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Author Topic: When does common sense say quit ??  (Read 8809 times)

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« on: January 13, 2014, 11:43 »
+4
Every time I type what I want to ask about where this industry is headed I erase it for fear of sounding stupid.  So much time, effort and money spent to get better results.  I read the black star rising website and sometimes I think bloggers are detatched from this industry.  All of the "photography is dead" posts and all of the "no it's evolving" replies just seem to be outdated in a matter of months.  It seems dump truck loads of images are coming into the marketplace daily.  Now we have crowd sourcing. 

I am a nobody newby that just wonders whether more images, of better quality, will actually be a winning stratedgy for earning money.  Is it possible that newcomers really are too late ??



« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 11:50 »
0
Well, you can follow the progress of me and many others who went indie. We are not new to stock, but we are new to most agencies. If you are completely new to stock,  you will have to evaluate how much time you have and if you are already shooting at a professional standard.

It is always possible to get in, but certainly will take longer to make reliable money than before.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 12:29 by cobalt »

« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 13:03 »
+9
If you want this to be your primary source of income and you don't live in a "developing" country then you are going to have to put an extremely large amount of hard work into it. Common sense would probably tell you that you are better off sticking a nail in your eye and calling it quits.

However, if you don't need full time income off of it "right now" then it is worth it to get in the game and build yourself up. DON'T invest heavily in expensive gear (get a used body and a few basic lenses) Focus on what you NEED to make the type of images you want to make (rather than what you want or what everyone else says you should have). Keep your costs down until you start making significant amounts of money.

It is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint for the vast majority of us.

Don't quit your day job.

« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 13:47 »
+1
I was looking at my retire option in a few years and if these stock agencies are around still in 15-20 years and I can build up my profile to the point where I am creating some good money, I am going to use my portfolios as residual income to supplement whatever I have for my retirement (401k, Social Security or whatever). I would not get into Microstock at this point trying to make a living without deep pockets and a ton of resources.

Goofy

« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 14:13 »
+2
"When does common sense say quit ?? "

I have found that when folks ask this question around my daytime job they usually retire shortly... 8)



Goofy

« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 14:18 »
+5
" would not get into Microstock at this point trying to make a living without deep pockets and a ton of resources."

Unless your spouse has a great daytime job lol  :)




Beppe Grillo

« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 14:22 »
+4

Unless your spouse has a great daytime job lol  :)

lol
Mine has :D

Goofy

« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 14:34 »
+2
me too!  ;)



« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 14:50 »
+2
Its like lots of other already explored areas, its hard, but possible. If you are very talented, very determined or very patient, you have a better shot at it. If you would be taking photographs or illustrating all day anyway, it might be worth the try and also, sometimes microstock is a good training area.
But you have to be sure that you are also comfortable with the other half of the job: keywording, uploading, submitting and marketing your pictures. Keeping up-to-date information about it will be vital, because although microstock scenery wont change as fast rights managed did, it is still an dynamic industry with small twists and changes every day.

« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 17:06 »
+8
It's getting harder and harder to make money. That's been the trend right from the start. Maybe one day things will level off, but so far the growth in stock images online just seems to accelerate which means we all get a smaller and smaller share of the cake.
I've done OK over 10 years but I wouldn't recommend it to people now. I doubt if it will be delivering a worthwhile return a decade from now, even for those with 20,000 images online.

« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 19:04 »
+2
There is another point.
2 thousand or 20 thousand images doesnt matter much.
It is easy enough to produce 20.000 high quality images. That is if you can produce quality.
But we can.
But it is not easy to produce so many images that can sell well.
That has to do with luck and a feeling for the market.
The last one is the difficult one.

Ed

« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 19:16 »
+1
Every time I type what I want to ask about where this industry is headed I erase it for fear of sounding stupid.  So much time, effort and money spent to get better results.  I read the black star rising website and sometimes I think bloggers are detatched from this industry.  All of the "photography is dead" posts and all of the "no it's evolving" replies just seem to be outdated in a matter of months.  It seems dump truck loads of images are coming into the marketplace daily.  Now we have crowd sourcing. 

I am a nobody newby that just wonders whether more images, of better quality, will actually be a winning stratedgy for earning money.  Is it possible that newcomers really are too late ??

Too late was about mid-2007.  That's about when all the financial blogs started telling people that they could make easy money with their point & shoot cameras by submitting to microstock.  Stock has become what it was years ago - a place for photographers to place their images that are not purchased by a client.  This would include TFCD shoots, model test shoots, personal projects, etc.  The days of financing high dollar shoots on spec for stock are over - and have been for years.

That's my take - I'm sure others have different opinions and will tell you something positive like we are on the edge of a breakthrough of some kind.

lisafx

« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 19:17 »
0
If you want this to be your primary source of income and you don't live in a "developing" country then you are going to have to put an extremely large amount of hard work into it. Common sense would probably tell you that you are better off sticking a nail in your eye and calling it quits.

However, if you don't need full time income off of it "right now" then it is worth it to get in the game and build yourself up. DON'T invest heavily in expensive gear (get a used body and a few basic lenses) Focus on what you NEED to make the type of images you want to make (rather than what you want or what everyone else says you should have). Keep your costs down until you start making significant amounts of money.

It is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint for the vast majority of us.

Don't quit your day job.

Fantastic post.  Most realistic assessment I've read in awhile. 

To Old Crow - do the above and you have a reasonable shot. :)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 19:20 by lisafx »

« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 19:38 »
+1
There is another point.
2 thousand or 20 thousand images doesnt matter much.
It is easy enough to produce 20.000 high quality images. That is if you can produce quality.
But we can.
But it is not easy to produce so many images that can sell well.
That has to do with luck and a feeling for the market.
The last one is the difficult one.

