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, 31 December 2011

Bridge to Bigstock -Crossed:

Unlike some top flight contributors I didn't receive a Christmas card from Shutterstock or Bigstock this year (unless it is still in the post) but I did receive an excellent Christmas present, literally on Christmas Day, when I had an email from Bigstock confirming that they had transferred my images over from Shutterstock under the Bridge to Bigstock program.

Over 300 images were added taking my Bigstock port to some 1066. As previously posted, most of these were my B/W archive celebrity/politician images which do well on Shutterstock but were originally rejected at Bigstock for being grainy.

The transfer didn't work 100% perfectly as there are still some images missing on Bigstock (which I estimate at around 109 in number). My understanding is that this was mainly a manual rather than fully automated process so I guess there was scope for error on such a large number. Going forward, I'll try and identify the missing images and re-upload directly to Bigstock to fully complete my portfolio there.

Bigstock have been pulling in increased sales of late and this transfer can only help boost that. For the future, the other benefit gained is that all new acceptances at Shutterstock automatically appear in my Bigstock portfolio as well -thus saving uploading time. I have already put this to the test and all worked as it should. Sadly, there isn't a "Shuttle to Shutterstock" option as there are a number of images in my Bigstock port which got rejected at the parent site.

It will be interesting to see how my sales go at Bigstock in 2012. On that note, I'll wish everyone a happy and great selling New Year. Kind regards, David.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

November updates:

November proved stronger than last month with some slower sites pulling in sales.

Shutterstock produced 67 downloads ($35.56) with just under 50% of that revenue coming from On Demand sales. My friends at are currently running a poll on just that subject -check it out. Sadly, the month saw me just 20cents short of my $75 payout. On the plus side it will be an even better payout in January.

Dreamstime picked up with 9 downloads ($6.17) -though still far from their best performance.

Istockphoto continued to power up for me with 12 downloads ($14.79) and $0.56 in partner sales. Editorial is still doing well here and my total portfolio rose to 372 (with both editorial and commercial images being accepted).

123RF produced 13 downloads ($10.73). Sales seemed to lift towards the end of the month. A possible cause being that I changed a number of my "faved" images. For anyone not familiar with this useful feature it allows you to nominate 5% of your portfolio as favourites. These then get better exposure in search results. You can remove and add to these (up to your limit) at will.

Bigstock had a good November with 7 downloads ($5.50). Many of these from my celebrity archives. Still waiting on my invite to the "Bridge to Bigstock" program though.

Picturenation had one medium resolution sale (£4).

Yaymicro surprised with a sale paying a healthy 5 euros in commission. An archive image of former Chancellor Lord Denis Healey.

Mostphotos also surprised with a subscription sale paying 1.87 euros. Some contributors there are reluctant to allow subs (its optional) because potentially you can get a low rate per download if the buyer uses their full allowance. The three sales I had have all paid out worthwhile amounts.

Fotalia produced my third sale -a sub download (0.25 credits). Encouraging given that I still have less than 40 images online there.

Still awaiting those elusive first sales at Cutcaster and Canstockphoto and some more from Veer to take me over the payout level.

New uploads in November included images of the Sound Waves Community Choir (pictured) performing in Hastings. These had early success with downloads at Bigstock and 123RF. Choirs seem to be attracting quite a bit of interest these days so I have hopes for these images. Regards, David.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

October updates:

A bit late updating this month -usually a good sign that the previous month wasn't much to get excited about. October was no exception to this rule.

Starting at the top, Shutterstock pulled in a healthy 72 downloads ($38.21) with the revenue there helped by 10 On Demand sales.

Istock saw 5 downloads ($4.82) with an additional $1.40 from 5 partner program sales. My portfolio at Istock continues to build and has now reached 339 images including a growing Editorial collection.

123RF netted 7 downloads ($3.97) with a mix of Editorial and Commercial images sold.

Dreamstime proved the biggest dissapointment with just 6 downloads ($3.13) mainly all subscriptions. No idea what happened there but my worst month on DT for a very long time.

Bigstock still showing life with 4 downloads ($2.50) all from my archive celebrity collection.

Fotalia saw my first ever sale. A subscription sale of the Greek island of Meganissi netting 0.25 credits. If my calculations are correct this amounts to around $0.30 -about average for a sub sale. My portfolio there has grown to 30 images now with the growth rate slowed by numerous "technical" rejections. A far cry from my initial 10/10 acceptance (they really were being nice to a newbie then!). The shame is that I had intended to get my portfolio up there really quickly but am now just submitting a few at a time for fear of mass rejections.

