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.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Creating captions for Editorial images:

For some photographers, especially those unused to editorial, creating captions seems to prove a real problem. This is made much harder by four of the sites (that take editorial) having specific formats that the captions must be in. Posts on the sites own forums (where they have one) and sometimes over at microstockgroup frequently lament a recent rejection for captioning and then go on to give the caption they used -usually incorrect. One poster on MSG recently treated us to a thread where he kept getting the same image rejected at Istock for captioning. Each time his caption was in the wrong format as others were quick to point out. His initial response was Why does it matter if all the correct information is in there? He was, of course, quite right -it doesn't matter at all (providing you don't mind getting the image rejected).

So, I thought I would give a summary here to the three formats you will need (there may be others for sites I do not submit to). This information can also be found on the specific sites as well. To keep things simple I'll use the same image for all three -my recent upload of fishing boats in Folkestone harbour.
Shutterstock and Bigstock: (New guidelines from December 2013)

FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND - JULY 6, 2008: Fishing boats moored in the sheltered harbour. In 2012, major plans were announced for the regeneration of the harbour and seafront.

Notes: The first part (date and location) is in CAPITAL letters. Put a dash between the Country and the date. Put the date in full including the year. Finish with a semi colon (:) then continue -starting with a capital letter. Do NOT repeat date and location later in the caption. Caption must still be within 200 characters including spaces and punctuation.

Shutterstock and Bigstock:  (Pre December 2013 -for reference only)

FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND - JULY 6: Fishing boats moored in the sheltered harbour on July 6, 2008 at Folkestone, Kent. In 2012, major plans were announced for the regeneration of the harbour and seafront.

Notes: The first part is in CAPITAL LETTERS. Put a dash between the Country and the date. Do not put the Year in the date for this bit. Finish with a semi colon (:) then continue -starting with a Capital letter. Describe the image then repeat the date, this time including the year and the location. In my example I haven't repeated the Country (England) but added more information by saying that Folkestone is in the county of Kent. Next, follow up with a second sentence giving the image some "newsworthy" angle. The internet is your friend here unless the subject is something you have specialist knowledge of. Remember, the second sentence isn't aimed at the buyers (they're not usually interested in your caption) it's aimed at the reviewer to convince them to accept this image because it has some relevance. Your caption must not exceed 200 characters (including punctuation and spaces) or you will not be able to submit it (there is a counter provided, so you know where you are).

EDIT: Amazing! Less than a day after I posted this they have revised their caption requirements. Main change is to include the Year in the opening dateline and that you do not have to repeat the date and location later in the description. Full details here: I'll update the post properly later. Edit: OK, now updated with the new version (I have left the old version in for reference only).


Folkestone, England - July 6, 2008: Fishing boats moored in the sheltered harbour. In 2012, major plans were announced for the regeneration of the harbour and seafront.

Notes: Only use Capital letters as you would in correct writing e.g. to start a sentence and for place names.
Include the year in your initial date and do not repeat this information later. Place a dash after the Country and a semi colon (:) after the date. IMPORTANT -if there people visible anywhere in the image Istock require you to mention them. In this example, if there were people on the boats, your caption would read People stand (etc) on fishing boats moored in the sheltered harbour. Try not to make assumptions about the people if you do not know who they are (i.e. avoid Folkestone fishermen stand on boats.... if you do not know who they are or where they are from).
That's your Istock caption done but you still have the description box to complete. Luckily there are no firm rules about completing this. I would put: Fishing boats moored in the harbour at Folkestone in Kent, England on July 6, 2008. That's it. No rules about the number of characters to use but keep it brief and relevant - do not write a Wikipedia style page as your caption. I once saw an example on the Istock editorial forum where the caption contained the entire history of an airline (including annual profits) on a rejected aircraft image.


Folkestone, England - July 6, 2008 - Fishing boats moored in the sheltered harbour. In 2012, major plans were announced for the regeneration of the harbour and seafront.

Notes: Put a dash before and after the date (no semi colon). Use Capital letters for the start of sentences and place names.

The following sites that take editorial images do not (currently) require a specific format: Dreamstime, Yaymicro, Cutcaster, Mostphotos, Picfair. You should, of course, still provide relevant information about the image and always include a date and location.

There you have it then, my summary of how to create editorial captions. The hardest part for some (and I don't always get it right) is that second sentence of information. What facts can you add about the image?
When was that boat built and where? (Tip: if you can see the registration number on the boat/plane etc search on that number). When was this annual festival first held? How tall is that lighthouse? What's the population of that small Greek island? There's always something on the internet to help. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

November sales updates:

A mixed result for November with (of course) Shutterstock leading the rest with a BME fuelled by one Enhanced Download and a Single sale netting a very pleasing $56.25 in commission. This was my largest ever sale in Microstock and the image in question of British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking (pictured) is a regular seller for me. Also continuing to do well are my various images of the Tentertainment music festival at Tenterden in Kent.

