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 June 2018

May Sales Updates:

Protestor climbing a comms mast in Barcelona
A steady month in May with  no major surprises or dramas.

The usual top of the tree placing went to Shutterstock though a decreased number of On Demand downloads pulled the dollars down here.

Making a welcome return into second place were Alamy with 2 downloads. One fairly modest one and one substantial one. These were both from my B/W archive collection from the 80s/90s. I now have approaching 2.5k images there and still have some older digital images to upload.

Istock took third place with 40 downloads. They would have been second but for the Alamy sales and are still, in general, my second best site for sales and income.

Redbubble came in fourth place with 3 product sales (bag, T shirt, poster). One of the things I really like about Redbubble is they pay out any cleared earnings on a monthly basis - no waiting to hit a fixed payout level like with most microstock sites. Equally, it's one of the things I don't like about Redbubble because I never get to a substantial amount (I'm sure some do!). It might be nice to have the option of letting it build up a bit.

Fifth place went to Dreamstime with 7 downloads. There are certainly more signs of life at DT these
Lidl supermarket, retail success in the UK
days and the bad old days of rejecting similar images are long gone.

Bigstock came in sixth place with 9 downloads. The ever popular Tenterden food and Drink festival images still continuing to sell here. May saw the second year of this event so I have some fresh images ready and waiting.

Seventh place saw the (leaving when I get payout) 123rf with a paltry 4 downloads. Just four dollars left to payout now. Except for April when the Stephen Hawking effect kicked in, 123 have delivered exactly 4 downloads every month this year!

Finally in eight place we have (still waiting for editorial) Fotolia with a single download. In common with most other sites FT seem to be rejecting little these days so my portfolio is gradually growing there - but still only about 200 images.

Medieval Crusader castle on Halki island, Greece

As well as covering the food and drink festival in May I also took a series of my local Lidl supermarket. Retailing (and in particular food retailing) are big ongoing media stories in the UK so I plan to start adding more storefront type images to my portfolio. I also shot my local Esso petrol station (it's next door to Lidl so silly to miss it). One of the interesting (for me) by products of stock photography is the amount of (sometimes useless) knowledge you pick up when researching for caption information. Esso, it turns out, is an acronym for Eastern States Standard Oil. Who knew? Not me that's for sure.

Other uploading in May included more shots of my April trip to Barcelona including the dramatic moment when a protestor climbed a communications tower to unfurl a banner. He was cheered and clapped by the thousands in the Placa Espanya below. Another series uploaded was of the medieval Crusader Knights castle on the Greek island of Halki. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

April Sales Updates:

Llibertat Presos Politics march, Barcelona
Another strong month in April with Professor Stephen Hawking images continuing to sell and right at the end a flurry of Amber Rudd sales following her resignation as British Home Secretary.

As usual Shutterstock were way out in front in first place. A good number of On Demand and a double figure Single download pushing them up. April also saw a milestone when my total downloads on Shutterstock passed the ten thousand mark. That's a lot of sales.

In second place Istock returned to form with 43 downloads. As controversial as Istock might be amongst some contributors, their regular positioning in second place for me tells why I continue to upload there. In spite of some very low paying subscription downloads the RPD (Rate per Download) continues to be higher than the old 28cents fixed rate.

Third place saw a good month at Dreamstime with 10 downloads. Two of these were higher paying credit sales which raised them in my rankings.

Redbubble came in fourth place with three product sales (a pillow, a T shirt and a sticker). Some lucky person now owns a pillow adorned with Margaret Thatcher :)

In fifth place were Bigstock with 10 downloads. My Tenterden food and drink festival images continue to sell there presumably to illustrate outdoor summer events. These images have yet to take off on parent company Shutterstock where my Tentertainment music festival images continue to shine. Sadly, this enjoyable local music event is no more following alleged complaints over noise and other matters. Still for over ten years we had a great event and photo opportunity.

