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dreamstime, earnings, portfolio, shutterstock »

[10 Jun 2012 | 4 Comments | ]
Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners

I have been submitting pictures to multiple microstock agencies for the last 4.5 years. Nowadays, microstock photography is my major source of income, but I don’t look at sale statistics too often. I just count and record my monthly payouts. Nevertheless, it is useful to check some trends time to time and try to figure out where this industry is going from the perspective of my portfolio. I use RPI (return per image) for this purpose.

To derive the total RPI for my portfolio I am using the total number of pictures prepared for microstock. This way I can use RPI to compare performance of different agencies. I can add RPIs from different agencies since the denominator, i.e., number of pictures, is the same.

This is a general picture showing the RPI for the entire portfolio and how much different groups of agencies contribute to this statistics:
(1) Top 3: iStockphoto, Shutterstock and Dreamline. In my previous posts I used to have top 4, but Fotolia dropped down as it is obvious from Figure 3.
(2) Middle tier: 7 agencies with regular payouts (Fotolia, 123RF, BigStock, CanStock, Veer, DepositPhoto and PhotoDune).
(3) Low earners with low and occasional sales. I am actively uploading to sites with fast submission process like Graphic Leftovers, Yay, FeaturePics, iSign, Zoonar.
Is my total RPI still growing or just reaching plateau? I guess I will learn after summer months.

RPI for my 3 top agencies. IS and SS are recently changing places. It looks like the performance of IS is not going down anymore. Unfortunately, DT is experiencing a stagnation or worse. I have the lowest number of pictures from my portfolio with DT due to their infamous “too similar pictures” policy.

Finally, middle tier agencies. The fall of Fotolia during last one and half year is really spectacular in terms of RPI. 123RF takes the first place in this group. DepositPhotos shows a nice growth. Generally, the middle tier agencies are smoothing jumps in the performance of major players and their contribution is growing.

I am not going to analyze my low earners – not enough sales data for any reliable statistics.

dreamstime, istock, portfolio, shutterstock »

[20 Nov 2010 | Comments Off on Growth of My Microstock Portfolio in 4 Top Agencies | ]
Growth of My Microstock Portfolio in 4 Top Agencies

This is a supplement to the previous posts discussing trends in 3 years of my microstock earnings and contributions from different agencies.

Let’s look at the growth of my portfolio in iStockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Fotolia. These are my 4 top microstock performers providing 88% of income. I submit pictures regularly preparing between 50 and 100 new files each month.

The gray line above represents a number of all pictures (jpg) produced for microstock including rejects, multiple versions and files which were not submitted. So, this is a measure of my work and efforts rather than a number of files available for stock. I used that number as a reference to derive RPI (return per image).

After 3 years I have quite different portfolios in various agencies. Shutterstock has the highest number of my pictures (2269 by the end of October 2010). Nowadays they accepted almost all pictures. Dreamstime with 1,761 files takes the 2nd place. However, my DT portfolio is growing slower during last year than in other agencies due to their review policy (“too many similar pictures”).

My numbers for IS (1628) and Fotolia (1614) look quite similar, but those portfolio are quite different. FT accepts most pictures rejected by DT. My landscape and industrial pictures rejected by FT are usually selling in IS. It is interesting that the IS portfolio contains some unique pictures which were not accepted by SS, DT or FT.

dreamstime, earnings, istock, portfolio »

[24 Jul 2010 | 2 Comments | ]
Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio

iStockphoto, ShutterStock, Dreamstime and Fotolia are considered nowadays a Big 4 among microstock agencies. Indeed, they bring together between 80 and 90% of my earnings from microstock photography. After 32 months of submitting the size and content of my portfolio at different agencies are quite different: iStock – 1425 pictures, Shutterstock – 2024, Dreamstime – 1586, Fotolia – 1392.

The above graph show percentage of my earnings from the Big 4 agencies and other mictostock sites during last 2.5 years. I plotted quarterly values to smooth out month to month fluctuations.

