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, 6 October 2018

September Sales Updates:

The Boquer Valley, Majorca
As the Summer Slowdown comes to an end (hopefully) September saw a startling result from one agency and some solid results from others.

Straight into the top spot soared Dreamstime with no less than 112 downloads. Around thirty sub sales of the Greek islands of Halki and Tilos were surprising enough but nothing prepared me for the 89 sub downloads of my home town of Hastings and neighbouring Rye. Not even of a specific subject but just random images of different events and locations from across a wide time period. It was such unusual activity that I emailed Dreamstime asking them to take a look. Their prompt reply assured me that there was nothing to cause suspicion at their end and, at the time of writing, all the sales still stand. I'll update if that changes in the coming weeks.

Second place went to Redbubble with 3 product sales. Two T shirts and a framed print of the Greek island of Skiathos pushed them up the rankings.

In third place Shutterstock had another subdued month with very few On Demand sales to push the earnings up. Early October sales are showing distinct signs of improvement.

Alamy made fourth place with a further 2 downloads - both from my b/w archive images. It certainly seems that the time spent uploading my back catalogue to them was well spent.

Istock made fifth place with 43 downloads.

On to my lower earners, we had a rare single sale at Mostphotos to give them sixth place for an On
Eco catamaran at Port Vell, Barcelona
Demand sale. I have now opted out of their basic subscription package, so future sales (when they come) should be for higher amounts.

Fotolia took seventh place with 3 downloads. As last month, these were all for higher than the basic subscription rate. In a surprise move Fotolia announced that they are increasing the minimum payout to contributors for sub sales. If I remember correctly the new minimum for my level (bronze) will rise to $0.33. Further news on Fotolia came when a poster at Microstockgroup said they had been told that Editorial submissions were coming in the future. No official information on this yet, however.

Bigstock only managed 6 downloads to give them eighth place. Perhaps that buyer there who frequently downloads images of Hastings went to Dreamstime this month!

Bringing up the bottom in ninth place were 123RF with (you guessed) 4 downloads. The good news there is that those downloads took me over the long awaited $50 payout level. I'm just waiting for the money to come in and then that's us done I think.

Agia Zoni bell tower, Tilos island
Recent uploads included more from my June trip to the Greek island of Tilos this time of the church of Agia Zoni in the abandoned village of Mikro Chorio. Other images included an electric powered Eco Catamaran at Port Vell in Barcelona. The vessel derives some of its energy from wind and solar power -hence the Eco tag.

Also uploaded were a selection of monochrome versions of my images of the Boquer Valley in Majorca. Though I had art sites such as Redbubble in mind these also got accepted at all my regular agencies as well. We'll see if the buyers like these versions or not :)

New shooting was concentrated on Majorca as well having just returned from a week long trip. I made my maiden hot air balloon flight there which, though magical, was a dawn flight which didn't lend itself to much photography. Still, back on the ground, I shot lots of massive waves breaking in the coves at Cala San Vicente during a day of very strong winds. October looks to be starting well so I hope that continues. Regards, David.




Saturday, 1 September 2018

August Sales Updates:

Vintage aeroplane ride at Tibidabo, Barcelona
August saw some slight signs of recovery from the Summer Slowdown (Stall might be a better word) with an unexpected boost from one site but a really disappointing result from another.

Back to first place were Shutterstock but with only a single On Demand sale all month (these normally comprise 40-50% of my monthly earnings. Only two modest (but worthwhile) Single downloads on the 31st pulled things around here - about a third of my monthly total in one swoop.

Istock came in second place with a solid 39 downloads. Lots of new image acceptances here giving hope for a steadily improving future. My Istock portfolio is still way behind others in terms of size as a result of (thankfully, now historic) upload limits, no editorial, and constant rejections for everything imaginable -usually "contains artifacts" (when did you last see that as a rejection reason?).

Still in the game Alamy took third place with another single sale, this time of the Greek island of Skiathos. Good to see a travel image selling there as I have long believed that is probably the area that eventually I will do best with at Alamy. Just look at the travel pages of newspapers to see the large number of Alamy credits.


Fourth place (and here's the surprise) went to Fotolia with 8 downloads. Not just subscription sales
Volleyball on the beach, Barcelona
either but almost all paying out at 0.99 credit levels. I'm actually in danger of getting a payout at Fotolia if this keeps up :)

Bigstock produced 8 downloads to make fifth place. Greek island images continue to sell here as well.

Sixth place went to Redbubble with a single T shirt sale featuring (yet again) Margaret Thatcher.

Seventh place was 123rf with (shock!) 4 downloads. Yet another month in which the 4 downloads rule applies. Barely one dollar to payout level now -then it will be time to Shower The Horse (as Anne-Marie didn't sing). You might have to Google that....

Megalo Chorio on Tilos island, Greece
Finally in eighth place ( and the big disappointment) were Dreamstime with just a single $0.35 subscription sale. Two thousand and three hundred images there and one sale. It's genuinely a shame to see what is happening here. They're a nice agency run by nice people (and I'm not just saying that as a former "artist of the week"). It's been reported that they are taking action against Google because of their low ranking in search results - which I'm sure is a factor here. I have no intention of stopping uploading here and just hope things can be turned around.

