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Author Topic: Microstock tug o' war  (Read 30138 times)

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hqimages

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« Reply #75 on: September 07, 2009, 05:06 »
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Hi Steve thanks for that info!! Can I ask you if you don't mind, how many images do you have in your gallery, and how many do you add to that on a monthly basis? Just curious!  :)

it really varies - if i'm home i work steadily on editing, tagging & uploading. most months i add 500-1000 images to my MS portfolios.  last month it was 3000, but that's because i signed up at 3d Studio and snapixel & they take most submissions.

i've got somewhere around 3500 images in my work area,  including about 800 from last year's peru trip - but many of these are similar to images already submitted, so they won't all get processed and submitted.  my total archive is about 5500 digital images, plus about 1000 images scanned from slides.

we're heading to India in nov for 5 weeks, and i expect i'll gather about 15K images plus video - about 1/2  of that can be reviewed and discarded quickly [often over beer and papadams in the hotel bar] - near dupes, bad comp, camera moved, etc, but it will still keep me busy thru ski season.



Wow, that's dedicated production for the amount you're adding per month.. I'll have to stick you in the 'pro' bracket for microstock! Well done, that's a lot of hard work!!


lisafx

« Reply #76 on: September 07, 2009, 09:57 »
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There was a discussion in another thread about what constitutes a FT "pro" income in photography.  Some seemed to think it was upwards of a million, while most stats indicate it is in the mid 5 figure income range.  

Personally, I considered myself earning a FT income when I began to approach the income my husband makes as a FT teacher.  Yeah, I know it is two completely different professions, and he is working for someone else and I work for myself, etc.  But still, if there are people working FT at middle-class jobs (not flipping burgers or parking cars) and making what I make, then to me that is a FT income.

And FWIW I only do a couple of shoots a month - although I cram as many different concepts and setups in there as I can.  By submitting around 100 pics a month, give or take, I have managed to rack up around 5k images on each site.

For the amount of effort I put in I am satisfied at this level.  Not everyone needs to be making six or seven figures to consider themselves "pro" and be happy with their level of success. 

BTW, I live in the US and the median income here is still around 50k or so.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 10:04 by lisafx »

hqimages

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« Reply #77 on: September 07, 2009, 11:55 »
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There was a discussion in another thread about what constitutes a FT "pro" income in photography.  Some seemed to think it was upwards of a million, while most stats indicate it is in the mid 5 figure income range.  

Personally, I considered myself earning a FT income when I began to approach the income my husband makes as a FT teacher.  Yeah, I know it is two completely different professions, and he is working for someone else and I work for myself, etc.  But still, if there are people working FT at middle-class jobs (not flipping burgers or parking cars) and making what I make, then to me that is a FT income.

And FWIW I only do a couple of shoots a month - although I cram as many different concepts and setups in there as I can.  By submitting around 100 pics a month, give or take, I have managed to rack up around 5k images on each site.

For the amount of effort I put in I am satisfied at this level.  Not everyone needs to be making six or seven figures to consider themselves "pro" and be happy with their level of success. 

BTW, I live in the US and the median income here is still around 50k or so.

You add 100 a month.. that's really good for the money you're getting back.. and 5k roughly in total.. that's good value for work produced, your images are TOP class though, they really are!!

lisafx

« Reply #78 on: September 07, 2009, 18:11 »
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You add 100 a month.. that's really good for the money you're getting back.. and 5k roughly in total.. that's good value for work produced, your images are TOP class though, they really are!!

Thanks Hilary  :)  I beyond meeting basic image quality standards, though, I think it is mostly about consistency. 

A lot of people talk about uploading hundreds of images a week, but when you check their portfolio size and time doing it, mostly the numbers don't add up.  Probably they are uploading that many in bursts, on the occasional week, but not week in week out 50 - 52 weeks a year. 

For me I would rather stick to a schedule like 20-30 pics a week that is sustainable every week over a long period of time.  Sort of tortoise vs. hare, and I am definitely more of a tortoise ;)

wilddingo

    This user is banned.
« Reply #79 on: September 07, 2009, 22:22 »
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so really we have three groups..

