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Author Topic: What does it take to make a living from selling stock  (Read 9751 times)

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Donvanstaden

« on: May 25, 2013, 00:56 »
0
I started submitting to MS sites a few years ago to hopefully make a bit of money to upgrade equipment etc. Over the last year my sales have stared doing a lot better than I expected and I think I have now fooled myself into thinking I might be able to make a living from selling stock (one day). My question is to those who are already making a living from selling MS is what should one work towards or what goals should I set myself to achieve this.

1. How big a portfolio should you have before even considering earning a living.
2. How many images should you add every day/week/month to that portfolio to keep the income steady
3. Any other tips for an aspiring microstocker to achieve this?

For the sake of not getting into a lengthy debate about what constitutes earning a living lets say that earning 2000 USD a month is the target 'salary'

I am new to this forum so if this has already been discussed in detail please direct me in the right direction.


tab62

« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 01:07 »
0
2000 usd isn't too much thus 5k+ in your portfolio should produce this amount or more...

Mactrunk

« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 02:23 »
+1
It higly depends on the quality of your portfolio. I personaly would need about 3000 images on Shutterstock alone with my current ratio to reach $2000 per month there. And I'm now adding about 40-60 per month. I'm almost at 400 at this moment. But I'm also on Fotolia and Dreamstime so I think 2000? Shutterstock is very easy to predict income from and steady so thats why I used it for an example.

Oh... and nice job getting that eliphant in your studio! ;) I like the wildlife on black images! Nice!

« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 02:37 »
+1
It keeps getting harder though. The return per picture is constantly declining so you need to keep growing your portfolio. And, of course, some subjects sell better than others, some photographic styles sell better than others, so the actual number will vary widely. You might get there with 1,000 top-notch images, or it might need 10,000.

« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 02:40 »
+11
I think to see a stable, reliable income I would go for at least 3000-4000 files as a basis and then try to get in the 6000+ range as fast as you can. It is true that quality trumps quantity, but I think what is even more important are very regular steady uploads. Try to upoad at least 30 files a week, better 50. Never less than 100 a month.

The steady flow of files will keep your portfolio visible.

I would also break down a shoot into several batches, i.e. if you got 60 interesting images from a larger shoot, upload 30 now and the rest in 6-9 months. This way the files from the series dont get the same "time stamp" in the search engines and are a little less vulnerable to the ups and downs of best match of the agencies.

You can also keep processing files from different themes parallel to each other, so you upload 10 files from shoot a and 10 from b and 10 from c in the same week. Next week, process another group of files.

It is also important to take care of your portfolios. Group your files together in lightboxes or galleries if the agency offers it. Customers have no time to waist, if you make it easy for them to find what they are looking for, they will keep coming back. Lightboxes also keep a theme together when you upload files slowly.

Pay attention to your website and maybe add your own webshop as well. Customers will contact you looking for variations to what you have or might want to buy something from a series they see on your site, but wasnt available from their preferred image provider. Agencies dont always take everything, they have their own taste and style or maybe the reviewer just had a bad day. But if you can always show the full series on your website, you can pick up a few more sales or just direct the buyer to another site where more from the series is available.

Get into video. The average return for video is much higher than for photos. It is a smaller market, but there is so much material needed that now is the right time to get into it.

i think it is definitely possible to make a full or part time living from stock. But most people I have seen who failed, underestimate how much work it is. There is also no boss or team or deadline pushing you, so you need a high level of self motivation to follow the "shoot, upload, repeat" lifestyle.

I would recommend to keep some kind of other part time job or business going, to be completely dependent on stock can be nerve wrecking.


« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2013, 02:51 »
+10
Depends what you shoot.

Shiny happy people doing stuff is the way to regular sales and success, but I think it's harder than it looks to do well.

Be prepared to work like a dog, there are no shortcuts in this business.

Donvanstaden

« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 03:13 »
+1
Thanks everyone, this has been super helpful so far. Also gives me a very clear vision of the long road ahead.

My portfolio is very small and I have been working on my skills and trying to keep my portfolio as high quality as possible, I have also deleted all my old 'stinkers' from when I was first submitting.

100 images a month sounds like a good target, that's 25 a week and it would only take 5 years to reach 6000!! I have 70 images waiting for approval in SS IS and FT which I managed to put up this week.

I have set myself a personal target to reach 2000 images one year from today. Best get cracking!

Thanks again for the advice, much appreciated.


Beppe Grillo

« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2013, 03:40 »
+1
2000 usd isn't too much thus 5k+ in your portfolio should produce this amount or more...

Where I live $ 2000 is 10 times the average salary and more than 20 times the minimum salary

« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 03:45 »
+1
2000 usd isn't too much thus 5k+ in your portfolio should produce this amount or more...

