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Author Topic: This boat is sinking. So why aren't we jumping?  (Read 17956 times)

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« Reply #75 on: May 07, 2020, 17:06 »
0
In response to original post (i didnt read any reply yet)

Wise words. When i read the title of post i think it was a COVID related post... but it isnt.

As vector illustrator my earnings in one month are now the half of what i earned in my best time (2016). And slowly the amount is lower and lower...

The main problem is the dependence to this incoming; and the fact that due to the time im spent over the last 10 years by working as MS agencies contributor, i didnt develop any new ability (job ability) and i was unable to spend time creating my own business.

Time to reinvent myself, but i cant stop uploading vector illustrators in the process.

Sleep later and wake up earlier is the only way. To spend time in something new.


« Reply #76 on: May 07, 2020, 17:25 »
0
Image part of microstock is over-saturated now and there is fierce war. The video market has almost no competition. If you search for keywords such as car on SS, you get millions of images, few thousands in videos and further filter it for 4k and non-editorials, the result is in thousands. The myth of Russia, Ukrain and Thailand based contributor's dominance in microstock market is also busted with hard-core numbers.
I spent good amount of time if location has an advantage for contributor. It has an edge but none if there is no business sense.
Top 3 contributors on SS are : 1st is from Kazakhstan, 2nd is from Canada, 3rd is from Russia and I do not see Thailand in top 10 list anywhere.  Yes 4th is from Britain.

We have to operate it like business. You have to look at gorodenkoff, google it you will get everything. He is able to run it like business and has team of people.

Finally, look at the microstockrank site. The numbers are till Jan 2020 but those numbers speak a lot of value.

My graded plan is working, moving slowly from image to videos. Right now doing 4k. and for future, upgrade the video camera and move to 8k and put yourself at right angle. 

Another interesting statistic is : Each of 90% of total contributors has less than 1000 images/videos on sale. 20% of 10% are ruling the game.

how/where are you seeing who the top contributors are? and you do you mean by volume? or sales?

You can see who are top contributors at SS on the site microstockrank . Add dot com at the end of microstockrank . By volume I mean, number of videos or images. You have to have material to sell.

thanks, & lol! holy crap some of those are spammiiiiiieeeeeeeeee portfolios...

« Reply #77 on: May 08, 2020, 04:47 »
+1
"microstockrank"

ooh! Nice! TubeBuddy for MicroStock!!

:D
Shows me as 29723th out of 14192 videographers? Thats not even possible

Looks good but seems to make little sense

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk


georgep7

« Reply #78 on: May 08, 2020, 07:20 »
0
Perhaps it does make sense if we take in consideration that people delete or deactivate video portfolios is SS and this "counter" is still counting in January 2020?
If those numbers do mean 29723-14192=15531 deleted or deactivated video ports, this is a huge hit for Shutterstock I guess.

« Reply #79 on: May 08, 2020, 09:23 »
0
Microstockrank was last updated for statistics on  January 26, 2020. That may be the reason your numbers do not match. You can find use of this website for finding who are the top most.  Other great resource which is always updated is dreamstime 's our photographers section page. You can more data who is doing what.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #80 on: May 08, 2020, 10:16 »
+1

Increased my port size by about 20% in the past year.  Earnings down 25%.

The glory days of microstock are long gone.  The competition is too fierce.  The laws of supply and demand will crush you.

Microstock is broken.  It's unprofitable and unsustainable for contributors.  If the agencies think they can survive with content from hobbyists, they're mistaken, but will soon have to learn that the hard way.

Sorry to re-quote and remove most of what the OP posted, but I wanted to bring back the summary. Someone who I know over the years, has worked very smart and hard at creative marketable products, just added 20% more, and his profits went down 25%.

We're already seeing the small agencies that can't afford to stay open when they lose money, month after month. They are closing. Yes the world pandemic has pushed that forward, but look at the numbers and debt of recent closures. That's not new, that's a long term problem.

I'll add the word Most. Microstock is broken.  It's unprofitable and unsustainable for most contributors. And most of the smaller agencies will follow.

« Reply #81 on: May 09, 2020, 00:01 »
+4
I think the appeal ia that it allows us to be creative at our own pace, following our own interests and get some money for it. Hence people don't jump till they find another way to do that.

Its like game development, its brutal, pays little but people do it

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #82 on: May 09, 2020, 12:22 »
0
I think the appeal ia that it allows us to be creative at our own pace, following our own interests and get some money for it. Hence people don't jump till they find another way to do that.

Its like game development, its brutal, pays little but people do it

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk

Actually you have a good point, depending on what we expect and what we get back, there are many answers and reasons. I personally have other sources of income that bring in more, and I never saw Microstock as the answer to extra or needed income. Easy for me, I'm following my own interests, being creative and getting some money for that. Just like you wrote.

