Microstock Sales Volumes

Posted on 4/8/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

I was recently asked by a RM photographer, “Can you provide some insights into the kinds of volumes that are generated when images are licensed at microstock prices?”

The best way to get information about comparative sales of various image contributors is to go to istockcharts.multimedia.de and sort the list by number of downloads. That will help you identify the top shooters. Then go to iStockphoto.com and look at their individual portfolios. On iStock you can also sort by download and see which images of a particular photographer have been in greatest demand and how many times each image has been downloaded. (The downloads are listed in greater than whole numbers so it the number is >1200 the actual number of downloads will be somewhere between 1200 and 1300.) For shooters trying to license their images as RM this information will be very revealing.

The shooters with the most productive collections usually concentrate on producing model released business and lifestyle imagery. Probably no one jumping into microstock now will ever be able to reach the level of downloads that the top shooters have achieved. But seeing what the 50th, 100th or 200th person from the top is doing may be more revealing. Also, keep in mind that in the last year iStock has dramatically raised its prices for photos belonging to its exclusive contributors, and the company is continuing to push prices up with special collections. As a result, in the next year or so photographers won’t need to sell anywhere near as many images as the top producers sold in 2009 to earn the same kind of money.

If you’re interested in learning more about what the microstock shooters can earn, last summer I did two major analysis pieces on unit sales and the estimated earning of 168 of the iStock shooters with the most downloads. The links are here and here.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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