Back in the Seventies and Eighties I founded and ran several Fleet Street photo agencies specialising in stock images of celebrities from pop stars to politicians. These were syndicated to the National and International press and Television. These days I am active in the Microstock world and this blog charts my journey as well as, hopefully, providing inspiration and ideas to others. Image buyers should also find this blog useful with links to my portfolios and regular updates on new uploads. Unless otherwise stated all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Comments are very welcome but will be reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

June Sales Updates:

Soon to go: British Home Stores in Hastings
As promised a prompter posting for my sales updates for June.

In first place, no prizes for guessing that Shutterstock came top with around double the earnings of my second place site. A good crop of On Demand sales in June but only one small Single sale.

A strong second place for Istock with 9 credit sales and a further 27 PP and sub downloads. Interesting to note that of the latter only one was from the PP. Is Thinkstock being run down in favour of promoting sub sales at Istock? Trying to predict what Getty will do next is a near impossible task - so I'll just await developments.

Dragon Lily seed heads on Halki island
Third place went to Redbubble with 6 sales. A good mix of products including mugs,T shirts, stickers. In a new move they have just announced the scrapping of their minimum payout level. Commission on any sales will just be paid out by the 15th of the following month regardless of amount. Good news for those that do not sell much and have been sitting on a balance in their account.

Fourth place went to an improved Dreamstime with 16 downloads. Good to see a bit more action here but a
long way from where they were for me.

Fifth place saw Bigstock also with 16 downloads. My music festival images were the best seller here.

123rf managed sixth place with 18 downloads. Most of these were sub sales which pulled the income down. It's been a while since I saw some large credit sales at 123.

Fotolia were in seventh place with 3 downloads.

At eighth place were MostPhotos which for the second month running saw 2 subscription downloads.

Agioi Anargyroi church on Agistri island
No sales over at Picfair (still stuck on just 2 sales ever). My experiment with their bulk price adjuster came to an end when I reverted all my images back to £10 per license. My test to see if a £5 level would generate more sales suggested to me that pricing isn't the issue. I really want Picfair to work and intend to keep uploading.

Recent uploads included some shots of the Hastings branch of British Home Stores (BHS). Founded in 1928, the Department Store chain of 163 UK shops is now closing down for good -with no viable buyer for the business found. Sad to see a long standing part of the High Street going but, if I'm honest, I cannot remember the last time I even went in the store let alone bought anything. Other uploads included shots of Dragon Lily seed heads taken on the Greek island of Halki last year. These proved hard to ID but I put out requests for help on several forums resulting in several suggestions but Dragon Lily came in as the most credible -based on a lot of research. Google reverse image search didn't help at all -just returning lots of images of green olives! Finally, I continued with my uploads from my May trip to Athens including the church of Agioi Anargyroi on the little island of Agistri. Regards, David.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

May Sales Updates:

Panagia Tinou ferry listing in Piraeus harbour, Athens
A late update for my sales in May. I was lucky enough to visit the exciting city of Athens for a few days which has put me behind with other things.

The month saw the usual dominating Shutterstock in first place as ever. A good number of One Demand downloads and a reasonable Single Download pushed things higher. Acceptances remain high at the moment and the days of weird lighting/focus/white balance rejections seem to be fading. This, in turn, has encouraged me to start uploading more with my portfolio now standing at 1941 images. I'm looking forward to passing the 2K mark in the not too distant future.

In second place were Istock with 7 credit sales and a further 38 sub and PP downloads. Editorial reviews remain super fast (a few minutes to a few hours) while commercial image reviews have slowed to nearly a month. Hopefully, they will speed this up going forward.

Redbubble made it to third place in May with 4 sales. Three stickers of Greek island subjects and a T Shirt featuring cult Seventies band The Flamin' Groovies. This Print On Demand site has really paid off for me in the year since I joined. By contrast, Fine Art America (for which I pay $30 a year membership) has produced nothing in sales since last December.

In fourth place were Bigstock with 12 downloads.
Skala beach on Agistri island, Greece

Fifth place went to 123RF with 13 downloads. I'm pleased to say that the problem with long review times seems to have been resolved with all taking place in a timely manner.

Sixth place saw Fotolia produce 7 downloads. Possibly a record month (but given it's only 7, not worth checking back to see!).

Almost at the bottom in seventh place were Dreamstime with 7 downloads (all 35c subs). I've said plenty before about Dreamstime, so won't repeat myself here.

Bringing up the bottom in eighth place were Mostphotos with 2 sub sales paying a few (euro) cents each. As ever, the sales were in their home country of Sweden. They just do not seem to have got any traction around the rest of the world -which given that it is an online business is surprising.

Creating a buzz on Hastings pier
Uploading in May mainly concentrated on my Athens trip images. Piraeus harbour provided some interesting shipping images not least the Panagia Tinou ferry boat which was listing badly after taking on water. Research revealed that this once the Folkestone-Boulogne Sealink ferry Hengist which famously beached near Folkestone during the Great Storm of October 1987. I also spent a day on the little island of Agistri which is just under an hour from Piraeus by hydrofoil. This was the very first Greek island I ever visited back in 2001 and it was really interesting to visit it again -this time with a camera. Little had changed there in all those years. You can read about my first visit there on my Greek Islands blog. Back in the UK, I also continued visiting and photographing the newly re-opened Hastings pier and was lucky enough to get an image of a swarm of bees on a life ring -which made for an unusual picture. I'll try and get my June updates posted more promptly next month :) Regards, David.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

April Sales Updates:

RAF parachute team The Falcons
A fairly average month for April with the usual dominance of one agency, ticking over from some of the rest and no action at all from a number of sites.

