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, 21 January 2015

December Sales Updates:

Professor Stephen Hawking -new biopic
Inevitably, December was never going to be a great month with so many slow days over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. However, taking that into account there were some good moments.

As ever, Shutterstock was the number one agency -by far. A great start on December1 with an Enhanced Download of Professor Stephen Hawking. Sales of this image have increased a lot recently presumably due to the new biopic film The Theory of Everything which has just been released. I also had a good number of On Demand sales and two nice paying Single Downloads through the month.

Dreamstime performed well to take second place with 20 downloads. Greek island images seem to be doing especially well on Dreamstime of late -possibly as a result of the on-site blog I wrote on the subject.

Istock took third place with only 4 credit sales but a good 24 downloads through the PP and Subs schemes. Istock also had some big news that it was to be integrated further into parent company Getty Images. The main change for many is that commission payments will no longer be made "on request" but on a fixed monthly schedule (subject to reaching the $100 payout level). I don't get enough sales on Istock for this to be an issue but for high performers used to requesting weekly payouts this will not be a popular move.
Sopwith triplane at Dunsfold

Bigstock continued strongly to make fourth place with 15 downloads -pleasingly not just sub sales but a
number of credit sales in there as well. It's interesting to note that a good number of my sales on Bigstock seem to relate to my local area of Hastings and St.Leonards.

Coming in fifth were 123rf with a miserly 7 downloads. Sales there seem to be falling below what they were a year or two ago -despite increasing my portfolio size. Especially noticeable is the fall in editorial sales. Just to add to the fun, there currently seems to be a hiatus on editorial reviews with several of my batches still pending since January 1. Normally these get reviewed within hours.

FineArtAmerica came sixth with a sale of a greetings card. Some lucky person was due a Christmas or Birthday card featuring the Poll Tax Riots in London back in the early 1990s!

Rousoum beach, Alonissos island
Bringing up the rear I had a rare sale at Canstockphoto (my first in months) and just a single sub sale at Fotolia. To be fair, I only have small portfolios on those due to them not taking editorial images.

Uploading in December saw me revisiting my 2012 trip to Alonissos island with a set of images of Rousoum. I also carried on working my Dunsfold airshow images with a set of a 1916 Sopwith triplane (it's actually a 1997 replica but certainly looks the part).

Though I am writing this post well into January I'll use this opportunity to wish all readers of this blog a very happy and enjoyable 2015. Regards, David.

Monday, 15 December 2014

November Sales Updates:

Caroline Flint, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy
Top of the field in November was, as ever, Shutterstock. No Single or Other Downloads this month but a good crop of On Demand sales pushed the earnings up.

Dreamstime did well coming in second place with 16 downloads, with several good credit sales in the mix.

At number three we had Istock with 8 regular credit sales and 20 sub and PP sales. My portfolio there is now just over 900 files (mainly editorial).

Bigstock came in fourth place with 11 downloads - mainly sub sales as usual.

St.Leonards-on-Sea Frost Fair parade
Bringing up the rear were 123rf with 13 downloads where my recent drop to Level 1 status showed in the poor amount of actual earnings. Hopefully, a few good sales or an EL or two will push my level back up again. They will stay on my upload list because they are still an agency which get me sales every month.

Surprisingly, not a single download from Fotolia in November.

Shooting and uploading saw a couple of good events in November. Earlier in the month I was invited to a Labour party policy launch in Hastings where Caroline Flint (Shadow Secretary of State Energy and Climate Change) was the main speaker. As well as being an interesting event, this also yielded images of Shadow Energy Minister Jonathan Reynolds and our Labour Parliamentary candidate for Hastings - Sarah Owen. As we approach the next General Election in May 2015, these are all good images to have in my portfolio.I even took the opportunity to get some exteriors of the venue -the impressive modern building of Sussex Coast College.

Arkoudaki beach, Paxos island, Greece

At the end of the month there was a new event here in St.Leonards-on-Sea with a "Frost Fair" to promote local trade in the approach to Christmas. A colourful parade through the streets was followed by horse and carriage rides -both of which yielded stock images (literally on my doorstep).

Meanwhile, I also continued editing and uploading images from my June trip to Paxos -this time featuring Arkoudaki beach near Lakka. You can read more about a walk to Arkoudaki on my Greek island blog. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

October Sales Updates:

Douglas C47-A Dakota
A great month in October on my number one agency, Shutterstock, helped along by my new higher earning level as well as a $28 enhanced download for one of my Margaret Thatcher images. Good On Demand sales and a modest Single Download also added to the mix.

FineArtAmerica came second this month with the sale of a framed print of Pedi bay on the Greek island of Symi (pictured). Just as a reminder, if you have the paid premium account (currently $30 per annum) you also receive a percentage commission on the printing materials and frame etc in addition to the fee you have set. You are also allowed unlimited uploads as opposed to the 25 image limit with the free account.

