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

I asked myself that question over 8 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 2017 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?

You can buy the book directly from my site or buy this new eBook directly from Amazon as a Kindle download and get immediate access to the information you need to make money from your photographs! Now recognized as the Best Seller in Professional Photography Books!

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I try hard to keep this blog informative, but not bombard you with ads that pop-up and spoil the experience. If you find the site useful and have a need for anything from Amazon (a new camera perhaps!), please use this link (or the product bar below) to check out Amazon Electronics, Camera and Photo Best Sellers It won’t cost you anything, but I will get a small affiliate payment if you decide to buy something! Thanks again!


How to make the best of a day in a new city

As I think I mentioned, I went on a cruise in September around the Baltic Sea. 11 cities in 15 days! Apart from a cruise being a really relaxing way to spend your time, how does it match against a travel stock photographer’s needs? How do I approach a day in a new city? I thought I would illustrate this with one day’s shoot in Copenhagen – I just finished keywording and uploading this particular set yesterday. As I had to keyword a total of 65 images, it brought home to me just how much work this business can generate! Time will tell if it generates some income to match that effort…

We arrived around sunrise in the port, which is reasonably close to the city center of Copenhagen. Although you are completely at the mercy of the weather on a one day trip, I still try to get the best shots I can. Luckily, Copenhagen was dry and somewhat sunny! My first start is to see what I can see from the boat itself:

In this case, the new power station in the harbor built with a ski slope and climbing wall inside. Looking around I also see the Genetically Modified Little Mermaid: Continue Reading

Always be on the look for interesting images

One lesson you should take to heart – you never know when a chance shot will turn into a nice little earner and so you need to always be ready (with your camera) for those chance encounters. What do I mean by this? I was driving down a small road near my home when I saw a burned out cabin by the side of the road. I’d never really noticed it before, but now it was a burnt out wreck surrounded by yellow tape. I pulled off the road, got my camera out and took both wide and close shots of the damaged building. I removed a few company names on the yellow tape and submitted to all agencies in July this year. Well, early results were not great! One image sold for $0.22 on iStock in August and it looked like they were destined to sink into the “useless shots in my portfolio” collection! Then, early this week I saw two sales of the images on Shutterstock:

The two images sold for  Continue Reading

Focus on enjoying your photography

Life shouldn’t be all work and stock photographers need to take a break from the creation of “saleable” images sometimes! Yesterday I took a trip to Valley Falls State Park in “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia” with my local camera club – a place that is only 30 miles from my home, but I hadn’t known existed before this weekend! I’m not sure any of these shots are worth uploading to stock agencies, but I enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours in the fresh air trying to come up with interesting variations on the straight forward waterfall shots:

Heavily flooded Tygart Valley river flows in smooth slow motion image over waterfall in Valley Falls State Park West Virginia

This one was taken with the Singh-Ray Gold ‘n’ Blue filter plus a variable neutral density filter as well to give me a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds. I did some traditional shots as well, but I really liked the abstract colors that you can get using this filter.  Continue Reading

Earnings from Stock Photography – October 2017

I’m very late this month – my apologies! I was off on yet another trip to take stock photos – this time to Southern California. Not as many images to process as my last trip (which I haven’t finished yet), but I now have another 823 to process and eventually keyword the selected images. One thing you need to understand about this business – it is actually quite a lot of hard work going through every image, choosing the ones that might be suitable for uploading, processing them and then keywording and describing each one. Think of it as a job – not a hobby. You must get those images properly keyworded if they are going to earn their keep!

But enough preaching! How did I do in October? Not too bad. My overall earnings came in at $2793 – a bit down on last month, but still pretty respectable. Here is my normal monthly chart showing earnings in each month compared to previous years:

Earnings from stock photography in October 2017

What were the highlights this month? Shutterstock keeps its position as my number one agency with $725. For the first time for a long time, I had no enhanced license sales, but got $201 from single sales in the month. However, there is a real up and coming agency pushing for the number two position with Continue Reading

When to pay for applications to help your stock process?

