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How to Evaluate Performance of My Microstock Portfolio?

27 June 2009 One Comment

I started my microstock photography in the end of the 2007 with iStockPhoto followed by a few other agencies (Fotolia, Dreamstime, BigStockPhoto, 123RF). 4 months later I was accepted by Shutterstock, and after another couple of months by StockXpert. This year I started submitting pictures to CanStockPhoto.

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.

How to evaluate performance of my microstock pictures?

You can derive different statistics like the return per image (RPI) for each microstock agency. Some photographers (e.g., Lee Torrens in Microstock Diaries monthly earnings reports) are adding the statistics from different sites together, but this is not formally correct. I was trying to use as a reference in these calculation an “average size” of my microstok portfolio, i.e, a number of files averaged from all working portfolios. However, it is also not such a good idea due to growing differences between my portfolios at different agencies.

Finally, I have figured this out. It doesn’t matter what pictures I got accepted by different sites. These portfolios will be changing. Microstock agencies will be changing. What matters is only what I produce for microstock and how much of efforts I am putting into it.

So, I will be using the size of my entire microstock portfolio, i.e., number of all files I produced for microstock for my future statistical analysis. It may be not comparable with performance results posted by other photographers, but it should be most useful for me.

The graph above (upper panel) shows a number of my pictures at different microstock agencies. The most important is the gray line – a total number of my microstock pictures. I just counted all processed jpg files in my Lightroom monthly folders. It includes some pictures which were not submitted to any agency for some reasons and also duplicates. I may have more than one copy of the same picture when I am resubmitting one with corrections.

The lower graph panel shows my monthly additions to the microstock portfolio. During first couple of months I was still submitting my old pictures, then my monthly additions stabilized at about 50-60 pictures/month (somewhat related to iStock uploading limits). In September 2008 I doubled my efforts trying to produce 100 microstock pictures every month. And, so far, my earnings curve responds to these efforts.

Next, I will try to look at my RPI …

Related posts: A Reverse Look at Microstock Sales from My iStock and Shutterstock Portfolios>/a>

My latest stock photos on Dreamstime Stock Photography Community

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