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, 1 June 2017

May Sales Updates:

Tentertainment music festival - third sale on Alamy
A much stronger month in May saw some good sales across my main sites and even a surprise re-appearance from a past agency.

As ever Shutterstock were way out in front. Their terms do not allow me to give explicit sales details but just for comparison with the rest I will say this month that downloads were well over the 100 mark. Substantially over half of my earnings came from the higher paying On Demand sales with a few modest Single sales.

Istock took second place with an unprecedented 75 downloads making this, I believe, my BME there. There were, as usual, some paltry $0.02 sub sales but many others paying much more - in one case $9.50 for a sub sale. I'll take that over the previous $0.28 fixed payment.

After a poor run 123rf hit third place with 12 downloads including a $22.50 payout for an image of Votsi harbour on the Greek island of Alonissos. I'm assuming this was some kind of extended license but on their new dashboard I have yet to find out where to see the type of license sold (only that it was XL -Extra Large).

In fourth place were Alamy with my third sale there. My perennial good seller of the Tentertainment music
New upload - Tenterden Food and Drink Festival
festival going for a substantial (compared to microstock) sum. May saw me continuing to pour my back catalogue into Alamy -an investment in time that I consider worthwhile.

Fifth place went to Redbubble with two product sales (another T shirt and a greetings card). My mark up on cards is high (200%) because, as I have posted before, I believe that if someone is choosing an appropriate card for someone price is not a major consideration. I know when I buy a Birthday card I choose the one I think the recipient will like -I don't look at the price.

Bigstock took sixth place with 9 downloads. Mainly subscription sales here.

Seventh place went to Fotolia with 4 credit sales of my images of collecting pine resin (again on the Greek island of Alonissos).  These all occurred over a couple of days so I assume were to the same buyer.

Votsi on Alonissos island - good sale at 123rf
Dreamstime managed  eighth place with just 5 subscription sales. The hoped for turnaround in May never happened there.

Finally a surprise from Yay Images (previously Yay Micro) with 4 small sales reported. These were my first sales there in nearly a year and, as previously posted, I have long stopped uploading there.

Uploading in May, as I said, focused on Alamy but I thought I really ought to show a presence at my other agencies so a set from the first ever Food and Drink Festival at Tenterden in Kent went up. These were Summery images showing people sitting on the grass etc so should prove useful for illustrating outdoor events and the like. Dreamstime excelled here by having them approved almost immediately.   Hopefully June will remain strong before the dreaded Summer Slowdown starts to hit in July. Regards, David.

Monday, 22 May 2017

April Sales Updates:

Annabel Croft -sold at Alamy
A steady month in April with a couple of highlights in getting my first ever sale at Alamy and another new sale at Picfair.

First place, of course, to Shutterstock with a strong performance for On Demand sales which made up nearly 50% of my monthly income here.

Istock once again came in second place with 32 downloads. As last month there was a spread of payment amounts from very low to well above the old fixed $0.28 for subscription sales. So far, it is looking like the new percentage system is generating higher income overall (though it is still early days).

Third place went to Picfair with a sale of a Jack In The Green festival image. This is my second sale in recent months and it looks like things are starting to happen here with an email newsletter mentioning sales to publishers like The Guardian and Time Inc. They have also just introduced a new (optional) advertising license which pays out at ten times your basic set price. Check the site and opt in to these if you want the chance of making the higher sales.In another move buyers now see the total price of an image. Previously they just saw the price the contributor had set and then had Picfairs percentage and the sale processing charge added on at checkout. It's a good way to be more transparent with buyers.

Fourth place was taken by Redbubble with 3 product sales. T shirts seem to be especially popular on this site.

In fifth place Alamy make their first appearance in my sales updates with first a download of the late actress
Pat Hayes - briefly my first ever sale at Alamy 
Pat Hayes followed closely by another of former tennis player Annabel Croft. Sadly the Pat Hayes sale got refunded a few days later. I don't yet know how common refunds are on Alamy but it was certainly disappointing to see my very first sale taken away! By comparison, I have only ever had a handful of refunds across all my other microstock sites. Certainly Alamy operate in a much more traditional way and with more flexibility to buyers so maybe more refunds are to be expected here.

Sixth place went to steady Bigstock with 10 downloads. They tick over month after month with never any great excitement (such as an extended license). Still, as I am lucky enough to be on the discontinued (for new contributors) Bridge to Bigstock scheme there is no work involved at all for me - Shutterstock acceptances just get mirrored on Bigstock.

123rf managed seventh place with 6 downloads -virtually all subscriptions.

Jack In The Green festival -second recent sale at Picfair
Eighth place was the hugely disappointing Dreamstime with just one single sale all month. I should be grateful that at least it was a (modest) credit sale not a $0.35 sub. I'm at a complete loss to understand what has happened to Dreamstime. With over two thousand images there I really shouldn't be seeing this sort of result. So far, May doesn't look like any improvement with just 2 sub sales to date. A late turnaround is really needed here.