Pedi bay, Symi island
Istock were third this month with an improving 12 credit downloads and 15 sub and PP sales. The new pricing structure there is certainly helping with most of my credit sales being around $1.40 -certainly better than the below a dollar commissions I often used to see for smaller size uses.

Dreamstime made fourth place with 8 downloads. As mentioned last month there was a long gap in sales which ran right through to October 17 giving DT little time to pick up before month end.

Bigstock came in at number five with a healthy 15 downloads but as they were nearly all subs this pushed the earnings down. Bigstock do not seem to be a site where I get large individual sales -let alone an Enhanced Download. Nethertheless, as part of the Bridge to Bigstock programme, they require no effort on my part and sales are regular there.

New Esperance Morris, Hastings
Finally, in at sixth place were Fotolia with 4 downloads. I am actually quite pleased with that result as my portfolio there is still very small (circa 100 images). As they do not take Editorial images I only make infrequent uploads to them when I have something suitable.

October saw new uploads including an airshow image of a WW2 Dakota, which I decided to give a period feel to by converting to B/W. I also carried on working through my images from this years Jack In The Green festival at Hastings including a couple of the New Esperance Morris dancers. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Airshow Photography -Look to the Skies:

Breitling Wingwalkers
Now that the Autumn has arrived here in the UK it marks the end of the airshow season. Don't get me wrong, I am not a plane spotter but I do enjoy visiting and photographing airshows. Probaly my childhood spent growing up under the flight path of London Gatwick Airport sparked my interest. It was always facinating to see the airliners making their approach and, though I hate to admit it, many of them still had propellers back then!

These days most UK airshows tend to have a good mix of classic WW2 bombers and fighters through to the latest RAF jets as well as aerobatic acts such as the Breitling Wingwalkers team in their distinctive vintage Boeing biplanes.

Mustang P51D -Ferocious Frankie
To photograph at airshows you are going to need a longish lens. 300mm will usually be plenty for close up shots of single aircraft but you'll get away with less for formation groups such as the Red Arrows. You will also need a fast shutter speed to freeze the action -I generally aim for 1/1000sec. This does mean, that in the UK at least, you are probaly going to have to crank up the ISO way beyond what we as stock photographers usually aim for. But there it is, if you want to get usuable images of fast moving aircraft. Reviewers will generally understand that these images are not being taken in studio conditions!

I always use the panning technique -framing up the aircraft as they approach and then giving a burst of shots as they get closest to my position. 

Canberra bomber and Hawker Hunter fighter
One other problem you are going to have is overcast weather. Trying to get good images of a dark camouflaged aircraft against dark clouds is near impossible. Take the pictures anyway and see what you get but really the best you can do is hope for blue skies and some sunshine. Also check the weather before travelling any distance to an airshow as flying can often be restricted or cancelled altogether in adverse conditions. Low cloud is the worst offender here -it is obviously just not safe for aircraft to display when there is poor visibility.

Even if you are not a big aircraft fan, airshow images can make an interesting addition to your portfolio so when the Winter has passed why not check out the internet to see if their is a show near you. Regards, David.

(All images taken with Nikon D80 camera/Tamron 70-300 zoom lens)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

September Sales Updates:

The Red Arrows, Eastbourne
A very late posting for my September sales updates. I have been busy editing and uploading during October with over fourty new images added to many of my portfolios. I am also making a change to my sales updates by no longer including actual royalties earned. Ever since Shutterstock changed their Terms Of Service making it no longer allowed to give out actual sales figures publicly my reports have felt skewed -with no figures for what is my best selling agency (by far).
So to sum up a rather poor September overall here's how the agencies ranked:

Shutterstock -by a huge amount the leader and, most excitingly, I crossed the threshold to take 
Lakka harbour, Paxos
me into the 36cents per download level. That might not sound a lot but on the volume SS achieves this soon adds up. Better still, On Demand sales rise from $2.48 to $2.70 (or $1.07 to $1.17 ).Those are figures I can give out because they published in the rate schedule on the site.

Dreamstime were runners up this month with 11 downloads. Things did seem to be going well until the 25th when sales stopped dead (right through to October 17). Not sure what happened there but it proved to be my longest ever break in sales at DT.

Third were Istock with just 4 regular downloads and 19 PP/Sub downloads. The recent restructuring probaly had a bearing here and I'm pleased to report that sales seem to be improving now.

Anes Lines ferry Proteus docking at Alonissos
123RF were in in 4th place with 11 downloads.

Down among my lower earners Bigstock saw 8 downloads, just 1 at Fotolia and, surprise, my second download of 2014 at Yay (a partner sale). None of my other sites produced any sales in September.

Uploading in September saw further images of the Red Arrows from the 2014 Eastbourne airshow, more from my June trip to Paxos and backtracking to 2013 for a set of the Proteus ferry docking at Alonissos. Seeing Proteus turn up in the Sporades was rather a surprise as it is operated by ANES lines from Symi (Dodecanese) and was the actual ship I travelled on from Rhodes to Symi back in 2011. It was like meeting an old friend -far from home. Regards, David.