Pixels Away microstock http://microstock.pixelsaway.com microstock photography Sun, 11 May 2014 17:36:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 5 Years in Microstock Photography – Return Per Image Trends http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/5-years-in-microstock-photography-return-per-image-trends/ Wed, 09 Jan 2013 20:13:38 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1489

5 years in microstock photography! It went so fast. I started submitting to iStockphoto and then to other agencies in November of 2007. Perhaps, it’s time for some reflections. I will start with updating my selling statistics.

Return per Image (RPI)

I calculate RPI in reference to the total number of images in my microstock portfolio, so I can add RPIs from different agencies and examine the total RPI.

Any statistics for 2008, my first full year in microstock, are not reliable due to a small portfolio. However, next three years show systematic increase of RPI. After a good first half of 2012, my sales started to slow down. RPI in the second half of 2012 is comparable with the stats of 2011. The end of growth?

I keep producing and uploading new pictures more or less at the same rate over the last 3 years. My income from microstock photography is still growing from year to year. However, any further growth will be more difficult. Let’s look at RPI from individual stock agencies.

This graph shows the total RPI, and the same stats from my 3 main agencies (iStockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime) and all other agencies – “others”. Plots are smoothed (5 month running average) to focus on long term trends.

RPI from iStock started to go downhill about 3 years ago, but during 2012 stabilized at level comparable to the RPI from Shutterstock. During the same time Shutterstock RPI was growing to reach plateau last year. Dreamstime shows a slow decline for the last 1.5 year. A part of my portfolio uploaded to Dreamstime is relatively small (~56%) due to their infamous “too similar pictures” policy. I have 73% and 85% of my portfolio at iStockphoto and Shuttertock accordingly.

RPI from all “other” agencies covering middle and low earners is still growing except the last year. Some years ago, Fotolia was my 4th top microstock agency, but currently dropped down below earnings from 123RF and Depositphotos, so I have now only the big 3.

How microstock affected my life and photography? More reflections in incoming posts.

Related posts:
Return per Image from Microstock Photography – Year by Year Comparison
Payout Structure from Microstock Agencies in 2012
Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners
Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends ]]> Return per Image from Microstock Photography – Year by Year Comparison http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-from-microstock-photography-year-by-year-comparison/ http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-from-microstock-photography-year-by-year-comparison/#comments Sat, 18 Aug 2012 23:41:56 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1472 Here is an update and another view of Return per Image (RPI) from my microstock photography. I calculate RPI in reference to the total number of images in my microstock portfolio, so I can add RPIs from different agencies and present a total RPI here.

I started microstock photography in the end of 2007 year. Any statistics for 2008, my first full year in microstock, are not reliable due to a small portfolio. However, next three years show systematic increase of RPII. Right now in July/August of 2012, my RPI experiences a serious summer dip. Will it recover? Will it go up?

During recent months I practically worked full time on microstock. Now, I am getting busy with other projects not related to photography. My microstock will be running mostly on autopilot with very limited submission of mew pictures for the next half of year or so. It will be interesting to check how my RPI will look in 2013.

Related posts: Payout Structure from Microstock Agencies in 2012 Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends Return Per Image (RPI) from My Microstock Portfolio – 3 Year Trends]]>

Here is an update and another view of Return per Image (RPI) from my microstock photography. I calculate RPI in reference to the total number of images in my microstock portfolio, so I can add RPIs from different agencies and present a total RPI here.

I started microstock photography in the end of 2007 year. Any statistics for 2008, my first full year in microstock, are not reliable due to a small portfolio. However, next three years show systematic increase of RPII. Right now in July/August of 2012, my RPI experiences a serious summer dip. Will it recover? Will it go up?

During recent months I practically worked full time on microstock. Now, I am getting busy with other projects not related to photography. My microstock will be running mostly on autopilot with very limited submission of mew pictures for the next half of year or so. It will be interesting to check how my RPI will look in 2013.