Nothing for me to jump from and nothing to jump into.  :)

I think much of the disappointment is from higher expectations or financial hopes from stock photography. There are people who did well and some will continue, but the growth of the market and the earnings are not what they once were. There have been some who invested time, effort and bought equipment, to make money. The time to make money or a return on that investment has pretty much gone away.

When someone increases their portfolio 25% and makes 20% less, and that person is someone who has seen the success, there's a message to the rest of the new people or less serious and hard working. (that's me too by the way, I'm a hobby shooter) Don't get your hopes up for any future increase in profits.



« Reply #83 on: May 09, 2020, 13:33 »
+1
Let me ask and unpopular question on this. While we all talk about making the portfolio 25% bigger and earnings dropping we also disregard that older files, maybe from the start if the journey are retiring, they get outdated in look, style, surroundings, quality, treatment etc. So essentially you added some stuff but that just replaced stuff that retired

So while we look at that overall number and weep its only the relevant part of the port that continues to earn while the rest is lost till someone needs a vintage pic

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #84 on: May 09, 2020, 13:53 »
0
Let me ask and unpopular question on this. While we all talk about making the portfolio 25% bigger and earnings dropping we also disregard that older files, maybe from the start if the journey are retiring, they get outdated in look, style, surroundings, quality, treatment etc. So essentially you added some stuff but that just replaced stuff that retired

So while we look at that overall number and weep its only the relevant part of the port that continues to earn while the rest is lost till someone needs a vintage pic

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk

Vintage Images, from a fine vintage photographer?  8)

I only quote the OP because I know I can trust what he writes I'll assume his quality and standards are as good as ever, so sales of new should grow, just like they did before. That's where adding images and sales dropped, come in.

If it was someone else who just makes numbers, for the sake of bigger numbers of images, I'd discount sales dropping even when uploading new materials. I considered the source as important.

Now about myself. Old images and New images, sell equally well. I never bought into the how many images, make how much money, because it's never been numbers, and always has been about quality and buyers needs. I just had a first time download for an image from 2013. I have no idea why now. The driver is retired, the car is two models out of date, there's nothing news about the shot. Hey, thanks for the sub though?

I have some newer images that get downloads, and they aren't much in light of the competition and being competition with "1,185 two eggs and muffin stock photos" a plop and shoot of breakfast. Watch now as the number of eggs and muffin shots double in a week. No it's not only how many, it's that my shot has some appeal and qualities that buyers want. Maybe because it's one of only two variations? (I wouldn't want breakfast getting cold while I was posing and shooting it, would I?) If the competition was 10,000 my results might be different.

There's far too much superstition and too many made up facts, that people working stock, want to believe, and no end to new ones being made up. The reviewer has photos like that, they reject competition. Really? Or their friend does. That's been around since the first I joined and some of the IS reviewers were also artists, nothing new in that claim. Always blame someone else, that's not new either.

Here's how I see it, and I'm only saying, part of the story. Competition, everyone with a camera is competition. Everyone who can get a website up and running is an agency. The photo factories are churning out reasonably good, selective subjects, by the thousands. Competition is, more than that. Just about everything anyone can think of, has been photographed, in many ways. Anything that's a popular subject has been shot by the hundreds of thousands.

We aren't producing a special product, art or creative, most of the time or anymore. We are manufacturing a commodity that has hundreds of times more supply, than any demand. More good choices from more different people. Tough market to be growing sales, profits or a bigger share. Plain and simple, that's one of the biggest reasons.

Needs, price competition, a whole number of also important considerations are also taking a bite out of earnings, but the biggest single cause for dropping sales and income is competition.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 13:58 by Uncle Pete »

« Reply #85 on: May 10, 2020, 03:36 »
0
I have already sold most of my equipment, and invested in another field. I have a port of over 17k videos, and in the past I had days with over 800$ sales. Now I am happy if this much sells in a week.

« Reply #86 on: May 11, 2020, 05:44 »
0
I have already sold most of my equipment, and invested in another field. I have a port of over 17k videos, and in the past I had days with over 800$ sales. Now I am happy if this much sells in a week.

Good I hope many more will do the same, photo and video.

georgep7

« Reply #87 on: May 11, 2020, 06:01 »
0
I have already sold most of my equipment, and invested in another field. I have a port of over 17k videos, and in the past I had days with over 800$ sales. Now I am happy if this much sells in a week.

No or rare sales here but i don't think that i will ever sell basic gear if not in an emergency need. By basic i mean low cost prosumer gear all fitting in one backpack, not loads of high end gear of course...

« Reply #88 on: May 12, 2020, 04:36 »
0
I think the appeal ia that it allows us to be creative at our own pace, following our own interests and get some money for it. Hence people don't jump till they find another way to do that.