Where I live $ 2000 is 10 times the average salary and more than 20 times the minimum salary
Times are tough in Italy ;)

ShadySue

« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 03:52 »
0
@OP, also remember that things will not be as they are today. We can be almost sure that many more people will be moving into stock, so that much more competition. This may, or may not, drive prices down to a point where producing them will be unsustainable.
You have stated a $ amount, and I guess a lot is down to how easily you could return to your former profession (or another) if you needed to, and whether anyone else is finanically dependent on you, or likely to become so in the future.
If in the lifestyle area, do you have a large selection of models with the stocky 'look' where you live? I've noticed that some people seem to have to use the same models over and over (which may work if they're on some sort of non-compete deal). Do you have a big enough studio to make it possible to plan a variety of sets (or access to sets big enough for you to set up lights, etc.)
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 03:56 by ShadySue »

« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2013, 03:58 »
0
Are there really so many new people rushing into stock? Here at msg the members seem to be around 32k+ for quite a while now. I think the "gold rush" phase where everyone with a DSLR came into it are over.

Now you see more pros moving in, but I am sure there are many more amataeurs abandoning stock every day than newcomers. The quality necessary to make it is very high and most people dont want to go and plan a shoot, scout for a location, find models etc...

So I think if you are really serious about stock you can and will make it. But you need to be at a professional level to start, but the OP clearly has that.

« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2013, 04:50 »
0
Are there really so many new people rushing into stock? Here at msg the members seem to be around 32k+ for quite a while now. I think the "gold rush" phase where everyone with a DSLR came into it are over.

Now you see more pros moving in, but I am sure there are many more amataeurs abandoning stock every day than newcomers. The quality necessary to make it is very high and most people dont want to go and plan a shoot, scout for a location, find models etc...

So I think if you are really serious about stock you can and will make it. But you need to be at a professional level to start, but the OP clearly has that.
+1
if the returns aren't there alot of people will drop out. Of course there will be hard core people who do it for a couple of dollars. Professionals aren't going to keep spending money to produce stock that loses them money so the market will level out to just above the poverty line ;)

« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2013, 05:06 »
+1
Interesting thought, Jasmine.  I've said for seven or eight years now that at some point the falling returns and the rising standards must result in microstock becoming completely unattractive to new entrants. Maybe that time has arrived.  The last person I referred to SS was a retired studio photographer who gave me useful lessons in lighting glassware - and he failed the entrance test. Without SS, a newbie is pretty much scuppered. In any case, in every area of stock today you are competing with some people who are expert at the genre and you need to be able to match their skills (often acquired over several years) in order to have a chance of selling.

I know I've felt a lack of incentive to keep going in the last couple of months. I'm pushing myself to get back into it now.

Donvanstaden

« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2013, 05:43 »
0
@OP, also remember that things will not be as they are today. We can be almost sure that many more people will be moving into stock, so that much more competition. This may, or may not, drive prices down to a point where producing them will be unsustainable.
You have stated a $ amount, and I guess a lot is down to how easily you could return to your former profession (or another) if you needed to, and whether anyone else is finanically dependent on you, or likely to become so in the future.
If in the lifestyle area, do you have a large selection of models with the stocky 'look' where you live? I've noticed that some people seem to have to use the same models over and over (which may work if they're on some sort of non-compete deal). Do you have a big enough studio to make it possible to plan a variety of sets (or access to sets big enough for you to set up lights, etc.)

Thanks Shady Sue, These are all very worthy considerations. I am currently reinvesting my earnings into the equipment needed for setting up a studio. I have been living in a national park for the last 7 years (thus the mostly wildlife based portfolio) so have been very limited to what I could shoot but will be moving to an ideal location soon and will be (slowly) setting up a studio which will be big enough for lights etc. Fortunately I do also have a career to fall back into very easily should I need to.

« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2013, 06:45 »
+4
To me, most of the answers above don't get it quite right.

It's not about the size of your port (though of course "more" is always better).

It's not about the quality of your port (though "good" is always beter).

It's 99% about: are you uploading stuff that people NEED?  And if there's a shortage of stuff like yours, and the need is great, you'll see A LOT of downloads.

Make that your number one goal... research what is selling the most, and put yourself in the mind of the buyer.  WHY is the buyer downloading that shot?  HOW is he/she using it?  WHAT will that buyer need tomorrow?  (And I'm not saying COPY what is already selling.  That's NOT the road to success.  Look at the top sellers to get a sense of the subject matter that is in demand, and figure out how you can portray these concepts DIFFERENTLY or even BETTER.)

If you make this your number 1 mission, and practice it every day as you upload IN DEMAND pics, the quantity and quality issues will take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, your living situation in a national park is tempting you to focus on wildlife shots.  Think like a buyer.  How often will those tree or animal shots be needed?  Doubling your challenge is the matter of oversaturation.  What will make yours stand out from the thousands of others just like them.  The demand is not there and the supply is too overabundant for you to hit your target in wildlife photography.

