Monday, 21 May 2007

Why sell for as little as 20c

The common criticism of Microstock is that we sell our photos for nothing and that this devalues the industry.

When researching my last post - Earn $300 a day on microstock I came across Yuri Arcurs website. In his website, he explains why he sells on microstock and not at one of the larger agencies, like Getty, where he could earn $100's per sale.

"Selling my pictures this cheap makes some old school photographers angry. Photography is filled with tradition, and before digital cameras became accessible, stock photographers selling their pictures on agencies like Corbis of Getty Images were paid very well. Some (like me) think that they were paid a little too well. Charging $300 for a one-time usage of a picture of a flower was not unheard of, and this is still the price estimates found at Corbis and Getty Images today. In 2000, istock started a revolution in the stock photography field by selling pictures online (not by catalogue as in the old days) and selling these pictures as low as $1 per each picture. This price drop started a heated debate and an almost warlike conflict between the new microstock photographer (at the time mostly semi-professional or amateur photographers) selling their pictures for as low as $1 and other timers use to get an overly high price for their pictures. The old timers accused the microstokers of destroying their own ability to make real money by under pricing the value of their pictures and were also somewhat angry that these new pictures put an “unfair” mark on their own highly priced pictures.

I have considered being a Getty of Corbis photographer, but after reviewing their contract and looking at the sells of other Getty photographers, I was able to estimate that I would actually lose income by become one. So it seems that “underpricing”, as the microstockers were accused of, has gradually shown to be a “best pricing” polity instead, with great side effect: Breaking apart an old price conspiracy."

The reason I started with microstock is the ease of entry. The likes of Corbis and Getty would never accept me (they are like an old boys club). After selling for a while it also seemed to make sense. On forums like DPreview, the Pros critisised the microstockers but when they set out the large amounts they are earning, the amounts are matched by an equally large portfolio, resulting in an average price per photo per year similar to what I make. Sure my portfolio isn't as big but then I don't do this full time.

The selling for 20c each is also slightly misleading. From my sales, the average I earn from each DL is (approximately per sale - not per photo per year):

25c shutterstock This will increase to 30c folling the pay increase this month.
77c dreamtime
64c Fotolia
71c istockphoto
76c bigstockphoto
58c 123RF
110c StockXpert
190c Featurepics
80c LuckyOliver

You also have to remember that microstock works on volume (the walmart of photography). As such, while shutterstock pays out the least per download, it actual pays out the most per month due to the volume of sales generated by its subscription model.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Stockxpert move and stock footage


I was reading Alan Mecklers blog (CEO of Jupiter Images - Owner of Stockxpert), which noted that Stockxpert have moved their servers to Peoria (I assume in the US) from Hungary. They have increased the power of the servers and hopefully this will stop any fears people use to have that the business was based in Eastern Europe (the capital of internet crime).

Also note the last line that they are planning on doing stock footage in the near future. moved.
Alan Meckler
May 07, 2007

That is the servers running the site are now in Peoria instead of Budapest, Hungary.

I am not a technical person, but this was an interesting and somewhat complex move. First our crack tech team based in Peoria and backed by our colleagues in Budapest oversaw a three month operation. Significant hardware was purchased and we now have 4x the amount of front-end processing power (Apache/PUP)in a load balanced configuration that allows growth over the Web site. We are also geared up for huge growth including a soon to be launched stock footage option on Stockxpert.

Earn US$300 a day on microstock

Some people treat microstock as a hobbie (like me). Some people treat it as a job. Then there are a few that treat it as a business.

Yuri Arcurs is one of those people. In a resent post at Shutterstock, he announced that he had finally passed the 1000DL a day mark. In total on the 9 May 2007, Yuri (User name Logos on Shutterstock) sold 1170 photos and made a total of US354.50 from photo sales on one site alone. He probably isn't selling that much each day at the moment (especially on weekends) but that is an annualised $129,000 a year.

But remember this is just one site he submits to. He submits to 16 sites, some better than others. At istock he has sold over 56000 photos (he is constrained by istocks upload limits), nearly 14,000 photos at Dreamstime, and over 10,000 at fotolia (second top contributor).

Asked how he got to that point he said "Two years of 60+ hours per week. + Assistants and reinvesting almost every cent."

On his website Yuri states"In one year I sell around 400,000 individual licenses for the use of my pictures, which is equal to the amount of sales my biggest istock competitor has in her entire carrier.

With the help of my assistants I produce around 400 pictures per month. I keep a staff of about 10 – 12 designers, stylists, make-up artists, computer assistants, marketing managers, editors at all times."

Yuri is one of the top microstockers around (he ranks himself number two) and is someone to look upto.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Dreamstime has new search engine

Royalty Free Images

Dreamstime has introduced a new search engine. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet but my DL are up for this month.

Press release:

Dreamstime Goes to Titanic Depth to Discover the Picture Perfect

Dreamstime is pleased to introduce its super-powered search
engine--a technological advancement that will deliver the picture
perfect at the touch of a button.

We've built and installed a 100% custom search engine to find THE
photo you're looking for! The Dreamstime database of nearly 1.25
Million has been meticulously refined and the Dreamstime search engine
finely tuned to seek out and pin-point optimum photos based on overall
community success and history (i.e., image quality, editor´s choice,
buyer´s experience, and photographer´s history of success, such as
repeat purchases, quality, diversity, etc.). So, the photo you're
looking for will surface at the forefront almost every time!

...And if it doesn't, Dreamstime invites, YOU, the community, to
FLAG and report any photo that appears to be completely misplaced in
the search category.

Back from Holiday - Posts will start again

I have just got back from a one month holiday so sorry about the lack of posts. I took my laptop but forgot the power cable and all the computers at friends/family were on annoyingly slow dial up connection.

I am now back on the broadband so will try and get more articles and news flashes up on the blog.