Ninth place went to Fotolia with also one download but as I have frequently mentioned I have less than two hundred images there so do not expect much. For many they are in their top two sites each month. I still hope that eventually they will accept editorial images and I can dramatically increase my portfolio and sales there.

Tenth place went to Canstock with 1 download. Again, another agency where I would benefit if they accepted editorial.

Uploading in April again concentrated on getting my portfolio onto Alamy - a policy which I hope to see pay off in coming months. Shooting this month was centred round my second trip to the vibrant Greek capital of Athens. Lots of images of the massive Zea Marina and a day trip to the little island of Aegina where a prehistoric archeological site proved interesting. They'll be edited and uploaded in due course.
Regards, David.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

March Sales Updates:

Amber Rudd, constantly in the news
A late posting (again!) for my March stats. I have the excuse that I have just returned from a week in the vibrant Greek capital of Athens and everything has been on hold because of that.

In first place a strong performance from Shutterstock with a good crop of On Demand sales and four Single downloads -including a pleasing one for just under $20.

Istock were in second place with 21 downloads. Again their was a spread of earnings from paltry to well above the 28cents previously earned for subscription sales. A few more months and I should have some meaningful figures to go on to decide if Istock are worth continuing with. For clarity, these figures are for downloads from February-March. As they now only report sales once a month my Istock figures are going to lag behind my other real time figures. Not ideal but no way round that at present. ETA This Istock ranking has been revised upwards due to my looking at the wrong report initially (nothing if not confusing!).

Dreamstime were in third place with 8 downloads. Some credit sales helping to push up the total here.

The White Cats, seventies image still selling today
Fourth place went to 123rf with 12 downloads. Better than some months recently but still a poor return on over 2000 images.

Fifth place saw Redbubble have two merchandise sales -a sticker and a poster. There is certainly a slower
rate of sales than I was seeing a while back but good margins on the products make it worthwhile.

Bigstock took sixth place with 7 downloads - pretty much all subs.

At the bottom were Fotolia in eighth place with just one download. Still no news of them opening the doors to editorial images yet.

No sales on Alamy in March but I continued to heavily upload my back catalogue to them and, in fact, didn't upload to any other sites in March. I'm alternating batches of my regular (mainly travel) images with batches of my old archive politicians/celebrities. My portfolio there has grown rapidly from below 100 images in February to approaching 1400 images now. Trust me that's a lot of work and time invested but I believe it is worth it (or will be long term).  

Livadia onTilos island, selling well recently


Normally I would highlight some recent uploads but as there haven't been any (other than back catalogue to Alamy) I thought I'd pick out some recent good sellers. Livadia harbour on the Greek island of Tilos has been doing well recently across a number of sites. It's a very small island with not that many stock images available. Also doing well is the British Home Secretary Amber Rudd (my local Member of Parliament). With the forthcoming General Election I would expect sales of her to continue. Finally New Wave rock group The White Cats from back around 1978. Sales of them keep coming even though they never had any real commercial success. Whether they sell as pictures of the band specifically or as generic images of seventies bands I do not know but long may they continue. More on my Athens trip next month :) Regards, David.

Monday, 13 March 2017

February Sales Updates:

Sold at Picfair: Anti National Front demonstration in Brixton
A stronger month in February with a lot going on in the Microstock world.

Shutterstock took first place as ever with one of their best performances in months. A good number of On Demand sales and a few modest Single Downloads helped boost things here. Their new redesigned Contributor Dashboard has gone down well with me (though not everyone) and I am especially enjoying seeing exactly where in the world my downloads have taken place

Second place went to Dreamstime with 6 downloads. Two higher value credit sales pushed up the earning here.

In third place were Picfair with (at last) my third sale there. My seventies image of protests at a National Front march in Brixton finding a buyer at well above micro prices. A nice touch at Picfair is that you can request payout as soon as you have a sale which is what I did. For some reason I opted for payment via Paypal (rather than direct to my bank). Be aware that this will carry a fee at Paypal -I forgot that the main agencies pay the fees for you. A lesson learnt for next time.

Fourth place was taken by print site Redbubble with two merchandise sales. Things seem to have slowed recently here but nothing like Fine Art America where it is now some fourteen months since my last sale. Not sure what happened to them but I have, in any case, paid my premium account fee for another year in the hope that things pick up.
Church of Christ The Saviour, Tilos island

Fifth place went to Istock with 16 downloads. February 20 saw the first of their new monthly sales reports. Unless you upload the report into some spreadsheet software you are going to have a hard time deciphering what has sold and for how much. Why they can't just give you a straight forward list of sales and commission I don't know. There's talk of improvements to come so I hope this will be one of them. The big question around the new % based subscription commissions was partially answered, Yes there some paltry $0.02 commissions but also many well above the old fixed 28c per download. I'll have to see how that pans out in the coming months before making decisions on continuing to work with Istock.

Bigstock were in sixth place with 17 downloads. A strong surge of Greek island images here this month.

123rf made seventh place with a poor 5 downloads. There seems to be no consistency with them at all recently.

