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Messages - raclro

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I'm sure some are doing well.
Many folks around here remember the good old days. I averaged will over your range for a couple of years long ago, and the future looked bright. Anyone remember the iStock feature that would project your future sales? It was fun seeing estimates of my future earnings of $5-6K per month in three years based on my current trajectory.
I was hoping this would be a nice retirement.
In answer to your question, yes many of us made far more than that per month. Now due to competition, lack of fresh content, hard work, and lack of imagination all on my part, plus being unwilling to spend time these days, it is a shadow of the past. Still enough to buy new lenses without my wife complaining and write off some travel through the LLC I set up, but I'm sure I'll never see those numbers again. That probably speaks more about me than potential for someone with talent and drive.

Flickr / Re: Flickr sold to SmugMug
« on: May 07, 2018, 11:33 »
I read this topic with mild alarm. I am a long time iStock guy but use Flickr exclusively for non-stock personal use. I did not see any notice but will  investigate. A few years ago I decided to use Flickr to store albums of personal photos  for my own and sharing with family and friends. I find it a great way to organize and share, so much so that I have pretty much gotten out of the habit of putting copies on an external drive like I used to. I has become my repository for all my family and vacation photos, many thousands now.
Maybe I'm being foolish but I figured if Flickr goes down and those photos disappear, the whole world must be ending and it won't matter anyway. Flickr is my "safe" bookcase full of my photos albums I hope will long outlast me.
I do not use Flickr for any storage or sharing of stock photos, but it seems it would be hard for someone to steal them unless you allow them to with the permissions. As I understand it, no-one can even see them unless you choose.
Is this changing with Smug Mug, I guess I better find out.

General Stock Discussion / Re: the best month ever
« on: January 06, 2018, 20:37 »
Worst month in 11 years, except the very early few months.

Newbie Discussion / Re: what's with all the frustration !
« on: September 06, 2017, 15:11 »
Some of the frustration comes from those of us who were in this fairly early and made rather good money, were happy and kind of proud to be part of the active iStock community, saw lots of views and sales, some beginning from the day a photo was accepted.
We then saw what seemed like an abusive relationship develop, directed from the agency toward it's uploading artists. Competition developed that made many of our portfolios an insignificant drop in the ocean (even with my 7000).
What looked like a trajectory of earnings that would be a very solid retirement if not full employment, dwindled to a few hundred dollars per month. Many of us were not pros and started it as a hobby, started earning real money, becoming a "pro" (If i can earn enough to buy a Porsche, I'm calling myself a pro). Then watched it collapse. Of course that is not the case for everyone, but for many of us this is why.
Uploading photos that get zero views in two years, is very poor incentive to keep at it.
If I was just starting for fun and earned my current $300 per month, I would be thrilled. It's the 80% drop I'm not thrilled about.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Is $1000/months a big amount?
« on: July 06, 2017, 09:46 »
Probably not helpful since I only do photos and am IS exclusive.
I have just over 7000 files. I now average about $250 per month, down from an average of $1450 per month a few years back.
Anyone remember the iStock sales projections feature of our home page? When I watched that in my early years, the predictions for future sales would have me at about $50000 per month by now. It was a nice dream.

6 / Re: iStock Royalty Change
« on: October 31, 2016, 12:07 »
I must admit I only check in to my iStock account about once a month, and this forum every few months. I've never been to their new forum. Sorry to hear the latest bad news for any of you that depend on this  for all or a significant part of your income. Istock has been very poor for years about communicating changes to us. Not sure why that is.
I am exclusive there with over 7000 images and have been with them about 11 years. I have no interest starting over at another agency. Mine is a hobby but is was nice averaging $1400 per month for a while back in the old days. That's down to about $300 now. Partly their fault, partly mine, mostly the simple law of supply and demand in my opinion. There are so many files available and I suspect millions more coming online every week across the industry. As a result, the agencies don't value the contributors as in the past.
I do continue to upload at times, not with hope of increasing sales,simply so I can continue to expense all the hobby gear I buy through the LLC I set up.
It still amazes me people buy much at all with all the free content out there.

