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

Another Bored Panda article

I’ve converted my recent blog post on creating new stock photos into a Bored Panda article. It is my aim to get picked up in their “Trending” area and get more viewers of my blog via that!

Businessman offering a bitcoin in payment for bottles of wine in wine store or supermarket in concept for e-commerce

If you wouldn’t mind, please “Upvote” on the article

Do Alamy buyers search elsewhere?

Earlier in August I did an analysis of all the zooms on Alamy in the first half of the month to see if a buyer then searched for, and bought, that image on one of the microstock sites. This post continues that analysis for the rest of the month.

11 August – No zooms on this RM image, but sold on Alamy

I only uploaded these images from Equatorial Guinea to Alamy and Getty (via Corbis). Continue Reading

Remove a step-up ring from a filter

Since I moved to the Sony from Canon, I’ve had to buy some step-up filter rings to use my 77mm filters on the various Sony lenses. Simple solution, and to some extent it is better having larger filters on wide angle lenses to avoid vignetting. But what when the ring has been on your polarizing filter for some time and it refuses to budge? The polarizer is quite thin, it rotates of course, and so the amount of “gripping” space is pretty small. I saw a video about tapping the edge of the filter several times to try to free up the threads, but it didn’t work for me. And then I thought back to my Physics days – expansion due to heat! So I put a thin layer of hot water (from the tap, not the kettle) in a plate and put the filter (ring side down) into the water. The level was designed to just cover the step-up ring and no more – it didn’t touch the glass. Waited a few minutes and then, bingo, the ring easily unscrewed as it got warmer and expanded away from the threads on the filter itself. One little tip to add to your memory banks!

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