You really have only two groups:

   - People losing money with microstock (includes just about all contributors; over 99% if you prefer technical terms)

   - Everybody else (includes microstock agency owners; less than 1% to be specific)

The boobs in this thread who claim they're "making money" in microstock have learned all their business accounting from the Bernie Madoff School of Business and Crookery.

Within the "People losing money" category, you'll find two groups of people:

   - Those who are too naive, too dumb, or just too arrogant to notice how unsuccessful they are at microstock.  These are usually the ones that will proudly describe their microstock accomplishment in terms of how many expenses they were able to pay for with their microstock "earnings". 

Imagine I am a cab driver and after a full year of driving a cab in my free time, I was able to only make the monthly payments on my car.  I would be a hugely successful cab driver in microstock terms, despite the fact that I made absolutely nothing for the time I spent driving the cab and had to pay for the gas, license, registration, etc... out of my own pocket.

   - Those who actually do make money at microstock after properly accounting for their expenses and labor but who are too dumb, too naive, or too arrogant to realize they could be earning much more outside of the microstock realm.

In other words, these bozos lose money just for being involved in microstock when other avenues would reward them more handsomely.

« Reply #80 on: September 07, 2009, 22:52 »
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Why any definition of groups at all???

« Reply #81 on: September 08, 2009, 09:02 »
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- Those who actually do make money at microstock after properly accounting for their expenses and labor but who are too dumb, too naive, or too arrogant to realize they could be earning much more outside of the microstock realm.

In other words, these bozos lose money just for being involved in microstock when other avenues would reward them more handsomely.


Out of interest how do you account for the pro's who have spent years within the stock industry, like Iophoto or Monkey Business Images for example, but who now have several thousand images on micro? Why don't they put their images on the 'other avenues' you speak of instead?

MBI sold Banana Stock to Jupiter for $20M a few years ago so she probably knows a bit about the industry. Anyway she's been uploading nearly 1000 images a month to micro for the last 18 months. From her sales in her first year on micro it would appear that she made about $200K, not bad from a standing start, and that will most likely be doubled or trebled in the second year.

« Reply #82 on: September 08, 2009, 09:09 »
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widdigo: LOL LOL

In fact I once was a cab driver.  And they're a lot like microstockers. You might hang around at an empty cab stand from 8 AM to 11AM and not make a dime; then you pick up a fair to the airport, and suddenly life is good, it all makes sense again.  All those drivers would have made a heckuva lot more money clerking at a convenience store, or mowing lawns, but hey - they wanted to be cab drivers, it's independence, it's an identity. 


The truth often hurts, but the truth is often hilarious.

« Reply #83 on: September 08, 2009, 09:40 »
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MBI sold Banana Stock to Jupiter for $20M a few years ago so she probably knows a bit about the industry. Anyway she's been uploading nearly 1000 images a month to micro for the last 18 months. From her sales in her first year on micro it would appear that she made about $200K, not bad from a standing start, and that will most likely be doubled or trebled in the second year.

Interesting and positive story. Who is MBI?

hqimages

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« Reply #84 on: September 08, 2009, 09:41 »
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- Those who actually do make money at microstock after properly accounting for their expenses and labor but who are too dumb, too naive, or too arrogant to realize they could be earning much more outside of the microstock realm.

In other words, these bozos lose money just for being involved in microstock when other avenues would reward them more handsomely.


Out of interest how do you account for the pro's who have spent years within the stock industry, like Iophoto or Monkey Business Images for example, but who now have several thousand images on micro? Why don't they put their images on the 'other avenues' you speak of instead?

MBI sold Banana Stock to Jupiter for $20M a few years ago so she probably knows a bit about the industry. Anyway she's been uploading nearly 1000 images a month to micro for the last 18 months. From her sales in her first year on micro it would appear that she made about $200K, not bad from a standing start, and that will most likely be doubled or trebled in the second year.

Right, but when the small contributor (small being, has a day job) is competing against that well.. they don't have a hope really do they?

« Reply #85 on: September 08, 2009, 09:46 »
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Having been reading this forum and doing a little microstock for over 6 months now, I've concluded that the only people with credible claims of signficant income are simply flooding the microstocks with thousands of images.   