Its like game development, its brutal, pays little but people do it
...

as a former game developer, microstock has proved to be a better option for extra retirement income i may not make a lot but i dont have 60 hr weeks working mostly on spec

« Reply #89 on: May 12, 2020, 04:55 »
0
Good luck with your plan. You will need it.

Image part of microstock is over-saturated now and there is fierce war. The video market has almost no competition.

« Reply #90 on: May 12, 2020, 05:42 »
0
I hate to say this and may get a lot of hate for saying this but, the future of microstock (at least when it comes to photography) is Pexels and Unsplash and the other "free" sites and the reason is, more photographers every day are uploading their premium high quality images there. More buyers with every passing day are realising they can make do with what they get on those sites as long as they get them for free. And there's increasing funding for apps and websites which provide search algorithms enabling easier AI based search for clients who download from the free sites.

The only way the traditional MS sites are going to be able to survive is by reducing royalties, which means the people who upload make even less money until that money gets close to zero (or 0.02 as istockers will know very well). So if people are looking to make money off their photography with ordinary everyday photos on MS, they're in for it. They're going to have to supply images that make the pages of the National Geographic and even then, they would probably not get a sale.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #91 on: May 12, 2020, 06:41 »
0
I hate to say this and may get a lot of hate for saying this but, the future of microstock (at least when it comes to photography) is Pexels and Unsplash and the other "free" sites and the reason is, more photographers every day are uploading their premium high quality images there. More buyers with every passing day are realizing they can make do with what they get on those sites as long as they get them for free. And there's increasing funding for apps and websites which provide search algorithms enabling easier AI based search for clients who download from the free sites.

The only way the traditional MS sites are going to be able to survive is by reducing royalties, which means the people who upload make even less money until that money gets close to zero (or 0.02 as istockers will know very well). So if people are looking to make money off their photography with ordinary everyday photos on MS, they're in for it. They're going to have to supply images that make the pages of the National Geographic and even then, they would probably not get a sale.

Partially agree. I think there will always be a percentage of companies that will be more comfortable with more formal licensing and will avoid potential legal problems with the free sites. But yes, if you can get amazing images for free, why not? It's definitely not helping photographers who are trying to earn a living by driving already low prices further down. 

The thing with the free sites that drives me nuts is the photographers who submit to them. Some of the work I've seen is amazing and could probably be licensed at a premium or even be sold at higher costs as art. Statistics here in the USA show a majority of people aren't financially secure. A surprising amount are living check to check and are one problem away from financial disaster. Especially now with the pandemic the news is alarming everyone with "worst economy since the great depression". So why are a huge amount of photographers spending time and money creating great images only to give them away when they could be helping their own financial situation? Even crazier is that other people are making money from their photos and not them.  I think it was Unsplash that recently changed their license to prohibit resale of art obviously because vultures must have been making a killing reselling it.

Maybe there's an opportunity for someone to recruit these people away from free sites.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 06:43 by PaulieWalnuts »


georgep7

« Reply #92 on: May 12, 2020, 07:01 »
0
ooops. I was thinking loud. Sorry  ::)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 08:11 by georgep7 »

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #93 on: May 12, 2020, 08:31 »
+1
Quote
The thing with the free sites that drives me nuts is the photographers who submit to them.
I might be wrong though. I cannot really understand this new "community" driven world.

A lot of the community people seem to feel companies like Unsplash are a noble cause for the greater good. And for other people, the rush of seeing their photos get likes and views is better than money. Seems to be no shortage of these companies with warm and fuzzy mission statements looking for do-gooders and attention-junkies. It's a murky line between being noble and being taken advantage of.

georgep7

« Reply #94 on: May 12, 2020, 08:44 »
0
ah, you catched me! :)

I remember that in both careers, "offer free or low cost services to attract clients" was a normal period.
After that all free services were simply denied except some work for non-profits or people in real need.
My problem is that I cannot pass this stage and for stock for a third time in one lifetime.
Not as a noble fellow that also sells some work nor as a victim of those who took advantage of this "free culture".

« Reply #95 on: May 12, 2020, 10:06 »
+3
So if people are looking to make money off their photography with ordinary everyday photos on MS, they're in for it. They're going to have to supply images that make the pages of the National Geographic and even then, they would probably not get a sale.

Ironically, the cover image for National Geographic in July is one of mine bought through Getty or iStock (don't know which).

Check it out next month!

« Reply #96 on: May 12, 2020, 10:14 »
+1
So why are a huge amount of photographers spending time and money creating great images only to give them away when they could be helping their own financial situation?

Seems like you've answered your own question here ...

And for other people, the rush of seeing their photos get likes and views is better than money.

