IanButty

Is it possible to make a living out of stock photography any more?

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On 9/24/2017 at 12:11, IanButty said:

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone considering getting into selling their images as stock photography, what would it be?

 

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

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Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

 

Hi Sean,

 

Welcome and good to see you here :)

 

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31 minutes ago, seanlockephotography said:

 

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

 

Most Alamy photographers on these forums have always been welcoming to newcomers.

 

I would much prefer that they contribute here even if that means competition - at least it is a fair, level playing field. 

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1 hour ago, seanlockephotography said:

 

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

I there were no people getting into stock photography, then there would be no stock photography business so you wouldn't be here either. Likewise if it was just junk. A good quality industry is what keeps you selling images.

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Posted (edited)

"Riviera" means "Coast".

In Italy we have some of it for i.e. "Riviera Adriatica" which means "Adriatic coast".

It has nothing to do with the word "Europe", 'cause "Riviera" refers to all the towns, beaches and places that are near the sea.

Edited by KODAKovic

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Posted (edited)
On 9/24/2017 at 18:11, IanButty said:

I've been an Alamy contributor since February 2003 - at the time there were still a lot of photographers for whom stock photography was a significant if not primary source of income.  The digital camera revolution happened everyone became photographers.  We saw the rise of microstock sites.  Images were which used to attract four-figure sales were attracting single figure price tags. 

 

There was a joke at the time "How many stock photographers does it take to change a light bulb?  Answer none - we just sit around and talk about how it used to work"

 

I changed my focus and found other forms of income - mainly teaching other photographers.  The number of images I submitted to Alamy got less and less and I've hardly submitted anything over the last four or five years.

 

As part of the training sessions I run, I still do one on stock photography.  But I usually start off by setting expectations very low.  I tell people that while stock photography used to be a good business to be in, now it's just about impossible to make a living at it.  I revising my training notes at the moment and wondered if this is still true?  Is there anyone here whose major income is from stock?  If so who many images to you have for sale?  (Yes, I know number of images isn't everything but it is a useful metric).

 

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone considering getting into selling their images as stock photography, what would it be?

 

Thanks

Ian.

I think the success of stock photography relies on the amount of images you upload and the effectiveness of your tags.  People on here earn thousands.  Marketing skills also make a difference to how many photos you sell. 

 

So I think you can make a living out of this if your persistent and consistent with uploads/tags and Marketing of your photos.

 

Aylish

Edited by Aylish
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5 hours ago, KODAKovic said:

"Riviera" means "Coast".

In Italy we have some of it for i.e. "Riviera Adriatica" which means "Adriatic coast".

It has nothing to do with the word "Europe", 'cause "Riviera" refers to all the towns, beaches and places that are near the sea.

 

In Italian yes, but not in Spanish, which is spoken in Mexico. The word for "coast" in Spanish is costa.

 

Mexican tourism developers like to stick "Riviera" in the names of places so that tourists will associate them with luxury. An example is the so-called "Mayan Riviera" along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's a beautiful, once-wild area now mostly spoiled by huge hotel complexes and cruise ship crowds.

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1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 

In Italian yes, but not in Spanish, which is spoken in Mexico. The word for "coast" in Spanish is costa.

 

Mexican tourism developers like to stick "Riviera" in the names of places so that tourists will associate them with luxury. An example is the so-called "Mayan Riviera" along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's a beautiful, once-wild area now mostly spoiled by huge hotel complexes and cruise ship crowds.

 

That means Europe?

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On 6-10-2017 at 16:29, Matt Ashmore said:

 

Does a photographer truly ever retire? ..... I bet you'll still see the pictures as you go through life and want to take the photographs as a result! But I guess you don't have to take commission work!

 

Looking at it from another point of view there's the joke...

 

"When I grow up I want to become a photographer."

"I'm sorry but you cant have both..."

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On 07/10/2017 at 12:32, Aylish said:

I think the success of stock photography relies on the amount of images you upload and the effectiveness of your tags.  People on here earn thousands.  Marketing skills also make a difference to how many photos you sell. 

 

So I think you can make a living out of this if your persistent and consistent with uploads/tags and Marketing of your photos.

 

Aylish

Aylish

 

Im pretty new to selling photo's. I made the initial mistake of mislabelling and am in the process of correcting them all. One point you made is about marketing of your pics. What do you mean by that and how is it done?

 

Steve 

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Posted (edited)
On 10/7/2017 at 11:23, KODAKovic said:

 

That means Europe?

 

No, not in this instance. Image KC1191 was taken in Mexico, specifically in Tulum on the so-called "Riviera Maya" or "Mayan Riviera", not in Europe.