I don't think the microstocks intended this to be the 'business model' but that's what they've ended up with, because of their pricing and marketing decisions.  In the long run I don't think it's sustainable. 


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #86 on: September 08, 2009, 09:57 »
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so really we have three groups..

You really have only two groups:

   - People losing money with microstock (includes just about all contributors; over 99% if you prefer technical terms)

   - Everybody else (includes microstock agency owners; less than 1% to be specific)

The boobs in this thread who claim they're "making money" in microstock have learned all their business accounting from the Bernie Madoff School of Business and Crookery.

Within the "People losing money" category, you'll find two groups of people:

   - Those who are too naive, too dumb, or just too arrogant to notice how unsuccessful they are at microstock.  These are usually the ones that will proudly describe their microstock accomplishment in terms of how many expenses they were able to pay for with their microstock "earnings". 

Imagine I am a cab driver and after a full year of driving a cab in my free time, I was able to only make the monthly payments on my car.  I would be a hugely successful cab driver in microstock terms, despite the fact that I made absolutely nothing for the time I spent driving the cab and had to pay for the gas, license, registration, etc... out of my own pocket.

   - Those who actually do make money at microstock after properly accounting for their expenses and labor but who are too dumb, too naive, or too arrogant to realize they could be earning much more outside of the microstock realm.

In other words, these bozos lose money just for being involved in microstock when other avenues would reward them
more handsomely.


I think the two groups are closer to:

- Those who have no idea what their microstock financials are (and may or may not be profitable)
- Those who know what their financials are (and should be adjusting their expenses to be profitable)

What the split is between those, who knows.

I wonder how many people know how much they make per hour compared to other jobs. Lets say new guy Joe Average makes $100 per month and $1,200 per year doing microstock. During the year Joe buys $1,000 worth of lenses, computer upgrades, lighting stuff, gas money traveling, etc. Joe is new at this so he doesn't do writeoffs or taxes and has $200 left over in profit. He works an average of 20 hours per week doing microstock. Joe makes 19 cents per hour.

And this applies to both micro and macro. If you're earning good money with macro and blow all of it what's the difference?




RacePhoto

« Reply #87 on: September 08, 2009, 11:45 »
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I agree wholeheartedly that new sites to date have not worked but that is because the prices remain still very low ... but as prices rise (and they will rise) the price bottom will be vacant and calling out for a new "istock" all over again - and with the "hobbyists" and/or "amateurs" getting squeezed out (as they are cause I am one too Cathy) by the increasing number of pros going micro, they will be the ones to join the new cheap site - and the buyers will come ... and the revolution will continue. There are too many amateur photographers looking to sell their wares and there are too many buyers looking for the cheapest prices for this not to be true - IMHO ... I am not talking about this year or even next year ... but it will happen.

No it won't, and here's why. The same logic would say, someone else should open up and copy McDonalds (Wendy's, Hardee's, Burger King...) because there's room at the bottom to grow. The cost of doing business changes, so we won't be seeing 19c hamburgers any day, or a new Micro site that can work their way up from "Free" or even copying the SS design and marketing small images at low prices, subscription based. And there already is a Flickr with 3.5 Billion "free" images!

Most of the people who contribute will wake up and see there's no future in the new sites, they don't pay as well as the established agencies which by the way, will be selling more and paying better.  ;D

What's left is the new sites and people who try to make something on them, scrambling for the bones after the big dogs ate the meat off of them. Clients and buyers won't go to the new sites, because they don't have the library of desirable images that the established agencies have. Some day photographers will stop wasting their time hoping that the next new micro site will actually be the first one in five years to make any reasonable sales.

Not all doom and gloom. As the small agencies finally disappear and the new start-ups realize it's a waste of time, the survivors will produce better and make it more profitable for photographers. Consolidation of the images where buyers can find them at whatever the market will support. Part of the price war is driving out the small ones, or buying them because they can't survive. There is not unlimited market or growth. At some point things level off, and that's what we are seeing right now.

I like the idea of niche market agencies that could make a dent in the marketplace.

Look at the history of any booming business sector and you'll see the same type of expansion, price competition, contraction and consolidation. Railroads, automobiles, fast food, computers, cell service providers, anything. Take your pick. Stock photo sales are no different.