Related posts:
Payout Structure from Microstock Agencies in 2012
Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners
Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends
Return Per Image (RPI) from My Microstock Portfolio – 3 Year Trends ]]> http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-from-microstock-photography-year-by-year-comparison/feed/ 2 How Much Am I Paid for a Picture Download from Microstock? http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/how-much-am-i-paid-for-a-picture-download-from-microstock/ Sun, 08 Jul 2012 17:15:38 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1450 After analyzing the long term trends in RPI (return per image) from my microstock portfolio I am looking now how much I am paid for a single picture download - RPD (return per download). It is just one factor affecting RPI and total earnings. Do higher image prices affect a volume of sales? Do they improve or not total earnings? These are open questions.

I derived $/download statistics for my 6 top microstock agencies (as in 2012). I smoothed monthly data from 4.5 years (9 months running average - thick lines) since I am interested in long term trends. However, I plotted original data (thin lines) for two agencies, iStockphoto and Shutterstock, to give you a sens of month to month variability (much higher at IS than SS). I included all types of licenses.

iStockphoto

Going up and down around $1/download. High month to month variability.

Shutterstock

Going slowly up, but maximum was in the second half of the last year when I got unusually high number of extended licenses. Currently ~$0.66/download.]]>

After analyzing the long term trends in RPI (return per image) from my microstock portfolio I am looking now how much I am paid for a single picture download – RPD (return per download). It is just one factor affecting RPI and total earnings. Do higher image prices affect a volume of sales? Do they improve or not total earnings? These are open questions.

I derived $/download statistics for my 6 top microstock agencies (as in 2012). I smoothed monthly data from 4.5 years (9 months running average – thick lines) since I am interested in long term trends. However, I plotted original data (thin lines) for two agencies, iStockphoto and Shutterstock, to give you a sens of month to month variability (much higher at IS than SS). I included all types of licenses.

iStockphoto

Going up and down around $1/download. High month to month variability.

Shutterstock

Going slowly up, but maximum was in the second half of the last year when I got unusually high number of extended licenses. Currently ~$0.66/download.

Dreamstime

Going up. Currently ~$1.75. It is consistent with their price structure where the picture price increases with a number of downloads. Also, I am uploading only limited number of new pictures due to their “similar pictures” policy. My earnings from DT are going down recently.

123RF

No clear long term trend, but going down during the last year.

Fotolia

Long term downhill trend! Earning are going downhill too.

Depositphotos

Steady – mostly subscription sales. My earning are growing.

Do you have similar values from your microstock portfolio?

Related Posts:

Payout Structure from Microstock Agencies in 2012
Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners
Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers, Smugmug

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Payout Structure from Microstock Agencies in 2012 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/payout-structure-from-microstock-agencies-in-2012/ Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:29:23 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1433 In the two previous posts I looked at trends in RPI (return per image) from my microstock portfolio. Now, let's look at the payout structure, i.e., how much (in %) of actual money is coming from different stock sites. I calculated it for the first half of 2012 (including payouts scheduled until middle of July).

Top 3: Shutterstock, iStockphoto and Dreamstime

Most of my microstock income is coming this year from Shutterstock. iStockphoto used to be my leader for several years. Dreamstime is slowly loosing ground in the top 3 group. It is the agency with the smallest part of my microstock portfolio online.

Middle Tier: 123R, Fotolia, DepositPhoto, BigStock, CanStock, Veer, and PhotoDune

7 agencies with regular payouts. It looks like Zoonar is also falling into this group. Earnings and payouts from Zoonar may be high, but are very irregular. Fotolia is going downhill and, recently, is behind Depositphotos.

Low Earners

with low and occasional sales. I am actively uploading to sites with fast submission process. Alamy is included here. I started to upload pictures to Alamy 6 months ago and have only about half of my microstock portfolio and a few RM pictures there. Actually, my uncleared balance at Alamy is much higher than payouts so far. I also keep my portfolio at Smugmug. In the second year, the sales are finally covering hosting fees of the pro account.