I started to submit my pictures to iStock in November 2007 and that agency dominated my earnings until I got accepted by Shutterstock. Then, Shutterstock took a lead for a year so. In the beginning of 2009 my sales at iStock started to grow and today iStock in my number 1 with 40-50% of all microstock earnings. Is it a permanent trend? My sales at iStock are slowing down despite of reaching a gold level which allows me to submit more pictures.

Dreamstime is holding number 3 in my microstock earnings with a pretty steady contribution of about 10%. The number 4, Fotolia, shows some growth recently.

All remaining microstock agencies contribute currently about 12% to my income. I can divide them into two groups: (1) agencies with regular payouts every month or every second month (BigStock, 123RF, CanStockPhoto, Panther Media) and (2) agencies where need several months or a year to reach payout level (Veer, FeaturePics, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers).

dreamstime, earnings, other stocks, portfolio »

[1 Aug 2009 | 3 Comments | ]
Summertime! Earnings from Microstock Photography in July 2009

Summertime and microstock sales are slow. I added 61 new pictures to my portfolio in July, but my earnings dropped down by 9%. My RPI was down from 0.70$/image to 0.61. This is my total RPI derived using the number of all my pictures prepared for microstock (not pictures accepted in any particular agency).

IS continued to climb and is definitely my #1 earner. DT was also growing. SXP stayed at the same level despite of uncertain future of that agency. Earnings from SS with only one EL dropped down by 25%. FT experienced even more dramatic decrease in earnings.

July was my 20th month in microstock with $7215 of total earnings.

This month my earning report is shorter than usual since I am just leaving for a week of vacations away of computer and submissions to microstock. I will be paddling in the Missouri River 340 race – 360 miles nonstop from Kansas City to St Charles. This year I am taking Surfrigger, my outrigger canoe, for the race.

I will try to shoot some travel oriented pictures for stock when driving from Colorado across Kansas to Missouri and back. However, during the race I will have only my “paddling” camera, waterproof Pentax Optio W30, so I would be shooting mostly for my Paddling with a Camera blog.

13 Months of Microstock Photography Earnings: June | July | August |September | October | November | December | 2009 January | February | March | April | May | June

dreamstime »

[9 Jul 2009 | 12 Comments | ]
1000 Pictures in My Dreamstime Portfolio

Yesterday, I reached 1000 pictures in my Dreamstime portfolio with this image of green peas from my garden. It feels like just a few days ago I was shooting quite different picture of the same peas. A stormy spring in Colorado with a lot of hail was not very kind for my garden.

Today, I requested my 7th payout from Dreamstime, so it looks like this microstock agency is working pretty well for me. It is on the third position in earnings after iStock and Shutterstock.

However, the growth of my Dreamstime portfolio slowed down during last few months. My effective acceptance rate dropped down below 50%, i.e., I am submitting selected pictures only, and they take only 64% from them. “Too many shots of the same item or from the same series” is the rejection theme. It seems that for some inspectors the main picture subject is not important. The same prop (e.g., my wooden scoop) may be a reason for a rejection.

Here is how my Dreamstime portfolio compares to some other microstock sites. ShutterStock accepts almost everything what I submit. The size of my iStock portfolio is kept down by their uploading limits, but my acceptance rate stays the same at 75-80%. My Fotolia portfolio is also quite small due to rather low acceptance ratio. It used to be really low last year, but improved during recent months.

dreamstime, goals & milestones »

[12 Sep 2008 | Comments Off on 9 Months and Tablespoon of Sunflower Seeds to Reach Payment from Dreamstime | ]
9 Months and Tablespoon of Sunflower Seeds to Reach Payment from Dreamstime

I needed 9 months to reach my first payment from Dreamstime.

The $100 line was crossed by this picture of sunflower seeds on a tablespoon. About $10 in this amount came from referrals. So, if you like to join Dreamstime you are more than welcome to use my referral link.