the last monthes sales and especially revenue have fallen to one half to one third they used to be a year ago (and that due to uploading constantly and having more pictures online than ever before)... so I am thinking about cancelling exclusivity... what are your arguments for and against being exclusive to dreamstime?
I'm not exclusive here and don't have an answer for you - but thought I'd share my experience to help you consider all sides of the question. I have a small portfolio here and like you it is mostly travel.
Although I earn more from another micro site, this might not be your experience, at least at first because, as others have pointed out, on that site you will need to have your entire portfolio reach another level before your revenues go up, whereas on DT your sales increase based on each photo's individual level. And as an exclusive, you earn a lot more per sale than we non-exclusives do.
I'm with several macro and micro sites, but find that uploading to so many slows down the growth of my portfolio, and I'm considering limiting my micro portfolio to just DT and my other best-selling site, so I can build up those portfolios faster and not waste time on sites that aren't doing as well for me, or that don't treat their photographers as well.
There is no "squeeze", it's all due to competition. I don;t know the specifics of your portfolio, but continuous upload is no warranty that the earnings will improve. First you will have to upload more than the others, so the database exposure increases. Then you need to upload better photos than the rest, so they get the buyers' attention. And nonetheless, you need to diversify as much as possible. Uploading same subjects (as most of us do) is not enough. Stock photography is a job and those who put patience and efforts collect biggest rewards. I'm not saying you don't, I'm just giving you some facts. October 2012 had +40% increase in submissions compared to 2011, that translates into more competition. Later edit: and one important thing I forgot to mention is that once you give up exclusivity your revenue is instantly decreased to non exclusive royalties. Your images will sell between 25-50% instead of 60%, which are still the highest royalties anywhere. It will take a while until...(More)
Solidsman: I don't see that problem at this stage because my sales are going slowly but steadily up - yes, December was a disaster month regarding sales but this month I'm already back on track so I reckon it has to do with the upload quantity - If I want to grow my revenue I have to grow my monthly upload quantity but also try to adapt to the latest quality requirements and trends. If I just go on doing the same quantity of uploads every month then I will get to the point of a standstill or decrease of sales.
Cristalloid, I feel your pain, and understand your concerns. My experience at DT has been different. I saw revenue drop in April 2012, like many others, but it bounced back, and my revenue still increased by approx. 36% in 2012. I am not clear if your sales dropped in fall of 2012 or 2011. (You said fall of last year.) If it was 2012, that isn't too long ago. I have a feeling you meant 2011? If so, stats seem to indicate that you have added approx. 144 images to your portfolio in that time period, which is nearly 1/3 of its size. If that is so, have those images sold well, compared to the older images? If not, those additions could be part of what changed. Perhaps they don't appeal to the buyers as your previous images? Perhaps you need to add different types of images? Anyway, just some more ideas, so you can make a thoughtful decision.
@Adeliepenguin: my images worked well until fall last year and then suddenly, nearly over night, sales and revenue felt down to one third they used to be before; so I think it's not the pictures but something else that made this sharp change. But I agree with you that improving one's skills is an option everytime.
I think you really need to take a long, hard look at yourself and your portfolio (as compared to others) and decide if moving to other sites is truly a good way to spend your time--will it make the difference in revenue--or should you spend more time improving upon your portfolio, and your skills. Before making any changes, I would recommend checking the other sites you are considering and see if you can determine how well images such as yours are doing. As for me, I have always opted to work on the portfolio and my skills, and that approach has worked well for me.
@Martingraf: I agree, but if you're doing this for fun, I would think you'd like to see, when you check your downloads every morning, an additional download or two, or more. My average downloads per month here is about 12 give or take a few. My average downloads on another site is about 60, which includes partner program downloads. Don't get me wrong, I think Dreamstime is #1 by far in customer service and the potential for big $$$ downloads is great with level 4 or 5 image. But for me, I like the excitement of seeing my images downloaded. The more the better.