That's true, as long as you are not just producing exactly the same "high commercial value" smiling-girl-businesswoman as everybody else, because even though that genre sells, the market saturation turns them into "low commercial value".  So you need to be original and get a good run before everybody else starts copying you.

Ed

« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 21:10 »
+2
I was looking at my retire option in a few years and if these stock agencies are around still in 15-20 years and I can build up my profile to the point where I am creating some good money, I am going to use my portfolios as residual income to supplement whatever I have for my retirement (401k, Social Security or whatever). I would not get into Microstock at this point trying to make a living without deep pockets and a ton of resources.

Think about this and if it's a goal, then do it.  The reason I say think about it is because the types of images that are going to be around in 15-20 years are not images that the micros currently accept.  It's not going to be an isolated object over white (unless you're Andy Warhol).  It's not going to be a model with exaggerated expressions.  The micros are looking for commercial stock images, they are not looking to represent stuff that will sell in 15-20 years.  Think about this seriously - the images you see being licensed that are 15-20 years old these days...it's street photography and it's reportage and some natural history.  That's exactly what is going to be licensed when you retire.  The micros are bad about accepting any of those topics.

Again...thoughts based on my experience.  ;)

shudderstok

« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2014, 21:18 »
+2
It's getting harder and harder to make money. That's been the trend right from the start. Maybe one day things will level off, but so far the growth in stock images online just seems to accelerate which means we all get a smaller and smaller share of the cake.
I've done OK over 10 years but I wouldn't recommend it to people now. I doubt if it will be delivering a worthwhile return a decade from now, even for those with 20,000 images online.

for once i have to agree with you (and that ain't much fun) :)



« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2014, 23:03 »
+2
Consider that print will dwindle and the demand will be for web sized images and you can understand the dismal future. 

Buyers barely need to consider quality when they are serving up 1 inch images with text plastered over it.


Uncle Pete

« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2014, 00:03 »
+4
Quit what?

Photography is well and booming, better than ever, quality tools more accessible to more people. Quality will always be in demand. All the blogs about camera phones and snapshots are just trivial asides to artistic and creative works, which will always be set apart from mass trends and fads.

I'll never quit taking photos. I love what I do.

What industry?

Microstock? It's doing well and will continue for a long time. It's a marriage of the international communication and available tools to produce images as art and records of events.

If you mean the stock industry as a source of income. It's a historical note. Diluted, devalued and as common as a stick of gum. If someone is looking for the money train, it's left the station and there's not another one coming.

Microstock is a promise, dream of income, and hope. It's an addiction in many ways. Small payments, but if you work hard, volume of sales, you can build a collection, and long term returns.

But that promise was based on a misunderstanding. That was, that it would last forever, at it was. The production has far exceeded any demand. The quality has been elevated above the early production means. The income has dropped in relation to the quantity and quality of competition.

If life was stagnant, and the same for the image market, things would be fine. But massive growth has killed the original system and standards. Web and websize is the future, it's the web that created Microstock. Now it's the future of demand.

The word that people need to understand is CHANGE. Embrace and adjust or you will be left in the past. Some people here did really well in the past. We aren't in the past anymore...

Common sense says quit when the effort and cost of production, doesn't bring the returns to cover expenses. Purely based on profit. Or maybe it's just as simple as, when it stops being interesting, fun or enjoyable, it's time to leave?

Keep your costs down until you start making significant amounts of money.

Assuming that anyone new can ever make "significant amounts of money".

In the 60s and 70s, many people started bands in the basement or garage. Some made it big, became famous and wealthy. Most did not. Many people picked up cameras early in this Century and became photographers for stock distribution. It was a trend and there was a good demand. Some made it big, some more will do the same in the future, most will not.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2014, 02:24 »
+4
we ain't seen nothing yet.

the next big thing is Asian stockers flooding the market and you can't compete with their cheap production costs in Vietnam/Indonesia/Philippines.

for anything else, i don't think it will be possible to stay in the top 20% with quality images unless you're a team or an image factory, you'll be forced to settle down for less.



« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2014, 06:42 »
0
Thanks for all of the responses.  Very much appreciated.  When i began thinking about this and getting back into photography it was a few dollars per image,  now it is pennies.   It would be an easy decision to make if prices would just find a bottom. 
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 06:45 by old crow »

Goofy

« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2014, 09:51 »
+1
"Photography is well and booming, better than ever, "



What are you mixing in your coffee because I need some as well   ;D



Uncle Pete

« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2014, 10:03 »
+1
Top Secret Chemicals? If it was good, I'm be polite and share...

No really, what I meant was Photography itself is fine. More accessible, better equipment, less expensive, opportunities for more people to make good photos easier.

That wasn't related to Microstock or income. That's becoming much more difficult, expensive and competitive. Harder to make reasonable returns on the investment in equipment and time.

Not impossible, just more difficult than five years ago, and before.

"Photography is well and booming, better than ever, "

What are you mixing in your coffee because I need some as well   ;D

« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2014, 10:10 »
+1

Common marketing sense tells that the big ones and the small ones( in a niche) will survive. The middle of the road has to find something else or continue for the samurai feeling.

Post production PS is already done in the far east for a few dollarcents a picture.

I go for niche

« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2014, 10:14 »
+2
Quality in content and subject matter will prevail...those still playing the quantity cards are the ones seeing the huge downfalls.

I am still newish and this has been a great way to supplement my income. I have yet to see if it is sustainable and if it could be my only source of income...in the mean time I am having fun creating and making some extra loot.

« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2014, 10:42 »
+1
I agree on the trend towards more reportage style photography as stock and couple that with the Instagram aesthetic and I think if it looks good on a iphone than it will be acceptable for 90% of the needs 10--20 years down the road. These stock agencies must have an idea what they are doing adding 200k new images a week...


 

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