pancakes

MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: What are realistic expectations?  (Read 15956 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2015, 14:06 »
0
"...am having a hard time understanding why you repeat words in the titles of your images, which then wind up in your URLs..."

Some SEO algorithms reward repeating words with more weight. It is recommended (on some sites) to repeat the most important words in the titles, descriptions, image names and keywords. It's known as keyword density. Here from a SEO expert (and the experts disagree so take it with a grain of salt):

Some webmasters claim that you should try for good keyword density, a theoretical desirable ratio of the number of times your keywords appear to the total number of words on the page. Like most SEO topics, this one is hotly debated. The truth is that no one outside of the engines really knows under what circumstances keyword density is evaluated and how it winds up being evaluated when it is.

That's very interesting, so thanks for the info!

I do understand "keyword density," but I thought you achieved it by upping the number of times you used a given "key" word or phrase in your description. I've done plenty of that in the extensive descriptions larded into my Symbiostock site, where I have full control over the contents.

Didn't realize, however, that repeating a word or set of words in a single descripive line in SS or DT or IS, and thus forcing the repetition into the URL for that image, would boost SEO.

If that's true, why doesn't everybody do it? Maybe others do it too, but I've never noticed it.

'Twould be interesting to hear if others do that also.


« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2015, 14:31 »
+12
I do take advice from experienced people. Nice people. Not from anonymous people putting down others.

at your rate of 7 posts a day, i think you crave attention.

that said, this is my last post on MSG. signing off for good here. this forum is so predictable.

good luck all.

Well, I hate to see you go. Personally I like the alternative opinions, even if they aren't polished.  I have been in the scuba diving industry for almost 40 years. I have spoken at many travel expositions, many dive clubs, I used to write for numerous dive magazines on travel and marine life, I was in the oceanography/marine biology field for years, hang out with top end photographers and I am the author of a book that's sold 10,000 copies.  I have saved three lives in my diving career due to my experience in stressful situations, and been hugged and thanked by one of the victims parents weeks later.  I've almost died a couple of time myself in dangerous diving situations, one of which my critical thinking, non-panic actions saved my life in the Galapagos when our boat did a miscount and left me out at sea at dusk.  The reason I point this out is that I have a sh!tload of experience over my 40 years, vast experience that I try to share in other forums, specifically underwater photography forums.  It's similar to here, we go off topic all the time on issues, some rescue related, some underwater politics (yes there is politics like solo diving versus buddy diving).  I feel privileged to share my experiences even if they don't seem welcome.  Believe me, I get ignored a lot because I am not the modern day techie and people don't want to hear how it used to be done when in fact it's still the same today.  For an old timer I love hearing what todays new divers have to say. Some are so technical it's crazy. I learn from them. But they learn from me. Sometimes they ignore what I have to say and other times I get a private message asking me to come speak at a club.

One recent discussion was dive preparedness.  I have been to many remote parts of the world, including diving in the Amazon...few people have done this. I am a believer in being prepared and in redundancy.  I got beaten up not too long ago for my overbearing will to carry redundant equipment on trips.  Last October I was on a dive trip and two of the very people criticizing me were on that trip.  Guess what? One had a malfunction on a breathing device and the other had a puncture in their drysuit, both trip-ending malfunctions.  Neither had a puncture repair kit nor tools, or spares to fix the regulator.  In my mind I said, fk it, let their trip be damned (it was a 4-day trip). About two hours later the Captain (who I know merely from diving with his operation so frequently, called me to the helm and asked if I had any way to help these two.  He knew me. I have saved other diver's dives many times before. You see, my redundancy wasn't just about ME, it was about others who were less skilled at the art of being prepared. That comes with experience.  I saved both of their trips, even though they didn't truly understand my position in the forums on redundancy and preparedness.  Now they do.

