Announcement: How can I sell my photos and make some money???

Selling your digital photos for cash eBook

Getting Started in Stock

I asked myself that question over 6 years ago, and decided the answer was to sell my images. Since then I have increased my income to more than $30,000 a year and I share the steps and lessons learned in the newly revised third edition of my eBook – Getting Started in Stock.  You are facing a simple choice – do you want to learn as you go, following the forums and their inconsistent information from people who may or may not know what they are talking about, or do you want to save hours of frustration and learn it all on one easy to follow guidebook?

Buy this new eBook directly from my site through a simple and secure shopping cart and get immediate access to the information you need to make money from your photographs!

Just want to start? Please use the links on the right to register with the stock agencies. Thanks!

Making Money from Travel Photography – Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 of this extended post have discussed what to take on a travel vacation and then how to select and process images on your return. I’ll now turn to keywording and uploading the images.

I finished processing most of the images in mid October and eventually ended up with 389 images that I thought were worth keywording. I generally follow a simple rule about what is going to be “editorial” and hence only uploaded to my own site, Alamy, Corbis and Zoonar and the rest, which go to all sites. Because of tight restrictions on images with people needing a model release on some of those sites, anything with a person in it, however small, goes into the RM/Editorial bin unless I decide to clone out that person. Then, anything with modern property that is recognizable and likely to need a property release goes into RM/Editorial as well. With that rule in place, I ended up with 117 in RM/Editorial. I generally start at the beginning, and copy some standard keywords across the whole set – in this case Spain, Europe, Travel, Destination, Tourism and Stock Photo. I added that last one because my own stock site doesn’t automatically add those words and they probably help with an appropriate Google search. Then I go through each image and try to describe what it is, what it represent, where it is, any proper description of the location, whether there are people present (nobody or “people in background” being the most usual phrases). I try not to put anything too flowery in there – just the words that I would use to find this image. Writing a reasonably long description often helps throw up a few words as well – it is strange how the act of typing the description makes you hone down exactly what an image is about. So this one of the Parador hotel in Toledo would be keyworded as:

Parador de Toledo with swimming pool and dramatic overview of the city of Toledo, Spain, Europe

Parador de Toledo with swimming pool and dramatic overview of the city of Toledo, Spain, Europe

“balcony, building exterior, city, dramatic, editorial, europe, evening, hotel, lodging, overlook, overlooking, parador, Parador de Toledo, people in background, spain, stock photo, swimming pool, toledo, tourism, travel, view” Continue Reading

By Popular Demand

OK – here is reason for my comment about the identical tattoos. Perhaps not visible on the smaller images I posted:

The similar tattoos!

The similar tattoos!

Travel Photography – maximize your earnings – Part 2

Wow – who would have thought that processing 2000 images would take so long! It is an interesting question in psychology that although I earn a reasonable amount from photography, in my mind I am not “working” when I process images and so it sometimes takes me some time to process them all. However, I think that is an important approach as well – if you just plow on through your images, you will become jaded and start to pass over images that are worth a second look. So take your time and make sure you get the best out of each image.

How do I approach such a project – start at the beginning! It is sometimes tempting to work on an image that you think is going to be really good, and that is fine, but I generally work from the start of the vacation through to the end, and then think about keywording. My criteria for processing an image is two fold – do I think it is a nice artistic image in its own right (because we are artists at heart) and secondly I also process those images that purely have some commercial rationale but may not be great photographs. Both types are worthwhile to me – there is some effort in keywording the “artistic” ones, but even though it may not be very saleable, it will probably sell from time to time.

Artistic - but will it sell?

Artistic – but will it sell?

I use Lightroom as my main processing engine, and my approach is almost mechanical now. Continue Reading

Sometimes surprises come out of the blue

Shutterstock has been a big disappointment for a few months, with my earnings dipping well below $1000 month after month. I haven’t done a lot of analysis, but the relative lack of “on demands” and particularly Enhanced Downloads, seems to be a major reason for the fall.

So it is nice to sometimes open up the earnings page and see a pleasant surprise:

The simple shots are often the best

This simple macro shot of a pile of pins sold this morning for $88.50. I’ll start the day with a spring in my step…

UPDATE: Today, I noticed a big jump in my Shutterstock earnings and found two significant purchases. I hope this is a sign of things to come!

Sold for $30

Sold for $80.39

All told, I’m now at $668 for the month on Shutterstock.