Nothing elsewhere in October.

Images sold in October saw a few of Robert Maxwell as I had expected -but nothing like I had hoped for on the 2oth anniversary of his death. Margaret Thatcher sales started to pick up as well, possibly due to the new film about her life starring Meryl Streep. That could be interesting to watch as the film gets released around the world. The film looks pretty interesting too from the clips I've seen.

Recent uploads saw a whole series taken around the Old Town Carnival Week here in Hastings. A very local event but a good opportunity for generic Editorial images such as drumming bands, dancers, a traditional Town Crier and a Tug of War competion (pictured). These were received well by the agencies with 30 accepted at Shutterstock in just one day.

November, so far, is showings signs of improvement over last month and hopefully the new uploads will start to generate sales. Regards, David.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Robert Maxwell - Twentieth anniversary of his death

On the 5th November it will be the twentieth anniversary of the death of British media tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Born Jan Ludvick Hoch in Czechoslovakia he later became a Captain in the British army adopting the name Ian Robert Maxwell. The nickname "Captain Bob" derives from that. Postwar saw him building up a business empire mainly based in the printing and publishing area.

He also served as a Labour party Member of Parliament for Buckingham for several years.

By the time of his death he had built up or aquired a wealth of media interests spanning newspapers, books, cable etc and was an arch (business) rival to Rupert Murdoch. Here in Britain he was best known as owner of Mirror Group Newspapers -publishers of numerous National and Regional newspapers, most obviously the Daily Mirror itself. New publications he launched included the weekly European newspaper and London evening newspaper the London Daily News (neither still exist).

I only met him once, a few months before his death, at a photo call in London (pictured) though "met" is probaly a bit off the mark as I recall the conversation consisted of "This way Mr. Maxwell!".

On the day his death (found floating in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands after supposedly falling off his yacht) was announced I knew something was up when I walked past the Holborn headquarters of Mirror Group to find it surrounded by hundreds of journalists and film crews.

In the following days it emerged that his empire was heavily in debt and that Maxwell had taken millions from the pension fund of Mirror Group employees to try and prop up the falling share price.

The past twenty years have thrown up a whole host of conspiracy theories about his death -leading to numerous books, a BBC television drama and even a stage play.

Whatever his wrongs, he was certainly a fascinating and powerful figure in the British media and I am glad to have had the opportunity to photograph him. Regards, David.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

September updates:

September saw a climb out of the Summer slowdown, pushed up by a further two Extended Licence sales.

At Shutterstock I had 63 downloads ($62.84) making it my BME there. This was achieved with the help of an EL on my Tentertainment music festival image and a good number of On Demand sales.

Dreamstime achieved 10 downloads ($21.71) including $12.71 for a print EL of a Folkestone harbour image.

Istock saw 9 downloads ($13.52) plus just one partner sale at $0.28. Editorial continues to do well there and a lot of new material has been accepted (including an almost unbelievable 18/18 on one batch). My portfolio there is approaching 300 files now.

123RF saw 9 downloads ($4.50) with my portfolio there now over 1000 images (mainly editorial).

Bigstock had a resurgence with 4 downloads ($4.50). The more exciting news there is that, following correspondence with one of their executives, Bigstock are now accepting my archive celebrity images (the ones previously rejected for "grain") and my portfolio has now moved beyond 600. I should also be joining the "Bridge to Bigstock" program which will see all my additional files accepted at Shutterstock (but not at Bigstock) moved over. Just waiting on the official invite for that.

Yaymicro produced 2 downloads (3euro) and finally posted the third party sales for the second quarter of 2011 (a dissapointing 4.7 euro).

Mostphotos surprised with a second subsciption sale (0.77 euro).

Picturenation had one web resolution sale (£0.40) -my 'pigs head with an apple in its mouth' image.

Over at Canstockphoto my portfolio rose to over 100 (no sales as yet) and I cleared up the keyword rejection issue. Duncan at CSP was most helpful in giving me examples of what they do and don't want in keywords. Best summarised as only keywording what you can Physically see in the image without adding related keywords. They've now been re-submitted and accepted.

Cutcaster continues to build but I must admit some dissapointment in not having any sales yet. All the same, they are easy to upload to and will remain part of my workflow. This could prove a good site in the long term.

