Category Archives: “How-to” articles

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!


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!

Microstockr Pro – I missed it!

I’ve written about Microstockr Pro before, but it is always difficult to justify spending money on applications for microstock. It seems like we are so conditioned to accepting pennies for our images that we absolutely hate spending money (especially recurring money) on services that might make our lives easier! I know someone who earns more from me from stock photography who will not pay for applications like StockSubmitter and Microstockr Pro even though it is clear that she can easily afford it.

I accidentally let my subscription to Microstockr lapse at the end of December and initially thought – “oh, so what! I can see how my earnings are doing from time to time by visiting the main sites – I don’t need to spend my money on this.” So I didn’t renew. The result was pretty amazing – I really missed the program! Continue Reading

Which agencies do I currently submit to?

It’s no secret that I’m now a very keen user of Stock Submitter to upload and submit my images and videos to the various stock agencies. But which sites do I currently support via that program?

I thought a brief post on that might be useful! My referral links (if available) are in the links provided – hope you don’t mind using them!

All images:

Adobe Stock/Fotolia




Adobe Stock/Fotolia

How to maximize your earnings from your photos

We all spend a lot of money on our hobby, so how can you maximize the amount of money you earn from licensing your images via stock agencies? Well, the obvious immediate answer is to take great commercial images that are better than all the ones already out there, but, to be honest, that is easier said than done. There is another way though – maximize your income by making your photos available to as many potential buyers as possible.

We are all aware of the main agencies, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and so on. Some people have decided that the rewards are greater by choosing one agency and making yourself exclusive to them. Often their commission rates are higher for an exclusive contributor and you save the effort involved in uploading and submitting images to other agencies. I can understand the logic, but you are really making yourself dependent on the success of one agency for your entire income stream. If that agency annoys its buyers, fails to market correctly, or is simply taken over by another company that doesn’t have the same objectives you could be in trouble!

So how do we reach the most potential buyers – by submitting to the maximum number of agencies! I am sure there are some buyers who have an idea for an image they need and they search the internet using Google Images and they find that image on a particular agency and sign up to license it. But then with the next image they find a different agency and sign up again to buy that one. Even as you are reading this, I’m sure the complexity of the task becomes apparent. Setting up multiple accounts and using your credit card to buy images on a one by one basis is a lot of work and you are unlikely to get any discounts from buying more than one image.

Much more likely is the buyer who either personally, or their company has, an account with that agency. Perhaps they have a subscription type agreement, or a plan where they can buy a certain number of images over time – but the majority of people who are willing to pay for licenses will sign up to no more than a couple of agencies in my view.

Some of those agencies charge more for licenses – Getty and Alamy have significantly higher license fees that Shutterstock for example, and yet their buyers continue to buy images at those prices. I’ve studied the images that have been looked at in detail on Alamy and have never found a case where someone has “zoomed” into one of my images there and then gone elsewhere to buy the same image for less on another site.

So if the buyers tend to have a favorite agency, then the only way that buyer will license your image is if you have uploaded it to their agency – it is as simple as that. If you don’t upload there, then they will buy an alternative image from someone else that meets their needs.

But what about the risks of supporting an unknown agency that may decide to go belly up and simply sell your images for next to nothing? Yes, there is a risk that the more you support smaller agencies, that one of them may close down – it has happened a couple of times to me, but I’ve never had the situation there they have done anything more than close down the agency and delete the files. It would be an unusual CEO who would be willing to risk fraud charges by illegally selling off images in their database.

Is there a limit on the number of agencies to support? Yes, they must meet both of these criteria – be easy to upload to and have at least a few sales a month! As I explained in this post, I have a structured approach to managing my files such that it takes very little time to upload to 16 agencies compared to the effort in supporting one. Yes, technology helps, and the earnings from these smaller sites more than covers the cost of using software to help in the process.

So what is the result? Taking earnings from 2017 to date, if I had only supported one agency (Shutterstock in my case), I would have earned $8.5K for the year. Adding in a second agency takes this to $13.5K. My top five agencies increase the take to $22.5K. Adding the remaining 20 agencies that have some (or all) of my images gives me the remaining $7.5K. I don’t submit currently to 25 agencies, as over time I drop agencies from my upload process if they don’t contribute more than $10 a month or more. But I don’t delete my existing files on those agencies as getting payout once a year for no effort is still OK in my eyes.

