MicrostockGroup Sponsors

Author Topic: stock photography for living  (Read 6137 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: March 26, 2006, 17:52 »
Is anyone in here doing stock photography for living?  Micro and Macro.  I am just curious


« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2006, 17:53 »
yep i am.

I have both images in micro and macro stock sites. 

I don't have a full time wage, however I am working at it with full time hours.  I figure (if i was living in canada or the states) it would take about a year before my income was full time amount.  Since i am in norway I will have to wait 2 years before my income is up to the level where I would by happy with it as a perament job.

« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2006, 18:04 »
thanks.  How ling have you been doing that?
I just started and I am working on figuring out what sells and what doesn't.  I am considering submitting to Alamy.  I am guessing you submit to them, right?  How is that workig out for you?

« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2006, 18:20 »
I have been doing full time stock since october.

Yeah, macro is Alamy, Myloupe, and Pixibit, but only alamy sells.  I have a few sales there, but the micro $/picture/year is still higher.

I think around $5.00/picture/year is a low safe average for your expected earning across all the micros if you have allright images but nothing spectaculr.  so that means if you want to earn $30,000/year you need 6000 images... figure out how many images you can submit per month.. and voila :)

« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2006, 18:32 »
Great, thanks for yout tips.  So how many pictures do you have altogether?
I find processing, keywording very time consuming

« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 01:10 »

I'm not, but I did think about it for a wee while..  Intresting to hear you confirm what I thought in the $/image/year being better from microstock sites.  I suspected that but had no figures to back it up.

I think your $5/image/year might be a bit low though, if you're considering multiple sites, and also you'll probably increase quality over time if you're doing it full-on.  I estimated around the $10 mark for high quality stock.  around $7.50 might be the 'average' for technically good work.  This was based on watching sales of some of the high fliers on IS..

My $/image/year based on the last two months on IS alone is $6.70  Taking into account DT and SS it's nearer $8.  I don't consider my portfolio to be anything flash, in fact pretty average in the scheme of things.

My goal for microstock is to keep paying my finance costs for camera gear.  So I can get a 1DIIN or similar this year.  If I keep plugging away I think it's realistic if I can get get 200-250 images of the same quality as my top 1/4 of images now.  I'm currently paying off two lenses, which the microstock is paying around half of the finance for.

If I could arrange a model or two I might be able to reduce the required number / increase the payout but I'm not sure as my best selling images are not traditional stock images in that sense..

Just my 2c worth..

« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 02:09 »
Your $/pic/year is quite high chellyar.  I realize my average sudjestion was low, but if someone is going to plan to make a living at it, it is better to underestimate than overestimate, however I suppose one has to look at theirown numbers to make a good guess.

My istock average is only $3.09/pic/day.  I have quite a few general travel images which I know don't sell that well, but they sell somewhat and I have them, so I still upload them.  I would be interested in seeing your gallery though, as it seems (unless we are calculating the average differently) that you have a considerably higher earning portfolio (which i might add, isn't that hard to do :) )

I calculated my total average $/pic/day by considering all images produced.  If i have 1000 images on istock and only 500 images on istock, then my istock $/pic/day is only earning on earning that amount on 50%  of the images. so.. if the istock avg was $4.00 and the shutterstock was $4.00 to add them together i would have to do this.  100%*$4.00 (shutterstock) + 50%*$4.00 = $6.00  so my total average is $6.00/produced picture/year

these are of course hypothetical figures, but you get the idea.

I have about 1700 images maggieddd

« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 06:00 »

In the scheme of things my portfolio dosn't earn all that much compared to some on IS...  Although I have had the best two months ever..  I first joined in November '04 but didn't really start uploading till around July 05..

my IS port:

I calculated the $/pic/year from the last two months earnings ($131.30) divided by the number of days (28+27=55) divided by the portfolio size (130) times 365.

ie: 131.30 / 55 / 130 x 365 = 6.7 $/year/image.

I've been keeping an eye on a few other users on IStock, graphing their # of dl's vs portfolio growth etc..  I wont share those stats as some people get a bit sensitive about that sort of thing..  But I do know that my portfolio is nowhere near as profitable as some other folks on IS...  I suspect a few of the high fliers are making a very respectalbe wage from there..

« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 06:24 »
yeah, well we calculate the $/pic/year the same way. Your gallery is obviously producing significantly more than mine.  I am not sure how to change that... i guess the fact that I have some general travel photos, and everyday things perhaps makes it lower, but then again you do too.  I would think if a person had ONLY high quality people pics of business settings the average would be 4x or 10x higher.

I think a big thing with shutterstock ( i guess all micros) is the search ranking.  I once had a skeleton key on the first page of skeleton keys.. that image got downloaded almost every day.. then it got bumped down a few pages.. and there is very few downloads on that image now.  I am not sure how to improve my search ranking.  I heard once that your rating determins a bit of how high the images are placed, but I am not sure.

« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2006, 07:39 »
I'm sure search ranking has something to do with overall results... 

I also get the impression on IS that being exclusive can skew the search.  That's just my impression, and not based on any fact, but a chap I know who has quite a weak portfolio (IMHO) seems to get far more sales than the images he has warrant.

I am quite baffled at what exacttly sells, as my best selling images (The cats for example) are not typical stock material.  My first couple of months I just uploaded photos I had taken for other reasons, and didn't think I'd use myself.   I'm shooting much more 'typical' object stock at the moment, but not very much of it. 


I just uploaded that a couple of days ago, and it's sold once on SS already which is a good sign.  Some of my other 'shot for stock' stuff has not sold at all though, so I don't really have the answers. :-).

My top selling images on IS, and SS/DT are totally different styles and content..  IS is the Cat one and on DT and SS it's a computer/IT image.  One of my top sellers on DT has never sold on IS or SS.  And so it goes on...

Cheers, Me.

« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2006, 11:25 »

In regard to the skeleton key photo that got bumped from number one. I heard somewhere that Shuterstock search engine favours new photos so a newer image with similar keywords would bump out the old photo. Not sure about other sites as I managed to get the number one spot for quite a few searches on Fotolia.

Interested to hear there are those "making a living" with the stock thing as it something I would like to do when my savings run out. If it ever stops raining I am going to give Emporis a go, taking photos of anything higher than 12 storeys in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Anybody submit to them??

Does anybody know anybody who submits video to shutterstock as I have lots of 640x480 footage of around Scotland, I would hope some is considered worthy and it certainly would be nice to get such extra cash.

I suppose one major drag for any non-US residents is how weak the dollar is.

« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2006, 12:29 »
oppss.. after that long post and i mistyped.  I meant to say istock.

shutterstock yes, they have their images sorted by default by date submitted, however a user can also change this to most popular, least popular, oldest and such. 

A long time ago shutterstock ONLY sorted the images by dat submitted... which means after a few months the images were burried and never to be found.  The day they changed this, my sales increased 3X (I hadn't uploaded for a while)


Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
2 Replies
Last post August 26, 2006, 07:15
by Wisent
13 Replies
Last post February 01, 2009, 00:59
by lephotography
20 Replies
Last post January 25, 2009, 15:57
by shank_ali
32 Replies
Last post March 24, 2013, 11:14
by jjneff
59 Replies
Last post May 28, 2013, 05:16


Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results


3100 Posing Cards Bundle