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Author Topic: Ranking factors microstock sites  (Read 5957 times)

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« on: May 01, 2012, 01:29 »
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Hi all,

First of all i want to say hi to all microstockker, Im new to this (Microstock) and here while i'm photographing for 3 years professionally already. Normally Sports, press and little studio work.

I've been busy last week shooting some simple tabletop stuff, and getting some old pics ready for upload.
Have around 9 files online on Istock now, but have a pending upload queue of around 12 files. and need to edit a new shoot with around 4 or 5 new photos.

Anyhow, just checking a lot of info, read a lot this few days but i was wondering the following.

I see a lot of people who need to wait until first sale a long time, or do not get sales what so over while they have a nice small portfolio of great images.
Is there some kind of ranking factors involved. Like i upload a photo of a green apple, of course there are already 1000 images of green apples, is there some kind of date, popularity, relevance, profile popularity of any combination of ranking factors involved?

So is this why everybody says keep uploading so you aggregate more sales and more profile popularity?


« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 03:17 »
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I bet there are not 1,000 but 10,000 photos of green apples in all sites. :o

Microbius

« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 03:36 »
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Hi and welcome, each site has an algorithm for displaying images under its "best match" or "relevant" sort order for searches. Exactly how they work is ever changing and mysterious.
It is best not to worry too much about individual images, some take off some don't, in Micro it is really about the overall income from a portfolio so just keep shooting good salable images and try to grow your portfolio.
I wouldn't expect regular sales till you have a few hundred images.

« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 04:42 »
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I started almost 6 years ago and I think it was a lot easier to get sales going then.  There's a lot more competition now and most of the sites seem to have a bias towards older images in their default search.  If I was starting now, I would have a completely different strategy.  I would be trying to do very high quality images that look different to what's already available.  Buyers will look hard for what they want but if yours is at the end of a very long search and doesn't stand out, it's unlikely to get many sales.  I think it's very hard for new contributors now, they have to do something special to get noticed.

« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2012, 06:46 »
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I wouldn't expect regular sales till you have a few hundred images.

These days when I hear my stock shooting friends talk about stock photos they don't mentions about hundreds of images, they talk about 10,000 plus images.

Then again they all shoot stock full-time, think, eat and sleep stock photography. That kind of figures is not that difficult for them to achieve.

This is the type of competition we the weekend shooters are facing now.

« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2012, 06:59 »
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I bet there are not 1,000 but 10,000 photos of green apples in all sites. :o

Out of curiosity I just did a search for "green apple" on Shutterstock and it returned 84,875 images.  On iStock it was only 5,249.  In either case a new image is not likely to get much attention and a single green apple may not even get accepted.  I know you were only using that as an example but the point is that almost everything you can think of will have been shot to death by tons of excellent photographers already.  If you're a competent photographer getting images accepted isn't hard but getting sales nowadays when you're competing against 20 million other images with 100,000 new ones added every week is tough.  Of course you can make thousands from the right image but in general you will want a large portfolio to get any kind of decent return.

« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 09:53 »
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Great information all,

it was not specificly the apple i was curious about, just more what drives photos to be ranked well, is it somekind of google secret ninja alghoritmic. do you guys spend time thinking about this or just create massive stock portfolios and pray for the best.

a question that is popping up now, how much images do you guys think is needed in a stock portfolio to get a decent salary out of it.
of course quality is important, but i see some stock shooter having 10.000 images in their portfolio and also so a few with just like 800 and performing also very nice.

« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 10:03 »
0
a question that is popping up now, how much images do you guys think is needed in a stock portfolio to get a decent salary out of it.
of course quality is important, but i see some stock shooter having 10.000 images in their portfolio and also so a few with just like 800 and performing also very nice.

you have the answer already..

