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, 19 November 2014

October Sales Updates:

Douglas C47-A Dakota
A great month in October on my number one agency, Shutterstock, helped along by my new higher earning level as well as a $28 enhanced download for one of my Margaret Thatcher images. Good On Demand sales and a modest Single Download also added to the mix.

FineArtAmerica came second this month with the sale of a framed print of Pedi bay on the Greek island of Symi (pictured). Just as a reminder, if you have the paid premium account (currently $30 per annum) you also receive a percentage commission on the printing materials and frame etc in addition to the fee you have set. You are also allowed unlimited uploads as opposed to the 25 image limit with the free account.

Pedi bay, Symi island
Istock were third this month with an improving 12 credit downloads and 15 sub and PP sales. The new pricing structure there is certainly helping with most of my credit sales being around $1.40 -certainly better than the below a dollar commissions I often used to see for smaller size uses.

Dreamstime made fourth place with 8 downloads. As mentioned last month there was a long gap in sales which ran right through to October 17 giving DT little time to pick up before month end.

Bigstock came in at number five with a healthy 15 downloads but as they were nearly all subs this pushed the earnings down. Bigstock do not seem to be a site where I get large individual sales -let alone an Enhanced Download. Nethertheless, as part of the Bridge to Bigstock programme, they require no effort on my part and sales are regular there.

New Esperance Morris, Hastings
Finally, in at sixth place were Fotolia with 4 downloads. I am actually quite pleased with that result as my portfolio there is still very small (circa 100 images). As they do not take Editorial images I only make infrequent uploads to them when I have something suitable.

October saw new uploads including an airshow image of a WW2 Dakota, which I decided to give a period feel to by converting to B/W. I also carried on working through my images from this years Jack In The Green festival at Hastings including a couple of the New Esperance Morris dancers. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Airshow Photography -Look to the Skies:

Breitling Wingwalkers
Now that the Autumn has arrived here in the UK it marks the end of the airshow season. Don't get me wrong, I am not a plane spotter but I do enjoy visiting and photographing airshows. Probaly my childhood spent growing up under the flight path of London Gatwick Airport sparked my interest. It was always facinating to see the airliners making their approach and, though I hate to admit it, many of them still had propellers back then!

These days most UK airshows tend to have a good mix of classic WW2 bombers and fighters through to the latest RAF jets as well as aerobatic acts such as the Breitling Wingwalkers team in their distinctive vintage Boeing biplanes.

Mustang P51D -Ferocious Frankie
To photograph at airshows you are going to need a longish lens. 300mm will usually be plenty for close up shots of single aircraft but you'll get away with less for formation groups such as the Red Arrows. You will also need a fast shutter speed to freeze the action -I generally aim for 1/1000sec. This does mean, that in the UK at least, you are probaly going to have to crank up the ISO way beyond what we as stock photographers usually aim for. But there it is, if you want to get usuable images of fast moving aircraft. Reviewers will generally understand that these images are not being taken in studio conditions!

I always use the panning technique -framing up the aircraft as they approach and then giving a burst of shots as they get closest to my position. 

Canberra bomber and Hawker Hunter fighter
One other problem you are going to have is overcast weather. Trying to get good images of a dark camouflaged aircraft against dark clouds is near impossible. Take the pictures anyway and see what you get but really the best you can do is hope for blue skies and some sunshine. Also check the weather before travelling any distance to an airshow as flying can often be restricted or cancelled altogether in adverse conditions. Low cloud is the worst offender here -it is obviously just not safe for aircraft to display when there is poor visibility.

Even if you are not a big aircraft fan, airshow images can make an interesting addition to your portfolio so when the Winter has passed why not check out the internet to see if their is a show near you. Regards, David.

(All images taken with Nikon D80 camera/Tamron 70-300 zoom lens)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

September Sales Updates:

The Red Arrows, Eastbourne
A very late posting for my September sales updates. I have been busy editing and uploading during October with over fourty new images added to many of my portfolios. I am also making a change to my sales updates by no longer including actual royalties earned. Ever since Shutterstock changed their Terms Of Service making it no longer allowed to give out actual sales figures publicly my reports have felt skewed -with no figures for what is my best selling agency (by far).
So to sum up a rather poor September overall here's how the agencies ranked:

Shutterstock -by a huge amount the leader and, most excitingly, I crossed the threshold to take 
Lakka harbour, Paxos
me into the 36cents per download level. That might not sound a lot but on the volume SS achieves this soon adds up. Better still, On Demand sales rise from $2.48 to $2.70 (or $1.07 to $1.17 ).Those are figures I can give out because they published in the rate schedule on the site.

Dreamstime were runners up this month with 11 downloads. Things did seem to be going well until the 25th when sales stopped dead (right through to October 17). Not sure what happened there but it proved to be my longest ever break in sales at DT.

Third were Istock with just 4 regular downloads and 19 PP/Sub downloads. The recent restructuring probaly had a bearing here and I'm pleased to report that sales seem to be improving now.

