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.

Monday, 13 March 2017

February Sales Updates:

Sold at Picfair: Anti National Front demonstration in Brixton
A stronger month in February with a lot going on in the Microstock world.

Shutterstock took first place as ever with one of their best performances in months. A good number of On Demand sales and a few modest Single Downloads helped boost things here. Their new redesigned Contributor Dashboard has gone down well with me (though not everyone) and I am especially enjoying seeing exactly where in the world my downloads have taken place

Second place went to Dreamstime with 6 downloads. Two higher value credit sales pushed up the earning here.

In third place were Picfair with (at last) my third sale there. My seventies image of protests at a National Front march in Brixton finding a buyer at well above micro prices. A nice touch at Picfair is that you can request payout as soon as you have a sale which is what I did. For some reason I opted for payment via Paypal (rather than direct to my bank). Be aware that this will carry a fee at Paypal -I forgot that the main agencies pay the fees for you. A lesson learnt for next time.

Fourth place was taken by print site Redbubble with two merchandise sales. Things seem to have slowed recently here but nothing like Fine Art America where it is now some fourteen months since my last sale. Not sure what happened to them but I have, in any case, paid my premium account fee for another year in the hope that things pick up.
Church of Christ The Saviour, Tilos island

Fifth place went to Istock with (I think) 10 downloads. February 20 saw the first of their new monthly sales reports. Unless you upload the report into some spreadsheet software you are going to have a hard time deciphering what has sold and for how much. Why they can't just give you a straight forward list of sales and commission I don't know. There's talk of improvements to come so I hope this will be one of them. The big question around the new % based subscription commissions was partially answered, Yes there some paltry $0.02 commissions but also many well above the old fixed 28c per download. I'll have to see how that pans out in the coming months before making decisions on continuing to work with Istock.

Bigstock were in sixth place with 17 downloads. A strong surge of Greek island images here this month.

123rf made seventh place with a poor 5 downloads. There seems to be no consistency with them at all recently.

Dodekanisos Express catamaran powers into Tilos island
Lastly, in at eighth place were Fotolia with 3 downloads. Bring on the editorial is what I would say to them!

Over at Alamy, still no sales as yet but exciting times as their impressive new Image Manager finally reached me (they have been rolling it out across contributors for a while now). Easy to upload and bulk edit it is a pleasure to use and, of course, the new Manager finally allows for editorial images to be set as Royalty Free (RF). For me, this means that I can now upload all the editorial images I have on Microstock (e.g. most of my portfolio). I also applied for and was granted access to the archive/historic uploads so I can also upload all my old celeb/political images. Best of all, these do not have to be approved - just upload and they're in. My portfolio has jumped from under 100 images to over 700 since getting the new Manager - with quite a bit of interest (in terms of views and zooms) from buyers. Feels like Alamy will now finally come good for me going forward.

Recent uploading saw me working on more images of the Greek island of Tilos including the Church of Christ the Saviour in Mikro Chorio and the Dodekanisos Express ferry arriving at Livadia. March has started slowly so far so I'll see what the rest of the month brings. Regards, David.

Monday, 27 February 2017

January Sales Updates:

Wartime defence post at Loggos on Paxos island
An unusual month in January as due to Istock transitioning to their new Enterprise Submission Platform (ESP) for uploading and account management no sales information was available so they are not included this month. Going forward I will include Istock stats in the month I get them notified (e.g. January sales will be in my February report -as that is when I got them). Worth mentioning that I have accessed the ESP site (with some issues initially) and have uploaded a small quantity of trial images -both commercial and editorial. The ability to batch upload and edit is a huge leap forward from the old one image at a time uploader. More on Istock in February.

In January, obviously, Shutterstock took first place as is always the case. Reviews there seem to be fast at the moment with a high percentage of approvals which has enabled a worthwhile growth in my portfolio.
Flying Cat 5 at Patitiri harbour on Alonissos island

In second place were Dreamstime with 8 downloads -again prompt and favourable reviews for my uploads.

Third place  went to 123rf with 10 downloads -sadly not a repeat of my BME in December.

Bigstock took fourth place with 7 downloads. Greek island related images seem to be selling well there recently.

A big surprise when Cutcaster turned up in fifth place with 2 downloads. These were my first sales there since 2014! I stopped uploading there a long time ago now. Even with these two sales my total downloads still only amount to 10 (with a port of 1.4k images). Still a long way to payout there.

The historic Acropolis in Athens
Fotolia came in with sixth place with 2 downloads. Until they decide to accept editorial images this is never likely to be a big selling site for me.

Finally in seventh place were Canstock with I download. My comments on Fotolia also apply to Canstock.

Not a stellar month overall but I am hoping my upload drive will start to pay off during 2017 as new material gets accepted. Recent uploads revolved around Greek images including a wartime defence post on Paxos, the Flying Cat catamaran on Alonissos and finally another image from the Acropolis in Athens. A lot has happened in Microstock in February (hence my late posting) so more of that next time. Regards, David.

Monday, 2 January 2017

December Sales Updates:

The Acropolis of Athens
Well that's it then for 2016. Not a spectacular year in terms of microstock sales for me due to a combination of lack of uploading time reducing my output and the continuing influx of new images to all the sites. Redbubble proved the rising star of the year with regular sales of a wide variety of images. A far cry from FineArtAmerica where I had no sales at all in 2016 -I will, however, be renewing my premium membership for 2017 to see if there is a turnaround. Yay was the casualty in 2016 when I finally ceased uploading new images. With over 2000 files uploaded they produced just one sale for 0.68euros.