Dreamstime produced some good results with 9 downloads netting $18.34. A few higher level images helping to push the amount up here.

Bigstock saw 10 downloads ($5.10) with a number of $0.38 subs included. It remains to be seen how much longer Bridge to Bigstock contributors continue to get this premium subs rate.

Istock disappointed with 9 downloads but only $5.10 in commission (plus a further $1.40 from 5 PP sales). Still no news of when/if non exclusive contributors are going to have good
selling files moved into a higher price band. The Photo+ facility is really missed here.

123rf achieved a good 14 downloads but just $6.28 in commission.

Fotolia saw 3 downloads (0.75 credits).

Yaymicro finally saw some Third Party commission added but was only 1.57 euros.

Veer surprised again with just one download but making a respectable $3.50 in commission - now only a couple of dollars short of my long awaited payout.

Finally, as previously posted, I had my first sale at Picfair netting me £10 (my own set rate there of which I get 100%). A bit of a set back, however, when it turned out that they currently have (all time) upload limits imposed on contributors. To be fair, they are still in Beta and are refining and tweaking the site to get the best results. Long term, I would hope these limits won't carry forward but short term it has affected my plans to upload as much of my portfolio as possible, as soon as possible. I am now just uploading a few new images a week to avoid running out of further upload slots.

There are currently a number of stock photographers looking to start their own direct selling sites (many using the free Symbiostock  theme -details at ). Certainly I am not the only photographer that considered that Picfair could be an viable alternative to this with no reviews (you choose which images are online), setting your own price/s and receiving 100% of that price. All just like having your own site. Image upload limits, however, change things. I'll see how this goes as the site develops.

Uploading (generally) in November was restricted whilst I concentrated on building my Picfair portfolio but among new images online was one of boats at Folkestone harbour in Kent (pictured). Folkestone images seem to do quite well -possibly due to the plans for a major re-development of the harbour and seafront. Regards, David.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

First sale at Picfair:

Having only signed up to new British photo agency Picfair just last week, I was delighted to get my very first sale there this week. First sales at a new agency are always exciting as, until then, you have no idea if you are going to get any interest in your images. Certainly there are views (and Picfair marks images clearly with the number of views they have had) but you have no way of knowing if these are serious buyers or just people having a look at your image -often, I am sure,  fellow contributors checking you out.

Anyway, week two of uploading and this image of RAF aerobatic team The Red Arrows performing at the Airbourne airshow in Eastbourne became my first sale. Picfair send you an automated email to let you know when you get a sale, which is always nice to find in your inbox. Better still, Picfair do not have a high payout limit that you have to reach before you can get your money and there is a "cash out" button on your profile page. I'm going to wait until, hopefully, I have a few more sales to claim.

Meanwhile I have been busy uploading and now have approaching 300 images online there. Looking forward to reporting my next sales! Regards, David.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Signed up to

Today I signed up to a new picture agency - the recently launched  British company I've been following their progress over the last few weeks and the time now seemed right to take the plunge.
Founded and run by British journalist Benji Lanyado (who writes for The Guardian newspaper amongst others) the agency specialises in licensing images for both Editorial and a variety of commercial uses. (Edited -please see the comment below from Benji on the licensing).
The exciting thing about PicFair is that you get to set your own prices and receive 100% of that amount if they are sold. PicFair make their money by adding a modest percentage on top of your price (as well as a transaction charge to the client for each sale). It's not unlike FineArtAmerica where you also set your price and receive all of it.

Images are licensed for single use each time (unlike the Royalty Free Microstock model where clients pay once only and can keep using your image without further payment). There is only one size available (i.e. the maximum) so that needs to be kept in mind when setting your prices and there are no Extended License options available either. I have initially set my prices at the £10 per license level. All prices are set individually on upload so you can vary the price of your images and also change your pricing at any time in the future. If there is a way of bulk editing your prices across your portfolio I haven't found it yet (but it is only my first day there!).

One thing that takes some getting used to is that you add your title/description/keyword info before uploading the image - the complete reverse of what I am used to.
At present there is only the facility to upload one image at a time -something that will put some off I imagine. That said, images uploaded very quickly so with a bit of determination (and time) you can build up a decent size portfolio.

