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Author Topic: Shutterstock - Thinking of Joining  (Read 4748 times)

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« on: July 01, 2013, 07:51 »
0
I'm currently exclusive with iStock but thinking of dropping my exclusivity so I can sell at Shutterstock. At iStock I sell around 40 files per week and take in about $200 which is WAY LESS than I used to. Anyway, looking at Shutterstocks rate schedule, I'd need to sell many, many more licenses to equal my income at iStock. 

Here's my question, with the lower prices and subscription model, do you find that your volume is high but your commissions per file low? And for those who also sell at iStock and made the jump to Shutterstock, how do your sales compare between the 2 sites? Everyone seems to like SS, but the thought of selling my images for 25 cents a DL is a little hard to wrap my head around.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 09:10 by jsmithzz »


« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 09:14 »
0
Just curious,how much you used to get from IS then? are you the illustrator or photo only? :)

« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 09:29 »
0
I used to make around $2000 a month at my peak. Nowadays I'm lucky if I make $500 in a month, but the last 2 weeks since the price structure changes have been devastating. I couldn't even cash out last week. Didn't even make 100 bucks.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 09:55 »
0
Of course, your results may differ... but I did an analysis of the earnings per online image for each of the main stock sites (based on between 3000 - 4000 images per site) back at the end of 2012. This may help: http://www.backyardsilver.com/2013/01/december-earnings-and-review-of-2012-for-stock-photography/

Steve

« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 10:00 »
+1
Why don't you visit the forums and read the threads

Here is one with results from a new submitter with roughly 1700 new images

http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=130686&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=119

« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 10:12 »
0
its impossible to know if you would do more or less than being exclusive at iStock, look at the poll here below CanStockPhoto ad, anyway its very hard to predict, you need to try it yourself

« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2013, 14:21 »
+2
I've been with ss just over 2 years and I would really struggle to say anything negative either from a treatment of contributor or (especially) the ability to make good business decisions (e.g. single downloads) that benefit everyone.

IS on the other hand have managed to alienate virtually everyone and, in doing so, have not managed to produce any perceivable business benefit (which might have provided some kind of justification).  They really do seem to be headless chickens staggering from cock up to cock up - even if the original idea had value, the execution is invariably flawed and just makes a bad situation worse.  Here's the last 3 that I'm aware of:

1.  To address (I presume) falling submissions, instead of looking properly at some of their (ridiculous) acceptance criteria, they throw the baby out with the bath water and open the door to absolutely everything in unlimited volume,
2. The collections restructure hurts everyone, exclusive, indy AND IS.  Images from whatever source that were higher price points were there because they were viable there.  Instead of change first / review after, it would have made much more sense to pick collection based on existing price point and then review,
3 Most won't notice the front end changes, some will think it's better and some won't.  The fact that it doesn't work with IE8 is actually a big deal - some of the biggest corporations are still using this and are pretty anal about what can and cannot be installed on their equipment.  If marketing departments can't use IS without an upgrade, they'll just be told to shop elsewhere.

Impossible to predict how a port will do on one site vs another but, excuse the mixed metaphor, having all your eggs in one sinking ship is probably not a great idea.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 16:31 by heywoody »

« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 08:12 »
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Thanks all for the helpful replies. Still mulling my decision...

« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 09:48 »
0
I dropped the crown at the beginning of this year. If you're interested, have a look in my blog, I publish all my numbers and a lot of ideas and experiences. :)

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 10:45 »
0
I'd look at RPI. I think the last time Leaf did an RPI survey it was .75 cents for indies submitting across multiple sites. Not sure how much this has changed. And it depends on the saleability of your work.

So to be safe, if you multiply your portfolio x .50 that should give you a rough guestimate of what you should expect as an indy. In other words, you would need to have at least 200 images to do better than the $100 per month you're at now.

How many images are in your portfolio?

ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 22:09 »
0
That formula is no where near reality!

tab62

« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2013, 22:58 »
0
1,000 images on Shutter =$200 per month give or take...

« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2013, 23:54 »
+1
That formula is no where near reality!

You mean no where near your personal experience, right? So where is it for you?

« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2013, 23:58 »
+3
I'm currently exclusive with iStock but thinking of dropping my exclusivity so I can sell at Shutterstock.

Shortly said: If you drop exclusivity and want to make money with your images, you have to think beyond Shutterstock. Shutterstock is likely to be your biggest earner after going non-exclusive but you need other agencies to optimize your income.

Also, you should consider taking parts of your images out of microstock into a higher price level. Offering the same images that you had on iStock in higher priced collections like Vetta or Signature+ will most likely not make the money back you earned with those. You would need between 50 and 100 subscription to downloads to make up for just one single Large sale in Vetta. So you also need to pick an agency that offers high-value images at higher prices.

Ron

« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2013, 03:40 »
+2
1,000 images on Shutter =$200 per month give or take...
I have 825 images making me $300 dollar per month. I think your prediction is on the low side as my images are quite average.

« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2013, 05:18 »
+1
number of images is irrelevant, you can have 1k and do 5k $ but the opposite is available also, you can delete everything that never sold or only 1 time and have a sweet RPI, I have 236 pictures (editorial) from a single event that made 10$ (SS) in over 1 year, OTOH my best pictures do over 50$ per month

like I have said it is impossible to determine what you will earn, anyway just to be sure I would go for Tom's numbers unless you are already a top photographer and know very well the demand or own a niche, I am saying that because I haven't sold 33% of my SS portfolio which is pulling my RPI down

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2013, 05:31 »
0
That formula is no where near reality!