As mentioned before - it depends on if you are doing this for fun or for living. I agree to Solidsdman if you do this for a living - but as an amateur with up to 30 uploads a month you should try to stay with one company exclusive and we don't know - perhaps DT is number one in 3 years time ;)
I belong to 3 sites and DT comes in a distant 2nd in revenue with essentially the same images minus the exclusives on here. I think it's risky to put all your eggs in only one basket, since pricing models change at any time which can severely effect your earnings on any one site.
Downside would be spending more time uploading and less time creating images. And the time to get up and running. The biggest problem I had with DT exclusive contract is that is even encompasses POD sites even though that is a different market (home decoration buyer vs business user).
I think DT's subscription prices are very cheap compare to other websites. more than 70% of my sales were subscription sales last month. That is terrible. One of my friend is in the magazine and advertising industry. He said they bought pictures from DT all the time. DT is popular, but maybe more subscription buyers than credit buyers. DT is in a newer company, logically is not as well known as the others. That is why is not as stable, I guess.
It is not a bad idea to try the other websites. But I think no matter what, you have to give a website a few years time in order to find out the right way. I've been selling images for only less than 4 months. I tried other two websites but did not work out well. It took too long to build up my portfolios there. DT is good at helping me to build a portfolio. It helped me to get into the market and had a concept of micro stock market. For the future, I might sell images more on the website that is not micro stock. They charge hundreds of dollars...(More)
@egomezta, Yes December is a bad month to base a decision on, but this December is worse than last December, although I am actively uploading. Maybe there are too many photographers :). We don't know if people uploading to multiple sites made more money this year than other years.
I am exclusive also. For me, things started to go downwards or stagnate since the big pricing change in April 2012. DT charges more per picture and we get more per download but the sales dropped and the amount of $$ is less or equal.
I'm excusive too, but last year as I had some spare time I decided to try in other sites, so I refused my exclusivity. Sales and revenue in DT dropped about 50% and it was a hard time to get images in other sites, all of the sudden I didn't have any more spare time so I decided to be exclusive again. What I mean to say is that exclusivity works very well for me since I do this for a hobbie. What I have seen is that December is the worst month for sales, so be dissapointed.
The problem is partly that as technology improves everybody ' thinks ' they are a great photographer. I have to admit just as I reached $400 in a month the recession struck. Remember time is money and dealing with multiple sites will be time consuming. Find a new outlet for printed / framed images perhaps to boost your income. David.
My experience is that my income on DT dropped to 60% of what it was (and I have a lot of level 4 & 5 shots). It took 9 months to a year to get my income back with steady uploading on other sites, and now I am above where I was - but have also stepped up my uploading, etc. The smaller the portfolio, the longer it will take to get back to you current income - it takes sales volume on most sites to get raises, and unlike DT where your best sellers rise through the levels, all other sites deal with it on a portfolio basis. Thus, the smaller the portfolio the longer it takes to hit targets. You'll probably find it takes a lot of time to get your portfolio up, and that you need to up your monthly uploads to see any benefit. In my personal opinion, 10 uploads a month for your portfolio is not sufficient to justify leaving...
@Miraclemoments: yes you may be right; but my images never have shown many people and sales were higher... and what about model releases ( I find it difficult to get them)?
@Martingraf: sales and revenue have been markedly higher last (2011 and 2010) december, november, oktober, september... I think something has changed here at DT... and not to the best for small-portfolio-people as I am...
to be honest - I didn't even think about December sales that much - I expected and accepted that it's going to be very low - don't expect so much more from January - but from Feb on we should all see nice sales again - in the meantime I will just go on what I love doing: improving my photo skills :)
You have a great portfolio but might need to diversify a bit. Get some people in all those travel images that you have. You might also want to look at getting more images with people in them doing things...still in the travel feel of things. That might breath some new life into your portfolio.
Been thinking about cancelling myself but going to stick around and first see what happens...pushing to reach the 500 mark myself.
This article has been read 1251 times. 1 readers have found this article useful. Photo credits: Cristalloid.
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