Microbius

« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 10:12 »
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This really a question about RPI (a figure for your return per image per month).
You can do a search for RPI on this forum, what you will see is that it varies wildly, so the answer is, it depends.
If you are doing this as a business, studying trends, keywording well, uploading regularly, you will see a much higher RPI than if you are doing it as a hobby and shooting what you like to shoot rather than what sells.

tab62

« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 10:25 »
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Get away from "simple tabletop stuff"- Go to GL Stock and see what they have on site- I am learning to get away from the dump on table stuff. You have to offer something that is unique to be able to compete against the tens of thousands of other pics. Find your niche (i.e., sports) that you know the subject well and explicit it.  The trend appears that buyers are looking for 'realistic' photos not fancy models attempting to act out the roles. Use everyday folks that are actually doing this role on a regular basis such as sports- just make sure you have a good model release that covers you...

« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 13:38 »
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currently i own my own internet firm, developing hundres of websites en e-commerce sites i am involved in a lot of stock photography on the buyers side, since i am also a professional sports photographer thats going more and more towards studio stuff i think stock is great to make practice shoots worth while in stead of just shooting to shoot.

the clean, models, acting stuff is something i'm annoyed to aswel, more and more web clients ask me to come up with photos of real stuff, real people and such, but why are the Yuri arcurs of this world so successful? i do respect he's work and i realy love it, but for use i think its way TO clean, to white, to plastic.

Is this what you guys see as a trend going more realistic and less stock like

« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 13:48 »
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are you serious? real people might sell very well too but there is no doubt that buyers are WAY IN to buy Yuri perfect model and location etc

if you and other tog like to shoot that, its a totally different question but in fact even the people saying they like to do their own stuff and ideas ended up doing the same as Yuri, what will they shoot? crazy concepts one after another? you can count those on your own hands! the majority of mouth full artistic guys that keep on saying that they are doing something different and what really enjoy are full of crap actually, they are shooting the exact subjects Yuri approaches, the regular stuff like sports outdoor, business woman on a train, at the cosmetic store, at the coffee.. etc

sure there are many that go with the real a lot further but thats a minority actually.. not saying I dont enjoy it, actually I do and a lot.. my point is that people keep on talking this and that about Yuri style but 90% go after the exact same models/poses/situations/locations etc.. so cut the crap (talking to all people that say that approach stock in an artistic way)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 13:52 by luissantos84 »

« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 14:12 »
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are you serious? real people might sell very well too but there is no doubt that buyers are WAY IN to buy Yuri perfect model and location etc

if you and other tog like to shoot that, its a totally different question but in fact even the people saying they like to do their own stuff and ideas ended up doing the same as Yuri, what will they shoot? crazy concepts one after another? you can count those on your own hands! the majority of mouth full artistic guys that keep on saying that they are doing something different and what really enjoy are full of crap actually, they are shooting the exact subjects Yuri approaches, the regular stuff like sports outdoor, business woman on a train, at the cosmetic store, at the coffee.. etc

sure there are many that go with the real a lot further but thats a minority actually.. not saying I dont enjoy it, actually I do and a lot.. my point is that people keep on talking this and that about Yuri style but 90% go after the exact same models/poses/situations/locations etc.. so cut the crap (talking to all people that say that approach stock in an artistic way)

Not sure if i understand your reply, kinda aggressive, like i said, i love he's work and can understand that in a lot of cases it works great. The thing is that my clients request something different and my question was more, do you guys see this as well or is the typical "stock" look still better use and saleable..

« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2012, 14:41 »
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the clean, models, acting stuff is something i'm annoyed to aswel, more and more web clients ask me to come up with photos of real stuff, real people and such, but why are the Yuri arcurs of this world so successful? i do respect he's work and i realy love it, but for use i think its way TO clean, to white, to plastic.

I think that sales experience shows that while people say they want "real" - people, settings, props - they want something more like the ideal of what we'd like to be than what most people truly are, day to day. I admire Yuri's skill and success, but I find it very "plastic fantastic". You will find a market for more down to earth stuff, but I think it's somewhat smaller that that for the idealized work.