Still, best of luck.  Your goal is achievable if you follow these simple rules.  I'm proof of it.  I have pretty average skills, but I'm earning about 5 times your target income.  You just have to think like a business person, always focused on the laws of supply and demand, and anticipating your customer's need.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 06:57 by stockmarketer »

« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2013, 07:22 »
+3
Yes and no,IMO.

Obviously finding holes in the collections and uploading what customers really need is a great commercial path to walk.

But it is also possible to decide on a subject and aggressively make it the best collection of files around that subject out there. There are so many new and different ways to interpret standard themes.

Imagine you live on an apple farm, have daily access to all things in the apple market. Although there must be many apple and apple farm images, if you look at what is available I am sure you can build a huge collection of authentic imagery about a subject you truly understand.

Same goes for other subject matters - just because there are a lot of medical files, it doesnt mean you shouldnt build a good collection about dentistry if you are a dentist (or maybe married to one). Or to shoot food and cooking if you are a pro or ambitious amateur cook. Your experience and knowledge about a certain field will shine through.

Designers also always look at newest files on the subjects that interest them, so you can always enter the market, even if you are adding the 12 000 hamburger image. And in your lightbox about cooking and hamburgers, you can also add the standard "hamburger" on white. Your lightbox becomes a miniature webstore and if a customer can find everything he needs at your "store", why bother going back to the general search?

The only problem is sometimes getting all the images into an agency, even if you need it to complete "your" lightbox.

So if the OP lives in a nature reserve and wanted to make that one of the themes he wants to explore, why not? I am sure between animal care, tourism, environmental issues there is a lot that can be done to make it useful.

The beauty of stock is that you can follow several entirely different themes. The customer will only remember the lightbox with images he needs, i.e. if you have a great food lightbox and someone is shopping for his food magazine, the buyer wont care if you have another lightbox specilaizing in welding and machinery.

I agree with doing a lot of market research on what is available on the agencies before shooting. Even for easter eggs I usually look at all the available material to see if I can come up with something a little different, or if I want to do a cliche, how can I improve on what is available.

But I still believe if you are tremendously fond of carrots, you can still do an all carrot theme collection with 2000 files if you want to. Customers will remember the "Master of carrots".

And as long as they remember you, they will keep coming back.


« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2013, 07:45 »
+2
Imagine you live on an apple farm, have daily access to all things in the apple market. Although there must be many apple and apple farm images, if you look at what is available I am sure you can build a huge collection of authentic imagery about a subject you truly understand.

Of course you could.  No laws against it.

The difference in our philosophies is that first I ask, is there demand?  Enough demand to make such an endeavor worthwhile.  I'm sure a talented ARTIST could come up with lots of creative ways to show apples, but the talented BUSINESS PERSON would realize it's a dead end before he/she even began.

The OP's stated goal is to earn a certain income, and that requires BUSINESS thinking first.

If your spouse was a highly specialized type of medical technician, giving you access to lots of unique imagery, that would certainly give you a unique port, but if it's so niche that the number of buyers would be few and far between, then you've only addressed the SUPPLY part of the equation, ignoring the DEMAND.

They're both equally important considerations.


« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2013, 07:53 »
0
The demand for every day imagery is there in the thousands if not millions. Otherwise people wouldnt keep buying it.

Just list any agencies that show visible download numbers (and yes, i hate them) and maybe look at what is being bought in large volume in the last 12 months and you see what is being bought,i.e. what the customers obviously need and pay money for. Many times these are the standard business images, objects on white etc...that everyone keeps telling you, you shouldnt shoot, because there is already too much out there.

However because this is what people actually buy, you can always enter the market.

So even as a new contributor you can enter fields where there already is a lot of competition.

Some people "specialize" in copying all the successful files. And the copy cat portfolios do extremly well, unfortunately.

But somewhere between what resources you have available and high volume subjects you can make a good amount of money if you think carefully about who your customer is. The more you know who it is you re targeting, the better your success obviously.

« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2013, 08:07 »
+1
To me, most of the answers above don't get it quite right.

It's not about the size of your port (though of course "more" is always better).

It's not about the quality of your port (though "good" is always beter).

It's 99% about: are you uploading stuff that people NEED?
And if there's a shortage of stuff like yours, and the need is great, you'll see A LOT of downloads.

Make that your number one goal... research what is selling the most, and put yourself in the mind of the buyer.  WHY is the buyer downloading that shot?  HOW is he/she using it?  WHAT will that buyer need tomorrow?  (And I'm not saying COPY what is already selling.  That's NOT the road to success.  Look at the top sellers to get a sense of the subject matter that is in demand, and figure out how you can portray these concepts DIFFERENTLY or even BETTER.)

If you make this your number 1 mission, and practice it every day as you upload IN DEMAND pics, the quantity and quality issues will take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, your living situation in a national park is tempting you to focus on wildlife shots.  Think like a buyer.  How often will those tree or animal shots be needed?  Doubling your challenge is the matter of oversaturation.  What will make yours stand out from the thousands of others just like them.  The demand is not there and the supply is too overabundant for you to hit your target in wildlife photography.