The point I am making is that your experience can't be bought or paid for, it's earned and that makes it invaluable.  Some absorb it here like me, although I may not post it.  Whether it's polished verbiage or not, I am not a believer in pushing away dinosaur knowledge because that's how I became what I am today. If it weren't for the old timers I befriended and learned from over the years I would not have the level of experience I have today. They are old now (in their 80's) and I am in my 50's.  I have learned to appreciate dinosaur experience because I, too, lived it.

If you're reading this post, Shudderstock, I would think that some in here might wish that you stay, if for anything, sharing your experience. It's very refreshing to hear opinions from older model market photographers and contrasting them to todays markets. There's not a lot of those peeps left to share their experiences is all I'm saying. And regarding those people I helped last October? We are FB friends and making the same trip together this coming October.

Sorry for the long post, everyone, but I felt compelled to make it.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 14:36 by Mantis »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2015, 14:32 »
+1
I thought keyword stuffing in H1 was considered spamming, and would be penalised, at least on Google, but I guess my (limited) SEO knowledge must be well out of date.
Still, are there any figures for any sites about how many actual buyers come in via Google, and then search for all of their images via Google?

Semmick Photo

« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2015, 15:20 »
+2
Mantis, if I feel the advice is not suitable I say so and  I add my own experience. I have some images that are carefully shot and edited and they dont sell on micros. When I add in numbers I always seem to have a few hits. The OP is asking advice for microstock, so if someone comes in and starts talking about how things were 10 years ago, before micro stock, I feel the advice is not for this particular situation. For me it just comes across as someone who is stuck in the old days and wants to show off some sort of authority. Everyone is free to ignore my comments, and in return I will tell someone when I disagree. Its a public forum, if he disagrees with me and throws his toys from the pram, its his choice. I didnt tell him to leave, he doesnt have to leave, but I couldnt care less either if he does. Sorry.

My apologies to the OP for taking it off topic, carry on.

« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2015, 16:00 »
+22
There's no reason for any one to run off.  Post what you think, don't worry too much about what others say in response and don't be too much of a jerk :)

« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2015, 16:21 »
+5
Mantis, if I feel the advice is not suitable I say so and  I add my own experience. I have some images that are carefully shot and edited and they dont sell on micros. When I add in numbers I always seem to have a few hits. The OP is asking advice for microstock, so if someone comes in and starts talking about how things were 10 years ago, before micro stock, I feel the advice is not for this particular situation. For me it just comes across as someone who is stuck in the old days and wants to show off some sort of authority. Everyone is free to ignore my comments, and in return I will tell someone when I disagree. Its a public forum, if he disagrees with me and throws his toys from the pram, its his choice. I didnt tell him to leave, he doesnt have to leave, but I couldnt care less either if he does. Sorry.

My apologies to the OP for taking it off topic, carry on.

We agree and we disagree in these forums. That's what they are for.  But for someone with his experience to leave is a loss for MSG in my humble opinion.  I'm not taking sides, but I am responding to someone leaving and how I personally believe they create value in many forms. If you want to have a conversation with him, tell him to suck an egg, etc, I have no issues with that. It's him leaving that I think is a loss for MSG, that's all.   

« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2015, 20:13 »
+3
Ralph, the more quality photos you upload, the more the stand to make of course.  I don't think anyone knows how your travel photos will do because most people don't have those uploaded as commercial, but they are not doing you any good sitting on your hard drive, so upload away.  The more sites you sell on, the more you will make, I can tell you that.  And you can add other things like isolated on white (even though there are tons already), just make sure they are top quality and you will get your fair share of sales.  You have as much right as any of us to make money here selling photos, so get that camera busy friend !

« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2015, 01:36 »
+10
Ralph - if the squabbling hasn't driven you away - I actually do shoot the very stuff you are talking about. I started in April 2004 and I've sold more than 250,000 licenses but I still remember the excitement of my first 10c. Things were a lot easier then, within a month I had about 100 files uploaded and I've never had a day since April 23, 2004, without a sale. I doubt if even the most talented, high-commercial-value (HCV) photographer could get off to a start like that today.
I reckon I might have sold a million if I had followed all the advice about  HCV content but I didn't want the hassle of model releases and, more significantly, the risk of anyone getting upset over an illegal usage which, though rare, does happen. I also persuaded myself that if I chased HCV stuff I would be shooting the same things as a lot of other people, some of whom would be much better than I was, while low-value content would be likely to pop up near the top of a short search result, giving me more exposure and less competition. It's probably better to be on page one of a search that only 10 people a year make than on page 100 of a search that 100 people a day make. Even so, I still reckon that with HCV I would probably have sold three or four times as many files as I do with LCV, but the difference is not as great as people tend to make out.
The number of files I quoted to get $5,000 a year may sound extreme but it is my assessment of what you could expect from a portfolio like mine in the future. I do significantly better than that but I have a lot of old files locked into decent search engine positions that continue to sell. New files rarely sell, which is why I have scaled back my production.  My rough estimate, based on sales of new material, is that I would need to produce about 250 isolated-on-white files to generate one sale every day. That's a month's serious work for maybe $175 a year. 
Travel is simply not worth the cost these days unless you are going somewhere anyway. Popular locations are swamped with content and for the little-known LCV location you may pick up a sale or two a year from the one person searching for it, but each of your pictures then goes into competition with your other pictures of the same location. Unlike "isolated on white" you can't just shoot a location four or five times from different angles and call it a day, you have too much invested in going there. So you are not going to upload four files the way you might with isolated on white, you are going to upload 100. And while 24 sales a year from four isolations would be just about OK in my reckoning, 24 sales from 100 would not even cover the effort of processing and uploading them all. So competing against yourself in a LCV niche is a problem. With LCV you want to shoot, process and upload in three or four hours, total, then move on to the next subject.
It's also worth noting that earnings growth is always most rapid to start with. As you go from 10 files online to 1,000 your sales should increase 100-fold, and going from one sale a week to 100 sales a week looks good, if you do it in a year. But in year 2 the same effort only doubles your return and by the end of year three your 50% increase, from 2,000 to 3,000 files, will be undermined to some degree by the increase in the overall size of the libraries. In year four you may struggle to maintain your income and from year five it is probably falling.
So if you want it to pay you a pension you need to save it all up and put it into something that delivers a sure-fire return. I bought a house but I got lucky, starting when I did, I doubt if many people could do that well starting today. 

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2015, 05:52 »
+1
Agree totally with a lot that's been said above. While it's not true that every location has local shooters, as said above, the more unique a location is, the less demand there is for it. In the old days, it was a no-brainer if you mainly shot low-supply, low demand material, to be exclusive at iS, (SS famously rejected lcv subjects,  but at these prices you really had to sell in bulk, so that was no bad thing), but nowadays it seems that while credit buyers seem to have great difficulty finding recentish files, subs buyers have no such problems.  All you can do is see what works for you - whether it's particular agencies and / or particular subjects or styles.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 07:13 by ShadySue »

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2015, 06:46 »
+11
Wow!  Only my second post and I start a multi-page argument thread, which ends up with a critique of my images, criticism of my keywording skills and a resignation from the forum :o

Thanks (I think) for all the comments.

I started this thread to help me as well as any other new starts that might be thinking of going down this route.  I'm pretty thick skinned and have plenty of 'frequent forum miles' under my belt.  I sincerely hope this hasn't put any others off.

Lets just answer a few key points.

Why is my keywording questionable?  Well that's because I'm new at it and (badly) cut and pasted the words from one image to another and didn't edit them very well!   Thanks for pointing that little flaw out to everyone though ;) 
I'm still learning but hey that's what forums are for aren't they?

Why do I have the same words repeated in the title, description and URL?  I don't know, its probably something I'm doing wrong somewhere but please refer to my previous answer ;D

There have been some sweeping assumptions and statements made about the quality of my images.  Primarily about the ones that no one has seen.  I'm not going to suggest that I'm at National Geographic standards but to automatically assume that everywhere I have been, someone else has already been there and taken a better photograph is a little presumptuous me thinks.  If every budding travel photographer thought the same then the magazines would soon find it more difficult filling their pages.  Equally I am willing to hold my work up in comparison to others and let the buyers decide.  Please don't judge my entire library of images on the basis of the 20-30 I have managed to get uploaded.

