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, 24 December 2016

November Sales Updates:

Nissos Halki ferry arriving at Rhodes island
Another unspectacular month in November with one notable highlight and one negative low point.

As always, leading the pack was Shutterstock but a month of just four On demand sales and no Single sales saw me barely making payout. As I posted last month I haven't uploaded much in recent weeks but I am now attempting to make up for that so, hopefully, 2017 will see some increases.

Dreamstime delighted by coming in at second place with 7 downloads. What boosted things here was the return of high paying credit sales ($9.47 and $6.98 commissions). This is much more like the DT of old and very welcome.

Istock took third place with 5 credit sales and 27 sub and partner sales. Reporting here is slightly
Collecting pine resin on Alonissos island. Bring on the Retsina
complicated here because of the current transition to a new reporting system. November saw both PP sales for October credited and (semi) real time sales for November. We are now moving to the new royalty structure which potentially has sub sales paying out a (worse case) $0.02 per download. Obviously, that's an appalling prospect which has seen a number of contributors closing their accounts. That scenario will only apply where a buyer downloads their entire allowance of images. Shutterstock will tell you that the subscriptions model works because most buyers do not do that and only download what they need. It may well be that income from sub sales actually increases after the change but who knows? The option to close my account is always there so I will wait and assess the situation next year.

Fourth place went to Redbubble with 3 product sales. This has really proved a site worth joining for me. The key is in setting a profit margin high enough to make a worthwhile amount but not so high as to deter buyers.

Female music fans at the Tentertainment music festival
Bigstock came in fifth place with 8 downloads. Never a site that produces any great excitement but ticks away in the background. Obviously, being in the (now closed) Bridge to Bigstock programme helps here. My Shutterstock images just get mirrored at BS automatically so there is no effort on my part.

Fotolia made sixth place with just 2 downloads. I still have hopes that at some point they will start accepting editorial images especially now they have a deal for editorial with Reuters (?). Currently this is not an option for ordinary contributors.

And the low point was 123rf in seventh place with just 3 downloads. Echoes of July when I had just two sales there. Not at all sure what is going on at 123 with such variations (by contrast I have already had 17 downloads so far in December!).

Uploading in November saw further images from my 2016 trip to the Greek island of Halki and then backtracking to 2012 for some images of pine resin collecting on Alonissos island and female fans at the Tentertainment music festival. As it is nearly Christmas day I'll end by wishing all readers a great Christmas and brilliant 2017! Regards, David.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

October Sales Updates:

Prevelis ferry docking at Emborio, Halki island
My apologies for a late posting this month for October updates.

Of course, in first place were Shutterstock but with dissapointing sales overall. Only a handful of On Demand sales and no Single downloads dragged the results down further.

Second place went to Istock with 2 credit downloads and 24 sub/Partner sales.

Dreamstime came just behind in third place with a 13 downloads. Certainly seeing more signs of life here recently.
Looking to Nissos island from Halki, Greece

Fourth place went to Redbubble with two product sales - a laptop case and a sticker.

Bigstock made fifth place with 13 downloads.

Sixth place for 123rf with 15 downloads. These were nearly all sub sales -made worse by my languishing in the low paying level 1. November results have been dire so my move back up to level 2 could be a while coming.

Fotolia brought up the rear in seventh place with just a single download.

Church of the Holy Trinity, Halki island

Not a spectacular month on any level and probaly a combination of the continuing influx of masses of images to all sites and fairly limited uploading on my part. Personal circumstances in recent months have limited my time available for uploading.

What I did upload concentrated on my last two trips (2015/2016) to the Greek island of Halki. Hopefully my November updates will follow soon though I can say that, if anything, November has been a tough month. Regards, David.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

September Sales Updates:

The abandoned village of Mikro Chorio on Tilos island
A routine month in September without any signs of a big uplift as the Summer period comes to an end.

Starting with Shutterstock, things were slow here with a number of zero sales days through the month including a weekday. I cannot remember the last time that happened and is far from encouraging. A good crop of On Demand sales made up over 50% of sales, along with one modest Single sale.

In second place were Redbubble with four product sales. T shirts, poster and phone case were the products this month. Redbubble has certainly proved to be a site worth uploading to.

Istock took third place with 3 credit sales and a further 32 sub/pp downloads. Images continue to be readily
Pondamos beach on Halki island
accepted here though with a slow review time for non editorials.

Dreamstime managed fourth place with a welcome 10 downloads. Three of these related to media tycoon Robert Maxwell whose death 25 years ago was a subject of a Dreamtime blog I wrote. It's not unreasonable to think that the blog post helped get those sales though it can't be proved, of course.

123rf came in at fifth place with 14 downloads -pretty much all sub sales. Review problems seem to have returned here with several images pending for weeks now.

Bigstock dissappointed with just 2 downloads putting them in sixth place. This was way less than my usual sales with them so I am not sure what happened there

The restored chapel in the Crusader Knights castle on Halki
Bringing up the bottom with just one download each were Canstock, Mostphotos and Fotolia (in that order).

