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.

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.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

November Sales Updates:

Navy patrol ship Antipliarchos Mykonios departs Halki island
A steady month in November with neither great excitements or big disappointments. Starting in first place we, of course, find Shutterstock (by the usual huge margin). A good flow of On Demand sales and a couple of modest Single downloads contributing to the totals here. Shutterstock recently caused some comment when they changed their entry exam requirements -you now only have to get one image approved out of your initial ten sample images to be accepted (it was previously seven of of the ten). I do not see this move as especially good or bad -individual images uploaded will still get reviewed and either accepted/rejected (rightly or wrongly). The prediction by some that this will lead to a poorer quality collection of images doesn't work for me as Shutterstock have stated that they are not lowering their review standards. What probaly will not change either is the inconsistency in reviewing -where perfectly good stock images (accepted elsewhere) get rejected for spurious focus/lighting/white balance issues. For me, that is the most depressing thing about uploading to SS. It's the top selling agency and to have a good image rejected is just money lost -for me and them.

Nissos Halki ferry in Emborio harbour, Halki island
Climbing to second place were 123rf with a strong month of 15 (mainly editorial) downloads. Also, on a positive note, my backlog of pending images finally got reviewed and accepted. I have posted previously that some of these dated back to August. Once again, it took an email to support to get them reviewed. I really shouldn't have had to do that but there it is.

Istock came in at third place with 2 credit sales but a healthy 28 sub/PP downloads.

Stone pile on Ftenagia beach, Halki
In fourth place were Dreamstime with 13 (mainly sub) downloads. As one of the major agencies, they really should be performing better than this. What I am not seeing much of recently are the big credit sales on higher level images which used to push up the sales at DT.

Bigstock took fifth place with 10 downloads -again pretty much all subs.

Finally in sixth place were Fotolia with 2 downloads.

Recent uploading concentrated on my June trip to the Greek island of Halki. The Nissos Halki is one of several ferries making the crossing between the island and Rhodes. This image was taken on the morning of my departure. The stone piles I found on Ftenagia beach were a great photo opportunity and provided a host of images. This one cried out for a B/W version which, luckily most agencies (even Shutterstock!) accepted.  The Hellenic Navy warship Antipliarchos Mykonios took me by surprise when I opened my shutters one morning to find it moored in Emborio harbour. They later gave tours round the ship for groups of locals. I'm told that last year a submarine turned up and did the same. You never know what you will find in the Greek islands :) Regards, David.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Have a great Christmas!

Wishing all readers of ShootingStock a great Christmas and a brilliant 2016! I hope you will continue to enjoy my blog in the coming year. Kind regards, David.

A red car in the snow at St.Leonards-on-Sea in England

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Shutterstock Galleries - The Joy Of Sets:

From Set: Margaret Thatcher and Beyond
For any contributors not familiar with Shutterstocks excellent Gallery (or Sets) feature or those that have seen them but are unsure how to set them up and make use of them this post will attempt to give you a basic overview and guide. Obviously, if you only have a handful of images accepted there or your portfolio is of totally diverse subjects these are something you will not need at this point.

Setting up your Sets:
Starting from the Contributor Home page of Shutterstock hover over the "Portfolio" tab (upper left of the page) to reveal the drop down menu. Click on "Catalog Manager". This will take you to thumbnails of all your images which you can sort by Most Popular/Newest First/Oldest First. Now click on one or more images which you wish to make a set from (for example, images of New York). Now click on "Add To Set" (top right of your screen). This will bring up a box with a drop down menu of your existing sets (once you have them) and a "Create New Set" button. Using this gives you the prompt to type in the name of your new set New York and then add your selected images.
From set: Halki and Nisyros islands
Congratulations! You now have your first Set up and running -well almost. Your set/s will now be listed on the left of the screen -click on the word "Sets" to reveal the list. After the name of your set you will see the number of images it contains in brackets. Now click on the name of your set to view it. The full catalogue of images on screen will be replaced by just images from your chosen set. Next click on the "Actions" link (top right of screen). This gives you three options: Show Stats (gives you total downloads and total income for each image in the set. Edit Set Name (you may wish to change or refine the name of your set). Publish/Unpublish This Set (this is the important one -your new set must be Published before it is visible to buyers so click on that. Once a set is published the button will change to Unpublish -should you later wish to have it hidden. Obviously, if you just wish to use the Sets for your own personal organisation of images, you can leave it Unpublished.
From Set: Aviation and Airshows

Choosing a cover image for your set:
By default one of your Set images will become the cover image. To change this first click on the existing cover image and you will receive a prompt to click on another image of your choice. Just do that and it will automatically become your cover image. You can change and update this whenever you want.