One of the common traits of many stock photographers is a certain carefulness with money – not for equipment in many cases, but in terms of applications that may simplify their lives by saving a bit of time. I must admit to the same feeling – $1000 on a new lens, certainly! $7.99 a month for a service that tracks earnings – no way!

But I got to thinking about this – my biggest expense in creating and uploading stock photos is my time that it takes to keyword, prepare, upload and submit images to the various agencies. My next user of time is probably my interest in tracking my sales, not particularly to see how much I made in the month (although that is interesting), it is more to see what is selling and whether that prompts me to take different versions of similar images, or update older ones that are looking dated.

So I must admit to deciding to pay for three monthly services. Continue Reading

How to take great images in dark buildings

One of the things that proved invaluable on my travels was the ability to take great images in dark indoor spaces. Of course, it would be nice to use a tripod and a low ISO, but almost all churches and palaces don’t allow tripods and there are few places where you could even rest your camera or use a small portable tripod. Modern cameras are getting better each year in terms of noise performance, but for stock images, the agencies generally want perfection! What about noise reduction techniques – those are good for low levels of noise, but they work by smoothing or averaging out the values of the pixels to remove the noise and so the edges and details can get softer as well.

So how do we get panoramic shots like this in a dark cathedral?

My technique is to first really bump up the ISO such that you can set a suitable aperture (F7.1 in this case as there were some significant differences in distance from the camera and although the focal length was just 20mm  Continue Reading

Earnings from Stock Photography in September 2017

It is a long time since I posted, but I do have an excuse. I was on a cruise around the Baltic sea (and to save you reaching for Google Maps, the ship went from Sweden to Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark and finally Norway). I’ve come back with 2270 images and am slowly working my way through them to try to get the best stock photos out of the voyage.

However, I came back to some nice earnings this month, with the total just short of $3000 – I ended up with $2977. Here is my graph showing earnings per month over the past four years:

Earnings from stock photography and microstock agencies over the past four years

As you can see, this was a very nice increase over last month and seems to be following a trend in most months this year where the 2017 total is more than the same months in previous years.  Continue Reading

Microstockr Pro now handles Alamy sales

One of the issues with Alamy is that while you can look at a page of sales with small thumbnails, it is hard to understand how much you actually earned as it shows the gross sales price. I’ve become a keen user of Microstockr Pro over the past 6 months – to be honest, I didn’t think I would as I’ve never been one to pore over the sales, but I actually have found it pretty instructive to see when new images have sold, and to use the “best seller” page which combines sales of an image across all sites to let me understand what my best selling images actually are. Now the developers of the App have gone one step better by including Alamy sales into their application:

Alamy Sales now in Microstockr Pro

This is the first time that I have been able to see at a glance what has sold on Alamy, and to see the actual net income from the sale. What was immediately interesting was that a simple and boring picture of a watch has sold so often. That gives me some ideas for other shots that might sell OK on Alamy! It also shows what a mix of images has actually sold on Alamy as well. I’m not sure I can detect much of a trend, but it will be interesting to watch this (slowly) grow as new sales come along.

Microstockr Pro is free for the PC version while it is in Beta. Try it out!

 

Earnings from Stock Photography in August 2017

Another month end comes round. Is it just me, or is time speeding up? Anyway, this month is following the usual trend – add more images, earn the same money! I still think it is a viable way to earn money, it is just different to what it was a few years ago when adding more images resulted in a growth in earnings. Now it seems like the time spent on adding more images results in a continuation of earnings – more like a normal job I suppose where you work each day and get the same amount of money each month.

For the month, I ended up with $2573 compared to $2267 last month. As August is generally a pretty poor month, this is not too shabby and the historic analysis tends to bear this out:

Earnings from stock photography via microstock agencies in August 2017

As you can see Continue Reading

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