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On my way to $30,000 this year


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Different people have different goals and milestones to mark their progress.  Some folks think that getting a ton of images accepted is cause for celebration, regardless of the value of those files to buyers or their attention to metadata so that buyers will ever seen their files.   It seems that just building a big portfolio is their driving force. On the other hand, some people keep count of the number of downloads they get and celebrate when certain thresholds are passed.  "I had 100 downloads this month!!".   Never mind that those 100 downloads might have earned just a few bucks.  It doesn't seem to matter whether a download only brings in $1.00 or less, just the fact that someone bought it counted as a success.  That's fine. Everyone has to figure out what is important to them.

I have a different way of measuring my success.  It may sound very crass to some people, but I actually place importance on how much money I'm earning.  But I know that just the very notion of speaking about money amongst "artists" will offend some folks.  How dare I measure my success in monetary rewards?

Well, let me tell you, nobody enjoys shooting photos and video more than I do. I've been shooting since since I was in high school,  and I  even chose to make it my career. I could have been a doctor, a lawyer, or gotten an MBA, but I choose television and video.  That's how much I love shooting.  If photography, television, video production isn't your full time job, please don't try to tell me that you're more passionate about it than I am.  I made it my career choice, did you?  I am hired every week to shoot for clients, but that isn't enough.  While other people are watching sports or other meaningless crap on TV (that I may have had a hand in shooting!) I'm out shooting photos and video just for the fun of it.  I didn't start shooting stock footage because I wanted to make money, I got started in stock footage because I was already shooting and it seemed a natural evolution to try selling some of it.  And lo and behold, it took off better than I thought it would.  Now I take stock footage more seriously and want to build up my income and portfolio as much as I can.  Stock footage isn't a hobby anymore.  I have set several goals to reach.

But none of my goals is to mindlessly upload files.  To reach my goals, I will upload clips that I enjoyed shooting and am genuinely proud to be responsible for.  Files that have been shot, edited, and graded with care to ensure they have a great chance of paying me back.  I am carefully planting seeds.  I'm not just throwing millions of seeds all over an empty lot and hoping for the best.  I'm taking the time to prepare the field, plant the seed at the right depth, and give it some water and TLC.  I love it when someone buys one of my clips because that shows I was successful and someone appreciated my efforts.  But that's not really how I judge success.  Downloads are just a means to an end.  I judge success by my earnings alone.

I'll bet everyone here enjoys shooting, right? We like the creativity of taking photos and video that pleases us.  Heck, I do that for free . . . and I do!  I probably take more still photos than a lot of people here at Shutterstock who have big portfolios.  But I don't spend time submitting them.  It's not worth my time.  It might be worth someone else's time, that is for them to decide, but it't not worth my time to spend several minutes curating a photo when the most income I could hope for is a few cents.  Maybe a few dollars if I get really lucky,  That isn't good enough for me.  I'd rather go out and have the pleasure of shooting more photos and video and make no money at all than to sit at computer doing metadata for less than minimum wage.  Life is too short.

I'm sure nobody in their right mind enjoys doing metadata and uploading.  So if I'm going to spend MY time doing that drudgery, then it better pay off.  That's why I've made the decision to only submit footage because the potential rewards are so much bigger.  When I calculate how much money I'm earning by the hour for doing my post-processing and metadata it comes to more than $270/ hour.   I don't count the time I spend shooting because I'd be doing that for free anyway.  But even if I did, I'm sure my hourly wage would still be over $100.  Not too bad for a part time job that I used to think of as a hobby.

Anyway, I've have set a goal this year to hit $30,000 at Shutterstock.  I'm already doing more than that right now if you combine my accounts at other agencies, but I want to hit $30,000 in 2019 just at Shutterstock.  And also to set the stage this year so that i can hit $40,000 in 2020.  I can't hit $40K in 2020 if I don't plant those seeds now.  This is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time for clips to mature and start earning.

