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goals & milestones, istock »

[26 May 2010 | 6 Comments | ]
10,000 Downloads from iStockphoto

I started my adventure with microstock photography with submitting pictures to iStockphoto in November 2007 and, later, to other agencies. Today, I just reached the golden canister level at iStock. The picture below crossed that milestone of 10,000 downloads.

Nowadays, iStock dominates my microstock sales providing more than 40% of earnings with a portfolio of ~1300 pictures.

I am getting more upload slots, 25 instead of 20 per week, which is nice. I don’t think that I am really ready to upload more pictures to iStock, but the process will be more convenient. I am not sure if there are any other benefits of reaching the gold level in my case, i.e., not an exclusive photographer.

Some milestones in my iStock performance during last 2 and half years:

Related post:
Microstock Earnings – First 30 Months

earnings, goals & milestones, portfolio »

[9 May 2010 | 6 Comments | ]
Microstock Earnings – First 30 Months

Where are my monthly microstock earnings reports? I stopped posting them … December 2009 was the last one. I was busy shooting recently. And, those monthly graphs got a little bit boring. However, I am going to write some more general posts on trends in microstock photography from my own perspective.

I am trying to follow my microstock business model as described in my earlier posts: Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2. I treat microstock photography as a part time job (1/3 of my time = about 60 hours/month) and I tried to keep all related expenses below 30% of total sales.

How that business model works for me in practice? I ended the 2009 year with a little bit more than 40% in expenses due to a new Canon 5D/II camera with two lenses I bought by the end of the year. My expenses should go down to 30% when looking together at 2009 and the first half of 2010. However, I am not sure if my 30% model is sustainable in a long run unless I significantly increase my sales.

60 hours per month? Well, I am sure I am doing some overtime … I could record hours spent at my home table top studio and in front of a computer, but it would be difficult to clearly separate my part time microstock photography from pictures shot just for fun during paddling or hiking (some of them are ending up in my microstock portfolio).

I gathered 30 months of data including sales estimates for May 2010. So, let’s look at some trends.

goals & milestones »

[27 Nov 2009 | 2 Comments | ]
2 Years Ago: Starting Microstock Photography

Two years ago in the middle of November 2007 I started my adventure with microstock photography by submitting a few pictures to iStockphoto, and then to Dreamstime, Fotolio, 123RF and Bigstockphoto. It took me much longer to get into Shutterstock (4 attempts) and StockXpert (5 attempts).

On November 28th, 2007 I got my first sale at iStock just 8 days after uploading this picture of a hot air balloon shot a few weeks earlier at the Hot Air Balloon Harvest in Greeley, Colorado.

Here are my first two posts related to microstock (I moved them from the old blog):
Starting Microstock Photography
Polaroid Transfers for Microstock?

These two years passed really fast …

earnings, goals & milestones »

[14 Nov 2009 | 9 Comments | ]
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 2

First part of this article was easy. I simply decided that I would measure productivity of my portfolio in reference to the total number of pictures I have produced for microstock. These cover rejects, pictures not submitted and some multiple versions, so they represent my entire work for microstock including learning process and some failed projects.

To proceed further I need make some assumptions and guess estimates.

After two years of microstock photography I consider myself the part-timer. I have half time in a regular job and some other streams of income in a self employed mode. It means that I can share different expenses between my self employed activities. I am not planning to work a full time for microstock.

I do not keep records of my hours spent on microstock. That wouldn’t be fun … My estimate is that I am working about 60 hours per month, i.e., 1/3 of my time. I am doing this quite regularly shooting a 3-4 times per weeks and processing and submitting a few pictures almost every day. No special shooting campaigns or “power weeks.”

I am analyzing here 23 months from December 2007 to October 2009. To build a portfolio of 1748 pictures I needed 1380 hours. It results in about 46 minutes per picture.

After months of experimentations my stock photography is focusing now on a table top subjects and concepts in my home office/studio. I enjoy a lot of outdoor activities (paddling, hiking, biking) usually with a camera. However, sales of my “recreational” pictures are too low to justify counting these trips into expenses and labor time related to microstock. However, I take into account time needed to process these outdoor pictures for microstock submissions.

Some short trips are planned specifically for microstock shooting. It is sad that shooting a local sewage outlet is much more profitable from microstock perspective than visiting Rocky Mountain National Park or other scenic destinations in Colorado where I live.

earnings, featured, goals & milestones »

[8 Nov 2009 | 14 Comments | ]
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1

Is it just a hobby providing a supplemental income or business? Am I really making any money here?

earnings, goals & milestones, portfolio »

[27 Jun 2009 | One Comment | ]
How to Evaluate Performance of My Microstock Portfolio?

After 18 months I have my portfolios in 8 agencies with some regular earnings. These portfolios differ in size and, also, in content. The differences will grow in time. I expect to to have two times more pictures with SS than IS soon.

goals & milestones, other stocks »

[31 Oct 2008 | Comments Off on 5 Months and a Scoop of Muesli to Reach First Payment from StockXpert | ]
5 Months and a Scoop of Muesli to Reach First Payment from StockXpert

In my previous post I presented the scoop project in my microstock photography.
It happens that one of these pictures, a scoop of my favorite cereal, pepita-papaya muesli, just helped me to reach the first $50 payment from StockXpert.

I had a late start with StockXpert and started to sell pictures in that microstock site in May. This is what I wrote in my April 2008 earnings report:

A few days ago I got accepted by StockXpert after 4 failed applications “At the moment we are not looking for …

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.

goals & milestones, istock »

[22 Mar 2008 | Comments Off on First $100 Earnings from My iStockphoto Portfolio | ]

You can find many enthusiastic articles on the web “How to make a few extra bucks from microstock photography.” It is not so difficult to sell a few pictures and make a few dollars, but to get paid any money from this business is a different story. You need to reach a certain earnings balance to receive a payment. This minimum varies between $30 and $100 in different agencies

goals & milestones, istock »

[4 Mar 2008 | Comments Off on 100 Images and $50 Earnings from My iStockPhoto Portfolio | ]

I am celebrating a little milestone in a growth of my iStockPhoto portfolio today.

I just had my 100th picture accepted there. And, also today, I reached $50.39 earnings from iStock portfolio after 3 months on-line. So, I can expect reaching the first payment limit of $100 in a couple of months. I have more than 100 images with other microstock agencies (Fotolia, 123RF, Big Stock Photo and Lucky Oliver), but with much lower earnings. I cannot even predict when I may reach payoff limits there yet.

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