I would like to thank those that have contributed honest, encouraging comments in this thread.  At the end of the day I have several thousand images earning me nothing at all on my HDD.  If I can upload them and earn a few dollars then that seems like a positive outcome.

I have to get back to earning a crust now and will comment further this evening  :).




« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 06:50 by CaptureLightUK »

« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2015, 07:58 »
+1
You seem to have the right mind set for this game ;)

Semmick Photo

« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2015, 08:05 »
+2
It doesnt matter if the location is remote. If he keywords it correctly, as in adding keywords describing i.e a 4x4 challenge he might get enough exposure and sales. I am sure no one is searching for RAHEENDARRAGH, but they will search for Mount Leinster, hiking, off track, etc. I just add all significant keywords to my images.

« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2015, 12:40 »
+2
All of this is good info. In skimming quickly through the responses I didn't see anything about video. If I missed it I apologize. I would say that as you start shooting again, don't underestimate the value of shooting video. The video market is growing and is not nearly as saturated. I had the good fortune to see Gavin Hoey speak in NYC last year. He mentioned that video is now over half of his business. The other thing I would mention is that it is very easy to expect next year's income to be better than this years as your online port grows and you have more to offer. Do not underestimate how quickly this business changes. I liken it to the IT world. In 2000, I could get $900 for a static HTML home page for someones website, $500 per page after that. Now you can get a whole site with hosting for $90/yr. Things commoditize quickly, and nothing is commoditizing faster than microstock. I love this business and love waking up and checking my overnight sales, but I am prepared for a time when I will abandon this model in search of greener pastures as it will no longer make sense. There is still money on the table, but the writing is on the wall.

« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2015, 13:06 »
+5
......

There have been some sweeping assumptions and statements made about the quality of my images.  Primarily about the ones that no one has seen.  I'm not going to suggest that I'm at National Geographic standards but to automatically assume that everywhere I have been, someone else has already been there and taken a better photograph is a little presumptuous me thinks.  If every budding travel photographer thought the same then the magazines would soon find it more difficult filling their pages.  Equally I am willing to hold my work up in comparison to others and let the buyers decide.  Please don't judge my entire library of images on the basis of the 20-30 I have managed to get uploaded.

....


it's not the quality of remote location images, but the commercial value -- I shoot mostly travel images and find I need at least 10x the portfolios others report for different topics.  at the same time, my SS portfolio has grown about 20% per year, while income has increased an average of 5% over the last few years

remote locations just don't get as many sales - and often the sales that do result are for the more generic images from those remote locations.  my huayhuash trek in peru has some of my best images, but sales are rare, while a few shots of food concessions at local street fairs are high sellers.

as others have said, it's hard to justify travel to produce stock images. but that's actually an advantage for those of us whose priority is travel, with income producing images being a welcome secondary result

« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2015, 23:33 »
+2
I'm pretty new in this game, barely  a year under my belt. But its been good fun so far. Getting that first sale, getting a first payout, getting a few days of continuous sales, goosebump raising stuff i tell you

I shoot travel, urban, what you call LCV. Its not exactly been showering me with money but i get a payout every couple of months, which seems like a good place to start

« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2015, 16:13 »
+4
I shoot a lot of travel.

As many others have said, out of the way places don't seem to sell as well on the micros. However, rare images sometimes sell for a good amount on Alamy, so uploading them there, where you can make more on the infrequent sale might be a better bet than uploading those rarer images to the micros, where you need multiple sales to make anything worthwhile.

Popular destinations often do well on the micros.

Good luck. The best way to discover how you'll do is to upload.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 16:16 by wordplanet »

« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2015, 17:28 »
+5
It's a funny old game... I have some - I think - decent travel shots in my port, but they're outsold at least 10:1 by fairly mundane shots of public transport trundling around. That's one of the things I've learnt in my 2 or so years in stock... there's often a difference between what you would call your best work and what will actually sell... it's more about supply and demand than quality, at least some of the time. It's good to take heed of the agencies when they say they're short in a certain category.

