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Posted (edited)

Is anyone here till today, is able to earn a living through stock images (from alamy) despite the millions of images uploaded daily? I know we photographers love to shoot, having fun creating images, spending tremendous amount of time enjoying what u love, then the painful part of editing, keywords, title etc. I don't mind the "pain" if the return follows back with consistent down the road. 

Second, is it worth the effort and time to even do it for passive income but the return is generously low figure. Imagine your first sales is $10 and you got stuck there because Alamy only pay contributor when hit a certain amount.  

Feel free to state your persona thought and experience.

Edited by rickygui

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Posted (edited)

Stock, for me, was designed to be a supplementary income in my later years (ie now!). However, the fees I was getting 7 or 8 years ago are very different to what I'm seeing today. Has it all been worthwhile? I'd say... a qualified "yes".

 

Would I recommend anyone to become an Alamy contributor in 2019? I'd say... a regretful "no"...

Edited by John Morrison
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Though accurate stats are hard to come by, I believe it is an impossibility for 99% of existing contributors to make a living by contributing exclusively to Alamy. That figure would rise to 100% for new contributors just starting out. 

 

To the best of my knowledge, none of the very best performers on this forum earn enough solely from Alamy. Most photography professionals use stock as just one revenue stream.  

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I would say first off define what a full-time income is?  How much do you consider to be enough?

Different countries have different average incomes - and differing amounts would be considered an adequate full-time income.

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Posted (edited)

F-stoppers 2 weeks ago wrote this: The Truth Behind Why You Can’t Make Money From Photography.

This was on Youtube 4 weeks ago: The Truth About Stock Photography: Conclusions After 3 Years.

I'm pretty sure you can find a lot more of these.

However there will still be a lot of youtubers telling you how to make money with your camera.

And you know what already years ago the answer of many long time, struggling, photographers used to be: sell it!

 

wim

 

edit: If you need some more great advice from all those knowledgeable expert honest youtubers, try:

make money from home

make money fast

And last but not least: how to get rich fast.

edit2: have you checked the monthly topics about how was your month here? April here.

They have been here for many years now. Just use the search function in the upper left hand corner.

edit3: maybe we should print red hats: MPGA!

 

Edited by wiskerke

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Posted (edited)

As a full time income? Yuri Acurs is the man to put that question to. He used to hang around these parts a long time ago.

 

As a passive income? I don't think there is any such thing. For sure you might sell a picture when you're asleep but to get a sellable picture you need the attitude  to see it and take it. Searches need reviewing, keywords need keeping up to date. The selling might be passive but building the portfolio isn't.

 

So is it easy money? Well no it isn't.

 

John's recommendation above prompts me to ask the question: Would I recommend starting stock photography in 2019? Depends on the objective.

  Is it to monetise an existing portfolio?

  Is it to offset the cost of an expensive hobby?

  Is it  a way to commit to a professional activity when health or age put limitations in your way?

  Is it to  fill in downtime from other employment, photographical or otherwise?

  Is it to add a purpose to your photography?

  Is it to get your pictures available globally without bearing an upfront cost to yourself?

 

If the answer to any of the above is yes, well do it.

 

Edited by Mr Standfast
typo

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

I would say first off define what a full-time income is?  How much do you consider to be enough?

Different countries have different average incomes - and differing amounts would be considered an adequate full-time income.

 

This is an interesting point. Maybe if you live somewhere like a small town in the Philippines where a couple of hundred dollars is actually quite a lot of money, then yes. If you live in Central London then probably not for 99% of people.

 

 

1 hour ago, Mr Standfast said:

  Is it to add a purpose to your photography?

 

 

This is me. Stock photography is more a hobby for me than anything else that generates some pocket money. I've always loved taking photos but prior to discovering stock photography, images would just get lost on my computer hard disk and that would be it. Stock photography gives me purpose, gives me a reason to take photos, gives me a reason to improve, gives me an outlet for the photos I take. And the more I do it, the more I want to do it.. and I would love it to be my profession (although when a hobby becomes a job, do you still love it after a while??). But I have a career in IT which pays the bills and that is the way things are likely to stay.