7 / Re: Are the good time gone forever?
« on: March 31, 2016, 11:37 »
Yes!! For the vast majority of contributors the gold rush ended several years ago. I started in 2006 (near the end of the golden age). I have not counted but suspect the number of images available to a buyer has gone up by a multiple of 10s of millions at least since then. The agencies do not need any one or even a selected handful of contributors, thus they don't need to care about us. I suspect they are doing well enough.
The other thing I have been watching is the increased use of FREE photos.  In lectures, online coursed, magazines, web design. When I check the credits, 80% or more are sourced for free.
What kind of idiot is buying my stuff when much of it is available for nothing online?
It was exactly like a gold rush, a few hit it rich early on, nearly everyone late to the game did not earn much, and the suppliers of food, equipment, and transportation were the big long term winners. Not those digging in the mud actually producing the commodity.  Yes a few late comers have done well, but a very, very tiny percentage of contributors can make it worthwhile.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Holiday slump
« on: January 02, 2016, 00:43 »
It has been the best year in the last few--- but almost no sales the past 10 days. Pretty normal for me over my 10 years doing this.

9 / Re: Worth uploading?
« on: January 02, 2016, 00:35 »
It's hard to answer your question but uploading 30K and dis-ambiguating the keywords would take me hundreds (probably thousands) of hours.
I have over 7K files with IS and sales have bumped a little the past two months.
Like you however I wonder if new uploads are worth the time. I estimate 98% of my uploads over the past two years have ZERO views. Probably just poor images or key-wording on my part, but the only thing I have changed is submitting better images than I used to. Just not getting looks. That discourages me significantly.
Someone mentioned rejections.  My experience has been that problem is far in the past. Only 1 rejection in the past 2 years and it was for a copyright issue.  The often accept them within a couple of hours.  Cell phone, noise, filtering, flash, lens flares all seem to be acceptable now.
My advice is to try a few hundred and see how it goes.  Then again, don't, just what we need is another 30K good photos to compete with for views ;)

10 / Re: Shutterstock sales is sinking deeply...
« on: January 27, 2015, 11:17 »
As i read this in is a flashback to about 4 or 5 years ago...... Reading the iStock posts and watching my 6500 plus port sales drop in the same way many are describing above. 
Anyone see a graph charting photos for sale online overlaying a graph showing sales? I suspect the lines are diverging rapidly.

It seems to me that iStock did exactly as the OP is suggesting.  They created Vetta which was a much higher priced/ higher quality offering to buyers looking for just that.  They have also used Signature and Signature +.  I am not privy to sales/revenue figures from higher priced categories but suspect most buyers are NOT looking for or buying professional studio/model/quality lighting shots but "snapshot" type files.  If buyers are wanting "crap" we better be providing it or suffer.  Microstock is not an outlet for artistic creative efforts unless they sell.  I have said it before, if Ansel Adams had all his work on microstock, he would be earning about $200 per month.  I look at all kinds of print and web stock photography and they are mostly what many of us consider lower end. 


In case you wonder, yes, it places all potential liability on only the assets of the LLC.
Forming an LLC does not shield you from liability for your personal negligence that causes harm to someone.

I am not sure what you mean by harm, but my attorney assures me personal assets are no longer at risk where copyright infringement suits are involved concerning any photo I have placed for sale.  I could only lose the equipment the LLC owns and  money currently in the account associated with the LLC.  Thus the LLC account is simply a pass through account, leaving only a fairly small amount in at any one time.  the attorney I used specializes in business law of this sort, so I feel protected.

I became an LLC last year after a threat of a significant $30K lawsuit over a copyright infringement. (later settled for only the loss of income earned from the photo, which was still many hundreds of dollars).  I simply did not want the personal liability possibly out there with nearly 7000 files for sale.  Many people do the LLC paperwork themselves but I had an attorney do it so nothing would be missed.  Cost a few hundred dollars.
In case you wonder, yes, it places all potential liability on only the assets of the LLC.

The one and only guarantee in this business is----If it is not available, it will not sell.  Deleting a file guarantees NO SALE, EVER. I cannot imagine deleting a file unless copyright issues are a potential liability.  I have had hundreds, no thousands of sporadic sales on old files with few or no previous sales.  I consider a portfolio to be simply a means for sales, not a work of art..  Today I sold a "piece of crap" portfolio filler for $55 EL.

