2010 was one of my best years of growth in photography business. I thought I should share with you some of my numbers in this blog post. Before that, you should know that I do mostly travel photography although I am also interested in the macro-world of plants. The travel images I produce are exclusively made using HDR technique. I used a Canon 500D with a set of 3 EF-S lenses (normal zoom, wide angle and a fixed macro). A few days ago, I have upgraded to Canon 60D, and in the next months I am planning to change my normal zoom lens to a better one. For details about my equipment please visit my profile. I currently work with 4 micro-stock agencies, and I consider dreamstime my base.
Production wise, it was a modest year. I see the number of produced images declining each year. In 2010 I have produced 99 images in comparison with 134 images in 2009 and my initial target of 120 for 2010. For the last 2 years my focus was on quality rather the quantity and this aspect was reflected in the acceptance ration and the performance of the new files. In 2009, 124 images were accepted on dreamstime out of the 134 produced (92.5%). In 2010, DT accepted 96 images out of the production of 99 – a “penetration” rate of almost 97%. These values were much smaller for the years before 2009. Both in 2009 and 2010 the production of editorial content (mostly street scenes) were submitted exclusively to Dreamstime. This accounted for 15 accepted images each year. My stock of images available for sale at Dreamstime (not counting images in the free section) increased by 13.5% over 2010.
For 2011, my target is to produce 120 images with at least 100 being accepted by dreamstime, while increasing the quality and the number of subjects covered. I am very busy with finishing my PhD thesis in the first half of the year, but I hope to secure at least one or two months of travel before starting a new contract.
Income wise, 2010 was 89% over 2009. Dreamstime accounted for 43% of my income in 2010, in comparison with 32% in 2009, although in 2009 I was only working with 3 agencies. This increase is in fact due to the great referral program in place here which accounted for almost 45% of my income here at dreamstime in 2010. The RPI (Royalty per image per year) was 2.44$ in 2009 and increased by almost 23% to 2.99$ in 2010. However, I believe that the most recent photos (last two years) produce a RPI about twice as much as presented above. In 2010 I have achieved another milestone which I consider to be important – I have passed 5 downloads per image (currently at 6.44), which means that my average file is level 2, and thus receiving increased royalty levels and higher price.
The overall effects of increasing the number of images and the RPI produced a net growth (not considering the referral income) of 39% in 2010 in comparison with 2009. I am looking forward in maintaining (if not surpassing) a similar growth in the next years.
In closure allow me to present some of my most successful images in 2010. The first two were taken during a few weeks I have spent in Japan for winter holydays at the border between 2009 and 2010. The first among them (exclusive to Dreamstime) sold 37 times and so far is the best seller image produced in 2010. The third (Chateau de Chambord, France) was taken during a road trip with my family in north-western France in August 2010. I still remember the smell of summer-country-side which was in the windless air at the time I took the photograph. A few weeks later (early September) I have dragged my family to a one-night stay in one of the most picturesque location in the Swiss Alps – Fluhalp Hotel above Zermatt. I woke up in the freezing morning to walk 500m to the Stellisee lake to get a sunrise picture of Matterhorn only to find it covered in clouds. I waited about 1 hour by the lake among other photographers for the clouds to clear with no luck. Only after returning to the mountain hut and having breakfeast with my family the sky cleared up to make way for the expected breathtaking view. No sunrise, but perfect morning mood and light - 8 times downloaded so far, I am looking forward for it to become one of my best sellers.