6 Years of Microstock Income Graphed
How have your uploads affected your earnings and is microstock just as profitable today as it was a year ago, or six years ago?
Today I am looking back at last years earnings and considering what goals I want to set for 2011. To help me do this I created a graph covering my last 6 years of microstock earnings and plotted them against the number of microstock images I had online.
The thin blue line is my microstock income, the brown line is the number of images I had online (graphed on a secondary x-axis).
What I find interesting about a graph like this, is you can see the direct correlation between images online and earnings. My earnings almost exactly follow my uploads levels.
How Quick Do Earnings Dry Up
A common question on the forum, is how quickly earnings start to dry up once uploading ceases. This amount depends a lot on the site, Shutterstock being one site which benefits highly from constant uploads, but from my experience, earnings don’t suffer a whole lot when you take a break. At the end of 2006 you can see I didn’t upload many images at all, yet my earnings stayed quite consistent. I wouldn’t expect a drop of more than 10% – 20% in the short term (no uploads for 6 months).
Seasonal Ebb and Flow
Another interesting thing we can see with this chart is the seasonal swing of sales. Each summer and December the graph takes a massive dive. Fall and spring however, show good earnings. As one would expect, the more you earn, the larger the seasonal swings become. My summer dive in 2010 is a similar amount to my entire monthly income in 2007.
Is Microstock Slowing Down
I have heard some complaints lately of people earnings less each month than they were the previous year at the same time. These are people with very respectable microstock incomes with good looking portfolios. I can’t say I have experienced any reduction in income yet. I feel this could be a result of two factors. My portfolio isn’t that large, relatively speaking. I have 6000+ images online. If I produce 2000 new images this year I will increase the size of my portfolio by 1/3, which should have a big effect on earnings. Those photographers with a ‘large’ portfolio, let’s say over 10,000 images, have a much harder time making the same jump in portfolio size. The second reason I feel my earnings are still climbing is because my initial microstock images were considerably less saleable than the images I have created in the last couple years. Said another way, my RPI on new images is significantly higher than the RPI ever was on my old images so I don’t notice when my old images stop selling because my new images make up for those sales and then some.
How have your earnings changed throughout the years? Post your comments below or discuss in the forum.