MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: My first 100 sales - A newbie perspective.  (Read 2923 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: September 16, 2016, 03:10 »
+4
Hi!
I want to share my experience as a newbie in Microstock so far, hoping that it could help other people just approaching this world.

I became aware of this kind of agencies some years ago, but thinking my images weren't good enough I didn't apply for a long time. Some months ago I decided to dedicate some time to see how it works: I read a lot of blogs and advices, edited and cleaned up my images archive and dived in.
I bought my first DSLR in 2008 so my hard disk was quite full of images:in reality not very stock oriented, but mainly travel, animals and landscapes  pictures.
To my surprise I was approved at Istock and Shutterstock at the first try and in June I started to upload to as many agencies as I could, setting a goal of 200 images online (per Agency) by the end of August. Right now I have about 500 images spread across 11 agencies, with a maximum of 300-350 images in a single agency: approval rate and selected files vary greatly from one site to the other, and sometimes my best seller with an agency is rejected by all the others. Misteries of Microstock!
I have to admit that my portfolio doesn't look great to my eyes when I compare it to the other images on the web, but one of the big surprise in this world is that the author perspective is really different from buyers one, and you may find out that an image that you consider just below average sells well while the ones that you'd print big for your home walls are not interesting for the market.

Anyway things got encouraging right from the beginning and I kept working on it.

After exactly 3 months since my first upload I reached my 100th download and below I share my experience with the different agencies:


1) Shutterstock : 55 DLs , mostly subscription but a big SOD (Single&Other Download) made me reach the first payout in August, already. It has been the most encouraging agency at the beginning, with the first sale just after a couple of days, but now things have started to slow down. Quite fast review time, with an average approval rate (about 60%)

2) Fotolia : 30 DLs, less then SS but with an often higher commission, sales are not so regular, but quite steady.Quite fast review time, approval rate is almost the same as SS, but they do chose different images. My best seller on Fotolia (7 DL) has been rejected twice by SS .

3) 123RF   : 7 DLs, quite easy upload and submission (no categories) but not very fast. Higher approval rate.

4) iStock :  4 DLs, quite good considering that I had only 30 images online until last week. Review time is painfully long, I had hundreds of images waiting for many weeks. The submission through Deepmeta is quite painful, too, since it doesn't recognize all the keywords in metadata; at least when you have finished your work offline you don't need to do anything else. Approval rate is quite high, the only rejections I have are due to errors in editorial captions (they don't like capital letters like SS wants)

5) BigStock : 2 DLs, slow sales but I knew it in advance. Not the best submission interface but exceptionally fast review: I wonder if it's really done by human reviewers.

6) DepositPhotos : 1 DL, slow sales and slow review time: newly approved images are released one at a time. Submission quite easy.

7) Photodune : 1 DL , same as DP, but review time is a little less.

8 ) Dreamstime : No sales. This has been my biggest disappointment: it's one of the top agencies and as far as I knew it should have been better than others for my style of images (nature, landscapes,...). Long review time and high approval rate, but with no results up till now.

9) Canstock   : No sales. Not great expectations that were confirmed, and very slow portfolio growth (25 submissions daily limit and slow review time). I continue to upload only becouse it's quite easy and no categories asked, otherwise I'd already given up.

10) Alamy     : No sales even if views counter is quite high. Painful submission interface, the only one that oblige you to add "most important keywords" online. Thinking of giving up, even if their approval rate is nearly 100%.

11) Pond5     : No sales. Signed up mainly to upload some Real Time and Time-lapse Videos, but in the meanwhile uploaded also images. The submission is quite  easy (no categories), but the review time is the longest among all agencies. And approval rate is the lowest (abut 30%).I do not quite understand their placement in Images market.



Overall, I was quite encouraged that things were starting to move even with a small portfolio and in summer time, so I tried to increase numbers in portfolio and was quite sure that September would have been a great month, but at the moment it seems difficult that September will be better than August. Anyway, I've finished uploading pictures from my archive: next goal is to keep producing and reach 1000 images online by the end  of the year, hoping that sales will follow.

Alex


« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 03:23 »
0
"I have to admit that my portfolio doesn't look great to my eyes when I compare it to the other images on the web, but one of the big surprise in this world is that the author perspective is really different from buyers one, and you may find out that an image that you consider just below average sells well while the ones that you'd print big for your home walls are not interesting for the market." I think one of the hardest things is trying to work out what people want to buy....and for me staying motivated to shoot it!