15 / Re: 20 Million new files on IS in 2014?
« on: January 21, 2014, 22:41 »
Now that is what I call crowdsourcing!!  I had no idea since I pretty much stopped uploading this past year and have not followed it at all.  No wonder my more recent uploads were getting very, very few views, potential sales not worth the time it took. Supply and demand at work.  Even at low reimbursement, they (all sites) are being overrun with contributors.  When I browse the collection, I in fact do not see a drop off in quality as much as I would expect, especially when compared to some of out "quality" stuff from 2006 and before that sold like crazy because it was all that was available. 
If I ran the store, I would aim for 100s of millions of files available and make sure I had a great search engine for buyers.  Supply grossly outpaces demand if these numbers are correct, and all contributors piece of the pie gets smaller every minute.

Newbie Discussion / Re: Best noise reduction program
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:15 »
I used Neat image years ago and liked it, however iStock did not, I was overdoing it I can now see in hindsight.  I then started using gauzian blur in Elements selectively and it worked very well on skies, also passed inspection at IS.  Lately I have used Lightroom selectively.  I must add that I don't shoot "noisy" photos for stock very often, just for my own fun so I can do what I like. 

17 / Re: About exclusivity...
« on: November 30, 2013, 20:20 »
to your original post.
I too am gold and have been exclusive since I qualified.  I also do a pretty good monthly business at IS and have no interest in working with other sites since i only do this for fun and the nice money that comes with it.  So many variables others have mentioned, so it is hard to tell if you would come out ahead.  I just sold a signature plus medium size photo, and my take was just under $16.  Sale number totals are down each year for the past 3-4 years, but $ earned is nicely on the rise again since they redid the collections.   Is it helped by being exclusive??? I don't know but am happy with it.

18 / Re: The "New" IS
« on: October 19, 2013, 22:16 »
Maybe it is an anomaly but both sales and $ have bumped up nearly double since the changes last month or whenever they happened.  The lower pricing is certainly working for me so far.

19 / Re: What are you doing about istock?
« on: September 07, 2013, 10:20 »
Here is what I am doing (and have done) about iStock.

I stopped uploading for several months, not in protest, but because the time it takes did not bring the $ return it previously had.  Double the portfolio size, half the return.  I was also soured by the threat of a very large law suit over a copyright issue. (iStock did come through for me by the way, and they did not have to).   It did take the wind out of the sails so to speak however.

I stopped reading forums for months, both here and iStock.  Getting out of this angry, pessimistic, rumor driven loop for a while gave me a better perspective.  People really buy my photos? very cool!!!  Never in my wildest dreams.

I started taking lots of photos just for fun, no intention of uploading.  This hobby can really be fun, especially with all these L lenses and other great gear paid for with a small part of my earnings.

I do not rely on photography for my living, thus I can have a take what I can get and ignore the problems attitude.   I do however make significant money being iStock exclusive.  I realize those of you that depend on this income will have a very different outlook, and so would I.
Like most of you, I have watched with dismay as earnings have dropped, frustrating changes have taken place, communications have been slow and often opaque.  Not to mention the astronomical rise in competition, our personal market share is undermined every day.  According to projections of earnings viewed several years ago, I should be earning about $15K per month by now. 
Alas I finally tried a couple of uploads after many months off.  Poor lighting (but very good subject) for one.   The other was a highly cropped macro shot with on camera flash (interesting bug).   I never would have considered sending either in the past, both accepted within a few hours.  I guess I will continue uploading my "fun" shots, but no marathon uploading sessions.  Maybe just as a distraction while watching sports this year. 
Best wishes to all.  I may follow this topic for a week or so, then another forum sabbatical for a few months, there are lots more bugs to photograph out there.

General Stock Discussion / Re: Shall We Say Goodbye?
« on: August 07, 2013, 08:30 »
Thanks you glad to see that someone else sees my site as the future.  ;)

It is changing, and then it will finish
(it will become crapstock)

Simple answer: sales aren't down, the agencies are more profitable than ever. We are making less sales. But why?

February 16, 2009, Shutterstock announced the addition of its 10 millionth image

Four years later:

28,073,964 royalty-free stock images / 177,752 new stock images added this week

Three times more images, and stricter reviews.

Every six weeks, another 1 million new competing images go online. Every year another new 10 million, new and better images, go live.