...if you stick with Shutterstock you shouldn't be making .25 for long.  My average is there is .73/DL because of the EL's and the on-demand sales.

Exactly!  8)

« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 12:25 by RacePhoto »

wilddingo

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« Reply #88 on: September 08, 2009, 12:17 »
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Anyway she's been uploading nearly 1000 images a month to micro for the last 18 months. From her sales in her first year on micro it would appear that she made about $200K, not bad from a standing start, and that will most likely be doubled or trebled in the second year.

"Not bad"?

Dude, how . can you tell whether a business is "not bad" by only looking at the estimated revenue figures?

Or do you conveniently forget to quote profit figures out of microstock habit?  Is this how you and your microstock hamsters keep up their delusional microstock aspirations going for so long?

« Reply #89 on: September 08, 2009, 14:48 »
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Or do you conveniently forget to quote profit figures out of microstock habit?  Is this how you and your microstock hamsters keep up their delusional microstock aspirations going for so long?


Wilddingo, I agree with your insistence that it's profit that matters, not revenue.  But in your insistence that 99% of contributors are actually losing money, are you leaving out people who literally don't have costs aside from their time?  What about someone spending about 2 hours a day churning out a couple illustrations or 3d renders and making a hundred dollars a day (or two hundred... or three hundred)?  When they first embarked in microstock, their revenue surely didn't offset the value of their time, but after a few months of building up a decent portfolio, they're well into the black and earning serious PROFIT.  Are these people hamsters as well?

« Reply #90 on: September 08, 2009, 15:14 »
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"Not bad"?

Dude, how . can you tell whether a business is "not bad" by only looking at the estimated revenue figures?

Or do you conveniently forget to quote profit figures out of microstock habit?  Is this how you and your microstock hamsters keep up their delusional microstock aspirations going for so long?


No 'Dude'. I was simply using MBI as an example of an evidently highly successful and business-savvy individual who seems to be putting a lot of effort into microstock. Maybe you could learn something from her and others instead of whining constantly about microstock.

wilddingo

    This user is banned.
« Reply #91 on: September 08, 2009, 17:09 »
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Wilddingo, I agree with your insistence that it's profit that matters, not revenue.  But in your insistence that 99% of contributors are actually losing money, are you leaving out people who literally don't have costs aside from their time?  What about someone spending about 2 hours a day churning out a couple illustrations or 3d renders and making a hundred dollars a day (or two hundred... or three hundred)?  When they first embarked in microstock, their revenue surely didn't offset the value of their time, but after a few months of building up a decent portfolio, they're well into the black and earning serious PROFIT.  Are these people hamsters as well?

Where do these people who "have no costs aside from their time" get their computers, Adobe Illustrator/3d rendering software, disk drives/storage media, drawing tablets, electricity, facilities to house everything, and the Internet connection to upload their files?

You are not suggesting that the only way these people can keep justifying their microstock illusion is by conveniently forgetting to account for all their expenses, are you? 

You are not saying that these people subsidize their foray into microstock with a real job that pays for these "forgotten" items, do you? 

Nah, I didnt think so


wilddingo

    This user is banned.
« Reply #92 on: September 08, 2009, 17:35 »
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No 'Dude'. I was simply using MBI as an example of an evidently highly successful and business-savvy individual who seems to be putting a lot of effort into microstock. Maybe you could learn something from her and others instead of whining constantly about microstock.

The only thing your example illustrates is that only someone with years of industry experience and $20 million in the bank can finance a serious attempt to achieve the massive scale required to make a profit out of microstock.

It's a predictable reflex among microstockers.  You boobs always pull up these "examples" of "pros" whose realities are a world away from your own because that's how you keep your microstock daydreams alive.

You can't use yourselves or your peers as examples because there ain't many of you who can claim to be successful on purely business terms.  Goes to show how sustainable microstock is as a business model.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 17:37 by wilddingo »

« Reply #93 on: September 08, 2009, 20:25 »
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You are not saying that these people subsidize their foray into microstock with a real job that pays for these "forgotten" items, do you? 

