Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Dinesh Hukmani

10,000 image portfolio April 2018 to August 2020

Recommended Posts

15 minutes ago, Doug Jensen said:

I don't rely on stock for money either, it is just pocket change.  But I think you are crazy to enjoy doing keywording, descriptions, category selection, etc. I seriously would rather be digging a ditch than doing metadata. . . . but digging a ditch would not pay as well.

What do you figure your hourly income is for stock?  And how do you calculate that for yourself?

It maybe hard to believe but I don't consider keywording or describing images painful at all. Digging a ditch is, yes, painful. Shooting video too. Not keywording. In fact, I used to do it even before microstock because I always liked to organize my pictures meticulously so I could find them whenever I wanted. I did it when I uploaded to flickr and instagram. So most of my images have already been described and keyworded in my lightroom catalogue. With stock, I just need to add a few more targeted keywords.

As for hourly income, I don't care. I care about it for my regular job not for my hobby. Because, like I said, every dollar and cent is a bonus. These pictures were never taken to make money. But a bit of extra money is nice and as long as they buy me a cup of coffee or a mug of beer, I'm content. If I get more greedy, all I'll do is lose my sleep and the only thing I like more than photography and cinema is sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Foodio said:

Well, since I do both stills and video and don't have any skin in the game when it comes to selling training videos etc. - all I can say is that photos pay just as well. Something Doug just can't seem to accept is the fact that volume sales potential for still photos outstrips video by an exponential margin. And oh yes, while everyone is doing their senseless per hour calculations don't forget to include your time spent in acquiring your assets in the first place. Something anyone interested in the real numbers would surely not omit. Wouldn't you agree?

No, I would not agree.  Shooting for fun is something I've done for longer than Shutterstock has even been in business.  It is my chosen leisure activity, in the same way other people go fishing, golfing, or sitting on the couch watching TV.    I'd be shooting anyway, so I don't include time spent shooting in my calculations.  It is not work.  I do not expect to be compensated for shooting.  But doing metadata, now that is an awful process that I will always hate.  I have streamlined my workflow and made it as painless as possible, but it is still WORK.  I expect to be compensated for work or I won't do it.  If the time I spend doing metadata and submitting images ever drops below a certain hourly-income level, I will stop submitting. Period.  If the rewards do not equal the effort, why bother?  But I will always continue shooting because shooting has nothing to do with my earnings from stock.

Now, other people may have an entirely different point of view. Fine.  Maybe shooting is a pain in the ass and they don't enjoy it.  If it is work to YOU, then you should include the time you spend shooting in YOUR calculations.  That is why I ask people how they calclulate their hourly income.  We don't have to agree on what formula is best or what hourly income threshold is expected, but anyone who doesn't give thought to their own numbers is a fool.  Wouldn't you agree?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, balajisrinivasan said:

It maybe hard to believe but I don't consider keywording or describing images painful at all. Digging a ditch is, yes, painful. Shooting video too. Not keywording. In fact, I used to do it even before microstock because I always liked to organize my pictures meticulously so I could find them whenever I wanted. I did it when I uploaded to flickr and instagram. So most of my images have already been described and keyworded in my lightroom catalogue. With stock, I just need to add a few more targeted keywords.

As for hourly income, I don't care. I care about it for my regular job not for my hobby. Because, like I said, every dollar and cent is a bonus. These pictures were never taken to make money. But a bit of extra money is nice and as long as they buy me a cup of coffee or a mug of beer, I'm content. If I get more greedy, all I'll do is lose my sleep and the only thing I like more than photography and cinema is sleep.

I totally appreciate your reply even though our view of the work vs. reward is completely flipped 180 degrees.  We should team up.  I'll shoot and you keyword.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never bothered working out an hourly rate. I don't think I ever spent an hour per week on stock, and that included shooting my food and keywording. I agree with Doug that tagging can be painful, so like him I streamlined it to make it very easy to do. And I agree with Foodio that photos can be just as lucrative, just not "per sale" like video as often, although that seems to be changing. I never enjoyed taking video, and I found it easier to make "free" money on photos I already was taking for other reasons. I never made a full time living, and I never expected to with micro. Just trips all over the world, gear,  and play money. 

As long as you enjoy what you are doing, and the returns make you happy, then there isn't really a wrong way except through thievery. My way was the barest minimal effort for the stated returns and that worked for me for over a decade. What few staged photos I had were (other) work byproduct, and were paid for long before they made it to micro. My 2 cents. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Doug Jensen said:

No, I would not agree.  Shooting for fun is something I've done for longer than Shutterstock has even been in business.  It is my chosen leisure activity, in the same way other people go fishing, golfing, or sitting on the couch watching TV.    I'd be shooting anyway, so I don't include time spent shooting in my calculations.  It is not work.  I do not expect to be compensated for shooting.  But doing metadata, now that is an awful process that I will always hate.  I have streamlined my workflow and made it as painless as possible, but it is still WORK.  I expect to be compensated for work or I won't do it.  If the time I spend doing metadata and submitting images ever drops below a certain hourly-income level, I will stop submitting. Period.  If the rewards do not equal the effort, why bother?  But I will always continue shooting because shooting has nothing to do with my earnings from stock.

