly. He's not off to a good start!  :o

I'd be interested in a similar article about illustration. As an illustrator, I have very little equipment needs. I can draw a stadium filled with interesting people and not need a model or property release. Nor would I need to pay any of them for posing. We really have it different than photographerseasier in most cases. Quantity is tough, however. I've been averaging 45 images uploaded weekly. It's been grueling. 100 would be an interesting challenge.

I agree...much less of an upfront investment for us. All you need is a laptop and Illustrator...or just paper, a pen and a scanner if you draw by hand and sell jpgs. You don't need up-to-date software because you save everything down to a lower version anyway. Also, there are fewer of us, so less competition, and as you've pointed out, only so many images you can generate in a day. So I suspect we have a higher average earning per image. And we can live and work anywhere.

Buffalo Bill

« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2014, 14:36 »
0
Trying to put artists into a boxed label is very difficult to say the least. Personally, I find that I more like a hybrid hitting a little bit all all the areas but enough to be labeled as one of the boxes. More than a hobbyist but not a full timer or company for sure. I bet there are a lot of folks that fall into my same situation- making around around $500 to $2,000 a month and only spend the min. on camera stuff since we have day time jobs that can cover the purchases.  Some of us don't even write off the expenses. 

« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2014, 15:13 »
+3
This is pretty cool.  I have tracked all the inputs used by the calculator since I started almost 10 years ago so I was able to put in actual data.  The earning results that came back are very close to my actual performance.  There were ups and downs in my real monthly earnings but I'd say the average trends are +/- about 15% which I think is really good.

The only difference is that my earnings this year are down about 30% what they were last year at this time.  The calculator's monthly and total earnings calculation was accurate up through last year but not for this year.

My model was similar to the third one.  However, I don't produce anywhere near 100 images a month.


 

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