 

We seem to be speaking different languages...

 

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell

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I think you might as well ask if it is possible to make a living as a footballer.

 

The answer has to be a  theoretical 'Yes' but in practical terms I'd say a resounding 'No'. 

 

But having said that I would say that it is in the realms of being a worthwhile small business.

 

When it isn't I expect the tax authorities will make the decision clear! 

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On 07/10/2017 at 09:53, seanlockephotography said:

 

Why would I want to give advice to someone considering getting into stock photography?  Part of the problem is "people getting into stock photography".

 

Hello Sean, I've only just realised you've joined the Alamy community, though looking at your portfolio it looks like you've been working here for a year or so. I'll be very interested to hear your insights into life here and on stock photography generally - I know you have a fine pedigree in stock photography. Among many other things we have much discussion on whether microstock type images will sell well at Alamy, especially when the same image is on both Alamy and various microstock sites.

 

I look forward to seeing your contributions to this forum.

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I'll be very interested to hear your insights into life here and on stock photography generally - I know you have a fine pedigree in stock photography.

 

Sean is a stock photography legend, consistently producing top quality work. 

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On 10/7/2017 at 12:32, Aylish said:

I think the success of stock photography relies on the amount of images you upload and the effectiveness of your tags.  People on here earn thousands.  Marketing skills also make a difference to how many photos you sell. 

 

So I think you can make a living out of this if your persistent and consistent with uploads/tags and Marketing of your photos.

 

Aylish

 

How many people on here earn thousands? Do you mean per month or per year?

 

I think very few earn thousands per month. 3 or 4 forum contributors come to mind, but the vast majority get nowhere near 1 thousand (USD) per month. 

 

I earn £200 (British pounds) per month net from 8900 images on Alamy.  But to make a modest living in the UK, just from stock images on Alamy, I would need to earn at least £2000 PCM.

 

So I need 89,000 images (of equivalent quality) as of today. So I have absolutely no chance. 

 

I set myself a target to reach £300 PCM in a couple of years but that is best I can realistically hope for. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, andremichel said:

 

How many people on here earn thousands? Do you mean per month or per year?

 

I think very few earn thousands per month. 3 or 4 forum contributors come to mind, but the vast majority get nowhere near 1 thousand (USD) per month. 

 

I earn £200 (British pounds) per month net from 8900 images on Alamy.  But to make a modest living in the UK, just from stock images on Alamy, I would need to earn at least £2000 PCM.

 

So I need 89,000 images (of equivalent quality) as of today. So I have absolutely no chance. 

 

I set myself a target to reach £300 PCM in a couple of years but that is best I can realistically hope for. 

 

 

Only going on what I have read.... oh and you have far too many similar photos if not the same. Do you use SEO? You can go a long way with good keywords.

Edited by Aylish
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8 hours ago, Aylish said:

Only going on what I have read.... oh and you have far too many similar photos if not the same. Do you use SEO? You can go a long way with good keywords.

 

What have you read? As is being noted on the 'financial results' thread, the average RPI on Alamy is a mere £0.10. So if you are average, to earn £1000 per year, you need 10,000 images. 

 

What has SEO got to do with Alamy? I don't see the connection.

 

As a newbie with just 12 images on Alamy I am not sure you have the experience to judge how many similars is too many on Alamy. Each person decides their own strategy. I spread similars across a few pseudos, with my best images on my main pseudo. 

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14 hours ago, andremichel said:

 

What have you read? As is being noted on the 'financial results' thread, the average RPI on Alamy is a mere £0.10. So if you are average, to earn £1000 per year, you need 10,000 images. 

 

What has SEO got to do with Alamy? I don't see the connection.

 

As a newbie with just 12 images on Alamy I am not sure you have the experience to judge how many similars is too many on Alamy. Each person decides their own strategy. I spread similars across a few pseudos, with my best images on my main pseudo. 

Deary me people really do get hot under the collar about advice and criticism. (I can see why Philippe left) why  are you even on here if you can't take it eh?

Search engine optimization it's been talked about quite a bit on here. I know similars when i see them and people on here will say the same thing.

 

Taking a photograph of something from a diagonal composition close up and then walking away a bit and taking the same image is a duplicate. I don't see why pseudo makes any difference. thought it was if you had multiple people using your account to upload photos. Then each person would be under their own name.

 

3 years experience in photography means I'm not a newbie to the subject, even if i'm a newbie to the forum and alamy.

 

Your welcome to criticize and give me advice on my photos/Keywords (I won't get upset) :) I have changed my tone since my previous forum post about not welcoming criticism. 

 

This forum is for giving advice and helping people regarding Photography and Alamy matters.