Fotolia hasn't had much of my attention yet but I did submit a handful more taking my port to 16 images. A long way to go there.

September saw a big push on uploading -mainly concentrating on my archive celebrity images. For contrast I also uploaded a set of images of a 1928 vintage Hastings trolley bus named Happy Harold (pictured). Well Harold made me happy by getting virtual 100% acceptance and a sale within hours on Shutterstock.

Regards, David.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

August updates:

August was a month of highs and lows. The Summer slowdown really showed in my overall quantity of downloads but some unexpected sales boosted the month.

Starting over in Sweden with Mostphotos, I finally had my first sale. An image of a solar heating panel in Greece sold as a subscription sale netting Euro 2.48 (about as much or more than you get for a regular sale on most sites). It's hard to not like a site that lets you upload your images without reviews. At least you know that images you believe in are getting online somewhere. Sales are a welcome bonus.

Over at Shutterstock downloads fell to just 55 with a number of days returning no sales at all. As previously posted though a $28 EL took my August earnings there to $50.44 (ironically making it my BME there).

Dreamstime produced 11 downloads ($5.16). The fact that they were virtually all subscription sales dragging the earnings down further.

123RF netted 9 downloads ($4.99) enough to take me over the $50 payout level.

Veer surprised with two sales including my second EL ($19.60). My Romanian flag image (pictured) taking me close to payout at Veer.

Istock slowed as well with just 3 downloads ($3.96) with an additional $1.68 from 6 partner program sales. On the plus side there I have continued to get high acceptance of my Editorial images pushing my portfolio to 254 images. (Edit to add: Forgot to mention that I also reached my first ever $100 payout in August! Pushed there by Editorial sales).

Bigstock managed just 1 download ($1), another dissapointing month from them.

Yaymicro also proved dissapointing when the anticipated Third Party sales (2nd Quarter) failed to be posted. Uploading has been down for a couple of weeks now -just to make things worse.

Uploading saw a further push of my portfolio to Canstockphoto taking it to over 70 images. Very quick reviews and a good acceptance rate with (strangely) a batch of 6 or so rejected for "invalid keywords". Didn't understand that one so I have queried those.

I also, finally, signed up to the last of the "big four" sites -Fotalia. I had always been a bit put off them by many on Microstockgroup saying that Fotalia do not like landscape and travel images. Well that's what I submitted and got 10/10 accepted from my first batch! Will see how that one goes (perhaps they were being nice to a newbie?). Regards, David.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What? Another Extended Licence!

Just a couple of weeks after reporting my first ever EL, I just had my second one. Not exactly from an expected source either but from a site I hardly mention anymore -Veer.
The long established Veer agency opened to Microstock a couple of years ago when parent company Corbis closed down the amusingly named Snapvillage. I had one sale (of two Jack Russell dogs) in the first few weeks then nothing at all till now. Hardly surprising with only 231 images on the site. My images do not meet the "aesthetic quality required by Veer buyers" it seems. And, of course, they do not take Editorial.
I do not often upload to them these days and check the site even less so it was a nice surprise yesterday to find a regular sale ($2.10) followed by a Multi User EL ($17.50). Both of the same image -a Romanian flag flying on the Greek island of Nisyros (don't ask). Added to the $75 I made last year in their "Dash for Cash" upload promotion I am now just $7 away from their $100 payout level.
Of course, it could be a long time before I get that $7. It is a shame that Corbis ended their policy of paying out all outstanding commission at the end of each business year. Something that, in my opinion, all agents should do. Still, well done Veer. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Shutterstock sales!

Well as I just posted earlier I only had a couple of dollars to go before reaching my $500. Sales at Shutterstock have been painfully slow for the first two days of the month (1 download) so I wondered when I would make it. Wonder no more -I just had 4 regular sales and my first ever Enhanced Download (paying $28). The image (pictured) was of a little seafront chapel that I took on my trip to the Greek island of Halki last Summer. Three of the other downloads were from the same trip as well. So a big well done to Shutterstock and thank you to the buyer! Regards, David (now in the 33cent club).

July updates:

Well never mind the Summer slowdown, it was actually a rather good month in July.

Shutterstock produced 88 downloads ($30.25) which was just a few cents short of my BME there. I also passed the payout level again and better still now have less than $2 to go to reach $500 commission -triggering a pay rise on my downloads. Sales were helped this month by (probaly) one buyer purchasing about 21 of my archive politician images. Higher paying On Demand sales were also strong in July.