Edited by Matt Ashmore
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I love photography.  Buying the cameras, lenses, computer, and Photoshop made it an expensive hobby.  Why not offset those expenses? Why not do something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? 

Why not challenge your creative juices and make a few bucks in the process?

A no brainer for me, but no, I’d never be able to be full-time and make a living at it.  I no longer have that kind of stamina, and we women, most of us, even if we’re not holding down outside jobs, have way too much household work to be a full-timer. Especially if we have a family to care for.  

If I could do that and make enough money to hire a housekeeper, and were younger, maybe it’d be worth a go. I’d fail making enough to support me even then.

Don't quit your day job.

Betty

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Posted (edited)

I've been submitting to Alamy since 2007. My sales are consistent, and I receive very helpful monthly payments, usually in the $150-$350 range these days. However, I generally earn more money from tutoring high school students a few hours every week than I do from photography. Fortunately, I have pension income as well (I'm old). There are talented, hard-working people who continue to make a decent living from stock photography, but I'd say that "don't quit your day job" is wise advice. That said, Alamy is a great place to be if you want to make some extra money at doing something you enjoy and are willing to invest the time and effort. Alamy has been -- and continues to be -- a real boon for me. Good luck. 

Edited by John Mitchell
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There are people out there like Backyard Silver that claim to be making >35K/year from stock.   My perception is that gold age of stock photography is behind, mainly because of proliferation of smart phones with cameras.   For anyone starting today it would be very hard, if not impossible to make full time living from stock.   IMHO better approach is 2-fold: 

 

  • Have fun with photography.   Learn and polish your skills.  Alamy is good because emphasis is still on quality, and you can learn things from their blog (and forum)
  • Use stock as stepping stone towards other channels to monetize your photography.   What are these channels is separate discussion.

Treating stock as means to finance your gear is probably realistic though.

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Autumn Sky said:

There are people out there like Backyard Silver that claim to be making >35K/year from stock.  

I understood the question being about Alamy only. Backyard Silver guy submits to 30 or more microstock libraries, stock images and footage. With 10000 images on alamy, he only earns tiny amounts. 

Even with revenue before costs of $35k he is reluctant to say he is able to make a living out of stock (according to one of his blog entries). 

Edited by andremichel

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The economic argument is, because of prices, stock photographs have to be a byproduct of one of two situations.

 

If you are a full time professional photographer and your profitable photography business leads to a lot of leftover photographs, then why not add extra money to your bottom line by placing those byproduct photographs with a stock photo agency?

 

If you are a dedicated amateur photographer and would make photographs without overpowering concern for the cost anyway, why not recover some of your costs by placing the byproduct of your hobby with a stock photo agency?

 

This is why there will always be a ready supply of good stock photographs, in spite of selling prices that do not begin to cover the entire cost of the photographic activity.

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find a niche, and stick with it if you're successful; plus experiment with new techniques and ideas/subjects;  and be flexible and ready for the unexpected, or at least try and make the most of a situation when you're not ready.

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15 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

There are people out there like Backyard Silver that claim to be making >35K/year from stock.  

 

 

still do-able

 

km

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Great discussion.  I have the same question.  Or if there's any recompense down the line, ever.  I'm a bit taken aback by what a long haul it is to take, edit, tag, and upload photos and wonder if there are better (and more lucrative) things to do with my time.  The comments here are clarifying.  I take photos all the time anyway, and it's a way to take them more seriously and improve, so I'm committed, for now.

 

Thinking about trying to sell stock sound effects too.  I wonder if I'd have more luck there.

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On 11/05/2019 at 10:59, RedSnapper said:

 

still do-able

 

km

You are one of Alamys biggest success stories, so much so that Alamy use your story as PR to recruit newbie contributors. 

 

But even you aren't making a living wholly from stock on Alamy,  even with 55k images. So what chance does a newbie have just starting out? 

 

Also Live news doesn't count as stock and is not an option for most contributors anyway.

 

 

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21 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

Great discussion.  I have the same question.  Or if there's any recompense down the line, ever.  I'm a bit taken aback by what a long haul it is to take, edit, tag, and upload photos and wonder if there are better (and more lucrative) things to do with my time. 

 

There are certainly more lucrative things to do with your time! 