Downsides? Apart from the one at a time upload there is certainly an issue with the security watermark -it is barely visible and I hope this will be addressed going forward. There was also a strange quirk when after uploading you get a nice "thank you" message pop up and a reminder that you can share news of the upload with social media (the site seems well integrated with Facebook and Twitter). My problem at this stage was that there was no way of losing the message let alone sharing anything. The only way I found to move on was to hit the back button on my mouse to take me back to the upload page. This did throw up one unexpected benefit though -the info entered previously was still there, so where I wanted to upload several images of the same subject I just had to add the next image and click upload again. It may just be my browser though (IE9) causing this. I've sent them an email asking about this issue and will post further when I get a response.

So far I've just put up 11 images to get the feel of things but it is certainly an interesting proposition. It's also nice to be working with a British agency again following the demise of PictureNation. First day images included (of course) Margaret Thatcher and also Phil Lynott. You can see my little (so far) portfolio here PicFair . Feel free to comment by clicking on the comments link below this post. Regards, David.

ShootingStock revamp:

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed some changes in the last few days as I have revamped the site with a whole new template. So here we are then with ShootingStock version 3.0 (or to be truthful more like 3.1 as I have already made a few adjustments).
Anyone looking at my Greek island blog will quickly spot that I have used the same template as that one (albeit with some customisation and some different page elements). offer a whole range of templates and styles to choose from but I felt this one worked best for both. In fact, the revamp was actually a little premature as I was just trying to see what different templates might look like. I hadn't realised that clicking "apply to blog" would be an ireversible decision - I was expecting a "save" option later. Actually there may well be but I failed to find it while trying to get the blog back to its previous look until I was ready. At several points I ended up with a confused looking mess with all my regular links and info missing and a rather disgusting looking orange colour scheme.
Now really old regular readers will know that back in 2008 I launched this blog with just that colour. It was never a concious choice -that's just how the original template came (and I had no idea then that you could fully customise just about everything, or maybe you couldn't then?).
Back to the present day and a rather frantic period ensued while I tried to get everything looking how I wanted (well aware that the site was live while I was doing this).
Anyway, here it is in its third incarnation. I hope you like it and feel free to comment by clicking on the comments link below this post. Regards, David.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

October sales updates:

A less than sparkling month in October with no agent producing an exciting result.
As ever, Shutterstock came out a long way on top but was far from a BME with a number of zero selling days and few, higher paying, On Demand sales (and no Single or EL sales either). Which is all I am allowed to say about them.

Dreamstime were the runners up with 10 downloads ($16.66) with 35cent subscription sales dragging down the revenue.

Istock saw 11 downloads ($7.32) and a further 4 PP sales ($1.12). As I said last month, I am really missing those higher paying Photo+ sales there.

123rf produced just 8 downloads ($7.54). Their review process of (non editorial) files seems to have ground to a halt with one pending image awaiting review since August!

Bigstock saw a good month with 15 downloads, but as many of these were 38cent subs produced just $6.06 in revenue.

Fotolia managed just one sale (1 credit).

Mostphotos is worth a mention if only to note that it is over six months since my last sale there. Not surprising if the buyers experience of their new (ish) site is as bad as that for contributors. Buggy and slow, everything takes an eternity to load (put the kettle on) or things that you click on just never go anywhere. It's a shame because the site actually looks rather good when/if you actually get there.

Uploads in October included further images of my 2011 trip to the Greek island of Symi and a colourful pet dog belonging to a group of Morris dancers performing at the Jack In The Green festival in Hastings. The latter had an unexpected result when following an upload update on Twitter I found myself being Followed and receiving nice comments from several Morris dancing groups. The power of the internet in action!

Hopefully, maybe, November might bring an uplift in sales. Regards, David.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September sales updates:

September started off slowly but there were signs of improving sales towards the end of the month.
As ever, way out in front were Shutterstock with my best sales (quantity and income) but, sadly, under their new revised Terms Of Service contributors are now not allowed to disclose detailed results -under pain of having your account closed if you do. The official reason given is that information is of use to competing agencies.  Personally I doubt that Istock executives are waiting in anticipation every month for my blog post so they can see how I did there. Some more cynical posters on the forums suggested that this might be a move to suppress future bad publicity for Shutterstock should they import the Received Credits system they are trialling at Bigstock (as opposed to the current lifetime earnings levels) -resulting in big drops in income for many contributors. I honestly hope they are completely wrong. However, it is their business and their rules. It's actually a great shame as month after month I have reported how well Shutterstock have done for me -with way more sales and income than the other sites. For further information check out this thread on the Shutterstock forum

Moving on to the sales I am allowed to post about 123RF takes second place with 13 downloads and a BME there of $32.07 thanks to a Multi seat license and a Print Extended license on images of Boris Yeltsin and the Tentertainment music festival respectively.

