Competition is fierce in the stock market and if you want to stand out you have to invest. Long gone are the days where your holiday pictures or nice shots from your cousin’s newborn were enough to earn a comfortable pocket money. For the past two years I have watched the quality of pictures on iStockphoto increase constantly and after discussion with many other successful stock photographers quickly decided that the only way forward is to invest: investÂ in reasearch, invest in quality.
This has worked well for me. A good photoshooting will cost anywhere between 700EUR and 2000EUR (mainly model, make up, wardrobe and location). Recently I spoke to a stock photographer friend of mine and enjoyed hearing he had spent careful time researching a topic and then investing on producing the idea in the best possible way. Numbers are working for him.
All this time however, I had had no proper means of measuring how successful my investments were. I knew my shooting costs but I could not measure precisely the point where my investment broke even. And this was always a problem.
The goal is that a photoshooting breaks even within 6 months. That means that the series should generate 16% of your costs each month. How do you measure that?
It was only just recently, about 3 weeks ago, that I had a deeper look into LookStat.com, and was surprised to finally discover a tool to help me improve measuring return on investment (ROI). In LookStat you can set up a collection of pictures (suitably the results of one photo session) and LookStat will tell you how much money those pictures have generated. You have different viewing options and charts, making it easy to understand.
I am still missing some important features which make measuring ROI easier, and so I wrote Rahul Pathak, the founder of LookStat, with some suggestions and was pleased to hear that they are already working in that direction! I’ll keep you up to date on any evolution and how you can use it for your pictures.
Thanks to LookStat here are some examples of my measurements, good and bad (click on the picture for the complete series):
How do you measure return on investment? How important is it for you? I would be interested in learning about your workflow and number keeping
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