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.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

June Sales Updates:

LMS Class 5 steam locomotive passes St. Leonards
A stable month in June which saw limited uploads due to a trip to Greece but plenty of new photographs.

Way out in front in first place were Shutterstock with a strong number of subscription sales but slightly less On Demand sales than normal. A couple of Single sales boosted things up.

Second place went to Redbubble with 4 product sales (T shirts and a phone cover). They seem to be having a problem at present with the social media sharing buttons missing from the various products. A look at their help centre confirmed they are aware of this and looking for a fix.

Third place (and only just beaten by Redbubble) went to Istock with 39 downloads. Travel images
Solar energy array on Tilos island, Greece
seem to do especially well here though my Tentertainment music festival images always have a strong showing as well. It's always interesting to see an event in a small Kent town get downloaded from countries all over the World as a generic outdoors/summer/festival/event image.

Dreamstime made fourth place with 5 downloads. One of these was a higher paying credit sale of Professor Stephen Hawking which pushed them up the rankings.

Fifth place went to Alamy with a single modest sale. This was a 1978 image of Danny Kustow -guitarist in the Tom Robinson Band. Sadly, Danny died earlier this year and this probably prompted the sale. One of the things about having old archive images in your portfolio is that it is inevitable that, in the course of time, these sort of uses will come up.

Danny Kustow of the Tom Robinson Band
Bringing up the rear in sixth place (nothing from Adobe this month) were Bigstock with just 2 downloads. That's the least I have had from them in a long time (not that are ever a big seller for me).

New shooting in June was mainly round a two week return trip to the Greek island of Tilos (went there last year  as well). I especially wanted to get  more images of their innovative energy project which aims to make the island self sufficient in power via a solar farm and a (very large) wind turbine. On the way out I had a couple of days in Rhodes -concentrating on the historic walled Old Town area.


Back home (literally the next day) I had the chance to photograph a steam locomotive excursion (London to Hastings) on its return journey through St.Leonards Warrior Square station. I was pleased to see how many people turned out to watch this go through. If you are interested in this type of photography you can look on the internet for the various steam excursion operators where they provide details and timings of upcoming trips.


Early sales for July are looking encouraging but, of course, we are now heading into the famous Summer Slowdown period so we'll see. Regards, David.


Sunday, 2 June 2019

May Sales Updates:

Skywalk on the Metropol Parasol, Seville
A strong month in May for my bigger agencies and the usual low level results from the weaker ones. May also saw me give up on one agency and delete my portfolio and a routine check on another past agent threw up an unpleasant surprise.

Way out in front in first place were Shutterstock with a good crop of On Demand sales and two double digit Single Downloads boosting the income. Pleased to see editorial review times seem to have speeded up here -to within 24hrs of upload.

Second place was taken by Alamy with 2 downloads. The best one ( a television use of one of my archive Poll Tax Riots images) made a great illustration of their cut to 40% commission for non exclusive images. From a $68 sale they got $41 and I got $27. The difference really becomes obvious on larger sales. That said, I have no plans to make my images exclusive at this time as I prefer the spread of sales across different agencies.

In a strong third place were Istock with an impressive 47 downloads and an improved RPD (helped by a sale via Getty Images).

Redbubble took fourth place with 3 product sales ( two prints and a T shirt). I continue to be impressed by Redbubble and their regular sales.

Fifth place saw Bigstock with 6 downloads. I doubt they are ever going to take off as a high selling agency but the few dollars each month gradually add up.

Dreamstime managed sixth place with 7 downloads -pretty much all subscription sales.

Seventh place saw another sale on FineArtAmerica, this time just a greeting card (of the Houses of
Las Setas de Sevilla (Metropol Parasol)
Parliament). Not much but at least some signs of life there after my several years drought.

Eighth place went to Adobe with just a single download. Maybe one day they will start taking editorial, maybe not.

I finally gave up on Canstockphoto and manually deleted my small 350 odd portfolio and closed my account. They get to keep the $16 I earned over many years but I am happy just to forget about them. Low sales are one thing but picky, silly rejections (property release wanted for public landmarks and weird key word rules that didn't allow the keywords Hastings and Pier for an image of -guess what?)just didn't make them worth my time.

