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, 16 July 2014

June Sales Updates:

The Red Arrows
A steady month in June reflecting the usual Summer slowdown. As previously posted, I was on the Greek island of Paxos for two weeks and, therefore, new uploading was very limited during the month.

Obviously, Shutterstock came way out on top with a slight drop in download numbers over May but a good number of On Demand sales increasing the total revenue. Just one small Single download this month.

Istock produced 6 regular downloads ($5.72) but then boosted that with a pleasing $5.32 from 19 PP sales (one of my best results ever on the PP -probaly as a result of editorial images now being available) and finally the first of the new subsciption sales netting $0.84 from 3 downloads.

Coco and The Butterfields
Dreamstime saw 15 downloads ($11.82) with a continuing mix of Greek island images and old archive favourites such as Margaret Thatcher.

123rf ticked on with 12 downloads ($6.88). There seems very little variation in sales on 123 each month and at my Level 2 status income remains dissapointingly low -receiving just $0.25 for subscription sales. The days of 50% commission seem a long time ago now.

Fotolia produced just 2 downloads (0.82 credits). Whether or not being opted out of their DPC operation made a difference I don't know. I still only have a very small port there in any case.

Finally, another sale at Mostphotos! OK it was just a subscription sale paying 0.23 Euros but, all the same, still showing some signs of life. The image in question was British band Coco and The Butterfields performing at the annual Tentertainment music festival (pictured).


Al fresco dining, Skiathos
Nothing again from Yaymicro in June making my 0.75Euro sale in February my only sale for 2014 (with over 2k images online there). Not even their many Partner sites seem to be producing any sales -though to be fair most of my port is editorial (which, sadly, they do not send to the Partners). It's a real shame to see how sales have declined there. It was never a top seller but I used to see regular payouts. A check on my uploads for the last year or so just shows zero views on virtually everything to the extent I wondered if the view counter was broken. As an experiment I Tweeted a couple of images and the views count shot up to double fiures on those -so it does work. Shortly after every image suddenly had one view each - I assume Tweeting attracted the attention of a search engine somewhere. Might be worth trying with your own images. Even their Twitter page seems to have vanished -I just got a Page Does Not Exist message. (Edit: The Twitter link on their site doesn't work. However, you can find their account at twitter.com/yayimages ). I really hope they can turn this around.


Recent uploads included a lucky shot of a Gull swallowing a rat in the harbour at Skiathos. I was rather pleased with this image but Shutterstock obviously weren't -Poor Composition/Lighting etc. Luckily it got accepted virtually everywhere else. I also uploaded a couple of new images of The Red Arrows from the 2013 Eastbourne Airshow (Airbourne). Recent news reports that the team might be scrapped as a part of defence spending cuts (though, thankfully, denied) might help get some sales. Regards, David.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Making use of Dreamstime blogs:

Selling stock images isn't just about taking and uploading photographs - marketing yourself and your images is the other important part of the story. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are free and can be effective in promoting your work. Writing blogs, such as this one, also help to get your name out there.

Posts on the site forums (those that have still them) and, of course, the industry leading forum Microstockgroup are another way of getting yourself known - though keep in mind that in these you will be mainly be seen by fellow contributors rather than image buyers (though sometimes they can be both, of course).

Dreamstime offer another useful feature in their Blogs section. Just write about something that interests you and add images to the piece from the Dreamstime library -either your own images or other contributors where appropriate. This is free and all images get properly credited -with a link through to the sales page for that image. Buyers as well as other contributors can see these blogs making it a good marketing tool. I must admit I used to use this feature a lot more but hadn't thought to do so for some time now.
So having just returned from a Greek island what better to blog about than "The Beautiful Small Islands Of Greece" with a selection of six of my various island images. Link here: http://blog.dreamstime.com/2014/07/02/beautiful-small-islands-greece_art40632

Whether or not this results in immediate sales of my images it helps to establish my portfolio as somewhere to seek images of Greek islands (which make up quite a large and growing portion of my work).
And, as I said before, it's free marketing. So if you have a Dreamstime account and haven't made use of the blogs before do give it a try. And if, like me, you haven't used them for a while get on there and get marketing! I'm already planning my next one.
Regards, David.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

May sales update:

Reversing the usual order here I'll start with some agencies I don't see see that many downloads with but all three produced some action in May.

Fineartamerica, saw my second ever sale -a framed print of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher netting $30.00 and a further $3.22 commission on the print materials. That's my second years paid membership covered in one sale.

Cutcaster sold a recently uploaded image of the Eiffel Tower ($0.46). Just wish this agency could produce more sales.

Over in Sweden, Mostphotos saw three downloads (12.84 euros). Two small value subscription sales and, more interestingly, my first full price single sale for 12.50euros. Yet again, another Margaret Thatcher image. It's starting to look like there may be a bit of a pick up in sales here.

Bigstock continued to get regular sales with 14 downloads ($6.18). A good number of subscription sales with a sprinkling of regular credit sales.

Fotolia only managed two subscription sales netting 0.50 in credits. As previously posted, my images are now opted out of the Dollar Photo Club there so some drop in sales might be expected. A price I am prepared to pay to be out of DPC.

123rf saw 9 downloads ($6.22). Pretty much all subscription sales at $0.25 each.

Istock produced 10 downloads ($7.75) but with a further $3.92 from PP (Thinkstock) sub sales. None of the new Istock subscription sales for me in May -though I have since had my first ones credited during June. For anyone new to Istock -the PP (Partner Program) and Istock subs are paid out the following month en masse (which is when I include them in my sales report). Thus subs sales that occurred in May will be in my June sales report.