SergeStudio

« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 03:57 »
0
Similar experience. Started at the beginning of the year.

I gave DT: 3 sales and threshold $100 unrealistic.
In addition, because of a vicious procedure, we can't completely remove its portfolio.

I also gave CanStock: 3 sales.

Finally abandonment of PantherMedia: I wonder if they still esxistent...

Add a few months ago: Alamy (1 sale) and Photodune (3 sales).

I plan to refocus on iStock, SS, FL (more DP... by sympathy... 12 sales)

Maybe adding 123RF...

For the first 3 agencies: 277 sales to the total with an average of 0.49 (end of August).
Not what put a lot of butter in the spinach...
But it seems to me that it must consider this activity over the long term.

(sorry... machine translation)

« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2016, 04:49 »
0
I have to add that my applications have been rejected by OffSet,for which I thougt my portfolio would have perfectly fit, and Canva.

jazz42

  • Computer scientist and hobby stock photographer
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 06:17 »
0
I started two years ago and I have similar experience with the agencies you mention except that iS and Fotolia are doing slightly better than SS.

I gave up on Alamy due to their submission interface - For testing, I uploaded 100 pics about a year ago and I haven't had a sale yet. It is NOT worth the hazzle.

Pond5 - nearly no sales. I keep uploading because doesn't take long to submit.

alno

« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 07:21 »
+2
Try to count your overall gear price not in dollars but in average photo download price. This number will be insanely high. Is it still somehow possible to earn any good money with such a late photo stock start? I guess you should focus on videos only and let Shutterstock celebrate 200 million pictures without your help.

« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 07:37 »
0
Try to count your overall gear price not in dollars but in average photo download price. This number will be insanely high. Is it still somehow possible to earn any good money with such a late photo stock start? I guess you should focus on videos only and let Shutterstock celebrate 200 million pictures without your help.
Depends if your gear is bought solely for Mstock for many they would have the equipment any way.

« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 07:39 »
0
@ Irina

I agree with you, but I already had the equipment and many pictures sitting in my hard drive

Photography is a hobby for me, and I would already be satisfied if it pays for itself not changing too much my habits.

I'm aware that footage is the present and next future, and already started to produce some, but I didn't have an archive to choose from and upload

Anyway in the future I think I will keep on producing both, just because I like both ;)

« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 09:03 »
0
hi alex and thanks for sharing.

I'm just completing my first year in microstock and had very similar experience as you. Started mostly with editorials as I spent years working in the developping world.

Looking back now, I would stop uploading to Dreamstime, is the only agency where I'm still waiting for the first payout. As for Alamy, I wouldn't stop yet, it took months to get the first sale, but since then I have regular sales there, not massive numbers but much higher commissions. Just give it some time.

« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 09:59 »
0
Is there even ONE person who would buy a camera and start from scratch just to do microstock?

Doesn't the interest in photography come first and you would buy the best gear you can afford because it's fun and you love doing it? Then you realize that you might also be able to make some money doing it.

I buy a new camera and expensive telephoto lenses because I like looking at the pictures I can take, and I love being out "working" as a photographer, and then I sell some of them. I don't think "but is it worth it for microstock?", that's secondary.

« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 10:34 »
+1
Is there even ONE person who would buy a camera and start from scratch just to do microstock?

 I did, in 2004.  That was after I saw increasing sales from the few 3d files I was able to upload.  However, if I saw numbers like these today - 4 sales on IS over 3 months? - I don't think I'd continue.

« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 12:57 »
0
Is there even ONE person who would buy a camera and start from scratch just to do microstock?

 I did, in 2004.  That was after I saw increasing sales from the few 3d files I was able to upload.  However, if I saw numbers like these today - 4 sales on IS over 3 months? - I don't think I'd continue.
I doubt very much if anyone now would see it as a great business opportunity but more a way of making a few $$$ from something they enjoy.

« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 03:26 »
0
I started around spring, but took a big workload on my dayjob so I didn't have almost any energy left to upload over the summer and I'm around 100 images at FT, IS and SS. Still mostly just unloading photos from archive, travel, pets and such. But my most downloaded image is of the business type I shot with stock in mind.

IS stalled for the whole month or so, but after that really picked up, all downloads trough partner program, only one regular download and that's editorial. IS seems the most regular for me and I even got one single 40$ download of an image that didn't sell at all before that, again partner program.