Puenta de la Barqueta, Seville
Meanwhile, over at Yay Micro I stopped uploading some years ago and requested them to close my account. They ignored that but, never mind, I opted out of all sales there including their own Yay Images site. So, no problem then? Sadly not - a routine check showed that they have added Deposit Photos as a partner site and automatically opted me in meaning all my (non editorial) images are now on an agency that I have never wished to sell through. I've opted out of that now as well and made another request for Yay to close my account -so far ignored. Anyone with images still at Yay should make a regular check of their partner list to make sure your images aren't being sent somewhere you don't want them. To be fair, they do at least offer an opt out but I was surprised that they had added a new partner and just included me in that.

Recent uploads have concentrated on my April trip to Seville including the impressive Barqueta bridge (Puente de la Barqueta) and the fabulous Metropol Parasol - more commonly known as Las Setas de Sevilla (Mushrooms of Seville). This was one of the highlights of my trip both for the overall view of the structure but especially for the walkway on the roof which offers great views over the City. I am sure I will be making a return trip to Seville in the future but meanwhile have a Greek island trip on the horizon - bring on the Retsina! Regards, David.


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

April Sales Updates:

The medieval Torre del Oro in Seville
A varied month in April with a range of good and less good results.

Back up in first place were a much improved Shutterstock. Only one tiny Single download this month but a good number of On Demand sales - making up over half of my income. Editorial reviews at SS have slowed of late mostly taking 2-3 days. I remember the days when editorials would get approved within minutes of uploading.

Second place went to Redbubble with 5 product sales. These were varied with a pillow, mug, phone case, sticker and baby clothes being purchased. The upload interface at Redbubble has been updated with caption and keyword information now coming first before the individual product templates. I must say I prefer getting these done first before getting into slightly the tedious process of setting up the products.In a less welcome change there no longer seems to be an easy share (to Twitter etc) button next to some products - in particular framed prints. Maybe I just haven't looked hard enough yet! I'd ask about that on their forum -if they hadn't scrapped that last year (with no sign yet of the promised return in 2019).

Istock took third place with 34 downloads. In contrast to Shutterstock editorial reviews are flying
Kayaking action on the Guadalquivir river in Seville
through here, usually within an hour or two of upload. Of course, it is sales not review times that are important but I do like see them going through promptly.

In fourth place was a low key return for Alamy with a single figure presentation sale of the Poll Tax Riots of 1991. Good to see these archive images proving popular but a bigger paying sale would have been nice. My zoom activity has gone up of late so, hopefully, there are some more sales in the pipeline.

Bigstock came in fifth place with 8 downloads. Good to see two downloads of my University of Barcelona image. I had hoped that somebody would find that useful.

Dreamstime managed sixth place with just 4 subscription downloads so a far from good result from them.

Debenhams department store In Ashford, Kent
Bringing up the rear were Adobe with 2 downloads but, as I always say, my port there is only just over 300 images. Whether or not editorial submissions will ever be allowed for normal contributors I still don't know. There have been hints that is coming but still nothing has been forthcoming. I may be being simplistic but wouldn't this just require two things? First a bit of code allowing us to mark uploads as Editorial Use Only and, secondly, telling their reviewers not to reject those images for unreleased people/trademarks etc. Could be up and running by tonight if they wanted it!

Recent uploads mainly concentrated on my April images from Seville. The tourist attraction of the medieval Torre del Oro and some "bonus" images of people kayaking on the Guadalquivir river. It's worth looking out for extra shots such as those in addition to the obvious landmarks in the guide books. My port is lacking in sport and action images so those are useful to have. Closer to home the Debenhams department store chain announced 22 store were to be closed next year. One of those is the Ashford store where I used to live and I got an old image of that onto all my sites (not sure why I never uploaded it before, but it's there now). Still only May 1, so everything to play for this month. Regards, David.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

March Sales Updates:

Plaza de Espana -spectacular building in Seville
Far from a stellar month in March as even my usual number one agency failed to hit payout and several others produced no sales at all.

In first place were Shutterstock with a good number of downloads - but few On demand sales and no Single downloads conspired to drag down the earnings to just a few cents short of payout level. It's not often this happens but at least I can look forward to a bumper payout next month.

Istock took second place with 21 downloads but a low RPD (rate per download) dragged down the earnings.

Third place was for Dreamstime with just 4 downloads. All subscription sales but with two of them at the higher $2 sub level. In a normal month DT would have been lucky to get third ranking on those sales.

Fourth place went to Bigstock with 6 downloads.

Fifth and final place went to Redbubble with just a single sale - a sticker of the Greek flag keeping
Fishing at Piraeus port in Athens
them in the rankings.