To hit my goal of $30,000 I need to average $2500/mo.  January was $2481 and February was $1931 so I am already falling behind.  But March stands at $2190 already and we have seven days left so there's chance it could be my best month this year.  I just uploaded 2000 new clips in January that had built up on my hard drives in 2018 and so I've got a ton of new content coming online that I think will cause my earnings to grow at a faster rate as the year goes on.

So, $30,000 in 2019 is my goal.  I'll let you know if I hit it.

 

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1 hour ago, Doug Jensen said:

If photography, television, video production isn't your full time job, please don't try to tell me that you're more passionate about it than I am.  I made it my career choice, did you?  I am hired every week to shoot for clients, but that isn't enough.  While other people are watching sports or other meaningless crap on TV (that I may have had a hand in shooting!) I'm out shooting photos and video just for the fun of it.  I didn't start shooting stock footage because I wanted to make money, I got started in stock footage because I was already shooting and it seemed a natural evolution to try selling some of it.

Your experience sounds a lot like mine: 35+ years in major market TV (Detroit and Seattle) as news videographer and special projects editor.  If I weren't uploading to Shutterstock, I'd be shooting stills and video anyway.  I'm not as successful at this stock thing as you, no doubt because I've focused more on stills than video (video feels too much like work to me), but getting a $168 clip sale the other day has definitely inspired me to work on it more!  :)

 

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8 minutes ago, mandritoiu said:

This is yet another example proving how wrong some forum "experts" and advisers are when downplaying the importance of footage (while complaining about poor sales and promoting conspiracy theories about sales manipulation)

Oh, god!  Do you have to poison every thread in which you post with your Blackburn-esque hatred of Laurin???

Give it a rest, dude!

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45 minutes ago, Phil Lowe said:

Your experience sounds a lot like mine: 35+ years in major market TV (Detroit and Seattle) as news videographer and special projects editor.  If I weren't uploading to Shutterstock, I'd be shooting stills and video anyway.  I'm not as successful at this stock thing as you, no doubt because I've focused more on stills than video (video feels too much like work to me), but getting a $168 clip sale the other day has definitely inspired me to work on it more!  :)

 

Videos feel like "too much work" to me too. Plus  this isn't a full time job for me, neither do I have the time/money to invest in a camera that only does vido/4K etc (not that I'm using it at an excuse) never mind the time for editing video. More power to those folks who have the time and ability to put more time into video.

Anyhow, good luck Doug on getting to $30,000!!!

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45 minutes ago, Phil Lowe said:

Oh, god!  Do you have to poison every thread in which you post with your Blackburn-esque hatred of Laurin???

Give it a rest, dude!

Oh, god! What about Laurin himself crying in every thread about "Good old times" and how new generation does not get it?

 

Good luck to Doug. True inspiration. Not like others with "huuuuuge" experience.

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I am only a bloody amateur and therefore dare not contribute anything in this top-class round. But nevertheless:
I was just on my way and wanted to make videos in addition to the usual photos. At the end 4 moderate 10 second clips came out and in contrast to the photos it was no fun for me. 
I will try it, at least this year, nevertheless further, even if I make myself there little hope. The few videos I have are like lead on a shelf. 
Let's see if something develops.

Good luck with your 30k-challange

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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25 minutes ago, Adam Gladstone said:

Plus  this isn't a full time job for me, neither do I have the time/money to invest in a camera that only does vido/4K etc (not that I'm using it at an excuse) never mind the time for editing video.

I hear what you're saying, but just to be clear, it isn't a full time job for me either.  I'm spending less than 5 hours per week processing clips.  And as far as cameras go, about 80% of by best-selling clips could have been shot (and many were shot) with a Sony F3 or FS100 that can be picked up on eBay now for $1K - $2K.  4K is a good idea for future-proofing your work, but what sells today, by at least a 20 to 1 margin, is still good old HD.  My advice would be to start with HD and let those clips buy you the 4K camera you really want. 