Uploading in September saw me continuing with images from my July trip to the Greek island of Halki. Whilst there I took a daytrip to the nearby island of Tilos where I got some photos of the abandoned village of Mikro Chorio. I was pleased to get two sales of this image within days of uploading to Shutterstock. My images of Amber Rudd also continued to sell following her promotion to Home Secretary and  would expect that to be ongoing given her high profile. Regards, David.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

August Sales Updates:

BBMF takes off at Bigstock
August saw a steady month with one surprise re-appearance from a long dry source.
Obviously Shutterstock was way out in front by a huge margin with a good crop of On Demand sales and one worthwhile Single Download.

Second place this month went to Istock with 4 credit sales and 20 PP/sub downloads. August also saw the deadline pass where you can no longer delete individual images without good reason. This was billed as a move to improve customer experience with images they had bookmarked not having dissappeared. Cynics suggest that this was a precursor to a major change that would lead to contributors deleting images in protest. I expect we'll see soon enough -especially as Istock have form for announcing major changes in September.

Third place went to Dreamstime with 4 downloads. It was a tense month with no sales at all until the 18th
Nikos Express arrives on Halki island
when I had one 35c sub followed by another long gap right to the last few days of the month. Like July, a higher paying credit sale turned things around -a bit.

In fourth place 123RF recovered from my WME in July to get 12 downloads. It's still a puzzle why I only got 2 downloads the previous month.

Fifth place went to Bigstock with 11 downloads. My various images of the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) did well with 7 downloads over several days - presumably to the same buyer.

Sixth place was taken by Fotolia with 2 downloads -both paying reasonable amounts.

Redbubble dropped to seventh place with just one sale of a sticker. I had hoped my July run of sales would continue but sadly not.

Livadia harbour on Tilos island
The surprise came in eighth place with Yaymicro producing their first sale of the year. In fact the first sale on the Yay site itself (rather than Partners) since 2014. Strangely, the sale was dated from May but has only just appeared. I recently took the sad decision to drop Yay for my new uploads because, frankly, there was little point in continuing. It will take more than one sale to change my mind though especially as editorial uploads are not even being placed for sale on their site - reviewed and accepted yes but not for sale.

Finally in ninth place were Mostphotos with one very small sub sale. I'd probaly drop them too but they do provide another form of back up with the ability to download your own images there.

Limited uploading in August saw me working on images from my July trip to the Greek island of Halki with uploads of the Nikos Express ferry arriving at Emborio harbour and also some of Livadia harbour from my day trip to Tilos island. Hopefully, September will see the end of the slow Summer months though, as yet, I haven't seen any signs of that. We'll see. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

July Sales Report:

Amber Rudd - new Home Secretary 
An average Summer month in July with just a couple of surprises along the way.

First place, as ever,went to Shutterstock with a reasonable though not great month. A good smattering of On Demand sales and one modest (though welcome) Single download.

Racing up to second place were Redbubble with no less than six product sales. These ran the gamut of prints, stickers, iphone case, and my first drawstring bag. A variety of images appeared on these from cats to Greek islands to Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott. It was quite exciting to see the "You've made a sale" emails keep arriving throughout the month.

A pleasant surprise from Dreamstime who made it to third place with 6 downloads. Of note here were the return of high paid credit sales with two images netting over $6 each in commission. Been a while since I had seen any of those.

Phil Lynott - popular at Redbubble
Istock took fourth place with just 2 credit downloads and a weak 17 sub and PP downloads - in fact just one sale from Thinkstock. As I have said before, I assume Getty are steering Thinkstock customers towards the subs packages at Istock as the PP sales have steadily diminished.

Bigstock were in fifth place with 10 mainly sub downloads.

In sixth place were Canstockphoto with a rare sale for me.

In seventh and bottom place were 123rf with just 2 sub downloads all month. This was certainly the unpleasant surprise of July. No idea what happened there. June saw 18 downloads and the first few days of August have already produced 6 sales. July did see the introduction of a new contributor interface and I kept hoping my sales just weren't being reported promptly but this was, sadly, not the case. I can't remember the last time (if ever) that I have had such low sales at 123. The danger here is that when the last 12 months credits are calculated in the future my awful July could push me back down to the lower paying Level 1 commission.

Pigs head - large credit sale at Dreamstime
Nothing from Fotolia (or the rest) in July including my seventh month running with no sales on FineArtAmerica -disappointing to say the least (especially when rival Redbubble is doing well).

No new uploading in July as I spent two wonderful weeks on the little Greek island of Halki. This was the second year running I have been there so took less images than I normally would. However, a day trip to the nearby island of Tilos had me maximising my time there to get as many images as possible. In a lucky break, my visit coincided with the arrival of dozens of yachts taking part in the Rhodes Cup yacht race which made for some good images.

The changes in Government which took place while I was away saw my local Member of Parliament Amber Rudd promoted to the senior position of Home Secretary and I was able to see downloads of her racking up in my sales reports from all the agencies that take Editorial (123rf excluded of course). Regards, David.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

June Sales Updates:

Soon to go: British Home Stores in Hastings
As promised a prompter posting for my sales updates for June.

In first place, no prizes for guessing that Shutterstock came top with around double the earnings of my second place site. A good crop of On Demand sales in June but only one small Single sale.

A strong second place for Istock with 9 credit sales and a further 27 PP and sub downloads. Interesting to note that of the latter only one was from the PP. Is Thinkstock being run down in favour of promoting sub sales at Istock? Trying to predict what Getty will do next is a near impossible task - so I'll just await developments.