Notable absentees in March with no sales at all were Alamy, Adobe and FineArtAmerica (my recent revival of sales hitting the buffers there). Alamy was, of course, the especial disappointment.

No disguising this was a poor month but stock is a long game and needs to be viewed over a much longer period than just a few weeks. My portfolios continue to grow and new subjects added so one bad month needn't be of concern.

New uploads in March saw a return to my 2016 trip to Athens with a series of temples at the World famous Acropolis as well images from Piraeus port (the biggest passenger port in Europe and the second biggest in the World so my research turned up - a useful fact for editorial captions).

Historic Acropolis site in Athens



New shooting saw my first ever visit to the Spanish city of Seville at the end of March. Lots to photograph here in this old, traditional City. Highlights of my visit included the Plaza de Espana (built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929). A spectacular semi circular building with huge public space in front. A moat with rowing boats just added to the photographic interest.  More modern, but equally impressive was the Metropol Parasol (Las Setas de Sevilla) - a 2011 wooden construction resembling giant mushrooms. A walkway on the top affords fantastic views over the City. I'm looking forward to working on my Seville images in the coming months so expect to see more in future posts. Hopefully, April results will see some good improvements. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

February Sales Updates:

From photo to watercolour art -Cala Carbo in Majorca
A strong month in February with a surprise at the top and a new direction in my images as I started uploading some "illustrations".

Straight to first place (again)were FineArtAmerica with three sales. A large framed canvas print and two separate T shirt sales. It's starting to look that after my long drought there sales are starting to come in again.

Relegated to second place were Shutterstock with a strong performance in subscription sales with one or more buyers buying a large batch of Greek island images. On Demand and Single sales played a smaller part this month.

Redbubble were in third place with four product sales ranging from stickers to a photographic print.

Fourth place saw Istock with just 28 downloads. Far from their best here.

Fifth place went to a slightly perked up Dreamstime with 7 downloads. Far from the glory days but better than some recent months. A credit sale of footballer George Best helped push up the income here.

In sixth place Alamy disappointed with just one sale (another of my archive politician images). A low
Crusader Knights castle on Halki island, Greece
two figure sale which became my first one at the new reduced 40% commission rate bringing my cut to single figures. That said, that was still higher than most microstock sales produce.

Bigstock took seventh place with 13 downloads. These were mainly all sub sales so dropped them down the income rankings.

Bringing up the rear in eighth place were Adobe Stock (formerly listed here as Fotolia) with 2 downloads. With the Fotolia site now closed to new uploads I have had to transition to Adobe. A few issues initially as I got used to it but I think I now have the grasp of it. The main issue was their auto keyword suggestion which I thought I had eliminated but managed to end up with Greek island images tagged as Jordan and Turkey! Thankfully you can edit images after acceptance so I was able to remove those. I now remember to click Remove Keywords to take out the auto suggestions.

Beach launched fishing boats at Dungeness, Kent
As for those illustrations, a post in Steve Heap's excellent blog Backyard Silver put me on to the Jixipix Watercolour Studio software. This worked out at about £28 (UK price) and is an application that allows you to import a photo and render it in the style of a watercolour painting. There are a number of templates to choose from and various sliders for fine tuning the results. I was mainly thinking of art sites as the market for these but have had some success (as in getting accepted) uploading them to micro sites under the illustrations category. Uploading as photographs just got rejections for overfiltered etc. Whether or not any of these will sell I have no idea but for a fairly low investment I thought it worth trying! I will report back on that in the future. One thing to say about the software is it either works with an image or it doesn't. Some attempts just looked awful and were abandoned. The skill (such as there is) seems to be choosing the right images to convert.

Other recent uploads included the fishing boats on Dungeness beach in Kent. Like my home town of Hastings there is no harbour at Dungeness and the boats are launched from the beach. Another set were images of the medieval Crusader Knights castle on the Greek island of Halki. I've photographed this a number of times over the years but can never resist capturing this slice of history.
Now to see what March will bring. Kind regards, David.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

January Sales Updates:

Mark Barty-King, Bantam Press publisher
A lively month in January with an unexpected winner in first place and, sadly, a not so unexpected taker for bottom place.

Straight in to first place were FineArtAmerica with a large print sale of Thin Lizzy leader Phil Lynott. This follows on from my couple of sales in November after a void of nearly three years of no sales at all. Not sure why this sudden activity is happening but long may it continue!

Alamy took second place with three sales. Two from my B/W archives and a landscape image from my trip to the Greek island of Tilos last year. Alamy is certainly starting to repay my time in uploading my back catalogue to them -even if commission for non-exlusive images will shortly drop to 40%.