Dreamstime saw 12 downloads ($14.25) with a frustrating two week period with zero sales in the middle of the month. I cannot remember ever going that long without any sale at all there.

Istock produced a BME for me with 7 downloads ($10.64). Partner Program sales (for June) are yet to be fully reported due to technical problems -so I'm not able to add those to my July report. As previously, it's mainly my Editorial images that are selling there.

123RF saw 9 downloads ($7.41). Again, Editorial images selling.

Picturenation got two sales -a web resolution one paying £0.40 and a high res of Tony Blair paying a pleasing £6 in commission. Interesting that the web one was of the Greek island of Meganissi. That's the first sale I've had on PN with an overseas travel image.

Yaymicro produced no sales but did payout the first quarter Third Party sales which amounted to just under 7 euros.

Nothing elsewhere in July.

Uploading saw new images of Amber Rudd (Member of Parliament for Hastings) accepted at all my agents. I also started to push some of my back images to Cutcaster and Canstockphoto taking my ports there to around 650 and 50 respectively. Still waiting for sales though.

Regards, David.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

June updates:

Rather late, but here are my results for June 2011. Certainly there were signs of the famed Summer Slowdown with a slight fall in sales in most cases.

Shutterstock produced 73 downloads ($22.07) pushing me ever closer to the $500 sales (all time) required to get an increase in commission rate. I would expect this to happen within the next month or so.

Dreamstime had a respectable 18 downloads ($15.34) with the usual mix of editorial and commercial images.

Istockphoto continued to prove interesting with 8 dowloads ($4.46) and a further 5 partner programme downloads ($1.40). My portfolio there has now passed the 200 mark compared to the miserable 56 I had prior to them accepting editorial images.

123RF also proved worthwhile with 10 downloads ($6.40) again with editorial images to the fore.

Bigstock proved dissapointing again with only 2 downloads ($2.00) though I did have some potentially exciting news from them following various communications (future post!).

Yaymicro pulled in 1 regular sale (0.50 euro) but still not the long awaited 3rd party payment. Yay have recently announced a whole raft of re-seller/API deals -some now live and some to come in due course. This easy to upload to agency could certainly have good potential in the future.

Nothing from my other agencies in June.

Uploads during June were very limited as I spent two weeks on the beautiful little Greek island of Symi (pictured). Needless to say I returned with a mass of images which I'll be editing and uploading in due course. Regards, David.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

May Updates:

May saw another strong month.

Shutterstock had 88 downloads ($29.08) making it another BME for sales, though not quite there on actual revenue.

Dreamstime produced 12 downloads ($10.56) with the usual mix of Editorial and commercial sales.

123RF continued to please with 10 downloads ($6.27).

Istock produced a further 5 regular downloads ($2.84) with 5 partner program sales making an additional $1.40. The regular sales were, again, mainly Editorial and with ten new images accepted my portfolio rose to 198 there.

Picturenation got one medium res sale netting £4.00 in commission. Better still I received my second payout from them -just under £60.

Bigstock proved dissapointing this month after the recent upsurge in sales. Just 2 downloads ($1.50).

Yaymicro came up with a regular sale netting 0.50 euros. June should see them posting the first quarter Third Party sales report.

Nothing in May on Cutcaster, Veer, Canstock or Mostphotos.

Uploading in May saw some more archive political images going online and some new images of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Comprising a Lancaster bomber flanked by Spitfire and Hurricane fighters the BBMF gave a twenty minute display over the Kent town of Tenterden to tie in with the local steam railway holding a "Fourties" weekend. It was an impressive sight and much enjoyed by the many locals who came out to watch. I went with a monochrome version of one of the images to give a vintage feel. Aircraft images have done well in the past so I have high hopes for these. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Portfolios hit 1000 at Shutterstock and Dreamstime:

Quantity isn't everything I know but I'm pleased to say that my portfolios at Shutterstock and Dreamstime both reached 1000 in the last week. Dreamstime slightly overshot when a batch of six images took me to 1003 there. I was at 999 at Shutterstock so just submitted one image of John Major, former British prime Minister, to neatly take me to a precise 1000.

It was really just chance they they both reached this point at the same time as many images have only been accepted at one or other of the agencies. Now I have to get working on the next 1000! Regards, David.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

April Updates:

April saw a Royal Wedding and continuing Summer like weather here in the UK. Both driving sales of my Westminster Abbey images and the Tentertainment music festival throughout the month.
At Shutterstock it was another BME with 84 downloads ($30.78) of which six were welcome On Demand sales paying $1.88 each. I passed the payout level again in April and continue to progress towards $500 total earings when my commission rate will go up.