Sixth place saw 123rf with 4 downloads. At this rate it looks like it may be a while before I get my
Teleferic de Montjuic cable cars, Barcelona
final $5 to payout and close my account. Meanwhile as well as stopping uploading this year I have also deleted the pending editorial images which have sat there since December. Whilst in delete mode I also removed the only images of Margaret Thatcher that 123 had in their library (unless you count a waxwork model of her!). In an interesting move their sister company -macro agency Inmagine has ceased as a separate site with buyers being linked over to the 123 Evo (premium) collection instead. Inmagine used to mirror 123 images in a Value RF section which might be another reason for falling sales (not every Inmagine buyer is just going to automatically move to 123 instead). It's a shame -123RF was once a good, fair agency for contributors.

Canstock surprised with not one but two downloads to give them seventh place. I have also stopped uploading there as well for now. They are not bad people but simply do not sell enough to warrant the time uploading. Silly rejections such as wanting property releases for public landmark buildings didn't help matters here -especially when the same building is already in their library. I'm keeping my account open there -who knows what might happen in the future?

Bringing up the bottom in eighth place were Fotolia with 2 downloads. Editorial please!

Missing from the rankings for the third month running were Alamy but (thankfully) May has started with a good value sale there so they will be back in next months updates.

The stunning Boquer Valley trail on Majorca
April saw me making my second visit to the fantastic City of Barcelona (this time for a full week). I hit photography gold on my second day there when the centre of the City came to a halt for a massive pro Catalonia demonstration and march (specifically calling for the release of Catalan politicians jailed after the declaration of independence in October 2017). As expected this made for some great photo opportunities. I also packed a lot more into my week including an exciting ride on the Montjuic Teleferic cable car line.

Other April uploading saw more images from my 2017 Majorca trip including a set of the Boquer Valley trail. Starting behind the town of Puerto Pollensa this goat filled trail takes you through the stunning rock formations of the Tramuntana mountains before ending in an isolated cove where you get to share the beach with yet more goats.

All in all a positive and exiting month in April with a wealth of new images to work on.
Regards, David.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

March Sales Updates:

Professor Stephen Hawking 
March was never going to be a normal month because, as regular readers will know, my archives include an  image of British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking who sadly died on the 14th of March. It is in the very nature of shooting editorial images that sometimes they will sell to illustrate a good news story and sometimes the complete opposite....

Way out in front in first place were Shutterstock with something not far off my BME there. My Hawking image was downloaded 58 times alone on the 14th with many more downloads through to the end of the month. That said, image sales at SS were strong all round this month.

Second place went to Dreamstime with 9 downloads. Again the obvious sales including an extended license which pushed up the revenue.

Redbubble took third place with 5 product sales ranging from prints to T Shirts.

Fourth place fell to Istock with 25 downloads. No Hawking effect there as they do not accept celebrity type images (arguing that they would compete with their own Getty Images coverage). I don't get it, but there it is.

Bigstock made fifth place with 21 downloads (obvious sales again).
The Serra de Tramuntana mountains in Majorca

In sixth place were 123rf with 17 downloads (yes, again). In some ways this was unwelcome as I had been poised to walk away from them once I had heard their "good news for contributors" announcement they had promised for the end of March. The announcement never came but I am now so close to payout amount that I may as well hang on now. They've had no new uploads from me for several months now and I plan to keep it that way.

Fotolia took seventh place with 5 downloads (still no editorial from ordinary contributors allowed).

Mostphotos came in eighth place with 4 downloads of Stephen Hawking.

The road down to Sa Calobra in Majorca

Nothing from Alamy again in March so now making two months of no reported sales. Of course, as previously discussed, sales might have taken place but not been reported yet. I'm continuing to build my portfolio there although I'm now starting to run out of back catalogue to upload to them. Obviously, new images go to them in my regular workflow.

Recent uploading had me working on my Majorca images from last year including a cloudy scene on the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and a series of the famous hairpin bend road down to Sa Calobra - a popular challenge for the thousands of cyclists that visit and train in Majorca each year. Regards, David.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

February Sales Updates:

Santa Eulalia merchant schooner in Barcelona
February saw some improvements over the dismal January I am pleased to say.

Back on form in first place were Shutterstock with much improved sales and the return of a good number of On Demand downloads. Several modest Single sales also added to the results here.

Second place went to Istock with 25 downloads with my Tentertainment music festival images continuing to do well.

Redbubble came in third place with 3 product sales. I continue to be impressed with this site and always look forward to seeing what products from my range are purchased. Sadly, as yet, no one has bought a calendar -which I had expected to do well.