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In the two previous posts I looked at trends in RPI (return per image) from my microstock portfolio. Now, let’s look at the payout structure, i.e., how much (in %) of actual money is coming from different stock sites. I calculated it for the first half of 2012 (including payouts scheduled until middle of July).

Top 3: Shutterstock, iStockphoto and Dreamstime

Most of my microstock income is coming this year from Shutterstock. iStockphoto used to be my leader for several years. Dreamstime is slowly loosing ground in the top 3 group. It is the agency with the smallest part of my microstock portfolio online.

Middle Tier: 123R, Fotolia, DepositPhoto, BigStock, CanStock, Veer, and PhotoDune

7 agencies with regular payouts. It looks like Zoonar is also falling into this group. Earnings and payouts from Zoonar may be high, but are very irregular. Fotolia is going downhill and, recently, is behind Depositphotos.

Low Earners

with low and occasional sales. I am actively uploading to sites with fast submission process. Alamy is included here. I started to upload pictures to Alamy 6 months ago and have only about half of my microstock portfolio and a few RM pictures there. Actually, my uncleared balance at Alamy is much higher than payouts so far. I also keep my portfolio at Smugmug. In the second year, the sales are finally covering hosting fees of the pro account.

Related Posts:

Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners
Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers, Smugmug

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Return Per Image (RPI) from Microstock Photography – Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Mid/Low Earners http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-rpi-from-microstock-photography-istockphoto-shutterstock-dreamstime-and-midlow-earners/ http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-rpi-from-microstock-photography-istockphoto-shutterstock-dreamstime-and-midlow-earners/#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2012 23:42:41 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1417 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.

]]>

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.



Figure 1. Return per Image for the entire portfolio, top 3 earners, mid tier and low tier agencies. Thick black and color lines are 5 month running averages showing trends while thin gray lines show month to month variability.

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.



Figure 2. Return per Image for my 3 top earners: iStockphoto, Shutterstock and Dreamline. Thick black and color lines are 5 month running averages showing trends while thin gray lines show month to month variability.

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.



Figure 3. Return per Image for my mid tier agencies: Fotolia, 123RF, BigStock, CanStock, Veer, DepositPhoto and PhotoDune (only 5 month running averages are shown).

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.

Related posts:
Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends
Return Per Image (RPI) from My Microstock Portfolio – 3 Year Trends
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers ]]> http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-rpi-from-microstock-photography-istockphoto-shutterstock-dreamstime-and-midlow-earners/feed/ 4 Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/microstock-portfolio-return-per-image-rpi-2009-2011-trends/ http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/microstock-portfolio-return-per-image-rpi-2009-2011-trends/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 18:12:45 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1398 In June 2011 I posted 3 year trends in return per image (RPI) from my microstock portfolio. How it looks 6 month later? Here is an update for 2009-2011 years.

How RPI is calculated

Calculating RPI is straightforward for a single agency - just divide earnings from sales by the number of pictures in your portfolio there for a given time period, e.g., a month. It is getting more complicated when you are submitting pictures to multiple agencies. You cannot calculate RPI separately for each agency and then add those numbers together. That would be mathematically incorrect. You need to use the same number of pictures as reference for each agency, e.g., the average size of your portfolio.

I am submitting pictures to multiple microstock agencies. 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. My RPI depends obviously on the acceptance rate. So, the agency, which regularly rejects my pictures as too similar or duplicates, has a lower RPI in my system. The "similarity" issue is a major problem in the case of Dreamstime and to a much lower degree of iStockphoto.

After 4 years of my microstock adventure I have around 3800 pictures in my stock portfolio: 68% in iStockphoto, 83% in Shutterstock, 59% in Dreamstime and 66% Fotolia counting just the 4 top agencies. I do not analyze separately other agencies with lower sales, instead I am looking at total sales from them as "others" (Bigstock, 123RF, Canstock, Veer, Graphic Leftovers, Deposit Photos, PhotoDune, Panther Media, StockFresh, FeaturePics, Yay).

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In June 2011 I posted 3 year trends in return per image (RPI) from my microstock portfolio. How it looks 6 month later? Here is an update for 2009-2011 years.