Dreamstime also had a good month with 16 downloads ($19.87). This figure was buoyed up by several Level 2 and 3 sales paying a good amount of commission.

123RF produced a BME there with 25 downloads ($10.91) many of which were subscription sales of my archive pop music images. I am experimenting with making a handful of images available for their free (web resolution) download section. The beauty with 123 is that you can donate them for as little as just one day and it is not a permanent arrangement. I took a selection from across my portfolio(e.g. politics, pop music, travel, etc) and am viewing this as an advertisement for all my images. By donating for a day at a time you also ensure that the images rise to the front page as they reach expiry. In a new development, parent company are now also including Editorial as well as Commercial images from 123 on their site.

Istockphoto, as previously posted, also had a BME with 8 dowloads ($7.26) and three Partner Program sales ($0.84). Editorial images continue to attract interest (and sales) there.

Bigstock looked like being a slow month until right at the last it produced 7 downloads ($4.50). All Editorial this time (mainly of the annual Jack In The Green festival in Hastings).

Yaymicro had no site sales but finally posted the Third Party sales for the last quarter of 2010. At 6.71 euros it was a bit dissapointing compared to previous ones but, netherless, enough to bring me my second payout from Yay.

Uploading in April saw a return to my Editorial archives with a number of negatives being scanned and submitted. These got pretty much 100% acceptance at most sites but I got unlucky at Bigstock when I got the inspector that doesn't like grainy B/W photos. Three batches rejected 100% despite all having been accepted within a few hours at parent company Shutterstock. So it goes... Regards, David.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Istock Editorial Update:

The Editorial collection at Istock has now been live to buyers for some weeks now so time for an update on how it's going for me.
To date I have had 26 images accepted. It could have been more but, to be honest, I rarely use all my 18 upload slots per week -the slow upload process and dis-ambiguation tend to try my patience. Of those rejected most failed on technical reasons (though they were good enough for other sites). Three failed because the date on my camera was set incorrectly causing a conflict between my caption and the (incorrect) Exif data. I have re-submitted those with an explanatory note to the reviewer. My best selling images of the 2009 Tentertainment music festival were rejected because the reviewer felt that photographic permission was required for the event. For the first time I have used the Scout appeal system for those -pointing out that it is a free local event held in a public park (and not a commercial event like Glastonbury) though some weeks later I have yet to hear back from them.

Total Editorial sales so far stand at 8 (netting $9.13 in commission) and in fact April is my BME at Istock because of this with, finally, the prospect of a payout in the not too distant future. Despite the low commission most of the sales have pulled in between $1.50 and $2.00 for me.
Best seller so far is my Estate Agents signs (shown in the previous post) with 4 sales to date.

So, despite all the negativity around towards Istock, it does look like their Editorial collection is attracting buyers and that it is worth my time uploading there (not something I could have really said in the past). Regards, David.

Monday, 4 April 2011

March 2011 updates:

March saw some positive results with a BME at Shutterstock -80 downloads ($28.20) bounced up by the presence of five On Demand sales.

Picturenation showed what it can do with a high res sale of Labour politician Brian Sedgemore netting £6 in commission.

Dreamstime pulled in a respectable 12 downloads ($16.22).

Bigstock produced 2 downloads ($4) with, for the second month running, a $3 commission for one of them (Hastings pier fire).

123RF pulled in 5 downloads ($3.23) which, as usual, were mainly Editorial images.

Yaymicro produced one regular sale (0.50euro) but still no sign of the Third Party sales for the last quarter of 2010.

Meanwhile at Istock there were 3 Editorial sales ($2.98) and 3 Partner Program sales ($0.84). I now have a growing selection of Editorial images accepted and the three sales in March suggest these could do well as my portfolio gets bigger. Two were of the same image - Estate Agent signs in Hastings and the third was an image of a Shell petrol station.

No sales yet at Cutcaster but I continued to upload and now have circa 650 images online there.

Nothing in March for Veer, Mostphotos or Canstock (though, as previously stated, I have yet to upload much to Canstock).