The competition has tripled. Think of it this way? (maybe?) You have an image, and it sold once a month. Now it will sell once every three months. Take your whole portfolio and cut your sales 66%, of course it's going to bring in less income. But why haven't things dropped 66%? Because agency overall sales are way UP which is some compensation.

In one message someone complains, "Old images don't sell like they used to." and then turns around and says, "New images don't sell like they used to." Hey old or new, doesn't matter, does it?

Complaint, "reviewers are terrible, they are rejecting 100% of my images." followed by, "Reviews are terrible, they are accepting other peoples low quality and bad images." OK which is it?

Then the favorite, that the search changes at random, and good days are when it's right, the bad, when it's wrong because they are experimenting. Really? Sales are a roll of the dice? Or would sales be when people need something that I have to offer?

Seems like no matter what happens, both sides are covered with some superstitious or mysterious explanation. 

Welcome to the Microstock Zone

Income is down because competition is up.

Exactly right!!!!  The drop in sales for most of us should no longer be a mystery.  Competition has simply diluted our own personal drop in the bucket.

What I have noticed at iStock is new work doesn't sell, page after page of new uploads with zero downloads - over supply is becoming a real problem - I experienced it back in September but I don't think I've ever seen it like this.

Fixing declining sales with new work looks like a near impossible task now - established contributors appear to be slowing their uploads too - waiting for evidence of returns on production costs and sitting it out I guess.

Exactly my thoughts.  My return on time invested for new files does not justify the work it takes.  Competition has gone up exponentially over the past decade.

Some have mentioned the ease of getting photos accepted.  I agree.  However, perhaps iStock has learned that the vast majority of the sales will be used in a fairly small web image and the buyer cannot see noise, overfiltering, and all the other things that can bring rejections.  I think they are looking  for a image first and quality less so for internet use.  Look at all the ads have edited photos to make them contain all the previous no-nos we worked so hard to avoid, and iStock worked so hard to reject. 

I made a very large request for payment on June 22, no response yet (July 9).  I have not received any of the usual emails. ?????  It is simply stuck at "pending".

General Stock Discussion / Re: Earnings in June
« on: July 09, 2013, 14:55 »
June 2013 down $  by 20% compared to June 2012.  All iStock
June 2012 however had some nice ELs without which it would be about even.

24 / Re: Will it be sensible to join istock now?
« on: February 09, 2013, 23:05 »
I depends on how deeply you plan to get involved in microstock photography.  If you have a long range plan to work toward significant income, diversity is probably a good idea.  If you want to enjoy selling  photos on-line and have limited time to spend it may be better to go exclusive a t iStock or somewhere else.  At least at IStock, being exclusive pays far more.  As mentioned by others, this business is starting to be run more like a business, in other words the short term bottom line being more important than long term contributor relations.  The issues at iStock have been poorly handled but I think there are and will  be significant issues at every agency as mergers and buyouts inevitably occur. There are certainly many excellent contributors but in the view of the agencies, there are dozens if not hundred of times more potential future contributors  willing to be "milked" for quite a while.  Supply is outrageously high and going up rapidly, only a foolish business does not realize that.

25 / Re: D-Day (Deactivation Day) on Istock - Feb 2
« on: January 25, 2013, 01:17 »
Why has CJ6 been banned?

He's made a valid point: deleting just the non-sellers effectively doesn't do much. I also hold the opinion that if you're deleting your images, it should include your best sellers as well. Can this "issue" be discussed in a constructive way, without anyone being banned (maybe a new topic)? It sounds reasonable and logical because of that 20/80 distribution [20% of your photos make up 80% of your income (however, some say it's more like 10/80)] - if I delete or deactivate the bottom 50% of my portfolio, it'll only affect 5% of my earnings. Sure - the total number of photos available to iStock will be smaller, but only the non-selling files will be gone. We're actually curating the collective portfolio and making it more appealing to the buyers, right?

I firmly believe that every action should carry a meaning. And we need a strong action to carry a strong meaning. Is this really a strong action?

I agree in full with this analysis.  Symbolic yes, effective???--- to be determined

I can't seem to find it in the multitude of posts, but how can you tell if your photos have been sent over?
Thanks, and best wishes to all no matter what they choose.

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