Category Archives: “How-to” articles

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!

New Blog for stock photographers

I’ve written about the new independent stock agency Symzio before – it is linked to the Symbiostock personal agencies and basically you choose which images to send to the new agency and how much to charge for the full size image. The developers have started a new blog aimed at stock illustrators and photographers and a recent post caught my eye: 5 Tips on becoming a stock photographer! I’m sure many of the readers of my blog will know most of these, but a refresher is always welcome!


Trying to boost my stock site using Social Media

I am trying hard this year to get my own stock agency, Backyard Stock Photos off the ground. This is based on wordpress with the free Symbiostock plugin – I wrote about the way I migrated from my old site in this earlier post. The developer of the plugin has created agency where all the users of the plugin can choose to include their images (on a one by one basis if you want) and choose the price for the full sized RF license and I have all my RF images now in that Symzio Agency.  But – and this is a big but – how do we get traction, which basically means that when someone searches on Google Images, for instance, how close to the top of the page do they see my image in either Symzio or Backyard Stock Photos? Continue Reading

Create pure white background in Lightroom for isolation

Isolating an object against a white background is usually a photoshop task. With selections, curves and the rest, you can easily get rid of flaws in what should be a pure white background. But what can you do if the image includes currency? As I have been finding, Adobe has built some complex algorithms into the latest releases of Photoshop that stop you from opening or editing a photograph that contains even parts of US dollar currency bills. I’m sure criminals can use open source programs to do their counterfeiting, but this change has made creating normal stock photos more complex.

Here is what I was trying to achieve – but just using Lightroom:

Handing over a gift of $50 US bank notes

Handing over a gift of $50 US bank notes

Continue Reading

Fine Art America – trying new pricing

I’m putting effort into my Fine Art America images by adding the digital art paintings created by the Impresso Pro plugin. I decided to look at my pricing at the same time and spent some time this morning looking at the pricing of images that had recently sold on the site. I focused on photographs and checked the pricing on about 24 of them. This table shows the sale price of a basic print in three sizes on the longest side – 8, 20 and 36 inches. Not all images were available at all sizes. My current pricing is in the top row:

Pricing of recent sales

Pricing of recent sales

Continue Reading

How does a photo develop from original Raw to finished print?

I have been playing with the Impresso Plugin that produces some really nice oil painting effects in Lightroom and Photoshop with very few steps (although there are many options I haven’t fully got to grips with yet!) and after I completed one recent image I went back and looked at the progression from the original shot to the finished item:

Use of Impresso Pro plugin in Photoshop to create realistic oil painting effects

Finished Impresso Oil Painting

An artist shouldn’t really show the original photo as it makes it seem like nothing is real any more, but here are the steps I went through. Continue Reading

Digital Art on Fine Art America

I’m still interested in exploring more ways of selling fine art – and so have revisited Fine Art America again to see if I can get some traction. I’ve had few sales this year. I talked about my pricing strategy at FAA in an earlier post and I haven’t changed that, but I’m investigating uploading more artistic images rather than my normal stock photos. Looking at the recent sales on the site makes me think that people are after a more painterly look!

Sunrise over the ocean

Sunrise over the ocean

How did I do that?  Continue Reading

More Travel Photography for Stock

Just two days ago, I was complaining about not being able to get my earnings above the $2-$3K per month level, but later that day I finished the keywording of my images from a week’s trip to Kauai in early November – looking at those pictures of the warm sunny days made me realize that this is not a bad way to make money! Even better, I got the results of the upload to Shutterstock – 103 images uploaded, 100 accepted. As you can see from my portfolio on Shutterstock, they are all generally bright and “happy” looking images which I think is a big reason the upload was so successful.

I noticed that one of them sold this morning – yes, just for 38c, but at least it was being seen and downloaded!

Panorama of Hanalei Bay Kauai

Panorama of Hanalei Bay Kauai

My thoughts this time on what I took, and why, are somewhat different than the trip to Spain, which was a first time visit. Continue Reading

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

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

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