Dragon Lily seed heads on Halki island
Third place went to Redbubble with 6 sales. A good mix of products including mugs,T shirts, stickers. In a new move they have just announced the scrapping of their minimum payout level. Commission on any sales will just be paid out by the 15th of the following month regardless of amount. Good news for those that do not sell much and have been sitting on a balance in their account.

Fourth place went to an improved Dreamstime with 16 downloads. Good to see a bit more action here but a
long way from where they were for me.

Fifth place saw Bigstock also with 16 downloads. My music festival images were the best seller here.

123rf managed sixth place with 18 downloads. Most of these were sub sales which pulled the income down. It's been a while since I saw some large credit sales at 123.

Fotolia were in seventh place with 3 downloads.

At eighth place were MostPhotos which for the second month running saw 2 subscription downloads.

Agioi Anargyroi church on Agistri island
No sales over at Picfair (still stuck on just 2 sales ever). My experiment with their bulk price adjuster came to an end when I reverted all my images back to £10 per license. My test to see if a £5 level would generate more sales suggested to me that pricing isn't the issue. I really want Picfair to work and intend to keep uploading.

Recent uploads included some shots of the Hastings branch of British Home Stores (BHS). Founded in 1928, the Department Store chain of 163 UK shops is now closing down for good -with no viable buyer for the business found. Sad to see a long standing part of the High Street going but, if I'm honest, I cannot remember the last time I even went in the store let alone bought anything. Other uploads included shots of Dragon Lily seed heads taken on the Greek island of Halki last year. These proved hard to ID but I put out requests for help on several forums resulting in several suggestions but Dragon Lily came in as the most credible -based on a lot of research. Google reverse image search didn't help at all -just returning lots of images of green olives! Finally, I continued with my uploads from my May trip to Athens including the church of Agioi Anargyroi on the little island of Agistri. Regards, David.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

May Sales Updates:

Panagia Tinou ferry listing in Piraeus harbour, Athens
A late update for my sales in May. I was lucky enough to visit the exciting city of Athens for a few days which has put me behind with other things.

The month saw the usual dominating Shutterstock in first place as ever. A good number of One Demand downloads and a reasonable Single Download pushed things higher. Acceptances remain high at the moment and the days of weird lighting/focus/white balance rejections seem to be fading. This, in turn, has encouraged me to start uploading more with my portfolio now standing at 1941 images. I'm looking forward to passing the 2K mark in the not too distant future.

In second place were Istock with 7 credit sales and a further 38 sub and PP downloads. Editorial reviews remain super fast (a few minutes to a few hours) while commercial image reviews have slowed to nearly a month. Hopefully, they will speed this up going forward.

Redbubble made it to third place in May with 4 sales. Three stickers of Greek island subjects and a T Shirt featuring cult Seventies band The Flamin' Groovies. This Print On Demand site has really paid off for me in the year since I joined. By contrast, Fine Art America (for which I pay $30 a year membership) has produced nothing in sales since last December.

In fourth place were Bigstock with 12 downloads.
Skala beach on Agistri island, Greece

Fifth place went to 123RF with 13 downloads. I'm pleased to say that the problem with long review times seems to have been resolved with all taking place in a timely manner.

Sixth place saw Fotolia produce 7 downloads. Possibly a record month (but given it's only 7, not worth checking back to see!).

Almost at the bottom in seventh place were Dreamstime with 7 downloads (all 35c subs). I've said plenty before about Dreamstime, so won't repeat myself here.

Bringing up the bottom in eighth place were Mostphotos with 2 sub sales paying a few (euro) cents each. As ever, the sales were in their home country of Sweden. They just do not seem to have got any traction around the rest of the world -which given that it is an online business is surprising.

Creating a buzz on Hastings pier
Uploading in May mainly concentrated on my Athens trip images. Piraeus harbour provided some interesting shipping images not least the Panagia Tinou ferry boat which was listing badly after taking on water. Research revealed that this once the Folkestone-Boulogne Sealink ferry Hengist which famously beached near Folkestone during the Great Storm of October 1987. I also spent a day on the little island of Agistri which is just under an hour from Piraeus by hydrofoil. This was the very first Greek island I ever visited back in 2001 and it was really interesting to visit it again -this time with a camera. Little had changed there in all those years. You can read about my first visit there on my Greek Islands blog. Back in the UK, I also continued visiting and photographing the newly re-opened Hastings pier and was lucky enough to get an image of a swarm of bees on a life ring -which made for an unusual picture. I'll try and get my June updates posted more promptly next month :) Regards, David.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

April Sales Updates:

RAF parachute team The Falcons
A fairly average month for April with the usual dominance of one agency, ticking over from some of the rest and no action at all from a number of sites.

As ever, Shutterstock was way, way out in front of the rest. A strong comeback for On Demand sales made up around half of the total and just a couple of small Single and Other Downloads. No Enhanced Downloads at all in April.

Istock performed well to make second place with 5 credit sales and a very strong 45 sub/partner sales (in fact, a record month for those).