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14 minutes ago, Darius Sul said:

Oh, god! What about Laurin himself crying in every thread about "Good old times" and how new generation does not get it?

 

Good luck to Doug. True inspiration. Not like others with "huuuuuge" experience.

I don't see Laurin here jumping into this thread on the second reply making blatantly obvious personal remarks about other people here.  

This thread isn't about him, so there's really no need to passively-aggressively insert him into this conversation!  

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2 hours ago, Doug Jensen said:

Different people have different goals and milestones to mark their progress.  Some folks think that getting a ton of images accepted is cause for celebration, regardless of the value of those files to buyers or their attention to metadata so that buyers will ever seen their files.   It seems that just building a big portfolio is their driving force. On the other hand, some people keep count of the number of downloads they get and celebrate when certain thresholds are passed.  "I had 100 downloads this month!!".   Never mind that those 100 downloads might have earned just a few bucks.  It doesn't seem to matter whether a download only brings in $1.00 or less, just the fact that someone bought it counted as a success.  That's fine. Everyone has to figure out what is important to them.

I have a different way of measuring my success.  It may sound very crass to some people, but I actually place importance on how much money I'm earning.  But I know that just the very notion of speaking about money amongst "artists" will offend some folks.  How dare I measure my success in monetary rewards?

Well, let me tell you, nobody enjoys shooting photos and video more than I do. I've been shooting since since I was in high school,  and I  even chose to make it my career. I could have been a doctor, a lawyer, or gotten an MBA, but I choose television and video.  That's how much I love shooting.  If photography, television, video production isn't your full time job, please don't try to tell me that you're more passionate about it than I am.  I made it my career choice, did you?  I am hired every week to shoot for clients, but that isn't enough.  While other people are watching sports or other meaningless crap on TV (that I may have had a hand in shooting!) I'm out shooting photos and video just for the fun of it.  I didn't start shooting stock footage because I wanted to make money, I got started in stock footage because I was already shooting and it seemed a natural evolution to try selling some of it.  And lo and behold, it took off better than I thought it would.  Now I take stock footage more seriously and want to build up my income and portfolio as much as I can.  Stock footage isn't a hobby anymore.  I have set several goals to reach.

But none of my goals is to mindlessly upload files.  To reach my goals, I will upload clips that I enjoyed shooting and am genuinely proud to be responsible for.  Files that have been shot, edited, and graded with care to ensure they have a great chance of paying me back.  I am carefully planting seeds.  I'm not just throwing millions of seeds all over an empty lot and hoping for the best.  I'm taking the time to prepare the field, plant the seed at the right depth, and give it some water and TLC.  I love it when someone buys one of my clips because that shows I was successful and someone appreciated my efforts.  But that's not really how I judge success.  Downloads are just a means to an end.  I judge success by my earnings alone.

I'll bet everyone here enjoys shooting, right? We like the creativity of taking photos and video that pleases us.  Heck, I do that for free . . . and I do!  I probably take more still photos than a lot of people here at Shutterstock who have big portfolios.  But I don't spend time submitting them.  It's not worth my time.  It might be worth someone else's time, that is for them to decide, but it't not worth my time to spend several minutes curating a photo when the most income I could hope for is a few cents.  Maybe a few dollars if I get really lucky,  That isn't good enough for me.  I'd rather go out and have the pleasure of shooting more photos and video and make no money at all than to sit at computer doing metadata for less than minimum wage.  Life is too short.

I'm sure nobody in their right mind enjoys doing metadata and uploading.  So if I'm going to spend MY time doing that drudgery, then it better pay off.  That's why I've made the decision to only submit footage because the potential rewards are so much bigger.  When I calculate how much money I'm earning by the hour for doing my post-processing and metadata it comes to more than $270/ hour.   I don't count the time I spend shooting because I'd be doing that for free anyway.  But even if I did, I'm sure my hourly wage would still be over $100.  Not too bad for a part time job that I used to think of as a hobby.