Sale on Fine Art America

It is a long time since I reported a success on Fine Art America, but out of the blue I got an email telling me that someone had bought a relatively small print of a night time shot of the Riverwalk and Centennial Fountain in Chicago. It was only a 12 x 8 inch print and so my profit was $32, but better than nothing. I could do to revisit some of my more recent “artistic” shots and upload some more images to that site!

recent sale of a print on Fine Art America

Riverwalk and Centennial Fountain Chicago

Travel Photography – maximize your earnings – Part 1

Now that I am back from my vacation in Spain and London, and have started to go through my 2100+ images, I will write first about what I look for when I am travelling and how I approach the processing and selection of images. I’m doing this in parts, as the whole thing could get too unwieldy.

Tilting at Windmills

Tilting at Windmills

I’m writing this now that I am back home, so the first question of what to shoot is me thinking back about why I took certain images. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had two camera kits with me – a Canon 5D Mk III with 24-105mm F4, 70-200mm F4, 16-35mm F4 lenses. To save weight, I left my 50mm and also the 1.4x convertor at home! Still, this is a pretty weighty pack and even though my backpack is comfortable, it still takes some handling. My second camera kit was the far more humble Sony RX10, which I have reviewed in an earlier post. The Sony has a reasonably large sensor, and a built in 28-200mm lens. No dust, no changing lenses, it just gives you a wide range of options for framing the shot. I used it almost entirely in Aperture priority, but with the auto ISO setting. What did I find? I ended up with 1100 shots from the Sony and 500 from the Canon. Many of the Canon shots were panoramas and difficult HDR shots, and so I have many individual frames for what will be one final image. I had my travelling tripod as well and so I usually looked for a good overview of a town for an evening or broad panorama, and as I was close to the car or hotel in most cases, the Canon was the right choice for those. Thinking back, I could probably have just used the Sony for the whole vacation, which makes you wonder what we spend all the big dollars for! Continue Reading

Earnings in September 2015

Finally, a bit of good news. Shutterstock is still in the doldrums (with earnings this month of $877), but most of the other sites showed some positive improvements so that I ended the month with at least $2375. I say at least, because I noticed that on the first day of September I had a $50 sale in iStock’s partner program, which means that my normal estimates for iStock sales are probably low.

What was good in September – 123RF came in with $156, which is the highest I have seen from that site. I didn’t investigate exactly why, but it looks to be some higher value extended licenses that pushed up the earnings. Canva is doing very nicely with a record $179 in the month – previous high was $130 on that site. I have been uploading some PNG files with transparency to Canva, as I can’t wait for their internal processes to cut out my images against white, and those are selling nicely. On Alamy/Corbis, I had a pretty good month with sales of $259. The rest just continued as normal, which I guess is good!

I add the graph next month, but it looks like the earnings are stabilizing. Still lower than I was achieving a year ago, but to be honest I haven’t done much with stock images this summer so this is largely passive income. I have a whole lot of images to process and upload from my recent vacation, so perhaps that will start to show results in the coming quarter.

Pricing on my own Stock Site

I’ve only had one sale since moving to the new design of my personal stock agency, and so I decided to change the license type (from a sort of restricted royalty free license competing with Shutterstock and the like) to a one time use license with an extended option (for resale products) and reduced the pricing significantly.

I rewrote my license based on one that Robin (from Symbiostock) uses on his stock site, and changed the pricing so that the images are now for sale as:

Small JPEG – 600 pixels – $0.99
Medium JPEG – 1000 pixels – $1.99
Large JPEG – 3200 pixels – $3.99
Full size JPEG – $4.99
Extended License, full size – $35.00

I’ll see if this makes a difference to the sales!

Back in the real world

After an extended vacation in Spain and then in London, I am back at home with around 1600 images to process and sort for my stock library. I thought I would write a long blog post about how I approach that, what I look for in terms of a useful stock photo from travel images and also how I go about keywording them. I have only just finished importing them into Lightroom, so it will be a little while before I write that post, but hopefully it will be interesting to my readers.

We did a meandering drive from Madrid south eventually to Malaga and Marbella, and I separately plan to write a travel guide to seeing that part of Spain – what we did, where we went, and what we tried to see. That is probably a longer term project, but it sounds like a good idea. Perhaps a new eBook!

Finally, this time I took both my Canon 5D and lenses, plus the Sony RX10. I have to say that although I know the Canon takes better, more detailed images, I tended to use the Sony much more. It is just so easy to walk around with, and as we were walking some 5 – 10 miles some days in the narrow and steep streets of Spanish towns, the small size and weight make all the difference! I did use the Canon, but mainly from shots where the lighting was poorer and I was close to the car or the hotel. I think the Sony is a great little travel camera. If you are interested, please check it out at Amazon:

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