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, 4 April 2015

March Sales Updates:

Poll Tax Riots, London -top Micro sale
March proved to be not only my Best Month Ever (BME) on my Number One agency Shutterstock but also my BME in Microstock.

So beginning with star performer Shutterstock the start of the month saw not only an Enhanced Download of the Tentertainment music festival (at $28) but on the very same day my highest ever sale with a Single Download of the Poll Tax Riots in London. Shutterstock Terms of Service do not allow me to give the exact amount -let's just say it wasn't a million miles away from $100 in commission. After that great start the rest of the month saw a bumper crop of On Demand downloads and above average subscription downloads. Images sold were a good mix of the usual suspects -Margaret Thatcher (the anniversary of her death is in April), Professor Stephen Hawking (new biopic film winning awards), Tentertainment music festival (the season of outdoor events and festivals approaches) and a host of Greek Island images (time to book that holiday). A few more months like that on SS would be very welcome.

Istock took second place with a strong 10 credit downloads and a further 22 Sub/PP sales.
Margaret Thatcher -a timeless selling image

In third place were Dreamstime with 12 downloads and unusually $0.49 in referral earnings when one of my very few referred photographers got some sales. A diversion here on Referrals -this is when an agency gives you a "thank you" for sending a new contributor (or buyer) their way in the form of a few cents when the contributor makes a sale or a buyer purchases an image. Some of my portfolio links on the right here contain a code that tells the agency the referral came via me. Not all agencies do this and most limit the time for which you receive these. Way back in 2008, when I started this blog, I had hopes that hordes of grateful readers would sign up with my links and generate some additional income. Sadly, I think my grand total amounts to around four contributors and somewhat less than $1.00 in earnings! Oh well.......

Tentertainment - music festivals and Summer image
123rf came in fourth place with a slightly perkier 11 downloads. Mainly subs.

Bigstock were fifth with 12 downloads. These were all subs with not a credit sale to be seen.

Finally, Fotolia produced 3 downloads to come in sixth and final place for my selling agencies this month.

Obviously, March was an exceptional month due to that one big exceptional sale and isn't really an indicator of anything. That said, April looked to be starting well until it all crashed to a near halt for this Easter weekend. I'll see how things pick up after the holidays. Regards, David.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Persisting with Picfair:

The Sinceros -my most viewed image on Picfair
When I first posted about British photo agency Picfair back in November 2013 I was certainly full of hope for this new venture and even more so when I got my first sale just a couple of weeks later. So, time for an update.

Well, first the headline fact, I have yet to have had my second sale there despite my portfolio now numbering some 870 images. Am I giving up on them? Not at this stage and here is why.

Founded by former journalist Benji Lanyado in 2013 the site has gradually grown -both in the number of images available and the team itself. Very much a one man band at the start Picfair now has a number of people on its team which you can see on the "About" section of their site. Originally launched in Beta the site is now fully functioning as an image selling agency and received a substantial boost of investment last Summer (read about that here ). Ignore the "taking on Getty" headline -I'm pretty sure that they are not actually claiming that!

So what's great about Picfair? Well the two big attractions to me are firstly that there are no reviews to go through. You get the images online and for sale that you want, not filtered through somebody elses opinion or taste. Just like having your own photo selling site in fact. Secondly, and most importantly, you get to choose your own selling price and receive 100% of that amount (Picfair make their money by adding a percentage on top to the buyer -currently 20%).

This choose your own price feature does has its own set of issues, however. Firstly, some great photographers are setting their prices really low. I have seen some stunning images being offered at little above the minimum allowed pricing of £1. This doesn't make it easy for those of us trying to get a reasonable fee for our images. Which leads to the second (big) issue -just what should you price your images at? All mine are at a standard £10 per image. Now for a small use on a blog that's a high price compared to purchasing from a Micro site. However, the standard Picfair license doesn't offer any variations so that £10 image could just as easily be used on the front page of a National newspaper.

Ideally, I'd like to experiment with different price points to see if that makes a difference to sales, however what Picfair currently lacks is a global price change facility (unlike FineArtAmerica where you can reset your entire portfolio pricing with one click). You can, of course, edit your pricing image by image but there is no way I am doing that 870 times! I could try just changing the pricing on some images but I am really loathe to set up a two tier system suggesting that "these are my best ones at £10 and this is a bit rubbish at £2".

So, for now I am persisting with Picfair. It is still fairly early days for them as a business and I see no reason why the site will not gradually attract more buyers -especially given the fantastic quality of many of the images being submitted. The batch upload is quick and efficient (and they now offer FTP on request to those that want that -I don't) so they do not represent a big demand on my time to keep uploading. Hopefully, I'll have some sales news to report in the not too distant future. Regards, David. EDIT: Click on the comments below for a response from Picfair :)

Pro's: Choose your own pricing/No reviews/Prospects for growth
Con's: No global price change/ Uploading no longer works on IE9 (a minor gripe and maybe just me)