In third place were normal frontrunners Shutterstock. About 40% of my total income this month was from On Demand sales but with no Single downloads at all this time.

Fourth place went to Istock with a slow 28 downloads but a much improved RPD (rate per download) over December.

At the lower end were Bigstock in fifth place with 6 downloads.

Sixth place went to Redbubble with a single product sale (a mug featuring former Prime Minister
Megalo Chorio, Tilos island
Tony Blair).

Just behind in seventh place were Fotolia/Adobe with 3 downloads. Uploading via the Fotolia site will end soon so the time is coming for me to get the hang of the Adobe site.

Sadly, in eighth and final place were Dreamstime with just two $0.35 subscription sales. I suppose I could claim that as a 100% increase on December when I had just the one sale but it's still a pretty dismal picture at DT. Maybe 2019 can see a turn around for this likeable and contributor friendly agency.

Sacred Heart temple, Barcelona
Recent uploading saw some images of the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the summit of Mount Tibidabo in Barcelona. I also uploaded a new image of a Bougainvillea filled street in Megalo Chorio on Tilos island. Turning my hand back to scanning I uploaded an archive image of book publisher Mark Barty-King. As head of Bantam Press it was he who decided on the UK publication of Professor Stephen Hawking's book A Brief History of Time. This was taken at a press conference marking the success of the book. Success didn't follow through to my image which got rejected (twice) at Shutterstock for "film grain". I suspect that the days of SS accepting these old archive images may be in the past so I'm glad I got all my main images in some years ago! Never mind, it's on Alamy and elsewhere.

Too early to make any predictions for February so we'll see how the month pans out. Regards, David.

Friday, 4 January 2019

December sales Updates:

Dunsfold aerodrome Boeing 747
A mixed month in December with one great result from one site and a deeply disappointing one from another.

First up in lead place were Redbubble with a hefty 11 product sales and my Best Month Ever there. All manner of goods were purchased and, no doubt, the majority intended as personalised gifts for Christmas. I didn't get anything like this last year so it is good to see some progress made. Sadly, this festive spurt didn't carry over to Fine Art America where I received no further sales after my two in November reported last month.

Pushed to second place were Shutterstock with a fairly slow month overall. Obviously, unlike Redbubble, the holiday season took its toll here with many people on holiday during the final couple of weeks.

Third place was taken by Alamy with just a single sale but at well above microstock rates. This was another of my archive B/W images -this time of Professor Stephen Hawking.

Istock were in fourth place with 34 downloads. A reduced rate per download from last month dragged my income down here this month and I just missed crossing the payout threshold.

Fifth place went to Bigstock with 6 downloads. To be honest, if my images didn't go there automatically courtesy of the (now closed) Bridge to Bigstock I probably wouldn't bother with them. That said, it does gradually build up and I like to leave my earnings way beyond the $30 payout level to make it a decent amount when I do (eventually) cash out.

Sixth place went to Fotolia/Adobe with 5 downloads. I noticed that sales emails now come from Adobe with actual £ amounts shown (rather than the credits shown by Fotolia). A reminder that from
Douglas C-41 touching down at Dunsfold
February all uploading will have to be done at the Adobe portal. That's a new one for me to learn then!

Canstock reminded me of their existence with a single sale to make seventh place. I haven't uploaded there for nearly a year so have no great expectations. I will probably just keep my small portfolio there in case it does one day reach a payout. It's become a site that I now just check into now and again to see if there's been any action.

Finally on the subject of action (or lack of it) we have eighth place taken by Dreamstime with just a single $0.35 subscription sale. Probaly my worst month ever there (even my first month there with only a few files on sale produced more). Now, approaching 2.5k images, I get just one sale? It almost feels like I am being punished for my exceptionally good months a while back. I've said it before, I really like Dreamstime and the people there so I hope they can improve things in 2019. To make matters worse that one sale was on December 4 and not a single sale since :(

Having fun on the beach in Barcelona


Recent uploading saw me mopping up some outstanding images from the Dunsfold airshow back in 2014 including a WW2 Douglas C-41 coming into land and a Boeing 747. This is a retired British Airways airliner which is now used for film and television work. Viewers of the BBC motoring show Top Gear will recognise this aircraft as it quite often appears in the background during filming. More timely, were some beach images from my 2018 trip to Barcelona.

January is off to a slow start but, hopefully, will pick up as people are getting back to normality after the holidays. regards, David.