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Author Topic: Would Like to Hear From Older submitters.  (Read 2111 times)

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« on: February 22, 2020, 01:19 »
+2
Not Older in Age especially But how Long you Have been active doing "Microstock" and also Not how Long your doing General Stock Period as General Stock goes Back a very long time 80/100+ Years or More and Originated with Travel, Flowers [Yes Flowers]

 How are ya Doing???? and the early "Stock" shooters were writers also and able to explain to the viewer exactly what,Why and Where. Very few Have that Talent today or for at Least the Last 30/40 Years as In the early Life magazines and Nat Geographic taking Us around the world every Month with Images and words which Is where it was Instilled in Me to be Like them. I would Like to read about in your short time How things have changed......For many Of us and the few 1000 That gave up or just don't post anymore and it seems every Month, More and More are Leaving.The rest are Just saying and repeating Samo Over and Over.

This was inevitable My friends and some of us saw the writing On the wall a Long time ago. 2011/2012 and Many Of us think it's a waste of time to even consider doing this at the level we were.......Negative? Ya and Honest.
 There Is a Man who I believe is One of the Best writers ever about this Business and Photography in General Going Forward.
He doesn't Mince words and says it Like it is for Many Years. He is a Must Read My Friends, It's Not stock related But reality Related and centers On Image Making.
The good news IMHO is still and always has been......Client work But with That comes the term "doing the work" which Means more Now than Before and it also Means Those who want this....Really want this Better settle down and Become businessmen and women and a Lot More Creative.
I wrote a Long Piece in 2006 that in 10 Years Cellphone work will Take Over for a 20 gazillion folks that didn't know . I just Bought a New Iphone 11 and a few apps. Simply Amazing quality. Read this fellow then tell me How much you think you Know.

I start at Jan 2020. it goes back many Years. It is not stock Centered But The business Of Photography as a Job.
Enjoy....http://blog.melchersystem.com/the-things-that-kill-themselves/


« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2020, 03:52 »
+1
I would draw a parallel with Music...there is no longer value in the music that is available mostly free. Physical presence counts such as concerts people even pay to shake hands with their heroes ;) The situation has reveresed from when the concert was a means of marketing records.

So the money is in training/workshops event photography...any  thing that requires human presence.

Kodak tried to maintain the value of their product by resisting change they were flattened.

« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2020, 05:26 »
+4
I started microstock in 2006.  I felt the first start of the decline in 2013, which was exactly 1 year after quitting my day job.  But as a true pessimist, I added a portrait studio to my stock photography work, "just in case" stock would go down.  The biggest falls happened in 2016 and 2019.  I am now at 40% of my best year (which was 2012).  But the portrait studio is going excellent and has grown to be 2x my stock income, so no worry.  I have specialized in a maternity studio (belly/newborns) and love what I do.
I stopped shooting stock, or better said :  since starting the portrait studio I don't do typical "stock shoots" anymore, but I do submit images shot during my holidays/travels and sometimes newborn baby images if I want to offer parents a free session with Model Release.
The future?  I expect my stock income to become non-existant by 2024, but still "no worry" because I'll be retired by then  :)
It's not just the agencies that ruined our market share by accepting too many images, I'm sure I am also guilty because I stopped shooting FOR the market.  However, I can see that my income is mainly coming from older images, so I can only conclude that the drowning of new photos is the absolute no.1 reason why stock has returned to the hobby-status and can no longer be a fulltime job.

« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 05:40 »
+2
Well I took my first stock shots in 2009 though didn't really start commiting to stock until 2012.

My high water mark was 2018 but it's literally collapsed by 50% since and now I make less than I did back in 2014 even though I added more and more of better quality and always did research on shooting subjects.

Thanks to Shutterstock's idiotic acceptance policies and of course iStock/Getty who I left in 2017 once the penny and sub-penny royalties kicked in.

I did dabble in video but even though that market is becoming saturated and the so-called agencies are leading a race to the bottom on video prices I think I'll spend more time on video as its the only way to keep the money coming to pay for the essentials like food and rent.

I live in a rural area where job opportunities are scarce unlike city dwellers I rely on stock to pay for the cost of living.

