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.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

March Sales Updates:

Poll Tax Riots, London -top Micro sale
March proved to be not only my Best Month Ever (BME) on my Number One agency Shutterstock but also my BME in Microstock.

So beginning with star performer Shutterstock the start of the month saw not only an Enhanced Download of the Tentertainment music festival (at $28) but on the very same day my highest ever sale with a Single Download of the Poll Tax Riots in London. Shutterstock Terms of Service do not allow me to give the exact amount -let's just say it wasn't a million miles away from $100 in commission. After that great start the rest of the month saw a bumper crop of On Demand downloads and above average subscription downloads. Images sold were a good mix of the usual suspects -Margaret Thatcher (the anniversary of her death is in April), Professor Stephen Hawking (new biopic film winning awards), Tentertainment music festival (the season of outdoor events and festivals approaches) and a host of Greek Island images (time to book that holiday). A few more months like that on SS would be very welcome.

Istock took second place with a strong 10 credit downloads and a further 22 Sub/PP sales.
Margaret Thatcher -a timeless selling image

In third place were Dreamstime with 12 downloads and unusually $0.49 in referral earnings when one of my very few referred photographers got some sales. A diversion here on Referrals -this is when an agency gives you a "thank you" for sending a new contributor (or buyer) their way in the form of a few cents when the contributor makes a sale or a buyer purchases an image. Some of my portfolio links on the right here contain a code that tells the agency the referral came via me. Not all agencies do this and most limit the time for which you receive these. Way back in 2008, when I started this blog, I had hopes that hordes of grateful readers would sign up with my links and generate some additional income. Sadly, I think my grand total amounts to around four contributors and somewhat less than $1.00 in earnings! Oh well.......

Tentertainment - music festivals and Summer image
123rf came in fourth place with a slightly perkier 11 downloads. Mainly subs.

Bigstock were fifth with 12 downloads. These were all subs with not a credit sale to be seen.

Finally, Fotolia produced 3 downloads to come in sixth and final place for my selling agencies this month.

Obviously, March was an exceptional month due to that one big exceptional sale and isn't really an indicator of anything. That said, April looked to be starting well until it all crashed to a near halt for this Easter weekend. I'll see how things pick up after the holidays. Regards, David.


Friday, 3 April 2015

Persisting with Picfair:

The Sinceros -my most viewed image on Picfair
When I first posted about British photo agency Picfair back in November 2013 I was certainly full of hope for this new venture and even more so when I got my first sale just a couple of weeks later. So, time for an update.

Well, first the headline fact, I have yet to have had my second sale there despite my portfolio now numbering some 870 images. Am I giving up on them? Not at this stage and here is why.

Founded by former journalist Benji Lanyado in 2013 the site has gradually grown -both in the number of images available and the team itself. Very much a one man band at the start Picfair now has a number of people on its team which you can see on the "About" section of their site. Originally launched in Beta the site is now fully functioning as an image selling agency and received a substantial boost of investment last Summer (read about that here http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/08/picfair-raises-520k-to-take-on-getty-with-an-image-marketplace/ ). Ignore the "taking on Getty" headline -I'm pretty sure that they are not actually claiming that!

So what's great about Picfair? Well the two big attractions to me are firstly that there are no reviews to go through. You get the images online and for sale that you want, not filtered through somebody elses opinion or taste. Just like having your own photo selling site in fact. Secondly, and most importantly, you get to choose your own selling price and receive 100% of that amount (Picfair make their money by adding a percentage on top to the buyer -currently 20%).

This choose your own price feature does has its own set of issues, however. Firstly, some great photographers are setting their prices really low. I have seen some stunning images being offered at little above the minimum allowed pricing of £1. This doesn't make it easy for those of us trying to get a reasonable fee for our images. Which leads to the second (big) issue -just what should you price your images at? All mine are at a standard £10 per image. Now for a small use on a blog that's a high price compared to purchasing from a Micro site. However, the standard Picfair license doesn't offer any variations so that £10 image could just as easily be used on the front page of a National newspaper.