Nah, I didnt think so


Mr. Dingo,

See if you can follow this simple mathematic exercise if you can.  It's quite simple... I'll go slowly for you.

A new Imac costs $1,300 plus tax, so say $1,400.  The computer is bought for personal leisure use, but we'll use your argument that it's entirely a cost of microstocking.   Further, an Adobe package or 3d rendering program is purchased... let's say that's another $1,000.  The home already has electricity and internet, but let's attribute $50 a month to microstock use. 

This person becomes a microstock contributor and begins uploading images that start earning, say $.10 every day.  After one month, he is earning 30 x 2 x .10, or $6 per day.  After one month, this person is in the red, or in your terms, a hamster.  But this person sees his work as investment in growing a business, enjoys creating the images, and keeps at it.  Fast forward six months, and the person is earning 180 x 2 x .10, or $36 per day.  In six months, he has made more than $3,000 and has paid off the computer and software and is more than meeting the $50/month electrical and internet cost.  He's paid off his fixed costs, is covering his utilities, and will now start earning money for his time.  Oh, and he's still having fun at it.

After one year of microstocking, he's making 365 x 2 x .10, or $73 per day, or $71 per day after his electricity and internet cost.  His total for year one is $13,000.  If he's working two hours a day on microstock, that's $35.50 an hour.  Still a hamster?  If so, call me a hamster, because this is my story. 

What does this hamster see for year two of hamsterdom?  If I'm steadily contributing images that are serving a niche market and selling consistently well, I'm maintaining the $.10/per image per day rate, and after year two, that's 730 x 2 x .10 or $146 per day or $144 per day after utilities.  Working 2 hours a day, that's $72 per hour.  My total revenue over for these first two years would be about $52,000 and with only $2,500 in hardware and software and $50/month in internet and electricity, it's almost all profit.  Still a hamster? 

Now my question to you is, what do you call someone who proclaims to be above all this microstock "nonsense" yet spends so much of his time in a microstock forum clammering for attention from its members.  You seem to think we're pretty sad, but I think it's time to look in the mirror.

« Reply #94 on: September 08, 2009, 20:35 »
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Alright, I was going to just ignore this, but I'm jumping in. It's filled my head with extreme silliness that can only be let out in one way... the crazy man on the street rant!

Are you serious with all this expenses talk?

Yes, I have to pay for power when I'm inside my house, although I'm working on a giant hamster wheel powered by the neighborhood children to eliminate that. Now, how to lure them into it (insert maniacal laughter here).

Yes, I had to buy computer equipment and software, but that doesn't really take very long to recoup the expense. I didn't even have to stop eating for a month or sell my kidneys to afford it. I did just upgrade to CS4, so I may want to look up the Kelley Blue Book value on my kidneys again though.

Yes, I have a facility to house all my equipment. It is called my house. I even have my own office, but my name isn't on the door. I guess I need to talk to the boss about that.

Yes, I have the internet. I was working on some kind of device that does the same thing, but I can't find one of those sarcastic Flintstones' dinosaurs that says, "It's a living."

No, I don't do microstock full time. I happen to run a very well respected and extremely unprofitable freelance business full time, so there. The microstock started off as a little extra money each month to pad the freelance, but it is creeping closer and closer to the freelance income each month. If it keeps going, it will eventually pass it and I will freelance part time. Or, I could go back to work and make some real money, but I like working in my pj's.

So there you have it. A modest success story from an illustrator/microstocker who overcame the adversity of mediocre talent and extreme laziness to make it to the big time of paying for his mortgage, utilities and some other stuff. Dare to dream people. Dare to dream. ;D
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 23:52 by cthoman »

« Reply #95 on: September 08, 2009, 21:43 »
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i get Wildingo's point in that some people don't put a money tag on their time and don't consider some very real expenses that come from doing microstock.  The two previous analysis are nice, but don't forget that there are people buying props, lights, doing research to find niches, etc.  All those things have a price.  Also you assume that everybody is constant in uploading and that all images keep on selling without variations (both wrong assumptions).  Also many people tend to go for more expensive gear than they would if they weren't doing microstock, so it puts an extra cost on the table.  Costs are real and they add up pretty fast without your realizing it.