Still, best of luck.  Your goal is achievable if you follow these simple rules.  I'm proof of it.  I have pretty average skills, but I'm earning about 5 times your target income.  You just have to think like a business person, always focused on the laws of supply and demand, and anticipating your customer's need.

In my mind when we speak of quality at MSG it's means the same as what I highlighted above. Quality=what people need.  AND then there is technical quality. ;)

Carl

  • Carl Stewart, CS Productions
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2013, 08:21 »
+4
I'll pass on the best advice I ever got.  It came from a wealthy man who told me, "What you should do is find the thing that ignites your passion.  It would be something that you'd pay someone to do if you had to.  Then do it so well that people will pay you good money to do it.  If you'll do that, you'll never work a day in your life."  So my advice to newcomers in the stock photography arena:  find a subject(s) that you're passionate about and shoot the livin' daylights out of it to become the best at it that you can possibly be.  Whatever ignites your passion, whether it's food, architecture, still-life, nature, or whatever... immerse yourself completely in it; give yourself a Ph.D. in it.  You'll find it rewarding on so many levels, one of which is financial.

« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2013, 09:00 »
+1
2000 usd isn't too much thus 5k+ in your portfolio should produce this amount or more...

Where I live $ 2000 is 10 times the average salary and more than 20 times the minimum salary
Times are tough in Italy ;)

I doubt that Bebbe Grillo live in Italy, not this Bebbe Grillo. 2000/10 means 200$ and no one gain this amount it's a joke. And 200$ are less than 155 so I think that Bebbe Grillo are kidding us, or maybe is only a nickname but he live in another country.

« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2013, 10:15 »
+1
Calculate your RPI (royalty per image) for each agency per month by dividing your income by the number of images online. You might want to take an average over several months to get a more accurate number. Add all the agencies together, then divide that by your financial goal. That will be the number of images you need. That number may change along the way, so reevaluate occasionally.

And try to have some fun too.  ;D

« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2013, 10:20 »
+1
dedication

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2013, 10:57 »
0
2000 usd isn't too much thus 5k+ in your portfolio should produce this amount or more...

Where I live $ 2000 is 10 times the average salary and more than 20 times the minimum salary
Times are tough in Italy ;)
Never told that I live in Italy ;)

« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2013, 14:14 »
0
I'll pass on the best advice I ever got.  It came from a wealthy man who told me, "What you should do is find the thing that ignites your passion.  It would be something that you'd pay someone to do if you had to.  Then do it so well that people will pay you good money to do it.  If you'll do that, you'll never work a day in your life." 

Was the wealthy man Confucius?  It's a well-known quote from him: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

But I think you're taking it out of context.  If you love your job, he's basically saying, then it's not really work.

I could love pulling the lint out of my navel, and get so good at it that I made it an art form, but I don't think anyone will pay me to do it.

No, it still has to be something that fills a need someone has.  If I loved shooting watermelons and became the best in the world at it, I still wouldn't become rich.

Find a need, and fill it well.  That's the winning equation. 

« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2013, 17:35 »
0
2000 usd isn't too much thus 5k+ in your portfolio should produce this amount or more...


Where I live $ 2000 is 10 times the average salary and more than 20 times the minimum salary

Times are tough in Italy ;)


I doubt that Bebbe Grillo live in Italy, not this Bebbe Grillo. 2000/10 means 200$ and no one gain this amount it's a joke. And 200$ are less than 155 so I think that Bebbe Grillo are kidding us, or maybe is only a nickname but he live in another country.


Nothing like the perspective which our life experiences offer us. We often forget when we are talking to each other that we are comparing apples to oranges as we report how well or poor our ports are doing.  The the Average Monthly Wage of $227 for someone living in a Tajikistan is very different than someone living in Luxembourg where the Average Monthly Wage is $4,089. 

Also supporting a large family in in a country where the average for number of children in each family is 78 children would be very different than the income it would take to support what is considered to be a large family in a country where the average number in each family is only 01 children.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Countriesbyfertilityrate.svg

United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) published the average monthly salary or wage for the whole world & the average for 72 countries. For the whole world, the average is USD1,480 per month.

