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Messages - stepheng101

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1
DepositPhotos / Re: DP has really screwed up my taxes
« on: April 13, 2014, 14:48 »
Had the same thing, my 1099-MISC from them said I made $106 and my records show $77. Not substantial enough for me to really care about but a $400 difference is! It seems they have some accounting issues..

2
As I was filtering through my stack of 1099-MISC's, I started looking into how my sales have changed in the past three years. Thought I'd share the percentages to show the extent (anecdotally) of the agency gap between Shutterstock and Pond5 and everything else. The four agencies I've always been a consistent contributor on are SS, P5, iStock, and Revo.

2012: SS: 41%, P5: 30%, iStock: 11%, Revo: 11%, Other (photo-only): 7% -- Avg per/mo: $378 USD
2013: SS: 45%, P5: 45%, iStock: 5%, Revo: 2%, Other: 3%  -- Avg per/mo: $701 USD
2014 (to-date): SS: 52%, P5: 41%, iStock: 4%, Revo: 2%, Other: 1%  -- Avg per/mo: $860 USD

Interestingly, I have done very little to improve my portfolio since early 2013, yet I have had sales steadily increasing - just only from SS and P5. Always curious about what other agencies are out there and worth contributing to, but doesn't look like any have the slightest chance of being competitive. I suppose it's the high cost of maintaining a full and varied portfolio of HQ video..

Anyone else seeing a similar trend of improving sales from the two great stock video overlords?

3
I just finished totaling up my monthly sales for each agency and over the past year my sales have become even more disproportionately in favor of P5 and SS. I thought it was a lot that last year 71% of my sales came from P5 and SS, so far this year it has been 91%! I have seen a lot of increase in sales at P5, though I attribute that to reducing my pricing and seeing a rapid increase in overall sales despite the lower payout per sale. Revostock and iStock have dropped a lot and aren't worth the time for me. It's pretty amazing how just two agencies seem to completely dominate in the stock video world - at least that's how it seems.

4
I think it's pretty amazing how much Shutterstock and Pond5 seem to dominate the stock video realm. Probably around 80-90% of my sales are from those two. Revostock and iStock both seem to do worse for me each month while SS and P5 do better. I've posted some to Clipcanvas but haven't had a sale, not sure if it's worth the effort putting everything else up.

Anyone else post to any agencies that do well other than Shutterstock and Pond5?

5
I can't really speak for all video contributors, but footage sales for me have been much more significant than photos. I have the advantage of an almost exclusively aerial portfolio, which is not a flooded market and requires no more crew or equipment than it does taking photos (though Sean is right that for a lot of stock video the cost and equipment is much higher). But I started with photos on Shutterstock and I would get decently regular sales but I saw that I would REALLY need to build up volume to even make the monthly payout minimum. Then I thought I would put some clips on and after my first sale I did the math - 1 sold clip was worth 40+ sold photos, so I have been putting my effort into video since. I think people like aerial b-roll more than a good aerial photo anyway. :)

Like with all stock media, you just need to put your best work up and see what sells. I have plenty of clips that haven't made me any money, yet one clip on Shutterstock has made me over $1k at this point.

What sort of things do you like/are thinking about shooting?

6
General - Stock Video / Re: Video sales on all sites
« on: October 23, 2012, 15:47 »
It's been about a year since I started selling stock video, and I currently have about 300 clips per site online (IS more recently and fewer clips). Overall here are my approximations of the year to date:

SS: per/mo average: $150 (44% of sales)
IS: per/mo average: $37 (10.5% of sales)
Pond5: per/mo average: $90 (26% of sales)
Revo: per/mo average: $40 (11.5% of sales)

The rest is from a couple other sites that all make less than $10 per/mo each. Broke the $200 per month mark with Shutterstock for the last two months, I've seen a pretty steady rise there.

7
Pond5 / Re: Pond5 Tags aren't Tagging
« on: December 20, 2011, 13:21 »
Thought I'd respond to my own thread for people who may browse this in the future with the same issue, I think I have determined the cause of the problem. Pond5 has some UI issues for me when I use Google Chrome, works fine on any other browser though. If you are experiencing this issue, try switching browsers.

