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 on stock agencies. Since then I have increased my income to more than $35,000 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 book?

You can buy the book directly from my site or buy this new eBook 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!


Best selling images and videos in August

I promised to split the normal earnings post this month and concentrate on some better earners in this second article. As I was thinking about it, I began to think about what makes for a good stock portfolio. As I cover in my video talk, I see stock photos as falling into three categories – People, Places and Things. I don’t tend to do many People shots even though I think those are probably the most popular images on the various agencies. Why not – partly because it is not my comfort zone and partly because to do it properly requires models, potentially involving payments to them, and hence more of a risk of not getting your money back in earnings. So a few shots with myself as the model are OK, but not much more than that.

Example of a stock photo for halloween

Yes, that really is me although perhaps no model release was needed for this one! So back to the plot. I focus much more on Places and Things and when I watch my results, it is clear that the Things category probably Continue Reading

Questions asked about stock photography – and answered!

After posting my results for August, I had three good questions posted in the comments section:

“I have 2 questions could you help to share your thought?
– Do you think spreading photos on wide spectrum of agencies is slowing down your sale on Shutter, or it’s just the nature of summertime?
– How about your sales on Deposit photo, is this a right vehicle to park your photos?”

“From your experience, is it ok to sell an image as an editorial on Shutterstock for example, and as commercial on Adobe Stock? So far, Adobe Stock does not accept images as editorial, so i was wondering if the contradiction would be ok. Thanks.”

Rather than answer in the comments, I thought it might make a good blog post so that everyone could see the answers I have.

Antique historic medallion presented to soldiers families that died in the Great War

Lets start with the editorial question. Unlike the discussion about licenses such as Royalty Free and Rights Managed, where there is a common consensus that you shouldn’t sell the same image under two different license terms at different agencies, this editorial category is much less clear.  Continue Reading

Questions about stock photography – and some answers!

Jason F recently commented on my Master Class in Stock Photography and added in a series of questions that he would have asked if he had been there! By the way, I screwed up on the “Pay what you want” price – I had intended the minimum price to be $0.49. I’ve fixed it now. But back to the questions. I’ve split them up to allow me to put my thoughts against each one.

1. What are some more examples of reworking your existing portfolio? I have seen that some people simply add fake lens flares, other light leaks, and color changes. Have you had success with quick and easy things like that? 
I do make a habit of looking at each sale in Microstockr Pro at the thumbnail level and I try to assess whether the thumbnail is really telling me what the image is about, and I also think about what the buyer might have licensed it for and whether I could do something different to get more sales from that image. I have recently been doing that with artificial oceans in front of city skylines as an example. I saw this image selling reasonably frequently:
I took this back in 2010 and I made a pretty “over the top” HDR conversion of it. It has earned $315 and still sells. I decided it would be easy to use the Flood plugin to enhance the water and give it more drama and so I reprocessed it to tone down the HDR and replaced the water by an artificial sea. I mentioned that in the description by the way. This is the new one:

Continue Reading

Video of my presentation on Stock Photography

Earlier this week, I gave a talk to the Winchester Photographic Society on Stock Photography. Originally planned for 40 minutes, the depth of interest as shown by the questions asked throughout the session made it overrun to almost 60 minutes! Through the course of 70 slides, I explain what stock photography is all about, what the legal issues are, in particular with regard to releases and the appropriate marking of images as commercial or editorial, what you can earn, what you need to do to be successful and I illustrate it throughout with my better selling images together with details of how much many of them have earned. Rather than simply videoing the presentation (which would have made the slides difficult to read), I decided instead to make an audio recording and then create an HD video of the slides with the audio narration. Far better to see the details rather than my face!

Running for just short of one hour, the presentation will be of interest to beginners as well as more experienced stock photographers looking for inspiration. If you learn more by watching and listening rather than reading, this could be perfect to get you started in this fascinating industry.

I have decided to make a charge for this video – partly because it took a lot of effort to put it together, and partly because I thought that if potential viewers had been able to travel to Winchester, they would have spent a similar amount of money on gas (petrol) to get there! It is set up to pay what you want, however.

Click to get full details of how to view the video about this Master Class.

Sensor cleaning on the Sony A7 series

One of the things I don’t like about the Sony (perhaps the only thing?) is that it seems to attract dust on the sensor. I try very hard to avoid dust – putting the lenses face down on a hard surface and keeping the camera body facing down as I unscrew one lens and move across to the new one – but somehow dust just gets on that sensor! Dust is more visible when you have stopped down to a small aperture (high number) as the depth of field is much greater, but it can be visible in the sky, in particular, in shallower depth of field images. For some reason, I always seem to see them when I have created a panorama and so you get the same spot copied multiple times across the image!

They may not look like much in this full resolution crop, Continue Reading

Dreamstime Blog Contest – help, please!

I’ve entered the Dreamstime Blog Contest on Locations with an entry that hopefully gives some ideas about how to be a success at travel stock photography. If you are a Dreamstime member (either as a buyer or contributor) you can vote on the entries to determine who wins their prize! You can find my blog post here, and you vote on it by clicking on the “Useful” tag under my name:

Dreamstime Blog contest

You don’t see this box unless you are logged into their site.

You may find the post helpful – if you do, please take the opportunity to vote on it! Thanks!

Steadify Kickstarter project is now live

Earlier this week I talked about Steadify – a new approach to a tripod for relatively slow exposure times. The project to actually build and sell this is now live on Kickstarter, so if you want to take advantage of the early bird offers, now is the time to do so.

I’m planning to buy one and review it in due course – I’m always looking for something to reduce weight and this might help for some types of shoot.

Here is the link to Kickstarter for Steadify – it isn’t an affiliate link, just customized so that they know where interested parties are coming from.

How to take fireworks over a city

This July 4th, I went up to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania to see and photograph the fireworks display over the city. Although only 70 miles away, we decided to stay for a couple of nights both to get the best idea of where to shoot the fireworks and to get some other images of the city as well. As I started to realize, getting everything right about fireworks, especially if you want to position them with the city itself to give the context, is more complex that it appears! First, I did my research. I found a local professional photographer with a gallery near the hotel so first stop was to visit that and hopefully chat with the photographer. He wasn’t there, but his assistant was very helpful in explaining the lie of the land! He has some great shots of Pittsburgh if ever you are looking for some! He also had some great shots of fireworks over the city on his blog with more details on where he was for the show – so that is the first problem solved – where to go!

Independence day photographs over Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

I chose a location by the Point of View statue on Mount Washington and scouted it out earlier in the day to see where I might plant my tripod. That brings out the next issue – when to arrive? Continue Reading

What to do when the weather doesn’t co-operate?

We have all been there – we travel to some location, perhaps on vacation, and then the weather isn’t really that good for photography. Do you still take your photos and then what do you do with them on your return? I recently went to New York City for a couple of days and although it was generally dry and a partially sunny, we took a trip to Staten Island on the (free) ferry past the Statue of Liberty and then back to Manhattan. I’ll get onto what I took shortly, but my ideas for processing developed when I saw that this:

had earned over $400 since I uploaded it – far more than any of the similar images that have the normal pretty glum water in front of the city. Admittedly, most of those sales were from iStock and Getty, but I’m still not complaining! So back to New York. This is what my image looked like out of the camera: Continue Reading

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