Back in the Seventies and Eighties I founded and ran several Fleet Street photo agencies specialising in stock images of celebrities from pop stars to politicians. These were syndicated to the National and International press and Television. These days I am active in the Microstock world and this blog charts my journey as well as, hopefully, providing inspiration and ideas to others. Image buyers should also find this blog useful with links to my portfolios and regular updates on new uploads. Unless otherwise stated all images are my copyright and may not be reproduced or copied. Comments are very welcome but will be reviewed before publication. Enjoy your visit. Regards, David.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Redbubble popping up some sales:

Margaret Thatcher - sold as T shirt
As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I signed up with Print On Demand (POD) site in May. With around 190 images uploaded so far I have already had three sales of products featuring my photographs which is a very encouraging start for just a few weeks. Sold so far are a T Shirt featuring Margaret Thatcher, A laptop cover featuring the Poll Tax Riots and finally a babies one piece outfit featuring cruise liner Norwegian Jade.

The site is very well presented and sets off the various products extremely well. These products cover a large range but include prints and posters, t shirts, skirts, scarves, bags, leggings, mugs, phone and laptop covers, calendars, duvet covers, greeting cards, and more.

Signing up is totally free and you get to set your margin (how much you will make per sale) over and above the basic manufacturing price. How much you set is entirely up to you but obviously the higher you set it the greater the cost to the customer and, therefore, may reduce your sales. You can choose the same margin across your range of products or vary it for each individual item (this can be changed at any time). For now I have mainly set a 30% margin with a higher 50% for greetings cards and stickers. You can also choose your currency to get paid in when you sign up -in my case £GBP and there is a very reasonable payout level of £20 to reach before you are paid.
Poll Tax Riots - sold as laptop cover

Uploading is quick and simple but only one image at a time - this isn't really a disadvantage as having uploaded you then have to spend a few minutes editing your image for the various products and adding your caption and keyword information. To edit you will see a series of templates which show how your image will look on the product. These can each be changed to optimise the look of your product. Obviously, prints and posters etc are going to look OK to start with but for something like leggings or a skirt you will want to do some work. Top tip here is to use the "repeat" button and then the "image size" slider. This will then produce multiple repeats of your image across the garment. Vary the size until your image forms a pleasing pattern. For some items such as a laptop cover you will find that an upright format photo will be cut off and only cover a strip in the centre. Again, use the repeat/size controls to fill across the product until it looks good.

Don't forget to fill out your profile details and include an avatar - this is your sales platform so tell potential customers something about yourself and your work. You can also group your images into collections (e.g. "Halki, Nisyros and Tilos islands") and these collections will show on your profile. Even better, you can choose to highlight images from one of your collections across the top of your profile (changing the collection highlighted whenever you want).
Norwegian Jade - sold as baby outfit

There is quite a lot to learn and get to grips with on the site so take the time to explore and understand the various features. Don't worry, if you get stuck there is an active forum with a help section! Find the forum by clicking on the Redbubble logo at the top left of the page. This takes you to the home page where you will find the link to the forum at the bottom of the list on the left side.

Each time you get a sale you will get an email giving you the details and you can also access your sales information on your account page.

I'm certainly excited by the possibilities here and, so far, consider Redbubble to be a worthy addition to my roster of agents. I'll obviously keep updating in my regular posts (if) and when I have further sales.

You can view my portfolio here

Do check out the site whether you're a buyer or contributor and I hope you find it interesting. Regards, David.

May Sales Updates:

Anti Austerity march, Hastings
Straight into the May sales to bring me up to date before the end of June is upon us :)

May proved a fairly weak month with even my first place agency Shutterstock down from last month and a much lower number of the higher paying On Demand sales and three modest SOD sales.

Istock leapt to second place with 8 credit downloads and an astonishing 42 subscription and PP sales. PP sales came back strongly after their crash last month.

Straight in at third place came Redbubble with a T shirt sale becoming my first sale on the site.

123RF came in fourth with 11 downloads though without the boost from LEL sales that I had last month. They also updated their uploader which from my perspective didn't seem to have any advantages over the old version. On the contrary, the first seven images I uploaded proved tricky as there just seems no way to include punctuation in the caption field. This is important because they require a specific format for editorial captions (which include comma and dash signs). I have put these in dozens of times but when clicking to save they just disappear. I'm fully expecting them to be rejected for this -that is if they ever get around to reviewing them (been three weeks now).
Protest against zero hour contracts at Sports Direct, Hastings

In fifth place were Bigstock with 14 downloads -pretty much all subs again.

Sixth place went to FineArtAmerica with a sale of two greetings cards. These were of the local island bus on the Greek island of Paxos which I visited last year. Not a fortune but a pleasing sale all the same as it is one of my favourite Greek islands.

Now for the big disappointment of the month. In Seventh place were Dreamstime with just 6 downloads. These were all 35c subscription sales bringing a total for the month of just $2.10 -my worst month ever on DT (even my first month there in September 2009 produced nearly £6 in sales). What happened there? Thankfully June is showing improvements but I am at a loss to account for that May dive.

Finally in Eighth place I got one of my irregular sales on Canstock photo - a 30c subscription. If they ever start taking Editorial images this could become a much better seller for me but meanwhile I'll just add non editorials as and when I have them.
Greetings from Paxos: card sales at FineArtAmerica

Much of May was dominated by my signing up to and learning all about how that works. I'll be posting an article on that soon -but early results are encouraging :)

The other event in May was, of course, a General Election here in Britain when to a lot of peoples surprise the Conservative party won a (small) outright majority. None of the opinion polls had predicted anything of the kind so the result was unexpected. This led to a number of protests and anti austerity marches across the UK, including here in Hastings. I photographed the march and have already had several sales on Shutterstock as a result. Regards, David.

April Sales Updates:

Rum tum at Pirates Day, Hastings
A tad late I know with my April updates but on the principle of better late than never I'm getting this posted now.

Inevitably, in first place were Shutterstock with a very strong month of downloads with a good number of On Demand sales and one good Single Sale (nothing on the scale of last month, sadly).

Jumping into second place this month were 123RF with 10 downloads -several higher paying LEL licences pushed the dollar value up here.

Closed down Phones 4 U, Hastings
Dreamstime ranked third with 10 downloads.

Istock were in fourth place with 5 credit downloads and 18 subscription/PP sales. The PP sales were very low this month with just three sales showing up. New uploads brought my Istock portfolio up to 966 images.

Bigstock brought up the rear in fifth place with 9 downloads (virtually all subsciption sales).

Copperfield Clog morris at Jack In The Green, Hastings
Fotolia and the rest didn't produce any sales in April and I am still awaiting the elusive second sale at Picfair.

Uploading in April included a set of a Phones 4 U branch in Hastings. This mobile phone chain closed down a while back so the images have some historic relevance. I also worked on some more images from last year's Jack In The Green festival (ahead of this years event in May). Finally, backtracking to 2012, I uploaded another fun image from the Pirates Day event -with a heavily pregnant young woman getting into the spirit of the occasion :) Regards, David.