How RPI is calculated

Calculating RPI is straightforward for a single agency – just divide earnings from sales by the number of pictures in your portfolio there for a given time period, e.g., a month. It is getting more complicated when you are submitting pictures to multiple agencies. You cannot calculate RPI separately for each agency and then add those numbers together. That would be mathematically incorrect. You need to use the same number of pictures as reference for each agency, e.g., the average size of your portfolio.

I am submitting pictures to multiple microstock agencies. 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. My RPI depends obviously on the acceptance rate. So, the agency, which regularly rejects my pictures as too similar or duplicates, has a lower RPI in my system. The “similarity” issue is a major problem in the case of Dreamstime and to a much lower degree of iStockphoto.

After 4 years of my microstock adventure I have around 3800 pictures in my stock portfolio: 68% in iStockphoto, 83% in Shutterstock, 59% in Dreamstime and 66% Fotolia counting just the 4 top agencies. I do not analyze separately other agencies with lower sales, instead I am looking at total sales from them as “others” (Bigstock, 123RF, Canstock, Veer, Graphic Leftovers, Deposit Photos, PhotoDune, Panther Media, StockFresh, FeaturePics, Yay).

The graph above shows the total RPI for my microstock portfolio and RPI for IS, SS, DT, FT and other agencies for the 3 year periods from 2009 to 2011. Thin lines represent monthly RPI, while thick lines are 5 month running averages to make trends more visible. I scaled values for each month to a 30 day month to eliminate influence of a month length.

December 2011 was pretty bad for my microstock sales, but generally the total RPI still shows a growing trend. iStock is going downhill while Shuttertock takes a leading position in my microstock income. Dreamstime shows signs of stagnation. Fotolia RPI is declining and, soon, I may have to replace FT in my big 4 by one of “other” agencies. 123RF, Veer, DepositPhotos, PhotoDune?

Related posts:
Return Per Image (RPI) from My Microstock Portfolio – 3 Year Trends
Growth of My Microstock Portfolio in 4 Top Agencies
Earnings from Microstock Photography – 3 Year Trends
Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers

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http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/microstock-portfolio-return-per-image-rpi-2009-2011-trends/feed/ 3
Return Per Image (RPI) from My Microstock Portfolio – 3 Year Trends http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/return-per-image-rpi-from-my-microstock-portfolio-3-year-trends/ Sun, 12 Jun 2011 16:46:11 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1357 RPI (Return per Image) is potentially very useful statistics for a stock photography portfolio. However, there is a lot of controversy around it. Some microstock contributor consider RPI completely worthless. Others are using to predict future earnings from microstock or to estimate how many pictures they need to add to a portfolio to reach a certain level of earnings. There is also a common belief that RPI has to go down with a growing portfolio.

RPI as any other statistics to be meaningful must be based on a sufficient number of data. So, it is not a really reliable for a small portfolio or for an agency with low sales. There is certain irony here, since it would be the most useful when we just starting submitting to microstock.

Calculating RPI is straightforward for a single agency - just divide earnings from sales by the number of pictures in your portfolio there for a given time period, e.g., a month. It is getting more complicated when you are submitting pictures to multiple agencies. You cannot calculate RPI separately for each agency and then add those numbers together. That would be mathematically incorrect. You need to use the same number of pictures for each agency, e.g., the average size of your portfolio.

To derive the total RPI for my portfolio I am using the total number of pictures prepared for microstock. After 3.5 years of my microstock adventure I have around 3400 pictures in my stock portfolio: 64% in iStockphoto, 82% in Shutterstock, 60% in Dreamstime and 64% Fotolia counting just the 4 top agencies. I do not analyze separately other agencies with lower sales, instead I am looking at total sales from them as "others" (Bigstock, 123RF, Canstock, Veer, Graphic Letfovers, Deposit Photos, Panther Media, StockFresh, FeaturePics)

]]>

RPI (Return per Image) is potentially very useful statistics for a stock photography portfolio. However, there is a lot of controversy around it. Some microstock contributor consider RPI completely worthless. Others are using to predict future earnings from microstock or to estimate how many pictures they need to add to a portfolio to reach a certain level of earnings. There is also a common belief that RPI has to go down with a growing portfolio.