Dreamstime was some way behind in third place with 9 downloads. With a portfolio there approaching 2000 images I would really expect to see a much better performance from Dreamstime - a view that seems to be echoed in the forum there. Their levels system (where images with more downloads move up in price) seems to be working against them -at least in my case - as I rarely see those big sales anymore. Just lots of 35cent sub sales.

Peaceful harbour scene on Halki island
Close behind in fourth place were Bigstock with 10 downloads. As usual mainly sub sales. At least I don't have to do any work for them as all my accepted images on Shutterstock automatically get added there as part of the old Bridge to Bigstock program - I consider myself lucky to have got on that.

Fifth place went to 123rf with 10 downloads. The problems with not getting uploads reviewed seem to have been resolved for now with both commercial and editorial images being looked at within a day or two. Editorial continues to do well here and that might explain where my Dreamstime sales have gone.

One for the art sites, an inverted colour forest
Finally in sixth place were Fotolia with just a single subscription sale. Though I only have around 150 images in my port there I would expect a top ranking agency to be making more regular sales than this. I'm waiting and hoping for an announcement that they will start taking editorial images - seems like a logical move as they are the only large site not to accept editorials.

Uploading in April saw me continuing with my images from the Greek island of Halki including one of small boats moored in the harbour. I also revisited my airshow files for some images of the RAF parachute team The Falcons in action. For something a bit different I experimented with some inverted colour images. These weren't very well received by the main agencies but I'm hoping they might get some interest on the art sites like Redbubble. We'll see. May has been a busy month so far for shooting with more images of our newly opened pier, the Jack In The Green festival and then a last minute trip to Athens for good measure! More in due course. Regards, David.

Sunday, 15 May 2016 introduce global price change tool:

Copyright: Duncan Andison/
For anyone that's not looked at the Picfair site for a while there is now a new feature that I have been asking for right from the start. A global price change tool that allows you to edit the price of all your images at once.

From the start I have always priced all my images at £10 per licence, however, I have wondered how different price points might influence sales. As I have written before £10 is expensive for, say, a blogger but cheap for a National newspaper.

To be fair, Picfair have previously offered to perform a bulk price change at their end but having the convenience of doing it yourself is much better. You'll find it on the top right of your portfolio page there. Obviously, this only works if you want all your images at the same price. You can still individually edit the price of each image just as you always could.

You will get a warning that any global price change is irreversible but it also says that you can bulk change your prices again. Confused? I assume that what they mean is that if you currently have a range of prices for different images and you bulk change them to a new single price you cannot go back to all different prices again (other than by individual editing).

Anxious to try this new feature I went for a dramatic 50% reduction to £5 per licence. The feature does say it will take a while to populate to all your images but it seemed to be pretty instant in my case. What has happened, however, is the bulk change button is still saying that it is updating my prices a week or so later and does not function  - so I cannot now change my price back even if I wanted to. I'm guessing they don't want people changing pricing on a daily basis -so be warned that once you use this feature it will be a while before you can change things again. I'll keep checking and see when it becomes functional again. Nethertheless, it's good to finally have this feature in place. Regards, David.
ETA - Just heard from Picfair via Twitter: They're looking into that as the button should have updated ready to be used again.

Hastings pier reborn:

Vast new space on Hastings pier
Wednesday 27th April 2016 saw a great day here in Hastings when our much loved Victorian pier re-opened to the public. Though the finishing touches were still being added ahead of the official opening in May, things were advanced enough to allow the public back on for the first time in some eight years.

I have written about our pier several times and have been documenting it in photographs since moving to Hastings in 2009. Designed and built by Eugenius Birch (responsible for a number of British seaside piers) it first opened in 1872. 2008 saw it closed for structural safety reasons and October 2010 brought a disastrous fire which destroyed most of the wooden decking and buildings.

However, that was not the end of the pier as after being awarded over 11 million pounds in Lottery Heritage
People enjoying the reborn Hastings pier
Funds rebuilding work has been ongoing for several years. What we now have is a very modern pier with large amounts of open space. It's a far cry from the traditional Victorian style pier with a ballroom at the end.

I must admit I did have my doubts about how it would look and, certainly from the shore, it still looks like something is missing with the Pavilion restaurant at the start of the pier and the new visitor centre in the middle and then nothing till the end.

Looking west from Hastings pier
That impression changed for me as soon as I paid my first visit on the Saturday after opening. The massive areas of uncluttered wooden decking make for an impressive space (who realised it was so wide?). The visitor centre with its roof top terrace makes for a great place to sit and watch the many visitors anxious to walk on the pier again.

The one thing that struck me was that everyone on it was smiling and enjoying this new space. And hardly a scrap of litter to be seen. I have already visited four times and look forward to enjoying the reborn pier for many years to come.

It's also great to have so many new photographic opportunities -both of the pier itself and the views of Hastings town that you get from it. It's been a pleasure to document the process and it's great to finally have it open again. Regards, David.

Friday, 1 April 2016

March Sales Updates:

Tony Blair -notebook sale on Redbubble
March proved a mixed month with strong sales from one agency (guess) and a slow performance elsewhere.