 

I don't want to get into any argument  or aggrieve anyone on here.

 

Sorry for raining on your parade.

 

PS: everyone on here was a newbie once dosn't mean you can't give advice.

 

Aylish

Edited by Aylish
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On 10/7/2017 at 19:59, funkyworm said:

"When I grow up I want to become a photographer."

"I'm sorry but you cant have both..."

 

:D

 

PS - very jealous of your football pictures. Being on the pitch watching the king sport and photographing it must be heaven, at least that's how I imagine it. Sad to see Robben retire, what a legend.

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32 minutes ago, Aylish said:

...

Search engine optimization it's been talked about quite a bit on here....

 

Aylish

 

Aylish, you've mentioned SEO and marketing in a few posts and I'm wondering what you mean. Are you just talking about good keywording practice or is there more to SEO in this context than that? Is marketing simply about using a personal website or social media to promote  one's own images? IAre you indicating there is something different we could be doing or simply reinforcing what we already know to be good practices in managing our images?

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You can go a long way with good keywords.

Oh! Like KCWY2m and KCWY1d you mean. Pictures of a Highland Cow, but no mention of the breed in the tags.

 

Pot and kettle ...?

 

 

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45 minutes ago, Baco said:

 

:D

 

PS - very jealous of your football pictures. Being on the pitch watching the king sport and photographing it must be heaven, at least that's how I imagine it. Sad to see Robben retire, what a legend.

 

Baco,

 

Kind of you to say so. Sometimes I (we) have to kick ourselves in the backside and appreciate the situation we are in. However, it is a lot of work. I reckon covering a football match is ten hours work and colleagues I have spoken to say about the same. Covering the hockey in the summer, I had days where the first game started at nine in the morning and the last, sixth match at eight in the evening. And it is work, lots of hoops to be jumped through, I rarely go to a match with a skip in my step. The fan aspect declines, I would say there are many on the sidelines who would rather be at home with their families. Linking in with the subject matter of the thread, it is a business and I am covering less and less football because the returns are diminishing. There are less photographers and the big agents are covering all the bases and niches more efficiently (or cheaper.) Back in 2006 I was one of the few supplying Alamy with my World Cup images, partially because of the method of supplying (CD's.) Now they can be assured of images instantly from every match from a number of sources. I am still on a financial loss from the last event and am very unlikely to head to Russia next year. National teams are better than club because the shelf life is longer, less matches and more historical value, for example the last match of Robben Tuesday. Even then you see people looking for the niche's, and finding that there are lot of people looking for the niche's.

 

Linking into the 10p calculation above. I would be very surprised if a lot of the big number suppliers of sport and news (eg Zuma) are making as much as that amount. Which means that many are earning more. Bill mentioned the 80/20 rule on another thread. I reckon its more likely to be nearer 90/10 but there are many earning more than 10p returns. I am.

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7 hours ago, Aylish said:

 I don't see why pseudo makes any difference. thought it was if you had multiple people using your account to upload photos. Then each person would be under their own name.

 

 

You don't see because you don't understand how pseudos work, and no, it's not what you "thought". Similars which appear together in a contributor search may be positioned differently in pseudos with different performances. This alone may justify their presence. Anyway, it's not you who decides how many similars are allowed, it's Alamy. IMO André doesn't have too many, in yours he does. It's up to him, not us.

Calling out seasoned contributors here isn't doing you any favours.

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"Many earning more than 10p"

 

That is what the mean means :D Some earn more, many earn less.

 

But how much better than average does a new contributor assess that they are likely to be? 10 times better than average? £1 an image? 

 

Equally, assuming that there is a skew with a vary small number of contributors earning much more than others, there has to be a huge proportion earning below 10p an image.

 

A few years back the mean was 20p and the collection was 50 million.

 

2016 profits also inflated in £ by currency decline relative to $ from June 24th onwards. Based on assumption that fact of 50% of revenue from US office is still true. This alone may account for revenue growth. 

 

 Phillipe always said that to hope for any success at stock you should have started 10 years ago. :(

 

Edited by geogphotos
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On 10/12/2017 at 03:20, andremichel said:

 

How many people on here earn thousands?

...

So I need 89,000 images (of equivalent quality) as of today. So I have absolutely no chance.

 

You used your own data to project your earnings. And the result is just not realistic.

 

The implicit assumption in your projection is that you keep shooting the same kinds of images. To break out of that unrealistic scenario, you need shoot different images. Images for which  the demand/supply dynamics is way different than that for pretty pictures one can shoot by going places. It has been an open secret for many years now: business, concepts, people (model-released)... something like that.

 

GI

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