As an example, I have a shot of my teenage son's bedroom that sells quite well - as a messy teen bedroom. I shot that after I cleaned it up one day (worried that too much ugly stuff was growing in the mess) - in other words, that isn't really how he lives! I also have one of my home office, also looking artfully "messy" after I cleaned it up a lot. I find it used most as the "before" shot for businesses that help people clean up home offices :)

If you can strike the right balance between real and idealized/fake, you'll do well.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2012, 14:49 »
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Ah, Jo-Ann posted when I hit reply, and has said it much better than I would have.
I remember a while back, iStock published an article, or a thread starter, about how they wanted more realistic looking people covering a range of ages.
Not long afterwards (the juxtraposition always stuck in my mind) someone posted about a photo which wasn't selling asking for help as to why not, and what ensued was a total shredding of the poor model's appearance: teeth not straight/white enough, hair/skin not perfect enough etc etc. It was really unpleasant and only stopped short of calling her an ugly cow. She looked like most of the people I know, i.e. not fake.
So, 'not fake' doesn't sell on micros. You clients may want 'more real' and be willing to pay for it, but with micro, the prices are low and you have to go for volume sales.

Also, a general word of advice would be not to shoot people doing their real jobs for stock. The images can legitimately be used in so many ways that might hazard their professional status, or at least embarrass them.

« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 14:57 »
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yep. They say they want real, but actually they want perfect models that look real. Real people and locations have hundreds of "flaws" that limit their sales.

The key is to make "real" looking images without all the imperfections that reality actually has. If you can figure this out, you can make some sellers.

hrmmm. maybe I should get to work.

« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2012, 07:54 »
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Wow.. amazing info guys. I think the conclusion is. they way real, but without the flaws. which is almost the same as plastic fantastic haha.

Just got my first sale by the way: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20023350-golf-scoring-board.php [nofollow] a shot was nothing acted. but also no real model in it. but still nice to have a first sale.


« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2012, 07:58 »
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yep. They say they want real, but actually they want perfect models that look real. Real people and locations have hundreds of "flaws" that limit their sales.

The key is to make "real" looking images without all the imperfections that reality actually has. If you can figure this out, you can make some sellers.

'zactly.

« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2012, 13:54 »
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currently i own my own internet firm, developing hundres of websites en e-commerce sites i am involved in a lot of stock photography on the buyers side, since i am also a professional sports photographer thats going more and more towards studio stuff i think stock is great to make practice shoots worth while in stead of just shooting to shoot.

the clean, models, acting stuff is something i'm annoyed to aswel, more and more web clients ask me to come up with photos of real stuff, real people and such, but why are the Yuri arcurs of this world so successful? i do respect he's work and i realy love it, but for use i think its way TO clean, to white, to plastic.

Is this what you guys see as a trend going more realistic and less stock like

They say that stock photography is about portraying the world as we'd like it to be, not how it is.

« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2012, 04:29 »
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To turn back on the whole ranking thing.
I just noticed something, maybe its easy explainable, maybe not.

I sold my first file 2 days ago.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20023350-golf-scoring-board.php [nofollow]
It had only 17 views and 1 sale, its was a week online.
Since this sale the views gone grom 17 to 91 in 2 days.
while in a whole week it just got that 17.

All other photos are under 20 views
except for this photo. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20069694-old-and-yound-hand-on-pregnant-belly.php [nofollow]
Am i watching to closely on these stats or is it that a sale might boost ranking?

grp_photo

« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2012, 04:40 »
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Opposite to common belief, the white table-stuff  and the Yuri people-stuff is still  the way to go in Microstock! I personally learned it the hard way. Microstock is only growing in newly industrialized countries now and these countries for sure demand the clean-as-possible stuff. If you wanna or are doing real stuff I would recommend macrostock to you as a contributor or as a buyer.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2012, 04:51 »
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To turn back on the whole ranking thing.
I just noticed something, maybe its easy explainable, maybe not.

I sold my first file 2 days ago.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20023350-golf-scoring-board.php
It had only 17 views and 1 sale, its was a week online.
Since this sale the views gone grom 17 to 91 in 2 days.
while in a whole week it just got that 17.

All other photos are under 20 views
except for this photo. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20069694-old-and-yound-hand-on-pregnant-belly.php
Am i watching to closely on these stats or is it that a sale might boost ranking?

