klod

A dollar per year for each image

Recommended Posts

I read that the expected rate of return for a good, relevant portfolio to be around 1 US dollar per photo per year - regardless of the agency or license scheme.  A portfolio of 1000 pictures should yield one thousands dollars. (Out of a thousand photos, one is lucky to sell 50 (5% of your portfolio) and it is likely that out of those 50, 10 (1% of your portfolio)  will generate the bulk of the revenues.  What do you think of this equation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From 2007 to 2012, I made more than $1 gross per image per year - about $2-3.  From 2013 to 2017, I was at about $1/image/yr, but the downward trend continues year over year.  It may be lower going forward.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a lot of factors involved, but I'd say that these days $1 (gross) per image per year is a pretty good estimate for most contributors with "average" editorial collections. I did slightly better than that last year -- roughly $1.11 per image.

 

P.S. I don't have enough images with other agencies to accurately compare them with Alamy.

Edited by John Mitchell
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine is much less than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does one define what is good and what is relevant?  Do you mean net or gross? I suspect you mean net. Only a small minority of alamy contributors are currently achieving $1 net. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm running at between $0.25-$0.30/image/yr NET (who cares about gross?? it's money in my pocket that's important).

 

Mark

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

I'm running at between $0.25-$0.30/image/yr NET (who cares about gross?? it's money in my pocket that's important).

 

Mark

 

That's true, but I think gross income is a more accurate indicator for "objective" measurement because the gross amounts are more consistent across the board -- i.e. NET income can vary a lot from contributor to contributor due the big difference between direct and distributor sales' commissions. Also, some contributors aren't even signed up for distribution. Their net income for the same number of images could look very different from the net of someone who makes a a lot of distributor sales.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

Mine is much less than that.

 

That's what you get for uploading so many images during the past couple of years. It's a bit like being in a hamster wheel. B)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Reimar said:

From 2007 to 2012, I made more than $1 gross per image per year - about $2-3.  From 2013 to 2017, I was at about $1/image/yr, but the downward trend continues year over year.  It may be lower going forward.

Good to hear. I guess a confirmation that your photos meet the expectation and needs of stock market buyers and I will check your portfolio in that perspective. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

There are a lot of factors involved, but I'd say that these days $1 per year (gross) per 1000 images is a pretty good estimate for most contributors with "average" editorial collections. I did slightly better than that last year -- roughly $1.11 per image.

 

P.S. I don't have enough images with other agencies to accurately compare them with Alamy.

My gross is almost exactly the same as John's, pretty consistently for the last few years

 

Alex

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of the day, its buyers who have the last word on what is good and relevant here.  Since I started contributing here a month ago, shopping mall interiors and Venice sold the most and Steven Hawkins -none of that in my portfolio.   I suspect the 1 dollar figure is gross and I read it from photographers who sell through more than one agency. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

Mine is much less than that.

Mine is 0 at this point but I started loading recently.  Lets hope for the best.  I am glad to hear that some make decent sales as this entire business resides on trust. What happens to an image once loaded, we hope and pray that sales will occur and appear in our accounts.  i contributed to another stock agency for a while, until they merged with another distributor.  After that, the view counter stopped working.  If the view counter does not work, I doubt the sales one does and I stayed away from stock for many years as a result of that experience.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's very difficult to judge. Images that you upload this year (unless they are Live News), may well not license for many months to come, so what figure do you base this on?! Tricky. 

 

Based on *last year's* licenses and volume online here at the end of the year, then a rough estimate for me would be ~60c per image (gross). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, klod said:

Since I started contributing here a month ago, shopping mall interiors and Venice sold the most and Steven Hawkins -none of that in my portfolio.   I suspect the 1 dollar figure is gross and I read it from photographers who sell through more than one agency. 

 

You really can't make any generalizations based on a month. Some sales take longer than that just to be reported.

Edited by fotoDogue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, fotoDogue said:

 

You really can't make any generalizations based on a month. Some sales take longer than that just to be reported.