As ever, Shutterstock was way, way out in front of the rest. A strong comeback for On Demand sales made up around half of the total and just a couple of small Single and Other Downloads. No Enhanced Downloads at all in April.

Istock performed well to make second place with 5 credit sales and a very strong 45 sub/partner sales (in fact, a record month for those).

Dreamstime was some way behind in third place with 9 downloads. With a portfolio there approaching 2000 images I would really expect to see a much better performance from Dreamstime - a view that seems to be echoed in the forum there. Their levels system (where images with more downloads move up in price) seems to be working against them -at least in my case - as I rarely see those big sales anymore. Just lots of 35cent sub sales.

Peaceful harbour scene on Halki island
Close behind in fourth place were Bigstock with 10 downloads. As usual mainly sub sales. At least I don't have to do any work for them as all my accepted images on Shutterstock automatically get added there as part of the old Bridge to Bigstock program - I consider myself lucky to have got on that.

Fifth place went to 123rf with 10 downloads. The problems with not getting uploads reviewed seem to have been resolved for now with both commercial and editorial images being looked at within a day or two. Editorial continues to do well here and that might explain where my Dreamstime sales have gone.

One for the art sites, an inverted colour forest
Finally in sixth place were Fotolia with just a single subscription sale. Though I only have around 150 images in my port there I would expect a top ranking agency to be making more regular sales than this. I'm waiting and hoping for an announcement that they will start taking editorial images - seems like a logical move as they are the only large site not to accept editorials.

Uploading in April saw me continuing with my images from the Greek island of Halki including one of small boats moored in the harbour. I also revisited my airshow files for some images of the RAF parachute team The Falcons in action. For something a bit different I experimented with some inverted colour images. These weren't very well received by the main agencies but I'm hoping they might get some interest on the art sites like Redbubble. We'll see. May has been a busy month so far for shooting with more images of our newly opened pier, the Jack In The Green festival and then a last minute trip to Athens for good measure! More in due course. Regards, David.

Sunday, 15 May 2016 introduce global price change tool:

Copyright: Duncan Andison/
For anyone that's not looked at the Picfair site for a while there is now a new feature that I have been asking for right from the start. A global price change tool that allows you to edit the price of all your images at once.

From the start I have always priced all my images at £10 per licence, however, I have wondered how different price points might influence sales. As I have written before £10 is expensive for, say, a blogger but cheap for a National newspaper.

To be fair, Picfair have previously offered to perform a bulk price change at their end but having the convenience of doing it yourself is much better. You'll find it on the top right of your portfolio page there. Obviously, this only works if you want all your images at the same price. You can still individually edit the price of each image just as you always could.

You will get a warning that any global price change is irreversible but it also says that you can bulk change your prices again. Confused? I assume that what they mean is that if you currently have a range of prices for different images and you bulk change them to a new single price you cannot go back to all different prices again (other than by individual editing).

Anxious to try this new feature I went for a dramatic 50% reduction to £5 per licence. The feature does say it will take a while to populate to all your images but it seemed to be pretty instant in my case. What has happened, however, is the bulk change button is still saying that it is updating my prices a week or so later and does not function  - so I cannot now change my price back even if I wanted to. I'm guessing they don't want people changing pricing on a daily basis -so be warned that once you use this feature it will be a while before you can change things again. I'll keep checking and see when it becomes functional again. Nethertheless, it's good to finally have this feature in place. Regards, David.
ETA - Just heard from Picfair via Twitter: They're looking into that as the button should have updated ready to be used again.

Hastings pier reborn:

Vast new space on Hastings pier
Wednesday 27th April 2016 saw a great day here in Hastings when our much loved Victorian pier re-opened to the public. Though the finishing touches were still being added ahead of the official opening in May, things were advanced enough to allow the public back on for the first time in some eight years.

I have written about our pier several times and have been documenting it in photographs since moving to Hastings in 2009. Designed and built by Eugenius Birch (responsible for a number of British seaside piers) it first opened in 1872. 2008 saw it closed for structural safety reasons and October 2010 brought a disastrous fire which destroyed most of the wooden decking and buildings.

However, that was not the end of the pier as after being awarded over 11 million pounds in Lottery Heritage
People enjoying the reborn Hastings pier
Funds rebuilding work has been ongoing for several years. What we now have is a very modern pier with large amounts of open space. It's a far cry from the traditional Victorian style pier with a ballroom at the end.

I must admit I did have my doubts about how it would look and, certainly from the shore, it still looks like something is missing with the Pavilion restaurant at the start of the pier and the new visitor centre in the middle and then nothing till the end.

Looking west from Hastings pier
That impression changed for me as soon as I paid my first visit on the Saturday after opening. The massive areas of uncluttered wooden decking make for an impressive space (who realised it was so wide?). The visitor centre with its roof top terrace makes for a great place to sit and watch the many visitors anxious to walk on the pier again.

The one thing that struck me was that everyone on it was smiling and enjoying this new space. And hardly a scrap of litter to be seen. I have already visited four times and look forward to enjoying the reborn pier for many years to come.

It's also great to have so many new photographic opportunities -both of the pier itself and the views of Hastings town that you get from it. It's been a pleasure to document the process and it's great to finally have it open again. Regards, David.