Best match changes all the time. Sometimes a sale boosts ranking, sometimes it disadvantages it. A photo  I uploaded a couple of weeks ago and was sold within a very few days of appearing in my port is now below 200 in best match on it's main keyword, whereas a earlier one with 0 dls just sneaks in at 192. Also nowadays the geographic best match is very different, e.g. the results I get are very different, though not necessarily more relevant, than someone in the west of the US is getting.
best match changed yesterday, and the bias I was seeing towards indy files has now gone. Whereas in the past week, indy files were usually 6 out of the top ten, now there's only one indy plus in the top ten in all my usual searches, always in position 2 or 3.

best match changes all the time, there's nothing we can do about it. It's interesting, but not worth fretting about.

« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2012, 05:13 »
0
To turn back on the whole ranking thing.
I just noticed something, maybe its easy explainable, maybe not.

I sold my first file 2 days ago.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20023350-golf-scoring-board.php [nofollow]
It had only 17 views and 1 sale, its was a week online.
Since this sale the views gone grom 17 to 91 in 2 days.
while in a whole week it just got that 17.

All other photos are under 20 views
except for this photo. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20069694-old-and-yound-hand-on-pregnant-belly.php [nofollow]
Am i watching to closely on these stats or is it that a sale might boost ranking?

Best match changes all the time. Sometimes a sale boosts ranking, sometimes it disadvantages it. A photo  I uploaded a couple of weeks ago and was sold within a very few days of appearing in my port is now below 200 in best match on it's main keyword, whereas a earlier one with 0 dls just sneaks in at 192. Also nowadays the geographic best match is very different, e.g. the results I get are very different, though not necessarily more relevant, than someone in the west of the US is getting.
best match changed yesterday, and the bias I was seeing towards indy files has now gone. Whereas in the past week, indy files were usually 6 out of the top ten, now there's only one indy plus in the top ten in all my usual searches, always in position 2 or 3.

best match changes all the time, there's nothing we can do about it. It's interesting, but not worth fretting about.


Haha its something like google seo. something to get nuts over.
Sometimes you do great without any specific reason, the other your rankings are tanking while you do everything right.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2012, 05:52 »
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Haha its something like google seo. something to get nuts over.
Sometimes you do great without any specific reason, the other your rankings are tanking while you do everything right.
I find Google SEO far, far more consistent. Thank goodness.
But that's fair enough. Since on iStock you can, if you wish, search by downloads or age, best match should be something else. And since, when best match is changed, people report changes in their sales patterns (sometimes you'll read people saying, "this week it's been my old low-sellers which are selling") it proves that it's not always poor files that get low sales, best match often matters. But again, matching your files to an agency plays some part too. If there are ten files of a subject and they all have sales except yours, it's your 'fault'*; if there are ten files and none have sold, it's a poor subject match to the buyers at that agency.
* not necessarily that it's a poor image, but as covered above, maybe the style is 'too realistic' for the agency. As well as the 'improved' people mentioned above, at iStock there are a lot of animal species searches where the top sellers are zoo shots or 'isolated on white' rather than in a natural environment (despite what the keywords say!).

« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2012, 08:26 »
0
To turn back on the whole ranking thing.
I just noticed something, maybe its easy explainable, maybe not.

I sold my first file 2 days ago.
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20023350-golf-scoring-board.php
It had only 17 views and 1 sale, its was a week online.
Since this sale the views gone grom 17 to 91 in 2 days.
while in a whole week it just got that 17.

All other photos are under 20 views
except for this photo. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20069694-old-and-yound-hand-on-pregnant-belly.php
Am i watching to closely on these stats or is it that a sale might boost ranking?


Yes.  Trying to figure out what changes search rankings is a waste of time - changes all the time for reasons you can't control.  Some images get tons of views with no sales while others get a sale with almost every view - no idea why.  The only part you can control is the number and quality of your images - increase those and you'll do well.  What you're starting with looks good and you'll soon have more feedback on what sells and what doesn't.


 

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