I was also disgusted to see Shutterstock banned you Laurin from the forum seeing as you and Dave spent so much time on the forum giving free advice.

You put up with so many insults over the years from the wannabes and trolls.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 10:16 by Bad Robot »

« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2020, 06:48 »
+2
Started in 2009 and it took a straight nose dive in the Summer of 2013 and hasn't recovered.  I haven't submitted an image in about 2 years anywhere because of it.  Why put in all that work to not get any return back on your time, energy and money invested.  I've just been letting them sit there and take payout from places when I get to the minimum threshold.  I used to make payout on Shutterstock every month now it takes me 2-3 months just to reach that $35 minimum.

I've gone into other avenues of work (aside from my full time job) making music, audio engineering, making knit and crochet patterns and, if I'm desperate, click work.  I never viewed this as a full time income but a supplemental one to my job.  Just a way to make some extra money to set aside for emergencies or save up for a big purchase.  Now I can't even do that and I know I'm not the only one and that sucks.

« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 08:40 »
+2
Started in 2008. 

I'm still in, but it's no longer my main thing. 

I still enjoy photography, and prefer selling through markets over direct to individuals. 

My main income now is from fabric and R-rated coloring books.

unseengallery.com

« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2020, 19:08 »
+4
Also started in 2006. My income continues to rise. Not going anywhere while that lasts.




« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2020, 20:41 »
+1
Started in 2004. Still have an active account at Adobe, but not actively uploading for the last 3 or 4 years. For the buyer, microstock is still alive. For the contributor, not so much. Some still do well, most do not.

« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2020, 22:28 »
+2
Been at it for around 12 years.  Earning grew exponentially for 5 or 6 years, held steady for a few, and have been sliding ever since.  I have cut my uploads by around 75%.  It looks like I may have leveled out and my earnings may now be holding steady.  Down around 30% from my peak, but well worth spending around 30-60 minutes a day for a near 6-figure passive income.  Still helping put my kids through college and I'm hoping it will help me retire about 5 years earlier than I might without it.

« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2020, 13:23 »
+1
I started with istock in 2004 with the first set of 10 images. Forgotten about it till 2006 when I could cash out. Uploaded another 30 or so and started to contribute on a few other sites, forgotten about it again for another year. It was around 2008 when I could cash out every month (from almost every site) with a portfolio of 200ish photos. When I reached around 400, the earnings became significant. Although I never really had the urge to feed the beast and drop my full time job for it, 12 years later, with a portfolio of 600+ my earnings are still roughly the same. I'm just happy and thankful that with my little effort, I could upgrade my gears every few years, bought a car, and even a small vacation home.

« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2020, 13:53 »
+1
I started in 2006. It was not uncommon in 2006-2007 to have a single image sell 200 times a day and some even more a day. Those time are clearly gone. Now if I get a single image to sell twice a day that is a good day. I have around 5000 active images on multi sites. I do still upload each week. The money is less than half of what it was years back even with my increased images.  With less money I still get cash each and every month from most sites. It is still fun shooting whatever . I want to on that day. I still can deduct my expenses from the IRS traveling all over the world. At least before the Walking Dead Chinese Virus. Maybe stock photography works on my ego , as my wife says I have a big one...Ego that is... I do love my job..Stock Photographer..... W.Scott McGill

k_t_g

  • What's the buzzzzzz!
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2020, 15:07 »
0
Also started in 2008 with stock.  :) But I only got into stock as an extra income source. I actually started making money onsite working for an inflatable company designing and working on a few of the balloons I designed. I designed interactives, costumes, cold air and helium. Many are being used all around the world to this day. But at the same time I went back to school and got some animation experience and did quite well. Then I tackled some freelance jobs and still at it to this day on and off and with stock and other side things. But the big issue I have besides the way MS is heading (train wreck)  is a personal one (also kind of a train wreck).  :( All my life I deal with loads of anxiety. It kind of gets in the way of making money many times. But somehow I push my self although I really could use some kind constructive encouraging pushing though. I really have a lack of that in my life. In fact most of the time I get the opposite.  :(
But then I can't expect anything less from the cruel world. Just have to solder on.  :(

BTW that doesn't stop me from helping (if I'm able) others even though I get treated like crap many times.  :)

So Thank YOU! to all those people that helped me over the years or who are going to but to those who do not? well you might wanna reflect and think how unbeneficial that can be for you and others.

« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2020, 15:14 »
0
I started in 2012 with images on most of the major agencies. SS approval took me 2.5 years to get. I realized few things in these years.
The old method of starting from Zero to building an empire does not work anymore in stock market. May be it will but the path is real long and you will fall on the sides with lot of pessimism and sliding sale numbers. However, the fundamental things are still working for many. I know and can quote the production houses which are doing it full time and have staff of 12 to 20 people to manage this as business. One such studio is in Estonia and that is on SS doing great business. Another is VIA films on SS which is also doing great. All of them operate with market worthy gears and produce content which is being used by commercial clients. 

I have positioned myself to the same direction now. Invested money into gears and now I have small team. We can win this with numbers in our favor. The lone submitter with no support may have small success in stock market. To sustain this business, you need structure in place and production goals. I want to do it full time now.

There is another route too which is traditional which is : Setup a company for selling direct. Operate a site with your content. And then seek investors. After few years, sell the business to someone and exit.  I do not like this model. I would be working on first.


« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2020, 22:10 »
+1
My main income now is from fabric and R-rated coloring books.

There are R rated coloring books?  Who knew?

wds

« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2020, 09:45 »
0
... I know and can quote the production houses which are doing it full time and have staff of 12 to 20 people to manage this as business...

In a scenario like this, it seems paying a salary to "12 to 20" people would be fairly costly?

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2020, 10:06 »
+3
Way at the end and by the way, this article is a very long version of the Race to the Bottom which it seems everyone recognized long ago, but decided to ignore that it was real. Oh maybe things will get better?  ::) You know what I mean, "the next big thing." or "new agency that will disrupt the market". Really?

"The failure to see and embrace change." That's what he says that sums it up. People who want to live in the past and can't see ahead. So they just live in the past, unhappy with the future.

Personally phones still take crappy images, lack control, have tiny thumbtack size lenses and little sensors, crammed with pixels. Only the software and processor can save them.  I like a real camera, but I'm not all about sharing or social media either.  ;D What I mean is, depending on who you are asking, the camera is a tool, and the right tool for the job is what is best. If someone is taking snapshots of friends and uploading to some sharing site, a phone with a camera is perfect. If someone is trying to capture high quality, refined images, a DSLR is best.

There are many in between that are great for what people want to do. I won't leave those out. There's no one answer that fits all, and anyone who proposes that there is, like phones are the answer, is short sighted and close minded.

Hey, remember what I say... I want a digital camera that has a phone built in. Why have a phone with a weak camera. When is someone going to go the other way around. High quality instant images that can be uploaded from the camera?  8)

How am I doing? Better than I expected to be doing ten years ago. I keep changing and adjusting and looking for areas that are not over saturated with thousands of better images than I'm likely to add.

Besides the race to the bottom, price cutting, reducing the margin to nearly nothing for volume and the artists earnings to less and less because of price and commission cuts? What else?

Do I need to paint a picture?

2006 = 1 million images
2009 = 6 million images
2010 = 10 million images
2012 = 20 million images
2014 = 40 million images
2016 = 80 million images
2017 = 160 million images
2020 = 320 million images

If 2012 was the level and volume of images, competition, that broke the back of earnings for individual, what is anyone expecting for 2020?


« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2020, 10:51 »
0
These are such amazing and informative stories. You've lived through a huge change. Amazing stuff persevering so long on this

Sent from my HD1901 using Tapatalk



wds

« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2020, 16:18 »
0
...but which is the more important factor in revenue decline...the number of images uploaded, or the revenue per sale...something tells me it's the latter. In the "good old days" we weren't getting $0.38 per download (I know the average is higher, but it used to be much higher). Remember, a large percentage of those 300 million plus images are things that don't have much sales potential.

« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2020, 18:07 »
0


2006 = 1 million images
2009 = 6 million images
2010 = 10 million images
2012 = 20 million images
2014 = 40 million images
2016 = 80 million images
2017 = 160 million images
2020 = 320 million images



Change the numbers a bit and the relationship is the same for Covid-19. If there is a parallel then it means that eventually those numbers will flatten but this means that the number of available hosts has been depleted making it impossible to propagate any further.

« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2020, 18:11 »
0
1990 for me.

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2020, 04:41 »
0
Remember, a large percentage of those 300 million plus images are things that don't have much sales potential.

But unless something has changed drastically for some explicable reason, a large percentage of those 160 million images, or those 80 million images (so on and so forth) didn't have much sales potential either... i.e. 160 to 320 is still double, whichever way you look at it.

...but which is the more important factor in revenue decline...the number of images uploaded, or the revenue per sale...something tells me it's the latter. In the "good old days" we weren't getting $0.38 per download
 

How much are you getting now? What's the highest you got before? I only sell video. I'm guessing the download prices haven't changed as drastically as the number of images in the last 14 years? I would have thought the number of images was much more of a factor than the revenue per sale.

But yeah, 2008 for me. Only started taking it seriously in 2014, and just done stock since 2016.


« Last Edit: April 20, 2020, 04:43 by SpaceStockFootage »

« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2020, 05:43 »
+1
What I can see from other people experience, and mine, too, is that at some point earning started sliding down. For some it was 2012., 2013, but for most of  people 2016. or 2018. For me it was 2016.
From some information from a different source - lifestyle photographers are still doing great. It asks for perfect pictures, 1-3 assistants, small crews, but it still works. From the same source I figured out that most of them are Istock exclusive. Remember StockPerformer asking us to try to explain why SS submissions halved in January?
It is because Getty/Istock is dominating lifestyle stock market. The only part of the market that actually makes money for both agencies and photographers is dominated by Getty. SS is loosing this game. The source is reliable - out of 100 photographers roughly 80 are Istock exclusives in one of those paradises for producing stock! That is a huge thing! Who could even imagine that? I always thought Istock exclusives are minority. Getty sends their producers, managers to this country to work with photographers, because they recognized the potential. SS recognizes nothing! New, young photographers, just starting out in stock in this country will follow the ones that are successful - Istock photographers. Almost all young up and coming photographers are automatically recruited to Getty! What a win for Getty! SS is lost and if they want to get back on the track they have to attract these photographers. Of course, it is not my job to tell them how. But not having an office in Serbia, Ukraina, Belorus, Poland or whereever is a huge mistake. Being so disconnected from creators is bizzare. They think it is enough to write few blog post  what will be popular this month and this year written by some hipsters and that's it? Luckily, Adobe is at least trying something. Making great webinars, connecting with photographers here, pushing new content so everybody could be happy and encouraged and have a chance. SS doesn't sell new content. That's ridiculous, it can't last.

50%

« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2020, 06:16 »
+1
SS is loosing this game.  SS recognizes nothing!  SS doesn't sell new content. That's ridiculous, it can't last.
It did last for a long time but I have to agree with you for a serious life-style image buyer SS must feel like a garbage bin.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2020, 06:19 by 50% »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2020, 06:58 »
0
...but which is the more important factor in revenue decline...the number of images uploaded, or the revenue per sale...something tells me it's the latter. In the "good old days" we weren't getting $0.38 per download (I know the average is higher, but it used to be much higher). Remember, a large percentage of those 300 million plus images are things that don't have much sales potential.

SS hasn't changed anything for Subs? Well yeah, they actually raised pay and levels, but I mean since about 2007, everything has been the same, 25-33-36-38 however, true the ELs and others have dropped in value. Depends on where we actually get most of the money?

Also true many of those 300 million "other" images, are probably not competition, and many of them don't compete with mine. But still if there were only 20 million images in 2012, when things started falling apart, and the percentage of good to not so good, has remained the same, we have 300 million competing images.

Once again, just the math? In 2012 many involved people had 2,000 images, of the 10 million. (counting contributors means nothing, it's how many images. There were all kinds of people with under 100 or 0) Back to the math: .02% = that's not 2% - is what someone with 2,000 images had, of the total, in 2012 on SS.