Recent uploads include some images of Westminster Abbey which I am hoping will get some interest because of the forthcoming Royal wedding there. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

February updates:

February saw a strong month at Shutterstock with a total of 83 downloads ($21.31) helped by one buyer scooping up 17 of my archive b/w images of various celebrities (Anne Bancroft etc). I also had a number of sales of the Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore who, sadly, died in February (likewise on Dreamstime). They also rolled out a Beta version of a great new feature in which you can see the total all time sales and income from each image. No great surprise to find my image of the 2009 Tentertainment local music festival (see earlier posting) at the top position with over 80 downloads. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister, comes a close second for a single image (or top if you combine the sales of all my images of her).

Dreamtime produced 19 downloads ($7.82). A higher than usual number of subscription sales pulled the income down there but was boosted by a (level three) sale of Margaret Thatcher - paying $3.70 in commission.

Bigstock made 3 downloads ($4.50) including one of my Shell petrol station images which paid a pleasing $3 in commission. The really good news here this month was their announcement that their payout limit has reverted to $30 (from $50). In their announcement they stated that this was so contributors could get more regular payments. What a refreshing attitude compared to the agencies that set high payouts (probaly hoping that many will never make it and they can just keep the money). My balance was already over $40 so I applied for payment and received it a couple of days later. All credit to Bigstock for this move. Now, if only Shutterstock would just include me in the "Bridge to Bigstock" programme I could double my portfolio and hopefully see a good increase in sales.

Also hitting payout was British agency Picturenation with a medium res sale of Anita Roddick (founder of the Body Shop chain of cosmetic stores) which paid £4 in commission, taking me above the magic £50 required. In contrast to Bigstock though PN only payout once every 8 weeks and I just missed the deadline for the next one. That's certainly one area of improvement Picturenation could work on in the future. If Yaymicro can pay within two minutes of request (via Paypal) I don't see why others cannot.

123RF continued its climb with 7 downloads ($3.50) -virtually all Editorial images. Many of my images there now also feature on parent company site (but, sadly, as yet they are still not taking Editorial images).

Istock produced 1 regular download ($0.20) and 3 partner program sales at the newly improved rate of $0.28 each. On the plus side there the Editorial collection is now live. With ten images accepted so far and more pending I have already had my first Editorial sale. Istock could potentially (finally) prove a worthwhile site for my images.

Nothing at Cutcaster yet but I continued uploading my celebrity archives and now have over 400 images online there. I haven't had time, as yet, to start further uploads to Canstockphoto so nothing there yet either.

February also saw nothing at Veer, Mostphotos or Yaymicro, though at the latter the 4th quarter (2010) third party sales must now be imminent. Wishing you all good sales in March. Regards, David.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Signed up to two new sites:

I recently signed up to two further sites and I'd been looking at Cutcaster for some time but the recent launch of a new revamped site tipped the balance.
They take Editorial images and one contributor I know of has done well with some of his archive images so they seemed a natural fit for my celebrity archives. Uploading and editing have proved easy and so far I have a good acceptance rate. The really appealing thing about Cutcaster is that you can set your own prices. You decided the price for a medium resolution file and they automatically fill the rates for all the other sizes. I've gone for $5 for now to see how that goes. It may be that this turns out to be too high and that potential buyers seek out cheaper options on my other sites. I well remember my experience at (now closed) Snapvillage where I naively set everything at $25 to start with and just ended up with $.30 subscription sales. I'll see how it goes. Commission (for non exclusive material) is a pleasing 40% (50% for exclusive). My referral link is on the left for anyone interested in signing up.

Canstockphoto isn't a site that I had really considered much but there have been a lot of positive postings about them on so I thought I would give them a try. They don't take Editorial (yet!) though I did see requests for this on their contributors forum so it could happen in the future. A key selling point is their fast review times (you can see the current approximate review time when you upload -which is often just an hour or so). I was a bit surprised to find I had to pass a test to be approved as a new contributor. Not something you normally find outside of the major sites. Anyway, I got approval within a couple of hours or so after uploading my sample images. I haven't uploaded much else there yet but will try and make some time to upload my portfolio in due course.

As ever, I'll update in the future how progress goes with these sites. Regards, David.

Friday, 18 February 2011

January Updates:

Slightly late -but here are my stats for January.