So to December then there's no need to say that Shutterstock maintained their lead in first place -though I barely scraped past the minimum payout.

Second place went to Redbubble with 5 product sales ranging from clothing to phone covers.
Stefanos volcano crater on Nisyros island

Third place was taken by Dreamstime. Though they only managed 3 downloads one of those was another high paying credit sale of nearly $10.

Fourth place went to 123rf with an astonishing 25 downloads making it my BME in quantity but not income. A lot of Greek island images sold -presumably to the same buyer.

Steady Bigstock produced 10 downloads to make fifth place.

Exceptionally down in sixth place were Istock with 2 credit sales and 10 subs. This was because of their transition to new sales reporting which is due to happen around February. As a consequence reporting in December ended before the month was over and before any Partner sales had been added. From now on sales will be updated monthly in one go so my rankings will be a bit out of line for a while. Not being able to see sales accrue in real time is hardly motivating for anyone and I hope they reconsider this in the future.

Tentertainment music festival at Tenterden, Kent

Finally a single sale from Mostphotos earned them seventh place. I haven't forgotten Fotolia -they just didn't have a single sale for me in December!

Uploading in December saw a big increase with many new files now available. I intend to keep this pace up throughout 2017 as much as possible. New images included my first Acropolis shot from my Athens trip last May as well as my set from the 2016 Tentertainment music festival. Backtracking to 2015, I also uploaded further images of the Stefanos volcano crater on the Greek island of Nisyros.

Wishing all readers a very happy 2017! Regards, David.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

November Sales Updates:

Nissos Halki ferry arriving at Rhodes island
Another unspectacular month in November with one notable highlight and one negative low point.

As always, leading the pack was Shutterstock but a month of just four On demand sales and no Single sales saw me barely making payout. As I posted last month I haven't uploaded much in recent weeks but I am now attempting to make up for that so, hopefully, 2017 will see some increases.

Dreamstime delighted by coming in at second place with 7 downloads. What boosted things here was the return of high paying credit sales ($9.47 and $6.98 commissions). This is much more like the DT of old and very welcome.

Istock took third place with 5 credit sales and 27 sub and partner sales. Reporting here is slightly
Collecting pine resin on Alonissos island. Bring on the Retsina
complicated here because of the current transition to a new reporting system. November saw both PP sales for October credited and (semi) real time sales for November. We are now moving to the new royalty structure which potentially has sub sales paying out a (worse case) $0.02 per download. Obviously, that's an appalling prospect which has seen a number of contributors closing their accounts. That scenario will only apply where a buyer downloads their entire allowance of images. Shutterstock will tell you that the subscriptions model works because most buyers do not do that and only download what they need. It may well be that income from sub sales actually increases after the change but who knows? The option to close my account is always there so I will wait and assess the situation next year.

Fourth place went to Redbubble with 3 product sales. This has really proved a site worth joining for me. The key is in setting a profit margin high enough to make a worthwhile amount but not so high as to deter buyers.

Female music fans at the Tentertainment music festival
Bigstock came in fifth place with 8 downloads. Never a site that produces any great excitement but ticks away in the background. Obviously, being in the (now closed) Bridge to Bigstock programme helps here. My Shutterstock images just get mirrored at BS automatically so there is no effort on my part.

Fotolia made sixth place with just 2 downloads. I still have hopes that at some point they will start accepting editorial images especially now they have a deal for editorial with Reuters (?). Currently this is not an option for ordinary contributors.

And the low point was 123rf in seventh place with just 3 downloads. Echoes of July when I had just two sales there. Not at all sure what is going on at 123 with such variations (by contrast I have already had 17 downloads so far in December!).

Uploading in November saw further images from my 2016 trip to the Greek island of Halki and then backtracking to 2012 for some images of pine resin collecting on Alonissos island and female fans at the Tentertainment music festival. As it is nearly Christmas day I'll end by wishing all readers a great Christmas and brilliant 2017! Regards, David.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

October Sales Updates:

Prevelis ferry docking at Emborio, Halki island
My apologies for a late posting this month for October updates.

Of course, in first place were Shutterstock but with dissapointing sales overall. Only a handful of On Demand sales and no Single downloads dragged the results down further.

Second place went to Istock with 2 credit downloads and 24 sub/Partner sales.

Dreamstime came just behind in third place with a 13 downloads. Certainly seeing more signs of life here recently.
Looking to Nissos island from Halki, Greece

Fourth place went to Redbubble with two product sales - a laptop case and a sticker.

Bigstock made fifth place with 13 downloads.

Sixth place for 123rf with 15 downloads. These were nearly all sub sales -made worse by my languishing in the low paying level 1. November results have been dire so my move back up to level 2 could be a while coming.

Fotolia brought up the rear in seventh place with just a single download.

Church of the Holy Trinity, Halki island


Not a spectacular month on any level and probaly a combination of the continuing influx of masses of images to all sites and fairly limited uploading on my part. Personal circumstances in recent months have limited my time available for uploading.


What I did upload concentrated on my last two trips (2015/2016) to the Greek island of Halki. Hopefully my November updates will follow soon though I can say that, if anything, November has been a tough month. Regards, David.