Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Converting Social Media Efforts Into Photo Revenue

A man in business attire is drowning under a sea of pictures in an image about social media, bandwidth, data management and time management.
As we all start to drown under the demands of social media it is important to consider how we spend our limited time.

Converting Social Media Efforts Into Photo Revenue
Wow, I haven’t written a blog post in over a month! As a matter of fact, I haven’t been on Google + more than two or three times in that period, have barely glanced at Facebook, and have all but abandoned my nightly perusing of Google Analytics. I haven’t looked at Pinterest in over a month, nor have I kept up with Tumbler. A few perfunctory tweets on twitter rounds out my social media activities. Taking note of this, I realized that I have found a way to convert my Social Media efforts into more revenue. I am doing that by spending less time on social media and more time doing what I really love doing, making more images. Between Getty and Blend I have uploaded fifty of my composited concept images and uploaded another 45 “accepted” images shot as part of a joint shoot with a friend of mine. This has been the most productive month I have ever had. So while my headline maybe be a little misleading I think it is important for those who are serious about stock photography to carefully consider how they use their time.

Cutting Down On Wasted Time
For the last several years I have been working at getting more efficient, more disciplined and more productive. That isn’t necessarily the same thing as spending less money on shoots because in what I do time is my biggest constraint, not the cost of the shoot. My emphasis has been on efficient use of my time and I have found a couple ways that are really helping me in that goal.

Next Image Up
My latest technique for increasing my productivity is to have my next image already planned before I finish the current one. I am now spending a little time each day planning out the next image and what individual steps need to be done towards completion of the image whether it is finding a photo from my archives, shooting a prop, or casting models.

First Task The Next Morning
Whether I am about to begin a new image or hopefully complete one in progress, I find it immensely helpful to plan the first task to undertake the next morning. I can’t stress enough how important this seems to be to jump right into a good creative/work flow each morning.  Getting a good productive start in the morning seems to almost always carry right on through for the entire day.  So the last thing I do before I leave the studio is review what I will start on first thing the next the morning.

Committing To Ideas
The other part of my increased productivity is in committing to ideas.  I always have a list of ideas to work on, but now I commit to the next one before I finish the one I am working on. Now it doesn’t always play out that way. I also allow myself to jump into images that present themselves to me during the course of my work. For example, as I peruse through my files looking for parts I need an idea will often spring to mind. If I finish an image and it is fairly early in the day I might then jump on such an idea and try and whip it out before starting on my next “major” idea. But again, the important thing is that I have an image already mapped out and ready to dive into.

Breaks, Exercise and "Off" Time
I do take occasional breaks to exercise and to surf the net. Giving myself permission for brief sorties outside my “production zone” insures that I don’t get burned out…which would really negatively affect my output! I might also add that I often take a day out of my work week to work around the house and I take several trips each year with at least one being a major one usually to some exotic destination. Giving myself plenty of "off" time keeps  me at my best when I am working.

Quality, Quantity And Consistency
A reminder here that the one trait I can see that is shared by all the top earning stock photographers that I know is that they all are prolific photographers. They combine quality, quantity and consistency. That is the overriding goal I find myself working towards these days. If I can achieve that then I believe the money will take care of itself...and so far it seems to be working.


Anonymous said...

Good post! Pretty much the same here I have uploaded over 100 shots to the Getty RM/RF in the last month and a half.

I have almost quit micro altogether except for IS and DT. It feels like a big stone come off my back, having to produce hundreds of images only to find them killed by paranoid search-changes.

Your articles are always intersting and full of logic.

Cheers. Lagereek

Marco Venturini-Autieri said...

Just a small curiosity about what probably is a minor detail: how do you keep stored your ideas? Do you write them in a (paper) notebook, use some sort of lists sync'd between laptop and smartphone, or else?

John Lund said...


I have a notepad with me at all times and stickies littered all over my studio. Once a week I put all of those ideas onto my master list on my computer.



Anonymous said...

Hi John: How many images does one need to have on Getty to make a living from stock photography? More RF or RM?

John Lund said...


There is no one answer to the question about how many images one needs to have on Getty to make a living. How much do you need to make a living? Do your images earn more or less than average...and what the heck is average?

If I had to give you an answer I would say you need at least 1,000 images...and possibly two or three times that many if your imagery does not perform near the higher end of things....

Anyone else have any thoughts about that?



Anonymous said...

Hi John: Thanks for the insight. I am slowly getting past the 2,000 mark and not quite there yet. I think by 3,000, I might be able to quit my day job.

Anonymous said...

John: What is your opinion of the Flickr collection Getty Images?

John Lund said...

I really don't have any strong opinion on Getty's flickr images as I do not have any direct experience there. That being said, I think that any way one can get into the Getty collection is a why not? Basically, you are throwing images against the wall to see if any "stick". Anyone else out there with more experience in that area have any opinions?



Lawren said...

Hi John, I agree that "Converting Social Media Efforts Into Photo Revenue". So even I read almost every article in your blog, I never write anything here. Actually, some articles I read 2 or 3 times, because they are interesting (and my English is not very well :). Thank you very much for sharing your experience. Many times I got courage from your words and your experience are nutrients for me.

About Getty/Flickr collection, I join them since May 2010. I submitted new images every month till October 2012. Now, I have around 1150 images in Getty/Flickr collection. I stopped upload to Flickr since October 2012, because I got invitation to contribute to House collections (The Image Bank and Digital Vision etc.).

I am not like Flickr collection very much for many reasons. First, my annual return per image in last year is around $10.5. It is almost equal to my RPI in Micro stocks. Second, there is too crowded. There are 623,322 images in Flickr collection now. And I think there is not too much room for them in first 10 pages when buyers searching. Third, Images are not always selected by professional editors. Actually, you can’t send images for selection. You can only pray for random selection by “curator”.

I know a few top contributors can get good return from Getty/Flickr collection. But I think it is still very far from What John Lund got from Getty. Off course, I also know some people have nearly thousands of images there, but get nearly nothing per month. I think the critical success factor is still “Quality”.


Anonymous said...

John: Waiting for your new post, almost a month!