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On my way to $30,000 this year

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On 5/12/2021 at 1:06 AM, Tim photo-video said:

Perhaps someone has retired after working as an operator all his life and who has a good camera idle that allows you to shoot with high quality and in various conditions. It makes sense for such a person to shoot, it makes no sense to specifically strive for this activity now. Therefore, it makes no sense to agitate, who can do this, he has been in this for a long time.

Tim, I see your point but I have said many times that I don't shoot stock for money.  I shoot because I enjoy it.  Submission is the part I hate -- and for which I expect to be paid well for my time and effort.  As soon as I think that the income I get from submitting new clips isn't worth the work involved, that is when I will stop submitting.  I'll keep shootingf or fun, I just won't waste my time to submit it.  My time is worth about $100 - $110 per hour, so that is the threshold that has to me met or I'll quit.  Revenue is in decline at SS this year, but it still has a long wasy to drop before I throw in the towel on stock.

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I almost didn't notice that I passed the $180,000 lifetime earnings mark this week.  The money just keeps rolling in even though I haven't had time to submit anything new since last year.  Gotta love

I've had the recent pleasure to interview straight-shooting @Doug Jensen over at the Brutally Honest blog, where he provides valuable information on how to make it as a stock footage contributor in th

And focusing on the positive, that is still $3595 in Jan./Feb. that came into my pocket for doing nothing extra.  If I had gotten pissed off and closed my account or had some other knee jerk reaction

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On 4/4/2021 at 6:47 AM, Doug Jensen said:

I've got backlog now of over 4500 new 4K clips that need metadata, so one of these days I'm going to have to get serious about getting those submitted. 

I hear ya. I still have two media cards full of stuff from my last trip to Germany. It's been two years. Shooting is so much more fun than uploading!

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I've had the recent pleasure to interview straight-shooting @Doug Jensen over at the Brutally Honest blog, where he provides valuable information on how to make it as a stock footage contributor in this increasingly competitive industry.

---> Link to Doug's interview! <--

Thanks, Doug, really appreciate taking the time to answer those questions in your usual no-holds barred style.


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Thanks Alex for asking me to participate in your excellent blog.   It was interesting to be interviewed because it made me stop and take stock (pun) of where I am right now, what I am doing, and why I'm doing it.  I think everyone should do that once in a while. 

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A good interview. Both from Alex and Doug.
Doug thought carefully about his answers without showing off. Something that sometimes annoys me on the forum and sometimes makes me smile. But that could be me.
Very informative for someone who wants to develop as a photographer / video maker. Unfortunately, I am too old for that, but I read it with great interest. Thank you both.

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On 3/24/2019 at 1:41 PM, 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.


I've got $7.68, after 2 years, ha!

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1 hour ago, Thijs de Graaf said:

I'm no expert like Doug. But I think your last image is the most striking. I think you could have more success with that if you continued to work that way.

Agreed, and why editorial? Assuming it's your image it should be commerical and you provide a proprty release, much more opportunity to sell it to the market you are aiming at then

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