 

I'd earn more per hour stacking shelves at a supermarket, but then that wouldn't be anything like as interesting/challenging. Over the years I've done many jobs, particularly as a student, including emptying dustbins, working in a bar, assisting the council rat catcher, cutting grass, delivering mail, labouring on a building site (actually the most remunerative) etc, - all paid better than stock. 

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Some very interesting comments here but saying that adds nothing to the pot.

 

So:

  • I used to think that I could top up my pension with stock sales from Alamy and a couple of other libraries.
  • I got to like seeing my work in print and the little boost to my day when I got a sale.
  • I have come to realise I could make many times the income from stacking shelves in a supermarket one day a week.

DO NOT make this the day job or even the evening job, shoot what you like and if it's wet and you are bored send a few images to a stock library.

 

 

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Hahaha.  Puts it all into perspective.  I do like seeing my photos in one place and putting some use to them even if it's just sharing them in a carefully selected online portfolio.

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On 10/05/2019 at 15:29, Mr Standfast said:

Is it to monetise an existing portfolio?

  Is it to offset the cost of an expensive hobby?

  Is it  a way to commit to a professional activity when health or age put limitations in your way?

  Is it to  fill in downtime from other employment, photographical or otherwise?

  Is it to add a purpose to your photography?

  Is it to get your pictures available globally without bearing an upfront cost to yourself?

 

If the answer to any of the above is yes, well do it.

Good advice from Mr Standfast and others here. I would endorse it.

 

Kumar

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On 10/05/2019 at 15:29, Mr Standfast said:

As a full time income? Yuri Acurs is the man to put that question to. He used to hang around these parts a long time ago.

He hasn't blogged since 2017, and has kept himself very low in the past couple of years. He hadn't even updated his Fb page since April 2017, but he has one post from March 2019 saying:

"We listened! New reduced price on all images. $33 USD - all sizes!
Also. 20% bonus this month. If you buy $250 USD to top up your account, you will get $300 USD on your account to spend on images or videos! Hurray!"

So he's also having to adjust prices downwards, presumably to match the market.

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Posted (edited)
On 10/05/2019 at 06:29, wiskerke said:

F-stoppers 2 weeks ago wrote this: The Truth Behind Why You Can’t Make Money From Photography.

This was on Youtube 4 weeks ago: The Truth About Stock Photography: Conclusions After 3 Years.

I'm pretty sure you can find a lot more of these.

However there will still be a lot of youtubers telling you how to make money with your camera.

And you know what already years ago the answer of many long time, struggling, photographers used to be: sell it!

 

wim

 

edit: If you need some more great advice from all those knowledgeable expert honest youtubers, try:

make money from home

make money fast

And last but not least: how to get rich fast.

edit2: have you checked the monthly topics about how was your month here? April here.

They have been here for many years now. Just use the search function in the upper left hand corner.

edit3: maybe we should print red hats: MPGA!

 

 

From Wim's first link:

"You firstly need to fully understand your niche and subject matter" (emphasis is mine).

The opposite of "everything sells" mantra.

YMMV.

GI

 

Another quote:

"Your work has got to be commercially viable in order to get paid. If the work you love producing isn’t, then you have two options. One is to change what you do to get paid and the other is to stick with it, but find another way to make money on the side to help fund it. "

 

Edited by giphotostock

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On 10/05/2019 at 21:20, Starsphinx said:

I would say first off define what a full-time income is?  How much do you consider to be enough?

Different countries have different average incomes - and differing amounts would be considered an adequate full-time income.

 

Full time income where all your monthly salary is from stock images. 

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Glad to see so many good responses from different people here. I think, if photographers are shooting full time, stock image is one of the way to build secondary income. For people who is having a full time job and shoot during their spare time in their preference interests, and also want to have a side income, why not. But i think for people whose income solely from stock images, i feel is better to understand more genre of photography to cater what the market need is important. 

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1 hour ago, rickygui said:

Full time income where all your monthly salary is from stock images. 

Yes, but how much money is considered full time?  
Someone in a developing country is going to be delighted with a couple of hundred dollars a month - and that will cover their living costs.  For someone in the US, that amount would be considered peanuts.

Asking if stock can provide a full-time income is meaningless unless you specify how much you think a full-time income is.

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