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Author Topic: Profitable?  (Read 8928 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« on: July 25, 2014, 08:37 »
+5
This question came to me from another thread. People always come here trying to figure out how much they can make doing micro. Nobody seems to ask what it takes to be profitable. They only care about how much they can earn per month or year.

I then see some people responding that they have thousands of images and are making a hundred-ish dollars per month. I can't imagine those figures being worth anyones time. There are costs for everything even when trying to be frugal. Camera, memory cards, camera accessories, computer upgrades, gas to travel, parking fees, props, models, and on and on. And then theres time to take pictures and the ton of time to edit, keyword, submit pictures, redo rejections, etc. Micro is a lot of work.

And overall things seems to have taken a downturn from a few years ago. Contributors are reporting they're growing their portfolio but income is dropping.

Can anyone turn a profit earning .05 cents per image per month? Is anyone in micro profitable anymore?


« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2014, 08:50 »
0
I'm... :)

« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 09:52 »
+1
Is anyone in micro profitable anymore?

I assume many people are (probably not as many as there should be though). It doesn't take too much to cover my operational expenses. The time part is kind of tricky because I can work a lot on stock one week and none the next. Or, I could stop working on stock all together and probably make the same amount. I still enjoy doing it though. That said, it would be nice to get paid more per sale at most sites. That would make everything so much easier.

Ed

« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 10:21 »
+4
I would say that for most people, this is a hobby and they are not profitable.

My overhead (insurance, depreciation on gear, internet access, web hosting, creative cloud membership, etc.) works out to about $16 per day.  That's what it costs for me to sit and do nothing.

If you add in studio rent/fees, model, makeup, etc. then those costs can add up.  I'm willing to bet 95% of the people contributing to the micros have not sat down and done the math.

I've had model shoots that have cost me as much as $1,200 and I've had model shoots that cost me as much as $10.  It is very difficult to churn a profit while shooting on speculation - or shooting strictly for stock.

« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 10:51 »
+4
I profit on old images.  Don't shoot often or spend as much now and only do if I think there's money in it.  Less profitable to speculate anymore.  Low commissions may have kill innovating

« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 16:00 »
+1
I profit on old images.  Don't shoot often or spend as much now and only do if I think there's money in it.  Less profitable to speculate anymore.  Low commissions may have kill innovating

wow, u read my mind, so u get 1 heart...as i have been thinking this for months now.
i look at my sales charts. it is good, been earning more than before. but  i can count my regulars on both my hands and feet. it is like you say PB, sit on my skinny @r$e and just watch the $$$ roll in.

now i can see why Yuri makes that much more with a lot more $$$$$$$$$ . it all started many years ago, and we gain that search position. and then you do nothing else.
just like the other stock exchange,no???

i like to think the new works make as much, since i insist my new work surpasses that of my initial years. but the clients don't seem to care, or mind.
and neither do i, so long as they keep downloading my regular sellers.

repeat PB what u say.. i echo too..
Low commissions may have kill innovating
before this, if my new work sells on the first hour, i can safely say it will be my regular money earner.
today, for months, new work see 2,5, 10 sales and they die off.
so, why even bother?

back to paulie's question. i do zero costing or low expense images for microstock.
like i said, i make food, i shoot food, i eat food.
and if it makes $$$ , i buy more food.

only problem is my tummy gets bigger, and my wallet too. so why complain? LMAO
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 16:02 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 07:05 »
0
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 08:09 »
+4
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

Even doing it part time is still work and for some people it probably works out to be $1-$2 per hour. Minimum wage here in the US is around $8 per hour. Maybe a part time job would be a better return on time and more money.

Just doing some loose math with 1,000 images. Minimum of 30 minutes each to shoot, edit, keyword and upload. That's 500 hours. Earning .10 cents per image per month equals $100 per month or $1,200 per year. That's $2.40 per hour. And I realize it's recurring revenue but images lose sales volume quickly. Mine peak after about six months and bottom out after about a year. You must keep producing new images otherwise income will dry up. And there are a lot of people doing much better than .10 PIPM but you would need to be doing 3x better just to earn minimum wage. And most minimum wage jobs don't require hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs for you to do the job.

Which goes back to my point of I wonder why some people spend a huge amount of time and money on this for very little return and probably no profit.

« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 08:36 »
-1
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

Even doing it part time is still work and for some people it probably works out to be $1-$2 per hour. Minimum wage here in the US is around $8 per hour. Maybe a part time job would be a better return on time and more money.

Just doing some loose math with 1,000 images. Minimum of 30 minutes each to shoot, edit, keyword and upload. That's 500 hours. Earning .10 cents per image per month equals $100 per month or $1,200 per year. That's $2.40 per hour. And I realize it's recurring revenue but images lose sales volume quickly. Mine peak after about six months and bottom out after about a year. You must keep producing new images otherwise income will dry up. And there are a lot of people doing much better than .10 PIPM but you would need to be doing 3x better just to earn minimum wage. And most minimum wage jobs don't require hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs for you to do the job.

Which goes back to my point of I wonder why some people spend a huge amount of time and money on this for very little return and probably no profit.
1. You don't understand the concept of passive income. Sells do dry out but after a while remain constant. I have seen a port of 500ish with no upload for years.
2. Not everybody lives in the USofA. Which do you enjoy more? minimum wage job? photography?
3. You actually don't need hundreds of thousand dollars to stock. (Although I did spend hundreds Ks myself. I found out later that I only need a normal zoom)

One of the key to success is to keep the production cost low. Income increases with number/quality of image, not linearly but almost.

Stockphotography is similar to buying stock in stock market. You invest only once.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 09:02 »
0
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

Even doing it part time is still work and for some people it probably works out to be $1-$2 per hour. Minimum wage here in the US is around $8 per hour. Maybe a part time job would be a better return on time and more money.

Just doing some loose math with 1,000 images. Minimum of 30 minutes each to shoot, edit, keyword and upload. That's 500 hours. Earning .10 cents per image per month equals $100 per month or $1,200 per year. That's $2.40 per hour. And I realize it's recurring revenue but images lose sales volume quickly. Mine peak after about six months and bottom out after about a year. You must keep producing new images otherwise income will dry up. And there are a lot of people doing much better than .10 PIPM but you would need to be doing 3x better just to earn minimum wage. And most minimum wage jobs don't require hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs for you to do the job.

Which goes back to my point of I wonder why some people spend a huge amount of time and money on this for very little return and probably no profit.
1. You don't understand the concept of passive income. Sells do dry out but after a while remain constant. I have seen a port of 500ish with no upload for years.
2. Not everybody lives in the USofA. Which do you enjoy more? minimum wage job? photography?
3. You actually don't need hundreds of thousand dollars to stock. (Although I did spend hundreds Ks myself. I found out later that I only need a normal zoom)

One of the key to success is to keep the production cost low. Income increases with number/quality of image, not linearly but almost.

Stockphotography is similar to buying stock in stock market. You invest only once.

Oh boy. Yes I understand the concept of passive income. Regular income with little work. Technically if you submit 1 image and earn $1 dollar per year that's passive income. And submitting 10,000 images, quitting, and earning $1 per year would be passive income. Would it be profitable? No. 

Yes I understand not everybody lives in the US. All financial stats vary based on a lot of different conditions. $1 per hour in certain countries may be a good wage, but again, that's why I pointed out "here in the US" which you seem to be overlooking.

You need at least a camera which is going to be hundreds of dollars. And just because you have a phone or existing camera, in business, it's still a cost. And you're not going to make much, or any, money shooting things around your house or in your backyard. Unless your back yard has the Eiffel Tower or a modeling agency that offers free models.

Good luck with the stock market.

Goofy

« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 09:33 »
0
In my case I do this strictly as a hobby thus 'profit' really isn't a concern to me. My other friends have hobby like - golf, fishing, traveling or collecting cars which is more expensive than my hobby...

« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2014, 09:46 »
+2
In my case I do this strictly as a hobby thus 'profit' really isn't a concern to me. My other friends have hobby like - golf, fishing, traveling or collecting cars which is more expensive than my hobby...
That's an interesting concept of fun that you have haha
I would never do micro if I wasn't after a way to make money online, thus profit is the reason I'm here.

« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2014, 11:54 »
0
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

Even doing it part time is still work and for some people it probably works out to be $1-$2 per hour. Minimum wage here in the US is around $8 per hour. Maybe a part time job would be a better return on time and more money.

Just doing some loose math with 1,000 images. Minimum of 30 minutes each to shoot, edit, keyword and upload. That's 500 hours. Earning .10 cents per image per month equals $100 per month or $1,200 per year. That's $2.40 per hour. And I realize it's recurring revenue but images lose sales volume quickly. Mine peak after about six months and bottom out after about a year. You must keep producing new images otherwise income will dry up. And there are a lot of people doing much better than .10 PIPM but you would need to be doing 3x better just to earn minimum wage. And most minimum wage jobs don't require hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs for you to do the job.

Which goes back to my point of I wonder why some people spend a huge amount of time and money on this for very little return and probably no profit.
1. You don't understand the concept of passive income. Sells do dry out but after a while remain constant. I have seen a port of 500ish with no upload for years.
2. Not everybody lives in the USofA. Which do you enjoy more? minimum wage job? photography?
3. You actually don't need hundreds of thousand dollars to stock. (Although I did spend hundreds Ks myself. I found out later that I only need a normal zoom)

One of the key to success is to keep the production cost low. Income increases with number/quality of image, not linearly but almost.

Stockphotography is similar to buying stock in stock market. You invest only once.

Oh boy. Yes I understand the concept of passive income. Regular income with little work. Technically if you submit 1 image and earn $1 dollar per year that's passive income. And submitting 10,000 images, quitting, and earning $1 per year would be passive income. Would it be profitable? No. 

Yes I understand not everybody lives in the US. All financial stats vary based on a lot of different conditions. $1 per hour in certain countries may be a good wage, but again, that's why I pointed out "here in the US" which you seem to be overlooking.

You need at least a camera which is going to be hundreds of dollars. And just because you have a phone or existing camera, in business, it's still a cost. And you're not going to make much, or any, money shooting things around your house or in your backyard. Unless your back yard has the Eiffel Tower or a modeling agency that offers free models.

Good luck with the stock market.
With that attitude you're not going very far. Trust me, there's a lot to shoot 'in house' if you have some creativity. You can get models for 'free' if you're good enough. I do portraiture and weddings so models are willing to pose in exchange of images.

Camera gears are investments. Just like buying stock and earning dividends. It's almost one time investment. In our case gears, time, production cost are 'investment'. Earning is comparable to dividends. After break-even it's profit.

For faster break-even the only thing that can be easily sacrificed is production cost. This will lower image quality.

I started with just 400D now I use 5D3(which I realised I don't really need for stock. Too bad I shoot weddings too) that's something.

Stock photography can be profitable. There are already many people doing full time. It's the method you need to find by yourself to make it as profitable as possible.

The question is: do you really want to sell mediocre images for pennies for the rest of your life?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 11:58 by Epsilonth »

« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2014, 12:11 »
+2
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

+1

it is , as paulie says, not passive income to those who go to it on a regular basis, pumping in 100, 1000, images wkly, mthly,etc.. oblivious to their trial balance and P&L .  in that sense, it can
become a total PITA  ;D


but as goofy points out, some ppl fish for fun,etc. my own ex-business colleague in music fished for fun, has a pencil boat and tons of lures,etc... he travels all over the peninsula to fish. got divorced because he was spending more time on fish than wife lol.
the same with music. many times, as musicians, we rant about how little money we made at times. but another colleague who sings in everything, from janis blues to theatre,etc.. pointed out to me, that she would sing anyway, so whether she made pennies or 10 K ,it is still as Epsilonth calls it
passive income.

it is passive income for those of us who have to shoot no matter what.

i shoot Events photography, model portfolio, etc.. none of these go into micro. but i shoot food
which i eat , and this is passive income to me.
yes, in that sense, micro "stock" or any "stock" photography is similar to "stock" market.

you don't trade daily, you put in and you let it build (or fall). then you watch the passive income roll in, if you invested well.

if you're doing it full time, you won't be considering this passive income;
you consider it a PITA, having to jump through hoops, on a daily basis.
and needing to replace your camera from wear and tear.


still, many of us, shooting 1,000 frames daily , regardless of whether it is to earn money or not.
it is once again, as an actress i shot last week tells me, when i told her she looks like having fun
for as long as i have been watching her at the Event. she says, "everything i do, i am having fun;
the money is just the icing".

otoh, stock photographers do not find it fun, if they are not balancing the books.
in this case, they throw in the towel.
i think it's all about finding a balance,
and having more than one income source. and then you have indeed, several passive income
and not have to lick the boots of the agencies.  and throughout the years, when one passive income is low, the other peaks and you're still balancing the books

« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 12:22 by etudiante_rapide »

« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2014, 12:29 »
+1
It kinda gotten out of topic now. To sum up. My point is: This is passive income.that recurring cost is almost non existent  It will be profitable no matter what. Unless what you shoot is really expensive to produce or your image is really amateurish.