Rank Country    Average Monthly Wage (USD)
1    Luxembourg    4,089
2    Norway    3,678
3    Austria    3,437
4    United States    3,263
5    United Kingdom    3,065
6    Belgium    3,035
7    Sweden    3,023
8    Ireland    2,997
9    Finland    2,925
10    Korea (Republic of)    2,903
11    France    2,886
12    Canada    2,724
13    Germany    2,720
14    Singapore    2,616
15    Australia    2,610
16    Cyprus    2,605
17    Japan    2,522
18    Italy    2,445
19    Iceland    2,431
20    Spain    2,352
21    Greece    2,300
22    New Zealand    2,283
23    South Africa    1,838
24    Malta    1,808
25    Israel    1,804
26    Czech Republic    1,786
27    Croatia    1,756
28    Turkey    1,731
29    Qatar    1,690
30    Hong Kong (China)    1,545
31    Poland    1,536
32    Slovakia    1,385
33    Hungary    1,374
34    Macedonia    1,345
35    Bosnia & Herzegovina    1,338
36    Estonia    1,267
37    Russian Federation    1,215
38    Jamaica    1,135
39    Lithuania    1,109
40    Argentina    1,108
41    Latvia    1,098
42    Serbia    1,058
43    Chile    1,021
44    Botswana    996
45    Malaysia    961
46    Belarus    959
47    Romania    954
48    Bahrain    917
49    Panama    831
50    Mauritius    783
51    Brazil    778
52    Macau (China)    758
53    Kazakhstan    753
54    Bulgaria    750
55    Colombia    692
56    Ukraine    686
57    China    656
58    Mexico    609
59    Georgia    603
60    Azerbaijan    596
61    Egypt    548
62    Thailand    489
63    Armenia    471
64    Dominican Republic    462
65    Moldova (Republic of)    438
66    Mongolia    415
67    Syrian Arab Republic    364
68    Kyrgyzstan Republic    336
69    India    295
70    Philippines    279
71    Pakistan    255
72    Tajikistan    227

« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2013, 17:50 »
0
Interesting list. I'm assuming they didn't take population into account with their average.


« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2013, 18:48 »
0
Interesting list. I'm assuming they didn't take population into account with their average.


http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_194843.pdf

Did not have time to read the entire document above but according to US Stock Market News it is calculated the following way. 

"ILO economist calculated as follows: First, collect the average wage of all fields included in the statistics of each country, and then multiplied by the number of workers in the country, obtained the total amount of revenue, all included in the statistics the country's total income added together, divided by the number of global workers, in order to calculate the world's per capita monthly income of $1,480 U.S. dollars, which is close to $ 18,000 a year."


Poncke v2

« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2013, 19:22 »
0
Netherlands is missing from that list, which is weird

« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2013, 19:33 »
0
Netherlands is missing from that list, which is weird

A lot of countries are missing from the list... I think the idea is to give an idea or sample


« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2013, 21:28 »
0
Netherlands is missing from that list, which is weird


A lot of countries are missing from the list... I think the idea is to give an idea or sample


Exactly, I provided the info as proof of concept after coming across the doc while researching some stock.

If you want more in depth info you can find it in this excel spreadsheet.

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/download/global-wage-report-2012/ilo-global-wage-database-2012.xls

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2013, 21:35 »
0
Also something to ease the pain of certain aspects of this business (monetary, ignorant rejections, bad agent deals resulting in your images being distributed for free, seasonal downtimes, changes in search,  etc) is to have your own self-hosted image site where you keep %100 your earnings and get clients from the net.

I've been direct selling for a few years and its definitely a good advantage to have and gives a level of security. http://www.symbiostock.com/ ...is an experiment to bring this advantage to the microstock masses, though its still young.

Ok, guys, you can slap me now for the little advert.


« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2013, 22:38 »
+1
Calculate your RPI (royalty per image) for each agency per month by dividing your income by the number of images online. You might want to take an average over several months to get a more accurate number. Add all the agencies together, then divide that by your financial goal. That will be the number of images you need. That number may change along the way, so reevaluate occasionally.

And try to have some fun too.  ;D

unfortunately, such calculations rely on the completely unsupported assumption that all the images in your current portfolios produce the same income and all the images you later submit produce the same RPI -- instead, say, your portfolio at SS is 1000 but 20 of those images produce 50% (or 70, or 90%) of your income.  so any predictions based on volume alone are meaningless - you could double your income with just another 50 images, and might not double it with another 2000 

« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2013, 23:01 »
0
Calculate your RPI (royalty per image) for each agency per month by dividing your income by the number of images online. You might want to take an average over several months to get a more accurate number. Add all the agencies together, then divide that by your financial goal. That will be the number of images you need. That number may change along the way, so reevaluate occasionally.

And try to have some fun too.  ;D

unfortunately, such calculations rely on the completely unsupported assumption that all the images in your current portfolios produce the same income and all the images you later submit produce the same RPI -- instead, say, your portfolio at SS is 1000 but 20 of those images produce 50% (or 70, or 90%) of your income.  so any predictions based on volume alone are meaningless - you could double your income with just another 50 images, and might not double it with another 2000

Other sites and recently SS have demonstrated that they have the means to easily change the search results and in a matter of one day; permanently kill all of our top 20 images to enhance their bottom line.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 23:22 by gbalex »

Donvanstaden

« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2013, 00:56 »
0
Unfortunately, your living situation in a national park is tempting you to focus on wildlife shots.  Think like a buyer.  How often will those tree or animal shots be needed?  Doubling your challenge is the matter of over saturation.  What will make yours stand out from the thousands of others just like them.  The demand is not there and the supply is too overabundant for you to hit your target in wildlife photography.