As always, in first place were Shutterstock with above average subscription sales. An Enhanced Download (this time down to just $16 compared to the old $28 rate) and a couple of Single Downloads added to the mix. The month saw a big fall in On Demand Downloads which often make up to 50% or more of my monthly totals. Hopefully, April will see a come back for these. Uploading continued to be a pleasure here with quick review times and high acceptance rates (what happened to all those poor lighting/wrong colour balance/out of focus rejections?) Obviously, I must suddenly have become a brilliant photographer in the last few weeks :)

Stunning volcano crater on Nisyros island, Greece
Second place went to Istock with (sadly) just 2 credit sales but 35 sub/pp downloads.

Dreamstime was in third place with 6 downloads. Back to business as usual then with no repeat of my
record month in February.

123rf took fourth place with 14 downloads. There are still some issues with slow reviews but I have, at least, had some looked at without having to send them a begging email -so some improvement there.

Fifth place went to Bigstock with 10 downloads.

Redbubble were in sixth place with 3 products sales. Two stickers of a Greek goat and a notebook with my 1991 image of Tony Blair (former Prime Minister) on the cover.
Tarpon Springs Boulevard, Halki island

Bringing up the rear in seventh place were Fotolia with just one small sale. That Adobe effect really is slow in kicking in for me though others have reported a big jump in sales this year.

Uploading of new images was concentrated on my trip to the Greek island of Halki last year. Among my favourites were an image of the surprisingly named Tarpon Springs Boulevard. So named because it was funded by the Greek community of Tarpon Springs in Florida -which has close ties with the island (when the sponge fishing industry died out on Halki many citizens moved to Florida). I also uploaded the first image of one of my favourite places - the still active volcano on the island of Nisyros. It truly is a spectacular place and not to be missed if you are ever in the Dodecanese region of Greece. Regards, David.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Exciting news -RF Editorial coming to Alamy:

Alamy -getting a heart from me for their license changes
Since first writing about Alamy some while ago I have steadily continued to add a few images to my small portfolio there though, as yet, I have had no sales. That's not a surprise - my port is very small (less than 50 images) and most contributors will point out that it takes a long time to get established there and start gathering sales.

As I wrote before, one of the big limitations of Alamy is that I cannot upload my Editorial images (the majority of my portfolio) because of their licensing system. Editorial on Alamy needs to be set as RM (Rights Managed) whereas the microstock sites use an RF (Royalty Free) license and Alamy will not allow you to upload images that are available under different license types. This has meant that I have been restricted to only uploading my non editorials.

This is changing! New contributor uploading and licensing tools at Alamy are in development and, hopefully, will be available soon. One of these changes will allow for Editorial to be set under a RF license -thus making it possible to upload my whole port including those images on micro sites (with no conflict of license type).

Big news indeed and you might be forgiven for thinking this would have been a major announcement from the agency. Well, not quite. It was mentioned yesterday (in passing) in a post on in relation to something totally unrelated. I spotted it and wasn't quite sure I was actually reading and understanding what had been posted. To make sure, I posted back highlighting the comment and asking if this really meant we would be able to upload the same editorials we have on micro using the new RF license. The Alamy rep (thank you James!) replied that yes it did mean just that.

I soon realised that not many members at MSG were noticing this news because of where it was posted so I started a new thread there highlighting this big change. Link here: Microstockgroup (there's a link in that to the original post from Alamy). 

There is certainly a case to be made for having a different port at Alamy than what you put on micro sites and if you are just starting out this should be given careful consideration. However, if like me, you have long established ports on the microstock sites then this will just open up a whole new set of buyers to our images. Won't Alamy buyers just look for your images on cheaper sites? Truthfully, some might but experience suggests that professional image buyers do not have the time or inclination to "shop around" to save a few pounds of somebody else's money. Alamy buyers include National newspapers and other media outlets who are more likely to stick to them. My experience with the much missed agency PictureNation was that I still got higher priced sales through them despite my images being available on cheaper micro sites. That's my opinion but, obviously, everyone has to use their own judgement on what's best for their portfolio.

There's no fixed time yet for the implementation of this change -other than soon. I'll be watching and getting ready to upload my Editorial content. Regards, David.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Veer's marathon Dash for Cash runs out of puff:

End of an era as Veer closes and makes final payments
That's it then. I've finally received my Dash For Cash uploading bonus from Veer which I earned way back in 2010.

New readers can be forgiven for not knowing what I'm talking about so backtracking to 2008 or so we had the launch of microstock photo agency Snap Village. SV was the first attempt at microstock from long established traditional photo agency Corbis (owned by Bill Gates -founder of Microsoft). Corbis was well known for editorial imagery and very much in a battle with Getty Images for dominance in that market.

Snapvillage (the very first online agency I signed up to) was never a great success -for them or me -and in 2009 its closure was announced with key portfolios being moved over to the Veer agency (another Corbis brand). Not surprisingly, my portfolio did not make the grade for transfer but they did allow photographers to sign up to the new Veer Marketplace (the budget part of the Veer site) and upload there. Most of my uploads got rejected -usually with snooty notes about being too journalistic or not meeting the aesthetic qualities their clients expected. It was very much an old school, traditional agency not having a clue about microstock and what sells. Worse, they never accepted editorial images -surprising given the background of Corbis (or maybe avoiding a conflict of interest?).