It's  a good idea to read some of the many tutorials that are out there, as there are some things that you might not do automatically... always shooting a scene in portrait and landscape for example, and leaving space for text. Some buyers need several images of the same thing and won't buy from you if you have just a single image, so submitting only your best shot can work against you.  Once you start selling, you can do a Google image search to see where your work is being used - or not - and perhaps make changes accordingly.


« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2015, 04:45 »
+2
I am also new to the scene, but my first batch of 70+ pictures is already good accepted at 12 agencies.
I also do mostly travel and landscape but I found one big difference in my pictures from the mass of others - if I enter "Philippines" or "Tropical beach" as a keyword I get lots of photoshopped pictures with colours like a psychedelic movie.
So formyself I can say I found my "niche" with producing "real world" images.

I am now at 12 agencies and will expand to around 25-30 - then I will look up my sales until end of 2016 to see where I have my "market".

My goal is to have 200$ every month in maybe 3 years from now.

http://www.shutterstock.com/sets/11707071-portfolio.html?rid=3071411

Funny that I have 93 at 123RF - because I accidentially uploaded some twice and got them approved :-)
http://www.123rf.com/profile_goetzphilippinen


« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2015, 04:55 »
+4

I also do mostly travel and landscape but I found one big difference in my pictures from the mass of others - if I enter "Philippines" or "Tropical beach" as a keyword I get lots of photoshopped pictures with colours like a psychedelic movie.
So formyself I can say I found my "niche" with producing "real world" images.

Fair enough - but those psychedelic colours seem to sell better than real world ones.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2015, 05:00 »
0

I also do mostly travel and landscape but I found one big difference in my pictures from the mass of others - if I enter "Philippines" or "Tropical beach" as a keyword I get lots of photoshopped pictures with colours like a psychedelic movie.
So formyself I can say I found my "niche" with producing "real world" images.
I haven't looked at the images in question, but doesn't Stocksy prefer a more 'real' look?

Fair enough - but those psychedelic colours seem to sell better than real world ones.

« Reply #45 on: June 01, 2015, 06:45 »
+3
Well I am definitely a happy-thoughts-and-snow-flake-dreams kind of person. And why not? If you listened to all the negativity out there, you wouldn't want to get up in the morning, would you? My belief is that where there's a will, there is always a way, so to the OP, if you want to earn $5,000 per year - sure go ahead.  If you're looking for feedback on whether its achievable, then trust me, if I can earn that over a two month period, than anyone can. I am certainly not special, and not even a very good photographer.

My only advice is to treat it like a business, and keep good stats. Use the SS sets to keep RPIs on all the different types of images you have. The more the better. You don't have to publish them - its just for your own info. When you find sets that can return over $5.00 per image - then just shoot more of those. Its not rocket science. And for those that say, $5 RPI is too high to achieve, then all I can say, is out of my 40+ sets, my top 10 all do.

Its all about finding niches. There is still a rising demand for stock images - you just have to find the right ones.

And you don't have to justify your key-wording to anybody. If the agencies don't like them, they will tell you. Well, at least IS will. In fact you don't have to justify anything to anybody.

To Stock Wife: well said.





« Reply #46 on: June 01, 2015, 08:46 »
+5
And you don't have to justify your key-wording to anybody. If the agencies don't like them, they will tell you. Well, at least IS will. In fact you don't have to justify anything to anybody.

Of course.  Do whatever you like, and don't worry about advice from others.

This is why any attempts to organize never work.

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2015, 10:27 »
-1
 Thanks to everyone for contributing to this thread.  It would seem that there is a reasonably even spread of advice from the negative to the positive end of the spectrum.

I shall treat it as a business, I shall keep stats, I shall monitor trends, I shall study what the agencies ask for and I shall try and adapt as and when I feel that I want to.  I thank everyone that has given that advice.