Adding new images to your sets:
Now you have some Sets established you'll want to add further images to them. There are several ways of doing this. You can, if you want, just go through each page of your portfolio (in the Catalog Manager) clicking on each image you wish to add to a Set then use the Add To Set link (top right) as before. You can add as many as you want in one go. Don't worry about accidentally adding the same image more than once to a set (it will not let you!).
If you have a big portfolio there is a much quicker way, however. In the Catalog Manager use the "Filter By Keyword" boxes (top left of the screen). Type in the relevant keyword for your set e.g. New York and hit Filter. Now only images with the keywords New York will be visible. Just click on all of them and then Add To Set. For new images recently accepted change the sort order in the Catalogue Manager to Newest First then just click and add as before. Should you wish to remove an image from a set just click on it and an X will appear in the top right. Just click that to remove. This will not delete your image from Shutterstock -only remove from that set!
From Set: Seventies Bands

Now I have sets, what do I do with them?
This is the fun part. The part where you get to encourage potential buyers to view your sets and, hopefully, give you a sale. Even if not purchasing right away they may well remember your images for future reference. To do this you need to select a set from your list in the Catalog Manager. In the top right of the screen (next to Actions) is another link for "Share". Clicking this gives you several options. Click the Twitter logo to automatically post a Tweet linking to your set. You can also "recommend" your set on Facebook (this one is a bit disappointing as it doesn't put it slap on your timeline for all to see but tucks it away over on the left of your Timeline along with the Friends/Likes etc lists. The third option is to copy and paste the displayed link to the set. Use this for posting on Google+, your own blog, anywhere you like really -without spamming, obviously.

Anything else useful about my sets?
Now that you have Sets you'll now notice that you can add five of them to your Contributor Home page under Track Your Sets. This will give you an, at a glance, view of the stats for each set (number of images, total downloads, total sales in $). Change these five at any time by clicking on Select Sets.

Finally, a couple of things in conclusion. Firstly do NOT overdo the sharing thing. A link to a great set of images that people may enjoy looking at soon becomes spam if you constantly bombard them with the same links. Be considerate. Secondly, what to put in each set? Every image you have of a particular subject? Or just a selection of your best images to serve as an appetiser to search your entire portfolio? I think everyone will have different views on that and that's the great thing -it's entirely up to you. Personally, I now include everything I have. Good luck with setting up a promoting your own Sets. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

October Sales Updates:

Dodekanisos Express departs Halki island, Greece
No prizes for guessing the number one position for October (and every other month).
Shutterstock (by far) came in first, helped by a good dose of On demand sales and an Extended License for one of my Tentertainment music festival images.

A long way behind were Istock in second place with just 2 credit downloads and a further 27 Sub/PP sales. On the plus side, my portfolio at Istock finally exceeded 1000 images. There is still plenty of room for growth for me here -albeit probaly based on subscription downloads with the odd credit sale thrown in.

123rf climbed to third place with 8 downloads. My portfolio exposure probaly not helped by the fact that I am still awaiting review of images uploaded from August onwards. I suppose, that eventually, I'll have to email support but it really doesn't seem right that I have to do this to get reviewed. I can only suppose that they either changed from reviewing in house to an outside company or, if they already outsourced this maybe they changed to a new service. Either way, the days of editorial reviews within minutes/hours seem long gone.

Redbubble hit fourth place with one sale of a throw pillow (cushion) featuring, yet again, Margaret Thatcher.
Rocky coastline at Lakka on Paxos island, Greece
I am forever grateful that I have images of The Iron Lady in my portfolio. Ironic, when I could not be more opposed to her political policies :)

A rather sad fourth place for Dreamstime with just 4 downloads (boosted slightly by $0.65 in referral income). Hard to say what is going on with Dreamstime but sales have certainly plunged over the last year with many of those remaining being $0.35 subscription sales. I really like this friendly agency and hope that things will improve there. Pleased to say that reviews are still being made on a regular and fairly prompt basis.

Bigstock made fifth place with 6 downloads (mainly subs, mainly Hastings area images again!).

Bringing up sixth place were Fotolia with just one download. As this is considered one of the Big Four stock agencies I still have confidence that sales will grow here in the future as I build up my small portfolio. I am really hoping that they decide to start taking Editorial images in the future -when I would be able to dramatically increase my portfolio. They remain the only top agency to not take Editorial images.

Summer images at the St.Leonards Festival
Nothing at all from the rest in October. I still have hopes for Picfair where I now have some 984 images with over 53k views -but just two sales to date. I hope they eventually introduce their long awaited bulk price editor. I would be very interested to see if pricing is a factor here deterring sales. At my standard £10 per use this is obviously higher than microstock prices and may well be putting some buyers off. I have noticed some (unproven) correlation between uploading to Picfair and subsequent sales (of the same image) on microstock sites but not enough to draw any firm conclusions.

Recent uploading included a set of images of the annual St.Leonards Festival (held right in front of my flat!) which, though not of International importance, provides good generic Summer/Festival/Community/Outdoor event type images. I also revisited my 2014 trip to the Greek island of Paxos for a seascape image of Lakka. Greek islands also featured with an image of the Dodekanisos Express ferry departing from Halki during my trip this June. November is starting to look like a challenging month for sales -but there is still plenty of time for things to turn around. I'll update in December. Regards, David.