In 2010, Veer wanted to boost their image library so announced their Dash for Cash scheme. Essentially, for a limited period, they paid a fee for each image uploaded and accepted. I actually did quite well out of that and earned around $75 in bonus money. The problem with that was that Veer has a payout level of $100 (way too high for a slow selling site). Over the six years since I have had one Extended License paying out around $20 and a handful of minor sales -bringing me to just over $98. Close, but so far, from payout!

Acceptance actually got a lot better in the last year or so with virtually all my uploads making it into their library. The trouble is Veer was and remained a very low selling site. Over at Microstockgroup they never made it beyond the Low Earners section of the monthly polls. I did start to wonder if I would ever make this payout and considered closing my account just to get the money.

However, 2016 brought the news that the Corbis empire had been purchased by Visual China Group which would distribute Corbis images to the Chinese market and to the rest of the World through a partnership deal with Getty Images. Shortly afterwards is was announced that the Veer brand was being closed down altogether and that all contributors would be paid out (regardless of amount).

So, there we are then. The end of the second attempt by Corbis to crack the microstock market. I'm sorry for anyone at Veer who will no longer have a job and I will say that when I have needed to contact them they have never been less than friendly and helpful. The end of an era -with a direct link back to my start in microstock. Regards, David.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Hastings pier rises again:

Hastings pier in 2009, before the fire
I have written before about our historic Victorian pier here in Hastings in East Sussex, England. Opened in 1872, the pier was closed some years ago due to safety concerns and later devasted by fire in October 2010.

The sense of loss that I and many others felt on the day was profound as this elegant landmark was feared gone forever. The fire received major news coverage from both the press and television -both in the UK and around the World.
Hastings pier in October 2010 -devastated by fire

However, with funding from the Lottery Heritage Fund and money raised from the public, rebuilding work has been taking place over the last few years with the grand re-opening now hopefully taking place in April 2016.

Much work has been carried out to strengthen the iron sub structure. Wooden decking has been replaced. The burnt out ballroom has been demolished and a new visitor centre built. The fire ravaged pavilion at the entrance to the pier has been restored and turned into a new restaurant.

Hastings pier taking shape in July 2015 
The pier intends to be a hub for all sorts of activities once re-opened with a range of live performances and
events being planned and even an open air cinema in good weather.

Above all, of course, it will be great to simply walk along the pier and enjoy (and photograph) the view back to Hastings -a perspective that I have never experienced as the pier was already closed when I first moved here in 2009.

Seaside piers hold a great place in my heart and for many others and I am excited to see the work nearing completion. Regards, David.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

February Sales Updates:

Margaret Thatcher - Shutterstock E.D.
A pleasing strong month in February with a few nice surprises.

A powerful month on Shutterstock as it maintained its usual place at the top. On Demand sales were strong, producing more revenue than standard subs. An Enhanced Download (Extended License) of Margaret Thatcher helped boost things further. The controversial change to the ED payout (from flat $28 to a varied % amount based on your sales tier) didn't make a lot of difference here. Under $3 less than previously -certainly not enough to make me consider opting out of these sales as some have done.

Istock took a decisive second place with a worthwhile 10 credit sales and a further 27 sub/PP downloads. This was one of the strongest months for credit sales in a long time.

In third place came Dreamstime who, as previously posted, had a record sales day for me with 54 subscription sales of my archive rock band images. A further 10 subscription sales during the month helped reverse the poor showing for DT of late. It was interesting to see the flurry of unrelated downloads after having that big day. It may be that my images got pushed up in the search rankings because of that. Or just a co-incidence :) If you are on Dreamstime never miss the chance to post good news using the sites Blog facility. New blogs get listed on DT front page and can help to draw a lot of attention to your portfolio. Also, do not forget to make use of the social media sharing buttons on your blog posts to draw in Twitter, Facebook and Google+ readers. To date my post has had over 1600 viewings and gained a place in the "hot" topics listing -again bringing in more attention to my work. DT also rewards popular/useful posts with a free credit which can be put towards image purchases there. Several of the images on my Greek Islands blog have been obtained in this way.
Vintage car - Laptop sleeve sale on Redbubble

Fourth place went to Redbubble who pleased with a further two product sales. Margaret Thatcher on a baby outfit (lucky baby!) and my vintage American car image on a laptop sleeve. It's taken a while, but my images seem to be gaining some traction at Redbubble of late. My only disappointment so far is not selling any of my range of calendars. I had felt sure that Christmas would have seen a few sales of these.

123RF took fifth place with 14 downloads. Editorial images making a strong showing here. It's a shame then that, once again, I have a backlog of over twenty editorial images awaiting review -some for weeks now. Seems I keep going down the same road of waiting forever for reviews and then having to email support to get something to happen (sigh).
Lech Walesa - multiple sales in February

Bigstock made sixth place with 7 downloads. Steady tick over site this. Never really excites or surprises and I have never had an extended license there in all the years I have been with them. Maybe one day?

Finally in seventh place were Fotolia with just a single download. I am prepared to be patient with this one as I still only have a small portfolio and there is everything to play for in the future -especially with all images being mirrored on Adobe Stock and available directly within Photoshop. They just need to start taking Editorial images and I'll be really happy.