Anes Lines ferry Proteus docking at Alonissos
123RF were in in 4th place with 11 downloads.

Down among my lower earners Bigstock saw 8 downloads, just 1 at Fotolia and, surprise, my second download of 2014 at Yay (a partner sale). None of my other sites produced any sales in September.

Uploading in September saw further images of the Red Arrows from the 2014 Eastbourne airshow, more from my June trip to Paxos and backtracking to 2013 for a set of the Proteus ferry docking at Alonissos. Seeing Proteus turn up in the Sporades was rather a surprise as it is operated by ANES lines from Symi (Dodecanese) and was the actual ship I travelled on from Rhodes to Symi back in 2011. It was like meeting an old friend -far from home. Regards, David.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

August Sales Updates:

The Red Arrows at Airbourne
August - hopefully the last month of a slow Summer period - proved unexciting to say the least.
Inevitably, Shutterstock was by far the leader with a good number of On Demand sales and a sprinkling of Single Sales pushing the total up.

Istock were runners up with 9 downloads ($7.23) bolstered by 15 PP sales ($4.20) and 8 subs ($2.24). Follow all that? With their strange multi-stage way of reporting sales it's not always easy. Why they cannot just report all sales in real time like other sites do is beyond me (and beyond them it seems). However, the big Istock news is their forthcoming restructuring of their multiple collections into just two -Essentials and Signature. This should all happen circa September 13, when they will also start to charge the same price for any size of download. This is bad news for some but good for others like me. The smaller size downloads that I often sell will now pay out a higher royalty rate and I expect my Istock income to increase overall. Subscription royalties remain unchanged.

Fire damaged Eastbourne Pier
Dreamstime saw some slow periods but finally clocked up 8 downloads ($12.76). Interestingly, while digging around in my stats there I discovered I had received two $5 bonuses when I had two images of this years Jack In The Green festival put in the In The News section. The problem is that I have no idea if I ever got that $10 -I sort of imagine I would have noticed that at the time but really cannot remember seeing my balance jump that amount. I may have to query that in due course.

123rf trickled on with 7 downloads ($6.44). The low Subs rate here really does pull down the figures.

Bigstock saw 15 downloads ($5.94) -again virtually all Subs sales.

Finally from the sellers I had my third sale at FineArtAmerica with $1.50 for a greetings card sale of Margaret Thatcher.

Jack In The Green festival, Hastings
All the other sites were dead in August with not even a Fotolia sale.

Shooting in August centred on the annual Airbourne airshow at Eastbourne where it was great to see the display by two Lancaster bombers. Our own BBMF one and the visiting one from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum which has come over for the Summer airshow season. Recent uploads included the Red Arrows (from Airbourne), Jack In The Green festival and further images of the fire damage at Eastbourne pier. I'm hoping for an upturn in sales as we come out of the slow period although September so far hasn't proved exceptional. Regards, David.

Monday, 18 August 2014

July Sales Updates:

Gaios harbour, Paxos
A rather late update of sales in July -which as regular readers will know usually indicates that the month didn't prove very exciting for sales. The so called Summer Slowdown certainly seemed to be in full swing in July. That is, if a Slowdown can be doing anything as lively as a full swing (full snooze maybe?).

Shutterstock proved the exception with a good number of downloads and good revenue buoyed up by a number of On Demand downloads and two Single Downloads. I am also, finally, getting seriously close to the next sales level -when my basic subscription download rate is increased.

Dreamstime saw some long gaps between sales and eventually amounted to 10 downloads ($12.37).

Dende Nation samba drummers, St.Leonards-on-Sea
Istock proved lively in July with 10 credit downloads ($10.40) but then added 18 PP sales ($5.04) and 8 sub sales ($2.24). My portfolio there is now circa 850 and I am starting to see the results of Editorial images now being available on Thinkstock (PP) and the new subs packages at Istock itself.

Bigstock managed 7 downloads ($4.28). Pretty much all subscription sales.

123rf saw 8 downloads ($4.78). Again, mainly sub sales, which at Level 2 only pay at $0.25.

Fotolia produced 3 downloads (1.85 credits).

Ilida II hydrofoil, Corfu
My uploading saw an increase in July, however. I do not hold the belief that because sales are slow you should hold off uploads. Some contributors feel that the new images just get buried in quite periods (and Weekends) and never connect with buyers. Because of the mainly Editorial nature of my images I am confident they will get picked up in keyword searches in the future regardless of when I uploaded them. As well as the Eastbourne Pier fire images previously posted I also uploaded images from the 2014 St.Leonards Festival (a local community music and entertainment event)
. Samba drummers Dende Nation took part in a seafront parade during the event. Also uploaded were more images of my June trip to Paxos island including the harbour at Gaios and the Ilida II hydrofoil on which I had just returned to Corfu. Hopefully, August should prove the last of the quiter months before an upturn in September. Regards, David.