.000625% is what anyone will have now. I can't assume that everything new in the last 8 years is substandard and not as good as the old images. In fact I'm consider that newer equipment, better education, some new artists are the photo factories, High Tech. Rather that, new competition, is actually better than the early days when, upload on Monday and sold by Tuesday was easy.

Many of my images that used to sell from before 2012, have never had a sale since then. OK I wasn't doing great images back then, others may have held up better. I also chose some pretty lazy and lame subjects. Just like new people now.  :)

But the point is, the buyers have 300 million more choices and if only 10% are "good" images, that's still 30 million new images that are taking sales away from the levels of before 2012. If that's a ratio, just considering, we could all expect our sales to drop 75%? I mean all hypothetical and I just threw out 270 million images as irrelevant, yet because of market dilution, sales would drop 75%?

That's my point of the numbers. Sheer volume and competition, ignoring 90%, and we still would be making less and less. Then add that prices have dropped, so we get a smaller commission because it's a smaller fee, and I'm not surprised.

In fact what's more of a surprise is, that things aren't worse!


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2020, 07:17 »
0


2006 = 1 million images
2009 = 6 million images
2010 = 10 million images
2012 = 20 million images
2014 = 40 million images
2016 = 80 million images
2017 = 160 million images
2020 = 320 million images



Change the numbers a bit and the relationship is the same for Covid-19. If there is a parallel then it means that eventually those numbers will flatten but this means that the number of available hosts has been depleted making it impossible to propagate any further.

I don't really want to go that far off topic, but you are right. Isn't that the Herd Immunity term that is being tossed about?

In the sense of stock photo sales, I'd say there's a limit to how many people actually need and image and are willing to pay for one. We can make more and more, but at some point, the demand isn't there. I think everyone here has seen, more images = more sales, when starting. Then the line goes flat, until, it seems adding more and more, does nothing.

There is no direct relationship with images to earnings. I mean (and Stockmarketer is best at explaining this) If I have 200 images and make $x I won't make $10x if I have 2000 images. In fact, the difference by reach 4,000 images, over 200 (just an example, the point could be 500) the earnings gain, keeps declining inverse to the number of images.

RPI declines as we create new images. And along with that, watching earnings it will appear like new images don't sell. My new images do sell, just not as much as before the market turned down and competition went way up. The same old images sell, just not as often and not for as much. If one looks at past sales, we have history, and imagined trends. In 5 years, new images that I uploaded in 2020 will have history, and sales and I'll know. Problem is, there's really no good prediction of what will sell, specifically.

So new images, don't sell as well, because we can't see what has sold, looking back. They will sell, as they do. And back to that ratio thing  ;) new images for some reason, won't sell as well as "the good old days" when everything sold, because there wasn't as much competition. Oh and some of my new images, will sell better, because they are covering something that didn't exist, or an event, in which case, old images, will have less sales, for the same reasons, because they are less relevant.

I'll go back to a simple fact: At some point... RPI declines as we create new images.

georgep7

« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2020, 10:21 »
0
Not an oldtimer but if I may add to this discussion:
Unknown demand and decreasing RPI is one side of the story.
Increasing demand served from e.g. Unsplash is the other.

wds

« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2020, 21:33 »
0
Remember, a large percentage of those 300 million plus images are things that don't have much sales potential.

But unless something has changed drastically for some explicable reason, a large percentage of those 160 million images, or those 80 million images (so on and so forth) didn't have much sales potential either... i.e. 160 to 320 is still double, whichever way you look at it.

...but which is the more important factor in revenue decline...the number of images uploaded, or the revenue per sale...something tells me it's the latter. In the "good old days" we weren't getting $0.38 per download
 

How much are you getting now? What's the highest you got before? I only sell video. I'm guessing the download prices haven't changed as drastically as the number of images in the last 14 years? I would have thought the number of images was much more of a factor than the revenue per sale.

But yeah, 2008 for me. Only started taking it seriously in 2014, and just done stock since 2016.

Mostly stills here....used to be an iS exclusive in the "good old days".....way way more than $0.38 per download


 

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