8
General Stock Discussion / Re: Switching to Video
« on: December 15, 2011, 18:00 »
Yeah I was looking at a footage cart sale not a subscription. Haha. I have yet to have sold a non-HD clip, so the lowest payout I've recieved is $13.25. I'm not sure, but does SS price 720p at $49 and 1080p at $79? Haven't quite figured out why there are these two prices schemes.

I've noticed that too, I'm hoping not to get swamped by new uploads since I pretty much just shoot aerial video (I hard market to compete in unless your a pilot and you don't have to pay for the cost of the airplane like me!).
I don't know about the new sales prices, but the old sales prices for cart sales were $10 for low-res, $30 for SD, and $50 for HD. We get 30% commissions. Assuming the same commission level for subs, the sales prices were $9, $27, and $45 (so not too much of a discount from the cart price).

I didn't know you shoot mainly aerials. That being the case, if I were you, I'd concentrate on videos. That's a great niche to have available.
 

I just double-checked and the new rates are $19, $49, $79 for web, SD and HD respectively. For footage cart sales it is a flat 30%, which is $23.70 for HD clips. Subscription sales are a little confusing to me, the SS FAQ says: "30% of sale price, with minimums of $2.50 for low-resolution downloads, $8.00 for SD downloads, and $13.25 for HD downloads." ...so is it 30% or $13.25? Because 30% is $23.70. Hmm..

Yep I'm a lucky guy! I fly with a traffic reporter for a radio station so I'm flying low to the ground all week so it is a great opportunity for some unique footage. Thanks for your input, much appreciated!

9
General Stock Discussion / Re: Switching to Video
« on: December 15, 2011, 14:30 »
So here's what I'm wondering: if I make as much in one subscription video sale as I make in 60 subscription image sales... why is there not a mass exodus of contributors from stills to video?
60 x $0.30 = $18. How come you make so much more on a SS subscription video sale than I do?  ;D  (Under the old pricing, the maximum I received was $13.25 for an HD sub sale. I don't know what it is or will be under the new pricing.)

Just like with photos, video sales come in various prices. I've made as low as $2.40, and as high as $25 (not including ELs). My average video sale is roughly 4x my average photo sale.  But I sell 10x to 15x as many photos as videos. So that's why I continue to concentrate on the photo side.

Also, while some here correctly point out that video is "newer" and therefore there are lots of areas that are poorly covered, supply vs demand has taken a huge turn for the worse in the course of the last year. "Everyone" seems to have a dSLR that's video capable these days, and many of them are UL'ing like crazy. Supply in many areas (particularly, as usual, nature / scenic / travel) is exploding far beyond the demand (which is rising, but very slowly compared to supply). One site that I contribute to recently admitted that their collection almost doubled in size this year, and so many contributors saw their sales fall (since they were not able to increase demand to keep pace).

Yeah I was looking at a footage cart sale not a subscription. Haha. I have yet to have sold a non-HD clip, so the lowest payout I've recieved is $13.25. I'm not sure, but does SS price 720p at $49 and 1080p at $79? Haven't quite figured out why there are these two prices schemes.

I've noticed that too, I'm hoping not to get swamped by new uploads since I pretty much just shoot aerial video (I hard market to compete in unless your a pilot and you don't have to pay for the cost of the airplane like me!).

10
General Stock Discussion / Re: Switching to Video
« on: December 15, 2011, 14:25 »
I spent a couple of days trying to work out how to edit a video and got absolutely nowhere. I don't even have a clue what a few of the crucial terms mean, let alone how to use a video editing program. When I try to pan everything comes out jerky, when I try to zoom the same happens. I concluded that even if I got the editing right the only things I could shoot would be time-lapse or something where an object moves across the view of a fixed camera. So I followed that old adage that if at first you don't succeed, give up.

There's definitely a learning curve, it took me a while to find a editing program I liked too, mostly sticking with Premiere Pro these days. I had an on and off relationship with FCP X for the past few months until I decided weren't meant to be. :P Sounds like a frame rate thing to me, and maybe just panning and zooming a bit fast. I had this issue too when I started filming overhead views from the plane. I was shooting at 1080p 30fps from 1500 feet going 110 mph - not going to look smooth! Now I've just given up on that and if I want that angle I switch to 720p 60fps and slow it down by 50%- seems to work alright.