Dreamstime had a good month with 14 downloads ($28.47). A lot of Greek island (especially Halki) images sold and the highlight being an I-EL for $13.35). This was for my Italian street party image featured in my last post. I-EL? I had to look it up -the I stands for "Increased" (basically a bigger print run than is allowed with the standard license).

Needless to say, the big one as always was Shutterstock with numerous downloads and a good crop of higher paying On Demand sales as well as one pleasing Single sale.  If only I had a whole bunch of agencies with the mass selling power of Shutterstock!

New uploads in May included, finally, my images of the derelict Lazy Days boat on Symi island. You can read more about this lovely old boat on my Greek island blog ( mysmallgreekislands.blogspot.com ). I also edited and uploaded more images from my Paris trip including the iconic Sacre Coeur cathedral and the Pont Neuf (the oldest bridge in Paris). I'll be posting my June updates soon - a month in which uploads (and blog posts!) came to a halt while I enjoyed a wonderful two weeks on the little Greek island of Paxos. Regards, David.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Great Move At Dreamstime -Older Images Saved:

Boris Yeltsin, April 1990
As I briefly mentioned in my last sales update, there was excellent news from Dreamstime in May when they announced a change in policy regarding older (over four years) unsold images.
Previously contributors would have got an email offering two choices for the future of such images. Either donate to the free images section at Dreamstime or permanently disable (delete) the files. Donating to the free section could, in some cases, make sense for exclusive contributors as a way of driving traffic to their paid images. But for non exclusives such as myself, with the same images still for sale elsewhere, deletion was the only option.
This was especially relevant to me as I joined Dreamstime in 2009 and recently, four and a half years later, had started to receive a series of emails passing a death sentence on a substantial number of images.

Italian street party, July 1990
After the third email I really felt I had to try and do something to avert this and opened a new thread in the Dreamstime forum stating my case for keeping the images online (Link here: http://www.dreamstime.com/thread_37221 ). I'm not so arrogant as to think my post was wholly responsible for the subsequent change of policy but I hope it helped to move along something they were already looking at. The clearing out of older images was, anyway, looking at odds with the massive increase in upload limits of late (I can currently upload some 3000 or more images per week based on my circa 73% acceptance rate!). Storage space and bandwidth (for them) clearly isn't an issue.

Anyway, they subsequently announced the change (it's described as a test at this stage but I do not expect them to reverse this). Now your commercial images will still get the email -but offering the options of donate or keeping online for sale. Editorial images will not get the email and remain for sale on an ongoing basis. For anyone who might be concerned at the possibility of their images ending up in the free section -you can set your default choice in your account settings at any time. You can still change your mind on an image by image basis when the email arrives.

Poll Tax Riots, March 1990
You can read my full argument for keeping these older images online (especially the editorial ones) in the Dreamstime thread but in essence I suggested these form a part of history as buildings/fashion/signage etc change and, if anything, become more of interest the older they get. Some of my images are around fourty years old and it seemed a shame to give them just a four year life on the internet. I have images online over four years old that that subsequently sold proving that you just never know when a buyer might have need of that image. Once deleted, that sales possibility is gone forever. So from one relieved editorial photographer - Great Move Dreamstime! Regards, David.
(Note: I am using some older editorial images to illustrate this post -but these do all have sales, so wouldn't have been up for deletion).



Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dollar Photo Club - Why I opted out and how to do it:

Never heard of the Dollar Photo Club? Well, if you are a contributor at Fotolia and you haven't opted out then your images are part of it.
Started a few months back Dollar Photo Club initially looked like it was a partner site of Fotolia using their API to offer images on a new platform. What became clear quite quickly was that DPC is in fact wholy owned and run by Fotolia.
Though DPC says it it selling subscription packages they are, in fact, much more akin to an "on demand" package. Subscription packages (such as offered by Shutterstock and the other sites)  typically offer buyers a large number of downloads for an upfront substantial fee. These result in a smaller payment (per download) to photographers but make up for that in volume as buyers use up their allowance of downloads within the period of the subscription.
By contrast DPC offer a package of just $10 for 10 downloads (hence $1 per image) for which the photographer receives a subscription rate payment at Fotolia. Low payment and low volume. Worse, the DPC package doesn't expire at the end of a set period so there is no incentive for buyers to use up their allowance and drive sales to the photographers.
Other subscription sites do offer "on demand" packages where buyers only wanting a few images can just pay to download a few images each month. These result in substantially higher commission to the photographers (on Shutterstock I usually make over $2 each time on these, for example).
What DPC will do is to help to kill these valuable On Demand sales and, indeed, regular single credit sales as well. Ironically, credit sales on Fotolia themselves are likely to be hit as well.
Read up about the DPC on this long thread at Microstockgroup.com http://www.microstockgroup.com/fotolia-com/fotolia-launches-dollar-photo-club/
Originaly, all Fotolia files were available on DPC but after a lot of protest an opt out has now been added. You'll struggle to spot it but here is where to look:

Log in to your Contributor page.
Under My Account, select My Profile.
Then select Contributor Parameters.
You will now see a little badge saying "Sell my files on DPC".
Click on the Modify word next to it.
It should change to "Don't sell my files on DPC".
Now click on Save Parameters to complete the opt out.
(Warning: be careful not to click the modify button twice or it will revert to the opt in again).

I opted out as soon as the option became available as I believe DPC will be damaging to my sales both at Fotolia and other sites if buyers switch to this bargain basement option. After all, Microstock prices are hardly expensive compared to the traditional stock agencies -let's not help drive these already low rates even lower.

Some photographers have also been deleting files at Fotolia itself or closing their whole account in protest at DPC. For now, at least, I am happy to continue working with Fotolia itself but I am glad to be out of the industry damaging DPC. You must all, of course, make your own decisions. Regards, David.