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Author Topic: How Much Should New Contributors Expect to Earn?  (Read 6229 times)

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PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« on: March 12, 2015, 18:54 »
+9
I've been talking in some other posts about new contributors earnings and how very few people probably even make what's considered minimum wage where this law exists. I posted this back in 2010 about expectations for newer contributors and I think it still applies. The people who responded said it was pretty accurate. That was when the average return per image per month (ARPIPM?) was around .25 cents US. I'd say it's closer to .10 cents now.

I think the one thing that may have changed is acceptance rates. Standards we're a lot tougher back then. Now I think the average rejection rate may be lower. Even so, it would change the per hour rate only by cents.

If you do well, build up a few thousand sellable images, and get to 100% approval, over time the recurring revenue will start to boost the hourly rate.

------------------->

For someone who just got a DSLR and is learning the ropes here are some measurable expectations.

So, on average

    About 5% of the images you shot will be sellable
    You spend 30 minutes per image in an image editing program like Photoshop doing post-processing, keywording, etc
    You start with about a 20% acceptance rate, 80% rejected
    You earn .25 .10 cents US per accepted photo per month

So let's say...

    You spend two days, about 16 hours, shooting 2000 images
    You select 100
    100 images x 30 minutes processing each = 50 hours
    Because of poor focus and other issues you find only 80 are usable
    You submit 80 images
    16 images get accepted (20% acceptance rate)

So for your 16 approved images

    Youve worked 66 hours that month and 16.5 hours per week
    Youve earned $4 $1.60 for the month and $1 .40 cents for the week (.25 .10 cents per accepted photo per month)
    Based on a 40 hour work week, youve earned .02 .10 cents US per hour for your efforts


ETA: Corrected a calculation

« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 09:25 by PaulieWalnuts »


« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 20:33 »
0
Sounds about right.

But to clarify, you mean  "$1.40  for the week 10 cents per accepted photo per month
    Based on a 40 hour work week, youve earned 1 cent US per hour for your efforts"

.10 cents is 90% lower than 10 cents, which is bad enough as it is.  (Sorry, putting decimals in front of cents -- where the decimal is already implied -- is one of my pet peeves.  I know, I'm anal.)

« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 22:14 »
+3
Sounds about right 
    you said Based on a 40 hour work week, youve earned .01 cents US per hour for your           
efforts, minus taxes you have to pay the government.

Me


« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2015, 00:50 »
+4
But once you have worked those 40 hours you don't work them again, but the images continue to earn you the money week in, week out so that should be factored into your calculations

« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2015, 03:00 »
+2
I think a reasonable estimate might be those images go on earning an average 2 years - to take account of new image novelty and decline making 24c an hour? Of course that money doesn't pay the bills now.

If you didn't improve it would take about 3 1/2 years to get to $10 an hour

I think it would be foolish to rely on this income stream to pay for anything essential for the first three years at least.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 03:14 »
+2
... Standards we're a lot tougher back then. ..

Really? I always figured its the other way around. Look at the junk from 8 years ago. Look at all the rejections people get today.

« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 03:15 »
+1
Great post Paulie, as usual ;) It should be pinned up high in the forum.

I was just checking my March earnings on SS and thinking if I would join them now, with 0,25$/DL offer... I don't think so...

« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2015, 06:29 »
0
My portfolio entries from 2002 through about 2005 are from a 6 megapixel camera and most have significant noise by today's standards. I suspect they will not pass inspection at many sites today and that is a prime consideration for dropping Exclusivity at iStock. My port may not transfer to other sites.

« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2015, 08:36 »
+4
    Youve worked 66 hours that month and 16.5 hours per week
    Youve earned $4 $1.60 for the month and $1 .40 cents for the week (.25 .10 cents per accepted photo per month)
    Based on a 40 hour work week, youve earned .02 .01 cents US per hour for your efforts[/color]

It should be obvious that images won't stop selling after one week. So to figure out how much "you've earned per hour of your effort" you also need to calculate how long/often they are going to sell at those rates. If you assume they are consistently selling for 3 years , you would have made 36 times the $1.60 = totalling $ 57.60. Or roughly $0.90 per hour if your 66 hours effort is correct. It's only that you don't get the whole 90 cents paid out at once but over the course of the next three years. You don't need to make the numbers look even worse. ::)

Besides that all those numbers seem odd to me: A beginner will never ever shoot 2,000 images in two days; then again, a beginner will not be able to figure out which of their images are usable or not, selecting only 4% of them (after focusing issues etc. you mention) seems rather low.