Dreamstime produced 15 downloads ($23.55) in a strong month for them.

Istock managed 14 downloads ($8.76) with a further $4.12 from 10 PP sales. Before the price reductions there those 14 downloads would have produced considerably more income as many of them were previously Photo Plus images -now reduced to the basic Main collection.

Bigstock continued to see more activity with 12 downloads ($5.16).

Fotolia managed a couple of sales (1.85 credits).

Veer surprised with another sub sale ($0.25). Goodness. Better still their broken uploader has been fixed and I was able to upload my backlog of (non editorial) images -even getting some accepted.

Yay gets a mention if only to report zero sales for September. This means that since April I have had just one 0.75euro sale there (in August). On over 2000 images? With all those distribution partners? I am truly at a loss to know what has happened there. I really like Yay and have never had anything but friendly and prompt responses to any problems so they remain on my upload list. I just hope things improve soon. Yay also announced their new subscription and streaming packages (streaming as in small users like bloggers paying a modest monthly fee to have images streamed to their site from the Yay library, as opposed to actually downloading the images). This is aimed to appeal to those who would not normally pay for images or just steal them from the internet. Many would say that those users are not going to start paying anything for images -no matter how modest the price. I've stayed opted into this for now to see how it goes.

Uploading in September saw some images of the Hastings Old Town Carnival accepted as well as further Greek island images of Skopelos. I also revisited my archives for further 1989 images of Lech Walesa (President of Poland). Let's now see how October does. Regards, David.

Monday, 2 September 2013

August sales updates:

A rather lacklustre performance across the board for August.
As usual Shutterstock came out on top with 114 downloads ($56.39). A disappointing five seperate days with zero sales didn't help matters here.

Dreamstime produced 12 downloads ($14.14) with some prolonged periods of no new sales.

Istock saw 10 downloads ($8.49) with a further 8 PP sales netting $2.24.

Bigstock had 10 downloads ($6.66). The new subs packages seem to be taking off there with an increasing number of $0.38 commissions being seen. On the other hand, one sale produced a worthwhile $3 commission.

123rf  produced 8 downloads ($4.68).

Yaymicro finally saw a sale - the first since April - with one download netting 0.75euro.

Cutcaster produced a rare (for me) sale with $0.46 for an image of musician Phil Lynott.

Surprisingly, nothing at all from Fotolia in August.

Uploading for me was very limited this month due to two visits to the Eastbourne airshow and spending a lot of time working on my new Greek islands blog (as previously posted). A couple of images that did get uploaded were Greek as well! Looking down into Yialos harbour on Symi island and the harbour on Skopelos island.

Hopefully, the slow days of  August are now past and I'll start to see a pick up through September. We will see. Regards, David.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Farewell to PictureNation:

A sad day here as I have just received my final payment from PictureNation and my account is now closed. I did search for a few of my images but my over 2000 image port has gone.

I said it all when I first posted about them closing down, so I won't repeat it all again.

All the best for the future to Jane-Louise, her team and all the contributors. Regards, David.

Monday, 12 August 2013

New Greek Islands blog launched:

Delighted to report that I today launched my Greek Islands blog with my first posting about the island of Alonissos.

My Small Greek Islands will present a personal (and biased) view of the small Greek islands I have visited and photographed.

As well as providing information and ideas on the islands I hope it will also act as a showcase for my stock images.

It is a long time since I set this blog up and I struggled to get the new one looking how I wanted. One problem proved to be the "About Me" section. I found you cannot vary this across different blogs so I had to make it more generic to fit both. More detailed information about my photographic background has moved to a box under the ShootingStock header.

Now I just have to write about the other islands...... Regards, David.

Here's the link:

Thursday, 1 August 2013

July sales updates:

Again, not the big summer slump I might have expected in July.
Out front, as ever was Shutterstock with 133 downloads ($95.68). An Enhanced Download of Margaret Thatcher ($28) on July 31 pushing me over the payout limit once again - that was a nice last minute surprise.

Dreamstime did well again with 13 downloads ($18.36).

Istock produced 15 downloads ($11.87) plus 14 PP sales (for May and June) netting $3.92. The recent changes to pricing took a toll here with a number of my former Photo+ images selling for much lower rates in the Main collection. It might well have been a BME here but for that. Hopefully, some of my better selling images will eventually move up into the higher priced Signature collection.

123rf saw 10 downloads ($5.83). Their low pricing and reduced commission showing in the $ earnings.

Bigstock saw some activity with 8 downloads ($3.04). These were all $0.38 subs payments. That's a bit concerning as the six month period for receiving that amount (for Bridge to Bigstock contributors) is coming to an end soon. Looks like I'll be down to low 123rf type commissions soon.

