Massive upload completed – will it be worth it?

I went on a cruise in May between Athens and Venice and over the 14 days we were away, took a total of 3300 images and 26 videos. Ever since I have been working on editing and then keywording/uploading the images (still got to work on the videos…). What surprised me, and hopefully this is a good sign that my skills are improving, is that although the 3300 images included the individual frames of stitched panoramas, and also the multiple shots that I take to remove noise when I am hand holding interior shots, I ended up with 916 submitted images. As I often take two shots of a scene to increase my chances of getting the framing and focus right, that means that almost all the shots I took turned out to be worth editing and uploading.

Moon over the wake of a cruise ship at night with the moon on the horizon stock photo
Moon rising over wake and waves of cruise ship at sea with concept of leaving or starting anew

Looking at the images now in StockSubmitter, I ended up with 543 commercial images and 373 editorial and almost all of them have been accepted by the various agencies. I only really check Shutterstock and Adobe, but I think the others are probably similar. If you want to see what images I decided to upload, you can check them out in my Shutterstock portfolio.

Man painting the white walls in Santorini
White paint being applied by roller to traditional house in Santorini

The big, big question currently is whether these will ever earn enough money to make all the effort worthwhile. In the past, I would have said – yes, they probably will – but I’m far from sure these days with the lower prices, over-supply and, of course, the free download sites as well. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but I think it will be a hard task to get a lot out of these images. All of the countries we visited were new to me, and so I should be able to track sales from time to time using Microstockr Pro (using the country name as the search term) and so I’ll report on sales in around 12 months or so.

British royal navy warship in dock in Corfu stock photo
CORFU, GREECE – 20 MAY 2019: HMS Duncan Royal Navy destroyer docked in Corfu
Cruising into Kotor in Montenegro stock photo
Small village of Prcanj on coastline of Gulf of Kotor in Montenegro

I’ve just inserted some images into this blog post to give you an idea of what I look for. Beautiful landscapes, certainly, but also workmen keeping the beautiful villas on Santorini a pristine white color, the Royal Navy in Corfu, a more abstract view of the wake of the ship at night with the moon on the horizon (Fine Art America perhaps!), a wood fire in a farmhouse that we visited as part of a day trip in Croatia, a panorama of a less well visited town of Novigrad in Croatia together with an editorial of a fishing boat in the harbor. It is really everything that attracts my eye all through the day (and night!)

Panorama of Novigrad in Croatia stock photo
Colorful old village of Novigrad in Istria county of Croatia with blue river and harbor

You will also note that I am keeping a bright, contrasty, colorful look to these images, and using that Dehaze filter in Lightroom to make the skies more dramatic in many of the shots. That seems to be the “in” style at the moment so hopefully that will work for the buyers!

Fishing boat in the harbor of Novigrad in Croatia
Novigrad, Croatia – 23 May 2019: Fishing boat in front of colorful old village of Novigrad in Istria county of Croatia with blue river and harbor
Burning ambers from wood fire in old kitchen stock photo
Wood fire and embers used for smoking food or home made bakery oven

Putting all this talk of money to one side – I really enjoyed the visits to each city and the weather was about as good as it gets, which all makes for some great photographs. So putting aside my business hat, it was well worthwhile!

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10 Responses

  1. AlessandraRC says:

    That’s right these types of images do not sell very well and they most definitely do not come even close to paying for a trip like this. But, well, you would travel anyway and taking pictures for stock does help to focus on the details. I still have not sold one from my trip to Thailand or Germany this year. And I do sell a few here and then from my trips to Brazil, where I go every year. Keep up the good work!

  2. Chris Putnam says:

    Great article once again and i agree with you and find exactly the same. I had a dedicated photo trip to Japan for 10 days in May and im maybe 50% of way thru. Uploaded perhaps 250 images and made $9 so far haha. I try not to draw myself into the conceptual side too muich as I found it to be detracting from my holidays but perhaps on a dedicated trip I should be.

    I had a ‘heart to heart;’ with Envato recently who are one of my best agencies. They accept very little and are very subjective. I find that fine though as I respect their judgment unlike SS. Ive gone the big middle of day (usually little choice), dehaze, contrasty images. I also feel they are the way to go. However Envato indictaed to me these were being declined often due to light being too harsh. It is of course and almost on purpose. They are still after the more arty, lifestyle image. Worth remembering I guess

    • Steven Heap says:

      It is a lot of work! But I did sell an image of the port of Koper yesterday for 38c!! I was “thrown off” Photodune when they had the big clean up. Interesting that you are doing well there – what sort of things are selling? Perhaps I should apply again!

  3. Kevin Hellon says:

    Enjoyable post Steve with some great photographs. Keep the blog posts coming as obviously many other people besides me enjoy them very much. I too have gone for the contrasty images mainly because I like them!. A couple of years ago, I did a similar cruise. Unfortunately the weather in Kotor was atrocious which was a shame because I expected it to be a highlight of our trip. Still I have the excuse to do it again! Kevin

    • Steven Heap says:

      Yes, Kotor was a fantastic part of the cruise, and I thought the light was going to be horrible on arrival, but the clouds parted and we got sun coming in low over the mountains. Impossible to plan for that sort of thing!

  4. Some fine shots there Steve! #1 particularly strikes my fancy. Hmm, it kinda sounds like you think stock is pining for Kodachrome days to return?

    • Steven Heap says:

      Thanks Bill! Yes, I like that moon shot! I think most uses of travel shots are to excite people to go and instagram stars have sort of set the standard (even though they are far from reality). So, yes, Kodachrome is back in vogue!

I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!