I also concurr that many people invoke the Yuri/Andresr/Iophoto et al card, ignoring they are the exception and not the rule.  But that is human nature and we usually seek inspiration on some role models in every activity, it is not wrong but the contrary.

I disagree with him on other points but I enjoy his posts as a reminder that micros are just a part of photographic business.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 21:52 by HermanM »

« Reply #96 on: September 08, 2009, 23:46 »
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don't forget that there are people buying props, lights, doing research to find niches, etc.  All those things have a price.  Also you assume that everybody is constant in uploading and that all images keep on selling without variations (both wrong assumptions).

I was just speaking of my own experience to refute the Wilddingo's assertion that NO ONE is profitable in microstock.  I just told my own story.  The points are accurate descriptions of my own experience... the numbers are averages (.10/image/day has held true since day one, though of course some sell much more and some sell much less... and I upload up to five some days and 0 on others, so 2 a day is my average since day 1).  Everyone's own mileage will vary.

I just don't want microstock newcomers to get discouraged by Wilddingo's posts.  He does post some valid concerns that should open everyone's eyes about the costs and realities of a challenging business, but at the same time, budding microstockers should be encouraged and inspired that some people are actually earning a healthy profit doing this.

« Reply #97 on: September 08, 2009, 23:55 »
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I just don't want microstock newcomers to get discouraged by Wilddingo's posts.  He does post some valid concerns that should open everyone's eyes about the costs and realities of a challenging business, but at the same time, budding microstockers should be encouraged and inspired that some people are actually earning a healthy profit doing this.

The more he posts, the more disastrous things look, the less competition decides to join.  Keep on postin' dude!

RacePhoto

« Reply #98 on: September 09, 2009, 01:29 »
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Neat hypothesis PowerDroid, but how about some factual numbers, not cheerleading.

It's going on two years now, 100-200 images on the big six, when do I start making that 10c a day per photo?  ;D

As I look, BS, FT, StockXpert and DT are running about 5c a day per photo. IS slightly better and SS is almost 20c a day.

In a couple of years, maybe three, I'll be able to cash out for the first time on BS, FT, DT and StockXpert for my big paycheck which won't even cover props and light bulbs. Maybe you should re-check your math against reality and the real world.  ;) It may work for you and there may be someone with 300 photos, selling thousands on IS, but lets be fair and look at honest numbers. The IS survey site tells the story of how many people never reach payout! Look at how many people start and drop out with under 10 photos.

Of the referrals I've been fortunate enough to have at all, one of them is uploading and making some money. Best wishes. The rest, which I've followed, have never been accepted on IS or never uploaded even one photo. On the other sites, I'm still waiting for the first one to sell a single photo. The exception is the one who I'm thankful for making money because it gave me $1.17 last month.

In support of micro, I don't depend on the income, nor do I have any delusions that I'll ever make more than it takes to edit and upload the photos. But I already had the camera and computer and equipment (except some lights and props) so it's a hobby that I play with over the Winter months. Some people do work very hard and build a collection of 1000 photos and do get monthly returns. Micro has made me more critical and a better photographer for what I do shoot, that will never see a microstock site. It fills my idle time and sometimes I see a shot and say "Hey that would be good for Micro."

Your example of 2 hours a day comes out to making about 50c an hour for the first year and $1 an hour after the second year. Be honest, if someone said they would pay you $1 an hour and all you had to do was work for them for two years, would you say that's a good job or interesting. Did you include uploading. keywording, shooting, editing and all the time you spend on each photo? Or are you making one illustration a day, which will honestly make more than photos.

Here's the answer, ten photos a week uploaded to the top six, don't forget to account for rejections, and you'll have over 1000 photos in two years, (many less on IS and SS) which will make you possibly, in the real world, $500 a year in returns. I think I could make that picking cans out of the trash or scouting drive-throughs and parking lots, for dropped change. Of course it lacks the glamor and integrity of being a microstock photographer, but considering the investment side, picking up change or re-cycling is more profitable!  :o Get a job and work two weeks a year, or one month a year, part time and you'll have the same $500. LOL

Where else could you be promised that if you work for two years, you can make $2 a day! Oh wow, I can see the unemployed just clamoring for cameras so they can get into Microstock.  ;D

It's not profitable, it's not going to make 98% of the people who try it, any significant income. It's not easy and there are no promises. But as a hobby or something enjoyable to do with spare time or as an artistic outlet, there's nothing wrong with Microstock. Are we having fun yet? If so, then keep on going. If not then quit.