Now, other people may have an entirely different point of view. Fine.  Maybe shooting is a pain in the ass and they don't enjoy it.  If it is work to YOU, then you should include the time you spend shooting in YOUR calculations.  That is why I ask people how they calclulate their hourly income.  We don't have to agree on what formula is best or what hourly income threshold is expected, but anyone who doesn't give thought to their own numbers is a fool.  Wouldn't you agree?

To me, whether or not one enjoys doing something is irrelevent when it comes to the question of per hour wage calculations. I certainly hope you enjoy doing what you do, otherwise why bother? But when it comes to being paid for it...I have to agree...anyone who doesn't give true thought to their own numbers is a fool indeed. 

Terry makes a good point about the nature of video sales changing, the same point I think that Mihai made in a similar discussion a long time ago, where video was becoming increasingly important as the higher value sales for stills are eroded. That was then though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Foodio said:

But when it comes to being paid for it...I have to agree...anyone who doesn't give true thought to their own numbers is a fool indeed. 

I think if you have something that otherwise would simply be deleted or given away and you get money for it for zero effort, that is calculation enough for some of us. I never changed my outlook from the first micro I submitted to, to make money from "photos sitting there doing nothing". However, there is definitely a number for all of us where it no longer makes sense to put in the effort.

Given the commission changes and lack of sales, I have thousands of untagged photos just sitting here that are not worth the effort to submit. Also looking at selling the last of my gear and cleaning off my data drives and calling it a done deal. I think the micro industry as we currently know and understand it, is toast. Time will tell. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tracking long-term success is tricky because it takes years for images to prove their worth, and as long as they are in your portfolio, the possibility exists for them to earn even more money.  I have clips that I submitted when I started in 2012 that still generate steady sales -  and will continue to do so indefinitely.  And some clips that have sat dormant and never had any sales before suddenly come alive.  So, at any given moment in time it is impossible to forecast exactly how much income can be earned from any image in your portfolio.

However, with that said, as of today, the average clip in my portfolio has earned $18.15.   And each clip took an average of 5 minutes to edit, grade, generate metadata, and upload.  So, five minutes = 12 clips per hour that I can process.  12 clips x $18.15 = $217 per hour.   If that number drops below $100 per hour, I will quit uploading. If I'm not making at least $100 per hour, I have better things to do with my time.  I'll continue to shoot for fun, but not to waste my time uploading.  Perhaps I will make a deal with someone else to take ownership of the footage I shoot and let them submit the clips and I will take a percentage. But I certainly won't be doing that drudgery myself for less than my minimum wage.

The number I'd really like to know, but would be very difficult to track, is how NEW clips are earning.  That would be an even better indicator as to whether it is worth my time or not, but almost impossible to track and the results can't be known for years anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Doug Jensen said:

I continue to wonder why the hell anyone would waste time submitting photos?  It takes just as much time and effort to shoot, process, upload, a photo as it does a video, yet the returns are so much higher for video.  Time is money. 

I almost always carry my photo camera and video camera to shoot both clips and stills of the same scene. I agree that just photos is probably a waste of time this day in age when thinking about micros.

The math doesn't lie as I've seen my average return per download drop by 50%. Average is 72cents since March 2019 to just 38cents in August 2020. 

If this was a stock ticker, would you invest in this company ?

RPI.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My calculation of the hourly wage differs significantly from Doug's calculation. But we already talked about this years ago. I include the time I need to create a picture. Although I enjoy creating a picture too. If I didn't have the fun, I wouldn't do it either.

My RPI/year at shutterstock is now the same as Doug's. Only 5 years ago, it was twice as much only at shutterstock. The RPI at shutterstock has dropped twice as much as the other agencies. And will fall even more sharply than at the other agencies because of the new earnings structure. I can imagine that this will also apply to videos. At what point it no longer makes sense, everyone has to decide for themselves.

The keywording etc. at different agencies also annoys me. I also hate this job. On the other hand, from my point of view Doug could make well over $100,000 per year if he were to supply several agencies. But maybe one can't just transfer that. It's different for everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Doug Jensen said:

The number I'd really like to know, but would be very difficult to track, is how NEW clips are earning.  That would be an even better indicator as to whether it is worth my time or not, but almost impossible to track and the results can't be known for years anyway.