It's nowhere near your reality. As I said, it's an average. And it's from a survey, which if people here answered accurately, is based on fact. It sounds like you may be on the low end of that average.


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2013, 05:35 »
0
number of images is irrelevant, you can have 1k and do 5k $ but the opposite is available also, you can delete everything that never sold or only 1 time and have a sweet RPI, I have 236 pictures (editorial) from a single event that made 10$ (SS) in over 1 year, OTOH my best pictures do over 50$ per month

like I have said it is impossible to determine what you will earn, anyway just to be sure I would go for Tom's numbers unless you are already a top photographer and know very well the demand or own a niche, I am saying that because I haven't sold 33% of my SS portfolio which is pulling my RPI down

Of course you're right Luis. Facts and statistics are totally irrelevant.

« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2013, 05:50 »
0
number of images is irrelevant, you can have 1k and do 5k $ but the opposite is available also, you can delete everything that never sold or only 1 time and have a sweet RPI, I have 236 pictures (editorial) from a single event that made 10$ (SS) in over 1 year, OTOH my best pictures do over 50$ per month

like I have said it is impossible to determine what you will earn, anyway just to be sure I would go for Tom's numbers unless you are already a top photographer and know very well the demand or own a niche, I am saying that because I haven't sold 33% of my SS portfolio which is pulling my RPI down

Of course you're right Luis. Facts and statistics are totally irrelevant.

easy Paulie, I haven't said that, I am a big fan of stats myself as you may know, pretty much I said its very hard to predict without testing it

« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2013, 06:55 »
0
I'm currently exclusive with iStock but thinking of dropping my exclusivity so I can sell at Shutterstock. At iStock I sell around 40 files per week and take in about $200 which is WAY LESS than I used to. Anyway, looking at Shutterstocks rate schedule, I'd need to sell many, many more licenses to equal my income at iStock. 

Here's my question, with the lower prices and subscription model, do you find that your volume is high but your commissions per file low? And for those who also sell at iStock and made the jump to Shutterstock, how do your sales compare between the 2 sites? Everyone seems to like SS, but the thought of selling my images for 25 cents a DL is a little hard to wrap my head around.

It's very simple.... if you have under 1000 files stay exclusive (the exception is if you have under 1000 very, very good files)... brake exclusivity only if you have a big enough portfolio or are you willing to sacrifice a huge amount of your time to shoot,processed and upload high volume of new images/designs.

Regards,

« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2013, 07:18 »
+2
An important part of that decision is: where do you see your earnings on istock going in the next 18 months? Up or down?

Is the company offering you a vision of growth and smart maketing?

For me that was the major factor that drove me to go independent. I simply didn't have the impression that istock was being set up for growth.

Nevertheless I wanted to spend the year focussing on video and give istock a year to recover. But after the Microsoft and Google Drive disaster and the IMO extremly  unprofessional way it was handled, just made me realize I need to move out now before it gets even worse.

By being indie I can lower my overall risk, even if the first year or two of building new portfolios is going to be painful.

And with all the changes that have happened now, I am really glad I gave up the crown.

Looking at the traffic data of istock all I see is a downtrend. If it continues for another 18 months - where will your earnings be?

Like others have said, when you go indie, I think it is a mistake to just say you will just move on from istock to SS. You really need to look at your content carefully and diversify. There is a lot of content that can get higher prices than 25 cents and it is best to put it on agencies that cater to the higher end market.

SS and other subscription sites are great for anything that sells in high volume.

Going indie is more than just SS.

Whatever you decide - good luck!

« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2013, 07:29 »
+3
Volume isn't the only consideration and I think that is what Luis is saying and I agree.  Content is a huge consideration.  Good content that's different and in demand together with volume can be a killer formula. 

Donvanstaden

« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2013, 03:33 »
0
1,000 images on Shutter =$200 per month give or take...
I have 825 images making me $300 dollar per month. I think your prediction is on the low side as my images are quite average.

I have just over 300 images and make +300USD a month... 90% on SS... Quality vs. Quantity? or both? That's not to say that if I rapidly expand my portfolio with thousands of images I will see the same RPI but id does show that it is possible to make a semi decent RPI on SS.   

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Ron

« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2013, 06:14 »
+1
1,000 images on Shutter =$200 per month give or take...
I have 825 images making me $300 dollar per month. I think your prediction is on the low side as my images are quite average.

I have just over 300 images and make +300USD a month... 90% on SS... Quality vs. Quantity? or both? That's not to say that if I rapidly expand my portfolio with thousands of images I will see the same RPI but id does show that it is possible to make a semi decent RPI on SS.   

Good luck with whatever you decide!
The number I stated is for SS only.

« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2013, 13:46 »
+2
1,000 images on Shutter =$200 per month give or take...
I have 825 images making me $300 dollar per month. I think your prediction is on the low side as my images are quite average.

I have just over 300 images and make +300USD a month... 90% on SS... Quality vs. Quantity? or both? That's not to say that if I rapidly expand my portfolio with thousands of images I will see the same RPI but id does show that it is possible to make a semi decent RPI on SS.   

Good luck with whatever you decide!

I have less than 200 images... vectors that are pretty good sellers imo. Last month i made over $400 on SS. The amount of images you have in your portfolio isn't as important as the quality/commercial value of your images imo. I have about 10 files that are shown in the first page of a given search with all media checked. 3 of the files are on the top row.

I think if you can be objective about your own portfolio, do some image searches on SS on some of your good sellers and ask yourself whether or not your images will be shown on near the first few pages of the searches compared with the current library there.

That being said, i think an average portfolio these days won't generate enough income for you to be happy you left exclusivity.


 

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