Images used this time show the Enhanced sale on Margaret Thatcher at SS and the vintage American car sold at Redbubble. Lech Walesa, former President of Poland, makes an appearance after a flurry of sales on Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Bigstock and 123rf. A good example of how archive images can sell when the subject is in the current news. Regards, David.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

How to add a Slideshow to your blog on Blogger.Com:

Sharp eyed readers will have noticed a new feature on this site. A slideshow at the top right featuring a random sequence of images that I have posted on here over the years. You could, of course, just scroll through multiple pages of posts to see the images -but how much more simple is it to just have them displayed in one place? Hover over the bottom of the Slideshow box and you will find control buttons to pause/resume the show and arrow buttons to manually move backwards or forwards -one image at a time.

So now you want one for your own blog, right? Well, it is really easy to do but required a lot of Googling about on my part to find the answer to the various questions as to how to get the thing to actually work :) This post will give you the information you should need -providing your blog is hosted on the platform. I'm sure other platforms have similar abilities but I cannot help with those.

For clarity -what I am aiming to do here is enable a slideshow of just images that I have published on this blog (there are other options to have a slideshow from your Flickr etc albums -but that is not covered here).

Start by clicking on Design on your Blogger dashboard then on Layout (on the left hand side). You will now have a template showing the various current elements of your blog -Blog Posts/About Me/Links etc. What you need is an unused box that says Add A Gadget. If there isn't one where you wish your slideshow to appear you can move an existing element to a different position by deleting then re-adding elsewhere or just using Drag and Drop to reposition an empty box (depends on the technology you are using).

You now have an empty Add A Gadget box in the correct position. Just click on the Add A Gadget words to get a pop up box showing all the various elements you can add. Scroll down and click on Slideshow by Blogger. Now the fun part. First give your Slideshow a title (just type into the top box). Next choose your image source for the Slideshow. The default one shown is Picasa Web Album. Great you will think -that's where the images on my blog are stored so that's perfect. Wrong -you will just get other peoples (public) images from across the whole of Picasa. That might actually suit some and you can fine tune it by choosing a keyword like Sunsets -so you will get a nice slideshow of other peoples Sunsets!

To get your own images use the drop down menu on Image Source and choose the Other option. A new box will appear saying Feed URL (essentially the internet address from where you want your images to come from). Here I tried putting in the web address of this blog -but that didn't work at all. What you need is the web address (URL) of the RSS feed of the appropriate Picasa album. Keeping up?

The easiest way (for me) was just to click on New Post and then the Add Image link. This gives you options to source an image by  either uploading or from your existing Picasa album. Choose the latter and then, in my case, the sub-album entitled ShootingStock. On the right you will see a link for the RSS feed for this album. Click this and the address you now see in the address bar at the top is the one you need to copy and paste for your slideshow source.

So, go back and paste this in the Feed URL box and you should start to see a preview of your slideshow appear at the bottom of the pop up box. Success! Now there are just two more boxes to complete. Choose a speed for your slideshow Slow/Medium/Fast and Randomise images (presumably if you do not tick the latter it will just display your images in the same sequence every time).

Finally (!) just click Save at the bottom of the pop up box and then Save Arrangement on your full Layout page. Now go to View Blog to start enjoying your new feature. One thing I did find was that it displayed perfectly on Google Chrome but on IE9 it just kept saying "loading" where my slideshow should be. Worse, my views counter had also vanished from view. More Googling later and I found the solution was to click the Compatability box in the address bar at the top (the little oblong box on the right with a zigzag line through it). Because IE9 is getting old as a system you just need to click this to make the slideshow work perfectly -and my views counter came back as well.

This probaly all sounds way more complicated than it actually is but with the steps listed above you could probaly have your slideshow added and running within a couple of minutes. Enjoy! Regards, David.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

1000 downloads (with a bullet) on Dreamstime:

The Tom Robinson Band 
I have posted a number of times recently about slow sales at Dreamstime, so it's nice to redress the balance with a good news story from them.

For sometime I had been anticipating being able to post about reaching my 1000th download there. With around 950 downloads I had expected that this post would still be a while in coming. However, all that changed last Sunday (yes, a Sunday!) when I checked my sales figures to find some 54 new downloads all in one day. With a bullet indeed :) These were all subscription downloads, nethertheless it was great to see a daily sales report running across three pages!
Lene Lovich

What had sold (obviously to the same buyer) were virtually all my B/W archive images of British rock bands from 1978/1979. Back then I used to cover the music scene in London and would be out several times a week photographing both up and coming bands and hit artists like the Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy and the Tom Robinson Band.

It is really great to see these images being appreciated and downloaded some 38 years later. I'd love to know what project this buyer was working on but realise that I'll probaly never find out.
The Banned

It's worth noting that many of these images were Level 0 (no sales) and online for more than four years. Once these would have qualified for automatic deletion by Dreamstime so I am really glad that they changed their policy on that several years ago.

This supports my belief that stock images (especially Editorial) should always remain online.

 You just never know when a buyer may discover and download your images. Regards, David.

Monday, 15 February 2016

January sales updates:

Avro Vulcan XH588 -sadly flying no more
An interesting month in January with the holiday season still in full swing for the first part of it. The diversity between my best sites and the bottom ones seemed more pronounced than ever.