Fotolia saw 6 downloads (2.45 credits).

Yaymicro continued to dissapoint with another month of zero sales. I had usually seen some monthly activity there either from direct sales or their myriad of partners but things stopped dead on April 28. It may well be that there have been partner sales not yet reported but three zero months is rather concerning. On the subject of Yay, I am still waiting to see my (non editorial) images appear on Alamy. I had high hopes for this partner deal but so far none of my images appear to have arrived there. I did query this and was told they were going over in batches and that it was a complex business (avoiding duplicates etc). I thought they were just going to flick an API switch and mirror the Yay library there -but it seems not.

A reminder about Picturenation - only sixteen days until they close the site. If you have any images there do check for any sales and request payout via the contact link on the site (any amount).

Uploading in July saw a set of images of a Lancaster bomber at the 2012 Eastbourne airshow (Airbourne) as well as a young Herring Gull chick -which has been spending time on my window ledge here in Hastings.
Regards, David.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

June sales updates:

Not too much sign of a Summer Slowdown in June as might have been expected.

As always Shutterstock led the way with 153 downloads ($82.88). Greek island images (in particular Halki) proved especially good sellers this month.

Another good month from Dreamstime saw 16 downloads ($28.74). A varied mix of images selling there.

Istock produced 10 downloads (£12.98) but due to technical issues the May partner program sales were not posted during June. In another major move Istock simplified their various collections and price points during June. Short term, the main effect for me was the scrapping of the Photo+ level (a limited percentage of my portfolio which I self-selected to sell at a higher price point). These images are now, for the time being, back in the lower priced "main" collection. Istock say the process is not yet complete and my hope is that these files will move up to the new Signature collection, though there appears to be no certainty of that happening. A wait and see situation.

Bigstock perked up with 11 downloads ($6.28) with a noted increase in subscription sales.

123rf only managed 6 downloads ($1.72) leaving me to start questioning again if they are worth uploading to.

Fotolia produced two downloads (0.50 credits).

Amazingly, Veer suddenly produced a subscription sale ($0.25) - my first sale there since 2011. Payout there still looks as far away as ever but at least there is some sign of life. Their web uploader still remains broken after some 7-8 months and a further email to them produced the response that they were looking to the forthcoming updating of the site to resolve the problem.

Uploads in June saw some new archive images of Mohamed Al Fayed (former owner of Harrods department store) being accepted.
However, uploading was limited due to spending two weeks holiday on the charming Greek island of Alonissos where I encountered some mules (pictured). I was also able to spend a day photographing on the nearby island of Skopelos (location of the film Mamma Mia). I'm looking forward to editing and uploading these images in due course. Regards, David.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

May sales updates:

May was never going to match the special circumstances of April, however it still proved a strong month.
Inevitably, out in front was Shutterstock with 151 downloads ($97.16). A single sale of the Old Town area of Hastings netted $18.75 helping to push up the income total.

Istock produced 10 downloads ($20.14) with four PP sales adding another $1.40. In a surprise move they recently scrapped their restrictive upload limits and contributors can now submit up to 999 images per week. A welcome move I had always hoped for.  

Dreamstime saw 16 downloads ($17.73). A number of subscription sales helped keep the amount earned down.

Picturenation saw an archive image of Labour MP Chris Smith selling in high resolution which earned a worthwhile £6 in commission. Sadly, not long now till their close down in August but, hopefully, I may pick up a few more sales before then.

123rf continued to get sales with 16 downloads ($7.15). 

Bigstock achieved 9 downloads ($5.02). All of these were editorial images.

Mostphotos pleased with two downloads making Euro 4.09.

Fotolia netted three downloads earning 0.70 in credits.

As previously posted, my first FineArtAmerica sale netted $25.35. A very welcome start.

No sales at Cutcaster but one of my referred contributors had their first sale there netting me $0.06 in commission. It's a start!

Uploads in May saw some archive images of Bruce Kent, Vice President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and some portrait shots of a Common Barn Owl. 

