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[10 Jun 2012 | One Comment | ]
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 | No Comment | ]
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.

earnings, featured, istock, portfolio, shutterstock »

[11 Nov 2010 | 4 Comments | ]
Earnings from Microstock Photography – 3 Year Trends

My adventure with microstock photography started in November 2007. 3 years in microstock is an occasion for a statistical summary.