My top 10 wildlife earners are giving me a RPI of $10.29. and my best is giving me an RPI of $21.69.  Most of them have been selling for a few years now. I do not know whether this is good or bad for 1 specific genre but I do know that what I am uploading now is of better quality than what is on my portfolio so I am hoping to get more images giving these returns

400 images at an RPI of $5.00 will give me my target. Rather that than 2000 with RPI of $1.00 - well that's the dream anyway

My thought process so far has been that I should build a high quality portfolio of wildlife images while living in this unique environment and then when I move to a town (which will be soon) I will branch into other subject matters. I do agree that I would not be able to earn a living on a wildlife portfolio but it is an area where i am an expert (and passionate) at so i wanted to take advantage of that.

« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2013, 00:59 »
+1
Off topic, but it is interesting how per capita GDP vs average annual wages seems to be a measure of inequality. In the UK the per capita GDP looks to be about 0.8x the annual wage, whereas in Qatar it is roughly 10x the annual wage.


Beppe Grillo

« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2013, 02:10 »
0
About the list from wikipedia, published by gbalex:
I would like to add that for some countries, like Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan (but not only - I can tell only about those that I know), if you don't consider the 10 richest people of the country the average income is less than half In these countries the middle class is almost inexistent.
(BTW I think that the link provided by Tab62 is closer to reality)

Actually in Ukraine the minimum legal salary is 1147 grivna/ month = $ 141.70 (enough far from the $686 of the "gbalex list").
But a lot of people, mainly those not living in the capitol Kiev, get even less
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 02:18 by Beppe Grillo »

Beppe Grillo

« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2013, 02:16 »
0
removed

Poncke v2

« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2013, 02:17 »
0
Netherlands is missing from that list, which is weird

A lot of countries are missing from the list... I think the idea is to give an idea or sample
Thats fine, but they should be in the top 10 somewhere...why would the UN leave them out? They are not country 73. Doesnt matter though, I was just wondering.

ShadySue

« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2013, 06:10 »
0
Unfortunately, your living situation in a national park is tempting you to focus on wildlife shots.  Think like a buyer.  How often will those tree or animal shots be needed?  Doubling your challenge is the matter of over saturation.  What will make yours stand out from the thousands of others just like them.  The demand is not there and the supply is too overabundant for you to hit your target in wildlife photography.

My top 10 wildlife earners are giving me a RPI of $10.29. and my best is giving me an RPI of $21.69.  Most of them have been selling for a few years now. I do not know whether this is good or bad for 1 specific genre but I do know that what I am uploading now is of better quality than what is on my portfolio so I am hoping to get more images giving these returns

400 images at an RPI of $5.00 will give me my target. Rather that than 2000 with RPI of $1.00 - well that's the dream anyway

My thought process so far has been that I should build a high quality portfolio of wildlife images while living in this unique environment and then when I move to a town (which will be soon) I will branch into other subject matters. I do agree that I would not be able to earn a living on a wildlife portfolio but it is an area where i am an expert (and passionate) at so i wanted to take advantage of that.

Will you be a beginner in the other genres? Moving from wildlife to studio 'lifestyle' is an enormous change, and you'll be up against all the established experts. Do you even know if you'd enjoy doing it? And it's a considerable outlay.
If it's any consolation, the vice is also versa and I've seen a couple of high diamonds (lifestyle) at iStock go on safari and produce 'OK' photos, often wrongly identified.
For serious wildlife, particuarly unusual species that you have regular access to in a national park, a macro agency would be worth investigating, as serious wildlife buyers don't buy from general sites.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 09:12 by ShadySue »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2013, 07:24 »
+9
What does it take to make a living from selling stock?

A day job

falstafff

    This user is banned.
« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2013, 08:22 »
0
Interesting thought, Jasmine.  I've said for seven or eight years now that at some point the falling returns and the rising standards must result in microstock becoming completely unattractive to new entrants. Maybe that time has arrived.  The last person I referred to SS was a retired studio photographer who gave me useful lessons in lighting glassware - and he failed the entrance test. Without SS, a newbie is pretty much scuppered. In any case, in every area of stock today you are competing with some people who are expert at the genre and you need to be able to match their skills (often acquired over several years) in order to have a chance of selling.

I know I've felt a lack of incentive to keep going in the last couple of months. I'm pushing myself to get back into it now.

I think this is dangerously true of micro. Many, many high end buyers use micro because its a fact that many professionals are members and these type of buyers want to feel they get their monies worth. I know quite a few of them myself.

Should rumors leak that these kind of members are leaving and worse taking their pictures with them that would just squeeze the final air out of micro. Not now but in a few years perhaps.

ShadySue

« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2013, 10:14 »
+1

I think this is dangerously true of micro. Many, many high end buyers use micro because its a fact that many professionals are members and these type of buyers want to feel they get their monies worth. I know quite a few of them myself.