Ideally, I'd like to experiment with different price points to see if that makes a difference to sales, however what Picfair currently lacks is a global price change facility (unlike FineArtAmerica where you can reset your entire portfolio pricing with one click). You can, of course, edit your pricing image by image but there is no way I am doing that 870 times! I could try just changing the pricing on some images but I am really loathe to set up a two tier system suggesting that "these are my best ones at £10 and this is a bit rubbish at £2".

So, for now I am persisting with Picfair. It is still fairly early days for them as a business and I see no reason why the site will not gradually attract more buyers -especially given the fantastic quality of many of the images being submitted. The batch upload is quick and efficient (and they now offer FTP on request to those that want that -I don't) so they do not represent a big demand on my time to keep uploading. Hopefully, I'll have some sales news to report in the not too distant future. Regards, David. EDIT: Click on the comments below for a response from Picfair :)

Pro's: Choose your own pricing/No reviews/Prospects for growth
Con's: No global price change/ Uploading no longer works on IE9 (a minor gripe and maybe just me)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

February Sales Updates:

Agios Ioannis beach, Meganissi island
A rather late posting for my February updates I know, but other events intervened.
As every month, Shutterstock came out on top by a long, long way. Three modest Single Downloads and a good crop of On Demand downloads helped to make a solid month here.

Second place fell to Istock with 5 regular credit sales and a further 16 sub/PP downloads. What is interesting to see is the decline in PP (Thinkstock.com) sales as the new Istock subscriptions build up. It seems fairly clear where they are pushing the marketing now.

Traditional beach huts, Glyne Gap
Dreamstime came in third with 9 downloads. February saw the long awaited payout on the Google Adwords deal with many contributors reporting floods of $2 sales from the deal. I was full of anticipation but received just a single sale (one of the two images they originally chose last year for the Beta testing). Oh well, maybe the next round will prove better.

Bigstock saw fourth place with 16 downloads (mainly subs). As previously posted, Hastings and
St.Leonards subjects continued to do well here.

123rf were down at fifth place with 9 downloads (again, mainly subs). At least I kept my Level 2 status at the end of the month.

Fotolia managed just one sale to make sixth place in the list.

Glyne Gap from Galley Hill
Finally, a sale at Yaymicro (from one of their Partner sites). This was my first sale from Yay since last August and February also marked a year since my last sale directly on the Yay site itself. The easy uploading and quick batch editing keep me supporting them with new images but really (on a business level) I should give up on them. The trouble is that I still remember the good early years when they used to get me regular sales at decent rates. I just keep thinking the lack of sales cannot continue there forever. Can it?

Recent uploading saw me revisit some images from my 2008 trip to the Greek island of Meganissi as well as a set of images from a local beauty spot here called Glyne Gap. I'm a bit hesitant to admit it was the first time I had visited it since moving to Hastings in 2009. I'll certainly be going again in the near future! Regards, David.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

January Sales Updates:

Alonissos -first Extended License on Istock
There were certainly some encouraging signs in January as we came out of the Christmas and New Year holiday slowdown.

Inevitably, Shutterstock came out on top by a long way with a sprinkling of On Demand sales (not the best month for these) and one modest Single sale.

A strong month for Istock putting them in second place with 6 credit sales and 12 sub/PP downloads. What boosted things here was getting my first ever Extended License sale on Istock with my image of the coastline on Alonissos island.

Dreamstime managed third place with a pleasing 23 downloads. Sadly, all but one were 35cent sub sales which pulled the actual income down. Greek island images featured strongly in this months downloads.

Breitling WingWalkers in action
Bigstock was just pipped into fourth place (by only 2cents) with 17 downloads. As I have mentioned before local Hastings images seem to do well here with 9 of the 17 being from my home town. In fact, images downloaded on Bigstock seem to be rather quirky -often being ones that haven't sold much elsewhere (as well as the usual Margaret Thatcher type good sellers).  This suggests that they have a distinctive group of customers -no bad thing in my opinion.