I agree it's completely nuts that people go to the trouble to take great images, modify them in Photoshop, then spend all the effort to upload them basically for nothing, except to help the owners of the web sites.  I suppose getting a lot of likes and attention is great for many people but they won't pay the bills.  Totally bizarre.

I love doing photography and do stock mostly for fun, but I would not keep doing it if I didn't make at least enough to cover the costs of new equipment and some travel.  I don't submit as much as I should just because the return on effort is no longer there - it is only when I have some free time and want a break from other activities.  Doing it all just for likes or even the occasional sale is crazy, but there seems to be a ton of that going around these days.

« Reply #97 on: May 12, 2020, 11:01 »
0
Image part of microstock is over-saturated now and there is fierce war. The video market has almost no competition. If you search for keywords such as car on SS, you get millions of images, few thousands in videos and further filter it for 4k and non-editorials, the result is in thousands. The myth of Russia, Ukrain and Thailand based contributor's dominance in microstock market is also busted with hard-core numbers.
I spent good amount of time if location has an advantage for contributor. It has an edge but none if there is no business sense.
Top 3 contributors on SS are : 1st is from Kazakhstan, 2nd is from Canada, 3rd is from Russia and I do not see Thailand in top 10 list anywhere.  Yes 4th is from Britain.

We have to operate it like business. You have to look at gorodenkoff, google it you will get everything. He is able to run it like business and has team of people.

Finally, look at the microstockrank site. The numbers are till Jan 2020 but those numbers speak a lot of value.

My graded plan is working, moving slowly from image to videos. Right now doing 4k. and for future, upgrade the video camera and move to 8k and put yourself at right angle. 

Another interesting statistic is : Each of 90% of total contributors has less than 1000 images/videos on sale. 20% of 10% are ruling the game.

how/where are you seeing who the top contributors are? and you do you mean by volume? or sales?

You can see who are top contributors at SS on the site microstockrank . Add dot com at the end of microstockrank . By volume I mean, number of videos or images. You have to have material to sell.


Yes but this is only rank by volume and that means nothing. Rank of earnings would be much more informative!  you can have 100K files of virtually just everyday subjects earning almost nothing and then another guy who's got just 10K files with top notch content earning a fortune!

I do not think any agency will ever reveal how much each of their contributors is earning. This data is not available. You have some data which is usable. Such data is number of files in their ports. Contributors websites which also reveal what kind of structure they have. Like gorodenkoff has presence on SS and has the website as well. You get good data this way.

You have to avoid few things in this business. One is trying too much to walk path of idealism and producing piece of art. Produce what has commercial value. You need material to sell. Have enough to sell and let your customer decide what he wants to purchase from you.


Yes I know what you mean but even so rank by volume will only tell quantity and really as far commercial that means nothing. I remember in the old days an agency called Image-Bank where some guys boosted a huge 15K images and remember this was in the days of trannies but the guy who moneywise topped them all just had a meager 2000 trannies in files earning a fortune in those days. :)

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #98 on: May 12, 2020, 11:27 »
0
I agree it's completely nuts that people go to the trouble to take great images, modify them in Photoshop, then spend all the effort to upload them basically for nothing, except to help the owners of the web sites.  I suppose getting a lot of likes and attention is great for many people but they won't pay the bills.  Totally bizarre.

I love doing photography and do stock mostly for fun, but I would not keep doing it if I didn't make at least enough to cover the costs of new equipment and some travel.  I don't submit as much as I should just because the return on effort is no longer there - it is only when I have some free time and want a break from other activities.  Doing it all just for likes or even the occasional sale is crazy, but there seems to be a ton of that going around these days.

Right, and I'd guess a large percentage of those people aren't in the greatest of financial shape and really could use the money.

« Reply #99 on: May 12, 2020, 11:33 »
0
Quote
I agree it's completely nuts that people go to the trouble to take great images, modify them in Photoshop, then spend all the effort to upload them basically for nothing, except to help the owners of the web sites.  I suppose getting a lot of likes and attention is great for many people but they won't pay the bills.  Totally bizarre.


That's because you underestimate the dopamine hit a million views or a 1000 downloads gives people. That's the reason people spend hours and even money on instagram liking and following other accounts (and buying likes and followers) while uploading their photos there even if they make no money from it. An ego boost or validation can be more valuable to people than a few dollars on microstock. The free sites offer those in spades.

Also sites like Pexels and Unsplash pick out images to showcase on its front page. They need not necessarily be the best pictures (or even good pictures) because the point of the exercise is to give people an incentive to upload more pictures. People like their pictures being showcased. That's the reason people kept uploading to flickr, in the hope that they would make the Explore page. So vast majority of people on the internet upload images for reasons other than money. And it, of course, hurts the people who do it because they want to make money.


 

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