I'd guess the beginner will more likely shoot 4 hours within those 2 days, taking maybe 300 images and selecting about 50. Then spend about five minutes per image in post processing (if he would know enough to spend more time, his acceptance rate would likely be much higher). Then he gets maybe those 20% (on many agencies more likely 80% these days) accepted. Ten images online with about 8-10 hours of work. Brings up the hourly rate to $3.60. Now that's attractive. At least it still is attractive if you live in Belize or Cambodia as I read from Shutterstock's recent report.  :P

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2015, 09:25 »
0
Sounds about right.

But to clarify, you mean  "$1.40  for the week 10 cents per accepted photo per month
    Based on a 40 hour work week, youve earned 1 cent US per hour for your efforts"

.10 cents is 90% lower than 10 cents, which is bad enough as it is.  (Sorry, putting decimals in front of cents -- where the decimal is already implied -- is one of my pet peeves.  I know, I'm anal.)

Good catch. Wrong decimal point. It should be .10 cents.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2015, 09:29 »
0
For all of the comments about increased hourly rate more over time, I agree, which is why I put "If you do well, build up a few thousand sellable images, and get to 100% approval, over time the recurring revenue will start to boost the hourly rate."

I haven't run the numbers for hourly rate after a year or several years. The purpose of this was for totally new people to give some ideas of what the first several months of effort vs return may look like.

Shelma1

« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2015, 09:30 »
+6
Just as it's difficult to know what will sell, it's difficult to decide if microstock is worth it. If you live in a developing country or you're really young, making minimum wage may not seem bad. If you're older, live in a more expensive economy, and have more experience, you'll expect to be paid a lot more, and the effort to try to replace that level of income might be too much. If you're retired and have pension/social security/ investments to support you, making a little extra spending money doing something fun like taking pictures or drawing might seem delightful.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2015, 09:33 »
+1
... Standards we're a lot tougher back then. ..

Really? I always figured its the other way around. Look at the junk from 8 years ago. Look at all the rejections people get today.

I dunno. Seems like with all of the cellphone stuff that companies are more concerned with content than technical quality these days. I don't know if the average acceptance rate is any different overall. When I started, both IS and SS where probably 10% acceptance. My stuff has improved a little since then.  :)

« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2015, 11:01 »
+2
If you're retired and have pension/social security/ investments to support you, making a little extra spending money doing something fun like taking pictures or drawing might seem delightful.

Yep, Michele, you nailed it for retired people in my situation. Not true for everybody else, of course. I understand and sympathize with younger people trying to make a living in photography and seeing themselves increasingly squeezed.

I was photographing wild birds and critters twenty years before microstock was invented, and except for occasional print sales, I made next to nothing from that. Not nearly enough to pay for the equipment, film, processing, printing, etc. Didn't matter, because back then I had a "real job" to pay the bills while I learned my craft.

The arrival of digital photography and microstock just happened to coincide with my retirement. Together, those two things have given me the opportunity to earn money from an enjoyable activity that I used to do for nothing. So even if it's not "a living," that's okay with me.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 11:03 by marthamarks »

« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2015, 14:54 »
0
If you're retired and have pension/social security/ investments to support you, making a little extra spending money doing something fun like taking pictures or drawing might seem delightful.

Yep, Michele, you nailed it for retired people in my situation. Not true for everybody else, of course. I understand and sympathize with younger people trying to make a living in photography and seeing themselves increasingly squeezed.

I was photographing wild birds and critters twenty years before microstock was invented, and except for occasional print sales, I made next to nothing from that. Not nearly enough to pay for the equipment, film, processing, printing, etc. Didn't matter, because back then I had a "real job" to pay the bills while I learned my craft.

The arrival of digital photography and microstock just happened to coincide with my retirement. Together, those two things have given me the opportunity to earn money from an enjoyable activity that I used to do for nothing. So even if it's not "a living," that's okay with me.

same here - except there are days when things aren't exactly 'delightful'

my earnings from film photo stock were declining in the early 90's but I was able to get into digital by scanning slides for CDs - that was lucrative for about 10 years, and when digital cameras dropped in price I spent a few years learning the differences while shooting with low end digital cameras

I was mostly earning from designing computer games & database consulting, but the digital side built up enough so I could retire from those fields and travel even more, using photography as an additional source of income

« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2015, 15:47 »
0
sometimes I also feel like I'm working for pennies; but keeping the hope that by having a large number of images revenues will be higher...

A business with great potential; or a waste of time?

« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2015, 16:24 »
+3
sometimes I also feel like I'm working for pennies; but keeping the hope that by having a large number of images revenues will be higher...

A business with great potential; or a waste of time?

its about keeping up too, a portfolio of 5k pictures today and left alone for 1 year will suffer a significant lose, its better to stay active and upload 25/50/100 files per month than staying inactive with 5k files for many months or years, take that advice! :)


« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2015, 17:56 »
0
Yes, uploading everyday is the key  ;) Thank you for the advice luissantos84

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2015, 03:10 »
+1
new contributors should jump ship in microstock only if they feel ready to produce a portfolio of at least 5-10K saleable images.

i mean this is a realistic number, if they plan to just dump 500 images here and there they will never go far and they will earn nothing considering the actual oversupply.