Shutterstock pulled in an impressive 69 downloads ($23.87) with 5 on demand downloads bolsting up the total revenue to reach another payout.
Dreamstime produced 13 downloads ($13.55) with a varied mix of commercial and editorial images.
Bigstock continued to show life with 3 downloads ($4.00) with $3 of that coming from one of my previously mentioned ("not newsworthy") snow pictures! BTW, I did query their complete rejection at Shutterstock and after a very helpful response I re-submitted, with half of them getting accepted.
Istock managed one regular sale ($0.51) and four partner programme sales ($1.00). I'm expecting my sales here to increase once I have Editorial images online.
Over in Norway, Yaymicro finally posted the third party sales for the 3rd quarter of 2010. At Euro 9.22 it was pretty much in line with previous quarters. Hopefully the 4th quarter sales will be quicker in coming and should take me over the Euro 30 payout level.

Once again 123RF showed promise with 9 downloads ($5.65). All editorial images. Editorial reviews there continue to be fast (usually within a couple of hours) but commercial reviews have become backlogged at the moment due to a large number of submissions (according to their post on

Another zero month at Picturenation, Veer and Mostphotos.
Picturenation is still just a pound or so off their £50 payout level so I am just willing someone to buy something soon. Veer is where I have my lowest acceptance rate so I cannot expect much from my 200 or so portfolio. My $74 "Dash For Cash" earnings are sitting there out of reach for now. Mostphotos have revised their pricing with lower rates for small and medium uses and the introduction of subscription packages -so there might be some action to come in the future. Regards, David.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Istock Editorial Underway:

Istock finally opened the door to Editorial submissions on February 2nd. I got my first ten in right away to see how it went. It didn't take long (about three days) to have the lot rejected. Somehow, I had missed that you have to put the caption in an exact format (as with Shutterstock, 123RF etc). On the plus side all the images were invited for re-submission (with no technical problems mentioned) so I have high hopes that they will, eventually, be accepted. So far I have just re-submitted two images to make sure I'm getting it right and am currently waiting on the review of those.
Checking the forums, it seems I am not alone in getting caption rejections and there does seem to be a degree of confusion on everyones part as to what precisely is required. There especially seems to be an issue about how to punctuate the date. The caption examples on the Istock forum give this: December 25, 2010. That seems right to me (and follows how other sites lay it out). However the rejection notes say it should be: December, 25 2010 (I'm sure that is wrong). For my re-subs I went with the first version, but you can see why I'm waiting for them to be reviewed before re-submitting more. Frustrating because I am losing upload slots whilst waiting.

Istock say that the Editorial images will be going live very soon - it would be nice to actually have some on there by then. I'll update on this later. Regards, David.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

December updates:

December saw a solid month at Shutterstock with 61 downloads ($20.70) with the total figure being helped by 4, higher paying, "On Demand" sales. Dreamstime was going well but stalled as we approached Christmas resulting in a total of 11 downloads ($12.37). However, December did bring a milestone there as I had my 200th sale.

Bigstock had a surprise flurry of 6 (all Editorial) downloads ($3.00).(EDIT: That should have been $4 but I had an adjustment of -$1. It appears my best Margaret Thatcher image was a victim of the fraudulent downloads that took place over Christmas at Istock and BS). While at 123RF the sales continue to grow with a further 6 downloads ($3.15). This brings my total sales there to 11 (8 Editorial) since having my first ever downloads on October 31. This is starting to look like an interesting agency.

Istock, once again, produced no regular sales but managed 6 partner programme sub sales ($1.50). The lack of sales there probaly a result of stopping uploading after their commission cuts announcement. Well, I made my point (not that they would ever have noticed) and have decided to re-start uploads this year. The deciding factor was the forthcoming launch of their Editorial image collection. My whole portfolio is mainly Editorial and I do not feel I can miss out on what could be a good opportunity. The downside is they are not taking Celebrity images which is dissapointing given my archives. I am hoping that might change in the future.

Finally no sales in December at Mostphotos, Veer, Picturenation and Yaymicro (not even the latters long overdue Third Party sales report, which they had hoped to have out by Christmas).

Uploads for December included further Greek island images (Halki) and some snowy uk street images. Dreamstime (and others) approved the latter (minus a few for "similarity") but Shutterstock and Bigstock both declared they were "Not Editorial.Not Newsworthy" (Britain is having the coldest Winter for 100 years by the way!). (EDIT: To be fair to BS I hadn't submitted all of them for review when posting. They have since accepted some of the set -so snow is newsworthy again!). Oh well, that's how Microstock goes......

Wishing all readers, agencies and fellow contributors (and, yes, even reviewers) a happy and prosperous New Year. Regards, David.