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Author Topic: microstock industry longevity  (Read 3961 times)

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« on: June 13, 2015, 09:30 »
hi i'm young noob photographer in microstock i've started from 3 months on SS and i'm continue to submti images to agencies but i have a question

For how long microstock  photography  will continue to exist?  for many years? or it has already a end? someone know?


« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2015, 09:38 »
For how long microstock  photography  will continue to exist?  for many years? or it has already a end? someone know?
Yes. microstock ceases to exist on August 29, 2021.

Unfortunately, so does the planet Earth.  :'(

« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2015, 10:45 »
I see no reason microstock as a business or model or whatever will not continue.  It fills a niche and a need.  So from that standpoint all is good.

However, if you asking if it will be possible in the future for a photographer to make any money in microstock, that is a different question.  Many who started back in the good old days feel it is already over.  Returns are certainly declining, to the point that investing money in models and props is starting to become questionable.  Those with large salable portfolios already online will continue to earn.  Those starting out now will have a difficult time getting to a point of good returns.

But if you have good material, especially things that are not over down, work hard and add images on a regular basis there is still money to be made.  Your images need to be top notch, not snapshots.  Your titles, descriptions and keywords need to be done properly and you need a lot of images.

I was told when I started (4 years ago) that perhaps 2,000 images would be a large enough portfolio to earn fair money.  These days I think that is closer to 5,000 or perhaps 10,000 images.  And not junk, good images.

Of course it all depends on what your definition of decent return is.  Figure $1/image/year if you have good stuff.  More if it is exceptional or in demand.

« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2015, 11:25 »
I have no crystal ball to answer your original question - no one can, IMO. Things have changed from 2004 (when I started selling microstock) to now; talk to people submitting to the pre-microstock stock agencies and they'll tell stories of change too.

I think things will keep changing and the real trick - as for musicians trying to make a living or even Uber drivers trying to figure out how not to get hosed by Uber - is how to make sure that the people supplying the content (us) get fairly compensated.

You can look around on MSG for the details of various fights with the agencies over changes that have enriched them at our expense (Dollar Photo Club at Fotolia and the boycott last year over that as an example; the Getty/Google deal from 2013 as another).

The agencies play hardball (ask Sean Locke about that). In spite of a number of people trying to organize a strong contributor response, we're too diverse, dispersed and distracted to mobilize in a way that forces the agencies to behave. You can read more of my thoughts on that and links to some history here.

Without our content, the agencies don't have a business. Without their storefront, we don't have an effective way to license our work. As long as buyers need images, illustrations and other media, there'll be a need for what we produce. The real issue is the tug of war between agencies and contributors, and the stronger an agency gets, the less well they behave to contributors.

« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2015, 11:33 »
If I knew the answer I would probably be very rich and I wouldn't tell anyone. All industries have a lifecycle for example camera film and  those closest can't always see the end when its staring them in the face - KODAK!

So no idea really but the annual surveys on here and Shutterstocks share value don't show the end is nigh though some contributors seem to think so

« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 13:05 »
Companies paying media suppliers to provide content is most likely a model that is going to stay around for a while.

The term "microstock" is somewhat outdated anyways, there are just different price levels. Apparently the current price levels are not low enough to discourage all and every content provider to cease operations. If and where a new balance is going to be found is still undecided.

A totally different question would be how many people will be able to generate reasonable amounts of money from it to provide for their families as a main income. The obstacles to shoot and offer images for licensing are still becoming lower, mobile imagery taking it another step forward.

Though I believe there will always be a certain market (supply and demand) for images that simply can not be shot by people without proper education about legal requirements and the budget to finance more expensive shoots.

« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2015, 21:49 »
Some companies are reaching for new paradigms: Canva; Creative Market (owned by Autodesk which sells 3DS Max and Maya) and this site:

This is what this site says on its landing page.
Future of Stock Imagery
Substantially easier for designers to create breathtaking and believable scenes with minimal effort.

The good news is this is a real, well-funded, professionally run business (the parent business is the largest seller of stock elements for CGI) and they are looking for submitters. Non-exclusive royalty starts at 60%. Here
Customers pay $10-$50 for individual image licenses.
The bad news is there is going to be a steep learning curve for people who only know photography. The future of stock may be new ways of selling images and whole new ways of making them too.

« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2015, 23:15 »
i think a more important question is how long you will stay motivated to continue to upload.
most don't last a year

« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 00:14 »
Only who adapt well will survive... Most of the major companies have been adapting well, IMO. If you adapt well, you will survive too.

hi i'm young noob photographer in microstock i've started from 3 months on SS and i'm continue to submti images to agencies but i have a question

For how long microstock  photography  will continue to exist?  for many years? or it has already a end? someone know?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 07:00 by 60D »


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