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!

Building a new Photography PC – lessons learned!

After a great set of earnings in August (OK, perhaps that isn’t altogether true…), I decided the time was right to build a new computer for my photography. My current PC was bought refurbished in 2010 and although I added more memory, it was increasingly slow when I wanted to move between the panels in Lightroom and even loading an image for editing seemed to take a few seconds. Frustrating! I saw this article by a fellow photographer Nasim Mansurov about the ultimate PC build for Photographers (and he has various links for the items from B&H if you would like to use them), and that really tempted me to have a go. I followed all his recommendations and so this is more about issues and thoughts I had in building the computer rather than the logic for the choice of the components. I tend to buy all my stuff from Amazon and so I have put various Amazon links in this blog post in case you want to follow in my footsteps.

The case I used was a full tower Cooler Master HAF-X. Wow – is this a big unit.

Build of ultra fast photography PC

Build of ultra fast photography PC

I must admit I didn’t expect this big a case, but it certainly made things easy to work on within the case. Continue Reading

Earnings – what on earth happened in August

August seems to have been the worst month for a long time for me. Shutterstock was a disaster – just $786 and that includes a $96 sale in the Single on demand area in the final week of the month. Without that, it would have been less that $700! Back in January and February, I was regularly hitting $1000+ – since April it has been downhill all the way. It just goes to show that diversification is important – if you are only on one site, you suffer along with that site.

Unfortunately, it was hard to see many bright spots in August. Deposit Photos was OK at $128, Alamy with $126, and iStock with my estimate of partner earnings at $260 or so. Finally, Canva hit a new record of $130 for August.

The end result – not even $2000 with just $1945 in sales. I didn’t post last month’s sales, but they were $2160 – not great, but at least over that $2000 barrier.

Here is my graph showing the decline in the past month or two:

Earnings from Stock Photography

Earnings from Stock Photography

Hope you are doing better – and lets hope September pulls out of the pit of despair!

First Sale from my new Symbiostock personal stock agency website

Success at last… Well, in a small way I guess. Just 3 weeks after I launched my new improved stock site based on the new Symbiostock plugin and theme, I had my first sale:

First sale with Symbiostock

Admittedly it was for the smallest size image and I only earned $2.00, but you can’t help but get excited at a 100% royalty sale!

Hope there are more in my future!!

How to backup your Symbiostock photo agency website

This is a specialized post and only of interest to people who have created their own stock agency site using the Symbiostock plugin and WordPress. I’ve written a couple of posts about how I transitioned from the legacy Symbiostock Theme to the new plugin here.

Why Backup: You may have signed up for backup services from your web hosting company, but at the end of the day you will have put 100s of hours into uploading, describing and processing your images on your site. What happens if there is an issue on the server hosting your site and, for some reason, the backup didn’t cover all the necessary files? Much pain!

What to Backup: There are four main areas of the Symbio site:
Continue Reading

Learning points from creating a new Symbiostock website

As I mentioned earlier this week, I have been creating a new Symbiostock based personal stock agency for all my images. This was partly because the legacy theme is not being supported any longer and partly because I wanted to simplify my hosting arrangements. To illustrate the issue, someone bought a couple of images from my legacy site last night, I charged him, but the site didn’t send the email with links to the images. Not good…

Anyway, I thought it would be useful for any photographers following in my shoes if I noted down the lessons learned in the transition from old to new.
Continue Reading

The new Symbiostock – trying again with my own stock agency!

Talk about being a glutton for punishment…

I put many, many hours into creating my own stock site at BackyardStockPhotos using the first Symbiostock wordpress theme written by Leo. We had lots of issues along the way, with Leo battling bravely through each one and constantly listening to the endless demands of the stock photographers and illustrators that were using the theme. As often happens with internet based forums, the whole thing degenerated into name calling and a very antagonistic environment and Leo decided to go his own way in the end. I must say that I found him continually helpful as I worked through issues on my own site, and eventually I got everything up and running and it has been stable ever since. To get the sort of page load performance I wanted, I decided to host it on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which ended up being $49 a month on my current month to month plan. My earnings have not been very good, with the monthly earnings this year being $20, $20, $0, $0, $20, $45 in each of the months so far. A loss maker to be sure, but good for my ego to be able to sell my own photos directly to buyers…
Continue Reading

RF versus RM versus Editorial versus Commercial

Yes, if you are like many newcomers to the world of stock photography, you are confused! The more you read the forum posts, the more it all becomes muddled. If I had a dollar for each time someone said that an image didn’t have a release and so it must be rights managed, or that all RF images are for commercial use I would be a wealthy man…

To me, Royalty Free (RF) and Rights Managed (RM) are different licensing approaches. RF is a one-off license payment that lets the buyer use the image multiple times for as long as they want. RM is a more specific license where the buyer pays for a specific use and for that use only. If they use it again, they need to license it again. You would logically think that RF would be more expensive than RM, but that isn’t the way it is – so RM has tended to be associated with better and higher value images as you pay more. Many professional photographers only license their images as RM so there is potentially more choice from higher end photographers available as RM. You can sell an image as RF on multiple sites, you can sell an image as RM on multiple sites, but you can’t sell an image as RM on one site and RF on another, mainly because RM expects you to know what uses your image has been put to – you have no idea if it is sold as RF.

OK, so far so good. Nothing about the above says that RF is only for commercial work, or RM images don’t need releases – that is where all the confusion starts…
Continue Reading

Image Brief – how I approach it

With three awards under my belt, I must be an expert at Image Brief submissions!

I thought it might be interesting to talk about how I approach a brief – there was one today that asked for:

Signs of a middle-aged person/a couple with plans to go out for a day/eve. Tickets to an event on a table next to car keys or other symbols of leaving home; the supporting text will depict hesitation about going out due to a medical condition

They even had a little drawing of what they wanted:

Image Brief Requirement

Image Brief Requirement

The first issue I had was how to find some tickets to an event – its funny how you can find anything on the internet, and I found a website that allows you to create your own ticket and enter all the text into the appropriate fields. I created one with appropriate non-copyright words – Shakespeare is always a good bet – and printed on some card stock to give it the right texture. I then tried different approaches to the brief – some on the kitchen worktop, some on a lacquered piano top to get the reflections, some on a table:

Image Brief entry - meeting the spec

Image Brief entry – meeting the spec

and then I thought of taking a shot with the open front door in the background to suggest that the couple is just about to go out. That might be something that is a little different to the actual request, but could fit their needs:

One a little different

One a little different

I also checked what the usage was – in this case, billboards and similar displays, so I focused more on horizontal shots and also uploaded the full size image from the camera to give them plenty of pixels. Of course, I probably won’t get the award, but it was interesting and gives me some stock shots for future uploads!

Another ImageBrief Sale…

Although I see quite a lot of dissatisfaction about Image Brief on various forums, I still enjoy looking at the briefs (of which there seem to be a lot these days) and thinking about which images might fit the requirement. Many briefs seem to expire without any award, and some take a long time before anything happens. I was surprised to see an email yesterday with details of a new sale – an image that I must have submitted months ago – I don’t recall when it actually was. The award was for $250, of which I get $175, and it is an image of Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia:

Image Brief award - Gadsby's Tavern

Image Brief award – Gadsby’s Tavern

That makes three awards for me now – two in 2014 and one in 2015. Details of how to join are in this earlier post about Image Brief

Good luck with your own entries!

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