123rf came in at fifth place with 9 downloads. Now, I am quick to express disappointment here with 123rf
and January looked like it was heading the same way with only four sub sales for most of the month. However, things were redeemed by 2 LEL sales and a Large sale on the 31st (a Saturday at that!) which was enough to push me back to Level 2 at the start of February. Hopefully, I can remain at that level for some time now. Further, the backlog of pending Editorial images all got reviewed and accepted right at the end of January after sitting there all month.

Finally, in the sellers list, Canstock pulled in 2 downloads which was a nice surprise given that I do not often see much action with them.
Skiathos Town and harbour, Greece

Nothing from my other sites in January with Cutcaster becoming a casualty when I decided it was no longer worth my time and broadband costs to continue uploading new material. With a current port of 1498 files, I have had just 8 downloads since joining in January 2011. Increasingly picky reviews where images that are accepted and sell on the top tier sites were being rejected didn't help matters. I'll just keep my port there and check in from time to time in the hope of a surprise. If I had to speculate about the problem here I would guess that, though they accept Editorial images, they do not have the Editorial buyers that would be interested in my port. Lifestyle/models/isolation images may do much better here for some.

Uploads in January included new images of the Breitling WingWalkers (an ever popular seller) and some views over Skiathos Town taken during my 2012 trip to Alonissos. February has got off to a slow start but, hopefully, things will pick up as the month goes on. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

December Sales Updates:

Professor Stephen Hawking -new biopic
Inevitably, December was never going to be a great month with so many slow days over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. However, taking that into account there were some good moments.

As ever, Shutterstock was the number one agency -by far. A great start on December1 with an Enhanced Download of Professor Stephen Hawking. Sales of this image have increased a lot recently presumably due to the new biopic film The Theory of Everything which has just been released. I also had a good number of On Demand sales and two nice paying Single Downloads through the month.

Dreamstime performed well to take second place with 20 downloads. Greek island images seem to be doing especially well on Dreamstime of late -possibly as a result of the on-site blog I wrote on the subject.

Istock took third place with only 4 credit sales but a good 24 downloads through the PP and Subs schemes. Istock also had some big news that it was to be integrated further into parent company Getty Images. The main change for many is that commission payments will no longer be made "on request" but on a fixed monthly schedule (subject to reaching the $100 payout level). I don't get enough sales on Istock for this to be an issue but for high performers used to requesting weekly payouts this will not be a popular move.
Sopwith triplane at Dunsfold

Bigstock continued strongly to make fourth place with 15 downloads -pleasingly not just sub sales but a
number of credit sales in there as well. It's interesting to note that a good number of my sales on Bigstock seem to relate to my local area of Hastings and St.Leonards.

Coming in fifth were 123rf with a miserly 7 downloads. Sales there seem to be falling below what they were a year or two ago -despite increasing my portfolio size. Especially noticeable is the fall in editorial sales. Just to add to the fun, there currently seems to be a hiatus on editorial reviews with several of my batches still pending since January 1. Normally these get reviewed within hours.

FineArtAmerica came sixth with a sale of a greetings card. Some lucky person was due a Christmas or Birthday card featuring the Poll Tax Riots in London back in the early 1990s!

Rousoum beach, Alonissos island
Bringing up the rear I had a rare sale at Canstockphoto (my first in months) and just a single sub sale at Fotolia. To be fair, I only have small portfolios on those due to them not taking editorial images.

Uploading in December saw me revisiting my 2012 trip to Alonissos island with a set of images of Rousoum. I also carried on working my Dunsfold airshow images with a set of a 1916 Sopwith triplane (it's actually a 1997 replica but certainly looks the part).

Though I am writing this post well into January I'll use this opportunity to wish all readers of this blog a very happy and enjoyable 2015. Regards, David.