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.

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

Picfair.com introduce global price change tool:

Copyright: Duncan Andison/Dreamstime.com
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.


Friday, 1 April 2016

March Sales Updates:

Tony Blair -notebook sale on Redbubble
March proved a mixed month with strong sales from one agency (guess) and a slow performance elsewhere.

As always, in first place were Shutterstock with above average subscription sales. An Enhanced Download (this time down to just $16 compared to the old $28 rate) and a couple of Single Downloads added to the mix. The month saw a big fall in On Demand Downloads which often make up to 50% or more of my monthly totals. Hopefully, April will see a come back for these. Uploading continued to be a pleasure here with quick review times and high acceptance rates (what happened to all those poor lighting/wrong colour balance/out of focus rejections?) Obviously, I must suddenly have become a brilliant photographer in the last few weeks :)

Stunning volcano crater on Nisyros island, Greece
Second place went to Istock with (sadly) just 2 credit sales but 35 sub/pp downloads.

Dreamstime was in third place with 6 downloads. Back to business as usual then with no repeat of my
record month in February.

123rf took fourth place with 14 downloads. There are still some issues with slow reviews but I have, at least, had some looked at without having to send them a begging email -so some improvement there.

Fifth place went to Bigstock with 10 downloads.

Redbubble were in sixth place with 3 products sales. Two stickers of a Greek goat and a notebook with my 1991 image of Tony Blair (former Prime Minister) on the cover.
Tarpon Springs Boulevard, Halki island

Bringing up the rear in seventh place were Fotolia with just one small sale. That Adobe effect really is slow in kicking in for me though others have reported a big jump in sales this year.

Uploading of new images was concentrated on my trip to the Greek island of Halki last year. Among my favourites were an image of the surprisingly named Tarpon Springs Boulevard. So named because it was funded by the Greek community of Tarpon Springs in Florida -which has close ties with the island (when the sponge fishing industry died out on Halki many citizens moved to Florida). I also uploaded the first image of one of my favourite places - the still active volcano on the island of Nisyros. It truly is a spectacular place and not to be missed if you are ever in the Dodecanese region of Greece. Regards, David.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Exciting news -RF Editorial coming to Alamy:

Alamy -getting a heart from me for their license changes
Since first writing about Alamy some while ago I have steadily continued to add a few images to my small portfolio there though, as yet, I have had no sales. That's not a surprise - my port is very small (less than 50 images) and most contributors will point out that it takes a long time to get established there and start gathering sales.

As I wrote before, one of the big limitations of Alamy is that I cannot upload my Editorial images (the majority of my portfolio) because of their licensing system. Editorial on Alamy needs to be set as RM (Rights Managed) whereas the microstock sites use an RF (Royalty Free) license and Alamy will not allow you to upload images that are available under different license types. This has meant that I have been restricted to only uploading my non editorials.

This is changing! New contributor uploading and licensing tools at Alamy are in development and, hopefully, will be available soon. One of these changes will allow for Editorial to be set under a RF license -thus making it possible to upload my whole port including those images on micro sites (with no conflict of license type).

Big news indeed and you might be forgiven for thinking this would have been a major announcement from the agency. Well, not quite. It was mentioned yesterday (in passing) in a post on microstockgroup.com in relation to something totally unrelated. I spotted it and wasn't quite sure I was actually reading and understanding what had been posted. To make sure, I posted back highlighting the comment and asking if this really meant we would be able to upload the same editorials we have on micro using the new RF license. The Alamy rep (thank you James!) replied that yes it did mean just that.

I soon realised that not many members at MSG were noticing this news because of where it was posted so I started a new thread there highlighting this big change. Link here: Microstockgroup (there's a link in that to the original post from Alamy). 

There is certainly a case to be made for having a different port at Alamy than what you put on micro sites and if you are just starting out this should be given careful consideration. However, if like me, you have long established ports on the microstock sites then this will just open up a whole new set of buyers to our images. Won't Alamy buyers just look for your images on cheaper sites? Truthfully, some might but experience suggests that professional image buyers do not have the time or inclination to "shop around" to save a few pounds of somebody else's money. Alamy buyers include National newspapers and other media outlets who are more likely to stick to them. My experience with the much missed agency PictureNation was that I still got higher priced sales through them despite my images being available on cheaper micro sites. That's my opinion but, obviously, everyone has to use their own judgement on what's best for their portfolio.

There's no fixed time yet for the implementation of this change -other than soon. I'll be watching and getting ready to upload my Editorial content. Regards, David.