Part 3 of my series on finding your optimal workflow focuses on Market Analysis. How do you see through the market and create clarity?
In parts one and two we looked at the importance of volume balanced by quality.
But this isn’t enough. Market analysis ensures that you put your efforts in the right direction. Your investment must be profitable!
The reality is, that stock photography agencies give out very little information on how the market evolves and reacts. As a stock photographer you do not have many tools at your disposal, no hard data.
Observe the Market, Be Ahead of Your Competition
I personally do not spend much time viewing images at stock agencies. Instead I look out at pictures I see in magazines, commercials, TV and designs. Visual trends are set by fashion, commercials and celebrities. The images appearing on stock agencies usually trail these trends.
Have you heard of Zara? The spanish clothing company? They were the first ones to be able to spot a fashion trend and within 30 days have such clothes in their shops. They were so fast in covering demand that they became hugely successful worldwide and are one of the leading retail companies today.
You too want to be ahead of the competition! Keep an eye for visual trends, visual languages, the next hot thing and shape that into a stock image, mixed with your own creativity, and you have a winning formula. This will guarantee your images are fresh and satisfy new market demands.
Analyse Your Data Regularly
Just as interesting and necessary is observing your own data. If you have a mid- to large size portfolio (500 images or more), with the right tools you should be able to identify how your images react to market changes and trends.
That data is fundamental!
Once you understand how your images perform, you will know what your strong points are and you must focus on them. So let me use my portfolio and show you how to do it. The question I want to answer is whether it is worth photographing glamour images.
Case Study (Part 1): Comparing my Glamour with my Commercial Images
My portfolio has over 1000 images composed of glamour images and commercial images. I have 212 glamour images and 915 commercial stock images. My data tools tell me the following:
In this first pie chart you can see that my glamour images compose 19% of my portfolio
The next pie chart displays how much income those glamour images have generated since I started shooting. The message here is quite strong: 19% of my images produced 40% of my income!
But most interesting is that in the current year, 2010, my glamour pictures have produced 45% of all my income!
What does this tell me? It is obvious that my glamour pictures are the most successful segment of my portfolio. They generate twice as much money and that trend is growing.
Case Study (Part 2): Comparing the Life Cycle of Images
The second part of my analysis focuses on the life cycle of an image. When does an image produce the maximum amount of money? Is there a difference between my glamour images and my commercial images?
I used my tools to look at the life cycle of my top 5 glamour pictures and my top 5 commercial pictures. Here are my results (I removed all dollar values):
Top 5 Glamour Pictures
Top 5 Commercial Pictures
At first glance it is obvious that my glamour pictures have a very different life cycle than my commercial pictures!
My glamour images all start very strong and make most of their income in the first 6 to 10 months. Afterwards they loose their earning power. Commercial images on the other hand are much more constant. They earn money throughout their whole life.
Case Study: Conclusions
By analysing my data in depth, my tools have been able to show that my glamour pictures are strong earners. However, the market gets tired very quickly of glamour pictures. Once a glamour picture is out of fashion it does not get purchased. My commercial pictures have a longer earning power despite generating less money.
What this market analysis teaches me is that in order to make maximum money I should focus on my glamour images and ensure I generate fresh ones every 6 months.
Your Workflow: Volume, Quality and Market Analysis
We reached the end of the worflow series. Please go through all three articles again and think about all aspects of your workflow which can be optimized to ensure you maximize your profit and efficiency. I have been following these methods with success and hope I could help you too!
How do you analyse your market? How do you identify your strengths and weaknesses to make decisions and maximize your profits?
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