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Sunday, March 2, 2014

One of our files in action, sweet : )

Ours is the first take with a girl in a bathroom.


Here's the file in question.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So I am dropping my exclusivity, now what?

When you decide to go freelance, it will take some time to prepare your portfolio for transfer.

You kept all of your rendered footage? Good. You used PhotoJPEG 95%? Even better. This codec is accepted everywhere I submit my footage to. This means, no additional rendering, no additional work. Other codecs will probably work just as well, I am not sure they will work everywhere. Some agencies have file size limitations, if you footage is close to 30s and full of detail, you might have to compress it a little bit more.

With my portfolio I had to re render one file in a hundred.

You kept all the thumbnails? You'll be needing those only if you decide to work with revostock. At some agencies you can not choose a thumbnail, at others you do it online after uploading your file.

What about your keywords? That is the tricky part. One Young Woman Only does not work exactly well outside iStock. What about Woman, Girl optimized to Women? This will not do any good either. Hopefully you backed your metadata up before optimizing at iStock. If you have, you are pretty much set. If not you need to redo you keywords. Maybe do not start from scratch as I tried to do, which is a bad idea. Just unoptimize it if you know what I mean.

Now it is time to prepare the csv. You create a spreadsheet with Excel or open office Calc (which is Free and works perfectly well) containing all of the metadata in the world. That is file name, file ID, title, description, keywords, model release name, thumbnail name, categories etc. The way I do it is, I keep data for all agencies in one file. Then I export specific agency columns, as a csv file, upload it, and it is done. No deepmeta, no optimizing, no wasting time copying and pasting over and over again. I love the simplicity of this csv solution. With some agencies like shutterstock you will need to adjust the keywords online but it does not take so much time as the entire process at iStock takes. If you need help with the metadata, send me a targoszstock gmail. I have a few files you may find useful.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Was dropping iStock exclusivity worth it? Final words.

Did it work for me? I think it did. Will it work for you? Well it depends.

Let's start with some general concepts that made me go freelance. If you work with only one agency, you keep all your eggs in one basket. I am sure you have heard it already. Your sales depend on how this agency is doing, not on how the entire microstock market is doing. At times this can be a good thing.
How much you make depends also on where your footage is placed in search results. Every agency has their own ways of determining what goes on top. Hopefully it is your footage. With best match algorithms being one of the most guarded microstock secrets, you have no way of positioning your files. There are some clues on how to do it, but you never know for sure. When working with many agencies you have a greater chance of doing it right at least in one place. For example one of my shutterstock top earners has like 40 views at iStock and no sales and it is sitting there for almost two years. 

There may also be a general customer needs profile, different with every agency. I did not want to take any chance with this either.

In one of my previous blog posts you could reed how dropping iStock exclusivity affected my sales at iStock itself. I did not say if the other agencies made up for the loss. With microstock sales varying between the months it is sometimes hard to judge how is your portfolio doing in a bigger picture. The column graphs from my early posts tell the short term, monthly basis story. If you need perspective, my suggestion is to make a spreadsheet with your income for every given month since the beginning of your microstock adventure. Then make the calculation how much did you make for the past year out of each months point of view. This is how it looks for my iStock sales only.

What you do not see in the graph is that my overall income seems to be making up for the iStock loss. It is growing slowly but steadily, just as my portfolio is. This means, that over the last three years I was able to maintain pretty much a steady revenue per image per year. For me this is a good thing.

I hear mixed comments on iStock performance in 2013. I made a tough choice over a year ago. Even though today my portfolio is not doing very well at iStock, I am not bothered. I have others.

When you decide to register with other agencies, be sure to go there through referral links. If you found information on this blog useful, you can use mine by going through the small banners on the left side. Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

our latest uploads

under a microscope

tea time portrait

on her way

reading a book


twins in a bathroom

private plane cockpit

Monday, December 9, 2013

Déjà vu

2.079.140 video files online, and we hit Pond5 main page twice a week. Cool.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

how does dropping iStock exclusivity affect your income?

First column features my last years income as an iStock exclusive videographer. Second column features first years income (iStock only) as a non exclusive contributor. Third column takes in to account the royalty rate change (drop from 25% to 16%) and compensates for it. This way you can see how did going freelance affect my sales at iStock, not my income.

The following is based on my own experience. It does not compensate for growth of my portfolio, and it did grew.

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