Uploading (now super-fast thanks to my previously mentioned new broadband connection) concentrated on my 2018 trips with the 1928 vintage aeroplane ride at the Tibidabo park in Barcelona as well as a lively volleyball game on the beach. Also up were a set of Megalo Chorio the Capital of the Greek island of Tilos. The medieval Crusader Knights castle can be seen on the hill in the background.

Hopefully, September will start to see some improved results all round. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

July Sales Updates:

Vintage cable car over Barcelona, Catalonia
The Summer Slowdown months frequently throw up some interesting results and July 2018 was no different.

No Shutterstock in top place this month as Alamy takes the lead with a single three figure sale. Even after deducting 50% commission this still left them way out in front. My portfolio at Alamy has now passed the 2.5k mark and I look forward to continuing sales with them (especially for those sort of amounts).

Reduced to second place Shutterstock had a poor month. It's a long time since I failed to make the minimum payout level here but my sales stopped just short of that. The almost complete absence of higher paying On Demand sales (just one) dragged them down. A couple of Single downloads helped pull it back a bit but not enough.
Roman bridge at Pollenca, Majorca

Third place went to Redbubble with two print sales (an Art Print and a framed canvas print). Always good to see actual print sales knowing my images are destined for someones wall.

Istock took fourth place with some 47 downloads bringing them close to Shutterstock (but with a much smaller portfolio).

Fifth place went to Bigstock with a pleasing 22 downloads. (Greek islands featured strongly here in particular Halki and Tilos).

Dreamstime managed sixth place with 9 downloads most of which came in the final days of the month after several weeks of having just a single sale.

Medieval wall of Rhodes Old Town, Greece
Bringing up the rear in seventh place were 123rf with 5 downloads (all subscription sales so still leaving me a couple of dollars to payout).

A busy month of uploading new images thanks to my new super fast broadband (mentioned last month). Highlights included the vintage (1929) cable car over Barcelona harbour, the Roman bridge at Pollenca on Majorca and the medieval walled Rhodes Old Town - starting point for my June trip to Tilos island. The latter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so should attract some sales going forward.

The Summer months continue into August so it will be interesting to see what the coming weeks throw up. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

June Sales Updates:

Church of St. Nicholas on Tilos island, Greece
June was an unexciting month in terms of photo sales but personally exciting with a two week stay on the little Greek island of Tilos and the installation of new super fast broadband making my work flow way easier (more on those later).

As usual Shutterstock came well out in front. On Demand sales were considerably down this month -pulling down the total revenue earnings.

Alamy made a pleasing second place with 3 downloads. None of them especially large in money terms but still well above typical microstock rates. All three were from my old archive images confirming that the time spent uploading these was worthwhile. My Alamy portfolio has now passed the 2.5k mark.

Istock continues to pull in the revenue with 36 downloads giving them third place.

In fourth place was Dreamstime with 12 downloads including a worthwhile Extended License.


Solar energy powering Tilos island, Greece
Redbubble made fifth place with a single sale of childrens clothing. Yet again some lucky baby is going to have an outfit adorned with a Margaret Thatcher image! For anyone wondering how to get childrens clothing as a product line here is the answer. Click edit on the first template (T Shirts) then click on the I for information symbol (over on the right of screen). Then tick the childrens clothing box before hitting save. Basically you have to opt in to this for each upload to avoid inappropriate images appearing on kids clothes.

Bigstock did well with 14 downloads and made sixth place. A mixed bunch of images this month.

Breaking their four downloads a month rule 123rf continued their slow goodbye (from me) with 6 downloads pushing me to barely $2 to payout level and giving them seventh place this month. Now at six months since I ceased uploading to them.

In eighth place were Mostphotos with a single subscription sale. I'm never quite sure why I continue to bother with them (other than the free back up service) but I have now opted out of their subscription packages so any future sales should be for a reasonable rate. If there are any, of course. Either way I'm not really losing anything there given how few sales I get.

Framing Livadia harbour on Tilos island, Greece
Two weeks of June were taken up by a trip to the small Greek island of Tilos. I hadn't stayed there since 2006 (when I wasn't doing photography) so my images were limited to those from a couple of day trips from the nearby island of Halki. There was plenty to shoot on Tilos including two main villages, two deserted villages, a monastery and a couple of Crusader Knights castles. Of especial interest was the solar/wind power project Tilos have whereby they hope to become self sufficient in power just from renewable sources. This has attracted a lot of attention so getting images of the wind turbine and the solar panel array were high on my shoot list for the trip.

Back home my uploading was advanced greatly by upgrading to 4g broadband. The difference was astounding. Single images now upload almost instantly and larger batches take a few seconds - not the many minutes they used to take. Ironically, this is costing me less per month than my old slower 3g broadband did. In terms of uploading this is certainly a gamechanger and I look forward to getting many more images uploaded going forward.

July looks set to be firmly in the Summer Slowdown mode judging by my sales so far. More next month. 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.