Fourth place went to Bigstock with 7 downloads -a mix of local images and Greek islands.
Vintage tram at Port Soller in Majorca

Dreamstime made fifth place with 5 downloads (all subscription sales).

123rf were in sixth place with just 4 downloads. To be fair, as well as stopping new uploads to them I

also opted out of their Partner sales so this is bound to have a downward effect. I am just waiting their promised "good news" announcement at the end of March before probably pulling the plug on them entirely.

Bringing up the rear were Mostphotos with just 1 download (a subscription sale for just a few euro cents). Some people, I gather, do quite well here but it has never really taken off for me. The ability to download your own images for free makes them useful as an additional back up for my files.

Nothing from Alamy in February but I continued to upload my back catalogue to them and now have around 2200 images there. I am hoping that because all my images are available with a Royalty Free license (they have to be because they are RF on other sites) I'll have a bit of an edge there. Carrying out test searches on my image subjects often throws up a lot of competition -until you exclude Rights Managed images from the results and a lot of the competition vanishes.
Zea marina at Piraeus in Athens

Nothing from Picfair either but I did make a major move by increasing the price of all my images from £10 to £40 (making them just under £50 when Picfair add their margin on top). Crazy move when a lot of photographers are only charging a pound or two? Maybe, but now I'm selling on Alamy the Picfair price just looked too cheap for what (I perceive) is a similar market. I also factored in that Picfair is now representing the long established Robert Harding (travel) picture library (prices well above mine!) and even the mobile phone images division of Alamy -Stockimo. If both those think they can get sales at premium prices then I didn't want to be selling myself short. Picfairs global price changer makes it easy to amend all your prices at any time in moments so I can always rethink my strategy at any time.

Recent uploading had me working through my various trips from last year including those from  Athens, Barcelona and Majorca. This year I am returning for an extended stay in Barcelona and going to the Greek island of Tilos -so I'm busy doing research to get stock image ideas ready. I'll report back on those later in the year. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

January Sales Updates:

The Temple of Apollo on Aegina island, Greece
If December was a slow month then January can only be catagorised as dire. Even my top performing agency Shutterstock produced a disappointing result and for the first time in years failed to make the minimum for payout. I can only hope that February shows some improvement.

Shutterstock in first place managed only two On Demand sales and a small Single download and coupled with a reduced amount in subscription sales produced a far from stella month.

Second place went to Redbubble with 4 product sales ranging from childrens clothes to stickers.

Istock came in at third place with 27 downloads. A disappointing month from them also.
Michael Latham M.P. -third sale on Alamy

Fourth place went to Alamy with one single sale. This was my third sale there of the late Conservative politician Michael Latham. I actually managed to find that one in use on the BBC News website in a feature on Members of Parliament (and former Members)  who had died in 2017. I suspect that a number of my archive political images will end up being used in a similar way as time goes on.

Fifth place went to a perked up Dreamstime with 10 downloads (and not all subs at that). The Greek island of Agistri accounted for nearly half of these.

Bigstock managed sixth place with 9 downloads. My images of the Tenterden Food and Drink festival continued to sell there.

Seventh place went to Fotolia with just 1 download -a reasonable paying credit sale.

The church of  Agioi Anargyroi on Agistri island, Greece
Bottom of the pack in eighth place were 123RF with just 4 subscription downloads. My December editorial uploads continued to be pending throughout the month just to make matters worse. Their latest changes to commission levels (not even announced -just discovered) which, in my case, will make it much harder to ever move up from the low ball level one rates means that 123rf are very much making themselves contenders to be dropped by me.

Whilst considering the 123rf position I have also emailed both Cutcaster and YayMicro asking them to close my accounts. Though I haven't uploaded to either in a long time I was leaving my accounts open but have now decided that neither is likely to ever produce another payout and they may as well be closed. I expect to lose the small amount of commission earned but they probaly need it more than I do :)

Recent uploads included the 6th century BC Temple of Apollo on the Greek island of Aegina. You can read more about my trip to the island on my Small Greek Islands blog (link on the right). Hopefully my February results will make for more cheerful reading. Regards, David.