Dodekanisos Express catamaran powers into Tilos island
Lastly, in at eighth place were Fotolia with 3 downloads. Bring on the editorial is what I would say to them!

Over at Alamy, still no sales as yet but exciting times as their impressive new Image Manager finally reached me (they have been rolling it out across contributors for a while now). Easy to upload and bulk edit it is a pleasure to use and, of course, the new Manager finally allows for editorial images to be set as Royalty Free (RF). For me, this means that I can now upload all the editorial images I have on Microstock (e.g. most of my portfolio). I also applied for and was granted access to the archive/historic uploads so I can also upload all my old celeb/political images. Best of all, these do not have to be approved - just upload and they're in. My portfolio has jumped from under 100 images to over 700 since getting the new Manager - with quite a bit of interest (in terms of views and zooms) from buyers. Feels like Alamy will now finally come good for me going forward.

Recent uploading saw me working on more images of the Greek island of Tilos including the Church of Christ the Saviour in Mikro Chorio and the Dodekanisos Express ferry arriving at Livadia. March has started slowly so far so I'll see what the rest of the month brings. Regards, David.

Monday, 27 February 2017

January Sales Updates:

Wartime defence post at Loggos on Paxos island
An unusual month in January as due to Istock transitioning to their new Enterprise Submission Platform (ESP) for uploading and account management no sales information was available so they are not included this month. Going forward I will include Istock stats in the month I get them notified (e.g. January sales will be in my February report -as that is when I got them). Worth mentioning that I have accessed the ESP site (with some issues initially) and have uploaded a small quantity of trial images -both commercial and editorial. The ability to batch upload and edit is a huge leap forward from the old one image at a time uploader. More on Istock in February.

In January, obviously, Shutterstock took first place as is always the case. Reviews there seem to be fast at the moment with a high percentage of approvals which has enabled a worthwhile growth in my portfolio.
Flying Cat 5 at Patitiri harbour on Alonissos island

In second place were Dreamstime with 8 downloads -again prompt and favourable reviews for my uploads.

Third place  went to 123rf with 10 downloads -sadly not a repeat of my BME in December.

Bigstock took fourth place with 7 downloads. Greek island related images seem to be selling well there recently.

A big surprise when Cutcaster turned up in fifth place with 2 downloads. These were my first sales there since 2014! I stopped uploading there a long time ago now. Even with these two sales my total downloads still only amount to 10 (with a port of 1.4k images). Still a long way to payout there.

The historic Acropolis in Athens
Fotolia came in with sixth place with 2 downloads. Until they decide to accept editorial images this is never likely to be a big selling site for me.

Finally in seventh place were Canstock with I download. My comments on Fotolia also apply to Canstock.

Not a stellar month overall but I am hoping my upload drive will start to pay off during 2017 as new material gets accepted. Recent uploads revolved around Greek images including a wartime defence post on Paxos, the Flying Cat catamaran on Alonissos and finally another image from the Acropolis in Athens. A lot has happened in Microstock in February (hence my late posting) so more of that next time. Regards, David.

Monday, 2 January 2017

December Sales Updates:

The Acropolis of Athens
Well that's it then for 2016. Not a spectacular year in terms of microstock sales for me due to a combination of lack of uploading time reducing my output and the continuing influx of new images to all the sites. Redbubble proved the rising star of the year with regular sales of a wide variety of images. A far cry from FineArtAmerica where I had no sales at all in 2016 -I will, however, be renewing my premium membership for 2017 to see if there is a turnaround. Yay was the casualty in 2016 when I finally ceased uploading new images. With over 2000 files uploaded they produced just one sale for 0.68euros.

So to December then there's no need to say that Shutterstock maintained their lead in first place -though I barely scraped past the minimum payout.

Second place went to Redbubble with 5 product sales ranging from clothing to phone covers.
Stefanos volcano crater on Nisyros island

Third place was taken by Dreamstime. Though they only managed 3 downloads one of those was another high paying credit sale of nearly $10.

Fourth place went to 123rf with an astonishing 25 downloads making it my BME in quantity but not income. A lot of Greek island images sold -presumably to the same buyer.

Steady Bigstock produced 10 downloads to make fifth place.

Exceptionally down in sixth place were Istock with 2 credit sales and 10 subs. This was because of their transition to new sales reporting which is due to happen around February. As a consequence reporting in December ended before the month was over and before any Partner sales had been added. From now on sales will be updated monthly in one go so my rankings will be a bit out of line for a while. Not being able to see sales accrue in real time is hardly motivating for anyone and I hope they reconsider this in the future.

Tentertainment music festival at Tenterden, Kent

Finally a single sale from Mostphotos earned them seventh place. I haven't forgotten Fotolia -they just didn't have a single sale for me in December!

Uploading in December saw a big increase with many new files now available. I intend to keep this pace up throughout 2017 as much as possible. New images included my first Acropolis shot from my Athens trip last May as well as my set from the 2016 Tentertainment music festival. Backtracking to 2015, I also uploaded further images of the Stefanos volcano crater on the Greek island of Nisyros.

Wishing all readers a very happy 2017! Regards, David.