Should rumors leak that these kind of members are leaving and worse taking their pictures with them that would just squeeze the final air out of micro. Not now but in a few years perhaps.

From which we can deduce that:
  • these buyers you know would be perfectly happy paying macro prices, and only shifted for the undercut price
  • macro shot themselves in the foot by not accepting these pro photographers,
  • and these pros supplying micros are in turn shooting themselves in the foot by supplying micro (if they could have got in to macro, with their 'old school tie' acceptance system).

Donvanstaden

« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2013, 11:47 »
0
Unfortunately, your living situation in a national park is tempting you to focus on wildlife shots.  Think like a buyer.  How often will those tree or animal shots be needed?  Doubling your challenge is the matter of over saturation.  What will make yours stand out from the thousands of others just like them.  The demand is not there and the supply is too overabundant for you to hit your target in wildlife photography.

My top 10 wildlife earners are giving me a RPI of $10.29. and my best is giving me an RPI of $21.69.  Most of them have been selling for a few years now. I do not know whether this is good or bad for 1 specific genre but I do know that what I am uploading now is of better quality than what is on my portfolio so I am hoping to get more images giving these returns

400 images at an RPI of $5.00 will give me my target. Rather that than 2000 with RPI of $1.00 - well that's the dream anyway

My thought process so far has been that I should build a high quality portfolio of wildlife images while living in this unique environment and then when I move to a town (which will be soon) I will branch into other subject matters. I do agree that I would not be able to earn a living on a wildlife portfolio but it is an area where i am an expert (and passionate) at so i wanted to take advantage of that.

Will you be a beginner in the other genres? Moving from wildlife to studio 'lifestyle' is an enormous change, and you'll be up against all the established experts. Do you even know if you'd enjoy doing it? And it's a considerable outlay.
If it's any consolation, the vice is also versa and I've seen a couple of high diamonds (lifestyle) at iStock go on safari and produce 'OK' photos, often wrongly identified.
For serious wildlife, particuarly unusual species that you have regular access to in a national park, a macro agency would be worth investigating, as serious wildlife buyers don't buy from general sites.

I also do food photography but have been saving all my food shots for a different project which will require exclusive use. As soon is that project is complete I will start uploading f & b images as well. I hope this will help give my earning a boost. The project was a cook book for a group of hotels and also involved candid portraits of staff and property and I had had the time of my life working on it.

I am going to give it my best shot and hope for the best. Worst case I end up with some extra income to pay for a very expensive hobby. Best case I get paid to take photos   ;)

aspp

« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2013, 15:00 »
0
I also do food photography but have been saving all my food shots for a different project which will require exclusive use. As soon is that project is complete I will start uploading f & b images as well. I hope this will help give my earning a boost. The project was a cook book for a group of hotels and also involved candid portraits of staff and property and I had had the time of my life working on it.

You should definitely try to stay in with the people you have met whilst shooting food professionally and see if you cannot shoot some more with them for stock. Perhaps in exchange for doing free work for them if necessary. If you have been working in a bigger kitchen then maybe the line chefs or the commis would be willing to work with you. Even the kitchen assistants if, say, they are great at chopping. Micro stock has a lack of content shot in professional kitchens. If you can get a foot in the door in those sorts of places it could be a good opportunity.

Donvanstaden

« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2013, 15:19 »
0
I also do food photography but have been saving all my food shots for a different project which will require exclusive use. As soon is that project is complete I will start uploading f & b images as well. I hope this will help give my earning a boost. The project was a cook book for a group of hotels and also involved candid portraits of staff and property and I had had the time of my life working on it.

You should definitely try to stay in with the people you have met whilst shooting food professionally and see if you cannot shoot some more with them for stock. Perhaps in exchange for doing free work for them if necessary. If you have been working in a bigger kitchen then maybe the line chefs or the commis would be willing to work with you. Even the kitchen assistants if, say, they are great at chopping. Micro stock has a lack of content shot in professional kitchens. If you can get a foot in the door in those sorts of places it could be a good opportunity.

Hmmm... that is interesting. I do have access to kitchens on a daily basis as I work in hospitality. I had never thought of 'back of house' as an area of need for microstock. Thank you.   


« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2013, 18:32 »
+1
I'm kinda aiming the same thing, and I hope it's not going to be too hard. Even though my sales are drastically down lately, I'll do my best and keep on working.

In my country, if you don't have rent to pay, even 500 dollars a month means a great income. I have a friend that had a normal job and worked until exhaustion for 200 dollars a month. And that wasn't a small salary for this country's standards...could be even worse!