So start counting those pennies and maximize your chance of selling your images by supporting the agencies that the buyers are supporting!

My current workflow

It is a long time since I wrote about my workflow and it has probably evolved over time, so an update might be welcome for some newer readers. Here is the essence:

  1. I always take my images in Raw format and import into Lightroom. Because I keyword all the images I think are worthwhile, having a structure on my hard-drive with topics or particular shoots isn’t necessary and so I use a simple Year and then Month structure:
  2.  I have some fast SSDs in my computer (Windows 10) and keep the Lightroom catalog on my C Drive, which is the fastest drive.
  3. I keep my current year images on another 500G SSD and move a completed year’s images to a normal hard drive (F: in the photo above) which is 4TB and large enough to hold all my images back through 1999. Continue Reading

How to create images for things in the news

It is always a good idea for stock contributors to be ahead of the game when it comes to illustrating subjects that are going to get a lot of coverage in the news and on blogs and sites. Of course some of those are obvious now in retrospect – buying some fake bitcoins to illustrate the seemingly endless rise in their price would have given you lots of opportunities for sales:

Since I first bought these “gold” coins back in March and I uploaded 48 different sorts of images and videos, I have earned over $1000 from the set. Total cost to me was about $40 (the ethereum coin was almost $20 for some reason). It is a bit late to get on this bandwagon, but how do I go about creating images for things that I think will be newsworthy? Continue Reading

Dreamstime Blog Contest

I wrote last week about the Dreamstime Blog Contest and my entry. Well, and this is a bit of a downer, my entry was rejected for not meeting some or all of their guidelines. I checked those out, but am not really sure what I did wrong, but, hey, there are other things in life! I’ll reformat the article and post it here a little later!

In the meantime, I do have a favor to ask. My colleague, Alex Rotenberg, writes really well and is trying to make it in stock photography as his full time occupation! He has a blog entry over on Dreamstime, which I think is a pretty interesting perspective of someone who got into the stock game relatively recently. If you like it, please mark it as “Useful” in the upper left hand column! Perhaps we can get the prize for Alex!


Dreamstime has a blog competition – you can help me!

Dreamstime has announced a competition for “best blog” post on their site and so I have had a go at my first blog on the Dreamstime site.

**Update** – it doesn’t appear to be visible on the site yet. Perhaps in moderation? ***

I decided to write about a tricky subject – how to come up with ideas (and images) to illustrate things in the news. If you have an account at Dreamstime, would you mind having a look at my blog post and, if you find it useful, click on the green “Useful” button at the top of the left column (at least it is there on a webpage view of their blog!)



Don’t assume you know everything!

What a strange title! But I realized over the past few days that what I have been doing with editorial shots was not only a lot of hard work – it was unnecessary as well! For the past year, I have been uploading editorial shots to the stock agencies using the guidance in this Shutterstock blog article, Creating the Perfect Editorial Caption. Basically, a perfect caption is like this:

GDANSK, POLAND – 16 SEPTEMBER: Hyundai cars on dockside on 16 September 2017 in Gdansk, Poland. Hyundai sold over 7.8M vehicles in 2016.

It has the date, location, then a description, then the location again and finally something that makes it newsworthy – a “qualifying newsworthy statement” as Shutterstock explains it. This same caption is accepted at all the other sites and so I have been dutifully Continue Reading

Watch for scams on Fine Art America

I received an email today via the Fine Art America website that said:



   My name is Anthonio Jack from Oregon.. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work, I’m also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too,You are doing a great job. I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you.. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales..

Thanks and best regards..

I was a bit doubtful – why is he saying he observed his wife on his laptop? I’m also a photographer, not an artist and so why is he wanting further information about my work and what is that about availability for immediate sales? I did a bit of a search on his name on Google and found this interesting explanation of the scam.

So, if you receive one of these via FAA, ignore it!



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