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, 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.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Happy Chistmas To All:

Wishing everyone a great Christmas and a very happy New Year. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

November Sales Updates:

Stone tower at Emborio on Halki island
A pleasing month in November including the surprise return of a long absent market.

By far, Shutterstock held onto first place with a strong showing of On Demand and Single sales (both combined making up some 60% of my monthly total).

In second place were an improved Istock with 51 downloads and an RPD (rate per download) substantially up on October.

Third place was taken by Alamy with 2 downloads (both from my B/W political archives). Two developments at Alamy pleased and dismayed in various ways. On the plus side they introduced new Portfolio pages coupled with the ability to create individual Galleries (sets). These can both be easily shared on social media to help direct buyers to your images. I've already created a good number of galleries along obvious lines such as Aviation, Barcelona, Majorca etc. You can view my portfolio here My Alamy Portfolio .
The second news was the far less welcome cutting of commission from next February. This drops from an equitable 50/50 split on direct sales to 60/40 ( a drop of 20% in income). They claim this is needed to help fund and develop their business with the usual "you'll benefit from more sales" placebo thrown in. Regular readers will know that I put a lot of time and faith in recent months building up my Alamy portfolio so this comes as a blow. As expected the negative comments on the Alamy forum now run to many pages with a hope that they might re-consider this move and find other ways of funding their business rather than making contributors pay for it. We'll see what happens next.

Redbubble came in fourth place with 3 product sales (I know what someone's getting for
Cap de Barcelona, Port Vell

Fifth place saw the surprise return from the dead of FineArtAmerica with 2 product sales (a mug and a towel). My first sales there since December 2015 so not quite three years. Whether this was a one off event or I shall start seeing more sales will be interesting.

Bigstock were in sixth place with 7 downloads.

Sadly, after a couple of strong months Dreamstime fell to seventh place with 7 downloads (mainly sub sales). Obviously the buyer who had been hitting my port in September and October was absent this month.

Dead rat on Paxos island

In eighth place were Fotolia with just a single download.

Recent uploads included a mixed bunch ranging from a tower of stones on the Greek island of Halki through to the Roy Lichtenstein sculpture Head of Barcelona on the harbour front of Port Vell. For something a bit different I also uploaded images of a dead rat found on the Greek island of Paxos. A good image for pest control/vermin features. I can also envisage this ending up on a T shirt at some point :) Regards, David.