I just can't tell people honestly that for the average person, there's money, or a profit, to be made in Micro.

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #99 on: September 09, 2009, 04:11 »
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Neat hypothesis PowerDroid, but how about some factual numbers, not cheerleading.

It's going on two years now, 100-200 images on the big six, when do I start making that 10c a day per photo?  ;D

As I look, BS, FT, StockXpert and DT are running about 5c a day per photo. IS slightly better and SS is almost 20c a day.

In a couple of years, maybe three, I'll be able to cash out for the first time on BS, FT, DT and StockXpert for my big paycheck which won't even cover props and light bulbs. Maybe you should re-check your math against reality and the real world.  ;) It may work for you and there may be someone with 300 photos, selling thousands on IS, but lets be fair and look at honest numbers. The IS survey site tells the story of how many people never reach payout! Look at how many people start and drop out with under 10 photos.

Of the referrals I've been fortunate enough to have at all, one of them is uploading and making some money. Best wishes. The rest, which I've followed, have never been accepted on IS or never uploaded even one photo. On the other sites, I'm still waiting for the first one to sell a single photo. The exception is the one who I'm thankful for making money because it gave me $1.17 last month.

In support of micro, I don't depend on the income, nor do I have any delusions that I'll ever make more than it takes to edit and upload the photos. But I already had the camera and computer and equipment (except some lights and props) so it's a hobby that I play with over the Winter months. Some people do work very hard and build a collection of 1000 photos and do get monthly returns. Micro has made me more critical and a better photographer for what I do shoot, that will never see a microstock site. It fills my idle time and sometimes I see a shot and say "Hey that would be good for Micro."

Your example of 2 hours a day comes out to making about 50c an hour for the first year and $1 an hour after the second year. Be honest, if someone said they would pay you $1 an hour and all you had to do was work for them for two years, would you say that's a good job or interesting. Did you include uploading. keywording, shooting, editing and all the time you spend on each photo? Or are you making one illustration a day, which will honestly make more than photos.

Here's the answer, ten photos a week uploaded to the top six, don't forget to account for rejections, and you'll have over 1000 photos in two years, (many less on IS and SS) which will make you possibly, in the real world, $500 a year in returns. I think I could make that picking cans out of the trash or scouting drive-throughs and parking lots, for dropped change. Of course it lacks the glamor and integrity of being a microstock photographer, but considering the investment side, picking up change or re-cycling is more profitable!  :o Get a job and work two weeks a year, or one month a year, part time and you'll have the same $500. LOL

Where else could you be promised that if you work for two years, you can make $2 a day! Oh wow, I can see the unemployed just clamoring for cameras so they can get into Microstock.  ;D

It's not profitable, it's not going to make 98% of the people who try it, any significant income. It's not easy and there are no promises. But as a hobby or something enjoyable to do with spare time or as an artistic outlet, there's nothing wrong with Microstock. Are we having fun yet? If so, then keep on going. If not then quit.

I just can't tell people honestly that for the average person, there's money, or a profit, to be made in Micro.


Great post!!!! I have to agree too.. if you have a few 100 shots, and you aren't adding at least 100 to that per month over a period of 1-2 years (consistently), then you won't make much.. especially when competing against pro's on the same web sites adding 1000 a month, your images get lost in the mix unless you want to produce at that level.. which I believe cannot be done if you have a 'day job'.. but these people don't, they have made microstock their living, and you have to compete against the person with all the time in the world to give to it, with whatever you have left after making a living.

I really think they will have to do something to keep the small contributor happy, with all the pro level people entering and producing massive volume of images, they will monopolise it, and then they will only compete with each other, but they have saturated the market to a huge extreme.. it makes it harder for anyone to sell any image, and it drives the price down. It will be interesting to see what happens though that's for sure!!


 

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