We are now heading into the famous Summer Slowdown period so it remains to be seen how sales will go in June. Regards, David.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

First sale on FineArtAmerica:

Delighted to report my first ever sale on FineArtAmerica today. A buyer in the USA purchased a print of my 1978 photo of Phil Lynott, lead singer of Irish rock group Thin Lizzy.
This earned me a very worthwhile commission of $25 plus an additional $0.35 as commission on the materials/printing etc (you get the latter when signed up to the paid account).
This means that with just one sale I have nearly recouped my annual fee of $30. Had the buyer ordered a bigger print size I would have covered that and more.
I now have approaching 300 images at FAA and have hopes of getting more sales as my portfolio there builds.
It is certainly satisfying to think that somebody liked my image enough to want to buy a print of it. My (referral) link to FAA is on the left for anyone wanting to check out my portfolio or sign up themselves. Regards, David.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Picturenation to close:

A very sad day for me yesterday with the news that Picturenation is to close their site on August 17, 2013.
There is a message on their home page (and also on Facebook and Twitter) giving the news and more details.
It seems that a new site was paid for in 2011 but never completed or delivered to them and the costs and effort of trying to keep the current (circa 5 year old) site functioning were too much. Regular contributors will know that the upload hasn't been working properly over the last few weeks - just another problem to resolve.
Just what happened to the new site isn't revealed.

Importantly, the notice states that all outstanding commission will be paid to contributors (regardless of the amount). Contributors should send in their user name with a request for payment. Thereafter, their account will be closed. Buyers can still use outstanding credits up to the shut down date, although PN warns there may be technical difficulties with some images but that they will use every effort to get the image to the buyer.

I joined Picturenation back in October 2007, back when my only other agency was the (badly named and since closed) Snap Village. I soon realised that they were accepting editorial images which paved the way for me to digitise and upload my archive political images. This formed the basis for my Microstock future as I later found the other sites I could upload these to as well.
Over the last six years sales have never been as frequent as I would have liked but the higher (than microstock) commissions helped balance that. My total PN earning are way higher than some of the micro sites I contribute to.

Above all, this has always been a site that I liked and trusted. PictureNation founder Jane-Luise Green has always sent me ultra fast personal responses to any problems or queries I had and we have had many enjoyable email discussions about the stock business over the years.

For any PictureNation contributors reading this, especially if this is the only site you contribute to, do take a look at the forum where you can find a wealth of information and views on alternative sites to sell through.

With all best wishes for the future to Jane, her team, and all PictureNation contributors.
Regards, David.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

April sales update:

Anyone familiar with this blog or my portfolio will realise that April was never going to be a normal month for me following the death of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Britain. My archive B/W images of her from 1991 were in great demand after the announcement with Shutterstock alone having 72 downloads on the day and many more since.

Starting with Shutterstock then I had a BME with a stunning 278 downloads ($122.79). I'm pleased to say that these weren't all Margaret Thatcher images, with a whole variety of subjects being downloaded. As Summer approaches my other good selling subject, the Tentertainment music festival, saw an uplift in sales.

Dreamstime also produced a superb BME with 26 downloads ($63.22). Much of this income was generated  by the levels system there, with repeat credit sales of Margaret Thatcher producing over $6 in commission each time.

Istockphoto rebounded from its recent slump to produce 12 downloads ($21.01) with a further $1.12 in PP sales. No Thatcher images there yet - though they do now accept "celebrity" images they do require accreditation details (or the images to have been taken in a public place). I'm trying to think of a way round that as, obviously, I don't have accreditation details from 22 years ago.

Yaymicro had a good month with 6 downloads (8.25 euros). Surprisingly, no Thatcher images sold but, on the day, three sales of politicians of the same era -so I presume they were related.

123rf produced 24 downloads ($8.03). I have had a re-think with them. After months of not uploading I was still seeing regular monthly sales and decided that, really, I was just leaving money on the table by not uploading there. The debate, as ever, is do buyers shop around looking for the cheapest sites and are my sales at higher priced sites harmed by having images at 123rf? For now, my personal conclusion is that this isn't the case. Sites have their own sets of buyers that, by and large, stick with that site. Microstock prices are low enough to make shopping around a waste of time (therefore money) for most buyers. Just my view. It took a couple of days of intensive uploading to catch up with the backlog but I'm pleased to say a 100% acceptance on editorials and a surprisingly high acceptance on commercial images as well.

Bigstock did well with 11 downloads ($7.64). The much criticised new subscription plans didn't have much effect with most of my downloads being regular credit sales.

Fotolia saw just 2 downloads (1.65credits).

Mostphotos saw a sub sale of Thatcher (0.28 euros).

Picturenation proved disappointing as despite a number of my Thatcher related images on their home page they got just one web size download (£0.40).