I now have a maximum of 36 images spread across 7 agencies and have made the life-changing sum of $33 ;D.

My 'most downloaded' image is a tie between a picture I took at the local zoo and one of those  fairly 'remote location' shots.  Both bought 3 times.  However my single best earner is a shot taken, in 2013, of a tourist centre at the northern most tip of mainland Norway, 700 miles inside the arctic circle.  It's certainly not an image I would ever consider hanging on my wall but it does show that I was thinking along the right lines when I took it.  :D  Okay, its a tourist centre so it's not THAT remote, but relative to New York etc. it is.

I currently have over 50 000 images on my HDD.  Assuming a 1% edit and rejection rate I should just about get a few sale-able images from the dregs that are left.  With my current sales rate I might even be able afford a a new camera battery by the end of the year!

Many, but not all, of my images are not just remote but also 4x4/expedition biased.  I am hoping that this is a niche, if it is a niche then I'm hoping to fill it.  If it isn't a niche, or a niche that anyone else is interested in, then I guess I will just have to wait and see  ;D

The aim of this thread was to get some 'realistic expectations'.  I have certainly gained some, not just about microstock, but also about the responses you will get when you ask a question on here ;)

At the moment this is fun, my hourly rate is around $0.00001and I don't expect that to increase much in the near future :o

Cheers
Ralph

PS:
PS, plus your keywording needs help - words in bold are questionable:

 adventure, amundsen, arctic, atlantic, cape, centre, coast, continent, europe, european, explorer, monument, nature, nordic, north, northern, norway, norwegian, ocean, planet, point, polar, roald, scandinavia, scenic, sculpture, statue, summer, sun, symbolic, tourism, tourist, travel, view

I've thought about this and adventure, coast, continent and ocean are all perfectly reasonable keywords to describe one of the greatest sea going explorers of the last century and isn't a statue of a person fairly symbolic?  Thanks for the critique though ;) ;)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 10:32 by CaptureLightUK »

« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2015, 10:38 »
+11
I've thought about this and adventure, coast, continent and ocean are all perfectly reasonable keywords to describe one of the greatest sea going explorers of the last century and isn't a statue of a person fairly symbolic?  Thanks for the critique though ;) ;)

You aren't describing the person's life history in the image, you're describing the image.  How is one supposed to find an image of the ocean, if every image of a fish on a plate has "ocean" because it came from the ocean?  A peace sign is "symbolic".  A statue of a peace sign may be "symbolic".  A statue of a person isn't necessarily "symbolic" just because it is a representation of something/someone in a medium.

I'm not being mean, but if a buyer wants a picture of this guy, they're going to search by name.  If they come to SS expecting a wikipedia of every subject on earth, and "coast adventure" should bring this up, then they aren't doing their job.

« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2015, 10:40 »
+11
...I've thought about this and adventure, coast, continent and ocean are all perfectly reasonable keywords to describe one of the greatest sea going explorers of the last century and isn't a statue of a person fairly symbolic?  Thanks for the critique though ;) ;)

I think the best way to think about keywording is to think about doing searches as a buyer and trying to help them find your image when appropriate and not find it when it's clearly not what they were looking for.

If I search ocean or coast and see a statue in a park I'm going to view it as spam and not in any way the kind of image I want. My goal - in addition to selling licenses to my images - is never to piss a buyer off with the way I've keyworded something. I don't want to think of them clicking on the thumbnail to see what numbskull put the keyword ocean on a statue picture on dry land.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
23 Replies
8879 Views
Last post January 11, 2008, 16:31
by jeancliclac
53 Replies
14960 Views
Last post March 04, 2011, 22:43
by dannyhitt20
58 Replies
19681 Views
Last post March 24, 2011, 01:00
by visceralimage
26 Replies
12005 Views
Last post April 10, 2018, 05:12
by breamal73
5 Replies
1875 Views
Last post December 08, 2018, 08:15
by qunamax

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle