pancakes

MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: What are realistic expectations?  (Read 15959 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« on: May 25, 2015, 03:09 »
+1
Firstly I will say that I have read many many posts on this and other sites and have come into this industry with my eyes open.  In other words I don't expect to be a millionaire and retire next year on my earnings from microstock :D

What I am hoping for is a moderate regular income, dribbling each month, into the future i.e. a bit of a retirement pension of sorts.

I'm 54 and have been travelling and taking photos for decades and have many thousands of images on my hard drives.  Many of these, a future images, are from remote Land Rover expeditions to more remote locations.  Unfortunately many good images  were taken a few years ago on lower megapixel cameras and won't pass muster.  In the last few years I have been specifically trying to produce images that would interest others rather than just for my own album.  At the same time I have been developing my photography business with the aim of leaving the mundane day job and going full time pro.

I signed up for several agencies last year but only started uploading a few weeks ago.  I have now been accepted by several and, using the same images, have uploaded content as follows:

Shutterstock - 17 active, 10 pending (50% acceptance although some of these were newbie commercial/editorial errors on my part which won't happen again)
Alamy - 18 active, 5 pending (100% acceptance)
Dreamstime - 13 Active, 23 pending (100% acceptance)
Bigstock - 11 active, 10 pending (42% acceptance :( ???)
Fotolia - 13 active, 17 pending (100% acceptance)
Depositphotos - 0 active, 25 pending (n/a)
123rf - 1 active, 14 approved, 23 pending (88% acceptance)
Canstock - 0 active, 36 pending (n/a)
iStock - application process has been down for several days.  3 images now uploaded (Yesterday) for review/acceptance.

I have found some of the reviews to be very contrary and way off base in some cases.  In addition there are complete inconsistencies both within and between agencies.  However, reading various posts on here I can see that that is the norm.

I am trying to process and upload 5 - 10 images per day until my HDDs are exhausted and then I shall start shooting some specific stock shots (white background etc.), in my small studio, as regularly as I can. 

I surprised myself with just how excited I was to earn my first 25c ;D, after just a few days,and have since gone on to quadruple that turnover and now have a whole dollar ::).  These were all on SS with 2 images (1x1 and 1x3).

So, to my question; if I want to earn say $5000 per year, how many images will I need to have online?  Can I, realistically expect a steady dribble year in, year out if I stop uploading regularly?

It's a long post (sorry about that) but hopefully answers to this post will help other newbies in managing their expectations ;D

Cheers
Ralph
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 04:30 by CaptureLightUK »


« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2015, 04:06 »
+9

So, to my question; if I want to earn say $5000 per year, how many images will I need to have online?  Can I, realistically expect a steady dribble year in, year out if I stop uploading regularly?

It's a long post (sorry about that) but hopefully answers to this post will help other newbies in managing their expectations ;D

Cheers
Ralph


You will need several thousand images, how many will depend on subject matter, less if you have high quality lifestyle and much, much more if you do travel/landscape/small studio snaps.

No, if you stop uploading, your income will drop, on some agencies it will drop extremely fast.

The only chance might be if you are an expexrt at a certain subject, say you are a medical doctor in a specialised field and can produce high quality content in a certain niche that other people dont have access too, like a whole porftolio filled with thousands of surgery images, brain tumor removal etc...

But if you want to build another portfolio of travel images, chances are somebody else has already been there before you and the quality is much higher.

What stock can give you, however, is enough money to pay for all your gear. And it is also a good learning experience to improve your work.

So I would continue to upload, learn from what the customers download and then see if you can make a stable 200 dollars a month. Once you reach that, you will have enough experience to understand where you can take your stock journey.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 04:11 by cobalt »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 04:46 »
0
I make $10K per year with my portfolio. Have a look. I am on SS, BS, PD, CanStockPhoto and 123. Also on FAA, but thats not stock.

« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 05:08 »
+6
I would say look on the first three years as a learning experience and take it from there. Thats what I did and the effort far outweighed the monetary reward. However, my skills improved greatly and I'm now in a position that while my "hourly rate" is still quite poor it's not so bad and I'm still on an upward path.

« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 06:30 »
+11
Remember that the earnings per image uploaded are constantly declining, so once you hit your target you probably have to double your portfolio every three or four years just to keep going. If that means that you need 10,000 images by 2018 to hit your target you will need to get to 20,000 by 2021 and 40,000 by 2025.

In other words the long-term prospect is not good. My earnings have just about halved in the last five years, despite my portfolio probably having doubled in that time.

« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 07:02 »
+2
What I am hoping for is a moderate regular income, dribbling each month, into the future i.e. a bit of a retirement pension of sorts.
Quote

If you like cat food, this might work.

Quote
I am trying to process and upload 5 - 10 images per day until my HDDs are exhausted and then I shall start shooting some specific stock shots (white background etc.), in my small studio, as regularly as I can. 

Honestly, "stuff on my hard drive" and "white background" things isn't going to work out very well these days.  Especially "travel" as people have already travelled there or live there, and have the time and equipment to do it much better already.

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 08:26 »
+5
Thank you for your responses.

Cobalt; thanks for the honest guidance although I would question the comment about travel images.  I do go to some fairly remote locations where not that many people have been before.  As for quality?  Well that will have to be decided by the buyers ;).

Semmick; Thanks, I have looked at you portfolios and see that you have a high percentage of 'travel' photos.  It's excellent to hear that you can still earn a reasonable amount from them.  You have some excellent images there by the way ;D

Pauws99; I do see this as a slow train.  It will take me many months to upload my current 'back catalogue'.  At the same time I shall study what is selling and tailor my new images accordingly.  The 3 year tip is a good guide, thanks.

BaldricksTrousers; I did realise that it would drop off but maybe not quite by that amount :-\ . I don't really have a target in mind and I will not be dependant upon the income  so I will just have to work hard at it while I can and live off the declining income as long as it lasts :)

Sean; I'll just give up now then shall I?  Obviously none of the thousands photos I have taken in wild remote locations on various Land Rover expeditions are original or remotely as good as what's already online!  Thanks for the encouragement ???

« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2015, 08:58 »
+10
Thank you for your responses.

Cobalt; thanks for the honest guidance although I would question the comment about travel images.  I do go to some fairly remote locations where not that many people have been before.  As for quality?  Well that will have to be decided by the buyers ;).

Semmick; Thanks, I have looked at you portfolios and see that you have a high percentage of 'travel' photos.  It's excellent to hear that you can still earn a reasonable amount from them.  You have some excellent images there by the way ;D

Pauws99; I do see this as a slow train.  It will take me many months to upload my current 'back catalogue'.  At the same time I shall study what is selling and tailor my new images accordingly.  The 3 year tip is a good guide, thanks.

BaldricksTrousers; I did realise that it would drop off but maybe not quite by that amount :-\ . I don't really have a target in mind and I will not be dependant upon the income  so I will just have to work hard at it while I can and live off the declining income as long as it lasts :)

Sean; I'll just give up now then shall I?  Obviously none of the thousands photos I have taken in wild remote locations on various Land Rover expeditions are original or remotely as good as what's already online!  Thanks for the encouragement ???

The problem with remote locations is just that they are remote and probably have little demand. The idea behind microstock is to sell in volume. If you catch a native tackling a Bengal Tiger in a remote location then you probably have something. Not trying to be negative, just realistic. You can try it and you will figure out what works over time. Do a search for your locations and see what type of downloads they are getting.

« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2015, 09:06 »
+10
Cobalt; thanks for the honest guidance although I would question the comment about travel images.  I do go to some fairly remote locations where not that many people have been before.

Well, the problem you are facing:

1. If "not many people have been" there before, why would advertisers, travel magazines etc. want to license those images? Most licenses are sold for places that are regularly written about, start with New York, London, Tokyo etc. Places no one ever heard about will not be popular images.

2. When it comes to "remote locations" I typically think only travel enthusiasts are going there. And those are most likely the ones who spend money on travel and also money on photo equipment to create memories.

So in travel it's easy to face more competition than expected for a smaller market than thought.

I think food is another topic that heads heavily into the same direction. People create images of food that is so special no one writes articles about it.

In both those topics you will struggle to make reasonable amounts of royalties these days.

But: You can't know until you find out yourself. Maybe we're wrong and you're right. Maybe one of the places is becoming a hot spot tourist locations. But that's where all advice ends: No one can predict how many of your images it's going to take to make the amount of money you'd consider good.

« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2015, 09:20 »
+8
Sean; I'll just give up now then shall I?  Obviously none of the thousands photos I have taken in wild remote locations on various Land Rover expeditions are original or remotely as good as what's already online!  Thanks for the encouragement ???


Well, the title of the thread was "realistic expectations", not "happy thoughts and snowflake dreams".  The truth is that hard drive images not specifically shot for stock sales don't sell particularly well.  Your images here are ok for tourist travel images, but like mentioned, there are people who live everywhere you go that are better at capturing the essence of that area then you are.  http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-ucapturelightuk.html

There are factories in Russia and China that churn out nothing but stuff on white.  You're one guy aiming for 5 images a week. 

It's just that this plan is a little late for the game.

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
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 09:23 by Sean Locke Photography »

« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2015, 09:55 »
0
PS, plus your keywording needs help - words in bold are questionable:

I agree with that, and also (having followed the link to your SS portfolio) am having a hard time understanding why you repeat words in the titles of your images, which then wind up in your URLs:

Isolated Bald Eagle portrait/Isolated Bald Eagle portrait/Isolated Bald Eagle portrait against a black background
Image ID: 277037633

Spring Crocus/Spring Crocus/Spring Crocus
Image ID: 277037630

Field of poppies/Field of poppies/Field of poppies in Norfolk
Image ID: 277037651

Is there a reason why you're doing that, or is it just an odd hiccough in the system?

« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2015, 10:10 »
+2
. . . If you catch a native tackling a Bengal Tiger in a remote location then you probably have something. . .
From what I've read the native in the remote area is just as likely to be selling you a ticket for the car park these days! :)


Seriously though there's some good advice here. The point about it all is the best times for microstock have gone. TYou need to manage your expectations.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 11:06 by Difydave »

« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2015, 10:18 »
+3
For what it's worth, we are relatively new to micro stock (my husband and I). He was a designer for years and never thought he could pull off stock until he got some more confidence. About a year ago, we plunged into the market with him doing the shooting and me doing most of the management of photos (I do his keywording, isn't he lucky!?!?!). He manages the video side of what we do and will also manage vectors once he gets those started.

We've been at this a year and are pleased with the results. A lot of our early images were from his hard drive, as is your situation. Many of his hard drive images have been duds and many of his older stuff is good but too small to sell. But some have been great sellers for us. We got about 600 images out of his hard drive of 20,000 files (he was picky about what he selected).

 Our goal is to make 10K a year doing this and we are a long, A LONG, way off. Our profits are growing steadily and the target seems feasible if we keep uploading. Short term (within three years) goals for us are 1,000 videos and 5,000 photos (we are at 150 videos and 850 photos).

The biggest thing keeping us going is that we feel like we have to try this out or will regret having not tried. We often talk about how much better off we might be if we had started the stock stuff back in its heyday, which according to everyone here, we have missed. But life is what it is. We didn't do it then and we are trying it now. Between this and side gigs with graphic design, my husband has never been happier making just the amount of money we need him to make.

Good luck to you as you learn and keep plugging away!

PS. At some point I know I should share ports with everyone. It's just that this is me talking here and it's my husband's work and I feel odd opening up his work to likely criticism (even helpful criticism). Someday, hopefully!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 10:20 by Stock Wife »

shudderstok

« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2015, 11:15 »
+3
For what it's worth, we are relatively new to micro stock (my husband and I). He was a designer for years and never thought he could pull off stock until he got some more confidence. About a year ago, we plunged into the market with him doing the shooting and me doing most of the management of photos (I do his keywording, isn't he lucky!?!?!). He manages the video side of what we do and will also manage vectors once he gets those started.

We've been at this a year and are pleased with the results. A lot of our early images were from his hard drive, as is your situation. Many of his hard drive images have been duds and many of his older stuff is good but too small to sell. But some have been great sellers for us. We got about 600 images out of his hard drive of 20,000 files (he was picky about what he selected).

 Our goal is to make 10K a year doing this and we are a long, A LONG, way off. Our profits are growing steadily and the target seems feasible if we keep uploading. Short term (within three years) goals for us are 1,000 videos and 5,000 photos (we are at 150 videos and 850 photos).

The biggest thing keeping us going is that we feel like we have to try this out or will regret having not tried. We often talk about how much better off we might be if we had started the stock stuff back in its heyday, which according to everyone here, we have missed. But life is what it is. We didn't do it then and we are trying it now. Between this and side gigs with graphic design, my husband has never been happier making just the amount of money we need him to make.

Good luck to you as you learn and keep plugging away!

PS. At some point I know I should share ports with everyone. It's just that this is me talking here and it's my husband's work and I feel odd opening up his work to likely criticism (even helpful criticism). Someday, hopefully!

Keep being picky, it will pay off. selecting 600 out of 20,000 is smart. i do it all the time and make a very handsome living from it, the key, it's really simple - quality.

Don't listen to everyone here. There are a lot of souls who actually are quite vocal but don't actually get it. the heyday of stock was way before these people think microstock is a heyday, so ignore it. the vocal minority.

why share your port? keep it private. just shoot what you love, get them up there and with a good tight edit, persistence, and diligence you might succeed. it has always been hard work, and i do mean hard work in the original heyday, it got easy for a few in the second so called heyday, and now i think all is happening is they too are finding it is very hard work hence the it's too late nonsense. make your own heyday by doing what most successful people do, work your *ss off.

good luck!

Semmick Photo

« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 11:17 »
+5
You're giving someone who wants to get into microstock advice based on Macro stock. Times changed. Stop living in the past.

shudderstok

« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2015, 11:21 »
+4
You're giving someone who wants to get into microstock advice based on Macro stock. Times changed. Stop living in the past.

actually i am giving them sound advice from an internationally published award winning photographer who has made a great living in both macro stock and micro stock. it is called encouragement. this advice is all about living in the present and encouraging a newbie to work hard, tightly edit, and maybe they will make it. is that too much information for you?

Semmick Photo

« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2015, 11:48 »
+7
No,  my comprehension of your info is fine . I  don't need advice from the dinosaurs. Editing your images is good advice in general. I  just think you need numbers to make it. Times changed. 50 million is your competition not 300 thousand.


shudderstok

« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2015, 12:17 »
+6
No,  my comprehension of your info is fine . I  don't need advice from the dinosaurs. Editing your images is good advice in general. I  just think you need numbers to make it. Times changed. 50 million is your competition not 300 thousand.

Well, I guess that is where you and I are very different. I am so grateful for all the advise I got from dinosaurs. My two apprenticeships with those fossils taught me how to be a good photographer. Without all of their knowledge, and my willingness to learn from dinosaurs, I really don't think I'd be where I am today.

As for numbers, I can verify that you don't need numbers to make it. That may be the case though if you have not done an edit tightly and dilute your numbers with mediocrity. The competition has always been there, and it has always been a tough go in the stock world, both present and past, but what can I say, I should quite wasting my breath cause you really are closed to learning from those who have experience, or as you say dinosaurs.




« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2015, 12:24 »
+3
Hey, hey, now. I appreciate the varied advice and opinions. I haven't been on MSG long enough but it's not hard to figure out where the vocal people are coming from. I can now filter the advice recognizing those perspectives. For us, we know numbers are going to be important. We're not the super amazing, made just for stock, kind of shooters. We are more than just shooters wandering around the neighborhood taking snapshots but we are out to enjoy what we shoot. And given the potential low return of investment, we aren't going to be hiring models anytime soon.

Anyways, thanks to you both for your thoughts. And to the OP, again I say, good luck!

Semmick Photo

« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2015, 12:30 »
+3
I do take advice from experienced people. Nice people. Not from anonymous people putting down others.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2015, 13:13 »
+11
It depends on how much supply and demand there is for your work. If I had make an estimate based on what you're shown so far I'd say you'd need at least 3,000 or maybe 4,000 nicely edited and properly keyworded images to get $5,000 per year. And that's across the top five sites not per site. It may take a year or two before you reach stable revenue to understand how your images perform. You also need to consider that most people's revenue doesn't stay the same after they stop submitting images. It almost always drops which means if you wanted to maintain that yearly amount you'd need to keep submitting images.

Plus, the trends in microstock don't look good for long term performance. Minus a small percentage of people, things seem to be headed downward pretty quickly for most people including myself. If your work is truly unique and difficult to shoot you may want to consider finding a macro agency that specializes in your subjects. And that's especially true if there's low demand. This way if you get infrequent sales at least you're getting hundreds per sale instead of pennies. If it looks like I'm trying to discourage you from microstock well, yes, I am. The trends are working against your goal and I think you may be disappointed with the results after investing years of hard work. I say this because that's my experience and where I am today.

cuppacoffee

« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2015, 13:18 »
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.

« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2015, 13:24 »
+1
As usual the thread is degenerating - time to take the useful advice at the beginning and do the only worthwhile test of your images - put them up for sale and see what happens :D

shudderstok

« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2015, 13:29 »
-2
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.

« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2015, 13:44 »
+13
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.
How many times have you left MSG?  I've lost count. ;D

I wonder what your new nickname will be next time you come back...

« 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.

« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2015, 10:42 »
-1
What if they want an ocean explorer?

« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2015, 10:47 »
+4
then "ocean explorer" would be the correct keyword, not ocean + explorer, unless you see the ocean

If there is no ocean in the picture, it shouldnt be in the keywords

stock is not wikipedia. It really is about the image.

on some agencies you can see the keywords that lead to the sale, but I think the best is just to go and search for images yourself for different uses, for presentations, birthday cards, events. You really understand the system much better.

And obviously being a stock artist you will always properly license an image for any use and not grab one from the internet...

« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2015, 10:47 »
+1
What if they want an ocean explorer?

What if they want an ocean animal?  Should every fish have "ocean"?

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2015, 11:06 »
-2
Now this is all really good stuff.  I can see the points that are being made and will take them onboard.  However it's interesting that (popular) search for Roald Amundsen on SS brings up 29 images, with two of them being a picture of ocean waves.

Obviously, not everyone follows the same thinking.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2015, 11:29 »
+6
Now this is all really good stuff.  I can see the points that are being made and will take them onboard.  However it's interesting that (popular) search for Roald Amundsen on SS brings up 29 images, with two of them being a picture of ocean waves.

Obviously, not everyone follows the same thinking.
If someone else does it, it doesnt mean its correct behaviour

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2015, 11:31 »
+6
Just because other people do the wrong thing doesn't mean you have to join in. Spam is a huge problem on all the agencies. If you had been doing that search for real instead of trying to get backup for your keywording, how would you have felt? In that particular case, it was only two irrelevant images,  so easily enough ignored. In some cases spammed files can take up valuable places in  a search and over time you'll start to get really hacked off when your file is in page five and spammed files are on page one.
Think about it: is someone who wants a picture of Amundson really going to change their mind and buy ocean waves instead?
You can always add supplementary information in the  description field or caption in sites which have them.
Your keywords should only refer to the actual image.
So in Sean's example, tuna swimming in the ocean should have 'ocean' in  the keywords.  A photo of tuna pasta bake should not. A tuna on  fishmonger's slab should only have 'ocean' if it's bought from a stall with the ocean visible in the background.

« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2015, 11:45 »
0
H'mm On Dreamstime they tell you what words customers have used to find images I have had sales on searches with key words totally unrelated to the image and also not included in my list.

I'm not sure how literal you should be - concepts as well as what you can see are important aren't they? Genuinely curious is there a good guide to best practice preferably issued by one of the agencies?



ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2015, 11:57 »
0
Istock has at least one article on best practice.  I only wish their inspectors were required to read and enforce it.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 13:58 by ShadySue »

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2015, 12:48 »
+2
Woah, woah, woah!  If you read my post I said "Now this is all really good stuff.  I can see the points that are being made and will take them onboard" .  The comment about the random 'ocean' images was simply that; a comment!

I want to do this properly and  do get the point :)

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2015, 13:00 »
0
Istock has at least one article on best practice.  I only wish their inspectors were required to read and enforce it.

Sorry, I was on the phone. Here it is:
http://www.istockphoto.com/article_view.php?ID=227
The first page is about their CV, page two covers the sort of things mentioned above.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 15:35 by ShadySue »

« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2015, 13:29 »
+2
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.

I did not say don't worry/listen to the advice from others, Sean. I said you don't have to justify your actions to anybody.

The only reliable data/feedback/advice you have are number of downloads. You have to become your own analyst. Read, listen, analyse and be willing to change. And then make up your own mind. Find out what's working and do more of that, find out what's not working and do less of that. In a competitive market, those willing to adapt and change, will be the ones who improve. Darwin's Law of Natural Selection.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 13:56 by Milleflore »

« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2015, 15:24 »
+4
The reason many people here point out that good keywording helps sales is not just because we have idealistic thoughts how if everyone keywords properly the stock world would be an ideal place, but to point out good keywording examples, because some agencies punish files that have spammed keywords or too many irrelevant keywords.

Of course no agency will give out their personal Best Match search engine, but several agencies have admitted in several different stances that files with fewer and good and relevant keywords get ranked higher than files with 50 or and maybe irrelevant keywords.

Some, like Fotolia openly point out that it is imortant to have the first three keywords really right on target. I think istock now has a ranking system as well, dont they?

So if you have a picture of a fish sandwich and your first three keywords are "ocean, animal, underwater" your sandwich might be hard to find.

Also some agencies have buttons where customers can report files with spammy keywords.

Check the forums of different agencies for advice, but in general good keywording practise is very beneficial for sales.

I usually have 15-20 keywords and that seems to be ok for what I do. But obviously you can have more and experiment if you want to.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 15:28 by cobalt »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2015, 16:25 »
0
Some, like Fotolia openly point out that it is imortant to have the first three keywords really right on target. I think istock now has a ranking system as well, dont they?
iStock went through a short time when they said the most important keywords should be first, but then and now, as before, my files inevitably arrive with my keyword order changed. I have to keep reminding myself not to put the generic horizontal, colour, photograph etc which I used to always put at the end because one or more of these was showing first on acceptance.
The last time they tried to do their own 'similar' showing, they used the first four (three? five?) keywords to find similars, but as their system was already changing the order, the similars were pretty random, and they soon gave it up.
Now their similars seems to have a very heavy weighting on upload date rather than keywords alone. That might be OK if someone uploads everything from e.g. a model shoot in one batch, but not if they drip up, which has been recommended from time to time, and is no use for nature/wildlife shooters (etc) who may want to shoot the same habitat or species though different seasons, and upload as they go.

« Reply #63 on: June 01, 2015, 16:31 »
0
Istock has at least one article on best practice.  I only wish their inspectors were required to read and enforce it.

Sorry, I was on the phone. Here it is:
http://www.istockphoto.com/article_view.php?ID=227
The first page is about their CV, page two covers the sort of things mentioned above.


Thanks Sue

« Reply #64 on: June 02, 2015, 18:11 »
+2
then "ocean explorer" would be the correct keyword, not ocean + explorer, unless you see the ocean

If there is no ocean in the picture, it shouldnt be in the keywords


some of this an be controlled by the artist

unfortunately, some agencies automatically make 2 keywords out of combinations, thereby generating  more confusion: -  eg "Navajo sandstone", a specific geological strata of rock or "Otter Rocks", a specific location (with no otters)

some other agencies treat every word in the description as a tag

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #65 on: June 02, 2015, 19:11 »
0
then "ocean explorer" would be the correct keyword, not ocean + explorer, unless you see the ocean

If there is no ocean in the picture, it shouldnt be in the keywords


some of this an be controlled by the artist

unfortunately, some agencies automatically make 2 keywords out of combinations, thereby generating  more confusion: -  eg "Navajo sandstone", a specific geological strata of rock or "Otter Rocks", a specific location (with no otters)

some other agencies treat every word in the description as a tag

And after an improvement for a while, Alamy is back to combining any keyword from any category with any other.

Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #66 on: June 04, 2015, 11:16 »
+5
I am happy with the growth of income for me as an illustrator since 2010. My portfolio is at 4000+ and I've been cranking out 60-100 submissions per week since March 2014 (a grueling, but rewarding endeavor). I hope these tips from my experience help. Sorry I cannot share my portfolio on the forum. I stay anonymous here because some agencies have been known to retaliate against us when we criticize them and I really need the money they pay me  :o.

1. Set clear, simple goals for the year
Example: Submit 10 new pictures to each agency every week.

2. Include general categories to focus on for each month. Regularly write down ideas for the images you want to make (you'd be surprised how quick you'll forget a good idea!).
Example: June=People, August=Health, September=Holidays, etc.
I found these articles useful for planning:
http://blog.123rf.com/infographic-33-trendiest-keywords-by-month/
http://www.shutterstock.com/trends

3. Do all of these things with the idea that you should constantly work on nailing down a style and niche.
Example: I personally focus on cartoons of non-white people and avoid perfect symmetry, lines and perspective (not encouraged, but I don't care because it's fun and some buyers really prefer the "hand drawn" look).

Peace
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 18:48 by Striving »


Millionstock.com

  • Architecture; Arts; Historic buildings, Landscapes

« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2015, 18:44 »
-1
Now that the RF stock business has been saturated, I would say a reasonable earning with 5.000 travel images will be 100$ per month, not more. If the quality is medium/low I would say a lower ammount. There is too much competition!

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more

« Reply #68 on: June 04, 2015, 22:55 »
+1

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more

I really doubt that. You promptly lose all the regular buyers who have signed up with an agency and have to find ways of reaching out to casual buyers (which, I suppose, means being able to get on the first page of a Google search).

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2015, 05:05 »
+1
I am happy with the growth of income for me as an illustrator since 2010. My portfolio is at 4000+ and I've been cranking out 60-100 submissions per week since March 2014 (a grueling, but rewarding endeavor). I hope these tips from my experience help. Sorry I cannot share my portfolio on the forum. I stay anonymous here because some agencies have been known to retaliate against us when we criticize them and I really need the money they pay me  :o.

1. Set clear, simple goals for the year
Example: Submit 10 new pictures to each agency every week.

2. Include general categories to focus on for each month. Regularly write down ideas for the images you want to make (you'd be surprised how quick you'll forget a good idea!).
Example: June=People, August=Health, September=Holidays, etc.
I found these articles useful for planning:
http://blog.123rf.com/infographic-33-trendiest-keywords-by-month/
http://www.shutterstock.com/trends

3. Do all of these things with the idea that you should constantly work on nailing down a style and niche.
Example: I personally focus on cartoons of non-white people and avoid perfect symmetry, lines and perspective (not encouraged, but I don't care because it's fun and some buyers really prefer the "hand drawn" look).

Peace


Thanks for those links and advice.  I have set myself a goal of 100 images online by the end of June.  At the moment I have between 30 and 50 depending upon agency.  My rejection rate is pretty low at the moment so I see no reason why I can't sustain this upload target each month.

I have uploaded a few remote/land rover/expedition images and they have sold (the next day  :D ) so there is a market for them even if it is small.  I shall sneak a few of these into each upload and see how they continue to fair.  This could be my 'niche'.

I was aiming to 'exhaust' my HDDs (I have 65 000 images to sort through) before I started specifically shooting for stock but you have convinced me to consider a slightly different approach based upon the prevailing 'seasonal theme'.

It seems clear that income in this business is likely to keep declining (although we can all hope  ::) ) so I need to focus on the short term rather than long term when it comes to returns.  I shall also monitor each site for the next 6 months or so before I cut down on the number I upload to.  So far I have had sales on SS, FT and BS.  I'm still waiting for reviews on IS and CS before my files are online but I'm sure they'll get there eventually. :)

« Reply #70 on: June 05, 2015, 12:54 »
+3
Now that the RF stock business has been saturated, I would say a reasonable earning with 5.000 travel images will be 100$ per month, not more. If the quality is medium/low I would say a lower ammount. There is too much competition!

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more
Do you mean $100 per day?  If you really mean $100 per month with 5,000 images you are doing something wrong.

« Reply #71 on: June 05, 2015, 13:22 »
0
Now that the RF stock business has been saturated, I would say a reasonable earning with 5.000 travel images will be 100$ per month, not more. If the quality is medium/low I would say a lower ammount. There is too much competition!

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more
Do you mean $100 per day?  If you really mean $100 per month with 5,000 images you are doing something wrong.

If "travel images" means "stuff I randomly shot on my vacation", then it's probably about right.

« Reply #72 on: June 05, 2015, 13:32 »
-2
Now that the RF stock business has been saturated, I would say a reasonable earning with 5.000 travel images will be 100$ per month, not more. If the quality is medium/low I would say a lower ammount. There is too much competition!

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more
Do you mean $100 per day?  If you really mean $100 per month with 5,000 images you are doing something wrong.

If "travel images" means "stuff I randomly shot on my vacation", then it's probably about right.
Yep, snapshots in any genre are not worth the time or effort.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #73 on: June 05, 2015, 13:40 »
+6
Now that the RF stock business has been saturated, I would say a reasonable earning with 5.000 travel images will be 100$ per month, not more. If the quality is medium/low I would say a lower ammount. There is too much competition!

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more
Do you mean $100 per day?  If you really mean $100 per month with 5,000 images you are doing something wrong.

If "travel images" means "stuff I randomly shot on my vacation", then it's probably about right.
Yep, snapshots in any genre are not worth the time or effort.
My snapshots make me 900 per month. Well worth the effort

« Reply #74 on: June 05, 2015, 13:45 »
0
Now that the RF stock business has been saturated, I would say a reasonable earning with 5.000 travel images will be 100$ per month, not more. If the quality is medium/low I would say a lower ammount. There is too much competition!

Try with a self hosted site. Probably there you will earn something more
Do you mean $100 per day?  If you really mean $100 per month with 5,000 images you are doing something wrong.

If "travel images" means "stuff I randomly shot on my vacation", then it's probably about right.
Yep, snapshots in any genre are not worth the time or effort.
My snapshots make me 900 per month. Well worth the effort
I bet your well thought out travel images do better than your snapshots I know mine do many many times over.

« Reply #75 on: June 05, 2015, 13:51 »
+4
Now this is all really good stuff.  I can see the points that are being made and will take them onboard.  However it's interesting that (popular) search for Roald Amundsen on SS brings up 29 images, with two of them being a picture of ocean waves.

Obviously, not everyone follows the same thinking.

Yeah, the ones who put those  keywords on pictures of ocean waves were SPAMMING.  You are new, so you may not know it, but you are getting very good advice from some of the most successful stockers in the business.  Not all useful advice  is "way to go mate!".   Sometimes critical advice from experts is much more useful than empty encouragement from the inexperienced.

« Reply #76 on: June 06, 2015, 09:35 »
0
From the earnings you people have shared it seems that i have a lot to learn. Have about 400 images on istock and get a payout every 4 months or so. SS has been a new start, just hit 50 images there and got my first payout


Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #77 on: June 06, 2015, 10:59 »
0
From the earnings you people have shared it seems that i have a lot to learn. Have about 400 images on istock and get a payout every 4 months or so. SS has been a new start, just hit 50 images there and got my first payout

Those numbers sound about right to me. However it can change dramatically due to trends or specialties in your portfolio.

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #78 on: June 07, 2015, 01:03 »
-2
Now this is all really good stuff.  I can see the points that are being made and will take them onboard.  However it's interesting that (popular) search for Roald Amundsen on SS brings up 29 images, with two of them being a picture of ocean waves.

Obviously, not everyone follows the same thinking.

Yeah, the ones who put those  keywords on pictures of ocean waves were SPAMMING.  You are new, so you may not know it, but you are getting very good advice from some of the most successful stockers in the business.  Not all useful advice  is "way to go mate!".   Sometimes critical advice from experts is much more useful than empty encouragement from the inexperienced.

I do realise it, that's why I said I'll take the advice on board in two separate posts.
What's your point?

« Reply #79 on: June 07, 2015, 01:15 »
+4
I do realise it, that's why I said I'll take the advice on board in two separate posts.
What's your point?

I think he means that you come across as a bit cocky and glib, especially for somebody just getting started.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #80 on: June 07, 2015, 03:48 »
0
H'mm On Dreamstime they tell you what words customers have used to find images I have had sales on searches with key words totally unrelated to the image and also not included in my list.
How does that work?

Semmick Photo

« Reply #81 on: June 07, 2015, 04:21 »
0
H'mm On Dreamstime they tell you what words customers have used to find images I have had sales on searches with key words totally unrelated to the image and also not included in my list.
How does that work?
similar images

« Reply #82 on: June 07, 2015, 04:49 »
0
I've had sales on DT with no keyword searched. I assume that they just randomly browsed images and got one they liked.

But then again DT hasn't really been a high earner for me. With almost 150 images up there I'm only at about 16$ in earning.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #83 on: June 07, 2015, 05:27 »
0
H'mm On Dreamstime they tell you what words customers have used to find images I have had sales on searches with key words totally unrelated to the image and also not included in my list.
How does that work?
similar images
Tx. Is that broadly sinilar keywords or 'vaguely similar visually',  like GIS?
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 13:39 by ShadySue »

« Reply #84 on: June 07, 2015, 08:02 »
+1
I've had sales on DT with no keyword searched. I assume that they just randomly browsed images and got one they liked.

But then again DT hasn't really been a high earner for me. With almost 150 images up there I'm only at about 16$ in earning.

According to DT when a partner site makes a sale, they are unable to capture their search terms and it shows up as blank.

cuppacoffee

« Reply #85 on: June 07, 2015, 12:44 »
+3
And on DT if a buyer starts a search with a few words and then wanders off into a port that gives those results or to a dif photographer's port and then to something that just catches their eye that has nothing to do with the original search the original search term is listed next to the sale on the details page. So, what a buyer searches for is not always how they choose the image they eventually purchase. Also, some long time buyers come back and "look around" to see what's new and don't do a search.

CaptureLightUK

  • www.capturelight.co.uk

« Reply #86 on: June 07, 2015, 16:59 »
-2
I do realise it, that's why I said I'll take the advice on board in two separate posts.
What's your point?

I think he means that you come across as a bit cocky and glib, especially for somebody just getting started.

I guess I'll just have to watch what I type and keep my newbie comments to myself then.


Tryingmybest

  • Stand up for what is right
« Reply #87 on: June 07, 2015, 17:43 »
+3
I do realise it, that's why I said I'll take the advice on board in two separate posts.
What's your point?

I think he means that you come across as a bit cocky and glib, especially for somebody just getting started.

I guess I'll just have to watch what I type and keep my newbie comments to myself then.

The internet is the worst and best place for advice. Worst in that anonymity removes natural inclinations towards politeness and best in that you can find information once reserved for rulers and wealthy individuals. If you look at the constructive feedback and compare it to the non-constructive feedback, you'll find that the constructive feedback generally outweighs the non-constructive. However, as human beings, mistreatment or abuse turns on our instincts to flee. So it is with internet forums.

Keep moving forward and learn from your mistakesand the mistakes of others. Advice is generally inferior to personal experience.

Peace.

WeatherENG

« Reply #88 on: June 07, 2015, 21:58 »
+1
I do realise it, that's why I said I'll take the advice on board in two separate posts.
What's your point?


I think he means that you come across as a bit cocky and glib, especially for somebody just getting started.


I guess I'll just have to watch what I type and keep my newbie comments to myself then.


I would not keep newbie comments to yourself, the forum is just for that, asking questions.  There are strong personalities out there with strong opinions, not always right or wrong. I'd read them, compare the comments here with others you are reading via Google searches etc.

I do video, Pond5 is the site I use, I have a few niche areas, it's not fine are but mostly severe weather, events, environment, traffic jams and college and university campus stuff.....the stuff NOT ONE other agency would accept because it doesn't sell.....well, it's sells on Pond5.   If I had taken all the advice at the start I would never got started.

So much confusing information out there but keep asking questions, you will get various answers, some might work and some won't and one will turn on a light bulb that wasn't on before and away you go.

I don't have to much advice to offer as I am still new as well to stock, I have those niche areas and niche areas do sell, it's what everyone else isn't doing...better chance at sales.

The other thing I've heard a lot lately is to keep up on trends, where is video in general going, what will be needed, skate to where the puck is going well before it gets there.....easier said than done of course.

http://www.pond5.com/stock-video-footage-sound-effects-music-after-effects-photos-illustrations-images-3d-models/1/artist%3AWeatherENG.html#1

WeatherENG

« Reply #89 on: June 07, 2015, 22:08 »
-1
I'll now ask a newbie question,  what is the difference between macrostock and microstock?

My content on Pond5 is visible at these links.  Would assume macrostock is where ad agencies come to me and offer to licence a clip or two for $35,000 or more?  *runs and ducks flamethrowers* :)

http://www.pond5.com/stock-video-footage-sound-effects-music-after-effects-photos-illustrations-images-3d-models/1/artist%3AWeatherENG.html#1

http://www.pond5.com/artist/WeatherENG

« Reply #90 on: June 07, 2015, 23:37 »
+3
I'll now ask a newbie question,  what is the difference between macrostock and microstock?


I don't think anyone used the term macrostock until after microstock was coined - before iStock it was just stock photography agencies. Microstock was about micropayments - finding some economical way to handle small transactions (when many payment processors had large per-transaction fees in addition to a percentage that made it impractical to handle a $1 online transaction).

When I started with iStock in 2004 they offered two ways to pay - credits and BitPass . The price was a little higher with BitPass.

The low price-high volume idea brought a whole bunch of buyers into a market for stock images and illustrations who had never purchased from any of the traditional stock agencies (which Getty was in the process of buying up as fast as they could).  To make sense of a high volume low price transaction, it had to be completely automated. The traditional agencies offered personal service - help searching for the right image and such - which were paid for by their higher per license pricing.

Initially, people drew strong quality distinctions between the two sources of images to license, but over time it changed so that there was a huge overlap between the two. Why would you pay $650 to license an isolated apple image when you could license it for $10 or $20? So the old line agencies got more automated and the quality went way up at the "microstock" sites. The differences are much less than they once were.

« Reply #91 on: June 08, 2015, 02:25 »
+5
Back in 2004 micro(payment)stock was charging 50c, $1 or $1.50 per image and paying 10c, 20c and 30c per sale and iStock was the only kid on the block (up until May 2004 when DT started up). "Macrostock" was a term that microstockers came out with as a generic discription for the traditional, macro-priced agencies, which probably had minimum prices of at least 100x what iStock was charging. The terms used back then by macrostockers to describe microstock are unprintable.

WeatherENG

« Reply #92 on: June 08, 2015, 19:02 »
-1
I'll now ask a newbie question,  what is the difference between macrostock and microstock?


I don't think anyone used the term macrostock until after microstock was coined - before iStock it was just stock photography agencies. Microstock was about micropayments - finding some economical way to handle small transactions (when many payment processors had large per-transaction fees in addition to a percentage that made it impractical to handle a $1 online transaction).

When I started with iStock in 2004 they offered two ways to pay - credits and BitPass . The price was a little higher with BitPass.

The low price-high volume idea brought a whole bunch of buyers into a market for stock images and illustrations who had never purchased from any of the traditional stock agencies (which Getty was in the process of buying up as fast as they could).  To make sense of a high volume low price transaction, it had to be completely automated. The traditional agencies offered personal service - help searching for the right image and such - which were paid for by their higher per license pricing.

Initially, people drew strong quality distinctions between the two sources of images to license, but over time it changed so that there was a huge overlap between the two. Why would you pay $650 to license an isolated apple image when you could license it for $10 or $20? So the old line agencies got more automated and the quality went way up at the "microstock" sites. The differences are much less than they once were.


Thanks for that, just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything.   Now I need to focus on getting all this 24,000 clips sold and then sold again :)

http://www.pond5.com/stock-video-footage-sound-effects-music-after-effects-photos-illustrations-images-3d-models/1/artist%3AWeatherENG.html#1

http://www.pond5.com/artist/WeatherENG


 

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