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When has a photo paid for itself?

When it sold once!
0 (0%)
When it made 1 buck!
1 (3.2%)
At least $10 in sales!
16 (51.6%)
Must make minimum $50!
9 (29%)
At least $100 in sales or it's garbage :)
5 (16.1%)
I'm a microstock god. It's $500 or I delete it ;)
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 24

Author Topic: So how much must an image make for you to be happy with it?  (Read 3690 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


« on: May 27, 2008, 09:43 »
I was wondering.  When do you consider that all the hard work that went into creating a photo has paid off?

I'm sure everybody has images in their portfolio that didn't live up to their expectations - all the photos that we labored over in Photoshop for hours and that produced 2 sales across all the sites :P 

So at what point do you consider an image to be worth your trouble?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 09:45 by j2k »


« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2008, 09:48 »
Honestly I have to say that the microstock game is all about overall portfolio worth, rather than what an individual image may be worth. You can't get too hung up on any one image.

« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 10:00 »
I base success more on the total sales of a photographic session rather than on the individual image sales.

« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2008, 10:03 »
My non scientific figures tell me that an image on average should be able to earn $50 in it's lifetime.  I agree that overall portfolio worth is what matters - and i guess that is what i am saying too with 'average image' should earn that much.

I figured if an image earns $10.00/year and it has a 5 year life span, or if it is a less popular type of image and only earns $5.00/year but has a 10 year life because of it not being dated so easily (like a landscape or isolated fruit)

Of course we won't know until 10 years is up, but so far (4 years) the figures seem fairly accurate for me.

so all that to say, if an image earns more than $50 in the first 5 years I consider it a successful image and hope it works to bring up the avg for all the images that don't produce that much income.

« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2008, 10:06 »
I'm probably being the idealist here, but you've left out once choice ...

Nothing. If it's a great image I'm happy just to have created it for the world to see.

(You can leave off those last 5 words if you feel they're a wee bit over the top)



« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2008, 10:14 »
I think you are missing an important consideration here and that is the production cost of an image.

If it costs $20 dollar to produce the image then I wouldn't be happy until it covered these costs ...

« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2008, 14:11 »
I think you are missing an important consideration here and that is the production cost of an image.

If it costs $20 dollar to produce the image then I wouldn't be happy until it covered these costs ...

The cost of producing a good series is much higher then the $20 mentioned. 
- finding/hiring models that suit the concept
- props
- make up
- clothing
- studio time (own studio, never the less, time spend in studio, on average 8-10 hours per session)
- editing, keywording, uploading

And then, if i have a few sales on first week i might consider myself lucky these days.
But, as mentioned above, it's the overall quality of the portfolio that determines the success.  If i upload some pictures that are not really in big demand, but if a designers search for it and discovers my portfolio... that will improve my visibility, hence my sales.
It is hard to determine how many a single photo should earn to be considered successful/cover the cost of producing.

Just my two cents.

Patrick H.

Excample : in the past i did more 3D illustration than photography.  I have some series on body building... a few weeks ago i started uploadiing studio pictures taken and with a young body builder... now that lead to a boost in my sales on the 3D body building illustrations.
Simply said, one picture can help/boost another one in sales.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 14:14 by patrick1958 »

« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2008, 16:07 »
If my camera accidently goes off while I'm putting it away then I'd like enough for that image that would cover the cost of processing, keywording uploading etc. If however I spend $1000 on a few hours talent then I would like considerably more.

« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2008, 16:14 »
Make me satisfied I did the best I could.

Cranky MIZ


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