Your right, unless one submits photos directly related to development in the news.  I see this an an investment in the future and will assess based on annual sales.   I know that sales can sometimes take months before they show up in one's account.  I am glad that some here confirmed that the 1$ per year per photo is not too far fetched. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing that makes it difficult to accurately calculate is that you need to average portfolio size over the time span measured.  With an actively growing collection that then gets into a little guesswork.  Still, for what it's worth, I averaged about $1.22 per image (gross), $0.58 nett, over the last 12 months.  My only stock agency is Alamy, I haven't been doing it as long as many others - and the last quarter's figures show further improvement.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm at around $1.60 per image gross for last year and heading toward that this year, but take one lucky shot out of the equation and it's well under a buck. Arithmetic aside, the question I ask myself is how I can produce more lucky shots. What do these client folks want?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

That's true, but I think gross income is a more accurate indicator for "objective" measurement because the gross amounts are more consistent across the board -- i.e. NET income can vary a lot from contributor to contributor due the big difference between direct and distributor sales' commissions. Also, some contributors aren't even signed up for distribution. Their net income for the same number of images could look very different from the net of someone who makes a a lot of distributor sales.

 

But Isn't net the only sensible way to compare "return/image" from different agencies or licensing schemes though, as mentioned by the original post?

 

4 hours ago, klod said:

I read that the expected rate of return for a good, relevant portfolio to be around 1 US dollar per photo per year - regardless of the agency or license scheme

 

Quoting gross figures just gives an inflated impression of the return from stock photography and makes it sound more lucrative than it is. Or am I missing something?

 

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, DDoug said:

I'm at around $1.60 per image gross for last year and heading toward that this year, but take one lucky shot out of the equation and it's well under a buck. Arithmetic aside, the question I ask myself is how I can produce more lucky shots. What do these client folks want?

Your doing good at $1,60 that's above the average.   Alamy provide us with detailed stats of what folks actually buy, what keywords they used. In terms of strategic information does not get better.  I checked the portfolio of some of the photographers who sold 1 million on this site and one thing I retain is to put more shots of the same thing than what I use to consider appropriate.   They also have longer and more detailed captions than most.  One thing I know its not necessarily the best shot that sells. Its the one that shows in the first few pages as editors do not spend hours looking. How to get to the top of the page is the million dollar secret.  The algorithm takes into consideration several factors. I heard that in addition to tags and caption,  regular submissions are one element as well as size of portfolio. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

But Isn't net the only sensible way to compare "return/image" from different agencies or licensing schemes though, as mentioned by the original post?

 

 

Quoting gross figures just gives an inflated impression of the return from stock photography and makes it sound more lucrative than it is. Or am I missing something?

 

Mark

I would not buy equipment or incur expenses to produce stock photos.  I see it as a way to recycle thousands of photos on my drives. If you count the hours, cost of gear, etc, most would be in the red it think - unless you are one of the few members of the 100 000 or one million club.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

But Isn't net the only sensible way to compare "return/image" from different agencies or licensing schemes though, as mentioned by the original post?

 

Mark

 

From a subjective POV, net is the most sensible way to compare one's own revenues from different sources. However, there are fewer variables at work when quoting gross amounts, which make them better for more objective comparisons. That's the way it appears to me anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, losdemas said:

It's very difficult to judge. Images that you upload this year (unless they are Live News), may well not license for many months to come, so what figure do you base this on?! Tricky. 

 

Based on *last year's* licenses and volume online here at the end of the year, then a rough estimate for me would be ~60c per image (gross). 

Yes, tricky.  Volume seems to be a big part of the equation and the  more photos you have the longer you've been uploading,   Few photographers make a living just doing stock, but there are as I found out on some forums.  They claim the 1$ figure is the same with most agencies, even micro stock where prices are ridiculously low but volume compensates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, klod said:

I would not buy equipment or incur expenses to produce stock photos.  I see it as a way to recycle thousands of photos on my drives. If you count the hours, cost of gear, etc, most would be in the red it think - unless you are one of the few members of the 100 000 or one million club.

 

Sorry I should have been more precise. My net return from Alamy (i.e. gross sales value - Alamy and distributor commission) is $0.25-$0.30/image/yr.

I haven't deducted anything for my gear, travel, insurance or hours of effort etc.

 

Perhaps we should include them and then change this thread to what was your net loss per image. ;)

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

From a subjective POV, net is the most sensible way to compare one's own revenues from different sources. However, there are fewer variables at work when quoting gross amounts, which make them better for more objective comparisons. That's the way it appears to me anyway.

 

As the OP asked about the return per image, I think the opposite is true. The different rates of commission simply add variability on top of the photographer's return.

 

Mark 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now