RPI as any other statistics to be meaningful must be based on a sufficient number of data. So, it is not a really reliable for a small portfolio or for an agency with low sales. There is certain irony here, since it would be the most useful when we just starting submitting to microstock.

Calculating RPI is straightforward for a single agency – just divide earnings from sales by the number of pictures in your portfolio there for a given time period, e.g., a month. It is getting more complicated when you are submitting pictures to multiple agencies. You cannot calculate RPI separately for each agency and then add those numbers together. That would be mathematically incorrect. You need to use the same number of pictures for each agency, e.g., the average size of your portfolio.

To derive the total RPI for my portfolio I am using the total number of pictures prepared for microstock. After 3.5 years of my microstock adventure I have around 3400 pictures in my stock portfolio: 64% in iStockphoto, 82% in Shutterstock, 60% in Dreamstime and 64% Fotolia counting just the 4 top agencies. I do not analyze separately other agencies with lower sales, instead I am looking at total sales from them as “others” (Bigstock, 123RF, Canstock, Veer, Graphic Letfovers, Deposit Photos, Panther Media, StockFresh, FeaturePics)


Return Per Image (RPI) in microstock

The graph above shows the total RPI for my microstock portfolio and RPI for IS, SS, DT, FT and other agencies for the last 3.5 year. Thin lines represent monthly RPI, while thick lines are 5 month running averages to make trends more visible. I scaled values for each month to a 30 day month to eliminate influence of a month length. It also allows me to show data for a partial month (11 days of June 2011).

I wouldn’t pay too much attention for my first year with turbulent changes in RPI. It just proofs my point that it is difficult to make any predictions based on RPI derived from a small portfolio.

RPI for DT, FT and others are quite low, but they show some growth. Graphs for IS and SS which are major players in my microstock earnings are more interesting. During 2008/2009 I had a higher RPI from SS than IS, then IS took a leading position. Unfortunately, IS is experiencing clear downhill trend for a last year or so. It would be even much worse without the recently introduced photo+ collection. RPI for SS started to grow, but it still cannot catch IS.

My overall RPI (black line) is still growing (after the initial year), but can I use it to make any predictions? After filtering out the monthly variations this trend is pretty smooth. That’s somewhat encouraging in the current situation of microstock industry with many bad changes for contributors.

RPI doesn’t show the entire story. It ignores expenses and labor used to create images. In the past I made some attempts to include these in my statistics, estimating even my hourly rate. However, it is not easy, especially, when microstock photography is only my part time job. There is no problem with estimating expenses, at least, on annual basis since they are calculated for tax purposes anyway, but I am not so ready to record my time spent on photography.

Related posts:
6 months later UPDATE: Microstock Portfolio Return Per Image (RPI) – 2009-2011 Trends
Growth of My Microstock Portfolio in 4 Top Agencies
Earnings from Microstock Photography – 3 Year Trends
Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers

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Growth of My Microstock Portfolio in 4 Top Agencies http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/growth-of-my-microstock-portfolio-in-4-top-agencies/ Sat, 20 Nov 2010 18:28:33 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1336 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.

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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.

A year ago, my IS portfolio was the smallest one, but now it passed already FT, and will, probably catch the DT portfolio. The current 30 images/week upload limit at IS is usually more than I can prepare for submission.

Related posts:
Earnings from Microstock Photography – 3 Year Trends
Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers

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Earnings from Microstock Photography – 3 Year Trends http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/earnings-from-microstock-photography-3-year-trends/ http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/earnings-from-microstock-photography-3-year-trends/#comments Thu, 11 Nov 2010 17:31:27 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1257

My adventure with microstock photography started in November 2007. For the first two years I used to report my monthly earnings from microstock in this blog. Nowadays, I am less obsessed with my statistics focusing more on producing new pictures. However, my 3 years in microstock is an occasion for a statistical summary.

