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2011 year end post

Apologies to my readers for not writing for a long time. Thus this year-end post will include several notes I would have normally posted between April and the year end.

I just made a major WordPress upgrade before writing this post. All seems to work fine.

Looking back in May my friend photographer and I organized a studio session with the same model I mentioned in November of 2010. This time it was done at home. Although we were not very happy with the stylist the model performed great and I am happy with the result. And the whole evening was very joyful.

For a number of reasons I didn’t upload any new stock photos from July until the end of the year (except uploading my existing portfolio to some new sites). Following up my April blog post I need to mention that I was doing surprisingly good at microstock despite the break in uploads. I didn’t experience any decline and I even had growth of sales in September and October. November was lower; and traditionally December is always lower.

Now I have made some new pictures and I’ll start uploading them in January – hopefully the sales will grow again.

Speaking about new photos I had an outdoor session at the end of November with a very kind “weather-proof” model. It was a dark grey overcast, it was raining/drizzling most of the day, and the wind was strong. The temperature was around 8 degrees (centigrade). Nevertheless we decided to go ahead with the planned outdoor shoot. Fast lens and a strobe helped to make it a sunny day – at least on pictures 🙂

Growth of sales

Happy Successful Young Businesswoman

Many micrstock photographers reported reaching a plateau in sales at certain point. I experienced it myself several times. I mean I continued to upload new photos but my sales per month remain flat.

On the other hand,  if I stop uploading for a long time my sales remain flat too, though at a lower level. Some other photographers mentioned the same phenomenon: they stopped uploading for some reason, sales drop at first (up to 30% or less), but then they remain stable for a long time.

For example, Jonathan Ross has mentioned that he continues to get a stable income after he didn’t upload to microstock for 2 years.

The conclusion from these 2 observations is simple:

Every portfolio has a threshold. If you supply the number of photos above the threshold your sales will grow. If you supply below the threshold the sales will stay flat.

The threshold goes up with the growth of sales.

My current threshold is around 60 photos/month. If I upload 50 in a month, the sales remain flat; if I upload 75 or more I am starting to see the growth. Thus I am trying to produce 80-100 photos a month. And I know I will need to produce more than that when I’ll reach a new level in a few months, to keep the sales growing.

Microstock in February

I should have posted it earlier…

February, 2011 was my Best Month Ever (BME) on microstock. I started to put more efforts in that business a couple of months ago and it started to pay back. Very nice indeed.

What is very surprising is that it was my BME on iStock despite lower commissions and my non-exclusive status.

Also Alamy was performing nice in February. The sales there are irregular, but I see them more and more often as my portfolio grows.

One very important thing with microstock for me is that I do see the result every time I am starting to put more efforts. Every time I start shooting and uploading more actively I start see increase is sales very quickly. That is indeed a good motivator 🙂

After economical decline in Russia in the end of 1980’s and almost complete collapse in the beginning of 1990’s, economy started to grow at the end of XX’s century and is growing very rapidly in the last few years. There are still huge social problems, corruption and there is still a long way to go, but things are moving fast.

Part of the growth resulted many more private and business cars on the streets. Moscow can’t cope with the current number of cars and tremendous efforts are made for a major road reconstruction in Moscow. As part of this efforts a new bridge across Moscow riverhas been recently constructed:
New bridge across Moscow river

There are more and more modern office and appartment buildings (some of them skyscrapers) built everywhere in Moscow, between boring grey blocks from the previous decades.

Every time I come to Moscow I see it changed significantly.