Semmick Photo

« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2015, 03:12 »
+1
new contributors should jump ship in microstock only if they feel ready to produce a portfolio of at least 5-10K saleable images.

i mean this is a realistic number, if they plan to just dump 500 images here and there they will never go far and they will earn nothing considering the actual oversupply.
There was a relatively new guy on SS, forgot his name, with around 500 image taking 1000 Dls per month, I am not sure about his earnings but I think they were close to a grand a month. Every image had impact.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2015, 03:31 »
0
If you live in a developing country or you're really young, making minimum wage may not seem bad.

actually many of us expats living in developing countries are enjoying these places BECAUSE they're F'd up, i can tell you 1000$ here is like 5000$ back home, and it's not a tradeoff or a downgrade, it's a big upgrade especially for the lifestyle in general as here there's so much freedom while the West turned into a full blown police-state ... i would hate going back to europe no matter the salary.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2015, 03:35 »
+2
new contributors should jump ship in microstock only if they feel ready to produce a portfolio of at least 5-10K saleable images.

i mean this is a realistic number, if they plan to just dump 500 images here and there they will never go far and they will earn nothing considering the actual oversupply.
There was a relatively new guy on SS, forgot his name, with around 500 image taking 1000 Dls per month, I am not sure about his earnings but I think they were close to a grand a month. Every image had impact.

well he must be very good at his game but that's not the normal scenario in my opinion.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2015, 03:59 »
+1
Agree

« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2015, 04:14 »
+1
The model assumes the newbie is a relatively novice photographer - someone selling 1k images a month from a standing start is either a very experienced photographer or amazingly talented.

« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2015, 10:51 »
+1
If it's any consolation 20% acceptance would be a poor photog.

I started at an average 90% acceptance and bounced around 95 to 100 % within about 8 months.


« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2015, 23:02 »
0
I've been talking in some other posts about new contributors earnings and how very few people probably even make what's considered minimum wage where this law exists. I posted this back in 2010 about expectations for newer contributors and I think it still applies. The people who responded said it was pretty accurate. That was when the average return per image per month (ARPIPM?) was around .25 cents US. I'd say it's closer to .10 cents now.

I think the one thing that may have changed is acceptance rates. Standards we're a lot tougher back then. Now I think the average rejection rate may be lower. Even so, it would change the per hour rate only by cents.

If you do well, build up a few thousand sellable images, and get to 100% approval, over time the recurring revenue will start to boost the hourly rate.

------------------->

For someone who just got a DSLR and is learning the ropes here are some measurable expectations.

So, on average

    About 5% of the images you shot will be sellable
    You spend 30 minutes per image in an image editing program like Photoshop doing post-processing, keywording, etc
    You start with about a 20% acceptance rate, 80% rejected
    You earn .25 .10 cents US per accepted photo per month

So let's say...

    You spend two days, about 16 hours, shooting 2000 images
    You select 100
    100 images x 30 minutes processing each = 50 hours
    Because of poor focus and other issues you find only 80 are usable
    You submit 80 images
    16 images get accepted (20% acceptance rate)

So for your 16 approved images

    Youve worked 66 hours that month and 16.5 hours per week
    Youve earned $4 $1.60 for the month and $1 .40 cents for the week (.25 .10 cents per accepted photo per month)
    Based on a 40 hour work week, youve earned .02 .10 cents US per hour for your efforts


ETA: Corrected a calculation

did you base this on one agency only? considering this data you made is for NON-exclusive photographs.
can i multiply this to the 10 agencies i signed up for?, say 7agencies coz 3 are duchebags :D

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2015, 17:00 »
0
No, that covers the agencies most people try submitting to which are the top 12 toward the right side of this screen in the Microstock Poll Results. If you only submit to one then, well, good luck.  ;)

And again, this is for a newbie who is amateur photographer. Your results may vary.

If you're exclusive somewhere it will vary widely so this is just a general.


« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2015, 23:45 »
+2
The problem is only partly what a beginner could make.  The real problem is the trend.  If I had the portfolio I have now in 2008 I'd be making probably 10x what I make now.  So a beginner today might be able to squeeze out minimum wage but in a year or two it'll be half that.

« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2015, 00:19 »
+1
Paulie, you forgot to factor in the time spent in uploading those photos, which for some sites (especially iStock) is considerable. Say it takes seven minutes per image, that adds another 10 hours or so onto the production time.  If the process ended when the image was processed it would be significantly easier than it is.


 

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