You could put your new clips into unpublished sets. That way you could at least track earnings for groups of new clips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding whether time spent acquiring assets should be counted - we all have different opinions on what is enjoyable, and that is what determines what our ports consist of. To me, shooting photos is pure fun, something I do to relax in my off time. Video on the other hand - I still love the moment of actually capturing a nice shot, but the rest I can do without. I would have to team up with someone who enjoys carrying a tripod and video camera. 😉

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Milo J said:

You could put your new clips into unpublished sets. That way you could at least track earnings for groups of new clips.

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know anything about sets, but I will look into it the next time I'm ready to submit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind keywording either, especially since I'm a bit of a writer, since SS' keyword finder (click 3 images similar to yours) works pretty well, and since I've taken a break from shooting to submit most of the images and videos I've submitted here to AS.  The shooting's already been done, so I can focus on the words.

I simply copy/paste captions and keywords from here at SS to those same images and videos on AS, deleting AS' automated keywords altogether (their auto keyword function comes up with many of the same keywords as here and also throws in some real lulu nutso keywords that have nothing to do with the image). 

What's annoying is AS likes us to position the most relevant keywords first at the top of their 50 keywords list, whereas SS here just orders keywords alphabetically, so, on AS, we have to click and drag the most relevant keywords to the top of their list.  It's ok--it just requires me to prioritize, think a little bit more, about what words best describe the image or clip.  Usually, I just click and drag the 3 keywords that directly say what the subject is, letting the rest of the keywords fall like chips where they may.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Doug Jensen said:

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't know anything about sets, but I will look into it the next time I'm ready to submit.

It's done through the catalog manager. Create a set and name it. Chose whether it is published or private. Then click on whichever files you want to add to the set. Unfortunately, published video sets don't yet have the same functionality as image sets. I keep hoping they will at some point in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a big difference between creating effective keywords and descriptions vs. just filling in the blanks with computer-generated suggestions. Taking the time to create better than average metadata is where the drudgery comes in.  Great images are worth nothing without effective metadata that actually draws customers in to buy them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug, can

On 9/8/2020 at 6:52 PM, Doug Jensen said:

There's a big difference between creating effective keywords and descriptions vs. just filling in the blanks with computer-generated suggestions. Taking the time to create better than average metadata is where the drudgery comes in.  Great images are worth nothing without effective metadata that actually draws customers in to buy them.

True, Doug, and how do you know what effective, better than average keywords and descriptions are?  Is this based on your own clips' past performance?  Do you research the site's other contributors' top performers and use their keywords for subjects similar to your own?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have enough experience through trial and error, experimentation, trying different techniques, and just plain old common sense to determine whether a clip's keywords and descriptions will be effective or not at attracting customers.  Some people are just terrible at it, especially non-native English speakers. If you're not fluent in English you will definitely have a more difficult job to earn money through stock.

I will say that is It is often easier to spot bad metadata than it is to figure out what good metadata might be missing from a clip.   People think it is all about having the right keywords, but is also about NOT having the wrong keywords.  Bad metadata will hurt sales.  Furthermore, anyone who relies on automated systems to provide the best keywords is going to settle for mediocrity.  I'm not saying my own metadata is perfect, far from it, but I believe my sales show I'm doing something right.  The best clip in the world is worthless if nobody can find it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Doug Jensen said:

I have enough experience through trial and error, experimentation, trying different techniques, and just plain old common sense to determine whether a clip's keywords and descriptions will be effective or not at attracting customers.  Some people are just terrible at it, especially non-native English speakers. If you're not fluent in English you will definitely have a more difficult job to earn money through stock.

I will say that is It is often easier to spot bad metadata than it is to figure out what good metadata might be missing from a clip.   People think it is all about having the right keywords, but is also about NOT having the wrong keywords.  Bad metadata will hurt sales.  Furthermore, anyone who relies on automated systems to provide the best keywords is going to settle for mediocrity.  I'm not saying my own metadata is perfect, far from it, but I believe my sales show I'm doing something right.  The best clip in the world is worthless if nobody can find it.

You have written several times that your "normal" videos sell particularly well, not the videos that have rocket launches or similar unique or exotic content.

Since you have very good sales figures, this is a sure indication that you have to be very good at keywording.

In this respect I believe every line you write.

I cannot say for myself whether I am doing everything right. But I try very hard to pay attention to the right keywords. Probably it could be done better.

However, I have always maintained that keywording is at least as important as the picture or video itself. That is also the reason why it takes so much time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Wilm Ihlenfeld said:

However, I have always maintained that keywording is at least as important as the picture or video itself. That is also the reason why it takes so much time.

Exactly!  And that is why I would describe it as drudgery.  Whenever someone says they don't mind doing metadata or they enjoy it, I am skeptical they are really putting the time and effort into it that they should.  Who enjoys doing paperwork? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...