Before my sales went to hell, I was at around 150 dollars a month from microstock + a side job that I got thanks to microstock. That's close to how much my friend was making and I don't have to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. And also don't have to follow a schedule or deal with weird coworkers ( well, if we ignore stupid rejections at various websites ^^ ). Anyway, I consider those 150 dollars a month to have even more value, because I don't have to go through a lot of hardships to get them.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 18:36 by morning.light »

« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2013, 02:36 »
0
i was not entering into this thread as i neither depends on micro for my earning nor do i have any plan to make it as sole income source but after entering into this thread, found some  interesting and contrasting but helpful replies and tips. Thanks guys for your frank and genuine suggestions. I have access to some niche images and i used to give them priority to sell but they get sold certain months of the year but when they do, they compensate for rest of the years as well (taking micro and macro sites both) then i uploaded some very cliche images what i never fond of but they also started selling, not as well as my niche images but more frequently. The best thing is they get sale through a year and not in some specific months. And now i find shooting those cliche images also as they give me money. And now i included some videos as well. And now its even better. :)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 02:40 by gemmy12 »

Microbius

« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2013, 05:05 »
+2
Bob Davies did some interesting analysis of the industry, track down the videos on YouTube. I operate mainly in the tail so a lot of this thread doesn't apply to my business model. I tend to illustrate mainly niche concepts (with a few bigger sellers in there). I find my sort of illustrations get used more editorially; say in place of a photo to illustrate a concept than as general design elements. They have a longer shelf life, with a smaller RPI/month. They also lead to more commission work.

It also means I fly under the radar; most of my more niche conceptual images don't sell enough to get imitated, but enough to pay me back for time invested.

ETA yeah Bob not Rob
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 10:06 by Microbius »

Donvanstaden

« Reply #50 on: May 27, 2013, 09:20 »
0
Rob Davies did some interesting analysis of the industry, track down the videos on YouTube. I operate mainly in the tail so a lot of this thread doesn't apply to my business model. I tend to illustrate mainly niche concepts (with a few bigger sellers in there). I find my sort of illustrations get used more editorially; say in place of a photo to illustrate a concept than as general design elements. They have a longer shelf life, with a smaller RPI/month. They also lead to more commission work.

It also means I fly under the radar; most of my more niche conceptual images don't sell enough to get imitated, but enough to pay me back for time invested.

Thanks, I will check out the videos... How do you know how your illustrations are being used?

Microbius

« Reply #51 on: May 27, 2013, 10:01 »
0
One way is to just do a google search for your name. I come up with lots of annual reports, blog articles and the like for mine. I also just know my market and the type of stuff I create.

ETA try "copyright YOUR NAME" that's usually a good one for coming up with some examples of your work in use.

« Reply #52 on: May 27, 2013, 10:29 »
0
easier way is to open google image search in one tab, your portfolio (shutterstock, istock, or any other...) in other tab, then and drag and drop specific image from your portfolio in the box that will create after you drag it over google image search tab.

sorry for my English, but i believe you understood.

« Reply #53 on: May 27, 2013, 17:52 »
+2
What does it take to make a living from selling stock?

....Knowledge about the global demand for licenced pictures
....Knowledge of how images are integrated in publications
....Knowledge of how keywords and concepts can be visualized in photos
....Knowledge about legal aspects considering licencing images
....Some equipment
....Technical skills
....Photoshop litteracy
....Access to trendy environments
....GF or wife, children and pets are nice, trendy and pretty.
....Stamina
....Style
....Branding
....Innovation
....Common sence
....Financial sence
....Business qualifications

many think it is about gear. That is a huge mistake.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 18:00 by JPSDK »

tab62

« Reply #54 on: May 27, 2013, 17:56 »
+1
the above is good but add in just plain and simple 'Luck' as well...



« Reply #55 on: May 27, 2013, 18:04 »
0
Thank you, Microbius, for the suggested way to find our work on the web...

ShadySue

« Reply #56 on: May 27, 2013, 20:24 »
+1
the above is good but add in just plain and simple 'Luck' as well...

Apparently and officially so:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=353233&messageid=6893191


Poncke v2

« Reply #57 on: May 28, 2013, 03:54 »
0
the above is good but add in just plain and simple 'Luck' as well...

Apparently and officially so:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=353233&messageid=6893191
I uploaded 20 people images to IS a month ago, and got one sale for 19 cent from that new batch. It took me about 2 hours to get them through the uploading system using deep meta. I can see why people are packing up. 

ShadySue

« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2013, 04:06 »
0
the above is good but add in just plain and simple 'Luck' as well...

Apparently and officially so:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=353233&messageid=6893191
I uploaded 20 people images to IS a month ago, and got one sale for 19 cent from that new batch. It took me about 2 hours to get them through the uploading system using deep meta. I can see why people are packing up.

New stuff is getting papped pretty quickly. Look at even BD ports by age and most have very few dls on their most recent page, if they've been uploading regularly, which some haven't been.

« Reply #59 on: May 28, 2013, 05:16 »
0
I tried to upload a file the other day to see if they had changed the upload system. They hadnt, so the 999 makes no sence.
I deleted the file, of course.


 

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