The question should be when it will break even and turn profit. You need to do a break-even analysis. Basically time when (initial cost fixed cost variable cost) - all income = 0. Will It be in days?weeks? Months?

You wouldn't want to be dead before that! With this really simple method you will know where you need to keep the cost down.

« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2014, 15:11 »
+1
It's passive income once you're done. Forget about it for a few months,bam! new lenses, new camera bodies. If you're not doing it full time, that is.

Even doing it part time is still work and for some people it probably works out to be $1-$2 per hour. Minimum wage here in the US is around $8 per hour. Maybe a part time job would be a better return on time and more money.

Just doing some loose math with 1,000 images. Minimum of 30 minutes each to shoot, edit, keyword and upload. That's 500 hours. Earning .10 cents per image per month equals $100 per month or $1,200 per year. That's $2.40 per hour. And I realize it's recurring revenue but images lose sales volume quickly. Mine peak after about six months and bottom out after about a year. You must keep producing new images otherwise income will dry up. And there are a lot of people doing much better than .10 PIPM but you would need to be doing 3x better just to earn minimum wage. And most minimum wage jobs don't require hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs for you to do the job.

Which goes back to my point of I wonder why some people spend a huge amount of time and money on this for very little return and probably no profit.
1. You don't understand the concept of passive income. Sells do dry out but after a while remain constant. I have seen a port of 500ish with no upload for years.
2. Not everybody lives in the USofA. Which do you enjoy more? minimum wage job? photography?
3. You actually don't need hundreds of thousand dollars to stock. (Although I did spend hundreds Ks myself. I found out later that I only need a normal zoom)

One of the key to success is to keep the production cost low. Income increases with number/quality of image, not linearly but almost.

Stockphotography is similar to buying stock in stock market. You invest only once.

Oh boy. Yes I understand the concept of passive income. Regular income with little work. Technically if you submit 1 image and earn $1 dollar per year that's passive income. And submitting 10,000 images, quitting, and earning $1 per year would be passive income. Would it be profitable? No. 

Yes I understand not everybody lives in the US. All financial stats vary based on a lot of different conditions. $1 per hour in certain countries may be a good wage, but again, that's why I pointed out "here in the US" which you seem to be overlooking.

You need at least a camera which is going to be hundreds of dollars. And just because you have a phone or existing camera, in business, it's still a cost. And you're not going to make much, or any, money shooting things around your house or in your backyard. Unless your back yard has the Eiffel Tower or a modeling agency that offers free models.

Good luck with the stock market.
With that attitude you're not going very far. Trust me, there's a lot to shoot 'in house' if you have some creativity. You can get models for 'free' if you're good enough. I do portraiture and weddings so models are willing to pose in exchange of images.

So hilarious.  Some newbie lecturing Pauly on how to go far in stock.  This guy has been successful for years.  He don't need your advice.  You need his.  If you ignore, well that's on you. 

« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2014, 18:03 »
+1
So hilarious.  Some newbie lecturing Pauly on how to go far in stock.  This guy has been successful for years.  He don't need your advice.  You need his.  If you ignore, well that's on you.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
like the other thread where the newbie told SJLocke.. and u r who??? or something like that.
this is funny too.  8)


Goofy

« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2014, 18:32 »
+2
So hilarious.  Some newbie lecturing Pauly on how to go far in stock.  This guy has been successful for years.  He don't need your advice.  You need his.  If you ignore, well that's on you.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
like the other thread where the newbie told SJLocke.. and u r who??? or something like that.
this is funny too.  8)

and if memory serves me correct - that newbie also  called Sean a troll as well- they are long gone now... 8)

« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2014, 18:34 »
+2
So hilarious.  Some newbie lecturing Pauly on how to go far in stock.  This guy has been successful for years.  He don't need your advice.  You need his.  If you ignore, well that's on you.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
like the other thread where the newbie told SJLocke.. and u r who??? or something like that.
this is funny too.  8)

and if memory serves me correct - that newbie also  called Sean a troll as well- they are long gone now... 8)

LMAO , so i am not the only one who caught that ! cheers ! ;D

Goofy

« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2014, 18:37 »
+1
So hilarious.  Some newbie lecturing Pauly on how to go far in stock.  This guy has been successful for years.  He don't need your advice.  You need his.  If you ignore, well that's on you.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
like the other thread where the newbie told SJLocke.. and u r who??? or something like that.
this is funny too.  8)

and if memory serves me correct - that newbie also  called Sean a troll as well- they are long gone now... 8)

LMAO , so i am not the only one who caught that ! cheers ! ;D

Yeah, it wasn't a very good way for them to introduce themselves to MSG lol!

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2014, 20:02 »
+1
Quote
With that attitude you're not going very far.

I like you. You're funny.

« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2014, 20:04 »
+4
I think "profitable" is really an eroded term for micro stock.  The people who make money will be the point and shooters who have no production expenses and whose images buyers consume.  For people like Sean, JoAnn, Tyler, Gostwyck, and many other top end shooters, they will have to have "other royalty arrangements" with the MS companies or have other revenue streams. With royalties like Deposit Photos 3%, that is like drugs; other MS companies will see that as another way for them to hack away at any meaningful royalties. FOTOLIA and their DPC scheme is another totally destructive model. When photographers who are unaware of the DPC mandatory opt in, then five months down the road wonder where all their income is, they will begin to ask questions. Not all but maybe quite a few more. It's a short term gain mindset.  They will hopefully lose many great portfolios as a result of their money grubbing scheme. Same with DP. 

I am no longer with FT or DP all because of their "ripoff the artist strategy".  Someone in one of these topics recently said something along the lines of "I am running out of agencies to get rid of".  This will become more and more common, and so will these agencies' collections.   

« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2014, 21:00 »
+2
I think "profitable" is really an eroded term for micro stock.  The people who make money will be the point and shooters who have no production expenses and whose images buyers consume.  For people like Sean, JoAnn, Tyler, Gostwyck, and many other top end shooters, they will have to have "other royalty arrangements" .. like drugs; other MS companies will see that as another way for them to hack away at any meaningful royalties. .. totally destructive model.... It's a short term gain mindset.   

I am no longer with FT or DP all because of their "ripoff the artist strategy".

i don't think just the PNS, as JSLocke pointed out recently, it is up to you to distribute your low or zero cost to SS, etc and the high cost production to in his idea he mentioned Stocksy.

eventually, too, as i noticed the absence of other regulars here such as lisafx,etc
to mean that perharps they too have looked elsewhere already. or in my case, nothing like close to the names you mentioned, lisafx, jo ann, paulie,etc..
but still, i see this trend as a warning sign that agencies are more interested in traffic as opposed to downloads, like Getty giving away other ppl work,etc.

thus, i look for re-starting the local opportunities which i had long given up in preference to stock photography as it allows me to travel ,etc.  now it seems, we may have to rewind back to closer to home, not weddings (gawd) but commercial work, events work, headshots, theatre,etc..

maybe in a way it is good that the greed is squeezing us out with short-term profit over long term.
maybe we too have lost the perspective that perharps there is an untappable source of income closer to home since many of the experienced photographers or new experienced since IS and SS have
long forgotten to tap the market at home.

i know this because only this evening, as i presented my work to someone here at an Event,
they were amazed how quickly i delivered and the work i gave them, noise free, no fringe, WB,etc..
astounded them. indicating that perharps we have given up the market to lesser photographers
here assuming that no one wants good work .
i ended up with a card from the manager and the promise that they will come back to me
and have some other people who needs good work done too.

so maybe just maybe we have forgotten that there is work at home .
i like to hear what others globally think as well.
well said, mantis. i "hacked away" to highlight the points u made.

« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2014, 22:31 »
0
I love it when you guys assume anyone anonymous not successful.

« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2014, 23:03 »
+3
I love it when you guys assume anyone anonymous not successful.

From your post "With that attitude you're not going very far", you were the one making that assumption about Pauly.  It is not anonymity that suggests not successful, it is silly posts. 


 

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