Time-lapses sure seem popular. Looks like a good chunk of the most popular videos are time-lapses. I thought the adage was if at first you don't succeed, you're not Chuck Norris. Hmm.. :)

11
General Stock Discussion / Re: Switching to Video
« on: December 15, 2011, 14:17 »
why is there not a mass exodus of contributors from stills to video?

Because: a.  video is overrated and 2: you aren't as good at video as you think you are...

Ah yes, the infamous forum troll who stirs the pot for the sake of stirring the pot! It's alright, I know it's nothing personal, you're probably a douche to everyone. :P

As for the topic at hand, I appreciate everyones various perspectives on this. I definitely don't mean to come across as thinking video is the future and photos are the past, there a market for both. I just mean from the time/effort vs payout standpoint. I'm on with a few agencies, but Shutterstock as by far been the most active of them all for me and these are my numbers thus far: 44 stills and 39 videos in my portfolio since SS accepted me in October. $15.06 from 47 downloads for my images, $112.61 from 7 downloads for video. Yep, I have a small portfolio that hasn't been online for very long, so this is a small sampling. Just wondered if this was the case for most, and it sounds like it isn't. I shoot almost solely aerials, that might have something to do with it.

12
Pond5 / Pond5 Tags aren't Tagging
« on: December 14, 2011, 16:31 »
Has anyone else had this problem?!

Maybe 1 out of 5 files I click on waiting to be submitted allow me to tag them with keywords, the rest just don't process when I type keywords into the box. I haven't messaged Pond5 support about this yet, just wondering if there's a simple fix to the problem here that someone else has experienced. Thanks in advance!

13
General Stock Discussion / Switching to Video
« on: December 14, 2011, 16:24 »
Hey All,

So I'm relatively new to this stock thing, I have about 100 files on DT and SS respectively, maybe 400 total among all agencies. Maybe $.30 here for a subscription purchase, the occasional $2.00 for a larger image credit purchase, etc. Then I submitted some videos to SS and a few sold which.. quadrupled my earnings.

So here's what I'm wondering: if I make as much in one subscription video sale as I make in 60 subscription image sales... why is there not a mass exodus of contributors from stills to video?

I own a Canon 60D so it's a decent tool for both stills and video, seems to me that my time is best invested in video. I'm wondering if you all feel the same or, if not, why stick with photography and not shoot stock video?

14
General Stock Discussion / Re: No-Cost Aerial Photography
« on: November 03, 2011, 23:29 »
Yes Stepheng 101 friend is right.Once the aircraft is trimmed up, flying with your feet is easy. If the aerial photos are in places with congested aerial traffic , I take along another pilot mainly to watch for traffic.
Smiling Jack

You probably have a great opportunity to get a lot photos of different places. While it's nice that I fly low, I'm always in the Seattle-area so there's only so much to shoot. Not a bad idea on bringing along a second pilot! I try to do most of my photo taking in controlled airspace and between traffic-scanning intervals. Whatever the case, between flying and taking pictures, it's good to remember which is more important. :P

Very cool to hear there's another commercial pilot trying to make a buck on microstock! Do you fly a 172 for your mapping work? I've been curious about getting into that since working at an FBO one summer when Desert Winds Air Service came in to do some photo mapping for King County. If you don't mind me asking, what's that like? QOL, hours flown per month, etc?

15
General Stock Discussion / Re: No-Cost Aerial Photography
« on: November 02, 2011, 17:35 »
Hi Stephen, I just have a horrible vision of you flying over Seattle and taking pictures at the same time -how does that work exactly!
Seriously, you have a great opportunity that many of us here would envy. Whether you go the Micro route or RM Macro I wish you success. Regards, David.

It took a bit of googling before I found out what RM means, but I see what you all are talking about now. :P I suppose it is worth a shot. I tend to be rather self-critical and wouldn't think any of my pictures could make it to Getty or Corbis, no harm is seeing if that's the case.