Shutterstock made first place as ever with earnings greatly exceeding my other agencies. A fair number of On Demand sales and a worthwhile Single download for nearly $20 kept my sales up here. The holiday effect led to no less than Seven zero sales days in January. What was also heartening here was a noticable increase in acceptance rate for my new uploads. At one point I was wondering if I was going to get any rejections at all -until I did :) A pleasant change from being told all my images are out of focus, wrong colour balance, poor lighting et al. It remains to be seen if this will last.

Second place was taken by Redbubble with two products sales. A framed print of cruise liner Norwegian Jade and a T Shirt featuring one of my Poll Tax Riots images. It looks like my images are starting to get some traction here (I already have more sales in February).
Hastings Pier - set to re-open in April 2016

Third place was taken by Istock with five credit sales and a further 19 sub/PP downloads. Editorial images continue to figure highly here.

Fotolia took fourth place with four downloads. Several of these paid larger than usual (for me) royalties which helped push them up my rankings here.

Fifth place went to Bigstock with eleven downloads. Several of my archive celeb images (Alan Alda, Leslie Nielsen etc) sold there.

Sixth place was taken by 123RF with eleven downloads -mainly subscription sales. Reviews continue to be an issue for them with many images just sitting in pending week after week. I do hope I am not going to have to email them yet again asking them to review my uploads. To add to the fun, 123 also had over a week in which their uploader failed to work. You could go through the usual process but at the end the files just weren't there. Waiting for them to turn up didn't work -they never did. At least that did get fixed in the end although it disrupted my workflow by having to backtrack to the missing images and re-uploading.
Halki island - the stunning view from my apartment in 2015

In a sad Seventh (and bottom) place were Dreamstime with just 4 downloads making under $3 in commission. I do not think there is anything I can do about Dreamstime other than keep uploading and hoping things improve there.

New uploads saw a variety of images including a set of the re-construction work on the Victorian pier here in Hastings (now scheduled to re-open in April). As work nears completion, this seemed a good time to get them out there. Other new images included my last photographs of Avro Vulcan bomber XH588 appearing at the Dunsfold airshow in 2014. Sadly, XH588 had her last flight in October 2015 and there are now no more flying Vulcans. I just feel priviliged to have seen this iconic aircraft in flight several times. Finally, I continued to upload images from my 2015 trip to the little Greek island of Halki. This utterly charming small island is right up there in my favourites list and I have now booked again for 2016. Hopefully, I'll still find something new to photograph when I make, what will be, my fourth visit there! Regards, David.

Friday, 1 January 2016

December Sales Updates:

Enhanced Download at SS: Bob Geldof with fans, 1978
Some interesting results for the final month of 2015 with several sites making an unexpected appearance.
Shutterstock was far from unexpected at first place in my monthly sales. A welcome Enhanced Download of my 1978 image of Bob Geldof (lead singer of Irish band The Boomtown Rats) started the month well on December 1.

Second place was taken by FineArtAmerica with two product sales. A T Shirt featuring my image of Kent band Coco and The Butterfields was followed up by a framed print sale of Phil Lynott (lead singer of Irish band Thin Lizzy). December was clearly the month for seventies Irish singers :)

Istock took third place with 3 credit sales and 28 subscription/partner program downloads.
Phil Lynott -framed print sale on FineArtAmerica

Some way behind in fourth place were 123rf with 8 downloads. These were mainly editorial -which seems to be doing well at 123 recently.

Fifth place went to Bigstock with 9 downloads. Pretty much all subscription sales as is the norm there for me.

Slumped down in sixth place were Dreamstime with just 5 downloads. This was my second WME
(worst month ever) since joining them in 2009. Only May 2015 produced lower earnings. To see what are normally smaller earners such as Bigstock and 123 overtake a major agency like Dreamstime is worrying indeed. I can only hope DT will turn around for me in the coming year.

Fotolia came in at seventh place with 3 downloads. Let's see what the Adobe effect an achieve here in 2016.

Eight place (I don't usually get this far!) was taken by Mostphotos with 2 downloads. I'm not sure if this site is ever going to gain any real traction for me -especially as sales seem mainly confined to the Scandinavian market. I continue uploading just in case.

Finally in Ninth place were Print On Demand site Redbubble who got me a greeting card sale of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. I thought I was pushing things with a 70% mark up for cards but the £0.59 I received for this suggested otherwise. I have since changed this to 200% on the grounds that if somebody really wants my image on a greeting card they will not bothered by price (within reason). I know that when I choose a Birthday card for someone my choice isn't based on how cheap it is but, rather, will they like it.
Coco and The Butterfields - T Shirt sale on FineArtAmerica

No sales in December from any of my other sites including Yaymicro which made a surprise announcement in the last few days. From today, the Yaymicro site itself will cease to sell images (remaining only as a conduit for contributors to upload and monitor their account). All future sales will be via their subscription site Yay Images which they started in 2013. My concern here is that none of my editorial images appear on that site. Circa 700 commercial images are there but my other 1700 editorial images are missing and not searchable. I have emailed Yay to try and find out what is happening to these going forward. Whilst I have chronicled here how my sales have declined at Yay I had always hoped something might turn around with them. If they are really junking 1700 images which took me time and money to upload I will be far from pleased. I will report back later on what they say.

As we start 2016, I wish all readers of this blog a happy and prosperous New Year. Regards, David.