Anyway, I've have set a goal this year to hit $30,000 at Shutterstock.  I'm already doing more than that right now if you combine my accounts at other agencies, but I want to hit $30,000 in 2019 just at Shutterstock.  And also to set the stage this year so that i can hit $40,000 in 2020.  I can't hit $40K in 2020 if I don't plant those seeds now.  This is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time for clips to mature and start earning.

To hit my goal of $30,000 I need to average $2500/mo.  January was $2481 and February was $1931 so I am already falling behind.  But March stands at $2190 already and we have seven days left so there's chance it could be my best month this year.  I just uploaded 2000 new clips in January that had built up on my hard drives in 2018 and so I've got a ton of new content coming online that I think will cause my earnings to grow at a faster rate as the year goes on.

So, $30,000 in 2019 is my goal.  I'll let you know if I hit it.

 

Good Luck!

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Stock

32 minutes ago, Grossinger said:

So, unless you have other sources of income, $30,000 does not blow up my skirt.

Nice for a second job or as secondary income, but low if you are trying to live of $30,000

Ha, ha, no, this is not my only source of income. I'm a freelance cameraman in the television industry plus I have many of my own projects on the side.  As I said, I only spend 5 hours a week on this stuff because I've got too many other pans on the fire.  I'm working on my taxes today and it looks like my Form 1099 from Shutterstock only accounts for 13% of my gross income for 2018. But it was the easiest money I made, by far!

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1 hour ago, Darius Sul said:

Oh, god! What about Laurin himself crying in every thread about "Good old times" and how new generation does not get it?

 

Good luck to Doug. True inspiration. Not like others with "huuuuuge" experience.

Darius....Thats quite different than calling a Person out. and Ya know what. It was the "Good Old Times" You Said>>  "In Every Thread"??? really.?  Maybe you better read More dude.I've also Helped a Lot of Folks here do better and actually Helped some get Jobs which YOU will never do.....Also...No One pays any attention To mahai anymore it's like Like a broken record that Many Of us have heard for a Looooong time.. Just a guy that is filled with Hate and Has delusions of Grandeur Like His Idol had, Pretty Garden Variety...Last week he had 3 Followers. I have 154 and used to be a LOT more But they Left. People should try and read what I say instead of what they think I say. Most do. the Ones I stick with. I haven't seen a word he's written on Obsessing about Me for Over a year. Until someone brings it up.I don't know who His audience is......Could care Less. to Bad.....Smart Guy and He Picks this dialog. Oh, well always One. Been On Photo forums since usenet. Theres always One.

So...Darius....bring it on, if ya have something Original..... seen them all. and turn your hat around Hipster Cool dude. makes ya look Stupid.LOL. And BTW.....Im Kidding, Have fun while your here. And I don't cry anymore. Im 76. Next week.

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39 minutes ago, Doug Jensen said:

Stock

Ha, ha, no, this is not my only source of income. I'm a freelance cameraman in the television industry plus I have many of my own projects on the side.  As I said, I only spend 5 hours a week on this stuff because I've got too many other pans on the fire.  I'm working on my taxes today and it looks like my Form 1099 from Shutterstock only accounts for 13% of my gross income for 2018. But it was the easiest money I made, by far!

I admire you Doug.

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Really interesting first post. Very informative. I almost didn't click on it because I thought urghhhhh I can already see what the replies will be when the Top Trump Gang get involved. 

Doug good luck. I'm like you. I was taking these photos anyway for me. Learning and relighting a passion I had as a teenager. This was my first camera and managed to get a certificate from Amateur Photographer Magazine in a monthly correspondence course using it. 

 

Nova-330FF-Vintage-Retro-110-Cartridge-Pocket-Compact.jpg

 

Then I saved for a couple of years for a slr and managed to really enjoy that until life and apparently technology screamed on by. 