As for flying and taking pictures - not as hard as you'd think, you just have to pay attention. :) JackA might agree with this, but a friend of mine who is also a pilot and photographer would get asked this periodically and he'd just say "trim and rudder!" (essentially meaning if your using your hands to take pictures, then fly with your feet!)

16
General Stock Discussion / Re: No-Cost Aerial Photography
« on: November 02, 2011, 17:25 »
stephen,

I think you have a nitche there, and I suspect Microstock isn't your only or best option. There was an outfit up in Alaska this summer, selling aerial photography as postcards and large wall posters of various cities, including the one I was in. I didn't buy any, but the temptation was definitely there.  But like any type of landscape photography, being in the right place, at the right time could mean the difference the photo anyone can get and the spectacular one. And I don't know how flexible your schedule is, how wide a range you have, etc.  Time of day, etc.

I've actually been thinking about this more lately, seeing about selling prints and postcards or something. I got some shots of downtown Seattle at sunset last week and every building was reflecting off the water while the ferry was approaching. I'd put it up here, but I'm not quite sure how. It was a really lucky right time, right place thing and I don't think it would have a lot of value as a stock photo, but I could see it as a postcard or print. I have no idea how to get started in the photo prints business though, maybe it's as simple as calling or emailing gift shops or the tourism board or something.

17
General Stock Discussion / Re: No-Cost Aerial Photography
« on: October 30, 2011, 20:29 »
Your work looks good, the problem as mentioned by sjlocke and that it is limited to Seattle, as you said you have more view on more generic pictures like intersections. But I think it is worth a shot:)
are you on Pond5 as well for footage?

I appreciate it! That's what I thought, how many people are going to want an aerial waterfront view of Seattle? I'm hoping I can keep it up with closer shots of generic things like you mentioned - intersections, housing developments, industrial shots, etc.

Hmm..no haven't heard of Pond5. I just looked it up, seems interesting. So far I've only put up videos on Shutterstock, but I got a little bummed out with 29 uploads and 0 views or downloads. Are you on it? Have you had much luck with stock footage?

18
General Stock Discussion / Re: No-Cost Aerial Photography
« on: October 30, 2011, 19:44 »
I think you could do well with aerial photos.  Its not something that lots of people are going to be doing.  Get a lot more photos in your portfolio and some should become good sellers.  It can take time to get results.  Most of us only have a small percentage of our portfolios that make most of the money.  Its sometimes surprising what sells and what doesn't, so build a bigger portfolio and then see what works for you.

Great thanks! I've noticed I'm getting more views with photos of corporate jets and of intersecting roads and highways. This may be an impossible question, but did you find there to be a "tipping point" where things started gaining momentum at a certain number of uploads? I'm sure it comes down to taking the right pictures and having a few good money makers, but I wonder what the average is.

19
General Stock Discussion / No-Cost Aerial Photography
« on: October 30, 2011, 18:18 »
Hello everyone!

I am quite new to all this and have a pretty slim portfolio at this point (my largest being DT at 35 uploads) and I am looking for some advice from the people who have been around for a while. I've seen people talk about aerial photography and mostly how it costs too much to be worthwhile, but here's my situation: I am a traffic watch pilot who flies around in the Seattle-area in the late afternoon everyday at 1,000 to 1,500 ft and I own a Canon 60D.

So I have the opportunity to do a lot of aerial photo work at basically no cost, question is, should I bother? Do aerial photos sell? This early on, I have a hard time differentiating whether it is a lack of photographic skill, exposure or the right content (i.e. not aerial) that is keeping sales low.

My passion is flying and I love taking pictures while I'm up there, so I am hoping that I can make a little off of them. Just wondering if I am trying to dig a well in a desert here..

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Here are links to my portfolios:
http://www.dreamstime.com/Stepheng101_info
http://footage.shutterstock.com/g/stepheng101
http://us.fotolia.com/p/202592999

20
Newbie Discussion / Re: New here
« on: October 30, 2011, 18:00 »
I'm new here as well! I have portfolios (almost all aerial) on DT, FT, and was just accepted to SS. Hopefully, Istock in the near future.. :D

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