Thoughts on the state of professional photography, selling photos online, marketing for stock and assignment photographers - and even a few photos - from Scott Hortop.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Earning money (?) from travel photography on Alamy
I looked recently at what sort of financial return I typically get from shooting model released stock photos on Alamy.
Now for overseas travel in Europe. How does that pay?
Holiday 1 - ten days in Spain, touring.
Costs - on holiday with the family
Date - June 2004
Sales - 13
Income - Alamy gross $3,179 Me £871
Income per day per annum - £22
Holiday 2 - seven days in France, touring.
Costs - on holiday with the family
Date - June 2006
Sales - 2
Income - Alamy gross $84 Me £23
Income per day per annum - £1
Holiday 3 - two days in Paris.
Costs - weekend away with the wife
Date - Sept 2006
Sales - 1
Income - Alamy gross $114 Me £38
Income per day per annum - £9
'Holiday' 4 - one day in Rome.
Costs - a day trip; no overnight stay; rained all day; travel etc £50
Date - Jan 2006
Sales - 4
Income - Alamy gross $515 Me £170 - £50 = £120
Income per day per annum - £60
What is "Income per day per annum"? It's how much I have earned each year subsequently from a day spent shooting. Ignoring the processing time. I also ignore the first six months after the shoot when no cash comes in. It's conspicuous that even the best of these rates is less than the "Income per hour per annum" from many stock shoots featured in the separate model released shooting exercise.
'Holiday 4' was not really a holiday at all. It was a day trip to test the effectiveness of using low cost airlines to 'blitz' a destination. Perhaps the rain helped. Although it dramatically reduced the actual number of photos captured. It's worth mentioning that many of the images were captured as transparencies - the last time that I have done that. In the end, only 15 images went onto Alamy.
My usual approach - holidays 1 -3 - is that I don't go out of my way to get images. I'm on holiday. With the family. The photography does not really impinge on the holiday. But when I return, there is probably days of processing. And looking at the statistics, I should be far more critical of the time spent doing that processing, because it's not working out to be a remotely sensible way of spending my time.
Fundamentally there's a competition problem on Alamy when it comes to travel. Thousands of photographers putting photos online to sell from the same locations visited, most of which are too boring these days for the travel mags to chat about. At least in the way that most of us take those images. I've got to get myself into a different mindset to avoid taking the same photos as everyone else. But I clearly don't. I'm on holiday - I don't want to think too hard about photography.
In a way I'm sitting with the many hobby stock photographers whose travel stock photos form a huge proportion of what's on Alamy where money does not matter too much.
But for me, time spent processing on my return home for me means that I'm not earning money elsewhere. And I know all the more now after doing this exercise that putting my holiday photos up for sale (with the odd exception) is is a bad business decision.
I really don't think my statistics will be too different from other people's on Alamy. But that won't stop about 2000 more travel shots being uploaded tomorrow....
Friday, November 14, 2008
Do model released images on Alamy make money???
I've been analysing the effectiveness of Alamy as a home for selling stock images with a particular interest in financial results against time invested. Alamy is not the obvious place for model released imagery, but as I wait patiently for images to emerge from the Getty quality control process, it's the only place I've got. By all accounts Getty will yield substantially better results, but that's still to be tested.
Shoot 1 - two models at smart location. Images posted mainly as RF.
Costs - a model commission on sales and/or exchange of other services
Date - two shortish days in September 2004 - say 10 hours shooting
Sales - 19
Income - Alamy gross $3,179 Me (before commissions payable) £1,112
Income per hour of shoot per annum - £30
Shoot 2 - spur of the moment shoot with model but very specific social/health issue subject matter. Images posted as L and RF.
Costs - a model commission on all sales
Date - January 2005 - 1 hour shooting
Sales - 5
Income - Alamy gross $629 - Me (before commissions payable) £220
Income per hour of shoot per annum - £88
Shoot 3 - model on location. Images posted mainly as RF.
Costs - a lunch plus model commission on all sales
Date - June 2006 - 3 hours shooting
Sales - 6
Income - Alamy gross $1492 - Me (before commissions payable) £519
Income per hour of shoot per annum - £86
Shoot 4 - 2 models on location
Costs - a lunch plus a hefty model commission on cumulative sales above £500
Date - November 2006 - 4 hours shooting
Sales - 8
Income - Alamy gross $699 - Me (before commissions payable) £245
Income per hour of shoot per annum - £40
The income figures do not look too bad here in terms of the time spent on the shoot itself. But the snag is that shoot time is rather less than the processing and submission time.
So what is "Income per hour of shoot per annum"? It's how much I have earned each year subsequently from an hour spent shooting. Before model commission. And ignoring all the set up and processing time. I ignore the first six months after the shoot when no cash comes in.
It's not huge bucks, but shows that money can be made from stock. Just on Alamy.
I've not included here some relatively aimless shooting I've done. Having good saleable subject matter is so important to generating income from stock photography. Which is why I've been suitably vague about the subject matter of these shoots.