SS picked right away with regular downloads while IS was still at zero despite having images there for more than a month. But SS stalled over the summer a lot.

FT was dead for months, I already asked here about that. Recently it started moving but only a few downloads.

I had about 3 images on DT, didn't really want to bother, got one download. 
   

« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 08:46 »
+1
Everyone will have a unique and varied reaction to agencies. The one consistent is Shutterstock, By far and away my best and most consistent agency. Everyone else is unpredictable and inconsistent. But for what its worth, this has been my experience over the past 4 years:

P5: 22 clip sales last September. Still waiting for my first sale this September. The bottom fell out in April and hasn't recovered since. Of all the agencies I've dealt with, P5 is the most extreme case of "Good to Bad".
Istock: Very slow/poor sales until I reached the 1500 mark. Now it provides good, solid sales.
Depositphoto: Very bizarre behavior lately. Rejecting constantly while everyone else is accepting. I think they fail to understand that they're not the SS, they're an "also-ran" agency where buyers turn to them when they can't find the image they're looking for with the top agencies. Very easy, streamlined submission procedure and always selling images that aren't selling anywhere else.
123RF: Awkward flip-here, scroll down there interface but consistent with sales and approval system. No surprises.
Dreamstime: My first agency and best selling for the first few years before the bottom fell out. Too bad. Again, the overall system of approval/rejections are consistent and one of the nicest interfaces - I just wish sales would reflect the number of approved submissions I have with them.


« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 11:28 »
+1
Everyone will have a unique and varied reaction to agencies. The one consistent is Shutterstock, By far and away my best and most consistent agency. Everyone else is unpredictable and inconsistent. But for what its worth, this has been my experience over the past 4 years:

P5: 22 clip sales last September. Still waiting for my first sale this September. The bottom fell out in April and hasn't recovered since. Of all the agencies I've dealt with, P5 is the most extreme case of "Good to Bad".
Istock: Very slow/poor sales until I reached the 1500 mark. Now it provides good, solid sales.
Depositphoto: Very bizarre behavior lately. Rejecting constantly while everyone else is accepting. I think they fail to understand that they're not the SS, they're an "also-ran" agency where buyers turn to them when they can't find the image they're looking for with the top agencies. Very easy, streamlined submission procedure and always selling images that aren't selling anywhere else.
123RF: Awkward flip-here, scroll down there interface but consistent with sales and approval system. No surprises.
Dreamstime: My first agency and best selling for the first few years before the bottom fell out. Too bad. Again, the overall system of approval/rejections are consistent and one of the nicest interfaces - I just wish sales would reflect the number of approved submissions I have with them.

Agreed. Nothing like it was a year ago. Whatever happened, whatever changes they've made are still affecting my sales.  Too bad, really. P5 was our last home to get away from micro pricing.  I still say that they have a really good opportunity to stand out, make the site one that contributors love (like we cheer SS sometimes...less and less, though) and a strategy that benefits P5 and its customers. 

« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2016, 11:56 »
+1
Friday night, I got a shocking email from P5.  Seven clips sold, one 4K and the rest HD.  Best sales day ever, there.

« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2016, 12:10 »
0
When you all are reporting poor sales on Istock, do you count the sales through the partners programs? I though my earnings were low there until I noticed the statistics panel and all those downloads through partners. I actually make twice as much on Istock than I make on shutter stock at present, mostly partners programs. My port there is below 400 images.


« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2016, 03:47 »
0
When you all are reporting poor sales on Istock, do you count the sales through the partners programs? I though my earnings were low there until I noticed the statistics panel and all those downloads through partners. I actually make twice as much on Istock than I make on shutter stock at present, mostly partners programs. My port there is below 400 images.

Yes, same here, I get regular downloads on IS partner program and I actually have only one! regular IS download, I don't understand it but it's working I guess.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
4 Replies
1913 Views
Last post September 22, 2006, 10:35
by Quevaal
0 Replies
1559 Views
Last post June 02, 2007, 21:31
by rjmiz
33 Replies
7279 Views
Last post November 26, 2009, 20:12
by FD
7 Replies
4328 Views
Last post August 10, 2011, 13:25
by Xalanx
10 Replies
2244 Views
Last post February 01, 2014, 06:15
by ShadySue

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results