Yuri Arcurs on success as a microstock photographer

Copyright: Roberto Marinello

Yuri Arcurs, the best selling microstock photographer presented at the CEPIC New Media Conference that was held in Dublin last week. Here are the notes from his presentation.

The New Media Conference was opened by Yuri Arcurs, the top-selling microstocker, who presented his career and outlined some aspects of the future of this industry. The beginning of the stock photography journey of the current “Mr.Microstock” dates from 2005. He explained how it all started: 

  • shoots stock for fun and as a hobby while studying psychology at the University
  • used friends as models
  • 50$ budget for photo shoot
  • 500 total images for sale on Shutterstock

At that time Yuri began to study the subjects that sell more; what are the best themes, the body language that “works” and the most successful models. The picture “Young girl eating apple and carrying set of scales” that you can see on the presentation picture is one of the super bestsellers of Yuri with 50-100 licenses sold per day. Yuri said that 5% of his collection accounts for 50% of total sales (a phenomenon that we have already described). Yuri is the author of 23 of the 50 best selling photos on Shutterstock. Today (2009 data), the group of Yuri sells more than 2 million licenses annually and the company has a staff of 7 photographers, 2 stylists, a hair / make-up artist, a producer, a model booker, a creative researcher, 2 programmers, a financial manager, a distribution manager, a cook, a handyman… and others with the addition of fifteen people outsourced in India.

Copyright: Roberto Marinello








The company now looks like this:

  • 40,000 images online + 500 in the traditional stocks
  • 10,000$ budget per session
  • 70-130 images selected from 1500-4000 RAW files produced per shoot
  • 2010 expecting to spend 150,000$ on model expenses

When assessing a possible contribution to a new agency, Yuri and his company evaluate a number of criteria:

  • realistic marketing strategy
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts for the site
  • financial resources that allow 2-3 years without profits
  • company history
  • CEO competence

The strategies for the future are focused on the launch of direct sales on www.arcurs.com and pushing services such as editing and sorting. Yuri said it is now difficult to reach a microstock revenue level that compares to his results. You can still do very well but the fact that approximately 80% of customers finds images that are ordered by number of downloads, amplifies the power and visibility of the best sellers.

About the author

Roberto Marinello is an amateur photographer from Italy. He has been selling his photos via microstock agencies since the beginning of 2006. He added a microstock photography blog to write about the experiences in the world of photographic microstock and related business. The blog  has progressively grown into a microstock photography and photo marketplace info center with news, interviews, tips, tools and stats for photographers/illustrators/designers/buyers selling and buying royalty-free images. It is planning to consolidate its position in the sector. Contact: info@mystockphoto.org / Twitter @mystockphoto

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

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