Overall then, an excellent month which demonstrated just how much events can dictate the success of editorial images. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Paid account at FineArtAmerica:

As I said on my previous posting about FineArtAmerica I was always pretty sure that I would upgrade to the  paid version. The basic free account allows unlimited uploads but you can only have a maximum of 25 images for sale as prints and posters at any one time.
I finally upgraded a while back and paid the $30 annual fee. In the UK this converted to around £18 so did not represent a huge investment.
The main advantage of the paid account is that there is no limit to the number of images you can offer for sale. They also give you your own artist website to help market your images. If I'm honest I am not sure how useful that is compared to just having your images on the FAA site itself. I assume it may help generate more traffic having the images in two places. There is some scope for customising your artist website and the facility to post blog messages and news items. Thankfully, you only have to upload once to either site and the images automatically get mirrored on the other.
Other perks of the paid version include a $5 referral commission should anyone use your link to sign up for a paid account. Here is my referral link for anyone interested:
You also receive 5% commission on materials and accessories (frames etc) should you sell an image.
So, how it all going? I'm now up to 253 images online and over 5000 views (though these include an unknown number of automated visits from search engines) but, as yet, no sales.
That said, I wouldn't expect many sales on that number of images on regular stock sites, so I will just keep uploading and be patient.
One feature I didn't discover at first is the Limited Time Promotions. This is accessed from your control panel and allows you to have up to three images at a time on a special discounted promotion. You set the duration of the offer (up to a limit) and how many copies are available at that price (up to 25). Most importantly, you still choose how much money you make from each sale (whatever you like). These promotions are available on both the free and paid for version, so are well worth trying.
As I said before, I have no idea what images might be purchased so I am just uploading a whole variety from archive celebrities through to Greek islands ones such as the chapel of Agios Kosmas on Alonissos (pictured). I am looking forward to posting about my first sale there, hopefully fairly soon. Regards, David.

The Boyfriends make Editors Choice at Dreamstime:

Pleased to report that one of my archive Seventies images is currently an Editors Choice at Dreamstime and is featured on their home page. This is my third ever Editors Choice there and, interestingly, all were archive images of bands.
This time my recent upload of British power pop band The Boyfriends was chosen. Formed circa 1977 by former Vibrators guitarist Patrick Collier the band were signed to United Artists Records. I had the pleasure of seeing them play live a number of times and these band pictures were taken before a London gig on August 20, 1978.
For anyone not familiar with the term Power Pop this (in the UK at least) was what followed Punk. Whereas punk was more raucous and often featured acts with limited singing and musical ability, Power Pop saw a move to a more melodic and tuneful style -whilst still maintaining a fast paced guitar based style.
The welcome exposure seems to have worked as the image has been downloaded since being featured. As ever, I have no way of knowing if the buyer was looking for this specific band or just wanted a generic Seventies pop band image.
Either way I'm delighted to have the image highlighted in this way. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

March sales updates:

An excellent month overall in March, with the usual suspects doing well and some surprise sales elsewhere.
Way out in front was Shutterstock producing a BME (without any Enhanced Downloads) of 143 downloads      totalling $100.27 in income. Two big factors here: I had a single download of an archive photo of former Prime Minister Edward Heath paying $13.19 and, virtually every day, multiple On Demand downloads which totalled some $46.44 of my overall sales. Especially pleasing was the wide variety of images downloaded -both editorial and commercial. If there was any sort of theme, certainly the Greek islands of Meganissi and Halki sold especially well.
Dreamstime also had a good month of 19 downloads ($31.92) with their levels system working well with three of those downloads paying over $6 each in commission.
Picturenation bounced up the league in March with two medium resolution sales paying £4.00 (GBP) each in commission. Both sales were 1990s b/w images of British politician Eric Ollerenshaw (now Member of Parliament for Lancaster and Fleetwood).
Istockphoto had another dissapointing month with just 7 downloads ($5.59) plus a further $1.12 from 4 PP sales. Not sure where all their increasing editorial sales vanished to.
123rf produced 12 downloads ($5.26).
Bigstock managed 8 downloads ($3.52) with four of those being $0.38 sub sales.
Fotolia saw four downloads producing 1.70 in credits.
Mostphotos produced one sale of Margaret Thatcher - a sub sale paying Euro 0.22. Of significance here is that was my first ever celebrity image sale on Mostphotos.
Finally, Cutcaster produced my fourth ever sale - a large archive image of  British Airways chief Sir Colin Marshall making $1.84 in commission.
Uploading in March saw my returning to my 2008 images of Croatia - complete with a re-edit on a number of images. It was really interesting, some five years on, to see the improved results I was getting from the images. Pictured are the Church of St.Mark at Makarska and boats in the harbour at Brela. We'll see what April can bring. Regards, David.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

February sales updates:

As ever, another great month at Shutterstock which pulled in 136 downloads ($65.18). Is there anything bad to say about them? Well, their Facebook contributor app doesn't always work and just misses days out. Ironically it always seems to miss when I have a good (for me) day. I recently had 15 downloads in one day and, of course, the app didn't post that one.
Dreamstime produced 18 downloads ($11.99) though, sadly, that included quite a few sub sales bringing down the actual income.
Istock didn't repeat their strong performance from January but managed 7 downloads ($9.71) plus a further $1.12 from four PP sales. Further (mainly) editorial uploading brought my portfolio there up to 670. I also hit   my 250 downloads which means, woohay, that I am now elligible to go exclusive there! I'll pass on that one, thanks, but what was interesting was that my upload limit rose from 18-20. Not sure if that was just for becoming a "bronze" level contributor or not. Couldn't find anything on the site saying you get a rise in upload limits.
Bigstock saw 8 downloads ($5.88). Their new subscription packages are now live and I have had 2 so far at  $0.38 each.
123rf also saw 8 downloads bringing in just $3.86. Still a wait and see on them but I'm into my third month of halting uploads there.
Yaymicro reported 2 partner sales and one direct sale bringing in 1.25 euro.
Fotolia were up with 8 downloads (1.95 credits). These were pretty much all sub sales.
Uploading in February saw me continuing with my Jack In The Green festival images and also re-visiting my seventies music images such as the one above of "power pop" band The Boyfriends, which I took in 1978. March has started well on Shutterstock so we will see how that goes. Regards, David.

Monday, 4 February 2013

January sales updates:

A strong start to the year in January. After a slow start around the holidays things picked up nicely as the month went on.
Needless to say, Shutterstock came out top with 89 downloads ($41.96).
Dreamstime saw a good performance with 13 downloads ($21.17).
Bigstock also saw a flurry of sales with 9 downloads ($5.50). Five of the sales were of Hastings.
Yaymicro reported 4 partner subscription sales making 0.64 euro. They also continued to annoy with a number of random editorial rejections.
Picturenation produced a web res sale of an old b/w archive image (£0.40).
Fotolia saw 2 downloads (1.20 credits).
123rf produced 7 downloads for a miserly commission of $3.75. They're off my upload list and I am considering deleting certain images. I don't really want good selling images like Margaret Thatcher going for 25cent subs or 69cents large sales.
Finally, with supreme irony given all the drama at Istockphoto, I had my BME there with 16 downloads ($22.96) and a further $1.68 from 6 partner sales. At one point sales, and sometimes multiple sales,were coming in daily -with all but two being editorial images. Editorial certainly seems to be taking off there. For anyone that doesn't know "the drama" involves a recent deal between Getty Images and Google. Here's a (long) thread on Microstockgroup  for all the information. At this stage I intend to keep my images on sale there.
No sales yet at FineArtAmerica but I am getting views and I feel positive about the site. I am now going to upgrade to the paid membership and upload a lot more images.
Uploading in January saw a large number of my old archive images as well as some new ones from the 2012 Jack In The Green festival (pictured). Regards, David.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

December sales updates:

With a few honourable exceptions it turned out to be a fairly Dismal December overall.
Shutterstock (as ever) led the pack with 101 downloads ($49.38). Old favourites such as Margaret Thatcher, Professor Stephen Hawking and the Tentertainment music festival continued to get regular sales.
Picturenation (as previously posted) pulled in 2 downloads of my archive image of politician Sir Geoffrey Howe making a worthwhile £6.40 GBP in commission.
Istockphoto produced 6 downloads ($5.44) with a further $2.24 from 8 PP sales.
Bigstock perked up with 6 downloads ($5.90).
Dreamstime plunged to just 6 downloads (mainly subs) producing a miserable $3.77 in commission. My worst month there in a long time.
123rf  (what can I say?) managed just 3 downloads producing just $1.66 in commission. This was my worst month there since my first sales back in 2010. When they announced their 2013 commission cuts (now in effect) they talked of a big increase in sales there. I'm certainly not seeing any signs of that. Actually, to my surprise, I scraped into level 2 of the new rates (35% commission and $0.25 for subs). The problem is lack of sales and the low rates they charge customers. Superficially, at least, 35% doesn't sound so bad compared to some agencies but my 15% at Istock generally brings in $1-$2 in commission per sale. Even on 50% at 123rf actual income was lower. I'm just waiting to see how the new rates pan out in income over the month. Meanwhile, I have ceased uploading any new images to them.
New uploads for December included a further image from the Poll Tax Riots (showing the South African embassy on fire) and more images from my September trip to the Greek island of Alonissos (this one is of freight ship Ioanna Chrisoula docked at Patitiri harbour).
Hopefully, as The World gets back to work after the holidays sales will improve. Meanwhile, I'll wish everyone a happy and successful 2013. Regards, David.