Total Earnings and Portfolio Additions

microstock photography earnings trends

I am submitting my pictures to 12 microstock agencies. 88% of my income is coming from the top 4: Istockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Fotolia (see Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio).

Above, I am showing my total monthly earnings from all agencies (thick yellow line – left axis) and monthly addition to my portfolio (gray bars – right axis) over the span of last 3 years. I divided growth of my earnings into three periods and added trends into my graph (linear approximation).

1st year (green line). Building my portfolio. Slow, but consistent, growth of earnings $19/month.
2nd year (blue line). More rapid growth of my earnings at $96/month. The only time period where I can see the response of my earnings to the increased number of pictures submitted.
3rd year (red line).. Slowing down … $50/month. More month to month fluctuations.

Let’s look at trends in the individual microstock agencies (the same scale is used in the graphs below).

iStockphoto

istock earnings trend

Portfolio: 1628 files. iStock was my first microstock agency. Submissions used to be restricted by a weekly upload limit. However, recently they increased that limit. At the same time I reached a gold canister level. So, right now, 30 images/week is usually more than I can prepare for submission. Acceptance rate ~75%.

I experienced a rapid growth of sales at iStock during 2009. Recent earnings are fluctuating, but are still growing. iStock provides 40-50% of my microstock income.

My sale commission at iStock will drop from 20% to 18% in January 2011 and, generally, perspectives for an independent contributor don’t look great there.

Shutterstock

shutterstock earnings trends

Portfolio: 2269 files. I entered Shutterstock relatively late. It took me 4 attempts to get accepted. The first year was great and SS was my top earner for a longer while. During the last 1.5 year my earnings are fluctuating from month to month, but still shows a slow growth and are somewhat responding to the number of uploaded pictures. My portfolio at SS is the largest among the top 4 agencies. Almost all my pictures are getting accepted.

Dreamstime

dreamstime earnings trends


Portfolio: 1,761 files. My earnings are growing with some fluctuations and Dreamstime provides around 10% of my total microstock earnings. However, I don’t really expect to increase that percentage. My overall acceptance rate is about 73%, but my effective acceptance rate during last year is only 50-60%. Too many photos/illustrations on the same subject or from the same series. or Image subject is too specific or niche-oriented are popular rejection reasons. I don’t submit all my pictures to DT any more. I feel that I am losing a lot of potential sales at DT.

Fotolia

fotolia earnings trends


Portfolio: 1614 files. FT provides about 7-8% of my microstock earnings. A slow growth. Overall acceptance rate ~63%. It seems to be improving recently. I don’t think it is due to any change in FT review policy. I simply submit more product and concept images and less landscape and nature ones. FT accepts all DT rejects.

Of course, this just one side of my microstock photography business – earnings from sales. Expenses and my labor time is another side. In previous posts I discussed a business model I am trying to implement. It may be time to review it.

What’s next?

Further growth? Reaching plateau? Switching to another activity? Looking for some more meaningful photography projects?

Can I use my numbers to make any predictions of my future microstock earnings? So far, I have seen a rather smooth growth of my income.

Related posts:
Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers

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Big 4 in My Microstock Portfolio http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/big-4-in-my-microstock-portfolio/ http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/big-4-in-my-microstock-portfolio/#comments Sat, 24 Jul 2010 17:48:44 +0000 http://microstock.pixelsaway.com/?p=1247 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).

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microstock photography earnings

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).

In my next post I will analyze the trends in performance of the Big 4 agencies. Is it possible to predict my income from the microstock business?

Related posts:
10,000 Downloads from iStockphoto
Microstock Earnings – First 30 Months
Am I Really Making Money from Microstock Photography ? Part 1 and Part 2
My microstock referral links for photographers:
Dreamstime, ShutterStock, BigStockPhoto, 123RF, FeaturePics, Panthermedia, CanStockPhoto, DepositPhotos, Graphic Leftovers

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