Now I'm learning dslr photography and software and crying with frustration lol. But it's still being out that I love. The computer bit is easy so I'm relieved about that bit if only the camera was so predictable. 

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3 hours ago, Phil Lowe said:

Oh, god!  Do you have to poison every thread in which you post with your Blackburn-esque hatred of Laurin???

Give it a rest, dude! The meaning of life for @mandritoiu is obviously to pursue Rinder. But i's pathetic to witness day after day ... 😫

Let it go ..! The meaning in life for @mandritoiu  is obviously to persuade Rinder and ruin threads . But it's pathetic to witness day after day .. what a drag.😫

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3 minutes ago, Milleflore Images said:

What about 100 in a day?

And who is mahai? And his idol?

I must be missing something here 🤔

Still money to be made from BOTH clips and pics. 

 

75DLSa.jpg

Sorry, I don't understand your post. 100 what? Who's idol?    What are you trying to say?  And what is the image you've posted?  I don't understand.

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6 hours ago, Doug Jensen said:

Different people have different goals and milestones to mark their progress.  Some folks think that getting a ton of images accepted is cause for celebration, regardless of the value of those files to buyers or their attention to metadata so that buyers will ever seen their files.   It seems that just building a big portfolio is their driving force. On the other hand, some people keep count of the number of downloads they get and celebrate when certain thresholds are passed.  "I had 100 downloads this month!!".   Never mind that those 100 downloads might have earned just a few bucks.  It doesn't seem to matter whether a download only brings in $1.00 or less, just the fact that someone bought it counted as a success.  That's fine. Everyone has to figure out what is important to them.

I have a different way of measuring my success.  It may sound very crass to some people, but I actually place importance on how much money I'm earning.  But I know that just 

 

 

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My point Doug is you can still make money on SS from both.

The other comments were a little joke. Nothing to do with what you said. 🙂

 

ETA. If there are people here who want to increase their photos ports, then that's fine. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Its what works for the individual. 

 

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Okay, if you are able to make money from photos that is great.  I know couldn't.  When I look at the SS payout chart; read the posts of people already doing photos who talk about how little they are earning; calculate how much time I'd have to invest into processing each photo and doing metadata; the numbers don't work for me at all.  But if it works for you, keep on going. More power to you.  I'm tempted to ask you for some figures, but I'm not going to put you on the spot by doing that.  I wish you would, though.  I've got a ton of great photos I'd love to submit if I thought it was worth my time. I'd love to see convincing proof that ti could be done in 2019.

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If you have the photos, and the time - then why not upload them? I posted a snapshot of one day of my 2019 sales above. That's all I am prepared to show at this time. But my results are relatively consistent, otherwise I wouldn't be still doing this.

Just want to say, that if others want to build up their photo ports, then that's ok.  

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10 minutes ago, Milleflore Images said:

My point Doug is you can still make money on SS from both.

 

I have 914 clips and 1875 stills, totaling 2789 clips and stills.  Breaking it down, it means that 1/3 of my sales are coming from video, which comprises about 1/3 of my overall media portfolio.  The other 2/3rds comes from stills, where Els have really helped in that regard.  And this is why I stress quality: sure, you can grind out beer money on 25 cent subscription sales, but the real money is in Els.  People who buy those tend to look for something other than snapshots.  

These are just a couple of my EL sales:

stock-photo-artistically-blurred-images-

stock-photo-extremely-high-resolution-sh

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Milleflore Images said:

If you have the photos, and the time - then why not upload them?

Because I have never seen any evidence that there is any money to be made with photos.  The money just isn't there vs. the time I'd have to put into it.  $100 is nothing it it takes me 25 hours of my valuable time earn it.   People shouldn't just look at how much they earn -- but how much time was invested into earning it.  I  literally earn over $270 per hour for my time processing videos.  Can I even make half of that doing photos?  25%?  10%?  Anything under $75/hour isn't even enough for me to bother with.  And I doubt most people are even making $10/hour for their time.

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